Gulf oil spill in early May. It’s much worse now but a solution used in Kuwait might be the key for containing the contaminated.
As the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill continues to saturate the Gulf of Mexico with millions of barrels of crude oil and natural gas, company engineers have begun to turn to even more bizarre methods to plug the well that has now been creating ecological havoc for over a month now. The newest attempt to seal the well, according to articles in CNN is by using what is being called a “top kill” method, that involves pumping mud into the site of the oil leak to slow it’s flow, and then afterwards to plug the well with cement, making it a “dead well”.
The method was used successfully to plug some of the scores of Kuwait oil wells that were sabotaged by the retreating Iraqi Army at the end of the 1991 Gulf War.
Kuwait, in which these surface wells are located, is still cleaning up the damage created by these wells, which created large oil sludge “lakes” in the desert, causing havoc to Kuwait’s wildlife as well as polluting underground aquifers.
The only problem with using this method on the Deep Horizon well, however, is that the leak is located 5,000 feet under water; where the water pressure on the well plugging equipment being used is around 2,500 pounds per square inch.
After more than 38 days of continuing oil leaks (which appears to be more like a gusher, instead of a “spill”) the ecological disaster to the Gulf of Mexico and to Louisiana’s $2.5 Billion annual fishing industry is being called America’s “worst oil spill disaster ever, and far worse than the Alaskan Exxon Valdez oil spill in the late 1980’s (which only came from one oil tanker).
Green Prophet has already tried to note what the environmental implications of a similar oil well blow out could be in locations like the Persian Gulf, and the Red Sea; where a Russian ship emptied its oil bilge waste into the Red Sea.
All of BP’s previous attempts to cap this well have ended in failure, and experts are saying that there is only a “30 to 4 percent chance” that this latest method will work. There is also fear that the attempt could rupture the broken end of the pipe from which the oil is now spewing out, making the oil spill even larger.
As we have noted before, regional areas like the Persian Gulf have very fragile eco-systems, and what remains of these natural wildlife habitats, such as Abu Dhabi’s Bu Tinah island atoll could be devastated if a similar well blowout should occur to one of many offshore oil platforms.
BP Senior VP Kent Wells commented a few days ago that “normally you’d spend weeks or months to do what we’ve done in days here” in regards to the company’s efforts to plug the well. Whatever they’ve tried, though, hasn’t worked; and the result is pea soup thick layer of oil now floating in some of the Gulf Coast’s treasured wildlife estuaries. We at Green Prophet hope that oil companies in our region learn from this disaster and take necessary measures to ensure such a disaster will has less of a chance of occurring here.
Photo via NASA
Read related articles on oil spills and oil caused pollution:
Will Gulf Of Mexico Oil Spill Open Pandora’s Box on Oil Sands Drilling?
Kuwait Still Cleaning up After Saddam’s Mess
Russian Vessel Fined for Dumping Oil Bilge into Red Sea