Gulf Oil Flow could take months to stop

British Petroleum has prepared a plan to stop the massive flow of oil pouring from the seafloor into the Gulf of Mexico.

The plan is to lower heavy, concrete-and-metal boxes into the gulf to capture the oil flow and redirect it to a barge at the surface.

The method has worked in the past, but only in shallow waters.  It has never been tried at 5,000 feet below sea level.

“It’s probably easier to fly in space than do some of this,” Charlie Holt, BP’s drilling and completion operations manager in the Gulf of Mexico, said Sunday.

BP projects that the best case scenario for the plan would take at least one week to stop the oil flow.  But if that doesn’t work, Plan B would take months to execute.

U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Sunday that the second option would be to drill a second hole into the ocean floor, and divert the oil to another area to be extracted.  But that plan would take about three months to implement.

“You’re looking at potentially 90 days before you ultimately get to what is the ultimate solution,” Slazar said Sunday, alluding to the plan.

In the meantime, 200,000 gallons of oil will continue to pour into the Gulf of Mexico every day until someone figures out how to shut it off.

The oil slick grew over the weekend from the size of Rhoad Island to larger than the state of Delaware, and it is now visible from space.

Al Jazeera posted a great visual breakdown of how the disaster happened.

NASA captured these satellite images last Friday.

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One comment

  1. While watching the latest news about the BP Oil spill, a frightening thought came to mind: what if we can’t stop the oil? I mean, what happens if after all the measures to cap the pipe fail, (i.e., “Top Hat”, “Small Hat” and “Top Kill”). What then? An accident this problematic is new territory for BP. The oil pipeline is nearly a mile down on the ocean floor, accessible only by robots. Add on top of that the extreme pressure at which the oil is flowing out of the pipeline and there you have it: the perfect storm.

    Moreover, scientists also claim that they’ve found an enormous plume of oil floating just under the surface of the ocean measuring approximately 10 miles long, 3 miles wide and 300 feet thick. (I’m no math genius, but I bet one of you reading this could figure out just how many barrels of oil that is…)

    There are new estimates that the amount of oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico is anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 barrels of oil a day: that’s a far cry from BP’s estimated 5,000 barrels a day. If BP’s estimates are correct, the total amount of oil now in the Gulf would be approximately 150,000 barrels (or 6,300,000 gallons). That’s barely enough to fill 286 swimming pools: sixteen feet, by thirty-two feet, by eight and a half feet deep. That wouldn’t cover an area the size of New York City, let alone an area the size of Delaware. Obviously, the spill is much larger than we are being led to believe. If the leak can’t be stopped, in a year’s time, we’ll have roughly 18,250,000 barrels of oil (or 766,500,000 gallons) in our oceans, killing our marine and animal wildlife. Such a calamity would be environmentally and economically disastrous. Pray that BP and our government work fast to end this catastrophe.

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