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Top Kill Is On

May 27, 2010

 

After many failed attempts, BP today started working on a risky procedure to stop the oil gushing out of the well in Gulf of Mexico. The procedure called “Top Kill” basically involves pumping large amounts of mud and dense fluids at high velocity into the wellhead. This dense mixture  is expected to push back the oil and gases back into the wellhead and when that happens, the well will be sealed with the cement. The whole process is very tricky and requires a great deal of coordination between different processes, but let’s hope for best at this point of time. BP claims that the procedure has 60-70 % probability of succeeding and we will be able to know about it’s success in few hours. If this procedure fails, next in line is something called “Junk Shot” where pieces of debris of various shapes and sizes consisting of things like golf balls, shredded tires, ropes etc will be used to clog the well. If that doesn’t work, then only resort left will be to bore relief well which will take another two-three months or the well dies by itself. I am assuming, the relief well is being already drilled in case everything fails.

You can watch live streaming of the video from the seabed. Video streaming stops from time to time, so if you see a dark screen, try reloading the page and hope it works. I am hoping to get some good news when I wake up in the morning!

Video streaming courtesy NPR/PBS

UPDATE: Recent reports and video view suggest that the top kill procedure is going as planned and might have reduced or stopped the oil flow, at least temporarily. As seen in the video, most of the stuff is now muddy, but its difficult to make sure just from the video. Everyone is cautious in declaring this as success, the operation will be completely successful once the well has been cemented.[ Newsweek, LA Times, NY Times]

President Obama suspended all the offshore drilling contracts/permits for atleast next six months, which he announced in today’s news conference.

Govt scientists today admitted that BP spill has been underestimated  and the amount of oil spilled is 2-3 times more than Exon Valdez disaster, making it biggest Oil spill disaster in US history.

Elizabeth Birnbaum, Head of Mineral Management Services, which oversees the rules and regulations for drilling operations, resigned today; some say she was fired.

Picture: Boston.com Big Picture/REUTERS/Daniel Beltra/Greenpeace

Filed under: Environment,News

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