May 14th, 2010
09:17 AM ET

On the Radar: Gulf oil spill, a CNN hero and the laser

Gulf oil spill - A U.S. congressman said he will launch a formal inquiry Friday into how much oil is gushing into the Gulf of Mexico after learning of independent estimates that are significantly higher than the amount BP officials have provided. BP officials have said 5,000 barrels per day of crude, or 210,000 gallons, have been leaking for the past three weeks. But after analyzing videos of the spill, a researcher at Purdue University has predicted that about 70,000 barrels of oil per day are gushing into the Gulf.

President Obama also plans to discuss the Gulf of Mexico oil spill with top aides on Friday; he is to talk publicly about those meetings at 11:50 a.m. ET. The Coast Guard plans to brief reporters on efforts to fight the spill at 10 a.m.

CNN Heroes - Dana Cummings survived two tours of combat duty as a Marine in the first Gulf War without injury. But 10 years later, he lost a leg in a car crash. A divorced father of three, Cummings said he was abandoned by his girlfriend and denied physical rehabilitation by his insurance. Realizing he needed to be strong for himself and his children, he began an intense workout regimen in the hospital. He then found his own brand of rehab in an unlikely place: A surfboard. In 2003, he helped create the Association of Amputee Surfers, or AmpSurf. The nonprofit, volunteer-run organization is dedicated to teaching people with disabilities, most of them veterans, how to surf — for free.

Clinton meets with Hague - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton plans to meet at 11 a.m. ET on Friday with new British Foreign Minister William Hague. They plan to speak with reporters at 1 p.m. ET.

The anniversary of the laser - It was described by scientists at the time as “a solution looking for a problem.” But when the first working laser was developed 50 years ago this week at California’s Hughes Research Laboratory, it didn’t take long for the concentrated beams of light to find work. Having fascinated science-fiction fans since the late 1800s, lasers (light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation) have become common, almost commonplace, in modern life.

soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. gaetano marano

    so, if drill a second well (that needs 3+ months) will be the only option to solve the oil spill issue, the total oil leak could reach the stellar 270,000,000 gallons figure!!!!
    enough to transform the Gulf Of Mexico in a (nearly entirely black) Oil Only Ocean, so (I must insist) why don't start BURN it NOW at 5000 ft. of deep with oxygen???

    May 14, 2010 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
  2. gaetano marano

    just to add, that, also NASA could be of help in this effort, thanks to its know-how in refractory materials used for the Space Shuttle's thermal shield

    May 14, 2010 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
  3. Angela Brandenburg

    Hello Mallory,

    I am shocked that this hasn't been contained yet. All of these exotic solutions that are failing.

    Why are they not putting a much larger casing (like a much larger pipe) right over the gushing oil. Put it down to the earth over the exiting pipe and build it high.

    Why? To act as a mini reservoir that they can then pump the oil directly out of as fast as it flows in. This will give them the time needed to carry on with their longer term solution (to drill adjacent to it and try to siphon off the pressure).

    Of course they may need to lower around the larger casing scaffolding to make the pipe self-suporting ... but getting this gusher contained can be done if the will is there.

    May 14, 2010 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  4. peynton

    THis spill has truley changed the course of America! NOw we have a DOUBLE RESSION!!! WE NEED A MEGA SOLUTION!!!!!!!!! S.O.A. SAVE OUR AMERICA!!!

    May 14, 2010 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  5. Marky GA

    Bill Maher says, "Any AH who ever ranted Drill Baby Drill should report to the Gulf Coast for cleanup duty".

    I say... give each one of 'em a plastic drinking straw.

    May 14, 2010 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  6. Fred

    Why cant we use hay to solidify the oil spill?

    May 14, 2010 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Tracy

    We should find out how much oil they collected in 24 hours when the oil rig was in operation then you would really know how much oil is really going in to the ocean providing the presser was not turn down. Anyways you would have a better idea i think.

    May 14, 2010 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Craig N. Barthelmas

    Subject: PRO-ACTIVE OIL SPILL CONTINGENCY PLAN, Dated: Wed, 5 May, 2010

    TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN; We will make this statement brief since we know that no one to date has been listening.

