Panama City Beach Oil Spill UPDATE: No Oil Here Yet

by June 3, 2010 • 104 comments
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As of today, there is no oil in Panama City Beach.  There is no smell, there has not been any tar balls, oil sheen, tar mats, or oil foam reported on the beaches of the Florida Panhandle.  Right now, our beaches are just as beautiful as ever. That’s the good news.  The bad news is that oil has been reported 10 miles offshore of Pensacola.  In fact, quoting the noon report of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, “?Areas of tarballs, tar patties, and sheen have been confirmed approximately 10 miles from the Escambia County shoreline and 6 miles from Navarre Beach.”  Again, nothing on the beaches, yet.

So, short of doom and gloom predictions, I’m just going to state the facts.  This can be terrible for us, hopefully it’s not.  But, right now, we are fine.  And, even if the situation continues to move closer to our shores, it should be weeks before we see anything.  Now, on with the facts.

This is from the FDEP’s noon report.  These reports come out about twice a day and can be found here.

  • Areas of tarballs, tar patties, and sheen have been confirmed approximately 10 miles from the Escambia County shoreline and 6 miles from Navarre Beach.
  • According to the NOAA oil plume model, the primary oil plume is 30 miles from Pensacola, more than 150 miles from Gulf County, and 330 miles from St. Petersburg, with non contiguous sheens and scattered tarballs closer.
  • This event has been designated a Spill of National Significance.
  • More than 20,000 personnel are working the on and offshore response.
  • Oil-water mix recovered: approximately 14.8 million gallons
  • Response vessels in use: more than 1,900
  • BP issued a $25 million block grant to Florida; first priority is booming.
  • BP has issued a second $25 million grant to Florida for a national tourism advertising campaign. ESF 18 – Business, Industry, and Economic Development has launched a national radio and print advertising campaign, promoting Florida tourism.

This is from a press release from the US Department of Commerce’s Commerce News.

  • U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke today determined there has been a fishery disaster in the Gulf of Mexico due to the economic impact on commercial and recreational fisheries from the ongoing Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
  • Locke said, “Today I signed a fishery disaster declaration for Florida for the same reasons I declared a fishery disaster in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. All four of these Gulf Coast states have the potential to suffer significant economic hardship as a result of the BP oil spill,” Locke said. “Today’s disaster determination will help ensure that the Federal government is in a position to mobilize the full range of assistance that Florida fishermen and fishing communities may need.”
  • The Gulf of Mexico closure area, which is based on actual observations and the scientific trajectory of the spill, now includes 36.6 percent of federal waters in the Gulf, largely between Louisiana at the mouth of the Mississippi and the waters off Florida’s Pensacola Bay.  The southern boundary of this closure runs southward to Cuban waters.
  • The administration has requested $15 million of supplemental funding as a backstop to address this disaster, as well as $5 million of economic development assistance through the Economic Development Administration.
  • In addition, the administration is requesting unemployment coverage for this disaster, and the Small Business Administration is offering economic injury disaster loans, which can help fishermen and other affected businesses.

This is from the NOAA Deepwater Horizon Incident Page.  This page is updated at least once a day and can be found here.

  • As part of BP’s efforts to cap the spewing well, they were attempting to make two cuts in the riser pipe.  One cut went as planned, and the second resulted in the blade getting stuck.  Once they get the blade unstuck, they will resume the cutting process.
  • The idea of making the cuts is to have a clean opening by which they can attach another riser pipe that will allow the flow of oil to be captured at the surface.  If this works, most of the spilling oil flow is expected to be contained.
  • Meanwhile, BP is continuing to drill two relief wells that will be complete by August.
  • Southwestern winds are causing a northeastern movement of the oil spill which is resulting in trajectories that include Pensacola in the next couple days.  Again, this is not definite, just speculation based on scientific observations.
  • NOAA Fisheries Service revised the fishery closure effective 6:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, June 2. The closure now encompasses approximately 37 percent of the Gulf of Mexico exclusive economic zone. A 2,637 square mile area of the western-most boundary south of Louisiana was reopened today – oil was projected to be in this area, but was never actually observed there.

Here are some multimedia resources I’ve found.

  • Various live video feeds of ROV’s (remotely operated vehicles (underwater)) at work at depth.  As of this writing, there was no action, but maybe by the time you click on the link, you’ll see something interesting.  click here.
  • Technical update given by Kent Wells on Monday (5/31/10).  This shows what the underwater spill incident looks like, the equipment layout and some examples of what they are doing this week to get this all capped off, including equipment they are using, etc.  click here.
  • Graphic depiction of the relief well drilling process and what it’s expected to do. click here.
  • A number of Frequently Asked Questions.  click here.
  • Deepwater Horizon Response’s Facebook page. click here.
  • Deepwater Horizon Response’s Twitter page. click here.
  • National Weather Service’s Deepwater Horizon Response page. click here.
  • What happens if a hurricane comes over the oil spill.  click here.

I want to apologize for not having more video and live feeds up.  I truly wish we could spend more time doing that.  Please support our efforts in keeping you up to date.  You can support PCBDaily by advertising with us.  We have been seeing traffic of around 350,000 pageviews in the last 30 days and can offer your business some great exposure.  If you want to advertise with us, please email us at info (at) pcbdaily (dot) com.  Of course, replace the “at” and “dot” with the appropriate symbols.  We want to be able to keep you up to date with the most media rich updates possible.

As always, you can keep an eye on our Facebook page for live updates.  I’ve been shooting live video from my iPhone when I can from the beach to show that no oil is here.  You can follow us on Twitter and receive instant notifications of when I go live.  I usually go live for about 10 minutes and expect to have a live streamcast sometime Friday.  Again, if you are logged onto Facebook and are a fan of ours, you’ll see when I go live and can tune in.  Here are some urls for you to bookmark:

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