Saudi Arabia to the Rescue for Gulf Oil Leak?

I read articles that hundreds upon hundreds of suggestions for solving the oil leak dilemma have deluged BP from all over, but BP has of yet to try any of them. Today I heard an interesting idea from Nick Pozzi, an engineer with 20 years experience with oil spills in the Gulf, the Persian Gulf that is.

It appears there was a 700 million gallon oil spill disaster back in the 90’s in the Middle East and it was able to be sucked up by supertankers, 85% of it. Esquire’s website reported, “Shell Oil president John Hofmeister, suggested 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.

Well, Pozzi, an environmental disaster expert from Houston used this very same solution with success on that 700 million gallon oil spill way back in the 90’s. He said he didn’t know why this wasn’t done sooner. It may have been cost, but hey BP’s tab is in the billions now so what the heck? After searching around it seems Pozzi got through to BP but they were well, disgruntled and said Pozzi’s application wouldn’t work here. Why? Persian Gulf, Gulf of Mexico, what’s the difference? Listen to the logic about this method.

The Esquire article went on to say:

The suck-and-salvage technique was developed in desperation across the Arabian Gulf following a spill of mammoth proportions — 700 million gallons — that has until now gone unreported, as Saudi Arabia is a closed society, and its oil company, Saudi Aramco, remains owned by the House of Saud. But in 1993 and into ’94, with four leaking tankers and two gushing wells, the royal family had an environmental disaster nearly sixty-five times the size of Exxon Valdez on its hands, and it desperately needed a solution.

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. [] 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.

Pozzi tried to get his cleanup method to the authorities since this disaster first happened, speaking to Captain Ed Stanton of the Coast Guard way back in early May. Stanton requested a “quick proposal in writing and would take it up the chain of command.” Pozzi got the written proposal to Stanton on May 10th. On May 27th President Obama was finally able to glance over the supertanker proposal.

Since I just viewed Pozzi with his proposal on the news this afternoon this method just may be a go. Pozzi fianlly got through to the media at least. Not bad timing since BP’s saw stuck today and they have to get a perfectly clean cut to set another cap on the pipe if BP’s new efforts are to work. I also remember Pozzi saying that their method of sucking the oil right from the source of the leak entails using a large dome almost like an umbrella covering a much larger area than the bell BP originally tried to place. He said the situation would be better if the oil spill was floating on the surface like a puddle, but the clean up method would work on the oil already dispersed that is below the surface all the way to the bottom.

Pozzi: “Keep in mind that what supertankers typically do is they sit in the middle of the ocean waiting for all the traders to come up with the right price. When they feel that the price is right, the tankers that are full, they take off, and they can be anywhere in the world in a few days. Right now there are probably 25 supertankers, waiting for orders, full of oil. So all they got to do is come to Texas, in the Gulf, unload the oil, and then turn around and suck up all this other stuff and pump it onto shore into on-shore storage. It’s not rocket science. It’s so simple. It’s a Robinson Crusoe fix, but it works.”

Watch the video on Esquire’s website of Shell’s John Hofmeister explaining that the supertanker cleanup works:

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2 thoughts on “Saudi Arabia to the Rescue for Gulf Oil Leak?

  1. James F Jaeger
    You submitted a Suggestion to ENERGY and COMMERCE Committee, and when available, it has been shown below for reference.

    Construct special oil pipe-recovery dome that has an enclosed internal pipe system which would carry either super heated water or a special heat transfer liquid through a smaller pipe system running inside the main riser oil pipe to the ocean bottom and then return this same warmed liquid back to a surface pump system. Or install thermal wiring elements into this pipe-dome configuration to warm oil and gas and prevent hydrocarbons from freezing up the recovery LMRP Cap system. BP Technical Briefing 5-31-2010 This would prevent ice crystals from clogging either the recovery dome or the oil riser pipe line used to capture and collect leaking oil from the bottom ocean floor. Using a heated liquid approach is very similar to an enclosed automobile radiator system. Using the industrial heating elements approach, will eliminate need for any special internal plumbing. In either case, a recovery LMRP Dome-Cap system should be a mandatory tool kit item for every big Oil company that wants to drill offshore in USA. Please see a DIAGRAM of solution

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