Gulf spill nearly capped?

If the live view from robot submarines is to be believed, the gulf spill is almost beat. [PBS] CNN reports that tests are underway to determine the newly-installed cap's effectiveness.


  1. If it holds, the source of the spill is beat. There’s still boatloads of oil out there to be cleaned up.

    Though I’m sure BP is hoping for hurricanes to mix it up. Purification by dilution.

  2. And in related news, according to CNN, Obama has made getting close enough to film and photograph the oil spill a felony.

    Details from CNN on YouTube here:

  3. BP stock is up 32% in the past 9 days. Now they’ll claim success and go home, leaving all that corexit and oil floating around who knows where.

  4. The rumors of success are greatly exaggerated…

    Right now, the only thing they’ve done is essentially to put a new adapter onto the – still spewing – oil well. There is a good chance the casing of the well itself is so badly compromised that they won’t be able to close off the flow. That’s what they’ll be testing over the next few days.

    If they are not able to actually “cap” the well, because of leaks in the casing, then they’ll have to keep the well gushing at the same rate, but at least this new adapter will make it easier to capture more of the oil coming out. However, it will take several more days before they’re even back to capturing as much oil as they were *before* this weekend.

    Lastly… there is a non-negligible chance that by doing these pressure checks over the next few days, they will cause the well to blow out *sideways*, through the wall of the casing! In that case, the oil would start emerging from the sea floor itself, next to the blowout preventer, and will be almost impossible to capture. In other words, the worst-case scenario for these tests is that they make this into an even bigger mess than it already is!

    Keep your fingers crossed, because this is *far* too early to crow success yet…

  5. what about all the other plumes that sprung up from the gulf bottom when they tried to ‘fix’ it last time?they plug this one, it just spews out harder and faster from the other ones, of which there are several. this thing ain’t over. not by a long shot.

  6. CNN is saying that it is capped. Showing a picture of a cap. But it is NOT capped!! Look at the live stream on PBS NEWHOUR STREAM. CNN has really got to get their facts straight!!

  7. Actually it’s all a fake. It’s being filmed with miniatures in a salt water tank somewhere in New Mexico. I’ld tell you where, but then I’ld have to…well you know the rest. This is to keep everyone happy until they can transfer all their funds out of US banks. Once the funds are all overseas, poof, they’ll be gone in the night and all the checks bounce.

    1. It’s being filmed with miniatures in a salt water tank somewhere in New Mexico.


  8. the next step in a chronology of errors…… links to the Gulf Oil Leak main heading…..

    Honestly, would it hurt someone to see the flow pattern uncapped, with 15000 barrels a day removed, with other amounts of barrels a day removed, and compare the pictures ? You’d be able to get a near perfect estimate of the flow if you can compare multiple data points with a known amount of oil being removed (if each 5,000 barrels changes flow 5 percent, obviously the total flow is 100,000).
    Oh, wait, BP pays a fine depending on how many barrels, so it Would hurt them…. nm….

  9. Nope, that was the fake moon landings. A major mess. After that they decided to go American. All the special effects and CGI people are here. Though Japan came in a close second. Too expensive though and they kept wanting to put Godzilla in all of the shots.

  10. I’ll be singing Hallelujah with everyone else if it is capped but I doubt it.

    A likely component of the trouble in the first place was a substandard casing that allowed pressure back into the well pipe after circumventing the plug at the bottom of the well.

    More pressure on the casing is iffy at best. There is some pressure relief to be had from riser connections to the side of the blowout preventer. But probably not near enough.

    It might increase efficiency though. And it might provide for quicker detaching and reattaching if the flotilla has to abandon the well during a hurricane.

    I think there is an issue in drilling only two relief wells. The first relief well has missed often enough in past cases.

    Real protection from loss means redundant backups, that’s three working copies. I think it applies. There is something to be said about the diminishing returns curve, the luck factor in this case, compounding after 3 rather than after 2. BP seems to like to play the luck factor lean, I think.

  11. I like that, I’m going to try to start that as a rumor: the oil spill is just a hoax being filmed on the same set that they used for “Titanic.”

  12. @ agnot: “The first relief well has missed often enough in past cases. ”

    Citation place.

    1. It was a news podcast but I have too many such podcasts on the subject to search through.

      If that they are drilling two wells does not constitute evidence enough, Googling “relief well” is telling.

      I couldn’t find much of a history of relief wells but nowhere is there any allusion of assurance on the subject.

      The BP site on the subject carefully avoids committing to success: “A second relief well forms part of the contingency plans in case the first well encounters any delays. This means that progress can still be made to kill the flowing well should one drilling operation encounter a problem.”

  13. These comments reminds me of the days of my youth, standing around a group of old men peering under a hood at a car engine, endlessly speculating why it won’t start and what is wrong with it, but never actually doing anything but talking about it.

    1. See, back in ’89 I was watching people try to figure out how to clean up a massive oil spill.

      So I got a degree in environmental science, and I have found and cleaned up dozens of waste releases.

      Did ~you~ grow up to be a mechanic? or a cynic?

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