The Oil Spill – What’s New?


So BP has started the “top kill” to stem the flow of oil still spilling from the broken well in the Gulf of Mexico in what is now officially the worst leak in US history. There are conflicting news about the  effectiveness of the measure. The LATimes and CBSNews were the first to claim the “top kill” was working and has effectively stemmed the oil flow, citing Thad Allen. That was yesterday. Today news are a bit less enthusiastic. Washington’s Blog bluntly states the strategy has failed.

Here’s the scoop: BP’s attempt to stop the oil spill using the “Top Kill” method has failed.

How do I know?

Well, as the New York Times notes:

BP officials, who along with government officials created the impression early in the day that the strategy was working, disclosed later that they had stopped pumping the night before when engineers saw that too much of the drilling fluid was escaping along with the oil.Indeed, BP stopped pumping “mud” for more than 16 hours (the material gushing out of the leaking riser didn’t stop during that time).

Basically, BP has failed in trying to drive enough “mud” down the well to provide enough weight to tamp down the oil gushing out. It didn’t work. (read full story)

There is something gushing from the well, that’s true, but it looks like it’s not (only) oil anymore, so in a way, even if it’s still not completely shut, the method decreases the oil flow. That’s what I hope it does anyway. So keep pumping. If you can! The above mentioned LA Times story has this:

Allen said one ship that was pumping fluid into the well has run out of the fluid, or “mud,” and that a second ship is on the way.

If they need to keep pumping to beat the oil flow, they better have enough ships available. This could go on for a while. At this rate they need two ships a day.

I suspect that this is why there is new material added to the mud and a modified version of the so-called “junk-shot” has been started. Again Washington’s blog:

Indeed, BP’s “re-starting” Top Kill really means that Top Kill Version 1.0 was tried and failed, and now BP will try Top Kill Version 2.0 – adding “junk” to the mix.

I haven’t even started on the other spills. Obviously we are seeing a different scene from the one we were used to, a single tube spilling oil and hydrates. Now all I see is the top of some machinery which is obviously ruptured and spills brownish mud. Where’s the  tube and how are things looking there? And what about the other, bigger leak?

Matt Simmons was an energy adviser to George W. Bush, is an adviser to the Oil Depletion Analysis Centre, and is a member of the National Petroleum Council and the Council on Foreign Relations. Simmon is chairman and CEO of Simmons & Company International, an investment bank catering to oil companies.

Simmons told Dylan Ratigan that “there’s another leak, much bigger, 5 to 6 miles away” from the leaking riser and blowout preventer shown on the underwater cameras: (read all)

I cannot say if that’s the case, let alone what has caused that other leak. I do not support the author’s conclusion that this was an old problem that BP had covered up, however. Why would oil find it’s way to the surface only after the oil rig explosion and not from an older leak. So I let this story stand for you to decide.

The situation is so bad that a seasoned politician Charlie Melancon (D-La) can’t hold his tears back when he tries to report on it.

I’m sure he was able to get a proper tour of the real damage, not the whitewashed scenario that we, the great unwashed, are being served by MSM. There still are many inconsistencies in the stories we’re told and I am adamant we are being lied to,big time.

The newest rumor has it, the Navy will drop a ship on the well to close it when the top kill scheme wouldn’t work. As a commenter on this story rightly points out:

And if it doesn’t pinch off the flow? Now we got 80,000 tons of steel obscuring any view of the problem.

As I have said before. This problem is so huge, nobody really knows what to do about it. And I just hope this Hail Mary Pass works,  because the damage is far too big already and nobody in their right minds would wish for more. (Unless they are commenters on redstate)

There are news adding up, that cover BP’s behaviour before the explosion and none of them very favourable to the  company. The latest:

The explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig that precipitated the vast Gulf of Mexico oil spill came after the well was capped with a relatively cheap type of casing, BP papers have revealed.

The decision to use the riskier method to finish its Macondo well was taken partly on cost grounds, according to the document.

In the days before the blast, the oil giant selected a casing that provided only a single layer of protection to prevent gas from leaking into the well, according the details obtained by The New York Times from a Congressional investigator. (read more)

A bottom line is a bottom line after all.

There was a power struggle on board of the Deepwater Horizon rig on the day of the blast, truthout reports:

Wednesday’s government hearing in Louisiana, however, failed to determine why — despite unusual pressure and fluid readings on the rig — a BP official decided on the day of the explosion to proceed with removing heavy drilling fluid from the well and replacing it with lighter-weight seawater that was unable to prevent gas from surging to the surface and exploding.

Employees and experts testified that in the hours before the explosion, they witnessed a power struggle over that decision — the kind of argument common among the different parties that lease and run complicated offshore drilling operations, but one that this time, had deadly consequences. (read more)

While I was assembling this information a look at the live camera shows some darker stuff coming out of the broken wellhead again. I suspect it’s oil. So Washington’s blog was right after all?

More Links:

Crooks&Liars: Cousteau’s grandson: “This is a nightmare”

The Oildrum: Thorough reporting on all aspects of the spill, and with much more technical insight than I will ever be able to give you.

The Guardian: A number of well researched and swiftly updated reports, understandable for the technologically challenged like me,too.

2 thoughts on “The Oil Spill – What’s New?

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