No Real Solution To Stopping Oil Spill In The Gulf Of Mexico

The oil spill that has been slowly taking over the Gulf of Mexico since April 20, has no end in sight. The 100-ton metal box that BP hoped would contain the gushing wellhead 5,000 feet deep in the ocean floor, didn’t do the trick. What’s next?

The Plans

First, the metal box may still be able to work only if engineers manage to find a way to melt the ice particles that clogged up the pipe hole at the top of the box. But because this is something that has never been attempted before, BP is moving on to plan B and C in its fight to control the oil spill.

Plan B is already underway; BP is drilling a relief well not far from the gushing wellhead. The plan is to drill the well diagonally so that it intercepts with the faulty well pipes beneath the seafloor. Once the pipes intercept, BP will pump cement to stop the oil flow. How long before this takes care of the problem? Two to three months.

Plan C is being talked about, but there is great hesitation that it will work. The idea is to clog up the wellhead with pieces of rubber, golf balls, and other materials. The danger here is that stuffing the faulty wellhead may further damage it and the pressure could make it blow up. If the wellhead blows up, the flow of oil will turn into a eruption-like gush of 200,000 gallons of oil a day into the Gulf. Not a good picture.

“We need Aqua Man to stop this,” joked an AM talk radio host in Louisiana.

VENICE, La. - Workers at decontamination site in Venice, La., carry oil containment boom that was cleaned May 4, 2010. The boom is to be transferred to a staging area where it will be put back into service aboard on of the many boats fighting to mitigate the effects of the uncontrolled discharge of oil that was a result of the Deepwater Horizon incident. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Patrick Kelley.

Apocalyptic Future

Everyone involved in trying to stop the oil leak agree than it would be easier to send someone to the Moon than to repair the mess in the Gulf. The Deepwater Horizon Response Unified Command Center has been holding press briefings several times a day, passing on any news of progress and setbacks. So far, everything has been bad news.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has lost confidence that the metal box will work and he has ordered his staff to look into the possibilities of dredging soil from the Mississippi and creating “barrier islands” to protect the coast of his state. The idea here is to stop the oil from moving into the mouth of the Mississippi River and to the Atchafalaya.

The worse than can happen is that the oil slick can get caught into the underwater currents that move east — to Florida and to the Atlantic Coast — contaminating those areas with oil as well.

This Apocalyptic-like environmental disaster has everyone in the coast of the Gulf on edge. The impact hasn’t yet been felt within the City of New Orleans as residents and tourists continue to go out and about, but sooner or later, this spill may bring everyone to a halt.


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