Posted by MataHarley on 27 June, 2010 at 1:28 pm. 44 comments already!

Mid May, actor Kevin Costner provided BP with oil separation centrifuges for testing in the Gulf of Mexico. After successful and extensive testing in actual sea conditions, plus modifications, BP teamed up with the 25 year old Canadian oilfield waste management company, CCS, and D&L Salvage to formally mount these centrifuges (temporarily mounted on the same barge for testing), using the CCS Contained Separation system for the first of their ocean going 80 thousand tank barrel barges to be deployed for clean up – the Energy 8001. According to the BP’s Doug Suttles, the additional 32 centrifuges on order will be used to create four new deepwater systems – two more barges and two 280-foot long offshore supply vessels. The deployed technology will be able to process 128,000 barrels of processing capacity daily.

Currently operations are slow. Vessels of opportunity are rigged with skimming equipment, but once they’ve gathered their quota of oil, they either need to head into shore, or discharge it to a nearby barge with no oil separations capability. This inefficient operation, requiring untold multiple trips simply to get rid of the skimmers catch, might explain why Mississippi Rep. Gene Taylor and Gulfport residents are livid that no skimmers are working the Mississippi Sound, where the oil is beginning to encroach. With the introduction of the “Energy 8001” series of ocean tank barges, the VOO skimmers will now have a central discharge processing center at sea, thereby allowing them to work further off shore, and for longer periods of time.

Below is the BP posted YouTube of the barge info…

It took the partners two weeks it took to outfit this barge for permanent duty… and hopefully with enough life jackets to dodge the USCG’s bizarre compulsion to pay inordinate amount of attention to anal details. But barge equipment time isn’t the only thing slowing the works. The spill clean operations will still be slowed by EPA regulations that dictate no water containing oil can be discharged back into the Gulf if it contains over 15ppm of oil waste.

Currently the centrifuge system is emitting 80ppm oil in the water’s discharge.

To accommodate the EPA, the oil/water process time must be increased by a second filtration step to “hopefully get it down” to the EPA acceptable level before the water can be discharged back into the Gulf. This means that not only will the filtration be more time consuming, but that water tinged – with approx 1.28oz of oil for every gallon processed – needs to be stored aboard the barge until that EPA criteria is met, or then must be disposed of elsewhere per EPA regulations.

But there’s little information on what happens if the water never meets EPA’s strict stands… where to dispose of it, if it simply can’t be dumped back into the Gulf to let Mother Nature’s microbes take care of that minute amount remaining. Again, the operation of at at sea holding/processing/disposal barge will come to a halt in operations as they set sail for approved waters or a proper disposal facility.

It’s pertinent to note that these same EPA regulations are the identical obstacle to BP utilizing the foreign big volume skimming technologies.

The June 24th press conference by Costner credits the LA AG, Buddy Caldwell, for “opening doors” to get the more advanced clean up process on the move. One can only imagine which of the multitude of doors it was. But every one undoubtedly led to some federal agency who’s bureaucrat paperpushers remained stubbornly mired in their own web of insane regulations.

AG Caldwell was next up to the dais, giving return thanks to Costner and his technology for the benefits it will be providing to the state. But Caldwell didn’t stop there…. he went on to point out how the oil and gas industry was vital to the state’s health, saying “..this jobs are vital to us, and frankly they are vital to the whole world.”

I think we can safely assume that’s not exactly a tacit nod of thanks towards the O’admin…