After installing the new cap on the broken Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico, and then fixing a last-minute crack in the cap, BP has announced this afternoon that, for the first time since April, the flow of oil from the well has completely stopped.
NASA's latest mission doesn't have anything to do with spacecraft or satellites. The space agency is helping thousands of baby sea turtles make their successful pilgrimage to the ocean. Biologists are digging up some 700 turtle nests on northern Gulf beaches affected by the BP oil spill, from Panama City to Apalachicola, Florida, and relocating them to NASA's Kennedy Space Center (KSC) on Florida's Space Coast.
Big problems call for big responses, and while armchair pundits and denizens of the blogosphere pick apart the government response to the BP oil spill, the Navy is bringing out the big guns to help with the containment effort. The Navy's massive MZ-3A Airship is expected to arrive in the Gulf sometime today (or perhaps a bit later -- airships travel slowly and are subject to the whims of the weather) to support and coordinate skimming efforts and keep an eye out for injured animals along the coastline.
Reporting from the Gulf, an offshore oil rig worker finds mundanity, a complacent obsession with safety, and the doom beneath it all
By Jasper Collum
Posted 06.29.2010 at 2:00 pm 8 Comments
It's a recurring dream. I'm standing next to a machine, some giant warm Fritz-Lang-inspired monster. I live in it. I am a piece of it. But I know at any moment this machine could destroy itself and there won't be a thing I can do about it. What a mutinous thing when a machine, usually so faithful and repetitious, turns against us.
I'm afraid of this dream, and every morning I wake up in the Gulf and go to work on an offshore drilling rig the dream gets worse. Though it shouldn't.
It's easy not to think much about oil spill remediation technology until something like the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster happens, but materials scientists spend a lot of time thinking about how different materials respond to all kinds of offending substances. In the case of one Texas Tech University professor, a cloth wipe he developed to absorb and contain agents of biological warfare for the U.S. military can absorb 15 times its weight in oil while simultaneously detoxifying it. Paging BP.
The New York Times today has a long, detailed investigation into the concrete causes of the April 20 Deepwater Horizon disaster. It describes how the well was equipped with only one blind shear ram, not a prudent two, and how the shear ram's hydraulic system failed, preventing it from shutting off the flow.
As BP sits down for a not-so-friendly back and forth with Congress this morning it seems the oil giant is resigned to let the Gulf oil leak flow until the relief wells are completed in August. But a nuclear physicist from California thinks he’s devised a method that could stop the gushing well by pumping steel balls into the riser. It’s likely to work, he says, and even if it fails it won’t make matters any worse. Naturally, not everyone involved is so optimistic.
Remember back when 1,000 barrels a day sounded scary? The latest daily estimate of the oil spurting from the Deepwater Horizon leak has doubled to 25,000 to 30,000 barrels a day. That's up to 1.3 million gallons--roughly 10% of Exxon Valdez--every day.
As of today, Wednesday, June 9, the oil spewing from the Deepwater Horizon well could have powered 38,000 cars, 3,400 trucks and 1,800 ships for a full year, according to University of Delaware professor James J. Corbett.
While the world waits to see if a "top kill" operation can seal off the devastating Deepwater Horizon oil leak in the Gulf, the staggering proposition of dealing with the more than 11 million gallons of crude spilled to date remains. To combat the massive slick, BP’s primary weapon is chemical oil dispersant. The company has already used an unprecedented amount of dispersant—over 840,000 gallons—and is poised to deploy more.
BP's latest attempt to plug the Gulf oil leak is now more than 24 hours old, and initial assessments look promising. While we're by no means out of the woods yet, government and BP officials are cautiously optimistic that the so-called top kill is succeeding to stem the flow of oil from the busted riser into the Gulf of Mexico.
A crack team of physicists, mining engineers and even a hydrogen bomb expert is the latest brain trust to tackle the Deepwater Horizon undersea oil disaster.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu hand-picked the five scientists, who each have experience in solving complex problems, to figure out how to stop the oil leak. He also wants them to come up with "plan B, C, D, E and F," Bloomberg reports.
Since BP's Deepwater Horizon rig exploded into one of the worst man-made ecological disasters in history, one big question has remained unanswered: Just how big of a mess is it? While BP asserts there's no way to know, marine experts say that if the oil giant would but release more video from its submersible ROVs and provide a little data on the well itself, they could deduce the magnitude of the leak, as well as inform the effort to plug the leaking well pipe.
Huge C-130 aircraft from the U.S. Air Force Reserve have joined the fight against the Deepwater Horizon oil slick, which now threatens to ravage the local ecosystems and fishing industry in the Gulf of Mexico.
The massive oil spill from a BP offshore drilling rig threatens marine ecosystems and fisheries as it makes its way to the shoreline. Here's how it looks from above.
The Macondo well is spilling 5,000 barrels of oil per day into the gulf, about five times more than well owner British Petroleum initially reported. Efforts to stem the leak using controlled burning and even undersea robots have been unsuccessful so far.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.