North Sea Well Blowout Spikes Carbon Emissions

Déjà vu? Not quite, but certainly some echoes of BP’s Deepwater Horizon incident from two years ago.

On March 25, the French oil company Total found a gas leak at its Elgin platform in the North Sea about 150 miles off the coast of Aberdeen, Scotland. Thus began a dramatic effort first to get the 200-plus workers off the production platform and to safety, and then to try to cap the leak. For more on the ongoing story, see here, here, here, and here. and this timeline.

The New York Times reports that the leak is costing Total $2.5 million a day. What about the other relevant numbers? We run them here.

As of today …

Estimated amount of natural gas leaking daily: 7,000,000 cubic feet  (Source)

Estimated daily leak in gallons: 52.4 million

Number of Olympic-size pools that that leak volume would fill daily: 79

Pounds of greenhouse gases (in carbon dioxide equivalents) emitted daily: 840,000  (Source)

Number of cars it would take to generate the same greenhouse gases: ~ 27,400  (Source [pdf])

Number of days: 10 and counting


End Note

Car, as used here, is defined as a typical light-duty vehicle in the United States, with an average fuel economy of 21 miles per gallon and an annual driving distance of 12,000 miles (or 33 miles a day). Data [pdf] are from the Environmental Protection Agency. The carbon coefficient for natural gas is 0.12 pounds of carbon dioxide per cubic foot of gas. An Olympic-size pool holds 660,000 gallons.

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