Home Energy and Environment BP Has New Plan To Distract Us From How Screwed We Are

BP Has New Plan To Distract Us From How Screwed We Are


As I reluctantly predicted last week, BP’s “top kill” effort to stop the oil gusher in the Gulf of Mexico didn’t work. The inescapable conclusion is that offshore oil drilling technology is far more advanced than offshore oil spill stopping technology.

But wait! BP has a new plan to keep us from seeing this spill as an inevitable overdose of our ongoing addiction to oil! Put down that clean energy & climate bill and check this out:

[BP Managing Director] Bob Dudley said there was a greater chance of success with this operation  than with the “top kill” procedure that was tried last week.

“This is a better chance, definitely better. We’re not working with  those high pressures and pumping that we weren’t sure we were able to  even connect up. The guys that are running the robots, this is something  that they know how to do. The cutting is probably the critical piece.  We may have to try a couple of blades to do it. But from an engineering  sense, this is much more straightforward. 

If this plan was really so much better than the “top kill” scheme, wouldn’t BP have done this a lot sooner? Of course. Because this plan has one major drawback — it inherently has to make the gusher a lot worse before it has any chance at all of making it better:

But a potential problem exists if the dome doesn’t work: A clean cut on  the riser pipe would mean even more oil coming out than before.

“Well, there will be a little bit more oil, somewhere between zero  and 20 percent more,” said Dudley.

“Well, 20 percent is not insignificant, if thousands and thousands  of barrels of oil are pouring out of there,” said [CBS News Anchor Harry] Smith. 

Maybe it’s time for our national debate to shift away from the gusher itself, which has very little chance of being stopped until a relief well is drilled months from now. Maybe it’s time to talk about ways to ease our need for drilling in the first place — more efficient cars, plug-in electric vehicles, and smart growth. Because maybe, just maybe, all these plans from BP are no more than parlor tricks to make it look like BP isn’t powerless to stop this spill.

Cross-posted from The Green Miles

  • Tom

    Now that they know they have located and tapped into a huge oil source, all they have to do is accidentally or intentionally miss what they are calling a seven inch target, claim they think they hit the target and the “relief well” pipe carrying the oil to the surface to be loaded onto a tanker suddenly becomes a new well. If I recall correctly, they are actually drilling two relief wells, one of which could eventually shut off the oil at the broken risers and one of which BP might decide NOT to seal off with the claim that they haven’t yet been able to reduce the pressure enough to seal both. Then they can pump millions of barrels of oil for sale until everyone has forgotten that the original “plan” was to just shut down the leak and seal it with concrete from two directions.

    My theory may not make technical sense, but if it is feasible I wouldn’t put it past BP to end up with one sealed well and a second one nearby that just keeps on gushing oil up the pipe and into BP’s profit line. If they do actually succeed in shutting off the leak by late fall, or maybe not until after Hurricane season ends in November, the profits they make on the recovered oil would more than pay for all the laws suits plus large bonuses for BP executive who came up with their schemes to avoid legitimate inspections.

    Just some thoughts, which may not be correct. One more thought: How about the bad old Fed. Government taking all the profits BP gets from the “second relief well” oil and use some of it to build wind farms off Va. Beach ?

  • TomPaine

    it would be wise not to believe anything that BP has to say; every BP utterance so far has been most likely designed to attempt to limit their legal liabilities for this oil spill.

  • Elaine in Roanoke

    Perhaps those GOPers who screamed “Drill, Baby, Drill” might want to visit Louisiana and pick up some of the tar balls washing ashore and help clean off sea birds being coated in the goo.

    All that screaming since 1980 about how “government” was the problem and should get out of the way of good, old, capitalistic exploitation of the environment looks very empty right now.

    Of course, those same people now want to blame Democrats and President Obama.