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BP has almost stopped the flow of oil, will finish a permanent relief well in a couple months

With over 5,000 barrels of oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico every day after the oil well leak on April 20, eight senators are contemplating pressing criminal and civil charges against BP. In the mean time, BP is scrambling to find solutions to what could be considered one of the worst oil spills in U.S. history.

BP Plc., Transocean Ltd., and Halliburton Co. attended two separate hearings in Washington D.C. on May 11 and another on May 12. Congress questioned the events that led to the leak and what actions BP is taking to repair the well that killed 11 people, put many fisherman out of work, and caused the spread of oil to surrounding waters threatening wildlife (which prompted the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association to increase the ban of fishing area in the Gulf from seven percent to 19 percent). 

"We've seen the most catastrophic possibilities and it seems to me like they're flailing around going from one thing to another not really knowing what in fact is necessary to stop this, short of that relief well that will just take way too long," said Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ).

BP first tried to funnel the oil to ships using a 98-tonne "top hat" dome on the seabed floor, and due to large hydrate volumes, the dome clogged. More recently, a smaller, one mile long funnel was set in its place was will collect some of the oil approximately 5,000 feet below the surface. A heavy mud mixture will be pumped into the well's blowout preventer in preparation for cement to seal the well permanently. In addition, as Menendez stated above, BP plans to drill a relief well that could take as long as 80 days to construct. 

BP's latest efforts include the riser insertion tube tool (RITT) containment system, and according to BP's official website, it was "put into place in the end of the leaking riser" and "is operational." This tool is collecting 2,000 barrels a day, and produced oil is being stored in ships above surface. The senators question BP's "proven technology and equipment" during this time.

"While I always hope for the best, this is looking like really out-of-control bad," said Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL).

While BP's new developments will help clear some of the damage, new problems arise with problems concerning where the oil will travel to next. Considering BP's history with oil-related accidents, these eight senators will surely ride the company's coattails through the rest of this investigation and certainly through a criminal trial.



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By sapiens74 on 5/19/2010 4:54:50 PM , Rating: 2
Of the Constitution




By MeesterNid on 5/19/2010 5:16:08 PM , Rating: 5
No joke!!! How about calling for "criminal, civil charges over" egregious waste of our tax dollars coupled with dereliction of duty when it comes to enforcing laws that are on the books (i.e. immigration laws, etc.)?!

Douche bags!


By ClownPuncher on 5/19/2010 5:52:43 PM , Rating: 5
The correlation between an oil spill and illegal immigration is that in both situations, there is a sea of brown headed towards our shores/borders?


By Cypherdude1 on 5/20/2010 6:03:07 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
BP has almost stopped the flow of oil, will finish a permanent relief well in a couple months
Not true:
quote:
This tool is collecting 2,000 barrels a day, and produced oil is being stored in ships above surface.
If the insertion tube is only collecting 2,000 barrels/day from the 5,000 barrel/day leak, this leaves 3,000 barrels/day or 60% still leaking into the Gulf.
quote:
"While I always hope for the best, this is looking like really out-of-control bad," said Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL).
I must agree. This is going to get really ugly and could contaminate not only the entire Caribbean, but also the eastern USA coast.
quote:
Considering BP's history with oil-related accidents, these eight senators will surely ride the company's coattails through the rest of this investigation and certainly through a criminal trial.
Again, I must agree. I have seen the reports. BP was pushing Transocean and this caused critical safety equipment to fail. BP already had a poor safety history. Remember, the Bush Administration had to pressure BP to fix the Alaskan pipeline because it was on the verge of leaking. The Bush Administration forced BP to shut down the Alaskan pipeline to fix it. The Bush Administration, unlike BP, knew if the Alaskan pipeline broke open and started a major spill, it would've been a political disaster and would've affected all new oil drilling everywhere, especially in Alaska. BP has always had a myopic view on everything except profits. I think the CEO of BP should be brought up on criminal charges in the USA.

The USA needs new sources of oil. We cannot function without it. Before this BP disaster, offshore drilling was becoming technically and politically feasible. BP has single-handedly brought all new offshore drilling to a screeching halt.


By Anoxanmore on 5/20/2010 9:56:48 AM , Rating: 2
Which means we go with nuclear power instead. :p


By NuroMancer on 5/20/2010 1:28:21 PM , Rating: 2
Man those oilsands in Canada are looking better and better.


