BP Oil Spill Image, May 4, 2010 (NASA Earth Observatory)

Oil Spill near Mississippi delta. Vegetation, red; Oil, silver. MA 24, 2010. (NASA Earth Observatory photo)

Eventually, BP will find a way to block the discharge of petroleum into the Gulf of Mexico.  And, eventually, the effectiveness of how the relevant parties responded to the incident will be analyzed and findings posted.

I hope that some effort will be put into an analysis of the merits of using dispersants in general and Corexit in particular. What sparks my comment is the finding that considerable subsurface petroleum has been found. This material is evidently close to neutral buoyancy and is drifting with the currents.

Question 1: Is there a connection between the dispersant use and the presence of this subsurface body of petroleum?  

Question 2: What is the desired outcome of dispersant use?  Where did the planners think the petroleum would go?

Question 3: Is there any advantage in encouraging petroleum to remain below the surface, if that is even possible?

At some point, a decision was made to use dispersants on this massive discharge. Is there a scientifically supported rationale for this, or was it palliative treatment intended to mask the surface effects of the release?