Friday, June 4, 2010

BP Board Backs Hayward, Cap Lowered on Oil Leak, Alabama Sees Oil on Shore

When I looked at my stats this morning, I knew something must be up with BP's CEO Tony Hayward because I was seeing hits from Great Britain from people using key words "I want my life back." So, I wasn't surprised to see an article saying he pledges to see the oil leak crisis through and that BP's board backs him.

People have been wondering how he keeps his job, especially since he admitted in a Financial Times interview that BP had no plan in place when the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded to address an oil leak one mile below the Gulf of Mexico.

BP is reporting some success this morning. After the company's underwater robots had problems with the saw and then cut the riser at the leak crooked, Admiral Thad Allen had said getting the containment cap on would be challenge, but multiple news outlets report this morning that the cap is in place, but oil is still leaking.

The video in this post shows the process of placing the containment cap. I saw some of this activity last night on the live stream.

In a few hours engineers will know how well the cap is working. However, as has been previously reported, the containment cap is not the ultimate fix and will not stop leaking completely. The ultimate fix is two relief wells that will not be finished until August, and so the oil leaking will be with us all summer long, just at a slower rate.

The BP animation below, via the Times Picayune, "shows how the LMRP and top hat are supposed to work, now that the riser pipe has been cut off."

Oil spill video: BP LMRP animation

As explained at TP, this temporary solution involved :
cutting off the broken riser to leave a clean-cut pipe surface at the top of the blowout preventer, then installing a cap fitted with a flexible ring atop the package.

The cap will be connected to the surface by a new riser with a drilling pipe inside it.
In order to successfully capture the oil and bring it to the surface, BP must maintain a careful balance of the oil gushing out of the well. On the surface, a series of valves will eventually be opened to allow oil to flow to the surface while the vents below are gradually closed.
The oil collected flows to a tanker above on the Gulf of Mexico. It's unclear yet how much oil has been directed to the tanker.

This news probably offers little comfort to Alabama residents who have reported the Gulf oil spill smell and gobs of oil on their shores now.

Related: All oil spill posts at this blog, including Flashback: Jindal Tells How He Grew Up with Oil Industry and that Threat to Environment is Balanced in Louisiana. Yes, he's anti-regulation.

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