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A ‘Minor’ Correction

Update: the BBC is now reporting some oil has come ashore in Louisiana.

Gulf Gusher flagThe BBC reports that US military joins Gulf of Mexico oil spill effort. This is to some extent the result of the revised estimate on the amount of oil coming from the leak from 1000 barrels per day to 5000 barrels per day, but what is a 500% increase among friends.

The article also reports that the well didn’t have the remotely controlled shut-off valve required by some countries because the US regulators didn’t think it was necessary. After all these huge spills are rare… well relatively rare… OK, not widely reported, in the Gulf of Mexico. You see, only two of the top five oil spills have occurred in the Gulf [See the sidebar near the bottom of the article. The Exxon Valdez is number 5].

I guess it would have been too expensive to have included an old fashioned gate valve at the well head, one that was over-sized so you could move the drill through it. Something that ROV could shut with just force and a long bar if necessary.