By Seemonkeyscanfly on 5/20/2010 9:49:42 AM , Rating: 5
I see you believe the old stereo typing... The illegal Mexican of 20 years ago worked hard and they learned English to get by and lived the best they could as a "normal" US citizen - even though they were not a citizen. Today, the illegal does not want to learn English, does not work hard, and has no interest in join in the melting pot. It's just sad that politicians do not understand the second type of person I described is not good for the USA. Really no illegal is good for the USA,(or good for any other country), but I will be more understand to someone who is working hard to learn and merge into our society and not forcing our society to learn their ways.


By The0ne on 5/20/2010 12:45:46 PM , Rating: 2
Meh, I've grew up and still live in San Diego; and while things have change with more Mexicans everywhere it's not all too bad. Sure there are those many that are just like you said but there are those that do work hard to support and enlighten their kids future. I can't altogether blame them for wanting a better life here when they are trying and working so hard; not when I come to work everyday and have to deal with my two idiotic coworkers that do diddly squat and gets paid well for it. Makes it that much harder to support sending a hard working person off I tell you.


By cerx on 5/20/2010 5:12:37 PM , Rating: 2
And called them out for not learning English ...


By CrazyBernie on 5/23/2010 8:10:14 PM , Rating: 2
He didn't call him out for stereotyping, he called him out for an outdated stereotype.

It's like antivirus software... gotta update to keep up with the changes...


By clovell on 5/19/2010 6:14:36 PM , Rating: 2
For real, man - I heard that's the best way ever to stop an oil spill.


By Reclaimer77 on 5/19/2010 7:26:29 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
"We've seen the most catastrophic possibilities and it seems to me like they're flailing around going from one thing to another not really knowing what in fact is necessary to stop this, short of that relief well that will just take way too long," said Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ).


Man he just perfectly described what it looks like every time Congress holds session.


By clovell on 5/20/2010 1:12:04 PM , Rating: 2
That was a good one.


Or not.
By Guspaz on 5/19/10, Rating: 0
RE: Or not.
By afkrotch on 5/19/2010 8:05:01 PM , Rating: 2
What gets me is the fact that they aren't already drilling this relief valve or whatever it is that takes 80 days, while a different group of ppl work on fixing the leak.

It'd be stupid if 80 days from now, they are still trying to stop the leak and decide to drill.


RE: Or not.
By kfonda on 5/19/2010 9:48:41 PM , Rating: 3
If you were paying attention (instead of just piling on BP like everyone else)you would know that the first relief well was started on May 2 and they started a second relief well, just in case, on May 17.


RE: Or not.
By afkrotch on 5/19/2010 11:32:33 PM , Rating: 2
The problem is, news like that isn't highly advertised. You have to dig for it, as opposed to all the negatives.

A reason I hate today's media. It always focuses on the negatives.


RE: Or not.
By MrTeal on 5/19/2010 9:57:21 PM , Rating: 4
Considering 100,000 would be 2% of the entire US daily oil production, that seems a bit high.

80 days is also way too long a time frame to get the new well done. Bruce Willis could drill and nuke 3 asteroids in 80 days.


RE: Or not.
By Solandri on 5/20/2010 5:09:05 AM , Rating: 3
If you do some simple calculations with water depth, the depth of the well below the ocean floor, and the composition of the ocean floor, you can estimate the pressure of the oil. You then subtract the pressure of the oil column rising up the well pipe. The differential between that pressure and the water pressure at the well head's depth is the pressure of the oil at the well head relative to the surrounding water.

Now apply that pressure across a pipe the size of the well head and some common engineering formulae for flow in a smooth pipe, and you get about 15,000-25,000 barrels per day. The gamma ray imaging they've done of the blowout preventer shows that it closed, it just didn't close all the way. So the exit is constricted, meaning the real flowrate is going to be lower than this (the formula assumes an unconstricted round smooth pipe). So the 5,000 barrels per day figure is probably in the right ballpark. Call it 5,000-15,000 to be safe.

Based on just the pressure alone, 70,000 to 100,000 is highly unlikely. The ocean floor under the well would have to be made of something like pure iron or lead to generate enough pressure to yield that sort of flowrate.


