May 8th, 2010
03:33 PM ET

Effort to place dome over oil well dealt setback, BP says

[Update 3:58 p.m.] Read the full story

[Posted 3:33 p.m.] The effort to place a containment dome over a gushing wellhead was dealt a setback when a large volume of hydrates - crystals formed when gas combines with water - accumulated inside of the vessel, BP's chief operating officer said Saturday.

The dome was moved off to the side of the wellhead and is resting on the seabed while crews work to overcome the challenge, Doug Settles said.

Suttles said the gas hydrates are lighter than water, and as a result, made the dome buoyant. The crystals also blocked the top of the dome, which would prevent oil from being funneled to a drill ship.

"What we had to do was pick the dome back up, set it over to the side while we evaluate what options we have to actually try to prevent the hydrate formation or find some other method to try to capture the flow," Suttles said.

He said two options officials are looking at are heating the dome or adding ethanol to dissolve the hydrates.

soundoff (211 Responses)
  1. Mike

    Underground small tactical nuclear detonation! 5 Kilotons down alongside the well shaft and seal it all up. most of the nuclear pollution will be contained deep below the seabed. This disaster is going to send BP belly up, guaranteed. The Gulf cant take 3 months of solid crude oil gushing out into it at this rate.


    May 9, 2010 at 1:54 am | Report abuse |
  2. Bernardo F Grossling

    Current strategy of packing Cabinet Secretaries, Bureau Chiefs, Lawyers around those who are struggling to solve technical problem of stopping leak is like putting lawyers, police in operating room around surgeon and patient. It does not help. I suggest that: platform fire and explosion occurred because well vibrations broke loose ignored layers of hydrates, their methane floating to surface under rig producing fire and explosion. Before proceeding with dome, layers should be jetted away around well to eliminate problem.

    May 9, 2010 at 3:09 am | Report abuse |
  3. Thebes

    Wow, BP is making the previously hair-brained-seeming idea of a mini-nuke look downright plausible. How much longer before this leak ruins fishing in the Gulf for the rest of our lives???

    BTW, Obama et al. "getting tough" on oil companies is a crock, SINCE the spill started they have given at least 27 more environmental assessment waivers for new drilling projects in the gulf. Not much change, except in the rhetoric of course.

    May 9, 2010 at 3:12 am | Report abuse |
  4. Kenneth Howald

    We've all been fools; why haven't we thought of this before? Bush's head of Homeland Security could fix this...DUCT TAPE AND PLASTIC SHEETING!!!!!!!!!!!!! Maybe we can start a color coding mauve-breathe deeply, purple-slow shallow breathing, fushia-hold your breathe and kiss you republican butt goodbye.

    May 9, 2010 at 3:47 am | Report abuse |
  5. Kenneth Howald

    If anyone is interested in reserching the effects of the chemicals used by BP you can find the name the major dispersant that BP is using by googling "what dispersants are being used by BP in oil cleanup" and then serching for the MSDS (Mine Safety and Data Sheet)for that product, I am currently at work and do not have full internet use or I would have the name for you...when you look it up be aware that BP has purchased one-third of the worlds supply of this chemical and that the MSDS sheet is in no way accurate for this amount of product.
    The food chain in the oceans is from the bottom feeders up the plankton/shrimp/promatizoa etc. are bottom feeders they are in turn food for the fish, turtles, ect., you get the drift...the dispersants actually bind the oil to make it drop to the ocean floor:see above...
    I have a home in Gulf Shores 275 feet from the Gulf and drive a Prius and a hybrid Highlander for those of you that wish to berate my carbon footprint.

    May 9, 2010 at 4:34 am | Report abuse |
  6. steve

    i've always wanted to see the florida keys. guess i better go this week or next........

    May 9, 2010 at 5:03 am | Report abuse |
  7. Bo

    Hello to all,

    This is my first time here and I am reading the contradicting comments with interest. Some are very critical and other ones with a lot of gloom and doom and thank God some are still optimistic. However, we have to admit that most of us are quite ignorant as to the technical side of things that are happening. I would like to believe that all our comments come from concern for our well being as well as the concern for our Mother Earth. Yes, we are seeing the disasters throughout the world, some nature-created and some by our hand as it is happening right now. The technology growth that we all enjoy so much, be that microwave ovens, the use of cell phones, even this PC monitor that we sit here hour after hour all have something in common, the possible side effects.

    Yes, I do agree that the contingency plan should have been well planned but it is the human (which not perfect) hand or greediness has overlooked that point. Unfortunately, it is the statics of the accidents that make the contingency plan more effective. I would like to remind each and everyone of us that deep down, we all want to live, we each want to enjoy the life on this beautiful planet called Earth and for one day remember that there is a lot to be grateful for.

