It’s one failure after the next for oil giant BP. The corporation’s latest attempt to stop oil from spilling out of the Deepwater Horizon well fell short. This weekend, BP attempted to place a four-story containment box over the well, which would then siphon up to 85 percent of the oil. However, icelike hydrates common at such ocean depths clogged the box’s opening, preventing oil siphoning. Now, BP is scrambling to find another option to control the damage.
Photo courtesy of AP, Patrick Semansky
And they better find one fast: Already, about 3.5 million gallons of oil have gushed from Deepwater Horizon since the explosion on April 20th. At this pace, the damage will surpass that of the Exxon Valdez oil spill by June 20th.
Right now, BP is considering a couple of containment methods. One is to lower a smaller dome onto the well. Because the smaller structure holds less water, it’s less vulnerable to icelike crystals. BP says it can have the dome ready by Tuesday or Wednesday of this week. Secondly, the company is considering using a tube to shoot mud and concrete into the well’s blowout preventer, a process that will take at least two-to-three weeks. And finally, BP is looking at possibly cutting the well’s undersea riser pipe and using a larger pipe to pump oil to a drill ship on the water’s surface.
Whichever method BP chooses to implement, we hope it happens quickly. Perhaps the best option is making a time machine–that way, we could turn back the clock and never lift the moratorium on offshore oil drilling in the first place.