It now appears that the great seafloor gusher brought in by BP has been brought under control. Keep your fingers crossed.
I have a question, though. If crude is bringing some $80/bbl, and a bbl of oil is 44 gallons (I don't know why. Probably dates to oil being stored on the whale boats in wooden casks.) then why is nobody out there in the gulf with a barge, collecting all that free crude to sell to the recyclers (refiners) in Houston?
Assume a barge 20 x 50 filled to a depth of 4 ft, which is probably very conservative. That's 4000 cu ft, or 683 bbl of crude at $80/bbl = $54.7K for cruising around in the soup at 4 knots for a few days. Easy money methinks.
Separating oil from water is not that hard, and a clever person could convert a barge to a collector in fairly short order that didn't discharge anything at all, just didn't take the water aboard. I'm sure it would be declared illegal.
Or maybe they are. Last I heard, the Coast Guard was holding the barges hostage to an inspection for the correct number of fire extinguishers on board each one.
I guess if there's money to be made, the government will find a way to keep you from making it.