“Unprecedented” Use of Subsea Dispersant to Combat BP Oil Disaster

On May 12, the Deepwater Horizon Incident Unified Command held a media advisory regarding the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, which began on April 20th. Officials advised that subsea dispersants, the effects of which are widely unknown, are being used for the first time.

EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson and Dr. Jane Lubchenco, Undersecretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, NOAA, opened the call with brief statements focused on the use of dispersants, chemical agents used to break up the oil.

Surface and subsea dispersants, chemical agents used to break up the oil, are being used. The use of “subsea dispersants is unprecedented,” reported Lisa Jackson.

As the Deepwater Horizon oil platform is located 48 miles offshore, most of the dispersants that have been used are no closer than 30 miles to the shoreline. The subsea dispersants are used at 10 meters and deeper.

Officials monitoring the subsea results reported that the first two tests were inconclusive. Logistical problems in obtaining samples down to 5,000 feet prevented proper sampling. A third test is underway, with some samples already in the labs at Louisiana State University.

The tests involve satellite and airplane imaging, and chemical, biological and atmospheric sampling. Temperature, salinity, and particle size in situ and above surface are also being monitored.

Subsea dispersants require much less in volume than do surface ones, but the effects of their use are still widely unknown. Authorities are taking an “adaptive monitoring approach,” meaning they modify the monitoring requirements as the test proceeds.

“This is no silver bullet,” warned Jackson. “Dispersants are the lesser harm.” The response team is also skimming the surface of oil and burning it, she reported.

Chemical dispersants can be highly toxic and some have been banned by the EPA and in the UK. A particularly toxic one, known as 9527, has been used, but officials were unable to provide the exact amount. Another dispersant, 9500, is the modified and safer version. Jackson roughly estimated that between the two, they’ve used each equally, but did not provide the total figure.

Jackson did say that 500,000 gallons are already staged and another 805,000 gallons of dispersant have been ordered.

The question I would have called in, had no one asked, pertained to the failure to use already stockpiled, EPA-approved, organic, environmentally-safe dispersants. We have reports in Florida that:

a Columbian company with an office in Florida… Global Environmental Technology, has a product that is 100 percent organic and was invented in 1998 by its president, Carlos Forero. He won science competitions in Switzerland and Austria for the product, which encapsulates oil and cleans the material up. Not only does the product clean up the oil, it can also be recycled for use afterwards. In addition, if birds are contaminated, the product can [be] used for them as well.

Three different media outlets raised this question, but officials failed to adequately respond. Finally, they admitted that manufacturers do impact the choices that authorized responding parties make as to which products to use. BP is also involved in selecting which dispersants to use.

Several questions were raised concerning reports of dead wildlife, including turtles and dolphins. Officials would not confirm whether any of these deaths can be attributed to the use of dispersants, saying that no necropsies had been performed.

When asked if they would eat fish from the Gulf caught today, Dr. Jane Lubchenco, Undersecretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, NOAA, responded. “Yes, and I would enjoy it.”

On April 29th, officials estimated that the amount of oil gushing undersea is at least 5,000 barrels [210,000 gallons] a day. Since the initial explosion, crude oil has reached the shores of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

BP Plc, Transocean Ltd, and Halliburton are being held responsible for the catastrophe, and faced a second day of Congressional questioning today, reports Reuters. Meanwhile, in an effort to restrict offshore drilling, the “Senate climate bill released Wednesday would allow U.S. states to prohibit offshore oil activity within 75 miles of their coasts. Other lawmakers from coastal states have called for a complete halt to offshore drilling in any new areas, saying the risk is just too great for coastal economies.”

A May 11 video of the oil gush released by BP:


The official site of the Deepwater Horizon Unified Command. Those wanting Twitter updates from Deepwater Horizon can follow Oil_Spill_2010

Developing information by the EPA is posted. EPA use of dispersants in the BP Gulf spill. Those wanting Twitter updates from the EPA can follow lisapjackson.

Information from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association is linked.

Rady Ananda began blogging in 2004. Her work has appeared in several online and print publications, including three books on election fraud. Most of her career was spent working for lawyers in research, investigations and as a paralegal. She graduated from The Ohio State University’s School of Agriculture with a B.S. in Natural Resources. Read other articles by Rady.

