Thursday, 27 January 2011

Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

Did you hear about the Oil Spill? How horrible, right? To be quite frank, I was pretty shocked & almost dispirited thinking about how many animals & people were going to be affected by this dreadful "accident." This all happened on April 20, 2010; there is still some confusion when it comes down to how it happened & what is being done to fix it, but here is what I researched & found out:
So as you probably know (or don't know), one of the first oil wells were placed in the Gulf of Mexico right next to the coast. As these wells began to diminish in quantity, it became necessary to drill deeper in the water just so they can fit. What people may not know is that the deeper you drill below sea level, the pressure becomes higher, the oil temperature gets hotter, & the tension on the metals containing the oil increases drastically. Because of this, the oil industry has been trying to develop technology that will minimize dangers like these; but the thing is that it is almost impossible to find a solution through a computer simulation.
There is no real explanation to why or how this happened, but as you probably guessed, there are many theories. The essential concept is that Transocean (an affiliate to BP) was told to drill a new well not too far & not too close from the older wells in the Gulf of Mexico. What's pretty upsetting is that the well was almost done; it was at the point where they had passed the stage where a blowout was even possible. The casing was already cemented & they had began to install a pipe; but they obviously weren't so lucky.
As of now, it seems that a pressure surge took place & it couldn't be controlled-at all. What's unorthodox is that they had all the equipment to monitor the pressure & even had a device weighing 450 tons that was supposed to prevent blowouts, but they had nothing to dominate the hydrocarbon flow. Since the pressure was so high, the natural gases had actually separated from the oil that was within the hydrocarbon stream; which is what sparked the explosion.
Since the day it erupted, BP has been determined to use their sea robots (which go down to 5,000 feet below the surface) to actually operate the blowout preventer & turn off the flow; which just so happens to be 42,000 gallons per day. As each day comes & goes, the percent of this really working decreases.
If this doesn't work, BP has come up with alternative solutions:
1. Drill an additional hole to block the first well & then force a heavy fluid to stop the flow of the oil.
2. Design & manufacture a dome that goes underwater (obviously) & traps all of the oil that's exceptionally close to the sea floor; & then they channel it for collection.
3. Burn the oil that's already on the surface; which happens to be the best solution when the sea waters are calm.
Regardless of what they do, it seems like the oil is still going to reach shore; which means it's highly hazardous to our friends living in the ocean. It's really unfortunate that something this tragic has to happen at such a bad time, but we can all learn a little something: Always be prepared & always hope for the best, but always expect the worst; right?
Mykalanne Gutierrez
5611 Kimball Ct., Chino, Ca., 91710
909-597-2600 / 800-826-5880