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Obama halts all deep-water oil drilling, new estimates show four times more oil than thought gushing into Gulf

by Dara Kam | May 27th, 2010

gulf_oil_spill_jpeg_447171kPresident Barack Obama halted all deep-water oil drilling operations in the Gulf for the next six months or until a presidential commission co-chaired by former Florida U.S. Sen. Bob Graham completes its work.

Obama ordered the 33 deep-water rigs to stop drilling this afternoon as federal officials estimate that between 12,000 and 15,000 barrels of oil per day – up to four times more than previously thought – is gushing from the Deepwater Horizon well into the Gulf of Mexico. The disaster has now surpassed the Exxon Valdez spill more than 20 years ago.

Obama refuted criticism that his administration has not responded quickly enough to the disaster but acknowledged more could have been done in at least two key areas, including the oil flow estimates.

“This is what I wake up to in the morning and this is what I go to bed at night thinking about. The spill,” Obama told reporters at a press conference this afternoon in Washington. “Those who think that we were either slow on our response or lacked urgency don’t know the facts. This has been our highest priority since this crisis occurred.”

But government officials should not have trusted BP’s estimates of how much oil was spewing from the well more than 5,000 feet below the sea level, Obama said.

“This is an area where I do think our efforts fell short,” he said. “It took too long for us to stand up our flow tracking group that has now made these more accurate ranges of calculation.”

While Obama defended the federal government’s response to the disaster, now in its 37th day, he admitted that his administration did not adequately prepare for the massive influx of oil now covering more than 100 miles of shoreline in Louisiana.

He said that more boom should have been available to the Gulf Coast before the oil reached the coastline.

“Pre-deploying boom would have been the right thing to do…I think there was a lack of anticipation of what the worst case scenarios would be. And that’s a problem,” Obama said.

The president’s press conference came as BP officials were in the second day of the oil giant’s latest attempt to staunch the oil flow. Initial reports indicate that the “top kill” method of injecting drilling fluids into the well appear to be working.

“This procedure offers no guarantee of success,” Obama said.

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9 Responses to “Obama halts all deep-water oil drilling, new estimates show four times more oil than thought gushing into Gulf”

  1. melody Says:

    Are we supposed to just sit around with that large oil floating in the ocean out there and wait for the next press conference and then hear “Pre-deploying tankers would have been the right thing to do…”?

    We need to worry about the decades of tourists and sea creatures not the next few months or next election cycle! Do you politicians and businesses have some election cycle agreement or plan based upon IGNORANCE and INTIMIDATION about the impact of the amount of oil spilled out there in the ocean water of the Gulf?

  2. no party mom Says:

    All you ‘wildcat wonders’ that think skimmers and tankers are needed then what are you waiting for to happen? Have the other oil industry entities offered equipment to get this spilled oil out of the ocean water BEFORE it comes ashore or near a reef! If you as an oil industry cannot work together to implement even the most simple solutions you have historically put forward then you are the ones that will end your oil and natural gas industry! We cannot rely on natural gas if there is a risk the same arrogant individuals are involved!

  3. Ed Fulop Says:

    One of the main reasons that the oil industry had to go 30 miles+ into the middle of the Gulf where the bottom is a mile down to drill, was because of the environmental lobby screaming and yelling about putting the oil rigs within sight of the beach. If this blowout was in 200 feet of water, within a couple of hours, they could have had divers on the bottom in a couple of hours, and the “crisis” would be a couple thousand gallons of oil, not the 63 million gallons (and counting) that they’ve estimated now. By alleviating one problem, the environmentalists caused 5 or 6 much larger problems with graver consequences. BP’s negligence appears to have been the culprit here, but don’t lose sight of the fact that they were put in this position because of the environmental lobby.

  4. Don't Drink the Cool Aid Says:

    The Progressives have their oil crisis, now they can put the oil companies out of business. Next will be coal companies. Any big mines ready to collapse?

  5. theloneconsumer Says:

    From my EPA filing in 2006, it was the 2002-68 docket that everyone in Wash DC took notice of. But not Florida politicians. “One to Five Acre oil and gas drilling permits” in the Gulf of Mexico. My EPA filing focused on a 2000 docket in which Halliburton’s Accolade chemical had no peer review and no challenge for BP oil’s deep water drilling project called Thunderbird.
    As my EPA filing also stated, ONLY in the Guld of Mexico, the oil and gas Industry does not have to scrape the “drilling muds” off the ocean floor in a barge, ie cleaning up the poop…
    So, the biodegredation, bioaccumulation and toxicity for mammals, fish and plants MIGHT be causing, five years after massive upwelling and hurricanes, our declining fishing industries in five counties of the West coast of Florida. Dr Wewisberg, from 5 years of bantering over studies and application of his current Loop studies expressed my theory of five years before US Congress.
    Once again, Tampa Bay making a difference -layman and scientist!

  6. Muckraker Says:

    My take:


  7. Jill Says:

    President Obama is in yet another no win situation. He is being blamed by many for the off shore drilling–which has been happening long before he arrived on the scene–with the same potential consequences that we are experiencing. He is not an environmental scientist. He can only follow the recommendations he is handed. We all need to become better educated on how our government works and on how to protect the environment to stop this in the future. We also must hope that this horrible mess can be cleaned up within out childrens life time.

  8. Declare National Emergency Says:

    Total disaster, BP keeps lying and tried to hide everything. We NEED most of our Military here, and re-activate Lt. Gen. Russel Honore or General Powell to command and control the complete devistation of our Gulf Where’s our Marshall Plan???

  9. Declare National Emergency Says:

    Wish our government could make Dick Cheney to swear under oath what transpired when he had the secret meeting with the major oil companies right after Bush became Pres. back in 2001.

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