Print 56 comment(s) - last by Azure Sky.. on Jun 3 at 12:39 PM

BP CEO Tony Hayward  (Source: CBS News, AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

  (Source: CBS News, AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

  (Source: Fast Company)
But BP has a new plan

Saturday marked yet another failed attempt to plug the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico. BP's top kill procedure used more than 1.2 million gallons of mud to suppress oil into the well 5,000 feet below surface in hopes of sealing the well permanently with cement, but most of the mud ended up escaping out of the damaged riser. 

"This scares everybody, the fact that we can't make this well stop flowing, the fact that we haven't succeeded so far," said BP PLC Chief Operating Officer Dough Suttles. "Many of the things we're trying have been done on the surface before, but have never been tried at 5,000 feet."

Since the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded and the oil leak began six weeks ago, BP has tried and failed with several attempts such as robot submarines to close valves on the blowout preventer, large and small-sized domes to contain the leak, a one mile long siphon that only collected 900,000 gallons of oil and now, a failed top kill procedure. According to government figures, between 18 million and 40 million gallons of oil has been spilled into the Gulf. 

Despite these failures, BP already has a new plan in motion. The next step is to use robot submarines to cut the riser where the oil is leaking and try to cap it with a containment valve while using a new pipe to siphon oil up to containment ships on the surface. 

Suttles says that "cutting off the damaged riser isn't expected to cause the flow rate of leaking oil to increase significantly," though experts have mentioned that the bend in the riser was likely restricting the flow of oil and cutting it and adding a new containment valve could be a risk.

"We're confident the job will work but obviously we can' guarantee success," said Suttles. 

The new plan will take between four and seven days to work before BP can report whether it's a success or failure. According to Philip W. Johnson, an engineering professor at the University of Alabama, if BP "can't get that valve on, things will get much worse" and that the new plan is "a scary proposition."

In addition to this new effort, a relief well is in the works which should be completed in August of this year. A major concern for BP is that hurricane seasons begins Tuesday, and they're hoping the weather cooperates while they work on the Gulf.

"What we are trying to do is create an engineered solution so that we can remain on station essentially through, not perhaps the heart of a hurricane, but through the very rough weather associated with a hurricane somewhere in the Gulf," said BP CEO Tony Hayward.

Even as BP readies for the next plan of action, Louisiana residents remain disappointed and are as angry as ever. Hundreds of protestors gathered in New Orleans to speak out against BP's continuing failures.

"I'm a little upset that the perpetrators of a crime that killed 11 people are still in charge of the crime site," said local musician Dr. John, an impromptu speaker. 


Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

By clovell on 6/1/2010 11:13:46 AM , Rating: 2
> I find it hard to believe these so called oil drilling experts had no plan in place, or any worse case scenario plan in place for if/when something terrible happened on one of these rigs.

This level of disaster is unprecedented. There is a mile of ocean sitting on top this well, and half a dozen plans have been attempted with another half dozen in progress. The failure of the safety valve was pretty weird in itself. I don't understand why it's hard for you to believe this. This is truly a disaster, and BP has been trying their best to stop the leak - if they had a better idea, I'm pretty certain they'd have used it. Any claims to the contrary are utterly ignorant.

> I find the Obama haters funny to as some try to make this sound like it's his fault. Even with Obama on the ground doesn't clean up the oil, & other than dispatching the government resources, not much else he can do. Everything is made political & the whole political process has poisoned our country for decades, & continue to.

Are you insane? The paragraph before this, you made the arguement for continued domestic drilling - as a matter of economic and military stability - AND YET, what does Barak Obama do five weeks into this mess on the first day after the DJIA closed under 10k in recent memory? He extends the moratorium on domestic drilling indefinitely.

Furthermore, Louisiana officials are having to act outside the law to protect their wetlands because Obama's administration is no helping them cut through the red tape. If Bush gets flak for Katrina, Obama rightly gets flak for this. He could be doing a lot more than b!tching at BP to help solve this problem.

> I hope someone finds some solution, cause the spill is ruining that region & will ultimately affect all of us. These oil/gas companies have raped us for years at the pump raking in insane profits, & they can't cap this gusher. I am not religious at all, nor do I believe in it, but if there is a supreme force up there in the clouds, help us all, cause we need it.

Yes, this is a disaster that will affect us all - pay attention to the price of gas, oil futures now that Hurricane season has started, and the price of American Shrimp at the fish counter of your grocery store.

Thing is - the oil companies don't make more than a 10% profit - they just deal in the world's most prolific commodity. They can stop the gusher and they will be the ones to do it - it's just a question of which of their dozen solutions will work, and when.

"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki