July 20th, 2010
02:15 PM ET

BP’s trial & error: What’s worked and what hasn’t

[Updated 10:25 a.m., Aug. 6]

With oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico for almost three months, every attempt to stop the leak has failed, or fallen short - until now. Oil finally stopped gushing from the well on July 15. We look back at how we ended up here: what BP has tried and done so far.

July 20, 2010

Solution: Static Kill
Scientists are weighing a new option called  "static kill” for permanently sealing it. The "static kill" would involve pumping mud into the well to force oil back into the reservoir below. This is similar to the "top kill" method that failed earlier (see below), except that now the oil isn't flowing - hence the word "static."

Read more on static kill at Time.com

Engineers are proceeding with the relief wells that eventually will pump concrete into the well bore to kill it from the bottom. A static kill, if pursued, would hit it from the top.

BP noted that the option could succeed where other similar attempts have failed because pressure in the well is lower than expected. Geologist Arthur Berman tells CNN's "American Morning" the relative simplicity of the static kill makes it an attractive option for BP.

BP finished pouring cement down the well on Aug. 6, completing the job earlier than expected. The process took six hours. Retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said the cementing phase of the "static kill" operation is not the end of the process, "but it will virtually assure us there's no chance of oil leaking into the environment."

July 10, 2010

Solution: New better-fitting containment cap
BP said it was going to remove the old containment cap, replacing it with another that has a better fit. Robots removed six giant bolts from the apparatus July 11 so the new cap could be positioned.

Scientists will then be able to gauge the pressure inside the well and determine whether the cap is holding in the oil or if crews will need to continue siphoning oil.

BP says it will conduct a “well integrity test,” which involves closing the stack end and stemming the flow coming from the well.

If it works, oil collection via the vessels, Q4000 and Helix Producer, will cease. BP will then close in on the perforated pipe. This process, which will be done in collaboration with U.S. government officials, could take up to 48 hours.

In the best-case scenario, the containment cap would have the ability to actually close down the valves and slowly contain all the oil – not plug the well.

If oil collection was still necessary, over the next two to three weeks, 60,000 to 80,000 barrels (2.52 million to 3.36 million gallons) a day could be collected as part of the containment process, BP Senior Vice President Kent Wells said. That's because the containment cap would allow four collection ships to access the well, rather than the maximum of three allowed by the old cap.

The oil giant said earlier as well that the cap "should improve containment efficiency during hurricane season by allowing shorter disconnect and reconnect times."

Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said he approved the cap-switch plan to take advantage of favorable weather predicted for coming days and because, once the switch is complete, the resulting capacity to contain oil "will be far greater than the capabilities we have achieved using current systems." Allen also stressed that once the capping device is on, "we would get the most accurate flow rate to date."

The oil stopped gushing out on the afternoon of July 15 -  the first time BP has been able to gain control since the the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded three months ago and triggered the catastrophe.

The "well integrity test" began on July 15 after two days of delays, first as government scientists scrutinized testing procedures and then as BP replaced a leaking piece of equipment known as a choke line.

BP cautioned that the oil cutoff, while welcomed, isn't likely to go beyond the 48 hours. Valves are expected to open after that to resume siphoning oil to two ships on the surface, the Q4000 and Helix Producer, as government and BP officials assess the data and decide what to do next.

As of July 19, testing on a capped oil well in the Gulf of Mexico continues as the federal government says BP has addressed questions about a seep near the well. Retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the federal government's response manager for the oil spill, says that a federal science team and BP representatives discussed the seep during a conference call, including the "possible observation of methane over the well."

See progress on relief wells

June 16, 2010

Solution: Second containment system
BP said Wednesday it has started collecting oil gushing into the Gulf through a second containment system attached to the ruptured well. The new system is connected directly to the blowout preventer and carries oil up to a second ship, the Q4000. The Q4000 uses a specialised clean-burning system to flare oil and gas captured by this second system. The Q4000 uses a specialised clean-burning system to flare oil and gas captured by this second system.

This second system supplements the lower marine riser package (LMRP) cap containment system, which remains in operation, BP said. The new system is connected directly to the blowout preventer and carries oil and gas through a manifold and hoses to the Q4000 vessel on the surface.

