May 27, 2010

"Top kill" stops the BP leak!

Great news at last. I hope it's true.

66 comments:

TRO said...

It seemed like the easiest answer and I'm sure they wanted to try it earlier but for fear of making things worse. Great news for the environment and the folks on the Gulf Coast, but bad news for the country as a whole because Barry will now tout this as a political victory he doesn't deserve.

Original Mike said...

Crossing fingers ...

E.M. Davis said...

As if a six-month moratorium on offshore deepwater drilling will really help anything. That's just posturing.

AllenS said...

Thank you, BP. Don't let Obama give you any shit, either. Tell him to fuck off.

AJ Lynch said...

Good news and kudos to the smart minds that defeated this monumental technological challenge.

Let's hope our pols have been suitably chastened and stay off their soapboxes for a while.

GMay said...

Now if only this could end up being a 'teachable moment' for those who like to use these types of events to score political points and assign blame before managing a crisis.

This is fantastic news, but it's only just the first step.

Roger J. said...

Good news--with the leak (presumabably) stopped the focus should shift to recovery and clean up operations.

Happy for Beth (and yeah even James Carville)

TRO said...

"Good news and kudos to the smart minds that defeated this monumental technological challenge."

Yes, congratulations to the engineers and others at BP who performed what is a near-miracle of engineering. Yes, they messed-up but they also fixed it despite the government's "help."

MadisonMan said...

My fingers are also crossed. I'd like confirmation from BP, however, not some Coast Guard person who probably heard it 3rd hand.

BP can now focus its attention on cleaning up the mess around the Gulf.

Jon said...

We should have just nuked the site from orbit. Its the only way to be sure.

AJ Lynch said...

The beer and booze will taste oh so good down there tonight!

Jon said...

@TRO

Yeah, but when Obama claims this as a victory, the media will immediately cut away to footage of dying marsh birds covered in oil, just like they would have if this had happened with Bush.

Original Mike said...

Jon - You are suppose to raise your left hand when you are being factitious. So everybody will know.

EDH said...

They've been able to stabilise the wellhead, they're pumping mud down it.

I think they should have used all that dog poo people collect in plastic bags.

The Drill SGT said...

Third hand is probably 6th hand.

I note this last line in the story:

Once engineers have reduced the pressure to zero, they will begin pumping cement into the hole to seal the well, he added

MM, seems to me that demonstrates that the writer doesn't understand what really is going on.

The pressure is there. it's not ever going to drop to zero.

what they mean is that currently they are pumping enough mud in that it is pushing down the hydrocarbon stack, thus no leak of oil, but exuding some mud.

once they build up a large enough mud stack, the mud will weigh enough to stop the leak without new mud being added.

at that point, they'll inject liquid concrete into the stack and let it settle into a plug. there hardening.

I hate dumb writers and even dumber news faces

LarsPorsena said...

Now if only the Feds will get out of the way so berms can be built on the barrier islands.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Now if only the Feds will get out of the way so berms can be built on the barrier islands.

If I was Jindal I'd just do it and tell the EPA to go pound sand.

No pun intended.

Turtledove said...

Amazing what private enterprise can do, even with the Government's boot on their throats.

Kirby Olson said...

On MSNBC last night Doberman was interviewing some environmental watchdog, and the expert said that what might happen by shoving the force back into the ground is that it might very well open up another fissure or two or three elsewhere, and only time will tell.

But this is good news, although it's already such a complete disaster.

Also, Obama apparently ignored a letter on his desk from some other government official warning that BP was not following all the rules to the letter, and this was going to create a fume.

I didn't catch who sent the letter. I think that was Karl Rove fuming about the letter that Obama apparently ignored on Fox.

I caught that last night during a time-out in the Orlando beatdown of the Boston Celtics (series back now to 3-2).

LarsPorsena said...

Elizabeth Birnbaum, BO's hack head of MMS has just been fired.

She was ,like BO, a Harvard Grad and editor of the law review. Another feckless Mandarin running a department that takes technical/scientific training.

Likely to be replaced (after a 'decent interval') with another academic hack.

AllenS said...

