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I sure hope they get this sucker capped before our beaches turn black.





NEW ORLEANS ? It could take hours or it could take months to stop a 42,000-gallon-a-day oil leak polluting the <span class=yshortcuts id=lw_1272246205_0 style="BACKGROUND: none transparent scroll repeat 0% 0%; CURSOR: hand; BORDER-BOTTOM: #366388 2px dotted">Gulf of Mexico at the site of a wrecked drilling platform. Whether the environmental threat grows many times bigger depends on whether the oil company can turn the well completely off.</p>


Crews are using robot submarines to activate valves at the well head in hopes of cutting off the leak, which threatens the <span class=yshortcuts id=lw_1272246205_1>Gulf Coast's fragile ecosystem of shrimp, fish, birds and coral. If the effort fails, they'll have to start drilling again.</p>


The submarine work will take 24 to 36 hours, Doug Suttles, chief operating officer for BP Exploration and Production, said Sunday afternoon.</p>


"I should emphasize this is a highly complex operation being performed at 5,000 feet below the surface and it may not be successful," he said.</p>


Oil continued to leak nearly a mile underwater Sunday at the site where the <span class=yshortcuts id=lw_1272246205_2 style="BACKGROUND: none transparent scroll repeat 0% 0%; CURSOR: hand; BORDER-BOTTOM: #366388 2px dotted">Deepwater Horizon rig exploded on Tuesday. Eleven workers are missing and presumed dead.</p>


For the second consecutive day, high waves prevented boats and equipment from going out to clean the spill. Airplanes sprayed chemicals to break up the oil.</p>


The spill initially appeared to be easily manageable after the <span class=yshortcuts id=lw_1272246205_3 style="CURSOR: hand; BORDER-BOTTOM: #366388 2px dotted">oil rig sank Thursday about 50 miles off the Louisiana coast, but it has turned into a more serious <span class=yshortcuts id=lw_1272246205_4>environmental problem. Officials on Saturday discovered the leak, which is spewing as much as 1,000 barrels ? or 42,000 gallons ? of oil each day.</p>


The oil spill has been growing ? officials said the oily sheen on the surface of the gulf covered about 600 square miles Sunday. The environmental damage would be especially serious if it reaches land.</p>


The spill was still about 70 miles from the mainland, but only about 30 miles from an important chain of barrier islands known as the Chandeleurs.</p>


The islands, part of a <span class=yshortcuts id=lw_1272246205_5>national wildlife refuge, are an important nesting ground for pelicans and other sea birds. They have been under serious threat since <span class=yshortcuts id=lw_1272246205_6>Hurricane Katrina washed out much of the sand there.</p>


"Katrina did kick it pretty good, but they have been growing back," said Greg Thornton, the 52-year-old owner of <span class=yshortcuts id=lw_1272246205_7>Horn Island and Due South Charters in Biloxi. He takes fishing parties out to the islands.</p>


Looking at wind patterns on his computer, which showed favorable conditions until Thursday, Thornton held out hope that the oil could be contained.</p>


"We might have some trouble if they don't get the boom around it and stop it from spreading," he said.</p>


The spill so far appears to be small relative to some major oil accidents. The <span class=yshortcuts id=lw_1272246205_8 style="BACKGROUND: none transparent scroll repeat 0% 0%; CURSOR: hand; BORDER-BOTTOM: #366388 2px dotted">Exxon Valdez spilled 11 million gallons in Alaska's Prince William Sound in 1989 ? the worst oil spill in U.S. history.</p>


"It has the potential to be pretty serious, but at 1,000 barrels a day, if it comes to the surface they'll probably be able to contain it and vacuum it up," said James Cowan, an oceanography and coastal sciences professor at <span class=yshortcuts id=lw_1272246205_9>Louisiana State University in <span class=yshortcuts id=lw_1272246205_10>Baton Rouge.</p>


The company is planning to collect leaking oil on the ocean bottom by lowering a large dome to capture the oil and using pipes and hoses to pump it into a vessel on the surface, said Suttles, the BP executive.</p>


"That system has been deployed in shallower water," he said, "but it has never been deployed at 5,000 feet of water, so we have to be careful."</p>


The robot submarines are attempting to close off the flow of oil by activating a shutoff device at the well head known as a blowout preventer.


