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BP Robots to Cut Damaged Pipe; Oil Dispersant Maker Says ‘We Have Nothing to Hide’; Oil Déjà Vu

BP Robots to Cut Damaged Pipe; Oil Dispersant Maker Says ‘We Have Nothing to Hide’; Oil Déjà Vu

Courtesy of Mish

Oiled Guillimot after Empress oil spill,West Wales

With Top Kill officially dead, BP has moved on to an option involving underwater robots to cut the pipe, followed by another funneling scheme.

Please consider BP’s Robots to Begin Next Attempt to Curb Record Oil Spill

BP Plc will use undersea robots to begin cutting damaged pipe from its leaking oil well off Louisiana as early as today, risking temporarily increasing the flow as it makes another attempt to end the largest oil spill in U.S. history.

“BP and the government have no choice but to proceed,” Jason Kenney, an Edinburgh-based analyst for ING Commercial Banking, who rates the shares a “buy” and owns none, said yesterday in an interview. “This is war. As in all wars, it rarely goes smooth.”

Using remote-controlled vehicles at the mile-deep well, BP plans to shear away most of the damaged pipe that once rose from the well to the Deepwater Horizon. Then it will make a more precise cut with a diamond-toothed band saw, BP Managing Director Robert Dudley said in television interviews yesterday.

That will make a clean junction for a gasket-lined cap intended to catch most of the oil and route it to the surface through a pipe, Dudley said.

The new funnel may enable BP to capture as much as 90 percent of the oil and gas escaping from the well, Dudley said on “Face the Nation.” BP is also preparing a second blowout preventer that may be bolted on in place of the cap and used to try again to stop all leakage, he said.

The spill may cost BP $22 billion should it continue through early August, when the company expects to plug the leak with one of the relief wells, Kenney, the ING analyst, said yesterday. That compared with his estimate of $5.3 billion had the latest attempt to plug the well worked.

BP fell 5 percent to 494.8 pence in London trading on May 28 and has lost 25 percent of its market value since the blast.

Well Could Leak Until August 

An aide to Obama says US Spill could last until August.

Oil could gush into the Gulf of Mexico from the BP BP.L. rig until August and the U.S. government is "preparing for the worst," Carol Browner, President Barack Obama’s top adviser on energy and climate change, said on Sunday.

Speaking on the CBS TV show "Face The Nation," Browner said: "There could be oil coming up till August when the relief wells are done."

She said BP’s latest effort to try to capture and contain oil would not provide a permanent solution or prevent some oil escaping into the sea even if the maneuver succeeded.

"We are prepared for the worst. We have been prepared from the beginning," she added.

Nothing to Hide

The Oil Dispersant Maker Says We Have Nothing to Hide‘ 

The manufacturer of the oil-dispersing chemicals being used by BP PLC in the Gulf of Mexico said today that injecting the dispersant on a still-gushing wellhead was unprecedented and should be carried out with ample testing.

"That’s a new approach," said Erik Fyrwald, CEO of Nalco, whose dispersants are marketed under the name Corexit. "Our belief is, because it is a new approach, it needs to be done with a lot of testing to make sure there are no unfavorable impacts, and we encourage that."

Scientists have compared BP’s heavy use of dispersants in the Gulf to a massive chemistry and biology experiment, saying it is an exercise in environmental trade-offs. The chemicals break up oil that would otherwise float on the surface into tiny droplets that can sink and be consumed by fish, bacteria and microorganisms.

The consensus is that the 870,000 gallons of Corexit that have been either sprayed on the Gulf’s surface or injected underwater at the broken wellhead has likely spared beaches and wetlands from an even worse oil slick, while contributing to the formation of massive, difficult-to-track oil plumes underwater that could have long-term ecological consequences.

Fyrwald said Nalco has disclosed the complete chemical constituents of Corexit to EPA to assist in the government’s evaluation and testing of the otherwise proprietary formula.

"We’ve given the exact formulation," he said. "We have nothing to hide."

Hallelujah. The maker has released the exact formula. What good does it do to know the formula when no one knows if use of dispersants is the right thing to do.

The problem is everyone is guessing.

If they are supposed to be testing Corexit as the CEO suggested, then they sure as hell should not be using 870,00 gallons of it as the test.

Déjà Vu

If you have a sneaking suspicion we have been through this before, with the exact same efforts to contain the spill and the exact same failures to do so, then you are correct.

Please play the above video. It’s Déjà Vu all over again. Technology has gotten a lot better at drilling deeper and deeper wells. Technology to cleanup spills has made no gains.

Is that a sign the penalties for major screwups are not big enough? I think so.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock


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