Oil and gas collected from the blowout preventer reached the Q4000 at approximately early on June 16. Operations continue to stabilise and optimise the performance of the second containment system.

See progress on the relief wells

June 3, 2010
Solution: An altered version of "cut and cap"
BP went back to the drawing board June 3 and planned to cut away the remains of the damaged riser pipe with a robotic-arm shearing device. A containment dome would then be put over the blowout preventer's lower marine riser package, but the larger, less precise shearing device will have left a rougher cut than what the diamond wire cutter was supposed to offer.

The more primitive cut means that a rubber seal will not be as tight as previously hoped, so the dome may capture less of the oil. Nevertheless, the hope is that a good amount of the oil can be captured and brought to the surface until August, when BP is expected to be ready to use a relief well to seal the leaking well for good.Outcome
BP sliced off the remains of the damaged riser June 3, and Adm. Thad Allen, the federal government's response manager, called the news "extremely important." Robot submarines steered the new cap to the well later that evening. The cap placed over the top of the well funnels oil and gas to a surface ship, though oil is still spilling out from the cap and the valves.

On June 7, BP says that it has closed one of four vents on top of the cap, and that the process is working well. The company says it may not close all four of the valves because engineers think the valves may be releasing more gas than oil.

On June 10, scientists said as much as 40,000 barrels of crude are gushing into the sea every day. The previous estimate by researchers, made two weeks ago, was 12,000 to 19,000 barrels per day.

BP has collected about 73,300 barrels (about 3 million gallons) of oil since it placed a containment cap on its ruptured well, the company said.

June 1, 2010
Solution: "Cut and cap"

BP plans to send marine robots that will cut the "lower marine riser package,” or LMRP, on the well. This is a set of pipes that connect the oil well’s blowout preventer to the damaged pipe. After that, a diamond-cut saw will be used to make a "clean cut," preparing the way for a custom-made cap to be fitted over the package. One of a number of caps that BP has available, depending on the cut, will be placed over the package to bring the oil and gas to the surface.

The operation represents the first of three containment steps that BP plans to take. After the cap is on, a second operation will create a second flow through the blowout preventer, meaning there will be two channels of oil leaking to the surface.

When asked about his level of confidence in the capping procedure, given the fact that other operations aimed at stopping the spill have failed, BP Managing Director Bob Dudley said the company has learned a lot from previous attempts. For instance, warm water will be pumped down in an effort to combat the formation of hydrates, or crystals, that blocked a previous containment vessel.

While the engineering has never been attempted at a depth of 5,000 feet, Dudley said, it is "more straightforward" than that used in previous operations. The cap "should be able to capture most of the oil," Doug Suttles, chief operating officer of BP's global exploration and production business said. However, he cautioned that the new cap will not provide a "tight mechanical seal."

If successful, the procedure will allow BP to collect most, but not all, of the oil spewing from the well. The cutting that precedes the cap placement carries with it a risk of increasing the oil flow, Dudley acknowledged. But "even with increased flow rate, this cap will be able to handle this." However, the BP statement said, "systems such as the LMRP containment cap have never been deployed at these depths and conditions, and their efficiency and ability to contain the oil and gas cannot be assured."

BP's effort to slice off a damaged riser pipe stalled after the blade of a diamond wire saw got stuck June 2. The diamond wire cutter plan was dumped after the device got stuck midway through the pipe. It was freed and taken to the surface.

May 28, 2010
Solution: “Junk shot”
This method involves debris such as shredded tires, golf balls and similar objects being shot under extremely high pressure into the blowout preventer in an attempt to clog it and stop the leak. Engineers at BP used this technique along with the top kill.

What was expected
"Each of these [materials] has been proven to fill various-sized spaces in the blowout preventer until the flow is stopped," BP says in a statement on its website. "While there is no known perfect 'recipe,' a number of combinations of materials will be used." More drilling mud would follow the junk shot, with the hope that the two methods together would stop the oil long enough for cement to be poured into the well. BP’s Suttles compared the operation to stopping up a toilet.

Did it work?
This one failed, too. The process was carried out "a number of times" with the U.S. Coast Guard before the oil giant admitted that the experiment had failed, BP press officer Sheila Williams said. Engineers first used the junk shot to quell the 1991 Kuwait oil fires, but never at such depths. "I don't think we'll be using golf balls again," Williams said.

