Saturday, May 15, 2010

Oil Drilling Drama

Discovery News is reporting that the effort to repair the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico from BP's malfunctioning oil derreck has lead to all hell breaking loose.
Many many plans have been proposed, and most of them have apparently failed badly. Robots? They've jammed. Build a containment dome? Methane hydrates made that too unsafe. Repair the pipe? Ruptured again.
The last ditch step is building another well that drains out this one, and that will take several months. Several months of oil washing up on the Louisiana coast, with volunteer hippies washing birds and filming weepy commercials. The beaches are unusable, tourism plummets, and the public turns further against offshore drilling.
Clearly, there are two priorities. First, to stop the flow of oil. Second, to clean the oil that's already spilled. Stopping the flow is difficult because of the methane hydrates, a volatile solid form of methane that develops in high pressure, low temperature situations, like the deep ocean.
BP would, of course, like to recover as much oil as possible. They can sell oil. They cannot sell the oil-seawater mixture they have now.
I can't really help, unfortunately. I'm an amateur, and this situation requires the professionals.

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