In case that doesn't work, BP PLC, which leased the Deepwater, moved another deepwater rig, the DD3, toward the explosion site. If necessary, the new rig would drill relief wells into the damaged well underneath the ocean floor. That could take several months.


Benton F. Baugh, who holds patents for blowout preventer parts, said the subs should be able to do the job.


"If they can't get it closed off, something really unusual happened," said Baugh, president of Radoil Inc. in Houston and a <span class=yshortcuts id=lw_1272246205_11>National Academy of Engineering member.


Kenneth E. Arnold, an offshore production facility expert and another member of the engineering academy, said drilling a relief well is not an easy task.


"You have to intersect the well," he said. "Sometimes you have to drill through the steel, and that's what happened in Australia. It took them three times before they were successful."


He was referring to a blowout on the West Atlas rig in the Timor Sea last August. It wasn't until November that mud could be pumped through a relief well to shut off the deepwater spigot. The oil spill has resulted in major environmental damage along the coast of <span class=yshortcuts id=lw_1272246205_12>East Timor and <span class=yshortcuts id=lw_1272246205_13>Indonesia.


Coast Guard officials said weather conditions for the next three days would help keep the Gulf spill away from the coast.


Mark Schexnayder, a regional coastal adviser at the Louisiana Sea Grant, said the oil spill had the potential to do long-term damage to the coastal environment. The location of the spill is crisscrossed by marine species, including sperm whales, whale sharks, sea turtles, grouper and porpoises, he said.


"We're a month away from opening up the inshore shrimp season, crab season is just getting underway," he said. "It could close oyster beds."


BP said it has activated an extensive <span class=yshortcuts id=lw_1272246205_14>oil spill response, including the robot submarines, 700 workers, four planes and 32 vessels to mop up the spill and spray chemicals that will disperse the oil.


<span class=yshortcuts id=lw_1272246205_15>The Marine Spill Response Corp., an energy industry cleanup consortium, also brought in equipment. So far, crews have retrieved about 1,143 barrels of oily water.


Complicating efforts to stop the leak is the well head's depth at 5,000 feet underwater, said Lars Herbst, the regional director for the <span class=yshortcuts id=lw_1272246205_16 style="CURSOR: hand; BORDER-BOTTOM: #366388 2px dotted">U.S. Minerals Management Service, which regulates <span class=yshortcuts id=lw_1272246205_17 style="CURSOR: hand; BORDER-BOTTOM: #366388 2px dotted">oil rigs. Leaks have been fixed at similar depths before, but the process is difficult, he said.


The explosion appeared to be a blowout, in which natural gas or oil forces its way up a well pipe and smashes the equipment. But precisely what went wrong is under investigation.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_louisiana_oil_rig_explosion</p>
 

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Not meaning to minimalize the disaster or the tragedic loss of life, but I wonder how much the price of gas is going to go up now?
 

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Here's a true color shot from Hilton's last night showing the extent of the oil spill - looks like it's circling Ram Powell and hitting the Beer Can and TLP Marlin.

Hopefully the winds and currents will keep it away from the shorelines and estuaries and that they get this thing under control soon.

My condolences to the families' loss in this tragic accident.

Tom Hilton
 

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What's really awesome is that BP probably won't have to pay the cleanup costs and even if they do it will just get passed on to us in the form of higher gas prices.
 

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I sure hope this leakage can be contained soon! Personally, I think BP should be gathering far more cleanup experts and resources in conjunction with the attempts to stop the leak....

