Oil Math-BP’s Con Game

Do the oil math.  I already have.

There’s a good chance that, as you begin to see where the numbers are going, you’ll become so apoplectic that you won’t be able to continue.  If you’ve got a heart condition, have your meds nearby.  If you’re in the Gulf Coast region, lock up your firearms and give someone you trust the keys to the gun cabinet.

Earlier this week, before the riser (the pipe that, pre-disaster, led up to the surface) was untangled and a clean cut made, credible estimates of the amount of oil spewing from it ranged from around half a million to 4 million gallons/day.  Although they don’t deserve it, let’s give the BP hooligans and our government’s eunuchs the benefit of the doubt, and put the figure at an even million.

This clean cut was ostensibly made so that BP could, in their words, “contain” the pipe; that is, collect some of the oil and bring it to the surface, thereby diminishing the amount entering the Gulf.

Here’s where the math gets interesting, or, more accurately, infuriating:

A spokesman for BP said that the cut would increase the amount of oil escaping from beneath the seabed by 20%, as there would now be an unimpeded pipe through which the oil could flow.   Given BP’s history at estimating, let’s call it at least 20%.  So even accepting the low-ball guesstimate of a less than reliable source, let’s say that 1,200,000 gallons are now flowing out of the pipe.

Today it was reported, by Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen (who seems like a good man caught in an impossible situation), that about 6,000 barrels of oil made it to tankers on the surface.  There are 42 gallons of oil to a barrel.  A bit of third grade multiplication gives us 252,000 gallons that were kept from seeping into the Gulf waters.

So the clean cut increased the flow by roughly 200,000 gallons, and 252,000 gallons were captured.  Net-net, that’s a 52,000 gallon reduction from the pollution prior to this operation, or roughly 5%.  Not a substantially different amount from pre-capture days.  No change in crisis status.  But we’ve become so mentally fatigued and resigned that anything deemed to be progress isn’t looked at nearly as critically as it might have been a month ago.

And BP now has 6,000 barrels of oil per day, at around $70/barrel, to play with.  That’s $ 420,000/day, or $ 12.5 million/month, which for them is chump change, but still helps offset the payments they’re making for clean up costs and lost wages.

Let’s also not forget that we’re using BP’s numbers, which have been worse than useless up until this point.  If one raises the estimate for oil spewing from the pipe even a small amount, there’s absolutely NO environmental benefit to this latest operation.

We have a grand illusion that Houdini would be proud of and BP should be ashamed of: the illusion of success.