Skip to comments.(UCSB, 1999) OIL AND GAS SEEPAGE FROM OCEAN FLOOR REDUCED BY OIL PRODUCTION
Posted on 08/23/2012 6:27:54 PM PDT by doug from upland
OIL AND GAS SEEPAGE FROM OCEAN FLOOR REDUCED BY OIL PRODUCTION
November 18, 1999
(Santa Barbara, Calif.) Next time you step on a glob of tar on a beach in Santa Barbara County, you can thank the oil companies that it isn't a bigger glob.
The same is true around the world, on other beaches where off-shore oil drilling occurs, say scientists, although Santa Barbara's oil seeps are thought to be among the leakiest.
Natural seepage of hydrocarbons from the ocean floor in the northern Santa Barbara Channel has been significantly reduced by oil production, according to two recently published peer-reviewed articles, one in November's Geology Magazine, the other in the Journal of Geophysical Research - Oceans.
The Santa Barbara Channel provides an excellent natural laboratory, as it is among the areas with the highest levels of seepage in the world, said co-author Bruce P. Luyendyk, professor and chair of the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
The studies were not funded by oil companies, but rather by the University of California Energy Institute and the U.S. Minerals Management Service, states Luyendyk, responding to the fact that the results favor off-shore oil production and are opposed by some environmentalists.
"We've done a good piece of science," said Luyendyk. "We've developed a good understanding of a natural process. It's all public data; it's all straightforward. If I thought the study was compromised I wouldn't be involved in it."
Most of the seepage is methane, a potent greenhouse gas which escapes into the atmosphere, said Luyendyk. About 10 percent of the seepage is composed of "higher hydrocarbons," or reactive organic gases which interact with tailpipe emissions and sunlight, creating air pollution.
The researchers state that the production rate of these naturally-occurring reactive organic gases is equal to twice the emission rate from all the on-road vehicle traffic in Santa Barbara County in 1990.
According to the articles, studies of the area around Platform Holly showed a 50 percent decrease in natural seepage over 22 years. The researchers show that as the oil was pumped out the reservoir, pressure that drives the seepage dropped.
"If the decrease in natural seepage found near Platform Holly is representative of the effect of oil production on seepage worldwide, then this has the potential to significantly alter global oil and gas seepage in the future," state the researchers in the article "The World's Most Spectacular Marine Hydrocarbon Seeps: Quantification of Emissions " in the Sept. 14 issue of the Journal of Geological Research - Oceans.
They continue, "For example if the 50 percent reduction in natural seepage rate that occurred around Platform Holly also occurred due to future oil production from the oil field beneath the La Goleta seep, this would result in a reduction in nonmethane hydrocarbon emission rates equivalent to removing half of the on-road vehicle traffic from Santa Barbara County. In addition, a 50 percent reduction in seepage from the La Goleta seep would remove about 25 barrels of oil per day from the sea surface, which in turn would result in a 15 percent reduction in the amount of tar found on Santa Barbara beaches."
They conclude by saying that the rate of increase of global methane atmospheric concentrations has been declining for the past 20 years, and that a "worldwide decrease in natural hydrocarbon seepage related to onshore and offshore oil production may be causing a global reduction in natural methane emission rates."
As a side note, some thought I was a little nuts to put a big sign in my window on the 7th floor of San Miguel Hall == "BOMB PEKING". I guess I was ahead of my time.
I had read another study, a few years ago, that had estimated the west coast seepage at about 8-88 Exxon Valdez’s per year.
And it would follow that you could also blame the EPA, Sierra Club, Green Peace, and every Democrat in the universe, that it is there at all.
In reality, off shore drilling in California is not, nor has it ever been, and ecological problem.
It's just another irrational, emotion driven hot button issue that Politicians and the Media uses to manipulate the gullible and vacuous NIMBY’s that populate the once great state of California.
Yeah, but liberals and the environmentalist would say that we should not disrupt the natural processes of mother Earth. mega sarcasm.
