Stunning setback: After days of progress, BP freezes work in Gulf
2010 07 14

By Tom Breen | PalmBeachPost.com

BP froze activity on two key projects Wednesday meant to choke off the flow of oil billowing from its broken well in the Gulf of Mexico after days of moving confidently toward controlling the crisis.

The development was a stunning setback after the oil giant finally seemed to be on track following nearly three months of failed attempts to stop the spill, which has sullied beaches from Florida to Texas and decimated the multibillion dollar fishing industry.


In a photo made from video provided by BP PLC, oil emerges from the damage wellhead Wednesday morning July 14, 2010 at 1:04 a.m. EDT in the Gulf of Mexico. A pivotal moment in the Gulf oil crisis hit an unexpected snag Tuesday evening when officials announced they needed more time before they could begin choking off the geyser of crude at the bottom of the sea. AP Photo/BP PLC

The oil giant and the government said more analysis was needed before testing could proceed on a new temporary well cap — the best hope since April of stopping the geyser. Work on a permanent fix, relief wells that will plug the spill from below with mud and cement, also was halted.

Oil continued to spew nearly unimpeded into the water, with no clear timeline on when it would stop.

"We want to move forward with this as soon as we are ready to do it," said Kent Wells, a BP senior vice president.

BP had zipped through weekend preparations for getting the 75-ton cap in place and undersea robots locked it smoothly into place Monday atop the well, raising hopes the gusher could be checked for the first time since the Deepwater Horizon rig leased by BP exploded April 20, killing 11 workers.

Wells said that it was the government’s call late Tuesday to re-evaluate plans for testing the new cap, and that plans were on hold for at least 24 hours. Federal officials and the company will re-evaluate the best path forward after that time period.

But he did not commit with certainty to going forward with the testing, which would shut off the leak by closing valves on the cap and watching to see if it could hold the pressure from oil and gas in the well. Wells suggested other oil collection options might be redeployed.

Wells said the cap test, which could put added pressure on the oil as it comes out of the ground, could have an effect on the relief well. He did not elaborate.

The relief well’s timeframe has always been hazy, with company and federal officials giving estimates ranging from the end of July to the middle of August before it can be completed.

Roger N. Anderson, a marine geologist at Columbia University, said he believes BP and government scientists are just being very cautious. They may have found something surprising around the well during the countdown Tuesday to testing the cap, but he’s not worried.

"So I wouldn’t panic, is the answer. They’re going to be very, very deliberate about this," Anderson said.

BP had originally planned to start closing valves on the cap Tuesday to test if the oil spewing from the well is coming from a single leak or if there may be more. If it’s the latter case, the company would leave the valves open on the cap and try to collect the oil by piping it to as many as four vessels on the surface above.

Along the Gulf Coast, where the spill has heavily damaged the region’s vital tourism and fishing industries, people anxiously awaited the outcome of the painstakingly slow work.

"I don’t know what’s taking them so long. I just hope they take care of it," said Lanette Eder, a vacationing school nutritionist from Hoschton, Ga., who was walking on the white sand at Pensacola Beach, Fla.

"I can’t say that I’m optimistic — It’s been, what, 84 days now? — but I’m hopeful," said Nancy LaNasa, 56, who runs a yoga center in Pensacola.

The leak began after the Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling platform exploded on April 20, killing 11 workers. As of Tuesday, the 84th day of the disaster, between 90.4 and 178.6 million gallons of oil had spewed into the Gulf.


Article from: PalmBeachPost.com




Expectations: July 13, 2010

Video from: YouTube.com



Related Articles
Scientists say Gulf spill altering food web
Oil spill investigation transcripts released
Why BP is readying a ’super weapon’ to avert escalating Gulf nightmare
Former BP Contractor Turned Whistleblower Talks
BP Oil Spill: Containment Cap Installed on Leak - Will it Hold?
Cop Bullies Videographer as She Videos a BP Worker Taken Away in Ambulance
BP Removes Cap From Well, Making Matters Worse, "Temporarily" (During the Total Solar Eclipse Window)
BP: Cap on gushing well removed, oil flows freely
Gulf Oil Spill: Why Joe Barton Wants to Protect BP and the Oil Industry
CNN - Did Obama Want The Oil Spill? Ex-Fema Director Thinks So (Video)


Latest News from our Front Page

Norway Joins the Race to Develop Killer Robots
2014 10 24
Norway is a large exporter of weapons, which makes the resolution of the debate about creating killer robots an important issue for everyone.  One could debate the overall merits or failings of robotic systems, but an area that clearly has become a point for concern on all sides is the emergence of "killer robots." According to robotics pioneer, David Hanson, ...
Gene That Once Aided Survival in the Arctic Found to Have Negative Impact on Health Today
2014 10 23
In individuals living in the Arctic, researchers have discovered a gene variant that arose thousands of years ago and most likely provided an evolutionary advantage for processing high-fat diets or for surviving in a cold environment; however, the variant also seems to increase the risk of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, and infant mortality in today’s northern populations. {snip} “Our work ...
The Ebola hoax: questions, answers, and the false belief in the “One It”
2014 10 23
“The Reality Manufacturing Company doesn’t just sell ‘fake paintings’ that are easy to spot. No. They also sell images that are geared to mesh with people’s deeply held instincts and thereby produce rigid false beliefs. People are sure that if they gave up such beliefs, their world would fall apart and blow away in the wind.” ...
New Controversial Theory Suggests "Hobbits" Were Not Human - Who Were These Mysterious Beings?
2014 10 23
The origin of the Hobbit species remains a challenging subject to scientists. The Hobbit’s discovery confirmed the view that the Earth was once populated by many species of human, but new research the Hobbit’s were not human at all! So, who were these mysterious beings? Where did they come from? The idea that our species, Homo sapiens, was the only species of human on ...
Right into enemy hands? ISIS shows off new weapons allegedly airdropped by US (VIDEO)
2014 10 23
Islamic State has published a new video in which a jihadist shows off brand-new American hardware, which was purportedly intended for the Kurds they are fighting in the Syrian border town of Kobani. The undated video, posted by the unofficial IS mouthpiece “a3maq news”, sees a jihadist showing several boxes of munitions with English-language markings, with a parachute spread out on ...
More News »