[News] Effort to Shut Down Gulf Well is Failing

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Fri Jul 16 20:06:59 EDT 2010

Published on This Can't Be Happening 


Breaking News: Effort to Shut Down Gulf Well is Failing

Created 07/16/2010 - 17:48
Dave Lindorff

The Coast Guard is conceding this afternoon that the pressure is not 
building up as hoped in the blown-out BP Deepwater Horizon well in 
the Gulf of Mexico, raising concerns that the pipe that runs from the 
surface down through the bore to the oil reservoir 13,000 feet below 
the sea bottom has lost its integrity, and is allowing oil under high 
pressure to leak out into the surrounding concrete and rock outside 
the pipe, where it can and likely will make its way to the waters above.

There is visual evidence that this is happening. While it has not 
been mentioned in news reports, one view taken of the sea floor taken 
by a 
[1] on the Hos ROV 1, one of the remote robot submersibles monitoring 
the wellhead, and on display on the BP website, beginning at about 
2:48:40 Central Time showed clouds of muddy looking water suddenly 
spring up and begin obscuring the view of the sea floor. Some of the 
billowing material was light colored, and could be mud pushed up by 
leaking methane gas. Some looked decidedly dark brown, like the oil 
that has been seen coming from the top of the blowout preventer (BOP).

A second rover, the Viking Poseidon ROV 1, which was not included in 
the live cams displayed from BP's public access site, but which can 
be seen live 
[2], also showed a large cloud of churning brown material billowing 
up from the sea floor beginning at 3:06:00 Central Time.

If either of these video images are in fact oil coming out of the 
ground around the wellhead, it would mean that the liner has been 
seriously breached somewhere below ground, and that there is no way 
to either stop the oil flow, or even collect it all from above the 
wellhead. That would certainly explain why the pressure at the 
stoppered wellhead has leveled off at about 6700 psi. That's well 
below the "80000-900 psi" that until today was what the government 
and BP said would be full pressure, and is even below the new, 
improved target mentioned by retired Adm. Thad Allen, who now says a 
more modest 7500 psi would be okay.

The only hope of stopping this catastrophe would be the relief wells 
that have been drilled to within a few feet of the casing, several 
miles down below the surface of the earth.

The failure of the effort to cap the well above the BOP, as I 
<http://www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/139>wrote earlier [3], was 
pretty well foreordained when the same Viking Poseidon ROV 1, a month 
ago, showed a 
of oil blasting out of cracks in the sea floor [4] around the BOP, 
already proving that the casing had been breached.

It is possible that the pressure in the pipe was greater at that 
point, back on June 13, because the well opening, at the top of the 
BOP, was still crimped and holding back the gusher. Once that opening 
was cleared in preparation for installing the current cap, the oil 
was able to flow out more freely, which would have reduced the 
pressure on whatever leaks exist in the casing below ground.

But now, for reasons that still elude me, the government has allowed 
BP to try to shut down the well at the top, allowing the pressure in 
the whole casing to rise precipitously, and it appears the inevitable 
has happened: the oil and gas is pushing out the breaches in the 
casing, and is likely expanding the openings, too, making the breach 
worse than before.

The top of this blown out well should be opened up wide as soon as 
possible, and BP and the government should focus all efforts on those 
relief wells, and on trying to get this runaway well sealed at the 
bottom as soon as possible.

Trying to shut things off at the top was a fool's errand, and can 
only have been driven by a BP and White House PR effort to show that 
something is being done. However, some things shouldn't be done, and 
this is one of those things. The idea that the government and BP knew 
that shutting down the top of the well could lead to disaster, and 
that they went ahead and did it, knowing that it would only provide 
temporary relief at best anyhow, is insanity.

By the way, yesterday, I contacted both the BP and the government-run 
Unified Command press offices asking for an explanation as to how 
they could shut down the top of the well, when BP's own cameras in 
June showed oil blowing out of cracks in the sea floor near the 
wellhead. Both offices promised to respond. To date, neither has.

Source URL: 

[3] http://www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/139
[4] http://www.thiscantbehappening.net/www.youtube.com/watch?v=b2RxIQP0IBU"

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