May 25, 2010
Solution: "Top kill"
The top kill involves pumping heavy drilling fluid into the head of the leaking well at the sea floor. The manufactured fluid, known as drilling mud, is normally used as a lubricant and counterweight in drilling operations. The hope is that the drilling mud will stop the flow of oil. Cement then would be pumped in to seal the well. The first round of pumping began May 26.

Top kill has worked on above-ground oil wells in the Middle East but has never been tested 5,000 feet underwater. BP Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward has given the maneuver a 60 percent to 70 percent chance of success.

A team of experts will examine conditions inside the five-story blowout preventer to determine how much pressure the injected mud will have to overcome. The company then performs diagnostic tests to determine whether the procedure can proceed.

Three days of work involving three separate pumping efforts and 30,000 barrels of mud – along with what Hayward described as "16 different bridging material shots" – just didn't do the trick.

"We have not been able to stop the flow," a somber Suttles told reporters. " ... Repeated pumping, we don't believe, will achieve success, so we will move on to the next option." Suttles and other officials said that the top kill attempt to stop the flow did so – but only as long as they were pumping. When the pumping stopped, the oil resumed its escape.

May 14, 2010
Solution: Riser insertion tube
The riser insertion tube tool is a temporary solution that involves inserting a 4-inch-diameter tube into the Deepwater Horizon’s rise, a 21-inch diameter pipe, between the well and the broken end of the riser on the sea floor.

The insertion tube connects to a new riser to allow hydrocarbons to flow up to the Transocean Discoverer Enterprise drill ship. The oil will be separated and shipped ashore.

This seems to be the most successful effort thus far in containing some of the spill. The system was able to capture some of the leaking oil and pipe it aboard a drill ship, burning off some of the natural gas released in the process, according to a statement from the joint BP-Coast Guard command center leading the response to the oil spill.

The flow rate from the tube reached 3,000 barrels of crude (126,000 gallons) and 14 million cubic feet of gas a day as of May 20. BP’s Suttles said the company is "very pleased" with the performance of the tube. However, Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana says the efforts haven't stopped oil from reaching his state's coastline.

May 12, 2010
Solution: Second containment dome or “top hat”
The "top-hat" cofferdam is a 5-foot-tall, 4-foot-diameter structure that weighs less than 2 tons and would be injected with alcohol to act as an antifreeze and keep its outlet clear.

BP built the smaller dome after the containment vessel, designed to cap the larger of two leaks in the well, developed glitches. The new device would keep most of the water out at the beginning of the capping process and allow engineers to pump in methanol to keep the hydrates from forming, BP's Suttles said. Methanol is a simple alcohol that can be used as an antifreeze.

BP abandoned the idea of using the “top hat” and opted to proceed with an insertion tube technique instead. It wasn’t clear why BP made that choice.

May 7, 2010
Solution: First containment dome
BP lowered a massive four-story containment vessel over the well to cap the larger of two leak points. The hope was that the container would collect the leaking oil, which would be sucked up to a drill ship on the surface.

"If all goes according to plan, we should begin the process of processing the fluid and stop the spilling to the sea," Suttles said. But the method had not been done at such depths before.

The plan was thwarted after ice-like hydrate crystals formed when gas combined with water to block the top of the dome and make it buoyant. The dome was moved off to the side of the wellhead and is resting on the sea floor, Suttles said. He declined to call it a failed operation but said, "What we attempted to do ... didn't work."

May 4, 2010
Solution: Drilling a relief well
The second well joins the failed well at the bottom, in rock 13,000 feet below the ocean. Once contact is made, drilling fluid and concrete will be put into the first well.

This will lower the pressure on the failed well, enough to allow a concrete plug to be placed into it and permanently shut it down. The relief well could also be used for future oil and gas production. BP began drilling the second well this month, but it will take three months to complete. Weather conditions could prolong the process, Beaudo said.

The well is expected to be completed by August. It would be a permanent solution to cap the leaking well.

End of April
Solution: Robots to shut blowout preventer
The rig’s blowout preventer, a 48-foot-tall, 450-ton apparatus that sits atop the well 5,000 feet underwater, failed to automatically cut off the oil flow after the April 20 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig. BP attempted to use remote-controlled submarines with robotic arms to reach access portals and activate the valve.