Flying the aircraft and dropping "dispersants" (basically soap) is not even a stop gap measure... it is blatant negligence. To simply hide the oil by sinking it to the bottom does nothing but harm.

Let a boat owner get caught "soaping" a spill in a marina and watch his life get real expensive real quick!!!

Brent
 

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I figured there would be more discussion in this thread...Have that many people been put off by the slowness of the new forum or is there another thread somewhere? Does anyone have the scoop on whether they are going to be able to cap the leak within the next couple of days? This could get extremely serious for all of us quickly.
 

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i flew over it a few days ago, it's nasty and big........suprisingly defined like a weed line or break......amazing how this happens right after Obama says to start poking more holes in the gulf.......and no it is not going to effect gas prices
 

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Great map Kobia. It definitely correlates to what we are seeing on the satellite imagery. Here is yesterday's(4/26) hi-res true color. You can really see the actual product on the water and not just the sheen in this image. the delta is a dynamic fishery because of the ever changing water conditions. However, in a situation like this, I imagine it is frustrating for those involved.

 

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Guys and gals,

They haven't had success closing the valves with their robotic submarines. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100427/ap_on_bi_ge/us_louisiana_oil_rig_explosion. It's looking more and more like a relief well is the next option and that will take 3 months to drill. Our lives (jobs, property value, recreational activities)could change dramatically unless those robotic submarines can resolve this in the next few days.
 

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Not looking too good for the home team. Ive had a few calls from guys that are fueling up, and are gonna head to the keys/florida if it gets close b/c they might shutdown inlets...
 

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Somebody posted at Mike Lane's that it "could" take 90 days to get it stopped, but I think that's just a worst case scenario. Apparently the blowout preventer got garbaged in the collapse and is inoperable. I know they are going to try to put a dome over it and route the oil to a collection point on the surface but that is tough to do under the circumstances. If they can manage it that would reduce the amount of oil by a bunch until they can angle into the well and plug it.

I don't think there is any chance that BP and Transocean will not be paying the tab for this. Exxon is still paying for the Valdez. The losses will run into the billions, but that's the kind of risks those guys take.

Meanwhile pray for NW winds.
 

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<span id="ctl00_ctlContentPlaceHolder_ctl00_ctlTopic_ctlPanelBar_ctlTopicsRepeater_ctl05_lblFullMessage">Meanwhile pray for NW winds.
I won't be!!! I am a keys native and know the sensitivity of that region... Won't pray for west winds either... The Tampa area has only recently improved from the cesspool of pollution it faced for decades...

What I pray for is a viable remedy... Burning the slick is risky at best as there are so many rigs that could be in jeopardy with uncontrollable weather conditions.

Just think of the "out of control burns" forest agencies have had in the past...

I just don't understand why hundreds of miles of containment booms and mega tons of those handy white rags that only absorb oil aren't being flown in if for nothing else... stop gap control until a real fix is implemented...

Sinking the oil as they have been doing is crazy thinkin'.... It sinks but it ain't super glued to the sand! It will drift in the currents.

Brent
 

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Would it help for all of us to contact our political reps to encourage them to push for the maximum federal and state reponse to this? Is there more any government agency can do?
 

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One more thing. I don't know this to be true of the oil from this well, but I know that oil off Alabama is light crude, about the color of salad oil. I think the brown crud is the residual of the deisel from the rig, not the oil coming from the well. The GoM seeps a lot of oil naturally (over a million barrels/year) that nature just absorbs. This stuff is not like the heavy crude from Alaska or Santa Barbera. Hopefully the damage will not be too great.
 

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IMHO, I think our agencies should be putting the screws to the entities responsible for this. Criminal charges of negligence to follow...

In the interim, Our CG, EPA, and state wildlife agencies should put down everything and start the meter running and put all resources into action immediately. I ain't talkin' some cut rate bill but a premium service effort with premium costs to all involved. Picture a "seatow" bill on the grand scale!
Brent
 
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