Once the leak is plugged, I want BP to drill another well nearby to continue pumping oil so we can live this wonderful American lifestyle that we are so used to. Thanks, BP. Please tell Obama to fuck off. Thanks again.

WV: airlanta

Original Mike said...

"some environmental watchdog, and the expert said that what might happen by shoving the force back into the ground is that it might very well open up another fissure or two or three elsewhere, and only time will tell."

What?????

The oil reservoir is a long ways down. This only seems possible if there's a rupture in the well pipe a short distance below the surface (which I suppose is possible).

I think Deputy Downer is just looking for a reason to pout about stopping the leak.

TRO said...

"Jon - You are suppose to raise your left hand when you are being factitious. So everybody will know."

Oh I got it . . . everyone got it . . how could we not? LOL

You won't be seeing any oily birds or dead fish on the news every night for the next few months though. Barry finally just told them to plug they hole and they did.

All praise him.

Darcy said...

Woohoo! Hope it sticks. Great news. I don't care who takes the credit, really. If the leak is taken care of, that's huge.

Roger J. said...

Gee--could it be the Mr Obama hired a technically unqualified hack for MMS? Heckofa job
Birnie--now walk the plank

The Drill SGT said...

Roger J. said...
Gee--could it be the Mr Obama hired a technically unqualified hack for MMS? Heckofa job
Birnie--now walk the plank


worse.

an environmental lawyer. read her bio

Beth said...

The headline here is "some success stopping leak" and it goes on to say that reports that CG Lt. Col. Thad Allen had said the leak was stopped aren't accurate. It's too early to tell.

BP and the Coast Guard are both saying they won't know definitively until this afternoon if it's being "somewhat successful" - they're being very careful in their wording.

Pray it does. There'll be years of cleaning to do, and all the other measures must continue (start! then continue) but this part is critical.

William said...

Yeah, thank God, Obama told them to plug the well. It's amazing how in the press of events such a simple solution was overlooked.....I don't think anyone looks very good here. This is a catastrophe with a thousand scapegoats and not a single hero.

Comrade X said...

Elizabeth Birnbaum, BO's hack head of MMS has just been fired.


heckuva job sugartits

Beth said...

Here's a good site for following this procedure:

http://www.theoildrum.com/

I've learned a bit more about the barrier dredging (I agree, Jindal should just start it; I think they have done so in one place): there are reasons to study it before starting. The estuaries they'll protect, for example, depend on the mix of fresh and salt water, so the barriers can harm what they're meant to protect. The barriers won't be a solid line of islands blocking off the entire coast so there'll still have to be means for cleaning out what oil gets past them. It's also important that they not just redirect the oil over to Mississippi and Alabama.

We need a whole mix of approaches, including tankers sucking this stuff out of the Gulf. Booms aren't working well because, probably due to the dispersant they've used, the oil is largely below the surface. Booms catch stuff on the surface.

I hope that if the top kill works, and they cement the thing, and no other leaks rupture, that clean-up will be their full-on focus right away.

AJ Lynch said...

"Sugartits" is always good for a laugh!

Michael said...

Beth: I am sure that the berms create some questions but remember that sand acts as a filter and it would not entirely stop the flow of fresh and sea water back and forth, only the oil. If a study is required and RFP is required and if an RFP is required then weeks and weeks of notice are required and if weeks and weeks of notice are required..... You get the point. Sometimes it is better to just do something that might work. Never should perfect be the enemy of the good.

Triangle Man said...

Thank you, BP.

Thanks for fixing it, now we can send you to jail.

AllenS said...

Everybody who works for BP? Does that include the kids at the BP convenience store?

The Drill SGT said...

CG Lt. Col. Thad Allen

hummm...

maybe Admiral Allen or Commandant Allen?

O-5 and O-10 are a bit apart as pay grades

Roger J. said...

Re the USCG--I think it is a very underrated service and does a great job with the limited resources it has. These guys are great sailors in small boats--and these guys were flying rescue missions in NOLA within hours of Katrina's passage (yeah, no one takes much cognizance of that). Thad Allen runs a tight ship and semper paratus.

The Drill SGT said...

