Monday, July 21, 2008

"natural oil seepage from the ocean floor accounts for far greater petroleum contamination than man-made sources in the United States"

Flopping Aces » Blog Archive » No Excuse Not to Drill Here: It Won’t Take Ten Years to Get the Oil
The chart [below] shows that natural oil seepage from the ocean floor accounts for far greater petroleum contamination than man-made sources in the United States. And the proportion of U.S. pollution to that of other nations is far less. There is no valid environmental reason NOT to drill for more oil.



Jeannetta said...


Anthony said...

I think, the fact that the Exxon Valdez spill added over 35 kilotons, and the latest oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has released (as of 16May10) as much as 100-200 kilotons of oil, that there INDEED IS an EXTREMELY valid environmental reason NOT to drill for more oil. Or at least aggressively begin the process of weening ourselves off of it.

And btw, there is no way of accurately, or even close to accurate, way of measuring ocean oil seepage. So those numbers on the charts are perhaps dubious at best.

eartha5 said...

North America's estimated annual natural seepage of crude into the ocean is 43 million gallons.

If this spill eclipses the Valdez' 11 million gallons (it may have done so already), and ends up, say, 20 million gallons. That's 50% of all the seepage naturally occurring in North America over a full year.

There is no way the environment is going to be ready to absorb a 50%+ increase in crude in the water.

You can't simply look at these instantaneous comparison charts and say they rule out danger of a single catastrophic spill.

BananaMan said...

From the very first paragraph of the source document for the graphs:

"As has been recognized for some time, petroleum can present a significant risk to marine life. Even a small amount released at the wrong time or place can have
a severe impact."

Whether natural or human-sourced, oil releases can be detrimental to marine ecosystems in ways that we probably want to avoid as much as possible.

Jack said...

Anthony, your numbers are slightly off. First the Exxon Valdez spill was 32 kilotons. The amount that you have stated for the gulf spill is way off. At the estimate of 210,000 gallons a day that is only .6 kt a day. Using your 17 days that would only be 4 kt (as of 16May10). Even if you take the very high 840,000 gallons a day that's 2.61 kilotons x 17 days (16May10) would've been 44 kilotons.

Now according to the Science Daily there is up to 80 Exxon Valdez spills a year from natural seepage and that's just off the coast of Santa Barbara. The Gulf natural seepage has been estimated at 80 to 200 kt a year.

eartha5, in reply to your "no way"..... WAY.

Anonymous said...

The environment will absorb it.. thats what the environment does.. Its pretty foolish to "think" that the environment cant recover from an oil spill.. Yea, it sucks, and im sure that it will affect me more than you seeing that I have spent thousands of hours on the gulf catching food for my family, but the earth will be here and be fine long after we are all gone.. until the sun burns it up that is..

Peter said...

for the earth, this is a minor blip in its history and it will overcome and it regenerate itself--for the mammals currently occupying the land it will greatly affect them for some time, but will also be cleaned up during their lifetime. We obviously should do our best to be stewards to the environment, but this is not catastrophic to earth--just to us--oil is natural and we should use it as safely as possible. It's not like this happens everyday--and if we didn't have to drill 1 mile off shore where it was dangerous and risky, this would've been capped, sealed and over with already.

Anonymous said...

I would hope by now you would realize that natural "seeps" (which by their very nature are impossible to quantify within any degree of accuracy - industry analysts assume between 500,000 and 8,000,000 metric tons annual) are as different from SPILLS, as rain fall is from Flash-Flooding.
And while in 50,000 years, these spills may be moot -- there are a hell of a lot of people, animals and plants which are going to be devastated and decimated for quite a long while.

Julian Beerns said...

It is shocking that natural oil seeps continued to be ignored while the offshore drilling rigs are demonized as the main contributor to oil in the ocean when in true it is the earth.

Santa Barbara has some of the worst oil seeps off of Coal Oil Point. It continues to harm birds and the marine life in Santa Barbara. The company SOS California( is trying to convince the public that new oil rigs will reduce the oil seepage and help protect the wildlife along with cleaning up the beaches. Also with the funds from the oil more research can be put towards cleaner energy.