Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Drill, mami, drill

Where would we be if the disaster unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico had started at a deep-water well in one of the offshore blocs where Cuba intends to drill?

The issue would be an urgent one for the United States because prevailing currents would carry a spill in that area straight to the Florida Keys. U.S. officials would surely want to talk to Cuban counterparts about measures to contain the spill at the surface or to cap the wellhead itself.

Since the U.S. government has declined to talk with Cuban officials to make contingency plans, we would be scrambling to make initial contact with Cuban officials at the height of the crisis – which is about the worst position to be in. At that point, it would be of little comfort to Floridians that their elected officials have made terrific anti-Castro speeches or made proposals to try to stop Cuban drilling, without results.

As it turns out, the ecological and economic disaster that has started south of Louisiana may hit the Keys after all. AP is reporting that the spreading slick will soon hit the Gulf’s “loop current,” which would carry it east, then south along Florida’s Gulf coast where the Gulf Stream would take it east again across Florida’s southern tip. More detailed story at the Sun Sentinel, here.

[Graphics from St. Petersburg Times]

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