Print 13 comment(s) - last by Phoque.. on Jun 26 at 11:52 AM

BP's dome can be seen in the back of the boat, being hauled to the site, several weeks ago.  (Source: AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

BP is drilling two relief wells, but has to make it through over 15,000 ft of bedrock.  (Source: BP)
Gulf oil spill continues to unfold like a train wreck in slow motion

When you put a man on the moon or in space, you make absolutely sure you have a well developed backup plan of what to do in case of a failure.  Out on the deep sea the same rules apply -- you try to make sure there are no failures in the first place, and when one does occur, you need a clear plan to take control of the situation.

Such a plan has been glaringly absent by BP in the wake of the explosion of its
Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico.  Safety measures failed due to dead batteries and the company has shown itself largely unable to stop the flow of oil, even after close to two months.

Now the company has experience yet another embarrassing setback.  On Wednesday morning operators using the containment dome to siphon off some of the spilling oil witnessed a "burp in the line".  That "burp" turned out to be a serious problem with the containment dome, which forced BP to remove the dome.

The current theory is that one of the robotic submarines that pokes around and examines the dome accidentally collided with it.  The problems were possibly the result of a vent on the dome that releases some of the pressure being closed.  It is unknown, though whether the possible collision produced more extensive damage of any kind.

Now BP faces a new issue.  Even if the dome is intact, methyl hydrates (ice-like formations that can occur when gas meets seawater) may have formed when the oil hit the seawater.  That would prevent the dome from properly functioning.  BP is currently examining the pipe looking for them.  If there were methyl hydrates BP says the process would take "significantly longer" as they would likely have to clean the pipe.

The real problem becomes that there's even more oil flowing now that the pipe has been cut to make way for the containment dome.  Cutting the pipe was obviously the only option after several failed attempts to place the dome.  However, doing so increased the oil flow 20 percent (while capturing roughly half of the escaping oil).

BP is still trying to siphon off oil using its vessel Q4000, according to Gulf, Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen.  Yesterday it reportedly burnt off 10,425 barrels worth of oil.  That's roughly ten percent of the 100,000 barrels daily that BP estimates is spilling out of the pipe.  Some sources say that the amount coming out could be even greater.

Meanwhile dolphins, whales, sea birds, and endangered sea turtles are suffering of the effects of the spill and the toxic dispersants used to try to break up the exiting oil.  Even as they try to flee into the Gulf Coast swamps, many are dying and washing up onshore.

On land humans are suffering as well.  There's been a tremendous financial loss as the fishing industry and tourism industry has been brought to a screeching halt.  Many small business have folded entirely, and some are contemplating a move from the Coast to try to find work.

BP has still not revealed how long it will take to bring a permanent end to the spill.

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Probably worse than we are being told
By mattclary on 6/24/2010 9:55:59 AM , Rating: 3
Below is a link from forum where a member makes the case of why things are probably a lot worse than we actually think.

RE: Probably worse than we are being told
By bill4 on 6/24/10, Rating: -1
By mattclary on 6/25/2010 3:39:03 PM , Rating: 2
I think you have mistaken me for a tree-hugger. If I could afford it, I would drive a humvee upholstered with baby-seal hide. But I would really like to drive my hypothetical humvee to the beach.

If you haven't bothered to actually read the link, you should, unless you just prefer to keep your head in the sand. If what the guy says is true, things are going to get very, very, bad.

Live feeds from the Skandi ROVs
By Chris Peredun on 6/24/2010 12:09:15 PM , Rating: 2

If someone was watching, and an ROV knocked the dome off, it will probably be up on YouTube in another few minutes.

RE: Live feeds from the Skandi ROVs
By bill4 on 6/24/10, Rating: 0
RE: Live feeds from the Skandi ROVs
By Motoman on 6/25/2010 3:58:04 PM , Rating: 2
...the only thing around here that appears to be anti-science is you, at the moment.

By caziques on 6/24/2010 5:41:31 PM , Rating: 2
"When you put a man on the moon or in space, you make absolutely sure you have a well developed backup plan of what to do in case of a failure."

I'm sorry, but I'm one sentence in and I can't read any further. When NASA was sending men to the moon, it was well known that there was no backup plan in case of a failure. If anything happened to them up there, a rescue was impossible -- not because it was actually impossible, but because it would be prohibitively expensive.

BP's lack of preparation for this kind of disaster is clearly a blunder because this disaster will be far more expensive than being more cautious and better prepared would have been, so I'm not defending BP for a second, but your suggestion that we were better prepared to rescue an astronaut on the moon than BP was for this disaster just destroys your credibility and turns me off of reading anything you post.

By Reclaimer77 on 6/24/2010 6:18:38 PM , Rating: 1
Mick loves using the opening paragraph to set up a biased premise that has little to do with the story, and much to do with his opinion.

Just once I would love to click on an article and get the story FIRST, and then maybe, his supposition on it.

And what does this have to do with "Tech" anyway? More and more this is turning into a daily news site like Fox or CBS or something. Nobody comes here to read about oil spill coverage. What new technology is being used in this story or discussed? NONE! It's a blog-esque style opinion piece of a recent accident report, nothing more.

Mick stop flooding DT with this bullshit man. You're either carrying on an assault against Apple, or a straight up BP slam-job. Is it a slow news month or something?

Wrong person at the controls?
By frobizzle on 6/25/2010 1:13:27 PM , Rating: 2
The current theory is that one of the robotic submarines that pokes around and examines the dome accidentally collided with it.

If this is true, they need to hand the joystick over to an 11 year old and tell them it's a new game. That robotic sub will run more efficiently than it ever has before!

BP and US will face worst issues
By Phoque on 6/26/2010 11:52:37 AM , Rating: 2
Just wait for tropical storms and hurricane to add to the mix. I'm scared for the concerned people just at the thought of it.

Alex, the first tropical storm of the season, could be making its way towards the Gulf.

Try to imagine the mess...

Ehh, I dont really care
By bill4 on 6/24/10, Rating: -1
RE: Ehh, I dont really care
By YashBudini on 6/24/2010 2:47:00 PM , Rating: 2
"This spill has done zero real damage."

Beam me up Scotty....

RE: Ehh, I dont really care
By redeyedfly on 6/24/2010 4:42:17 PM , Rating: 2
uuhh, get out of your conservative bubble and go to the gulf and look at the shores and the wildlife. I laugh at you because you think youtube is the definitive say on the gulf oil spill damange.

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