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"Philippe Cousteau Jr. and Sam Champion take hazmat dive into Gulf's oily waters."

Quite a headline but that's just what they do and you get to see, first hand, what it looks like to swim through the muck of dispersant and oil that is looming under the surface.

It's a metaphor for so much that is wrong with our energy policies in this Country, the costs that we don't see, that are out of sight and out of mind but this disaster is bringing it to full sight now, isn't it?

It's something we cannot turn away from.

And as Phillipe Cousteau put it, it is merely a "snapshot" of what is happening all over the Gulf, as the oil keeps spewing from the rupture in the sea floor, the pipe that just keeps billowing out gallons and gallons of this toxic sludge.  

So this is the cost, coming to the surface, Welcome To Peak Oil - The Deeper You Drill, The More You Might Spill.

Maybe this is the real issue, we've got to deal with this reality lurking under the surface too, the pressure to drill deeper and go further, to push our technology to the brink to keep oil prices artificially low and to prop up a market that, in reality, has no business being this vibrant in a time when we should be cutting consumption.

Peak oil.  

While it is hard to imagine how exactly they got process safety so wrong - drilling a mile below sea level without frequently testing and certifying that the system would actually shut the flow off when needed? - we should not miss the larger point, that this failed charge signifies the arrival of Peak Oil.

Everyone was expecting a steep and sustained run-up in oil price would mark the onset of Peak Oil. Not happening because of the economic downturn. Instead we get a Gulf-wide gusher.


There specific and very logical reasons to drill a mile below the ocean surface, at such great expense. One is that the more shallow reserves in the Gulf are already tapped. Only by going for deep leases can they hit the big pools of oil which will have long lasting yields and which put big reserve listings on the balance sheet - holding up stock value..

These conditions lead to the question of the day. Amidst Peak Oil, is it practical to rely on a free market to protect other economic interests such as tourism, fishing, coastal barriers, and so on? Probably not, unless you are a Rand Paul or a Sara Palin acolyte.

But at what cost?  The Oil Drum is where to go when it comes to do with anything related to peak oil.  

And here is more on the top kill method from the Oil Drum, that BP says they will attempt, in the next few days, to stop this mess.

And according to BP it has 60% to 70% chance of success.

NEW YORK (Dow Jones)--BP PLC (BP) said Tuesday that the company had considered a so-called "top-kill" procedure to stem the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico from the beginning, but the unprecedented depth of the water in which the procedure is to take place required a lengthy design period.

"We have been designing "top kill" from day one," but it has taken this long to properly design the procedure, said Kent Wells, BP's senior vice president of exploration and production, in a conference call. BP executives previously warned this procedure has never been tried at depths so great, adding there is a 60% to 70% chance of success.

Wells said the vessels and equipment for the procedure are now in place but that "we are in the final states of pressure testing it." This diagnostic testing can take another 12 to 24 hours and if it is deemed safe the actual top-kill procedure will take anywhere from half a day to a couple of days to complete, he said.

Regardless if this fails or succeeds we still have a disaster of enormous proportions to deal with that will be unfolding for decades.  When you have headlines such as this one, Oil Spill to Wipe Out Gulf's Sperm Whales?‎ it's tough to think that anything can undo what's been done to this ocean here.

An entire species wiped clean because of this.  And under the surface we cannot know how many animals are dying and merely silently falling to the bottom of the ocean.  Unseen death, unseen  oil will have an untold cost that is not just about entire species of animals but human as well.

                                                            Get the eKos widget code!

Phillipe Cousteau is on Larry King tonight, he's going to speak further about his dive.

And also, get the widget from PBS, which just covers the oil but does not include the dispersant, which according to Phillipe Cousteau is about 800,000 gallons.

800,000 gallons of this toxic mess in the ocean with the oil.

<iframe src="" height="300" style="align:center;" width="310px" marginheight="5" marginwidth="5" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"></iframe>

Originally posted to Ellinorianne on Tue May 25, 2010 at 08:47 AM PDT.

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