"They say we gotta go out, they donn say we gotta come back"

My Best Man was a Coastie Helo pilot. (Army Brat)

Think the CG deserves credit? read about the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).

that's right, the Brits dont have a Coast Guard. They have a charity that performs the function.

8,000 plus boat launches in 2008, rescuing 7600 folks. 21 a day.

founded in 1824. for extra credit google Union Star or Pennlee

The siren blew in a hurricane force storm. 12 men answered the call in a small Cornish village called Mousehole. The coxsman took 8 out, but no more than 1 man per family. It was going to be bad...

The Penlee lifeboat Solomon Browne was lost, with all eight crew, going to the aid of the freighter Union Star. A total of 16 lives were lost - there were no survivors and only 8 bodies were recovered.


the RN provides the airborne search function.

k*thy said...

Maybe, now, going forward they'll have contingency plans based on the assumption that none of the equipment will work, instead of assuming that it all will.

edutcher said...

Hopefully, the Blonde's favorite nephew goes to New London next year when he turns 18. They do good work - they'll tell you they're the elite corps around which the United States Navy rallies in time of war.

As to the fix, we can only hope, but The Zero shouldn't be let off the hook. Not only for the incompetent, laggardly response, but the hanky-panky leading up to it. They've been in office almost a year and a half and they have a lot to answer for.

Heckuva job, Birnie.

Also, a note to all the advocates of GOVERNMENT, BP fixed it; if we'd waited for this administration, they'd be skimming crude off the Mississippi in St Paul.

Original Mike said...

It was Obama who saved us after all!

Beth said...

Yeah, Thad Allan is an admiral. I just checked that; the news story got it wrong. I'd actually typed Admiral, then checked the news story before hitting "post" and changed it accordingly. I should have trusted my instincts.

Roger J is correct - the USCG was the most efficient and effective group after Katrina. I'm not sure they've been as effective this time around, though.

Beth said...

Never should perfect be the enemy of the good.

That should be the guiding motto of this response, Michael.

The Drill SGT said...

Never should perfect be the enemy of the good.

Except in handling nukes (pay attention USAF), that is the basic motto of the Military. or as we say it:

an 80% solution applied promptly and with vigor beats the perfect decision, made too late or implemented without sufficent energy.

or the squad level version.

Do something!, we're getting killed here!

Hagar said...

and I hope the blowout preventer can be salvaged so that we can find out why all three redundancies failed.

Dan Brown: Call your office!

Original Mike said...

Do Something,

And if it works,
Do it some more.

And if it doesn't work,
Do. Something. Else.

FDR

Beth said...

CG has approved a "prototype" sand berm at BP's expense. And CoE is said to have approved "approximately half" the other requested berms, but at the parish and state expense. I don't understand that, but it's a start.

I am too obsessively browsing blogs from folks who are down on the coast, but if they're right, BP should be attempting to cement the leak in a couple of hours.

c3 said...

In an ideal world:
Good news--with the leak (presumabably) stopped the focus should shift to recovery and clean up operations.

In the "real" world:
Good news--with the leak (presumabably) stopped the focus will shift to congressional hearings and blame-storming.

The Drill SGT said...

c3 said...
the focus will shift to congressional hearings and blame-storming.


In reality, all of that is political theater.

BP is going to have to pay the bill.

and there will be real civil trials in front of judges where BP and its insurer go after each other and in other trials where BP, KBR and Transocean point fingers at each other with regard to actions on the rig.

given that these 3 firms and their executives have trials coming up, those bogus hearings and public floggings were very unfair to their rights.

Roger J. said...

Beth--I dont know enough about jurisdictional issues on the high seas and the coast guards role--Even on the mississippi, the lines of authority are blurred between the USCG (which has primary responsibility I think) and the corps of engineers and the border states--

One thing I hope that does emerge from this disaster is that clear cut responsibilities are assigned. Given my experience with the USCG, I'd go with them, but I think that conversation should be a major focus of hearings as long as off shore drilling is moving further off shore.

C3-I take your point about the real versus ideal world, and you are undoubtedly correct.

c3 said...

So in this we've seen an "energy catastrophe" with serious and long term consequences.

