BP Technically Didn’t Clean The Oil Spill

“I have no confidence whatsoever in BP . I think that they do not know what they are doing.” —US Representative Edward Markey

In A Nutshell

On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, causing perhaps the largest maritime oil spill in history. British Petroleum, the charters of the oil rig, addressed the spill with the use of Corexit, a dispersant that would clean the oil and then allegedly biodegrade. Corexit did not clean the Gulf, nor did it biodegrade; it only diluted the oil. Corexit is also toxic to marine life.

The Whole Bushel

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill is perhaps the most infamous environmental disaster in recent history. High pressure methane gas caused the oil rig, which was located in the Gulf of Mexico around 65 kilometers (40 mi) off the coast of Louisiana, to explode. Eleven workers were killed and over 200,000,000 gallons of oil spilled into the ocean.

BP had chartered Deepwater Horizon. To address the situation, BP made use of the chemical Corexit, a dispersant similar to many detergents. More than 1.8 millions gallons of Corexit were applied to Gulf waters, with over 700,000 of that number being injected under the surface.

How do detergents work? Oils are lipids that tend to clump together. Detergent molecules surround oil molecules, forming a layer that separates each oil molecule from another. This stops clumping. The separated oil molecules are then dispersed throughout the water.

Essentially, Corexit did not actually clean the ocean or eliminate the spilled oil; it only diluted it. But then again, the same could be said of dirty clothes thrown in the washing machine, or oily dishes cleaned in the dishwasher—the difference being that the resultant dirty water is pulled away and disposed of.

Corexit also did damage all its own. Corexit is toxic, and is less effective than some other dispersants at handling a spill. It’s especially toxic to marine life, and not only because it was very ineffective at removing submerged oil. Additionally, the toxicity can be passed from fish to fish through bioaccumulation: If one fish eats another, it will absorb the toxic content of its prey.

Corexit was supposed to be biodegradable, that is, it was meant to break down into the environment. It didn’t, instead drifting along with the oil. The mixture of Corexit and crude oil created a harmful chemical that became water soluble. In other words, it can evaporate and return as polluted rain.

Here’s the best (read: worst) part: BP continued to use Corexit in spite of being forbidden to do so by the Environmental Protection Agency. While it did dilute the oil, evidence suggests that the ecosystem of the affected area has not recovered. Animals like dolphins and sea turtles are still dying at above-average rates as a result of the pollution.

Show Me The Proof

National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling
BP Oil Spill Dispersants Drifted, But Didn’t Degrade
Corexit – BP Oil Spill
Huffington Post: Gulf Of Mexico Dolphin Deaths Point To Continued Effects Of BP Oil Spill, Group Alleges

  • Yarlec

    Fucking British.

    • Jimmy

      U wot m8? I’ll bash ye fookin hed in, I swear on me mum!

      • Yarlec

        Yeah bring it fag. Foreigners don’t last where I’m at mate.

        • Jimmy

          Say it again. I dare ye. I’ll rek u cunt.

          • Yarlec

            I gotta say it again? Damn you already swore on ya mums, why wait? Pussy…

          • Jimmy

            Wot u chattin you fukkr? m8, u are 1 fucking cheeky kunt. I swear I am goin 2 wreck u. I swear on my mums life and I no u are scared lil bitch. Want a peice of me eh shit ‘ed? I’ll smak ye in the gabber, cry baby prick.

          • Cowboy

            Are you mental? There are places that can help you with that. As for all your threats and bitching I would have you talk with your mom. btw she hot? She English? Then I guess not.

          • Jimmy

            It seems to me that you and your friend are unfamiliar with the piss take of “hard lad” English people which is characterised by misspellings, colloquialisms, slang and swearwords. There is a subreddit dedicated to it, which you can find here http://www.reddit.com/r/uwotm8 .
            I find them quite amusing and thought it would be humorous to respond to Yarlec’s earlier comment which was in effect the same sort of bullshitting that occurs when someone is safely behind a keepboard hundreds of miles away. Clearly it went over your heads, unless of course your responses were also tongue in cheek which I thought at first, hence my continued use of the u wot m8 lexicon for want of a better word. In that case

            U havin a fackin giggle ther pal? 2 pussy 2 fight me irl? U beta hope I don’t find u pussy, I’ll fuck you up u slag.

          • Yarlec

            It was worth the laugh. But still fake threats still piss me off wanka.

          • Cowboy

            Little late but, it was sarcasm buddy

          • Jimmy

            I thought it was. I just wanted to make sure you didn’t think I actually had a problem with you or anything. I’m British and we’re soft like that.

    • rincewind

      That’s like me blaming Americans for the food poisoning I got from my local branch of MacDonalds. BP is a multinational that would naturally use workers from the countries they operate in. This means that it was American workers in charge of this rig. Having said this, I don’t wish to defend multinationals like BP. Down with all those bastards!

