Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Pray the Top Kill Maneuver Works on the BP Disaster

The incredible amount of oil vomiting into the Gulf of Mexico might be stopped today or in the next few days if the risky tactic known as a Top Kill works.  BP officials only give it a 70% chance since it has never been tried as the kind of depths where the leak is located.

The procedure involves pumping huge quantities of drilling mud down the well in hopes of stopping it up.  If that works, cement will be forced down and the well will be capped permanently.

Aside from the technical gamble, the environmental problems are already myriad.  Photos from the Louisiana coast show hopelessly clogged marshes and wetlands black with oil.  Worse, the oil that has been dispersed is sinking to the bottom, where shrimp feed.  This spill may kill the lucrative gulf shrimp industry for many years or perhaps permanently.

Stories have surfaced that BP had a warning that there was a problem prior to the blowout, and operators of the well were using seawater instead of drilling mud.  A worker for Trans Oceanic, operator of the platform, Truitt Crawford testified, "I overheard upper management talking saying that BP was taking shortcuts by displacing the well with saltwater instead of mud without sealing the well with cement plugs, this is why it blew out."

I suspect we will be hearing about this and other surprises in many days to come.  Meanwhile, pray that the effort works, otherwise the leak may spew for months until relief wells can be completed.

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