Tuesday, August 24, 2010

AAPG's Comment on the Gulf Oil Spill

This may be coming a little late but it is still relevant, I believe. The AAPG puts out a "magazine" sort of thing to its members, the AAPG Explorer, to its members and in the June 2010 issue they had an interesting remark to make on the Gulf oil spill. This is the opening passage:
"The following is a list of the 10 worst oil spills (volumes approximate), courtesy of Livescience.com. Note that seven of the 10 worst oil spills were tanker accidents - and the worst oil spill was an intentional act. Also, in each case the environment was not permanently harmed."
My problem with this article is the last sentence of that statement "Also, in each case the environment was not permanently harmed." Why must they feel the need to put that in the article. I don't believe that the majority of the public thought that the damage from the Gulf oil spill would be permanent. But it is a major disaster. It has ruined many acres of wildlife and habitats, killed an unknown number of animals, and made life pretty miserable for those in close proximity. This on top of financially destroying local fisherman and the local tourism industry. And, as of this date, the Gulf oil spill is the second worst oil spill in history, based on the numbers in this article. Here are the oil spills, dates, and amounts of each of the top 10 in the article.

1. Gulf War oil spill (1991) - 10-11.4 million barrels
2. Ixtoc I oil well (June 1979) - 3.4 million barrels
3. Atlantic Empress/ Aegean Captain (July 1979) - 2.14 million barrels
4. Fergana Valley (1992) - 2.11 million barrels
5. Nowruz oil field (February 1983) - 1.92 million barrels
6. ABT Summer (1991) - 1.92 million barrels
7. Castillo de Bellver (1983) - 1.87 million barrels
8. The Amoco Caduz (1978) - 1.60 million barrels
9. The Amoco Haven (1991) - 1.14 million barrels
10. The Odyssey (1988) - 977,000 barrels

Also: Exxon Valdez (March 1989) - 257,000 barrels)

According to this article from the University of Georgia, there were at least 4.1 million barrels of oil spilled in the Gulf of Mexico. So not only being the second worst oil spill in history, it is also the first major oil spill in almost 20 years and I feel the AAPG is downplaying this event by their haphazard remark. Because, I may be reading this wrong, but to me it says, "Hey, get over it. The environment was fine after all of these "disasters" so it will be fine after this one. Who cares is a little oil was spilt?"

To me this is a political ploy from the AAPG to try and take the heat off of the oil industries when really they should be cracking down on the practices that led to the situation in the first place and stating outright that this is a major disaster that shouldn't have happened in the first place. Again, this is just how I felt when I read the article,and I may have misconstrued the intended meaning behind that.

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