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Work on oil leak stopped by developing storm; cap may have to be opened

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posted on Jul, 21 2010 @ 05:45 PM
First time a tropical storm/hurricane affects the whole thing.

Work on oil leak stopped by developing storm; cap may have to be opened

NEW ORLEANS -- A storm brewing in the Caribbean brought the deep-sea effort to plug the ruptured oil well to a near standstill Wednesday just as BP was getting tantalizingly close to going in for the kill.

Work on the relief well -- now just days from completion -- was suspended, and the cap that has been keeping the oil bottled up since last week may have to be reopened, allowing crude to gush into the sea again for days, said retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the government's point man on the crisis.

"This is necessarily going to be a judgment call," said Allen, who was waiting to see how the storm developed before deciding whether to order any of the ships and crews stationed some 50 miles out in the Gulf of Mexico to head for safety.

The cluster of thunderstorms passed over Haiti and the Dominican Republic on Wednesday, and forecasters said the system would probably move into the Gulf over the weekend. They gave it a 50 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression or a tropical storm by Friday.

Crews had planned to spend Wednesday and Thursday reinforcing with cement the last few feet of the relief tunnel that will be used to pump mud into the gusher and kill it once and for all. But BP put the task on hold and instead placed a temporary plug called a storm packer deep inside the tunnel, in case it has to be abandoned until the storm passes.

"What we didn't want to do is be in the middle of an operation and potentially put the relief well at some risk," BP vice president Kent Wells said.

Hopefully a hurricane doesn't form and doesn't pass over the oil and/or makes the situation worse...

posted on Jul, 21 2010 @ 06:03 PM
I assume taking the cap off would be to make sure nothing serious happens in other areas while they are not around. After hearing about them possibly using the mud and cement to stop the flow for good - it seemed to be taking place rather quickly. My question is why would this work the second time around - it didn't work the first time.

posted on Jul, 21 2010 @ 07:42 PM
This being weather related, it caught my attention.

i am all for the hype of a tropical and its effects on the oil and the spill recovery efforts, however, i want to make a few things very clear with regards to forecasting something like this.

first, this is a long way out when it comes to numerical models. while they can lead to a general trend, when you are talking 4 or 5 days away, its really anyone's guess.

second, they may be making some contingencies, but with the latest runs, this "storm" is less intimidating than this post is making it seem.

For tropical development to continue, you need a conglomerate of ingredients so to speak, and it is really a very delicate process. currently, with the U/L low over the are and shear in excess of 40kts, this storm has a LONG way to go before it is out of the woods.

not to mention, some of the global models have it tracking over central florida, wich would mean an extended time out side of its moisture source and a short time to restrengthen over the gulf, and the models that do depict a track over southern florida and the florida straits are more leaning to a faster track with excessive shear and very limited development with it eventually making it into the northern gulf as a weak disturbance or a very weak storm at best.


posted on Jul, 21 2010 @ 08:06 PM
reply to post by wx4caster

I read someplace ( will try to find it) that it takes several days for them to prepare for a storm, lots of ships and boats to get to shore, make sure every thing is buckled down properly. Surely they don't want to risk the lives of those that are out there, even if the storm may not be in the direct vicinity.

posted on Jul, 21 2010 @ 08:13 PM
Brewing storm threatens to halt BP's oil well fix

AP – Workers prepare to lay oil boom around an island in St. Bernard Parish, La., Wednesday, July 21, 2010. … By COLLEEN LONG and DAVID DISHNEAU, Associated Press Writers Colleen Long And David Dishneau, Associated Press Writers – Wed Jul 21, 4:22 pm ET
NEW ORLEANS – Tropical rainstorms moving toward the Gulf of Mexico Wednesday threatened to shut down undersea efforts to seal BP's ruptured well, interrupting work just as engineers get close to plugging the leak with mud and cement.

Retired U.S. Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said a weather system brewing in the Carribean could force crews to abandon their watch over the experimental cap that's been bottling oil a mile below the surface of the water for nearly a week.

