BP Gulf Oil Spill Update – Containment Seal A Positive Step

BP Gulf Oil Spill Update – Containment Seal A Positive Step

We have been bombarded with nearly 2 months of negative,┬ádisastrous news regarding BP’s oil rig explosion and the subsequent spill of gushing oil coming from their oil pipeline 5000 feet below the ocean’s surface.

News of untold wildlife damage, and environmental disaster has been the constant up to this point.

Simultaneously, as the bad news about the environment, white sandy beaches, and billions on economic damage continues to pour in, the question continues to loom – how in the world do we stop this gushing oil from spewing into the Gulf of Mexico?

Some Good News From BP’s Oil Spill Containment Efforts

According to BP’s chief executive Tony Hayward, who spoke with the BBC today (Sunday), he believes the containment cap and seal are likely to capture “the majority, probably vast majority” of the oil gushing from the well.

The containment cap, which is designed to seal the point of gushing oil from the broken pipe and then funnel that oil up to a containment ship, is purposely designed to work in stages. Meaning, this is not an overnight fix for the oil spill, but according to Hayward, it will work at achieving everyone’s objective of preventing the oil from continuing to pollute the Gulf of Mexico.

According to The AP, the gradual increase in the amount being captured is deliberate, in an effort to prevent water from getting inside and forming a frozen slush that foiled a previous containment attempt.

  • Why does it take a major oil spill to happen before coming up with a solution for resolving the issue. Why did we not have a plan when we started to drill 5000' below the surfce.

    • @tradrmick

      Why aren't we coming up with solutions for the coming social security crisis? Or the coming U.S. debt explosion? Why didn't we have mortgage reform until after an almost complete meltdown of the financial system? We never do anything until after the disaster, it's the American way….. reactionary.

    • cowboy cracker

      Why can't some of the collected crude oil be deposited in the Taxpayers strategic oilm reserve? Use it for dpoesitory storage until a future mehtod can be developed to recycle it. Seems better to me than paying Federal Disposal Contractors inflated prices to collect it and dispode of it ?Where?

  • Why does it take a major oil spill to happen before coming up with a solution for resolving the issue. Why did we not have a plan when we started to drill 5000' below the surfce.

    • @tradrmick

      Why aren't we coming up with solutions for the coming social security crisis? Or the coming U.S. debt explosion? Why didn't we have mortgage reform until after an almost complete meltdown of the financial system? We never do anything until after the disaster, it's the American way….. reactionary.

  • John Davis

    The video from the ROV looks like a lot of oil is getting past the seal. Can someone get a camera on the ship to show that there is actually oil coming to the surface?

    This is indeed a tragic event and we are all saddened by the loss of lives and momentum of oil exploration. Our prayers are with BP and Transocean.

  • John Davis

    The video from the ROV looks like a lot of oil is getting past the seal. Can someone get a camera on the ship to show that there is actually oil coming to the surface?

    This is indeed a tragic event and we are all saddened by the loss of lives and momentum of oil exploration. Our prayers are with BP and Transocean.

    • h. schmidl

      +1
      If you go on YouTube and watch an older video and compare it with the current live feed it seems more a choice of words than anything else to talk about “the majority, probably vast majority”
      Although it might be of interest to have a view of what happens on the ship, ultimately what matters in terms of all the problems that the Gulf states have on their beaches is what escapes into the water.

  • John Davis

    Also, why would BP want to kill this well? It is producing boatloads of oil and natural gas. Sure it needs containment, but isn't this what they need to make this a profitable well? Seems to me, they could cut their losses by selling as much of this oil as the can gather.

  • doug in atlanta

    Todd, given the engineering complexity involved in everything they have done thus far, I think it is extremely naive to think there were no plans.

    The unit was supposed to self plug. It failed. That is forethought. The containment domes was onsite in 1-2 weeks. You think those things were designed, produced, and shipped onsite in 7 days? Forethought.

