HOUSTON -- An ex-Shell CEO says the Deepwater stoppage could impact thousands of jobs, and is pushing a new plan to alleviate the Gulf oil spill.
"The deepwater moratorium is a sad decision. I think it is the wrong decision. Fifty thousand people could lose their jobs," said John Hofmeister.
The former CEO of Shell is a busy man these days as he travels the country making appearances for the new book he's authored, which couldn't be timelier. It is called "Why We Hate the Oil Companies."
Hofmeister said it is hard for him to watch plan after plan go wrong trying to stop the leak undersea. He said it is hard for him to watch the decades-old strategy of burn and boom, with so little success.
He's pushing something else.
"If the oil is coming into the ocean take the oil out of the ocean. It is a simple change of thinking," Hofmeister told 11 News from the small office of his non-profit organization.
He calls it suck and salvage. It is a plan to literally use barges to build a wall that contains the oil at sea, and use supertankers to literally suck it from the surface.
The largest oil tankers can handle 42 million gallons of liquid and some are even equipped to separate oil and water on board.
Hofmeister says it is as much about perception as success.
"I think there would be a reassurance, a psychology of reassurance that it is coming out of the ocean, instead of staying in the ocean forever or ending up in the marshes," he said.
The technique has been used in other parts of the world with some success. The booming and skimming in the Gulf has, so far, gathered 13.8 million gallons total.
That is just one third the capacity of one tanker.
Hofmeister said BP is in a bad patch.
"BP is the bone in the Doberman’s mouth, and whatever the Doberman does, BP is just going to get chewed on."