Oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico 2010: BP reports progress

oil washed up on an ocean beach

Progress was reported for the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico 2010 as one leak was plugged and a containment dome was on the way. Flickr photo.

Progress was reported Thursday in the effort to contain the Gulf oil spill 2010, which is leaking an estimated 210,000 gallons a day. A BP oil spill spokesman said one of three leaks had been plugged. With two leaks remaining, a four-story, 98-ton containment dome is en route to the site and another is being built. However, stopping one of the leaks has not decreased the volume of oil pouring into the gulf, and no one knows if the containment dome will work a mile below the ocean surface.

Gulf oil spill 2010 update

The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico 2010 cleanup was also aided by improving weather. The New York Times reports that on Wednesday cleanup crews on quick loans were able to conduct a controlled burn in two of the most concentrated areas of the oil slick. Other methods being used to combat the oil slick on the surface include skimming and chemical dispersants. Coast Guard Rear Admiral Mary Landry said officials could not accurately measure the size of the oil slick because it was constantly changing. “It’s a pretty wide swath of coverage with a rainbow sheen at the leading edge,” she said at the news conference. “The leading edge is very close to the Chandeleur Islands, but the heavy concentrations are farther offshore,”

Gulf oil spill containment dome

The gulf oil spill 2010 containment dome was built by Wild Well Control, a contractor specializing in oil well disasters. Crews worked around the clock for a week building the massive steel box. A drill ship, the Discover Enterprise, is hauling the containment dome into a position to be lowered by cable to the sea floor, 5,000 feet below. It will cover the largest of the two remaining oil leaks and funnel oil to the ship.

Oil spill containment technology

The oil spill containment dome is made of thick steel to withstand the pressure 5,000 feet deep, which is about 20,000 pounds per square inch. The containment dome is 40 feet high, 24 feet wide and 14 feet deep. it has a funnel-like top that will attach to a pipe leading to the surface ship. Frigid temperatures a mile deep lead to concerns that ice may clog the pipe. Reuters reports that a dual-pipe mechanism will pump warm water and a methanol, into the space between the drill pipe and larger pipe. Engineers hope this approach will prevent ice- or sludge-like plugs in the larger pipe that could hinder or stop the flow of oil to the ship. Such plugs can form from the 3,000 cubic feet of natural gas in each leaking barrel of oil.

Oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico alternatives

To contain the Gulf oil spill 2010 the New York Times reports that BP is working on other approaches. One idea is called a top kill. A top kill is intended to stop the flow of oil by pumping a heavy liquid into the well to counter the pressure of the oil coming from below. BP has also begun drilling a relief well designed to intersect the leaking well and plug it with concrete.

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