Saturday, June 12, 2010

Former Shell Oil Chief, Engineer: Supertankers Could Save the Gulf, So Why Won't BP Listen?

I don't know if it's money or what, but I don't understand why the US not following up on stuff like this. Via Fast Company...
According to Hofmeister, oil supertankers could be used to suck up massive amounts of oil--possibly millions of barrels at a time.

In an interview with, Hofmeister explained that a little-known Saudi oil spill from an offshore platform in the early 1990s dumped more crude into the sea than any spill in U.S. history (think hundreds of millions of gallons). But the government and local press kept it quiet. And that's why one of the big fixes in the Saudi oil spill--the oil-skimming supertanker--hasn't been publicized.

"[They] figured out how to deploy supertankers that had the ability to both intake and discharge liquids in vast quantities with huge pumps," Hofmeister explained. "The supertankers could simply suck in seawater and oil simultaneously--they can hold millions of barrels--and when full, they could discharge oil at a port into tanks where they could separate oil from water. The idea is novel in that you can get massive of oil amounts quickly." Once the supertankers make it to to the port, water can be treated and discharged, and oil can either be used or destroyed.

Pozzi saw the technique used in the Middle East, where it recovered 85% of the oil from the Saudi spill. And he thinks it could work in the Gulf of Mexico. "The only downside is that you tie up oil tankers. That's why we think that BP won't listen to us. They don't want to spend that extra money."

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