five days shy of three months since the oil leak started in the Gulf
of Mexico on April 20, and 184 million gallons of oil spilled later,
BP finally found
a solution that successfully contained the oil.
75-ton containment cap placed over the damaged oil well earlier this
week has undergone an extensive 48-hour testing period in hopes of a
successful end result. Thankfully, this method worked. For the first
time since the leak erupted 85 days ago, oil has finally stopped
flowing to the surface of the Gulf.
plugging the oil well is only the beginning of resolving this
environmental disaster. Now that the containment cap is placed and
doing its job, engineers will begin monitoring
pressure gauges making
sure that there are no leaks elsewhere. The worst case scenario right
now is that pressure from the oil under the containment cap could
damage the well further, which would lead to oil spilling out from
other areas on the sea floor.
game begins. Any signs of new leaks will means engineers will
have to reopen the cap and let oil spill into the Gulf once again.
The engineers are hoping that the well holds out for the next two
days of close observation, but even if it does hold out, they have to
conduct a seismic survey of the ocean floor to make sure oil isn't
escaping from the well into the bedrock, and in order to conduct such
a survey, engineers have to open the vents again, which releases more
the people living on the Gulf, I'm certainly not going to guess their
emotions," said Kent Wells, BP vice president. "I hope
they're encouraged there's no oil going into the Gulf of Mexico. But
we have to be careful. Depending on what the test shows us, we may
need to open this well back up."
surrounding the Gulf like fisherman and restauranteurs, who have lost
their jobs due to the oil leak, have shown mixed
reviews on the new
containment cap solution. Some are relieved while others
don't trust BP enough to rest assure that this is a permanent
such as Alabama Gov. Bob Riley, showed a greater sense of relief that
BP has closed off the well.
great," said Riley. "I think a lot of prayers were answered
video feed on BP's
website showed the oil cloud, which has been gushing ever
since the Deepwater Horizon exploded and sank, thin and eventually
fade out at 2:25 pm CDT. The containment cap in place is designed to
restrict oil from entering the ocean by restraining it inside the
well and also allowing ships at the surface to siphon oil from inside
containment cap seems to be doing its job for the time being, but it
is not a permanent solution to this
catastrophe. BP is currently drilling two relief wells, due to be
completed in mid August, which will pump cement and mud into the well
with the idea of plugging it permanently. After this is accomplished,
a mass clean-up, expected to take years, will take place in the Gulf.
little bit counts, and in this case, a huge weight has been lifted
off of many shoulders today, even if it is temporary. Randall Luthi,
president of the National
Ocean Industries Association, which is a trade group representing
the offshore oil industry, noted that "industry officials and
their families are taking a big sigh," but to others, the damage
has already been done and the last thing anyone should do is assume
that this has been taken care of.
think it's a little premature to say it's definitely over," said
Steve Shepard, Gulf Coast chairman of the Mississippi Chapter of the
Sierra Club. "They've gotten our hopes up so many times before
that in my mind I don't think it's going to be over until Christmas."