May 27, 2010

BP top kill halted due to “snag,” another giant underwater plume of oil discovered

Filed under: Uncategorized — Greg in cheeseland @ 7:54 pm

Author’s note: This is three-part piece, but what is most noteworthy is that all of the information was obtained through corporate media. Are they finally waking up, or this is so bad there is no hiding it anymore?

The New York Times reported today that BP’s “top kill” effort has been halted due to a snag.

A “snag?” Perhaps that is a reference to the estimated 165 to 170 thousand pounds per square inch of pressure that is blowing oil and natural gas from the floor of the Gulf like a volcano, and now also blowing out the drilling “mud” that BP is attempting to inject in the opening to seal it.

The “top kill” procedure has never been attempted in the deep sea, under such enormous pressure. Keep in mind that the water pressure at the depth of the leak is enough to crush the hull of a navy submarine, yet oil and gas is shooting out like a geyser. Drilling mud is comprised of divided heavy material, such as bentonite and barite, and is commonly used in surface operations by being pumped through the drill pipe during rotary drilling to seal off porous zones and flush out chippings. It was not designed for underwater use at such a depth.

A live video feed of the operation clearly showed the mud being blasted out of the pipe, but with enough mud being pumped in at a fast enough rate, the hope is that eventually enough mud will accumulate to overcome the upward pressure of oil. Apparently that has not been the case, as BP halted the procedure “when engineers saw that too much of the drilling fluid they were injecting into the well was escaping along with the leaking crude oil.”

According to the Washington Post, an area of dissolved oil was found that is about six miles wide, and extends from the surface down to a depth of about 3,200 feet, said Professor David Hollander. The discovery is the second significant undersea plume recorded since the Deepwater Horizon exploded on April 20.

Hollander said that he believed the plume might have stretched more than 20 miles from the site of a leak on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico, where the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig sank April 22. It has not yet reached Florida. “Here is a situation where, unless you’re looking at the chemical fingerprints, [the oil] is absolutely not visible,” Hollander said. “It’s not some Italian vinaigrette or anything like that. It’s absolutely, perfectly clear.”

In yet another troubling development, Matt Simmons, told Dylan Ratigan on MSNBC that “there’s another leak, much bigger, 5 to 6 miles away” from the leaking riser and blowout preventer shown on the underwater cameras. (You can view the video clip at my Examiner link).

Simmons was an energy adviser to George W. Bush, an adviser to the Oil Depletion Analysis Center, and a member of the National Petroleum Council and the Council on Foreign Relations. He is also chairman and CEO of Simmons & Company International, an investment bank catering to oil companies.

In other words, that comes from a source who has inside knowledge of the industry and who certainly cannot be labeled an environmentalist or anti-corporatist. At the very least, the Obama administration or BP should either refute or confirm his claims. The silence on that could become the infamous dog that did not bark.

On a positive note, the Obama administration did extend a moratorium on new off shore drilling permits and the corporate media is finally beginning to report that the gusher in the Gulf is worse than BP and the feds have been telling people. Other than that, it is a nightmare for Gulf residents that just does not seem to end.

Read more, get links and video here: Orlando Independent Examiner – BP top kill halted due to “snag,” another giant underwater plume of oil discovered

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