    1. We found a pre-processed material and developed an action plan that would have extracted up to 95% of the oil spill contaminants from the surface waters of the Gulf of Mexico, before it hit land fall.
    2. Our product was a, “Modified Oil Spill Environmental Sponge” dubbed M.O.S.E.S., it is a ¼” to ½” product that could be used to absorb oil contaminants from both “fresh water and salt water” surface oil spills. Our tests have concluded that one ton of product will absorb 125 gallons of oil in less than one hour. Simply put it will absorb approximately one half of its weight in oil. M.O.S.E.S. collects/absorbs oil not water. After saturation M.O.S.E.S. will only contain about 1.4% water. It creates no added impact on marine life or the environment. It also poses no threat to other kinds of wildlife including humans. A fifteen minute test would have proven this process.
    3. Our plan was full circle and would have included staging, seeding, re-claiming and re-processing all of the contaminated oil’s and seed materials back into re-usable fuels and commodities.
    4. Due to the urgencies to reduce the impact on the environment and the magnitude of this spill, our plan would require partnering with the Coast Guard and other organizations that were already being used to provide staging, seeding and reclaim operations.
    5. Seeding operations would have been handled in essentially the same way they were being done, with minor and/or no modifications to airborne or aquatic equipment that would handle spreading ¼” to ½” particulates.
    6. Re-claim operations required the same booms, scoops, pumps and barge operations, that were being used.
    7. Re-processing operations proposed a permanent emissions free plant for processing oil, sand and other like materials into re-usable fuels and commodities. The plant would take approximately ninety to one hundred and fifty days to construct and would become a permanent part of the states fast action response to future oil spills.
    8. Our plan would have first, assisted with the on-going damage control operations in the gulf; second, it could have been put into operation within seven days; third, it would have become a $30,000,000.00 per year financial benefit to the communities that embraced staging and plant processing operations.
    9. This plan would have greatly reduced the time and costs associated with this kind of oil spill in the future. We are confident that this type of pro-active plan would have become a template for other high risk (oceanic) areas.
    So, why was this plan given no consideration at all? It is not a question of if another spill will happen but when. The only excuses we have been able to come up with that, we are sure you are going to here are, as follows:
    a. BP the News Network and Government Agencies didn’t have the time to consider a pro-active long term plan?
    b. “We are all crack pots” when, this technology is patented and the product could be tested in fifteen minutes?
    c. “BP has it under control as they have done this before?” We think, crazy is doing the same things over and over again expecting different results! We need to get past these smoke screens and prepare for the future.
    Thank you for your time and consideration. We would love to receive some constructive input.
    Craig N. Barthelmas, Cell: [313] 682-1428, E-Mail:
    CC: BP., CNN, FOX 2, NOAA, Governors of: AL., FL., LA., MS., And TX.

    May 14, 2010 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Craig N. Barthelmas

      ATTENTION!! The PRO-ACTIVE OIL SPILL CONTINGENCY PLAN listed above will not plug oil leaks but, it will address five major problems; two of witch, are concerns that have not been addressed in the media or in the government.
      1. It truly is a LONG TERM-CONTINGENCY PLAN. It will help the community rebuild revenues while providing a fast action operational plan for future oil spills. Yes! Future oil spills will surely occur, despite future prevention efforts!
      2. This plan is full circle and would included staging, seeding, re-claiming and re-processing all of the contaminated oil’s, oil filled sands and seed materials back into re-usable fuels and commodities.
      3. It creates no added impact on marine life or the environment. It also poses no threat to humans and/or other forms of wildlife. Oil, feed stock and sand processing are near emissions free processes.
      4. It will generate $30,000,000.00 worth of new revenues for the communities that embrace staging and plant processing operations. The plant would remain in full operation after the clean-up is done.
      5. It will also add about forty new jobs to the community. This is not only a plan to help with short term clean up’s, it will also have a positive long term and lasting effect on the community as well.
      We all know that BP has been feeding us misinformation and then trying to mobilize volunteers to help minimize their cost. Yes! We sent BP and other agencies this plan. Operations of this nature have a price tag associated with them and so, it would appear that they have no wish to spend anything on spills they can’t control or that won’t go back into their pockets. The OMRS-100 technology is patented and, M.O.S.E.S. (The oil absorbent) can be tested in less than fifteen minutes!
      As always our government is seeking a short term quickie (political talk) so we can get a long term scr**ing! Has anyone mentioned where they (BP) plan to put and/or dispose of all of that contaminated; oil, sand and material? We are pretty sure that without intervention it will be in somebody’s back yard, neatly hidden from sight, killing something else. Don’t you think that any oil spill plan should at least consider: Prevention, Mobilization, Extraction and Disposal Operations?
      Thank you for your time. We would love to receive some constructive input from anyone who is as concerned as we are.
      Craig N. Barthelmas, Verizon Cell: [313] 682-1428, E-Mail:

