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. Jon Evans

    I laugh at people who continue to be ignorant in thee situations. These indi iduals are quick to blame yet have no comprehension, education, or any insight into the matter at hands... they just voice their uneducated opinion on the internet. BP has been doing plenty, nothing is failsafe... there are always setbacks. You people complaining are the same people who would be screaming at them to pump more oil because you don't want to pay high prices for gasoline to get to work or do anything in your daily lives. "these bp guys have no idea what they are doing" Obviously they do since they have a successfull company and have been drilling for decades and own the patent to some security measures developed for drilling. You don't know what your doing,. do you? since you pass judgement with no idea what you are talking about.

    Look to other countries and let mit kids? what? Based on what logic would that help? It's easy to be a sideline critic and "armchair phd" however, its a different story when you actually have expereince in the field and understand the depths at which you are working, and the equipment, and the capabilities of your technology and workers. Spare me.

    Can anyone actually think before they pass judgement? maby you should worry about fixing the situation and people who lost their lives instead of just trying to attack and blame.

    May 8, 2010 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Ripamaru

    Awsome how they explain why these crystals should stop them from stopping the oil.

    May 8, 2010 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Alex

    It was obvious that hydrate would form at such a depth and cold temperature !, daaaa

    May 8, 2010 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  4. mario


    May 8, 2010 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Roy

    Well people its very easy to find fault, with other people, if you have nothing good to say i would advice you to keep your comments to yourselves, they are doing what they can.

    this is not a leaky Pipe that is in your backyard that they are trying to fix.

    if you ahve any Idea's why not give them.

    you being an arm chair critic is very easy.

    May 8, 2010 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Couptaker

    Gee who would of ever thought that it wouldnt work??? Bet they never thought of that or the next reason it wont work... The only way that will stop leaking is if it stops by its self ..

    May 8, 2010 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  7. 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....

    May 8, 2010 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Scott

    While I abhor the damage being done to the ocean, keep in mind that this is all happening 5000 feet under the ocean. It's a harsher and more remote environment than outer space. I do agree that all resources and brain power should be called in to help.

    May 8, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Samuel

    Is BP trying to save the environment or the oil?

    May 8, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Captain Cancun

    The hydrates may actually seal the leak...

    May 8, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  11. dozer

    ....And I suppose that either of you know how to fix it? This is typical of these blog sessions...everyone is a know-it-all until a solution is needed. Yes, this is a tragedy and in all likelihood will lead to devestation of the Gulf region, but sniping at people trying to fix the problem does no good unless you know how to fix it yourself.

    May 8, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Clark W Griswold

    Why don't they just shove a giant cork into the leaking hole. Problem solved!

    May 8, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  13. A Physicist

    It is extremely easyto criticise expert engineers when their workl runs into glitches. Even easier when you have almost no idea of the physics or engineering issues at hand. And the greatest fool finds it the easiest to criticise others, since he has no humility.

    Until this week 99/9% of the people had not idea that gas hydrates even existed. Now they smugly look down on those who have to actually solve the problems. Which they will do – but then you smartie-pants criotics will be distracted by your Wii and Guitar Hero games.

    May 8, 2010 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Siara Delyn

    Jon wrote: "It will be solved, it will be solved by BP, not by Obamabots and the level of panic displayed by some of you is amazing."
    I'm amazed that you're not panicking given the tragedy this accident is about to produce. Guess the fact that it gave you a chance to make a dig at Obama compensates for everything else.

    May 8, 2010 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  15. BF

    To JB:

    The crystals are a problem because they would clog up the hole and pipe. Quit being so ridiculous.

    May 8, 2010 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14