ground- water, geo- statistics, environmental- engineering, earth- science

How Much Oil Has Flown into The Gulf of Mexico?

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It might be highly uncertain, but some people thing that about four million (4,000,000) liters of liquid (or whatever it is classified as) flow out of the hole of the BP drilling – per day.

Certainly, that’s a big number, but how does it compare to other numbers?

  • beer: Germans like beer, and drink a lot. On average between 1991 and 1999 about 11.6 Million liters – per year! That means, that a volume equivalent of the annual beer production of Germany gushes into the Gulf of Mexico in three days

  • manure: I recently visited a company called “Eisele” that builds agricultural equipment. Among other things an unbelievably huge tank wagon.

Alternative Text

About 20,000 liters fit into such a tanker wagon

About 20,000 liters fit into such a vehicle. If you do the math, you’ll realize that every day the contents of 200 such waggons pour into the Gulf! 8 per hour! 1 every 7 minutes!

Mind you this is happening now since 5 weeks! That’s the beer production of Germany of 12 years! For the zoo of the city of Nuernberg, since many years, the city is trying to build a huge tank for dolphins. Let’s say comparable to sea world. However, they plan it to be so huge, that it costs too much money, and hasn’t been built completely. Using the numbers in this pdf, the volumes of about 26 such incredibly expensive “dolphin tanks” have been dumped into the Gulf. It’s still mind-boggling.

update Friday; June 4, 2010:

  • There is a NYTimes article from early may that states the daily volume of oil that gushes into the Gulf of Mexico is 5,000 barrels which equates to 587,000L which is 6.8 times less than the 4 million liters.
  • The Exxon Valdez Oil spill caused 11 million barrels of oil to destroy the environment (source), which equates to 41,640,000 liters. If you take the 4 million liters a day as the flow rate of the Gulf’s current leak, then you would have an Exxon Valdez every 10 days, we’re at least in week 6, that’s about 4 Exxon Valdez so far.

Written by Claus

June 1st, 2010 at 12:17 pm

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