That’s the one thing I used to hate when going to Seal Beach or Huntington Beach when I was a chile’ in the sixties...cleaning our feet with paint thinner at home to get the tar off!
No one really worried much about the tar, they were much more interested in the swells and the banal, beached out, bleached out blondes that made UCSB a great place to call home.
But loved the kerosene reference. We had that in the dorms, too, but we natives (in my case, almost a native) just used baby oil. Took longer, but much nicer. Looking back, we probably should have shared that info, but it was too much fun to see people gingerly handling the kerosene.
When I was a kid and before any offshore oil production there was so much natural oil flow that there wasn’t a beach from Santa Barbara to thwe Mexican border that you could go on without getting covered with tar.
My first stop when coming home from the beach was the tin washtub and getting scrubbed down with kerosene befre I was allowed in the house.
Even into the late 70s there was balls of oil the size of a basketball coming up on the horseshoe kelp which is 7 miles off Long Beach.
Scrubbing down the boat on Sunday to get all the oil off was a pain in the ass!!!
That’s funny. I had just moved there from New Jersey so getting that kind of “locals only” information just wasn’t happening. We surfed several times a week, at different locations near the school, and I eventually got tired of the kero. I must have had tar residue on my feet the entire time I was at UCSB. It would have been nice to know about the effectiveness of baby oil. :>)
I spoke with a petroleum engineer from California a few years ago and he told me this very thing. He also claimed that with the twist of a few valves off-shore production of oil in California would skyrocket, but that oil companies were forbidden by law to open them.
The foundation of this is Gaia religion that permeates politics, science(AGW), environmentalism and now businesses expecting to suck from the hind teat of this whore.
All these moronic caring environmentalists plus a few other groups destroyed the lumber industry and quadrupled the cost of lumber for every homeowner. Then they "persuaded" the moron legislatures to not permit even the thining of forests which are criminally overcrowded, adding fuel to natural fires and destroyin hundreds of homes and business in the process.
Just take any east-west road between the coast and Hwy 101 anywhere from Santa Rosa to the Oregon border.
The tree huggers being allowed to cause that level of destruction borders on criminal.
You got to remember that these people are not only delusional and arrogant, but egocentric.
If it didn't exist after they were born, it never happened and it never matters.
What a great place - I miss that a lot. Biking to 8 AM class always had a test moment - when we could see over the cliffs and there was surf half turned back to get boards.
Took my daughter there 2 yrs ago and biked the campus - it looks much smaller now for some reason. Isla Vista still smells the same - good thing all the Eucalyptus trees.
I try and explain to others what life was like in IV back then but I never do it justice. I have lots of pictures from Halloween on Del Playa, and even saved an issue of the Daily Nexus that chronicled the Halloween riot of '78.
I took my wife there several years ago and she described it as a student ghetto. True, but what an awesome place to live it was. There were still lots of characters hanging out in Anisq'oyo park, but it was nothing like the late 70's. I don't think they have the concerts there like they used to either; and I didn't see any tipis or wikiups. I remember my first day on campus and thinking I was in China with all the bicycles. My beach cruiser was "borrowed" dozens of times during the year, but I'd always manage to find it, and then lose it again. I don't know why I never bought a chain and lock.
Every morning one of us would run down Camino Pescadero to provide the surf report. The temptation was always there but I would resist - most of the time anyway. The ones who didn't were usually gone within the next couple of quarters. In the winter, we'd try and schedule our classes so we could take Tuesday and Thursday afternoons off and head up to El Capitan, the ranch, or to just hang off campus Point and Devereux. Several years ago, I was attending a trade show in Charlotte and ran into a guy who looked familiar. I started talking with him and learned that he was at UCSB the same time I was, and that he and I had surfed together many times off Campus Point. His name was Brian Bridgeford. He was on the UCSB surf team and was rarely went to class. I think he needed 7 years to finally graduate. Small world. He looked the same - long hair and a little burned out - just 30 years older.
I can't imagine there could be a better college experience anywhere. Although I went to many schools before joining the workforce, UCSB is the only one that receives a check from me every year.