The back up to the back up plan in BP’s continuing oil leak touts the name "top kill," and promises to be serious business - that is, if it works. However, if the plan, which involves placing heavy fluids over the leak, fails, the oil giant is preparing yet another backup plan scheduled for sometime next week.
London-based BP’s handling of the Deepwater Horizon’s explosion and subsequent oil flood is beginning to resemble a cross between “Groundhog Day” and a Shakespearean tragedy. Multiple attempts to seal the leak have only led further speculation that the company, in fact has no idea what it is doing; and it’s bumbling around has only brought more damage than not.
The top kill method certainly resembles a glass-is-half-very-full effort. It essentially involves using a manufactured fluid known as drilling mud to plug up the leak. Two vessels containing 50,000 barrels of the mud will pump the mud into a pipe that will extends down almost to the seafloor. From there, the fluid will split off into two flexible hoses that connects to a manifold, which is supposed to regulate the mud flow into the well.
According to BP spokesman John Curry, “[The drilling mud] is heavier than the oil and the gas. The objective is to put it into the well so it will reduce the pressure and flow from the well.”
BP Oil Leak Threatens Coast, Wildlife
The worst oil spill in history, is turning into a PR nightmare for both the Obama administration, and BP. While Obama calls for further oversight and threatens to take over BP’s muted efforts to contain the spill (even sending Interior Secretary Ken Salazar over to express his anger), BP remains obstinate revealing little and refusing to comply to the administration’s exasperated requests.
BP asserts that it alone has the expertise and know-how to deal with the spill. It has refused to stop using toxic chemical dispersants claiming that the chemical is the least toxic and dangerous. While true, the sheer amount of dispersant being used currently has never been tested. Furthermore, because BP and its rig belongs to the private sector, the government really cannot step in. BP has even managed to ban journalists with help from local sheriffs from a wildlife refugee in Louisiana.
The question on everyone’s mind, of course, is what next? The “top kill” method seems to be yet another, make it up as we go shot in the dark. Not to worry, however, BP already has a Plan B. It will implement what is called a “junk shot” – essentially shooting all manner of junk (think golf balls, tires and rope) into the leak and then sealing it all up with cement.
Whatever, the next step is, new efforts to save the fragile ecosystem and wildlife ought to be first and foremost. The oil slick has already reached the coastal marshlands in Louisiana. Images of oil-soaked wildlife have begun to emerge, will continue for a long time. The true environmental impact of the spill will not be truly realized for years and perhaps it’s too late to reverse everlasting damage.
Written by Lani Shadduck
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