      May 20, 2010 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
  9. LSmith

    BP has informed congress that they have 9 7/8 casing in the hole with a cement plug inside it.So all the flow has to be comming up the space between the outside of the casing
    and the open hole (this is called annular flow) It appears to be a mix of nat gas and oil at the end of the riser–so that tells us the pressure in the wellbore is greater than the pressure
    of the seawater appox. 2300 psi–or the seawater would be flowing into the riser.This is a major problem when the natural gas expands it freezes–so they will have to mix hot water and methanol to inject into the top hat and try to divert the oil up to the collection ship–this process will have to be ongoing until the relief well is drilled and the well is killed.This is like drilling 3 miles and hitting a target the diameter of a picture of beer–not so easy– good luck to all

    May 14, 2010 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Carsten

    Mr. Anderson
    please get your units of measurements right. You are talking in one breath about 5000 barrels then about 5000 gallons and the estimate of the professor being 70.000 gallons.
    BP estimated 5000 barrels per day which would be approx. 80.000 gallons per day. So I don not see the shocking revelation in the professors estimate, unless he was making a mistake and meant that his estimate is 70.000 barrels (not gallons) per day.
    A bit less excitement and a bit more research please.

    May 15, 2010 at 4:22 am | Report abuse |
  11. Rick

    The expert (professor) clearly said 70,000 gallons per day in the snap shot he had (not 210,000 gallons). +/- 20% (or 14,000gal) Cooper, how is that now barrels? There are 42 gallons of oil in 1 barrel.

    70,000gal = 1667 barrels.

    Get the facts straight CNN, and correct yourself. Still a tragedy but DON'T lose site of the data.

    May 15, 2010 at 7:17 am | Report abuse |
  12. Bill Smith

    Carsten, Anderson corrected himself about gals vs barrels
    You need to check your math.
    5000 barrels per day times 42 gallons per barrel equal aprx 210.000 gallons per day not 80,000.

    May 15, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Rick

    Bill, listen to the expert again. He is saying 70,000 gallons a day (+/- 20%), not 210,000 gallons per day.

    May 15, 2010 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
  14. dolphinjax

    While Halliburton employees are enjoying a weekend getaway and spa services in the Florida Keys.

    May 15, 2010 at 7:26 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Craig N. Barthelmas

    ATTENTION!!!! Comment number 8 above will not plug the oil leak, but it will address four major problems; two of them are concerns that are not being addressed.


    2. It creates no added impact on marine life or the environment. It also poses no threat to humans or other forms of wildlife.

    3. It will add a $30,000,000.00 per year revenue generator to communities that embrace staging and plant processing operations.

    4. It will also add 40 new jobs to the community. It is not only a plan that helps in short term clean up's, but it has a positive long term effect as well.

    We all know that BP is feeding us misinformation and then trying to mobilize our volenteers to minimize their cost. This technology is patented and M.O.S.E.S. can be tested in fifteen minutes!

    As always, our government seeks short term quickies so we can get long term sc***ed! What do you think?

    May 15, 2010 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
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