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Deepwater Horizon update: July 19


Fools' Errand: Effort to Shut Down Gulf Well is Failing

Dave Lindorff, This Can't Be Happening
It is increasingly looking like the BP Deepwater Horizon well in the Gulf of Mexico is gravely damaged, and that the cap that was placed on top of the casing and the blowout preventer is simply causing gas and oil to leak out of the drill pipe into the surrounding concrete and subsurface layers of rock. Retired Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, the nominal head of the disaster response operation, on Monday admitted that methane appears to be seeping from the surrounding seabed, and demanded that BP start(!) closely monitoring the seafloor for leaks, and be prepared to remove the cap immediately if ordered. There are fears the blowout could get worse, with oil and gas rising uncontrollably from the sea floor.

It all raises the question of why the temporary fix of capping the top of the well was ever even attempted, knowing that there was a strong likelihood that the 13,000 feet of well casing had been damaged by the initial violent blowout and by the racing oil and gas and debris pressing up from deep in the bowels of the earth.

As I pointed out earlier, there was already clear evidence that the casing had been breached. While it had not been mentioned in mainstream news reports, one view taken of the sea floor taken by a videocam on the Hos ROV 1, one of the remote robot submersibles monitoring the wellhead, and on display on the BP website, beginning at about 2:48:40 Central Time on June 16, showed clouds of muddy looking water suddenly spring up and begin obscuring the view of the sea floor. Some of the billowing material was light colored, and could be mud pushed up by leaking methane gas. Some looked decidedly dark brown, like the oil that has been seen coming from the top of the blowout preventer (BOP)...
(19 July 2010)



U.S. allows Gulf well to remain closed despite seep

Wendy Koch, USA Today
The U.S. government allowed BP Monday to keep its Gulf well closed for another day while testing continues despite new concerns such as a possible seep near the site.

National Incident Commander Thad Allen, who's in charge of the U.S. oil spill response, ordered BP to increase monitoring late Sunday after a seep and "undetermined anomalies" were found at the well head. He said government scientists and BP have since discussed the issues, including the detection of methane around the well.

"I authorized BP to continue the integrity test for another 24 hours and I restated our firm position that this test will only continue if they continue to meet their obligations to rigorously monitor for any signs that this test could worsen the overall situation," Allen said in a statement Monday morning...
(19 July 2010)



BP Caps Well: What Happens to Oil Spill Ravaged Gulf Coast Now?

Erna Buffie, Suite101
Abandoned in the wake of Katrina, Gulf coast residents must be wondering if a similar fate awaits them, now that BP has capped the Gulf spill.

The Gulf spill has now been temporarily capped, although lower than expected pressure and seepage near the well could indicate future problems for BP.

In the meantime, tens of thousands of fishermen and small businesses are still waiting for their compensation cheques. And 100s of millions of gallons of oil and millions of cubic feet of methane still float in the Gulf.

So as oil sinks to the sea floor, microbes munch through the methane and volunteers continue to clean beaches and dispose of dead wildlife, will the eyes of the press stay tuned to the Gulf in the critical months ahead? Even more importantly, if the cap holds and relief wells are successful, will the world simply forget about the Gulf spill and return to the business of deepwater drilling, as usual...
(19 July 2010)

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