On the Gulf Oil Spill anniversary

To confirm a single statistic I wanted to share about a year after BP’s Gulf oil disaster, which killed 11 men and countless creatures and spewed an estimated 5 million barrels of oil into the Gulf over 86 days, I stopped by a cool/chill/rad web site that slices and dices CIA Factbook data.

I was curious as to how many days of U.S. crude consumption poured into the gulf, in toto. Turns out it was about 0.25 days. Six hours. The entire mess equated, roughly, to  U.S. daily oil production of about 5.3 million barrels per day.

Energy Information Administration site may not seem the sexiest place to troll the Web, but it can be enlightening. The United States imports twice as much oil from Canada (1.9 million barrels per day) as it does from Saudi Arabia (a million barrels per day), I now know. How many points per game LeBron James averages is a much better-known statistic. If we committed numbers to memory in proportion to their importance, democracy would be in a lot better shape.

The Washington Post’s Brian Vastag did a great year-out roundup of the catastrophe that ran Sunday, not terribly long, but poignant, data-rich and well worth a read.

It’s pretty clear that the ecological consequences of Deepwater Horizon’s blowout remain a question mark. Over spring break the family spent time on South Padre Island in south Texas. There we learned that the endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtle, which has been making a comeback, spends a lot of time in areas the spill hit hard. We won’t know how the turtles fared until later this month, when the females head back to a couple of beaches in Mexico and Texas to lay their eggs.




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