    Today is Mother’s Day, at least in some countries. May I humbly offer a suggestion? Can we find in our hearts to be grateful for all we have in our lives and stand for a minute of silence for the ELEVEN that have died and remember that their families are mourning those that have perished? It is said that the power is in numbers, since we are the ignorant ones in the technical help we could give; can we all pray and ask God to heal our Mother Earth? Please?

    With kind regards and good wishes to all,


    May 9, 2010 at 6:19 am | Report abuse |
  8. michael nyc

    hello world

    dome is not necessary and wasting time – oil floats to surface and can be pumped into tankers/barges –

    employ a floatation of existing tankers/barges starting at epicenter of shaft leak to recover (pump skim off surface oil)

    possible "stop leak" would be explosion deep in old shaft using a missile

    thank you

    Michael Gruters – former faculty physics Princeton late 60'

    p.s. the use of dispersing chemicals make surface removal impossible and poisons the sea – really stupid....

    it is not proposed to use "hair" skimmers, but hoses that submerge and as water/oil mix is pumped into tanker/barge it is replaced by same.
    there are many tankers/barges currently in service to other gulf rigs.
    as the tanker hold fills separated water from the bottom is pumped back.
    there are single super-tankers that can hold the total spill.
    many tankers can be used and return to refineries

    May 9, 2010 at 8:53 am | Report abuse |
  9. Geroge

    An Underwater Dome?

    This is not an indication of how stupid those in power are.

    This is an indication of how stupid the American People are.

    This is how stupid they know us to be.

    May 9, 2010 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
  10. Larry Sessions

    This is an example of how greed overrules good sense, how oil companies cut corners and how the public and the environment suffer when Big Business is given free reign. It's not about the "need" to get energy to the American people, it is about putting money in the pockets of a bunch of greedy SOBs who have no consideration of the public, the environment or the future. It's just "Get in, make all the money you can, and get out s fast as you can with no worry about the mess you make." Standard big business policy. SBBP

    May 9, 2010 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
  11. sandymichael

    With all of their super computers they have, have they not simulated this type of accident, common I hear they have all but silenced our regulators and Our Administration of Obama has licensed all current Gulf Operations to keep going without any needed inspections.

    And now, we are hearing we will have a one time Audit of the Federal Reserve who by the way is essentially doing the same things as the big oild companies, policing themselves and don't get me started on the big media picking and choosing and spinning what we hear, see and talk about in our communities.

    May 9, 2010 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  12. guy chaham

    We have a solution of Oil spill technology. We are a small company from Nova Scotia Canada and we have a proven product that works. Unfortunately we are too small to be heard. We tried to contact BP and others but no one return our calls.

    We can help in a big way within 24 hours but no one is listening.

    We have developed similar technology that is carried on the large vassals but we can place it on any size boat. That means we can add our collectors to all the fishing boats in the area and let hundreds of them collect the oil. It simple and it works.

    Can someone here help us reach the decision makers or the Media.

    Thank you
    Guy Chaham

    May 9, 2010 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Teresa

    B.P should go bankrupt trying to fix all the lives and eco systems it destroyed ...........
    They have enough money none of this dollar caps which only say their only permitted to pay this much ...... Which ain't enough anyways ......its crap how government officials are Down playing this huge huge MISTAKE made by B.P Greedy Giant. Which Obama is choosing to be ignorant about & i feel could have done more that put on a quick show on the docks of Louisiana shores making small talk & jokes as if somethings funny about honest people losing their jobs or a whole eco system destroyed ....... If he took the problem seriously he put pressure on the B. P giant multibillion dollar company on quick clean up instead of them more worried about them covering the problem temporary and still extracting the very same oil that polluted The Gulf of Mexico trying to make a buck while polluting the sea and destroying it the eco system for two decades .........
    B.P should be shut down or some higher up's arrested ...........Because this is a crime that some one committed and no ones paying for this mistake really at all ....... So much Down Playing is being done here and its a Sad thing!

    May 10, 2010 at 1:06 am | Report abuse |
  14. Teresa

    im going to make an effort to walk or use my bike or use public transportation in respect of everyday im blessed to be able to do my small part on this earth ...... I already do small things around the house that make our home more efficient and smart ......Next step is having my own garden 🙂 DOWN WITH BIG OIL COMPANY'S STEALING AMERICAN HARD WORKING DOLLARS $$$$$$$ BE GREEN YOU SAVE GREEN $$$$$$$$

    May 10, 2010 at 1:16 am | Report abuse |
  15. Timmy

    With 210,000 gallons of oil being fed into the gulf of Mexico every day, the Atlantic Ocean just won't last, according to these stories it seems the only option is to just drain the ocean of all its water! lol

    There has to be a better solution to this than flushing it out like a toilet.

    May 10, 2010 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
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