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Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Gulf Spill Update

With the failure of Top Kill effort behind them BP is now looking forward to a procedure by which the end of the broken riser would be cut off and a new cap fitted. This is the LMRP (Lower Marine Riser Package) cap. Is it really a cap or is it going to be a valve of some kind?

It's a little mystifying trying to figure out why this wasn't tried before the other procedures, namely, the containment dome, the top hat, and finally the top kill. Is it because this procedure carries the greatest risk for making the situation worse? Or is it because this procedure makes it virtually impossible for BP to salvage what's left of the BOP? In other words, were all the previous methods used for stopping the leak better for BP than the environment? I suspect the answer is "no" but I think the question has to be posed. What are we doing here, trying to stop the leak or rescue the damaged well head?

Here's what I think they should have done. They should have dropped the containment dome on it and held the dome in place as best they could with giant anchors. Believe me, they have plenty of giant anchors. As the pressure threatened to blow the top off the dome, they should have dropped another dome over the first and held the second one in place with another set of giant anchors. They should have built dome after dome, bigger and stronger, placing one on top of the other and held down by heavy ground tackle, until the oil had nowhere to go but seep out from under the weight of the domes. Then, with the pressure knocked down to a manageable level, they should have started a top kill procedure, first with mud and then with cement. Of course, if they did this, there would be no coming back to this well head. And no guarantee it would start leaking at some future date. Just my opinion, of course. I'm no expert.

So now we're going to try and put a cap on the end of a 21" diameter riser pipe that's spewing as much as 20,000 barrels a day, nearly 35,000 gallons an hour, 583 gallons per minute. Does that seem possible?

This thing might end up making the Ixtoc I look like a bubble bath.


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