Tuesday, 25 January 2011

BP Tries Smaller Pipe to Contain Oil Flow

BP, Halliburtun, Transocean and the U.S. government are all struggling to come up with a means to stop the massive flow of oil that is likely going to have catastrophic environmental consequences for the Gulf of Mexico and coastal U.S. states. New information is emerging suggesting that safety procedures may not have been followed in the hours leading up to the explosion that killed 11 rig workers and unleashed the oil spillthat is pumping untold thousands of gallons of oil into the Gulf.

Apparently, all records of tests and diagnostics being run on the Deepwater Horizon rig are unavailable after 3PM on April 20, the day of the explosion. The problem is that the rig didn't explode until 10PM that evening, leaving a 7-hour window, during which BP and Transocean claim that it ran tests indicating that the well was stable enough to proceed with its capping activities. Test results from prior to 3PM indicate that problems were developing and that gas leaks had begun in the well.

Some experts are beginning to question current estimates of exactly how much oil is being pumped into the Gulf. Video of the leaking pipe on the sea floor showed a very powerful flow of oil and gas coming from the pipe, which has a diameter of 21 inches. That pipe is only 1 of 3 known leaks at this time. BP officials continue to point to the estimate provided by the NOAA of 210,000 gallons of oil per day, although it is believed that estimate is generated by analyzing only the oil that reaches the surface. At this point, the slick has grown to roughly the size of Delaware and Rhode Island combined.