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Massive Oil spill solution already exists

by Mark Warren Sunday, May. 30, 2010 at 2:45 AM
mbatko@yahoo.com

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. empty supertankers to suck the spill off the surface, treat and discharge the contaminated water.

Massive Oil spill solution already exists

by Mark Warren

Wednesday May 26th, 2010 10:17 PM

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.

Read more: http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/gulf-oil-spill-supertankers-051310#ixzz0p6V5uS4w

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.

1,248diggsdigg

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.

UPDATE (May 26): The Pragmatic Oil Spill Fix That BP's Still Waiting On

UPDATE (May 24): Sources Say BP Looking Beyond 'Top Kill' with Supertanker Fix

UPDATE (May 21): Why the Supertanker Fix Works at Depth... but the Government Won't Listen

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. 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.

Yesterday, I spoke to Pozzi and his business partner, longtime Houston lawyer Jon King, about their proposed solution, and the difficulties they've encountered trying to assist in the disaster, with both BP and the government. While BP is attempting its very difficult maneuvers to contain the gusher at the source, they say, nothing is being done to adequately address the slick itself. Dispersant is being used by the ton, some of the oil is being burned, and there have been other efforts, which taken together, Pozzi likens to "a flea on an elephant's ass." The two men have been trying to rally support since just after the rig blew up, without much success. This has been typical of their experience:

JON KING: Well, we went down to the BP headquarters in Houma, Louisiana, and we didn't have an appointment so they wouldn't let us in. Then I called the president of BP and I talked to his secretary and she put me in touch with somebody, but the somebody she put me in touch with didn't know who we should talk to. Nick contacted a gentleman that he used to work with at BP, and he threatened to sue Nick for not going through channels. And I said, "Great. I'd love BP to sue us for trying to help them. That would be wonderful."

NICK 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.

This past Monday, Pozzi and King spoke with Captain Ed Stanton, who is commanding the United States Coast Guard for much of the affected coastline. Stanton requested a quick proposal in writing, and said he would "take it up the chain of command." Below is the proposal, to which Pozzi and King are still awaiting a response.

From: Jon King

Sent: Monday, May 10, 2010 2:05 PM

To: Captain Ed Stanton

Cc: Nick Pozzi

Subject: Procedures Developed thru Lessons Learned

Re: Salt Water Clean-Up

Importance: High

Dear Captain Stanton,

Per your request this morning, this is to confirm our conversation with yourself, Mr. Nick Pozzi, and I.

My colleague, Nick Pozzi, has worked for over 40 years in the energy industry the majority with Saudi Aramco in the Middle East. During that time, Nick's team was part of the first responders that successfully cleaned similar sized spills of sweet and sour crude with the best technology available from the late 1980's thru the 1990's when he retired.

The primary equipment that was used to remove the crude from the Arabian Gulf was Super Tankers. The Super Tankers were used to store everything, run thru on-shore three-phase separators and sent to on-shore tank farms for additional clean up using centrifuges. The more the oil spreads the more tankers will be needed. Nick would be willing to provide a conceptual non-technical drawing to visualize this process.

This process not only cleaned up the ocean but it saved the local environment, minimized shoreline damage, and recovered approximately 85% of the crude oil. (Nick may be required to get permission from Saudi Aramco thru the Houston, Texas office in Sugar Land to provide you with any further details as to what information he is allowed to disclose to you regarding the various projects that he worked on.)

Nick does not know what the appropriate channels are to effectuate this process but feels, if asked, the Saudi Government may be willing to assist as he believes, that with the right calls, tankers could be on the scene in 2 days.

Please feel free to call Nick or I, if you need any additional information or have any questions.

Sincerely,

Jon King

Nick Pozzi

Read more: http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/gulf-oil-spill-supertankers-051310#ixzz0p6VKYt3t

http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/gulf...

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