BP: Mile-long tube sucking oil away from Gulf well
2010-05-17 0:00

By Jeffrey Collins and Jason Dearen | Google.com/AP

In a significant step toward containing a massive Gulf of Mexico oil leak, BP said a mile-long tube was funneling crude Sunday from a blown well to a tanker ship after three days of wrestling to get the stopgap measure into place on the seafloor.

Yet even as the company reported the success after weeks of fruitless efforts, scientists warned oil that has already spewed into the Gulf could have dire consequences for the environment. Computer models show the black ooze may have already entered a major current flowing toward the Florida Keys, a researcher told the Associated Press on Sunday.


Video from: YouTube.com


The contraption used by BP was hooked up successfully and sucking oil from a pipe at the blown well Sunday afternoon after being hindered by several setbacks. Engineers remotely guiding robot submersibles had worked since Friday to place the tube into a 21-inch pipe nearly a mile below the sea.

Kent Wells, BPs senior vice president for exploration and production, said during a news conference that the amount being drawn was gradually increasing, and it would take several days to measure it. Company spokesman Mark Proegler at the joint spill command center in Louisiana had initially said the tube was containing most of the oil coming from the pipe, which is contributing an estimated 85 percent of the crude in the spill.


This image from a video released by BP PLC shows oil and gas spewing from a yellowish, broken pipe 5,000 feet below the surface. The video released Wednesday May 12, 2010 gives a not-yet-seen glimpse of the leaking well a mile underwater. The stream occasionally can be seen becoming lighter as natural gas mixes into the gusher. (AP Photo/BP PLC, File)

Previous attempts to use emergency valves and a 100-ton container had failed to stop the leak that has spilled millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf, threatening sea life, commercial fishing and the coastal tourism industry from Louisiana to Florida. BP PLC has also been burning small amounts of floating oil and spraying chemical dispersants above and below the surface.

The tubes success gave crews partial control of the leak for the first time in more than three weeks. Still, Wells offered a tempered response to the news.

"Its a positive move, but lets keep in context," he said Sunday. "Were about shutting down the flow of oil from this well."

Oil has been spewing since the rig Deepwater Horizon exploded April 20, killing 11 people and sinking two days later. The government shortly afterward estimated the spill at 210,000 gallons or 5,000 barrels a day, a figure that has since been questioned by some scientists who fear it could be far more. BP executives have stood by the estimate while acknowledging theres no way to know for sure.

Crews will slowly ramp up how much oil the tube collects over the next couple of days. They need to move slowly because they dont want too much frigid seawater entering the pipe, which could combine with gases to form ice-like crystals that would clog it.

The first chance to choke off the flow for good should come in about a week. Engineers plan to shoot heavy mud into the crippled blowout preventer on top of the well, then permanently entomb the leak in concrete. If that doesnt work, crews also can shoot golf balls and knotted rope into the nooks and crannies of the device to plug it, Wells said.
The final choice to end the leak is a relief well, but it is more than two months from completion.

Meanwhile, scientists warned of the effects of oil that has already leaked into the Gulf.

Computer models show the black ooze may have already entered the loop current which is the largest in the Gulf said William Hogarth, dean of the University of South Floridas College of Marine Science. A research vessel is being sent to the Gulf on Tuesday to collect samples and learn more.

One computer model shows that the oil has already entered the current, while a second model shows the oil is 3 miles from it still dangerously close, Hogarth said. The models are based on weather, ocean current and spill data from the U.S. Navy and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, among other sources.

The current flows in a looping pattern in the Gulf, through the area where the blown-out well is, east to the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and beyond.

Other scientists warned that miles-long underwater plumes of oil discovered in recent days could poison and suffocate sea life across the food chain, with damage that could endure for a decade or more.
Researchers have found more underwater plumes of oil than they can count from the blown-out well, said Samantha Joye, a professor of marine sciences at the University of Georgia. She said careful measurements taken of one plume showed it stretching for 10 miles, with a 3-mile width.

The hazardous effects of the plume are twofold. Joye said the oil itself can prove toxic to fish swimming in the sea, while vast amount of oxygen are also being sucked from the water by microbes that eat oil. Dispersants used to fight the oil are also food for the microbes, speeding up the oxygen depletion.

"So, first you have oily water that may be toxic to certain organisms and also the oxygen issue, so there are two problems here," said Joye, whos working with a group of scientists who discovered the underwater plumes in a recent boat expedition to the Gulf. "This can interrupt the food chain at the lowest level, and will trickle up and certainly impact organisms higher. Whales, dolphins and tuna all depend on lower depths to survive."

BP has been casting about for ways to contain the leak since it was discovered several days after the blast. First robot submarines were unable to get valves to work on machinery at the well head called the blowout preventer. Then the company failed to capture the oil with a 100-ton box after icelike crystals formed in it.

Article from: Google.com




Related Articles
Photos of the Oil Spill
Gulf Oil Spill: Larger Than We Know?
Hay Was Used Successfully On The 1969 Santa Barbara Oil Spill
Amateur Video Of Gulf Oil Slick - Worse Than BP Admits
A Volcano of Oil Erupting
Plug the Oil Leak with a Nuclear Blast? (please do not)
Clean up Oil Spills with Hay - Easy and Natural (Video)
NASA-inspired Aerogel could sponge up oil spills
Interview with a Survivor from the Oil Rig Explosion
Was the Gulf Oil Spill an Act of War? You Betcha


Latest News from our Front Page

"Too many white people" in Pittsburgh says government official
2015-07-31 2:14
According to Abby Wilson, the deputy director of the Department of Health’s Bureau of Public Policy and Community Relations in Allegheny County, there are too many White people in Pittsburgh. She left Pittsburgh to work in South Africa and then study in the Netherlands, but now that she’s back, she wants to change it. “My two main gripes (about Pittsburgh) are: too ...
Judge blocks group from releasing more Planned Parenthood videos
2015-07-31 2:35
The pro-life group behind a series of undercover Planned Parenthood videos accused the bioservice firm StemExpress late Wednesday of trying to “cover up this illegal baby parts trade” after the company obtained a court order blocking the release of footage. The Los Angeles Superior Court issued a temporary injunction Tuesday stopping the Center for Medical Progress from releasing any video showing ...
US Fish & Wildlife Service Investigating Killing Of Cecil The Lion
2015-07-31 2:18
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that the agency is investigating the killing of Cecil the Lion, saying it will “go where facts lead.” The agency made the announcement via Twitter Thursday. Also Thursday, the Eden Prairie Police Department said that, while they will be stepping up neighborhood monitoring, they will not be providing personal protection for the dentist who killed ...
Dispute over bounced check caused brutal Hollywood shotgun killing: Cops
2015-07-31 2:40
Carrie Melvin, an aspiring Hollywood production assistant, was strolling with her boyfriend not far from Sunset Boulevard on the evening of July 5 when someone murdered her with a shotgun. Police have now arrested a suspect, Ezeoma Obioha, 31, and say his motivation was likely a dispute over a bounced check worth just a few hundred dollars. A Los Angeles ...
California Drought Could Wipe Cities Off Map If Their Water Runs Out
2015-07-31 2:28
The epicenter of California’s drought crisis is in the Central Valley, where there are growing fears the drought could wipe entire towns off of the map. Wells are going dry, jobs are harder to come by and families are already moving, either to different states or even Mexico in search of work. Before visiting Tulare County, a place where wells have gone ...
More News »