BP: ‘Mr. President, We’ve Made You A New Cap!’
With continued pressure from the White House, BP has stepped up the drilling of the relief wells and has presented the President and Admiral Thad Allen with plans for a new cap.
Now at day 80 (from the start of the largest environmental disaster in human history), BP has announced that they have a new solution to contain the leak in the Gulf of Mexico. Over the past 30 days it has created a masterpiece that only Dr. Seuss could appreciate. It has named this new creation a “Sealing Cap.”
THE “END ALL?”
Touted as the “end all” solution to stop the existing flow of crude from the reservoir, the sealing cap is said to be able to contain up to 89,000 gallons of crude per day. This magnificent capture rate is supposedly greater than the total amount leaking.
To install the new “cap” BP must remove the old “top hat” and allow crude to flow freely for up to three days. To be completed, multiple “complicated” maneuvers must be successful. Engineers familiar with what needs to be done are skeptical of attempting several highly technical feats at the same time miles below the surface. No discussion of the backup plan to the “sealing cap” has been made public.
If this new cap does work, a device could be attached later which would allow capture ships on the surface to leave the site and detach from the connecting hose quickly in case of a storm or high waves.
PERMANENTLY STOPPING THE FLOW
Attempting to shine some sunlight on the disaster, BP’s new man in charge, Bob Dudley, has said that one of the relief wells may be able to permanently shut down the flow of oil by the end of July. Admiral Thad Allen quickly responded that even though BP is optimistic, he would like to stick to the original time schedule for this task. This means that by mid-August, the relief well may be blocked with mud and cement deep in the drilling cavity end at least half of this crisis.
Even with the well saddled and closed off once and for all, everyone is well aware that the cleanup is a daunting task. Over 300 million barrels of crude oil is scattered all over the Gulf of Mexico. Dead fish, birds and other animals continue to be discovered floating in the Gulf or washing ashore.
OIL AROUND FLORIDA
Now, tar balls have been discovered as far away as Cape Canaveral, Florida, on the east coast. Other tar balls were supposedly discovered over the weekend in Cocoa Beach, Florida.
OUR LIFESTYLE MAY CHANGE
Life in the sunny south is wonderful. With the tar and oil-free ocean only 12 minutes from our door, we can load the bikes, boogie boards and grab the suntan lotion for a full day at the beach. This is something we do almost every weekend. This is a routine which began nearly 40 years ago and from our observations of the ocean and beach very little has changed.
But this past weekend, I caught a glimpse of something that I have never seen in the ocean before. It was a small boat which looked like a small shrimp boat. Maybe it looked more like a miniature pilot boat. The seas were calm which allowed this strange looking vessel to move into shallow water and back out to sea with ease between swells. By the time that it got close enough to view the writing on its side, I was angry enough to want to inform the authorities of its life threatening movements. I felt that each time it came in toward shore it put lives at risk. Finally, the moment arrived where I could read the inscription.
On the side of the boat were the large black letters which read, “SURVEY RESEARCH VESSEL.”
Hmmm. I guess the authorities already know about it.
This was unusual to say the least. We looked at each other and tried to figure out just what such a vessel would be doing. Just what kind of research could it be conducting? Suddenly it came to me. What if it were surveying the ocean floor and water quality in case of future litigation? Is it possible that the state of Florida were performing a pre-emptive strike?
What other way could the state prove that the water was pure and free of tar balls and oil residue? Why not have records prior to any incident.
On Sunday, July 4th, the Washington Post printed a story mentioning an email from BP Spokeswoman Anne Kolton which stated that BP is working with state and federal officials “conducting joint sampling to gather information about the condition of the environment before the spill and to establish the environmental impacts of the spill and extent of restoration that is required."
Still, the amazing thing to me is the estimated amount of oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico daily. The government and BP have set the exact figure at either 35,000, 40,000, 45,000, 50,000, 55,000, 60,000 or 65,000 barrels per day.
Whatever the amount, it must be stopped, it must be cleaned up and it must never ever happen again. I don’t care if they use a hat, a cap or a rat. I do not like oil in the Gulf, I do not like it in the Keys, not on the birds, not on the fish, I do not like oil anywhere – stop it please.