Sunday, June 6, 2010

Just one question before they nuke the oil spill

Fox News 'Forbes on Fox' Panel: Detonate Nukes in Gulf to Stop Oil Spill |

Now, I'm not an engineer - I don't even pretend to be one. But something hasn't sat right with me since the first attempt to cap the well 7 weeks ago.

The first attempt was to put a big heavy cap over the top. It didn't work - presumably because it's fighting a flow rate of 5.78 gallons per second (as per the current estimate of 500,000 gallons per day leaking). In high pressure conditions and at that rate, of COURSE it's not going to work - nor would the heavier cap that followed.

But there's one thing that I'm curious about - and any real engineers can correct me if I'm out to lunch here - but instead of capping the well by trying to stop the flow, wouldn't they have been doing better to put a cap on with a proper pipe to channel the oil into a big long hose that safely carries the oil to the surface and a waiting tanker that can suck up the oil and safely carry it away? Even the smallest tanker would have enough capacity to carry 70,000 barrels which roughly translates into 6 days of leakage. Granted, this isn't a permanent fix, but it's not intended to be permanent - it IS good enough (if it can be done) to get them to a point where the relief well can be completed and both wells can be capped safely and effectively without throwing a nuke or golf balls at it.

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