Oil Spill Recovery Rate is 3 to 5%

The key fact that gets overlooked in every oil spill debate is that even under the best conditions once crude oil hits the water, the best recovery rate you can expect is 3 to 5%. That percentage will be even lower in the Arctic. How could this be? The density of gasoline is .72, making it float on water, easy to skim. The density of crude oil is .973, making it almost the same density as water, so waves churn it into the water. The density of bitumen (Alberta tar sands crude) is 1.060, making it sink in water where it cannot be skimmed at all. So, all this talk about rapid response cleanup of crude and bitumen is just a red herring, to fool the public into thinking the spill is actually being rectified. Even a perfect response will recover only a tiny fraction of the spill because it can only collect the oil on the surface. Such efforts, especially for tar sands, are only marginally more effective than praying.

~ Roedy (1948-02-04 age:69)