Sunday, July 11, 2010

BP's Brains Need Some Oiling

According to the NY times website, "Crews removed a cap from atop BP’s out-of-control well in the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday, beginning an ambitious engineering effort that could fully contain the huge oil leak but will also make matters worse, at least temporarily." Further Mr. Wells said "contingency plans were ready in case the installation failed. And even if a new cap is installed, the well will be open for at least several days, and more oil will pour into the gulf." Mr. Wells expressed confidence that the new approach — the latest in a string of efforts, many of which have failed — would succeed. “In four to seven days, we’ll have that sealing cap in place,” he said."

This was published on July 10th, 2010 and seems to be the most recent news about the oil spill. Now, in all honesty, I have not been following this event, but the first question that should come to anyone's mind is why was the old cap forming a loose seal and allowing oil and gas to constantly escape from it? In plain English, who's in charge over there at BP? Aren't there routine inspections? Couldn't this have been prevented?

Another thing that strikes me about this event is just the uncertainty of how it will play out. Phrases like "in case the installation failed," and "many of which have failed," leads me to suspect that whoever hired these engineers to clean up this mess may want to take another look at their college degrees and credentials because by reading this article, its clear to me that they don't know EXACTLY what there are doing. This isn't good, considering the amount of oil lost and the cost for this lost. Further, the fact that they will continue to lose more oil even with the new cap is installed tells me they need a new plan.

I will admit though (and to their credit) that it's easy for me to sit here and criticize while they perform work that I probably never could comprehend. The undersea efforts to contain or stop the gusher is being done by remotely operated robots in extreme conditions of temperature and pressure 5,000 feet below the surface of the gulf. Now that's impressive and quite technical. Even still, these are supposed to be professionals aren't they?. Therefore, the question still remains. Why so many failed attempts?

I also wondered about what happened to all the oil that poured into the Gulf. Well, to their credit, "BP has positioned more than 40 large or midsize skimmers near the well site and has 14 teams ready to conduct controlled burns." This is to help deal with the oil that was lost. Finally, BP plans to devise a scheme that would "eventually stop the leak and permanently seal the well by pumping heavy drilling mud into it, followed by cement, through a relief well." Good job BP. At least now you're aware serious oil spills exist and are already planning ahead to prevent this from happening again. Don't forget those inspections!

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