16 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Don Hawkins said on May 13th, 2010 at 12:08pm #

    Six in 10 Americans support an expansion of offshore oil drilling despite the massive Gulf of Mexico spill, finds a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.USA today

    Maybe a poll on the destruction of creation. What do you think 53% would support the destruction of creation.

  2. Rady Ananda said on May 13th, 2010 at 12:24pm #

    lol… a sad commentary, eh?

    course, we oughta be suspicious of polls from corporate media.

    I can tell you that in the Gulf states, everyone is fretting about this.

  3. Lawrence Anthony Florek said on May 13th, 2010 at 9:51pm #

    As this tragic story unfolds it becomes clearer with each passing day the magnitude of the excess practiced in the unregulated free market of the oil industry. However, the term deregulated, perhaps, has been carried out to the extent that even the most basic principles of safety were disregarded by government agencies and corporate administrators to the point that now we are witnessing a great environment tragedy. This perhaps marks the apex of the deregulation movement that began with Ronald Reagan thirty years ago. The idea that any system, market, or organization that becomes ever more complex over time can be allowed to run without the utmost scrutiny for safety is now an absurd anochronism as evidenced by the untold thousands of barrels of oil being indiscrimimnantly dumped into The Gulf Of Mexico. If there are cries from “patriots” that government is too intrusive and unfurls the American way of life, who then will watch over the new Robber Barons of our time? We have only one government. Who else will watch over the deregulators?

  4. Don Hawkins said on May 14th, 2010 at 2:49am #

    Sent this to CNBC this morning,



    But a researcher at Purdue University has predicted that about 70,000 barrels of oil per day are gushing into the Gulf after analyzing videos of the spill.

    Say it isn’t so an oil company an misinformation how could this have happened. Ok CNBC now’s your chance tell the truth put your best people on this and after watching Larry last night put Larry in charge. If anybody saw CNN last night Anderson there was one man on who said there many people with something called knowledge who can help well maybe we should ask for there help or don’t build the motor just run to Hawaii like frightened little mice with all the gold. I mean it look’s like we need to start over anyway sort of. Somebody’s in deep do do and if the truth be known we all are then of course we experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest. A kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Build the motor and not for profit. Are you all associates for the big cheeses.


  5. Don Hawkins said on May 14th, 2010 at 7:17am #


    The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Jane Velez-Mitchell

  6. Don Hawkins said on May 14th, 2010 at 1:06pm #

    Greenpeace Statement on Pending Climate Bill

    WASHINGTON – April 23 – Greenpeace has highlighted crucial elements of the draft climate bill necessary to address the catastrophic effects of global warming pollution. Senator Kerry, in a teleconference Thursday, organized by the We Can Lead coalition, outlined specific details from the draft Climate Bill expected to be released Monday that had not previously been publicly available. In response Greenpeace Executive Director Phil Radford issued the following statement:

    “Although we appreciate the Senate’s efforts to reduce global warming pollution, it’s clear that polluter lobbyists have succeeded in hijacking this climate policy initiative and undermined the ambitious action necessary.

    We cannot support this bill unless the following elements change:

    Inadequate Emissions Targets: The Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has shown that to avoid the worst impacts of global warming, the United States and other developed nations must achieve emissions cuts of 25-40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and 80-95 percent by 2050. But this legislation only sets the goal of reducing emissions by some 4 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. Rapid reductions in the short-term are critical to avoiding catastrophic impacts from global warming. With this weak start, it is clear that achieving the needed reductions would be impossible

    Eviscerating the Clean Air Act: The bill is expected to strip the authority that the Environmental Protection Agency has to regulate emissions under the Clean Air Act and the states’ authority to set tougher emissions standards than the federal government.

    Money for Dirty technology: The bill is expected to include financial incentives for, among other things, nuclear power, offshore oil and gas drilling, and coal fired energy. This includes billions for “clean coal” technology development, as well as free permits for heavy emitters like manufacturers, oil refiners, and merchant coal generators.

    We call on the President to push leaders in Congress to get back to work and produce a climate bill, that presents a clear road map for significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions, transforms our economy with clean, renewable energy technology, generates new green jobs and shows real leadership internationally. None of this is accomplished by giving billions of dollars to the coal and petroleum industries.”
    Independent campaigning organization that uses non-violent, creative confrontation to expose global environmental problems, and to force solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future.