RE: Or not.
By Solandri on 5/20/2010 6:01:16 AM , Rating: 2
I'll add that the 50,000-100,000 barrels/day figures come from the same calculation. But they erred in that they used the diameter of the pipe where the oil was leaking out of (about 20 inches). They made the assumption that the pipe was this diameter all the way down. In fact, this pipe has very little to do with the flowrate. It's just the pipe sitting atop the BOP. The actual drill pipe becomes smaller in diameter as you go further down, with it becoming about 7-10 inches in diameter at the bottom. Half the diameter is 1/4 the cross sectional area, ergo 100k barrels/day becomes 25k barrels/day.

http://www.roughneckcity.com/uploads/ProbertTestim...

The 70,000 barrels/day figure comes from a professor who did particle velocity measurements of the oil in the video. I can't say for sure why there's such a large disparity between this method and the pressure method. But BP said that the light sweet crude you get from fields in this area have a lot of gas in them which can bubble and expand in volume once it hits the (relatively) lower pressure water. Like soda fizzing as it exits the bottle. That explanation sounds plausible.


RE: Or not.
By The0ne on 5/20/2010 12:50:09 PM , Rating: 2
I wasn't even aware BP had share their videos to anyone to save them face from people doing calculations and getting better estimates of the leakage :D

But yes, 5000 is a joke to begin with :) They really only need to provide the video, as it appears they have base on your comments. Both calculations are MOST likely missing some variables that have not been taken into account, such as your example for the professor's calculation.


Shoving off the blame
By Goty on 5/19/2010 6:32:32 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder if the government will accept a civil charge over relaxing the testing requirements for the shutoff valves that failed completely when BP tried to use them shortly after the explosion....




RE: Shoving off the blame
By Duwelon on 5/19/2010 8:42:41 PM , Rating: 2
How about charging the morons in government for allowing environmental wackos to prevent us from drilling closer to shore where the spills are no more likely but much easier to plug and clean up if they do happen?

Or how about charging the obama admin for giving this well a great safety reward last year? lol, seriously these people in congress and the WH are incompetent.


RE: Shoving off the blame
By room200 on 5/20/2010 11:04:23 AM , Rating: 1
Get your "news" and opinions from somebody other that Rush Limbaugh. Seriously, I heard him making that stupid ass argument the other day all in the effort to to deflect attention from BP. Some of you are so damn gullible.

Furthermore, the technology championed was for deeper drilling (5000 feet down). If they drill 5000 feet down closer to the shore, that only means that if there is a catastrophy like this one, oil will hit the shoreline even faster.

Also, we need to create a new name for this disaster and stop calling it a "spill". A spill assumes a finite amount of oil from a container. We don't know what the hell this is.


RE: Shoving off the blame
By The0ne on 5/20/2010 1:03:28 PM , Rating: 2
It's already a "disaster". That, in my book, is pretty bad already. Having it be a natural disaster with the nations resources at hand to assist should be an indication that is extremely bad. Having other nations help out elevates it even further. Being seen via satellite is cool but at the same time gruesome :)

People calling it a spill are just clueless to be honest. It's like say Katrina was just a raindrop :D


RE: Shoving off the blame
By Duwelon on 5/20/2010 10:39:30 PM , Rating: 2
You dont see any irony in the Obama admin praising the technology last year that has allowed this disaster to be so uncontrollable? Even if you did you obviously don't want to admit it.

Typical ignorant liberal reply. Maybe Rush said it, but that doesn't make it automatically false like your side wants your sheep to believe. The point is that some risks increase the further out you go and some decrease. Drilling closer to shore often means more shallow water, greatly reducing the difficulty of getting to the oil in question, as well as reducing difficulty in fixing leaks. Other countries are happily drilling along the coast except for the US without incident. So with the leadership of Obama, we're going to have a bunch of hippies championing this disaster for the political gain like the dems have been doing all along: No offshore drilling because afterall, it leads to oil spills! Then they'll parade a little kid out like they do with every issue, for CNN and MSNBC to see teh kid ask Obama "Are you going to let the gweedy oil companies flood my mommy's town on the beach with oil?" Obama will say "of course not sonny", and the hearts (but not minds) will be swayed.


