BP / Gulf Oil Spill – Radar Image, May 18, 2010

This Envisat ASAR radar satellite image taken on May 18 shows oil slick entrained in the Loop Current and spreading out to the southeast. Slick and sheen covers 15,976 square miles (41,377 km2), about 50% larger than seen in yesterday’s MODIS image and about twice the size of New Jersey:

Envisat ASAR image, May 18, 2010. Image courtesy CSTARS.

Some of that apparent rapid growth may be due to the fact that radar images are generally a lot better at showing areas of thin sheen than the MODIS imagery.

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13 replies
  1. QuizMasterChris says:

    All of the corporate media "journalists" in this country should be using this site as a resource! This is especially true after it's been evident that we've all been lied to about the nature of this disaster multiple times.

    Thanks for the work you do.

  2. Mrs.B says:

    White House Covers Up Menacing Oil "Blob"


    In an exclusive for Oilprice.com, the Wayne Madsen Report (WMR) has learned from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers sources that U.S. Navy submarines deployed to the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean off the Florida coast have detected what amounts to a frozen oil blob from the oil geyser at the destroyed Deep Horizon off-shore oil rig south of Louisiana. The Navy submarines have trained video cameras on the moving blob, which remains frozen at depths of between 3,000 to 4,000 feet. Because the oil blob is heavier than water, it remains frozen at current depths…

  3. John says:

    Lots of unconfirmed statements in that Oilprice report – let's see if any of that info gets validated in coming days.

  4. mark says:

    B.P. just wanted the chance to tap into the well to salvage any oil .So they stalled with bogus plans until they got there siphon tube into it.And then they say there are going to cement around the tube to seal the rest of the leak . Uh tell me why didn't they (B.P. or are government ) just cement the whole thing shut from day one. Because are government thinks we are just that stupid Goes to show you who really runs this country the oil companies and the billionaires .c-mon man

  5. Gina says:

    Hello! We are a middle school math class exploring the effects of the oil spill. We used this blog post to help us figure out how many gallons of oil per square mile are part of the oil slick, and to talk about how in the news they use "barrels" instead of "gallons" so that it sounds like less of a problem. We also figured out how many barrels of oil have leaked since the accident occurred.

    Thank you for posting these updates!

    -Middle School Math Class in North Carolina

  6. John says:

    Gina – glad we could provide your class with a real-life example to work on! Please let us know if we made any mistakes.

  7. Michele says:

    The 5-17-2010 Terra image posted on the NASA EO website is cropped so that you can't see the full extent of the oil sheen. Have a look at the same image, uncropped, on Google Maps…


    You might also want to look at this blog post…


  8. John says:

    We received this commment from Mr. Rod Gillis via email on May 22:

    BP has to know the volume flow/pressure coming out from their well, as doing a " kill shot" requires that the amount/density of Mud used in this process has to off-set the actual volume flow/pressure coming out of/within the well for it to work. My background is in physics/math; and this situation/fix involves basic math and long established engineering principles. The key in oil drilling is/has always been knowing the oil/gas volume/pressure of/within the well; and controlling it by back pressure via mud volume/density. To me, it's not possible nor logical that BP hasn't known this well's oil/gas volume and pressure every minute, hour, and day, since shortly after this blowout began. Planning for and doing a "kill shot" requires that they know all of these factors, to input them in the basic model calculations for it to work. I believe that someone needs to call BP out on this; and I hope you can help bring it to light.

    Regards, Rod

  9. JOSEPH says:

    Come on people,its been done before in the middle east.The well shaft is incredibly deep.Just drop down a big load of plastic explosive,then blow the hole to bits and destroy the shaft.That is exactly what Red Adair would do the very first week.Are we gonna let these greedy BP execs ruin our whole gulf for years to come just so they dont have to drill a new whole to get the oil to pay for the spill.Wake up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. John says:

    Joseph- thanks for the suggestion, but at 5000' under water it's just not that easy. This is a high-pressure, high-temperature stream of oil and gas coming out of a mangled riser pipe; there is no easy way to enter that well, much less shove something deep enough into it that an explosion wouldn't just make things even worse. I don't think it's greed that's holding BP back – I think the real problem is we just don't have any good solutions when things go wrong on these deepwater wells, except to drill a relief well – and that is risky in and of itself, and takes months at these depths.

    It took one of the world's top well-control companies (Alert Well Control) more than 2 months to stop a blowout off Australia last year in water that was only 250 feet deep, in calm tropical seas, dealing with a well that only went to 8,000 feet below the seafloor.

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