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 CNN.com 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. Steve

    Wow, Fred & Odnotor. So are you telling us all that everything that you have ever done for the first time went without a glitch. You went from crawling to walking and didn't even fall. There is a process called trial and error when doing something new. Is it a perfect process? No. But nothing is. The important question is, "Are they making progress?" The answer to that appears to be yes.

    May 8, 2010 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Marc Walters Prof. of Chemistry at NYU

    I think you mean clathrates. Please request accurate information from BP in order to provide accurate reporting.

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

    It is frightening to realize that this spill ma not be contained for months, and that it has the potential, with changing currents, to come around Florida and up the East Coast. We really need, as a nation, to embrace solar and wind power and reduce our dependency on oil, both foreigh and domestic (offshore at least).
    A plan must be developed for each of the offshore wells, with redundancies that offer more than one way of quickly capturing a spill or oil rig gone awry like this one.
    May the brightest minds come together to fix this, and then to make certain it does not happen again.
    It is shocking that BP clearly did not have a set of plans in place for such a disaster. When I worked in museums, for heaven's sake, we had contingency plans for many types of disasters. BP was caught off guard, and then began "winging it."
    The government must establish regulations that include detailed disaster plans that include several methods of stopping spills. And using dispersants to drop it all over the ocean floor should not be one of the accpetable ones. Just because we cannot see all those barrels of oil in droplets does not mean there is no problem.

    May 8, 2010 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  4. JWKeebs

    Is anyone else really angry about this? I watched the press conference and it was bull. I don't believe that there is nothing they can do about this ongoing environmental poisoning.

    May 8, 2010 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Gregory Filipowicz

    Nobody was complaining as America drove its SUV'S and PU Trucks, lived in palaces, and allowed this drilling to start. Now we have a problem let work to fix it.

    May 8, 2010 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  6. jim wiks

    Theres an oil leak in the Gulf? Awesome, something to take the attention off the pediphiles at the Vatican....tell me this isn't God's doing.

    May 8, 2010 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  7. J Johnson

    I can't wait to read all of the anti-American anti-energy vitriol on CNN message boards today. Oh, wait, it's already started.

    May 8, 2010 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jon Evans

    Yeah Its not a simple precedure but people read a couple paragraphs on the internet and all of a sudden believe they are experts in everything they say. Hell, most of the people declaring others "idiots" don't even know the definition of the word nor how to apply it...and can't even form proper paragraphs. Hell, can't even distinguish anything they say from "RABBLE RABBLE I HAVE VOICE ON INTERNET, I BLAME SO N SO, I READ ON WIKIPEDIA THAT U CAN DO THIS SO U SHOULD BE ABLE TO DO IT, U FAIL UR GREEDY! THATS WHY THIS ISNT FIXED INSTANTLY RABBLE RABBLE

    This is why most of you won't hold any position of leadership/power because you lack the comprehension of what you are talking about.

    May 8, 2010 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  9. stressed

    It's so easy for those to throw stones who don't really don't have a clue.

    May 8, 2010 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  10. David

    Crystals? Who cares – does this even cause any real problems for the operation?

    May 8, 2010 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  11. jim wiks

    Boobs

    May 8, 2010 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  12. thomas m

    This problem probably could have been predicted if this entire thing had not been rushed – these crystals do not form in the shallower waters – which is where these containment vessels have only previously been used. The well will be diverted\contained eventually – this was just the best hope at a quick solution. A relief well should be in place in a few months. This well will not drain completely into the gulf – that would\could take years.

    BP should not be the target of the negative attention. They own the rights to the land. They leased the well equipment from Transocean – Transocean maintains the equipment, operates the well with Transocean employees and guarantees the safety. This is similar to you hiring someone to plant a tree in your backyeard, but they hit a power line and knock out power to the neighborhood. You're not to blame – the contractor is. BP owns the "hole in the ground'. Transocean is completely responsible for the disaster.

    I am in no way defending the persons responsible. I just want to look at the actual culprits, not the easy targets of the media. Transocean should have had better safer equipment, a acoustic switch for the BOP, better training, etc... They need to be held accountable at the highest levels.

    May 8, 2010 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Diane

    Hahahahaaa...Jefro (comment 11), you hit it right on the nose!

    May 8, 2010 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Lisa

    Wont the dome fill up eventually sitting on the floor of the ocean an do u have enough ships to hole 210,000gal a day oil spill thats has no end in site

    May 8, 2010 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  15. jim wiks

    What Oil?

    May 8, 2010 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
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