Here's another "energy catastrophe". Hopefully we don't exchange one for the other.

Michael said...

Drill Sargent: If you haven't already, read Matterhorn.

bagoh20 said...

Beth,

For what it's worth: In 1969 out here we had an oil spill in Santa Barbara, CA. Similar blowout, much smaller, but also much closer, only 6 miles from shore. It was a mess for years, but now is virtually undetectable. It's some of the most beautiful shoreline and beaches in the world today with extremely high property values. I know you have a disaster now, but it will heal. I hope you don't internalize it to much. Oil is a naturally occurring mineral that the environment is capable dealing with. Unfortunately, nature does have a more patient time line. Good luck with this. I'm for small government, but you are more than welcome to my tax dollars to do everything possible to help clean this up and other disasters like it. Good luck.

Aridog said...

Uh, check out the Live Video Feed of the "Top Kill"..still looks kind of messy to me.

Beth said...

Bagoh, thanks. Your words are very kind. I am glad to hear that the beaches and waters you love have recovered. Our marshes will be trickier but If this top kill works today we can hope for less oil coming inland.

Aridog said...

Beth...I'm even sorry for the gators...and I don't like gators much based upon my experiences with them, and snakes, in flood waters when part of an ERT in various southern locales.

Beth said...

Aridog,

I don't like snakes and gators, either, but it wouldn't be south Louisiana without them. I think they're all inland enough not to worry about the oil. Crawfish are safe, too. Yay!

Beth said...

I don't like that BP hasn't had a press conference today. This thing is not a done deal. The commenters at theoildrum.blogspot.com are speculating about some leakage, and that there's another, undocumented leak a few miles away from what we see on the underwater spillcam.

Aridog said...

Beth said: "Crawfish are safe, too. Yay!"

Good to see you have your priorities in order!

Aridog said...

Beth...what trips me out is that at a mile down with exotic robot equipment, as seen on the "top Kill" live feed, they've apparently attached a crusty crescent wrench to a robot arm with duct tape and rope....to close some valve I presume.

Original Mike said...

I wouldn't think this is going to be an on/off thing, but I'm optimistic Admiral Allan would have known what he was talking about when he said the pressure was way down.

Still got my fingers crossed.

Original Mike said...

Behind even the most exotic technolgy man has ever invented, there's alway going to be duct tape and a crescent wrench.

Beth said...

Gist of the discussion at Oil Drum, is they've used a lot of mud - on second tanker, with third standing by. Now they're going with the "junk shot" according to the comments at that blog. That means injecting some trash in there, along with the mud - rubber strips, golf balls. So that raises questions of when the cementing will start, and will they have enough. So this thing is far from over, and not a sure thing yet.

Beth said...

Per the NYTimes, they have stopped pumping; it's not working. They say they are making adjustments and hope to start again by midnight.

I think I have to do something else for awhile.

paul a'barge said...

I just checked google news ... apparently it's still a problem.

Roux said...

Thank God and BP engineers it seems to be working.

Fen said...

/via Tigerhawk

"Somewhere within BP true heroes are working night and day to stop the gusher and clean up its consequences. These people -- everybody from petroleum engineers to the rough men and women who work in oil fields in the world's most challenging environments to the machinists and welders who labor around the clock to build the next solution -- are not, in the main, responsible for the disaster. They are responsible for ending it. They are not known to us as individuals. In the current climate, where liberal activists intimidate the families of corporate executives to gain leverage, they no doubt hope to remain anonymous.

They are working around the clock, to the point of exhaustion, in conditions, both physical and emotional, more stressful than most American employees (including many who complain about all the stress they are under) can possibly comprehend. They will eventually solve this problem they did not create. At the moment of their success, which no doubt will come, these men and women will have prevented staggering incremental damage. Their only reward, though, will be relief and the satisfaction of a job well done.

I respectfully submit that the anonymous employees of BP and its contractors who are devoting themselves to plugging the hole and cleaning up the oil are, perhaps, the most heroic people in America right now. I'm one American who is grateful for you, and wish you the strength and wisdom to finish the daunting task before you."

read the whole thing:

http://tigerhawk.blogspot.com/