    Now they are doing a cap which required those saws, huge clippers, and the cap itself. Again, these are engineering feats that should not be overlooked. People have a tendency to say to themselves "if I can think it you can do it" but these are complex systems that must be engineered to meet the physical requirements without failure. They were not engineered in a week, or two, or four. Forethought.

  • John Davis

    Also, why would BP want to kill this well? It is producing boatloads of oil and natural gas. Sure it needs containment, but isn't this what they need to make this a profitable well? Seems to me, they could cut their losses by selling as much of this oil as the can gather.

  • doug in atlanta

    Todd, given the engineering complexity involved in everything they have done thus far, I think it is extremely naive to think there were no plans.

    The unit was supposed to self plug. It failed. That is forethought. The containment domes was onsite in 1-2 weeks. You think those things were designed, produced, and shipped onsite in 7 days? Forethought.

    Now they are doing a cap which required those saws, huge clippers, and the cap itself. Again, these are engineering feats that should not be overlooked. People have a tendency to say to themselves "if I can think it you can do it" but these are complex systems that must be engineered to meet the physical requirements without failure. They were not engineered in a week, or two, or four. Forethought.

  • h. schmidl

    +1
    If you go on YouTube and watch an older video and compare it with the current live feed it seems more a choice of words than anything else to talk about “the majority, probably vast majority”
    Although it might be of interest to have a view of what happens on the ship, ultimately what matters in terms of all the problems that the Gulf states have on their beaches is what escapes into the water.

  • Human Hater

    I find it amazing that a Billion dollar company finds it "OK" to go ahead and drill for oil 5000 feet below the sea in one of the worlds richest sea food areas AKA the gulf of mexico where the coastal people in the area rely not only on the fish as well as the tourists to come visit… who have made a awesome life style out of the area.. .me being one of them. All that being said this company finds it ok to drill knowing in the past when oil leaks/spills have occured in the past that this drilling relief wells have always worked in the past to fix oil leaks why would they wait to drill these wells after a leak knowing it is a huge possibilty not to mention they are deeper then they prolly have ever drilled before….. WHAT makes them think they can gamble there little bit of profit loss with (these other fail safes in place ready to deploy as in drill lets say the final 2500 feet of the relief well) with our DAILY lives…. i mean i really feel that is so selfish and stupid……..we as humans really need to be thinned out. TO MANY PEOPLE on the planet.

    • Suzen

      Someone (government regulators) gave them (and others) the ok to omit the requirement to drill a simultanious relief when drilling the original well. Most countries have still do require both wells be drilled before production begins.

      Any wells out there which do not have a relief well in place should be shut down now.

  • Human Hater

    I find it amazing that a Billion dollar company finds it "OK" to go ahead and drill for oil 5000 feet below the sea in one of the worlds richest sea food areas AKA the gulf of mexico where the coastal people in the area rely not only on the fish as well as the tourists to come visit… who have made a awesome life style out of the area.. .me being one of them. All that being said this company finds it ok to drill knowing in the past when oil leaks/spills have occured in the past that this drilling relief wells have always worked in the past to fix oil leaks why would they wait to drill these wells after a leak knowing it is a huge possibilty not to mention they are deeper then they prolly have ever drilled before….. WHAT makes them think they can gamble there little bit of profit loss with (these other fail safes in place ready to deploy as in drill lets say the final 2500 feet of the relief well) with our DAILY lives…. i mean i really feel that is so selfish and stupid……..we as humans really need to be thinned out. TO MANY PEOPLE on the planet.

    • Suzen

      Someone (government regulators) gave them (and others) the ok to omit the requirement to drill a simultanious relief when drilling the original well. Most countries have still do require both wells be drilled before production begins.

      Any wells out there which do not have a relief well in place should be shut down now.

    • we don't have a problem with too many humans – We have problem with too many humans wanting to make personal profits! Money hungry problems that lead to Moneyless resolutions. this is the US led monetary system!

      There is not enough money that can fix what we are losing. If it gets fixed it's because people put Tender Loving Care into it! Please more TLC all across the table!

