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Model V20 Centrifuge
Dances With Oil!

The ongoing leak of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico has reached epic proportions and shows no signs of stopping. All attempts to stop the leak of crude oil into the Gulf have failed thus far leaving the only option for the time being to clean the oil from the waters of the Gulf as quickly as possible.

Actor Kevin Costner came forward not long ago with a machine that his company -- Ocean Therapy Solutions (OTS) - has developed with bold claims that the machine could clean up the massive and ever increasing oil spill floating in the Gulf. The machine is a high-tech centrifuge that is offered in several different sizes with the largest of the machines capable of cleaning crude oil from water at a rate of hundreds of gallons per minute. The centrifuge promises to leave the water 99% clean of crude oil.

BP is reaching for any lifeline to help stop the growing catastrophe and reportedly took one of the machines to test. The initial test failed due to dispersal agents added to the crude oil transforming it into a peanut butter consistency that the machines could not work with. OTS adjusted the machines to work with the thickened consistency and they now reportedly work as described.

BP COO Doug Suttles said, "We were confident the technology would work but we needed to test it at the extremes. We've done that and are excited by the results. We are very pleased with the results and today we have placed a significant order with OTS and will be working with them to rapidly manufacture and deploy 32 of their machines."

Costner says that over the last 15 years he has invested $20 million of his own money into the company to develop the centrifuge machines. Costner says that he was inspired to start the development of the machines after the Exxon Valdez hit a reef in Alaska in 1989 dumping 11 million gallons of crude into Prince William Sound. 
ABC News reports that depending on the water to oil ratio the centrifuge machines can extract as much as 2,000 barrels of oil per day from the gulf.

OTS CEO John Houghtaling said, "The machines are basically sophisticated centrifuge devices that can handle a huge volume of water and separate at unprecedented rates. They were developed from older centrifuge technology. Normal centrifuge machines are very slow and sensitive to different ratios of oil to water mixtures at intake."

Costner acknowledged that BP has ordered 32 of the oil separating machines. He also claims that that number of machines could mitigate much of the damage done in the waters of the gulf.

He said, "It's not too late … That oil's going to keep coming towards those people. That well has not stopped. So we have to be out at the source, sucking it up … I mean, we have to treat it a little bit like war. We mustered logistically everything we had to get the beaches of Normandy. We have to muster everything we can to keep it from hitting our beaches."



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RE: Kudos to Costner
By Solandri on 6/17/2010 6:18:54 PM , Rating: 3
Dunno why the news only mentions the liability cap like it's some free giveaway to the oil companies. It's part of a broader set of measures enacted after the Exxon Valdez spill.

http://www.epa.gov/oem/content/lawsregs/opaover.ht...

The worry was that a small oil company could cause a spill which bankrupted it, leaving no entity to pay for cleanup and liability costs.

Essentially, this part of the OPA works like an insurance program for the oil companies. They pay (paid) an insurance premium of 5 cents per barrel of oil extracted into the liability fund. In the event of a huge deepwater spill, their liability is capped at $75 mil, and subsequent payments are out of the liability fund.

http://www.epa.gov/oem/content/learning/oilfund.ht...

The fund hit its $1 billion limit in 1994, invoking a sunset clause and thus no more payments were collected. You can argue that the limit should be higher or should have been raised. But there's no need to be upset that liability is capped at $75 million. Any payments above that are paid for out of the liability fund, which is all money that came the oil companies in the form of "insurance premiums" they paid. None of the money is from taxpayers or from other sources.

But that's a moot point anyway since BP has said they will pay all liability claims directly.


RE: Kudos to Costner
By AEvangel on 6/17/2010 7:16:31 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
The worry was that a small oil company could cause a spill which bankrupted it, leaving no entity to pay for cleanup and liability costs.


The problem with line of thinking is that it allows these small companies and larger ones to engage in riskier behavior such as this with out having the proper coverage in case of an accident since they know they will be protected by the cap.

An the insurance fund is a joke since the estimated damages right now are in the 10's of billions of dollars. That fund wont even cover the first round of claims against it. Once again the more regulations you put in place the more problems it creates in the long run.


RE: Kudos to Costner
By Solandri on 6/17/2010 8:20:50 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
The problem with line of thinking is that it allows these small companies and larger ones to engage in riskier behavior such as this with out having the proper coverage in case of an accident since they know they will be protected by the cap.

Correct. And now you've entered the world of risk management. Do something to mitigate risk in one area, and it increases risk in another. Was the net effect to make it better, or did it make it worse? From such questions are derivatives and credit default swaps born.

quote:
An the insurance fund is a joke since the estimated damages right now are in the 10's of billions of dollars.

As I said, the fund hit its cap in 4 years (1994). It probably would've been prudent back then to raise the cap and continue collecting the 5 cent tax (and make the tax a percentage to reflect the rising price of oil). But alas, Congress did not have such foresight. Fortunately BP has said they will pay all liabilities directly and not tap the fund. Hopefully they are true to their word and Congress can fix the cap on the liability fund without running into any ex post facto legal problems.


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