I would like to discuss one chemical in the crude oil and in the gasoline that we put into our gas tanks everyday.
That liquid is benzene.
I would also like to mention one gaseous compound that will probably be released in ever greater quantities as the well structure disintegrates over the next few months.
That gas is hydrogen sulfide. If the well intersected, a giant fault zone high in this gas, we will begin to smell more of it. It can be a lethal gas at 400 ppm (parts per million)
That chemical is benzene. I will discuss the other chemicals over the next few days, but this one is so carcinogenic, I am surprised that it has not been banned from gasoline.
But let us get the knowledge out there, so fore-armed is forewarned.
Anybody who doubts how carcinogenic benzene is, please go to the government website for The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). The link is below
At sea level pressures, similar to those found on the Gulf of Mexico, the following events will be occurring.
Benzene melts from a solid at 42 degrees F.
Water melts from a solid (ice) at 32 degrees F.
Benzene boils away completely at 176 degrees F.
Water boils away at 212 degrees F.
It is easier to get most benzene into a gaseous or vapor state at 90 to 100 degrees F, the summer temperatures of the Gulf than water. It is all gas at a lower temperature than water.
Our NIOSH pocket guidebook also tells us that the Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) from OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) in parts per million of benzene that we should not exceed is only 1(one) part per million. This is about 500 to a 1000 times lower than most other chemicals found in crude oil and our gasoline.