Engineers trying multiple tactics in battle to plug oil well in Gulf of Mexico

13/05/2010 10:42
Engineers will use golf balls and shredded automobile tires inshoes what they call a "junk shot" to try to clog the oil well that has been leaking crude at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico since the sinking last month of the drilling rig Deepwater Horizon. "We'll be pumping pieces of tire. We'll be pumping knots in cheap shoesropes," Kent Wells, senior vice president of exploration and production for BP, said in a news briefing Monday. "There's a little bit of a science in this, even though it sounds odd." The war in the gulf since the blowout April 20 has tested the ingenuity and improvisational skills ofwholesale shoes petroleum engineers who have never tried to cap a well in mile-deep water. They're hoping for victory but hedging their bets. "We are designing every option to be successful, and we are planning fornike shoes it failing," Wells said. The emergency response to the leak has taken on the terminology of a military campaign. There was talk Monday of multiple "fronts" in the battle (subsea, the surface, the shoreline), an "army" of engineers and experts, and an "air force" of planes spreading chemical dispersants. Although the well remained uncapped, BP executives said the chemicals, controlled fires and skimming have helped them beat back the oil slick and keep it from land. "The visible size of the spill is less significant than it was a week orcheap nike shoes 10 days ago," Doug Suttles, BP's chief operating officer, said Monday after a weekend flight over the slick. BP chief executive Tony Hayward, asked whether the spill is imperiling his company, answered withNike Air Jordan Shoes a stiff upper lip: "It's clearly a serious situation for BP, and that is why we are so focused on resolving it. And we will. We will resolve it. It's simply a question of how long it takes." Engineers have developed at least a half-dozen distinct lines of air jordanattack on the leaking well -- what might be called plans A through F. Plan A was tried right away. Engineers at the surface used robotic submarines to air jordan shoestry to close valves on a massive apparatus called the blowout preventer, which sits atop the wellhead 5,000 feet below. That tactic didn't work, and BP abandoned it. Plan B, which received a flurry of media attention, used a 100-ton, 40-foot-tall steel containment dome, or coffer dam. On Thursday night the dome was lowered onto the largest leak, a hole in a pipe called a riser, which is now partly buried in mud. But deep-sea chemistry foiled the effort. The dome became clogged with methane hydrates, an ice-like slush created when the pressurized gas from the well mixed with the cold seawater. The hydrates, which are lighter than water, stuck to the inside of the dome and made it buoyant, Suttles said. The latest hope, Plan C, is the "top hat." It is a small containment dome Nike Air Max Shoes-- four feet wide, five feet tall and shaped like a barrel cut in half -- that will be lowered over the main leak. The smaller dome will not capture nearly as much seawater as the large dome did. That, engineers hope, will cut down on the hydrate formation. But it might also mean that less of the oil is captured, Wells said. Plan D: The "hot tap." Engineers want to tap into a section of damaged riser and suck up the oil before it can travel farther down the pipe and spew from the large gash. Plan E: The junk shot, also known asAir Max the "top kill." The idea is to plug the blowout preventer with materials of various shapes and textures. They will be injected directly into the contraption, the larger pieces going first. If the blowout preventer clogs as hoped, the next step would be to inject drilling mud down into the wellbore to "kill" the well. Then would come cement to permanently seal the well. It's risky. BP technicians said they think the blowout preventer is partly closed, constricting the flow from the well and preventing it from becoming a full-blown gusher. "In each of these steps, we are weighing the risks of making things worse," said BP Executive Vice President David Nagel. Air Jordan 10 Air Jordan 11 Air Jordan 12 Air Jordan 13 Air Jordan 14