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British Petroleum is being excoriated in the mainline media. They probably deserve such treatment for how they’ve operated their oil production properties world-wide, but that doesn’t mean that what they have to say about technical issues and strategies is either worthless propaganda, or lacking in all credibility.
Clearly, now that the extent of damage in the Gulf Of Mexico spill is coming to be more fully understood, it’s clear that BP does, as do all other oil companies, large businesses, financial institutions, and governments, seek to control, frame, and spin information to suit its own needs and agendas.
If the job of legitimate, probative and responsible journalism is to reveal the fullest and most credible information on matters of importance, let alone a major catastrophe, it demands not just skeptical editing, but journalistic balance. Stories that describe the immensity of damage and the mind-numbing impact of the spill on individual communities and the personal lives of millions of citizens are fully appropriate — unless they’re the only aspects of the event being well covered.
We’ve carefully examined the Kent Wells technical update video provided by BP earlier this week. If you’d like to know something of the realities of the problems faced by BP in trying to stop the spill, this 22 minute video will take you from ignorance to being informed. It’s not likely to make you a BP fan, but it will help you to understand the immense technical problems at hand — and why it’s conceivable that it could be six or more months before the well flow is staunched.
Or, if you’d like to know what BP has to say about what it is doing here’s their latest news release on the Deepwater Horizon spill. BP’s account is not exactly fair and balanced, but it does represent their views and opinions — and reporting on them is as important as every other aspect of this immensely tragic story.
Subsea Source Control And Containment
Release date: 28 May 2010
Subsea efforts continue to focus on progressing steps to stop the flow of oil from the well through interventions via the failed Deepwater Horizon blow out preventer (BOP), and to collect the flow of oil from the leak points. These efforts are being carried out in conjunction with industry experts and governmental authorities.
Operations on the top kill procedure continue. Heavy drilling fluids were pumped under pressure into the BOP starting May 26 at 1300CDT, and top kill operations continue through 2400CDT on May 27. It is estimated that the full top kill procedure could extend for another 24 to 48 hours.
If the well were successfully ‘killed’, it is expected that cementing operations would then follow. The top kill procedure has never before been attempted at these depths and its ultimate success is uncertain.
In parallel with the ongoing top kill operation, preparations have been made for the possible deployment of the lower marine riser package (LMRP) cap containment system.
Deployment would first involve removing the damaged riser from the top of the failed BOP to leave a cleanly-cut pipe at the top of the BOP’s LMRP. The cap, a containment device with a sealing grommet, will be connected to a riser from the Discoverer Enterprise drillship, 5,000 feet above on the surface, and placed over the LMRP with the intention of capturing most of the oil and gas flowing from the well.
The LMRP cap is already deployed alongside the BOP in readiness for potential deployment. If it is decided to deploy this option, this would be expected to take some three to four days.
In addition to these steps, planning is being advanced for deploying, if necessary, a second BOP on top of the original failed BOP.
Drilling of two relief wells began on May 2 and May 16. It is estimated that each of these wells will take three months to complete from the commencement of drilling.
Surface Spill Response And Containment
Work continues to collect and disperse oil that has reached the surface of the sea, to protect the shoreline of the Gulf of Mexico, and to collect and clean up any oil that has reached shore.
Almost 1,300 vessels are now involved in the response effort, including skimmers, tugs, barges and recovery vessels. Operations to skim oil from the surface of the water have now recovered, in total, some 274,000 barrels (11.5 million gallons) of oily liquid.
The total length of containment boom deployed as part of efforts to prevent oil reaching the coast is now almost 1.9 million feet, and an additional 1.25 million feet of sorbent boom has also been deployed.
So far 26,000 claims have been filed and 11,650 payments have already been made. BP has received over 96,000 calls into its help lines to date.
The cost of the response to date amounts to about $930 million, including the cost of the spill response, containment, relief well drilling, grants to the Gulf states, claims paid and federal costs. It is too early to quantify other potential costs and liabilities associated with the incident.
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