In the most recent attempt to stop the BP oil spill, a tight fitting cap was affixed on top of the leak. The disaster that led to the rig explosion has greatly damaged the surrounding bodies of water and coastal regions, continuing to pose a threat to both. The most recent attempt lasted for two days and is seen as a temporary fix to the gushing oil well. BP is still trying to develop a plan to permanently stop the gushing oil leak.
Residents of the affected coastal areas are quite doubtful about the company’s ability to contain the spill. However most people are thankful that steps are still being taken to stop oil from rushing out into the ocean. BP has employed local fishermen and boat owners whose livelihood was affected by the spill to posts in the Vessels of Opportunity program. Those who were employed can only hope that the company’s effort will pay off soon.
A live video taken at around 6:30PM shows the cap being lowered in the area. The capping of the oil rig was assured by Doug Suttles, BP’s Chief Operating Officer. The work was finished at around 7:00 PM. The cap is being closely monitored to see if it will be able to keep itself in place and successfully control the oil from coming out of the well. Thad Allen, the National Incident Commander, has been keeping people updated through his Facebook updates. His page recently displayed a status saying “Getting there” as BP successfully affixed the cap on top of the rig.
Cap Under test
The cap placed on top of the oil well will be tested by closing some of the valves where oil is gushing. This will determine if the cap can withstand the pressure created as oil builds up inside the cap. Director of Professional Geosciences Programs at the University of Houston, Don Van Nieuwenhuise, shared his views about why the company refuses to close the valves all at the same time. He says it is because it might trigger another explosion, which could produce even further devastation. Engineers will closely monitor the pressure readings to make sure that the initial spill containment steps will be successful. High pressure is a good sign because it means that the spill is being contained by the cap. Low pressure, on the other hand, can only mean that a leak may have started somewhere else.
Eric Smith, Tulane Energy Institute’s associate director, shares his worries that the cap might not hold that long and may cause more problems. The cap might not completely stop the leak but it helps contain the oil in one place. The oil is then funneled up to ships on the surface who transport the oil to an appropriate place on shore. In fact, Helix Producer has began collecting oil and filling up its haul with 1 million gallons per day. Plugging the damaged oil rigs with cement and mud is viewed as a permanent solution to stop the oil from polluting the waters. This plan won’t be carried until August.