Tuesday, May 25, 2010

BP Top Kill

BP engineers are going to use 50,000 barrels of dense mud and robotic submarines to attempt a "top kill" maneuver to plug the leaking well a mile below the surface in the Gulf of Mexico. It has been done successfully in the past but not at this depth.

This will be the first attempt to stop outright the flow of oil that has created a vast slick in the gulf and is now coming ashore and into marshes in Louisiana. Previous efforts by BP since the April 20 blowout on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig have focused on containing and/or dispersing the oil coming from a collapsed pipe.

By probing conditions inside the blowout preventer, BP will learn how much pressure must be overcome when the drilling mud is injected into the well. There are five portals into the blowout preventer. Mud will be pumped at 40 barrels a minute, or some similar quantity, through multiple lines, driven by a 30,000-horsepower engine on a ship at the surface some 5,000 feet above the well. (Wash Post, 5/25/10)

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