      Oil is spilling into the Gulf – we could of stopped it sooner! We could of stopped it before it happened. We could of prevented a lot of stupid things. We could make business with a lot better technologies! "But there is no money, right?"
      I'll just crawl back into my closet to complain too myself again!

      • Human Hater

        I think i'll join the Shepard and Harpoon those who are Harpooning Whales.

  • As many of have watched the live video and every source of information and update we can find we are, at least I am, feeling there is more known than we are told. BP has been controlling information and spinning "updates".

    BP has been hasty in putting this latest cap design on to the top of the wellhead. BP had guide lugs apparently welded onto the side of the containment bell which are now in the way to put a heavy hinged collar seal from the bell to the existing pipe flanges of the wellhead/riser connection. They should have used a bolt-on removable guide assembly.
    It still may be possible to clamp over the leakage area to prevent water from entering. Possibly that is planned after more flow is up the production riser. BP seems to be mum about the details of the "optimizing" the riser production operation. I have a gut-feeling they are just scratching their heads. If the riser is 12 inches or larger, then BP could drop an electric submersible pump and a 10 inch line inside the riser and pump up to 20000 bbl/day up the line and reduce back pressure significantly enough to minimize leakage into the ocean. To be continued….

  • As many of have watched the live video and every source of information and update we can find we are, at least I am, feeling there is more known than we are told. BP has been controlling information and spinning "updates".

    BP has been hasty in putting this latest cap design on to the top of the wellhead. BP had guide lugs apparently welded onto the side of the containment bell which are now in the way to put a heavy hinged collar seal from the bell to the existing pipe flanges of the wellhead/riser connection. They should have used a bolt-on removable guide assembly.
    It still may be possible to clamp over the leakage area to prevent water from entering. Possibly that is planned after more flow is up the production riser. BP seems to be mum about the details of the "optimizing" the riser production operation. I have a gut-feeling they are just scratching their heads. If the riser is 12 inches or larger, then BP could drop an electric submersible pump and a 10 inch line inside the riser and pump up to 20000 bbl/day up the line and reduce back pressure significantly enough to minimize leakage into the ocean. To be continued….

  • Finally, everyone has to realize the the BP people are really tired and scared that it could get worse. It did appear that the junk shot did have some effect on flow but probably most of that introduced blockage was washed out when the bent riser was sheared off. There may remain some of that junk within the BOP and there is worry that it will burp-out and oil/gas flow will increase. That's probably why BP didn't just unbolt the riser flange, remove the bent riser, and bolt on a flange-tee-two valve assembly as is typically used in blocking in a run-away. Of course a valve cannot just be closed to shutoff the flow because the pressure is much too high, but a production line could be attached to a closed side valve, that valve opened, then finally the in-line top valve could be closed. I am sure this was considered but the risk of allowing blockages in the BOP to escape and dramatically increase oil flow may have been too great for BP to stomach.

    My prayers with the BP engineers.

  • Finally, everyone has to realize the the BP people are really tired and scared that it could get worse. It did appear that the junk shot did have some effect on flow but probably most of that introduced blockage was washed out when the bent riser was sheared off. There may remain some of that junk within the BOP and there is worry that it will burp-out and oil/gas flow will increase. That's probably why BP didn't just unbolt the riser flange, remove the bent riser, and bolt on a flange-tee-two valve assembly as is typically used in blocking in a run-away. Of course a valve cannot just be closed to shutoff the flow because the pressure is much too high, but a production line could be attached to a closed side valve, that valve opened, then finally the in-line top valve could be closed. I am sure this was considered but the risk of allowing blockages in the BOP to escape and dramatically increase oil flow may have been too great for BP to stomach.

    My prayers with the BP engineers.

  • yeah

    Greed + BP and U.S goverment = Fail

  • yeah

    Greed + BP and U.S goverment = Fail

    • yeah

      Government*

  • poo

    Nuke it already, then drill more holes later.