RE: Shoving off the blame
By room200 on 5/21/2010 1:32:19 PM , Rating: 1
Please, we don't want to talk about typical responses. I find it interesting that people like you never can admit that anything is business's fault. Government is good for nothing, you bash the government, until you need it. Then you cloak yourself in the American flag. It's really sick.


RE: Shoving off the blame
By Duwelon on 5/21/2010 2:27:33 PM , Rating: 2
Wtf? Your use of generalities fits your obama teet sucking view quite well. Nowhere did I say bp doesn't share blame but batsh*t crazies can't help from ascribing their twisted reality on others.


RE: Shoving off the blame
By room200 on 5/21/2010 1:40:15 PM , Rating: 1
You dont see any irony in the Obama admin praising the technology last year that has allowed this disaster to be so uncontrollable? Even if you did you obviously don't want to admit it.

Uhhh, what the hell does that mean? What do you mean that his championing the technology "allowed" the disaster to happen. This rig has been drilling since 2001.


RE: Shoving off the blame
By Solandri on 5/20/2010 5:31:32 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
I wonder if the government will accept a civil charge over relaxing the testing requirements for the shutoff valves that failed completely when BP tried to use them shortly after the explosion....

1) The valves in the BOP trigger automatically when it senses unrestricted flow.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blowout_preventer

2) Gamma ray imaging shows that they did not fail completely. Some of the valves closed partially, and are constricting the flow. That's why they're kicking around the "top shot" idea of pumping some solids inside so they'll wedge against the partly closed valves and stop the flow completely.

3) I'm sure there's going to be an investigation as to why the BOP failed to close completely. If the findings point to negligence or substandard practices, then I fully expect BP to get reamed for it.


That picture
By afkrotch on 5/19/2010 8:08:31 PM , Rating: 2
I love that picture of the lady with the clean the gulf sign. Shows the stupidity of Americans.

Cleaning the gulf is a stupid idea, if the leak is still happening. It's like trying to clean a toilet, while I'm still peeing in it.




RE: That picture
By 67STANG on 5/19/2010 8:37:04 PM , Rating: 4
That's a lady holding the sign?


RE: That picture
By afkrotch on 5/19/2010 9:34:06 PM , Rating: 2
I think it is. It could be a man.


RE: That picture
By Bateluer on 5/20/2010 6:05:14 AM , Rating: 2
Hmm . . . it is rather hard to tell.


RE: That picture
By The0ne on 5/20/2010 12:55:59 PM , Rating: 2
It's a woman. The features, the cellulose on the arms, etc.


RE: That picture
By The0ne on 5/20/2010 1:00:06 PM , Rating: 2
Honestly, stupidity of Americans from the lady holding the sign? She has the right to be selfish and want a specific region cleaned up first. Currents going to, if not already, carry some of the oil to neverland.

So do you want to be stupid and NOT clean anything up or rather voice your concern over your area first and/or particular region you like?


What did the Obama and the senators do?
By pjkenned on 5/19/2010 8:37:40 PM , Rating: 2
I'm fairly certain the series of events was:
Rig blows up -> Coast guard puts out fire -> BP Runs around trying to figure out how to put out leak after the rig sinks -> Obama says BP is bad -> Senators call hearings (i.e. distract BP decision makers that could be approving resources to fix the problem) -> BP tries a few things -> BP Fixes -> Senators/ Obama still complain (despite the fact that their regulation was lax enough to say the rig was OK)

Seems like a more productive way to do this would have been for the administration to send the Army Corps of Engineers to fix then send BP the bill. Hence, helping to fix, rather than trying to point blame away from themselves for lax regulation.

Total bummer that this happened, but at least in the last few days BP has made significant progress towards the plug/ siphon (note they are doing both, not just taking 2,000 barrels a day from the flow).




RE: What did the Obama and the senators do?
By Duwelon on 5/19/2010 9:24:30 PM , Rating: 2
Why would obama send in the corpses of army engineers!?!!?!


By eldakka on 5/19/2010 11:37:58 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sure you could plug the well with enough corpses.


RE: What did the Obama and the senators do?
By alanore on 5/20/2010 5:14:30 AM , Rating: 2
Stopping an oil leak on a wellhead underwater is no trivial mater. Oil companies are in the best position to try and stop the leak, the only real thing the military has that could help is with man power or nukes. The USSR apparently stop 5 oil leaks by nuking them.

