This is the first viably feasible solution that has been presented thus far. Keep your fingers crossed...
(CNN) -- Oil company BP will attempt to insert a new section of pipe into the riser of its damaged undersea well to capture the gusher of crude now
spewing into the Gulf of Mexico, a company spokesman said Thursday.
The operation could begin Thursday night, BP spokesman John Crabtree said. The goal is to use the new section of pipe, which is ringed with a gasket,
to seal the 22-inch riser pipe -- the section that connects the well with the main pipe running to the surface -- then pump the oil up to a ship on
The new attempt is the latest plan by BP to seal the well that was uncorked when the drill rig Deepwater Horizon exploded April 20 and sank two days
later, about 50 miles off the southeast coast of Louisiana, leaving 11 workers lost at sea. A previous effort to cap the gusher with a four-story
containment dome failed when natural gas crystals collected inside the structure, plugging an outlet at the top.
If the new plan fails, BP could try using a smaller containment dome -- dubbed a "top hat" -- that would be injected with alcohol to act as an
antifreeze and keep its outlet clear. And still under consideration is a proposal to plug the damaged well's blowout preventer, which has failed to
cut off the leak, with debris such as ground-up rubber and plastic from old tires and golf balls.
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The debris would be injected at high pressure into the blowout preventer, a 450-ton device that sits atop the wellhead. If that succeeds, the well
would be injected with cement to seal it.
Adm. Thad Allen, the commandant of the Coast Guard, said Thursday the well is being studied to determine which of those methods is most likely to
"A sequence of events are going to be occurring over the next week that will be very, very determinant of where to go on this," Allen said.
The well has been pouring an estimated 210,000 gallons (5,000 barrels) of light, sweet crude into the Gulf for three weeks now. But so far, natural
forces, human effort and some good fortune have kept the spill from becoming all-out environmental disaster, scientists said.
An oily sheen has reached the shores of some of Louisiana's barrier islands, but there has been no repeat of disastrous scenes of widespread
oil-soaked wildlife and beaches, as in the 1989 wreck of the supertanker Exxon Valdez in Alaska's Prince William Sound.
"One of the things that's been happening is, the weather has worked in our favor so far," said Steven Lohrenz, marine science chairman at the
University of Southern Mississippi. Ocean currents and prevailing winds have carried much of the spilled oil away from the coast, although the wind
has changed in the past week, he said.
"The currents are very complex in that area, and they change pretty dramatically, so it's very difficult to predict what they will do," he said.
[edit on 13-5-2010 by discl0sur3]