  • coyote

    you people are just cry babies. it's not that bad.

    • Roddo

      12,000 barrels per day is about 115 million cubic inches. Enough to cover about 1/40th of a square mile to a depth of 1 inch. The Gulf is 615,000 square miles. So really, as Coyote wrote, it really is not that big a deal.

  • Oil drilling was forced to deep water by US Federal Gov't refusing to grant shallow water leases and permits to drill on land in Alaska, Permian Basin and all the other land fields that the USGS knows are available. The oil is there, and we know how to get it safely, and it will cost less at the pump (remember $2/gal gasoline?)

    If it isn't safe or "pretty" to do it near shore, it's going to be that much more difficult in deep water.

    • Suzen

      but a least drill a simutaneous relief well!!!

      which cost is greater?

  • John Davis

    You may be misled about the huge size of the drill hole. Everyone says the hole is 21" but that is the casing with concentric smaller tubes inside down to 9 7/8". The leak cannot be measured by the full 21" volume. I'd recommend doing the calculations on a smaller pipe.

  • Shooter.

    So they put a "Cap" on the Oil Leak which they have no idea how much is coming out according to all the guessing of how much has leaked so far…. and tell us they are going to slowly seal it off. Now they tell us we are collecting 50 to 80% of the oil coming out of the well…. How do they know that if they don't know how much is coming out? Watching the video nothing seems to have changed. Liars and they should all be shot.

  • southern girl

    Wow, I can't believe I'm actually reading the words "not that bad"! Seriously, not that bad! that's like saying 9/11 was "not that bad" or that Hurricane Katrina was "not that bad". Lives were lost, so to their families, it's the worst it can get. Entire eco systems are being lost, I'm sure to the people who rely on those waters for their living, it can't get much worse. so to say it's "not that bad" doesn't just show extreme ignorance, but it is plain cruel and insensitive.

  • Hatter

    9/11 was an inside job.Katrina was all natural .No point crying over spilt oil .
    We in our arrogance think ourselves above other llfe because of our ingenuity ,our inventiveness ,our brain ,yet we seem to forget ohter civilizations have come an gone .
    Leaving their tiny footprint behind what is this civilisation going to leave for the following?
    Ask yourself what invention has been any good for the planet?Sweet F ALL

  • Yesterday BP collected over 26000 barrels of oil and the leaking amount is much dimenished from the previous video of 5 days ago. I KNOW this because the lower plum about 6 feet above the cap leak elevation is now roughly 6 feet in diameter using the 21 riser pipe as a reference and previously it was 8 feet in diameter. The leaking amount is between 4000 and 5000 barrels per day. That is still a lot of oil but it is a lot less before and additionally the skimming resources are probably getting a large percentage of this oil that arrives to the surface. It is good progress. It gives hope that the environmental damage may not get too much worse.

    BP's intercepter well is 200 feet away and preparations may be complete in a month to kill this monster. I'm optimistic this will succeed.

    The

  • John Davis

    Also, why would BP want to kill this well? It is producing boatloads of oil and natural gas. Sure it needs containment, but isn't this what they need to make this a profitable well? Seems to me, they could cut their losses by selling as much of this oil as the can gather.

  • Finally, everyone has to realize the the BP people are really tired and scared that it could get worse. It did appear that the junk shot did have some effect on flow but probably most of that introduced blockage was washed out when the bent riser was sheared off. There may remain some of that junk within the BOP and there is worry that it will burp-out and oil/gas flow will increase. That's probably why BP didn't just unbolt the riser flange, remove the bent riser, and bolt on a flange-tee-two valve assembly as is typically used in blocking in a run-away. Of course a valve cannot just be closed to shutoff the flow because the pressure is much too high, but a production line could be attached to a closed side valve, that valve opened, then finally the in-line top valve could be closed. I am sure this was considered but the risk of allowing blockages in the BOP to escape and dramatically increase oil flow may have been too great for BP to stomach.

    My prayers with the BP engineers.

  • yeah

    Government*