Obama did assemble an A-Team of scientists to come up with solutions http://tiny.cc/t1kp8 to come up with solutions.

Besides there not much that politicians can do other than run around with red tape.


By frobizzle on 5/20/2010 8:30:30 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
Besides there not much that politicians can do other than run around with red tape.

Why don't we stuff the well up with politicians? At least they would finally be serving a purpose!


By The0ne on 5/20/2010 12:53:08 PM , Rating: 2
He has the right thought, considering this is now a natural disaster and US resources are committed to help resolve the problem. The resolution just doesn't warrant the use the the military because they do lack the tools/experience to get the job done.

No reason to bash the fellow, he's just asking and wondering why not the military, why not a private company, why not...etc.


This is woefully inaccurate
By wills916 on 5/19/10, Rating: 0
RE: This is woefully inaccurate
By Uncle on 5/20/2010 2:28:55 PM , Rating: 4
You want to read Bullsh*t when it comes to charging these guys and why the finger pointing is at BP. BP is going to be the fall guy for the other two. Ask yourself and read about Halliburton Co. They have free reign in American politics. Absolutely nobody from Halliburton Co will ever get charged. The people who run Halliburton Co or are affiliated with them are the Who's Who of America's political and Corporate elite.


RE: This is woefully inaccurate
By wills916 on 5/20/2010 6:40:44 PM , Rating: 2
True. But BP's got some deep pockets and has been one of the forces keeping us dependent on oil. They've been profiting from the demise of our planet for decades, every once in awhile, they have to pay up. They're not even fighting it because its basically just an operating expense for them. Business will go back to usaul for them once this is swept under the rug (that may take awhile), but the damage that isn't permanent will remain for decades.

Haliburton just needs to be shut down. They're a disgrace and an example of whats fundamentally wrong with this country.


charge the government?
By djcameron on 5/19/2010 4:56:23 PM , Rating: 3
So we get to charge the government with criminal stupidity?


Side note
: The stupid VibrantMedia ads on DT SUCK .




RE: charge the government?
By 7Enigma on 5/20/2010 9:21:36 AM , Rating: 2
Adblock is your friend.


This Isn't Going Away
By clovell on 5/19/2010 5:34:44 PM , Rating: 2
As a Louisiana Gulf Coast native, a conservative, and a conservationist, I understand the democratic senator's frustrations.

This... is a clusterf*ck - and a half.

The reason BP seems like they've got no idea is because they don't. Nobody was prepared for this kind of disaster. Now... we can point fingers until the cows come home - and I don't say that lightly; there's plenty of blame to go around.

At the end of the day, not only is it damned near impossible to prove criminal charges here, but guess what else? (This is very important, so I want to make it very clear) The Obama Administration / US Government is not going to be the one to fix this. Take note. BP, as of right now, amidst their apparent lack of a solitary clue, are the only folks that are out there doing anything to fix this.

Let's not delude ourselves - the most optimistic estimates that have been offered for a return to the pre-explosion environment is about three years. The fact that a relief well will be drilled (aside - there's no humanly possible way to construct these things faster than 80 days - that's a breakneck pace) and the main well will be filled will gaurantee that the main well will have to be monitored for at least a decade. Point being we the people are going to be working with BP for a long time to clean this up.

Should they be held responsible? Absolutely. Should we take out our election-year frustrations on them? Seems rather counter-productive to me.

Everybody's pissed about this. Let's deal with it and THEN worry about this shit.




OK, one question.....
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 5/20/2010 9:53:18 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
TextIn the mean time, BP is scrambling to find solutions to what could be considered one of the worst oil spills in U.S. history.


Yes, without a question worst oil spill in U.S. history, but you mean to tell their is a world wide spill somewhere in history worst then this current spill? If yes, how did they clean up and why did we not learn from them?




Enjoy the numbers!
By The0ne on 5/20/2010 1:11:19 PM , Rating: 2
Link to numbers for you all,

http://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0Aqe2P9sYhZ...

There's a graph too but the website hosting it isn't working atm...oh it's up :D

http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/2010/in-deep...




Golly, that'll really help!
By FPP on 5/23/2010 8:16:41 PM , Rating: 2
What a terrrrrrific incentive to stop the leak...




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