BP’s Looney Tunes Oil Spill Containment Failures

I wouldn’t say it has failed yet. What I would say is what we attempted to do last night didn’t work.~Doug Suttles the operating officer for exploration and production for BP in reference to the containment dome

I’ve been busy lately and even temporarily derailed by a fallen tree on my electricity and internet wires so I only took in so much news about this disaster in the past few weeks. The more I read and heard the more ridiculous these containment efforts sounded. These ideas are some of the most outrageous, Looney Tunes, Wile E. Coyote-ACME solutions I’ve ever heard of.

The massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has been spewing since the April 20th explosion of BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig. BP deployed a 98-ton steel containment dome over the worst of the two remaining leaks guided into place on the seabed by remote-controlled submarines. That plan failed when workers encountered an unusually the high buildup of gas hydrates, ice-like crystals formed by gas, water, low temperatures and high pressures, built up inside the container.

The hydrates are lighter than water and threatened to make the dome too buoyant to stay in place while plugging up the top of the dome that had a pipe meant to funnel the leak to a containment ship. Gas hydrates. I guess nobody saw that coming.

According to nytimes.com I guess BP is on plan H now:

Engineers have described three other approaches that could stop the leak: a so-called junk shot that would clog the blowout preventer [a massive safety device that is designed to seal an oil well in an emergency but failed to do so after the explosion at the rig on April 20] with materials including shredded tires and golf balls; adding a second blowout preventer atop the first and using it to shut the flow; or cutting the collapsed riser pipe and installing a valve that would do the same thing. “

Is that better or worse than earthquake pills?

The catastrophe is easily becoming the worst environmental disaster in US history. BP has estimated 5,000 barrels of oil are leaking into the Gulf everyday. Other scientists have found estimates exponentially greater than that, which makes sense. Why did we trust BP’s estimates in the first place? Amazing what the mainstream media will force on the public as a credible news source.

Now some scientists report about 70,000 barrels of oil a day could be spewing from this oil spill. That gives us another Exxon Valdez oil spill every 4 days. And the Exxon Valdez estimates were reportedly lowballed too!

These methods of containment are unprecedented and failing because of unpredictable pressure flows of oil (if they aren’t already a problem they will be), difficulties encountered when operating at such low depths in the ocean and the fact that this offshore drilling shouldn’t have happened in the first place.

Surely there should have been some procedures or apparatus in place for massive disasters like this. If not preventative measures should have been taken and strict regulations should have been provided and enforced.

We all know those things didn’t happen so we’re left with BP (formerly “British Petroleum”, currently “Billionaire Polluter”) as Wile E. Coyote ordering crazy shit from ACME. I do not mean to make light of this situation. There’s so much at stake here. I am genuinely horrified by the ideas the people in charge of this came up with starting with the decision to use a dangerous, janky offshore oil rig.

Side Note: Seriously, if he had all that money to order ACME products why couldn’t Wile E. Coyote have just bought dinner?

I feel her pain: Browngirl Going Green’s post Reeling: The Oil Spill Continues is worth checking out.


  1. Madam Toussaint

    I agree, it’s good to connect. Thanks so much for the add. Your blogroll is a really valuable resource. It’s good to know there’s more of us out there!

  2. tiffya

    Just noticed some images of the oil-soaked pelicans after the spill. Makes me so sad to see this. At least there are people that care enough to help with this.

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