Dylan Ratigan talks to Super Suck International director Francois Vorster about his company's solution for cleaning up the oil in the Gulf of Mexico before it continues to spread any further to our shorelines than it has already. Thad Allen was asked about this on the Sunday talk shows and dismissed it. It's bad enough that they allowed all the god knows how many gallons of dispersant to be poured into the water to try to hide the size of the disaster, now they're allowing BP to fiddle while our coastlines are destroyed instead of getting this oil out of the water A.S.A.P. Time to quit covering for BP and get this done.
I wrote about this when Mike Papantonio came on Hardball and talked about using these tankers to get the oil out of the water and when a former Shell Oil executive also touted using this technology on State of the Union. Here's more from Esquire's Politics Blog.
There's a potential solution to the Gulf oil spill that neither BP, nor the federal government, nor anyone — save a couple intuitive engineers — seems willing to try. As The Politics Blog reported on Tuesday in an interview with former Shell Oil president John Hofmeister, the untapped solution involves using empty supertankers to suck the spill off the surface, treat and discharge the contaminated water, and either salvage or destroy the slick.
Hofmeister had been briefed on the strategy by a Houston-based environmental disaster expert named Nick Pozzi, who has used the same solution on several large spills during almost two decades of experience in the Middle East — who says that it could be deployed easily and should be, immediately, to protect the Gulf Coast. That it hasn't even been considered yet is, Pozzi thinks, owing to cost considerations, or because there's no clear chain of authority by which to get valuable ideas in the right hands. But with BP's latest four-pronged plan remaining unproven, and estimates of company liability already reaching the tens of billions of dollars (and counting), supertankers start to look like a bargain.
...Pozzi, an American engineer then in charge of Saudi Aramco's east-west pipeline in the technical support and maintenance services division, was part of a team given cart blanche to control the blowout. Pozzi had dealt with numerous spills over the years without using chemicals, and had tried dumping flour into the oil, then scooping the resulting tar balls from the surface. "You ever cooked with flour? Absorbent, right?" Pozzi says. Next, he'd dumped straw into the spills; also highly absorbent, but then you've got a lot of straw to clean up. This spill was going to require a much larger, more sustained solution. And fast.
That's when Pozzi and his team came up with the idea of having empty ships park near the Saudi spill and pull the oil off the water. This part of the operation went on for six months, with the mop-up operations lasting for several years more. Pozzi says that 85 percent of the spilled oil was recovered, and it is precisely this strategy that he wants to see deployed in the Gulf of Mexico.
And in an update on their story from this week, there's no excuse for them not to be getting those tankers to the Gulf and the price tag is going to be cheap compared to the damage this oil is going to cause if it's not removed from the water. Mr. President, what the hell are you waiting for? Yesterday would not be too soon to force BP to do this.
Basically, these guys told us that per day, these tankers earn their owners roughly $45,000. If you were to approach one of these brokers looking to charter, on behalf of their owners they would ask a premium, maybe $1,000,000 per day, according to the broker from SSY. Negotiations would bring that down to something more acceptable to both parties, this broker said, and he also indicated that as a premium it wouldn't be unusual for the ship's owner to ask for and get ten times what it normally earns on its daily runs.
So for argument's (and BP's) sake, let's say that when BP charters the necessary tankers (and they will have to, eventually), the tanker broker makes them a deal for $450,000 a day. And let's say that BP orders up six tankers, and for a problem the size of the one they've created, these supertankers and their pumping and storage capacity are needed for six months.
At that rate, six supertankers for six months comes to $494,100,000. Round up and call it a half-billion dollars. On the ghost of Lord Browne, we are here to say that that will be the best half-billion BP every spent.