Stunning setback: After days of progress, BP freezes work in Gulf
2010-07-14 0:00

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

Three-year-old ultra-Orthodox Jewish children told 'the non-Jews' are 'evil' in worksheet produced by London school
2015-09-02 19:43
Documents seen by The Independent show children are taught about the horrors of the Holocaust when they are still in kindergarten at the Beis Rochel boys’ school in north London. A whistle-blower, who wished to remain anonymous, has shown The Independent a worksheet given to boys aged three and four at the school. In it, children were asked to complete questions ...
The Unsafe Child: Less Outdoor Play is Causing More Harm than Good
2015-09-02 0:39
The third grade classroom that was visiting our nature center for the day consisted of mostly boys–rowdy, loud and rambunctious boys. As we started out into the woods, the children spoke loudly to each other in anticipation of what was to come. After playing a quick game and explaining the ground rules, it was time for free play. As soon ...
Rights group demand police need warrant to access data
2015-09-01 23:48
American citizens should be able to rest safe in the knowledge that no one has the right to pry into their digital records, where they have been and how long they stayed there. The Supreme Court has just received a brief from the Electronic Frontier Federation (EFF) stating that this should certainly be the case. However, in the case of Davis v. ...
Murder Rates Rising Sharply in Many U.S. Cities
2015-09-01 23:33
Cities across the nation are seeing a startling rise in murders after years of declines, and few places have witnessed a shift as precipitous as this city [Milwaukee]. With the summer not yet over, 104 people have been killed this year–after 86 homicides in all of 2014. More than 30 other cities have also reported increases in violence from a year ...
Bulgaria - Islamic State Terrorists Caught Crossing Into Europe Posing As Refugees
2015-09-01 23:47
Bulgarian authorities near the Gyueshevo border checkpoint detained the five men, aged between 20 and 24, late on Wednesday, Bulgarian broadcaster NOVA TV reported. The men were stopped by a border guard, who they attempted to bribe with a “wad of dollars.” However, they were searched and Islamic State propaganda, specific Jihadists prayers and decapitation videos were found on their phones. In ...
More News »