The cap was not designed to be the solution to the leak; rather, it was designed to contain the leak while the more permanent relief wells are being drilled.
The relief wells are scheduled to finish in August so BP needed a way to contain most of the oil from leaking into the Gulf until then.
The Lower Marine Riser Package (LMRP) cap containment system is an expensive procedure which would still not assure 100% success. The aim of this LMRP is not to stop the leak but to contain the oil that is leaking and decrease the amount of oil spill before the completion of the new tubing “top hat” that would finally seal and eventually stop the oil gusher. They confirmed that the replacement of the tubing would be completed.
With headings like this: BP’s containment cap collected 255,000 gallons that otherwise would have gushed into the Gulf, but the bulk of the oil eluded capture and more globs made landfall in Florida, one would think that all is doing well and under control.
Let’s do the math here. If there are 42 US gallons per barrel , and the above article speculates that 255,000 gallons has been taken up and saved by this new LMRP procedure, that amounts to a total of NOT MUCH (approx 6,071 barrels) oil that has been saved so far. There are various estimates of how much oil has spewed forth from this undersea gusher since day one…… April 20th, 2010.
The US Coast Guard said the containment cap placed on the gushing well about 1.6km beneath the sea was now collecting about 1000 barrels a day.
The collection rate is a small portion of the 19000 barrels a day that the US government has estimated could be gushing from the well.
The captured amount should increase as BP closes vents to trap more oil, said Admiral Thad Allen of the US Coast Guard.
“Some time later today we’ll probably be able to get … an approximation of how much oil we are capturing,” Allen said.
Every article gives different stories and amounts, and as this is a wild rushing gusher, spewing phenomenal amounts of chemicals into the Gulf of Mexico, I expect there is no way to accurately measure the amount.
Earlier on Friday, BP’s chief operating officer Doug Suttles said the containment cap “should work” by capturing at least 90% of the gushing oil.
Hummm 90% is what amount… is that the down played amount being touted by BP or the much higher estimate of the US government?
Whatever the REAL facts, it remains that this LMRP is only a band aid solution, temporary, until the hoped for two relief wells are complete and functioning.
One wonders what emergency procedures will be in place at the two new wells to prevent another disaster occurring?
The procedure of drilling these wells, which are touted as the BEST way to stop this current (leak) disaster, involves some pretty intense science and engineering.
Of course if they go to plan and stop this catastrophe, BP might be able to salvage some of the oil, and still make millions out of this fiasco! (Follow the almighty dollar) BUT, hey if they are making money, they will have plenty to give to the clean up and the devastation they have been responsible for. They won’t be broke, so won’t be able to claim ‘poverty’.
BP is tunnelling through 3 ½ miles of rock to meet an 8 ½-inch steel pipe and plug it — is a high-stakes, daunting task that can take months.
And though the wells have worked well in other areas, they run the danger of worsening the leaks before bringing them under control.
“Basically you’re running a straw down 18,000 feet trying to hit another straw,” says Greg Pollock, head of the oil spill division of the Texas General Land Office.
From floating rigs on each side of the spewing well, BP is drilling two relief wells — so named because they’re meant to relieve the spill — in the hope that, by August, workers can pump mud and concrete into the gushing well to permanently block it. The company is drilling two wells in case one fails to stop the leak. If all goes well, BP may even be able to use the relief wells to again pump oil to the surface.
Experts agree relief wells are the last, best hope.
Admiral Allen said the only way to cap the well is by drilling relief wells. The first relief well is 7,000 feet below the sea floor, and the second relief well is underway.
“They’re going to have to achieve between 16 and 18 thousand feet to intercept the well,” he said. “The goal then, once they intercept the well, would be to pump mud down the well to reduce the pressure of the oil coming up from the reservoir to the point where they can put a cement plug in. At that point, the well will be killed.”
Relief wells are expected to be finished sometime in early August.
And remember, when you hurt yourself and apply a band aid …. You still have to rip it off for it to heal! Let’s hope that BP’s band aid solution is better than that, and healing of the ocean floor can begin soon.
But will the seafood industry (and their support systems) actually recover?
Not according to (an) Alaskan fisherman who discusses long-term effects of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. See link below. There are many lessons that can be learned from past experiences.
Gallons of oil per barrel
Seyoh – live spill update
TIMELINE-Gulf of Mexico oil spill
Miami Herald – wells usually stop the spill
Admiral Allen visits Theodore
Alaskan Fisherman discusses devastation – youtube
Oil and oil spills: the Gulf of Mexico – learn from past experiences?