      • John

        McDonalds doesnt give a shit what country anyone comes from as long you keep coming in and buying their nasty ass fast food.

      • mo

        If you get sick at McDonald’s,you have only yourself to blame, for eating tasteless crappy food.

        • rincewind

          Yes. I was punished for my transgression. Never again!. I still don’t blame the Americians for the company. I blame the person who works there for poor hygene.

          • mo

            You choose to buy your food at a place well known for serving crap food, and food that makes people sick, and it is somehow their fault you still chose to eat there? McDonald’s is crap. That’s why you got sick. You will continue to get sick, as long as you make the choice to eat there.

          • rincewind

            You misunderstand. MacDonalds is an AMERICAN company. BP is a BRITISH company. Both are multinationals. I don’t blame Americans for serving such food, yet Americans (Yarlec’ comment) blame the British for BP. I was just making a point.

            OK. Multinationals always use local people. It was American manangement who made the mistakes on the rig. American shareholders also own much of BP. I also saw that shameful interview with Obama making cheap political points as if America didn’t have a financial interest in BP.

            Again, I am not defending BP. All multinationals are bastards. They don’t even pay taxes.

          • mo

            I dont misunderstand. I dont care where the companies are based. You Continue to eat McDonald’s food, knowing it is nasty and will make you sick. That is your fault alone. No one else. You eat crap food, yo u get sick. no one blames British people for what a British company does. Why you feel the need to argue what everyone knows is strange.

          • rincewind

            I have already said I don’t contunue to eat MacDonalds food. I don’t know where you got that idea from. You are not reading my comments. Do you know what a multinational is? In any event, I am not going to argue over this small point.

      • Yarlec

        You misunderstand my comment which is understandable. I do not dislike the British as a people just needed to vent some online steam. Not the wittiest comment but I did get some feedback. Good and bad I do not care. Online gangsters make me laugh and get their fat asses mad easily. Threats like the one above he has no idea what real life is like.

    • lee

      You ever met stanley?

      • Yarlec

        Uh..no..please enlighten me.

    • UN

      Fucking British…….Petroleum. Its not the people its the company

      • Yarlec

        Are you American? You must be cause that was a polite defense. Like I said I don’t hate British people just the shit talkers.

        • UN

          to the contrary yarlec im Pakistani

          • Yarlec

            So’s my brother, well half anyway. So I won’t bother you.

    • UN

      Fucking British…….Petroleum. its the company to blame not people

  • Hillyard

    BP has a long history of ignoring safety regs in favor of just raking in the cash. Multinational douchebags. Their top executives should have been made to go out and personally get their hands dirty helping the clean-up. Now the asshats are appealing a settlement for the people that were affected by the oil spill. A settlement they themselves helped write.

  • Ryan

    “In other words, it can evaporate and return as polluted rain.”
    I doubt that anything other than water is evaporating from the ocean.

    • Brett Houldsworth

      http://ioscproceedings.org/doi/abs/10.7901/2169-3358-2008-1-797, for those interested in the evaporation rates of Corexit. i would prefer a clearer definition of high evaporation conditions, but i think it is definitely possible that Corexit is evaporating along with water.

      • Ryan

        That study measures the loss of Corexit upon application. There is nothing in the scope of that study that attempts to measure Corexit entering the water table, is there? Aren’t you making an assumption that it’s re-entering as rain?

        • Brett Houldsworth

          No i haven’t made any such assumption, although the author certainly did, i was just providing information, and declaring that i believe it is possible that it’s evaporating along with sea water. Whether that returns into that locale as rain is definitely not proven, or even very likely statistically.

          Do i think it is returned to an ecosystem somewhere? yes. do i think that is an issue? not necessarily. I DO believe it should be investigated more thoroughly before they dump millions of litres into the ocean though.

  • Mikey Godsey

    This doesn’t belong here. This is still a contentious issue that can’t be presented as FACT just yet.

    • Except that Corexit stuff is fact

      • Mikey Godsey

        I still hear opinions about it that go both ways. It’s far from reaching the level of certainty afforded to controversies like global warming.

  • TiredOfThisShit

    LOL @ “it can evaporate and return as polluted rain.” Protip: Don’t let your writers smoke methamphetamine before writing articles – they make glaring errors.

  • NovellaParras

    There are many lots of problem for the Oil spill clean .
    http://purenitromaxsite.net/

  • lbatfish

    “The mixture of Corexit and crude oil created a harmful chemical that
    became water soluble. In other words, it can evaporate and return as
    polluted rain.”

    “Water-soluble” is not the same as “evaporate-able”.

    Are salt and sugar water-soluble? Yes.

    Do they evaporate, and later fall as salt-water and sugar-water? No.

    An unfortunate mistake, because many of the other facts presented were correct and worth knowing.