Friday, June 18, 2010

Gulf oil full of methane, adding new concerns

Gulf oil full of methane, adding new concerns
By MATTHEW BROWN and RAMIT PLUSHNICK-MASTI (AP) – 4 hours ago
NEW ORLEANS — It is an overlooked danger in oil spill crisis: The crude gushing from the well contains vast amounts of natural gas that could pose a serious threat to the Gulf of Mexico's fragile ecosystem.
The oil emanating from the seafloor contains about 40 percent methane, compared with about 5 percent found in typical oil deposits, said John Kessler, a Texas A&M University oceanographer who is studying the impact of methane from the spill.
That means huge quantities of methane have entered the Gulf, scientists say, potentially suffocating marine life and creating "dead zones" where oxygen is so depleted that nothing lives.
"This is the most vigorous methane eruption in modern human history," Kessler said.
Methane is a colorless, odorless and flammable substance that is a major component in the natural gas used to heat people's homes. Petroleum engineers typically burn off excess gas attached to crude before the oil is shipped off to the refinery. That's exactly what BP has done as it has captured more than 7.5 million gallons of crude from the breached well.

READ MORE HERE:
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gIXWYBTpLtSayJtg41LKXpxSxVPAD9GDJBO84

MORE LINKS:
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2010-06/17/c_13355795.htm
http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/677-e2-wire/104065-e2-round-up-gas-from-bp-well-is-an-overlooked-threat-white-house-push-on-bp-fund-sparks-debate-about-governments-reach-and-mistakes-hinder-spill-response-effort

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