Scientists have been scrutinizing underwater cameras and data for days, trying to determine if the cap is displacing pressure and causing leaks underground. If storms keep them from seeing the cap and getting those readings — for up to four days, Allen said — BP could reopen the well to avoid missing signs it is buckling.

"This is necessarily going to be a judgment call," said Allen, the federal government's point man on the spill who will make the ultimate decision.

Forecasters say the storm system likely will move into the Gulf of Mexico over the weekend, although it appears to be weakening. Right now, it has a 50 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression or storm within the next 48 hours.

Even if the storm doesn't hit the area directly, it could affect containment and cleanup. Hurricane Alex didn't get closer than 500 miles from the spill in late June, yet offshore skimming in Alabama, Mississippi and Florida was essentially curtailed for nearly a week.

In Florida, crews were removing protective boom intended to buffer the state's inland waterways in the Panhandle from oil. High winds and storm surge could carry the boom into sensitive wetlands, damaging those areas.

Allen said BP and government scientists were meeting to discuss whether the cap could be monitored from the shore.

It could take several days to evacuate ships from the well site 50 miles off the Louisiana coast, where the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon rig exploded April 20, killing 11 and touching off one of America's worst environmental crises.

Allen said an evacuation could delay operations as much as two weeks before work would resume to kill the well at the bottom.

Shell Oil, the U.S. arm of Royal Dutch Shell PLC, already has begun evacuating personnel not essential to producing and drilling on their operations in the Gulf.

BP crews are in the final stages of readying a relief tunnel before boring into the side of the ruptured well to dump heavy mud and cement, sealing it for good. BP also may pump mud and cement from the top, to make efforts at the bottom easier. That procedure, called a surface kill, would occur before the well is ultimately plugged from below.

Before talk of nasty weather, BP was inching closer to completion and had hoped for a permanent plug by early August.

The temporary cork in the well has helped cleanup efforts, and Allen said skimming vessels are starting to have trouble finding oil to collect. BP has about 1,600 boats operating daily in waters off Alabama, Florida and Mississippi, 600 fewer than last week, said Matt Kissinger, director of BP's "vessels of opportunity" program in the region.

Some boat captains, many earning more through the cleanup than they typically do from fishing, are worried it's a sign BP is leaving the Gulf too early.

Shrimper Minh V. Le of Bayou La Batre had both of his boats out skimming for oil initially, but one has been deactivated.

"A lot of us have put a lot of sweat into the program," he said. "You've got a 100-degree heat index, and there's a lot of wear and tear on our boats. If something breaks down it can cost $30,000. What they're paying isn't a drop in the bucket."

Note the paragraph where it says it takes several days to prepare.

posted on Jul, 21 2010 @ 08:29 PM
yes, it does take several day to prepare. but it is based upon what are called "conditions of readiness"

there are 5 CORs

COR 5 is set june 1st and remains untiil the end of hurricane season. it is for destructive winds possible within 96 hours.

COR 4 is within 72 hours

COR 3 is within 48 hours

COR 2 is within 24 hours

COR 1 is 12 hours or immenent.

most sortie/evac plans are made with the setting of COR 3 dependant upon storm strength and track confidence. if the storm is weak or if the model cluster is split or uncertain, they may wait til COR 2, though it is not a common practice.

Now, also keep in mind, that destructive winds are defined as 50kts or greater. tropical storm strength is considered 34-63kts, and hurricane is 64 and +.

right now both the GFDL and HWRF are depicting a weak tropical storm at best with max winds around 43-47kts over coastal florida, with weakening as it transits the gulf and enters a high shear area, with max winds near deep horizon of 25-30kts.

so as i said before, they are being over cautious, and the media is being over sensationalistic about the storm.

posted on Jul, 21 2010 @ 08:29 PM
Points to note regarding this and the effect it 'may' have.

Firstly, and something that got me as soon as I read it 'Booms may be removed to prevent damage from the valuable wetlands' - Surely the oil isn't going to do it many favours

Also while they suspend crews and operations from the well head, that means all the feeds will be down so they can pretty much do as they please. Feeds will resume and for all we know they could be in another part of the world.

I am seeing this as 'Any Excuse' bs I am affraid

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