Deepwater Horizon oil spill: Underwater robots trying to seal well  

Posted by Big Gav in , , ,

The Guardian has a look at BP's disaster drilling in the Gulf Of Mexico, with the rig sunk, 11 people dead and the well leaking oil into the waters and looking rather difficult to stop anytime soon - Deepwater Horizon oil spill: Underwater robots trying to seal well. More at the Wall Street Journal and Houston Chronicle.

Underwater robots dived to the ocean floor yesterday in a new effort to staunch the 42,000 gallons of oil a day being pumped into the Gulf of Mexico in America's worst offshore oil rig spill in 40 years.

The robots will attempt to activate a blowout preventer, a 450-tonne valve on the ocean floor that offers the only timely option for stemming the flow.

With the oil now coating 1,800 square miles of water, BP officials acknowledge it could take months to entirely contain two separate leaks from the wrecked oil rig.

The US coastguard discovered the leaks on Saturday, two days after the Deepwater Horizon oil rig leased by BP sank off the coast of Louisiana. The rig was destroyed in an explosion last Tuesday, with 11 workers missing and presumed dead.

What initially seemed a manageable spill is now rated by the US coastguard as a serious environmental problem, with 1,000 barrels of oil a day being pumped into the Gulf of Mexico, an area rich with dolphins, whales and other marine life.

Three sperm whales have been sighted in the area of the slick, officials said yesterday.

The spill, which occurred just as senators were preparing to roll out energy and climate proposals, has deepened debate about America's energy policies.

In an effort to win support for the proposals, Barack Obama had come out in favour of more oil and gas drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

High winds and big waves forced clean-up vessels, which have been trying to skim the oil from the surface of the water before it washes up on shore, to remain in port at the weekend.

But Mary Landry, the coast guard commander, insisted the four states that lie in the path of the slick would have ample warning to protect fragile wetlands. Forecasts suggest the oil will make landfall on Thursday.

The plan put into operation yesterday called for four underwater robots to dive 1,500 metres (5,000 ft) below the surface of the water to try to activate the gargantuan system of pipes and valves that sits next to the well on the ocean floor.

BP said it was the first time such an operation had been mounted at this depth.


The maritime lawyers at our firm have recently signed on a roustabout who was working on the Transocean rig at the time of the explosion. He suffers from Post traumatic stress disorder, and we are concerned that other workers like him who were not physically injured in the explosion could be at risk from PTSD, and not know it.

Anonymous   says 3:43 AM

far out man,its the end of oil!!

Anonymous   says 9:22 PM

450ton valves - can they drop somethng really heavy on the hole?

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