BP gusher stopped, most remaining oil degrading naturally

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has released a major report by the federal government addresses the fate of the oil released while the well was gushing, and what is likely to happen to the remaining oil in the ocean. The report was prepared by a team of federal agencies and scientists from NOAA, USGS, and NIST, and as well as independent scientists from universities, Environment Canada, Exxon Mobil, and other companies.

The study concludes that the vast majority of the oil from the BP oil spill has either evaporated or been burned, skimmed, recovered from the wellhead or dispersed much of which is in the process of being degraded. A significant amount of this is the direct result of the robust federal response efforts.

A third (33 percent) of the total amount of oil released in the Deepwater Horizon/BP spill was captured or mitigated by the Unified Command recovery operations, including burning, skimming, chemical dispersion and direct recovery from the wellhead, according to a federal science report released today.

An additional 25 percent of the total oil naturally evaporated or dissolved, and 16 percent was dispersed naturally into microscopic droplets. The residual amount, just over one quarter (26 percent), is either on or just below the surface as residue and weathered tarballs, has washed ashore or been collected from the shore, or is buried in sand and sediments. Dispersed and residual oil remain in the system until they degrade through a number of natural processes.

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