  7. Don Hawkins said on May 14th, 2010 at 1:14pm #

    it’s clear that polluter lobbyists have succeeded in hijacking this climate policy initiative and undermined the ambitious action necessary. Hello it’s a joke and these people have become so nut’s that bill stands a good chance of not passing. Note I used nut’s not insane as insane you expect a different result they don’t expect a different result and that is nut’s.

  8. Rady Ananda said on May 14th, 2010 at 4:08pm #

    thanks for the comments… truly, “qui custodiet ipsos custodes?”

    I think we have to face the reality that the gov serves polluters, period. We are on our own to stop their madness – drilling, mining, wars, genetically modified crops, spying on us, ad nauseum.

    Altho controversial since Derrick Jensen proposed it (in Endgame), I think the Dark Mountain Project has the only sane solution. We the people have to dismantle civilization, because it is killing us, and running untold thousands of species into extinction.

    btw, at 70,000 barrels a day (42 gallons/barrell), that’s 3 million gallons of oil gushing into the gulf from that huge reservoir they tapped — and were unable to control.

    I sat in on another Media Advisory today, this time headed by Florida officials. what a crock they are telling us — the fish are fine. Right. I also heard today from a journalist who was in Biloxi, Miss., who advises there’s a line painted on the ground where journalists cannot cross.

    corpogov is hiding the enormity of this catastrophe.

    It is up to the people to stop their madness, before we all go.

  9. Don Hawkins said on May 15th, 2010 at 3:52am #

    “Based on the scientific analysis of the EPA and (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and review by the National Response Team, it has been determined that the use of dispersants at the subsea source is the prudent and responsible action to take along with other tactics including surface dispersant, skimming, and controlled burns,” said Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the national incident commander for the spill. CNN

    prudent and responsible action well well well get ready people more prudent and responsible action we will see great wisdom and knowledge, imagination, working together and heart you gota have heart yes I see it all now it’s going to be wonderful. We are on our own

  10. GLloyd Rowsey said on May 15th, 2010 at 5:58am #

    Don, you’re getting to be a better prose-rage poet than Gary Corseri.

  11. Don Hawkins said on May 15th, 2010 at 6:03am #

    This we are on our own concept much more should be written on this. Let’s see ok the weather channel this morning they reported I guess that’s what they do reported the flooding in Nashville was a 1,000 year storm. I feel much better now and granted we saw people helping people in Nashville I get it if we watch c-span we can see people make the law of the land and is it the climate bill or now the energy bill not a joke on the human race but to get people to work together and we thought all the great minds were gone. You see we are not on our own or watch Fox New’s if you feel down and confused Glenn Beck is good oh yes over there just trying to get us all working together helping one another. I see it all now we are not on our own it just seems that way because behind the scenes kind of out of site many plans being made. A few people they need us very very much so they don’t feel on there own it’s all becoming clear now it just look’s like nothing is being done we are only told that for our own good mind boggling in it’s wisdom. We are on our own concept much more should be written on this. Go shopping buy gold drill baby drill wait now it maybe drill safely while protecting the environment. Let me end with what I heard a fat cat from BP say about the oil spill, “It’s a big Ocean”. This we are on our own concept much more should be written on this.

  12. Don Hawkins said on May 15th, 2010 at 6:14am #

    Well G Lloyd I see you are trying to get people working together a Nobel effort it is. Can you end a sentence with is.

  13. GLloyd Rowsey said on May 15th, 2010 at 6:24am #

    You’re the poet Donand can end a snetence howsoever youwish excpet as Nicanor Parra said: you have to improve on the blank page

  14. Don Hawkins said on May 15th, 2010 at 6:45am #


    CNN just reported the bill the cost for the spill is now $450 million but will go higher. Now the cost for the destruction of creation I’ll bet that will be a big number. I can hear Capitalism Knows Best Channel (CNBC) now ok how do we make money on this. Two Wall Street types on the eighteenth hole after a hard fought game of Golf. The last putt to see who wins and off in the distance a mushroom cloud can be seen and of course the one say’s to the other hurry up and putt before the shock wave get’s here.

  15. Rady Ananda said on May 15th, 2010 at 9:07am #

    BP has paid the fishing crews — who lost their livelihood — $5,000 each. See video of interviews with them at

    (Don’t know if it will show up here, so here’s the YouTube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oqzLV_3k25M)

  16. Rady Ananda said on May 15th, 2010 at 9:09am #

    Oh, forgot to include this terrific piece at Global Research:

    US Senate Begins Oil Spill Cover-Up