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BP Robots Place Cap Over Well Leak

BP Robots Place Cap Over Well Leak

Tiffany Kaiser

June 07, 2010

After last week’s disappointing endeavor with the top kill procedure, BP has placed a containment cap over the leaking well pipe on Thursday with intentions of ceasing at least 90 percent of the flow of oil into the ocean. 

With the use of robot submarines, BP was able to cut the remains of the damaged riser pipe and lower the containment cap over the leaking pipe successfully before 10 p.m. on Thursday. With the cap in place, the company plans to funnel some of the oil into a large hose that carries it from the seabed to the surface where ships will collect and remove it. 

“We do have a cap successfully in place,” said Doug Suttles, BP Chief Operating Officer. "I’d like to see us capture 90 plus percent of this flow. I think that’s possible with this design.

“Of course, what we have to do is work through the next 24 or 48 hours to optimize that. But that would be the goal…we want to stop this oil from spilling to the sea.”

Over the last two weeks, the oil has reached the barrier islands of Alabama and Mississippi, and this morning it reached the Florida Panhandle. 

While the cap is in place, it isn’t a permanent fix. According to U.S. Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, BP failed to cut the pipe on Wednesday with a precision diamond-edged cutter and instead had to go with a rougher cut with shears. Such a jagged cut means that a rubber seal will not fit as tight as they need it to be, hence, the containment cap will not hold the contents of the leak completely. The well may not be entirely sealed off until the relief well is complete in August. 

“The next 12 to 24 hours will give us an indication of how successful this attempt will be,” said Tony Hayward, BP CEO

In addition to desperately seeking out solution after solution to this oil crisis, BP is also making a national ad campaign to tell America they’re sorry for what they’ve done, and that they’ll “make it right.”  At the same time, BP protesters are launching a Seize BP campaign, and they plan to have one week of demonstrations in more than 50 U.S. cities.

“From Florida to Seattle, Washington, from Hawaii to New York, all over California and many, many states across the country, people will be taking to the streets over the next week to demand that the assets of BP be seized now,” said Richard Becker, a member of the San Francisco chapter of the group. 

Protesters aren’t the only ones displeased with BP’s actions. President Barack Obama recently told Larry King that BP is responsible for causing the spill and for paying cleanup costs, and his “job is to make sure they’re being held accountable.” Obama will be returning to Louisiana Friday to examine the latest efforts. 

The White House recently gave Louisiana residents the approval to dredge up walls of sand offshore to keep oil from hitting land, as long as BP funds the project with $360 million. According to Gov. Bobby Jindal, BP hasn’t given a dime to the project yet, though they claim to have established a “$360 million escrow account to fund construction of the six sections of Louisiana barrier islands.” 

_© 2009, DailyTech.

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