What the Oil Spill Could Have Powered

Based on the estimate of 19,000 barrels of oil a day, if the oil lost in the Gulf of Mexico had been refined it could have powered 38,000 cars and more.

[social_buttons]The Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico has been the focus around the world, and many have wondered what the impact on the price of oil and the amount of oil we have left will be. A calculation by University of Delaware Prof. James J. Corbett shows that all the oil lost could have powered, as of Wednesday June 9, a total of 38,000 cars, 3,400 trucks and 1,800 ships for a full year.

The calculation is available on a website that Corbett has launched which reports the growing loss of energy that could have been produced by the oil spilling into the Gulf. Corbett says he wanted to put the oil spill in a perspective to which everyday users of petroleum can relate.

Corbett, a professor of marine policy in UD’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment, works on energy and environmental solutions for transportation and has set up the website with the ability to choose your preferred spill rate.

There have been multiple reports of how many barrels per day are being lost in the Gulf oil spill, and the website allows the user to choose between 5,000 barrels per day, 12,000, 19,000 and 25,000 barrels per day, each based on differing analyses by scientists and BP and Bureau of Transportation statistics.

“Energy resources offshore are being explored because each of us petroleum consumers is demanding more,” Corbett says.

“Drilling this exploratory well by the Deepwater Horizon was an extremely high-risk proposition,” Corbett added. “At $75 per barrel of crude oil, the oil spilled would have been worth about $90 million in terms of spill oil value if extracted for refining. Some experts are now estimating damages from the spill to exceed $10 billion. That’s a potential 100 to 1 loss, given the spill damage-to-value ratio.”

Corbett also released an image with various uses for the potential loss of oil. On May 5th, day 15 of the oil spill, the oil could have fuelled 470 containerships serving New York and New Jersey ports for a year. By May 25, 35 days into the spill, the energy from the oil could have provided a year’s gasoline for all the cars and trucks in Newark, Delaware, home to Corbett’s university campus.

Source: University of Delaware

Image Source: Deepwater Horizon Response

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