The highly complex task was to take 24 to 36 hours, said Doug Suttles, chief operating officer of BP's global exploration and production business.

Failed. "We've tried many different ways. Some things have showed promise; some haven't," BP spokesman Daren Beaudo said. "We don't know why the remote-operated shutdown systems haven't worked."

Testing on a capped oil well in the Gulf of Mexico continues for another day as the federal government says BP has addressed questions about a seep near the well. Retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the federal government's response manager for the oil spill, says that a federal science team and BP representatives discussed the seep during a conference call, including the "possible observation of methane over the well."

Post by:
Filed under: BP • Gulf Coast Oil Spill
soundoff (303 Responses)
  1. jim

    Cannot state this strongly enough, Obama's response is entirely unacceptable. He has failed us as our President. He should resign or be impeached.

    May 26, 2010 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jonathan

      Really, Jim, "impeached"? Has he lied under oath? Has he committed treason? Our laws don't allows us to impeach a president for bungling, or else we'd probably throw them all out. Name me a president who didn't mess something up - the search for WMDs, Monica Lewinsky, the economic downturn during Bush Sr., Iran-Contra, Tehran hostage crisis...

      I'm not happy with this either, but I bet Obama's in a bind - BP isn't getting the oil stopped, but I'm not sure the government can do it either. It's hard to fault Obama for coming into office 16 months ago, looking around, and not saying "We don't have any submersibles to deal with deep sea oil disasters! That should be my first priority!" If he doesn't have the equipment now, what can he do? Try to have the U.S. government takeover a foreign-owned company?

      June 1, 2010 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      Jonathan, BP purchases the submarines just like our own government would if it came down to it. I can't believe the amount of people buying into the whole 'our government doesn't have the technology to deal with this'. This isn't the stone age people. All companies contract the right man for the job and the right man comes with the right tools. THINK!

      June 3, 2010 at 5:44 am | Report abuse |
  2. jandrewmorrison

    BP's spokesman clearly stated that the "riser Insertion tool collected 22,000 barrels of oil a day". The Riser Insertion Tool is a 4" tube inside a 21" tube. Is BP still trying to sell the 5,000 barrels a day in leaked oil story, or have they admitted it's magnitudes greater than that yet?

    May 27, 2010 at 2:28 am | Report abuse |
    • guest

      it was 22000 barrels 'to date'...not 'a day'

      May 27, 2010 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Stan Haas

      I was an engineer who made Blow Out Preventers and tested them. I cannot understand three things: Why didn't they install more than one type B.O.P. as the law requires in the stack above the well? 2. Why don't they insert more than one 4" tube to suck up the oil that is leaking? It should be relatively easy since they can use the one they have in there as a guide to put others into the hole.3. Did they test the B.O.P. regularly before the accident happened? I sincerely hope that they get the B.O.P. to close up the hole with their work today and tomorrow, but no wells should be given permission to be drilled until the Government is absolutely confidant that these questions I asked are addressed

      May 27, 2010 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Ken Eicher

      You're right Jandrew, he DID say 22,000bbls PER DAY, he should have said "to date", but messed up... OR, finally told what's closer to the truth. If you watch the video of seabed returns from drilling a tyical 36" surface conductor hole, it's drilled with a circulating rate of +- 1200 gallons per minute or +- 30bbls/min. The returns to the seabed are not NEARLY as much as what they're showing from ONE of the leaks, let alone three... albeit they are producing associated gas as well. This looks more like AT LEAST that volume, and doesn't sound bad at 30bbls/min, EXCEPT... that's 1800bbls/hr or 43,000bbls/day. Been watching the interviews and they've had some "supposed" experts, but NOT ONE PERSON with a calculator, no discussion of hydrostatic vs formation pressures, why top kill is just bullheading the well, which won't work because it HAS TO BE SHUT IN!!! That's why it's bypassing the stack back up into the ocean. Path of least resistance... NO pressure integrity at the top of the stack people...

      May 27, 2010 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Ken Eicher

      You're right Jandrew, he DID say 22,000bbls PER DAY, he should have said "to date", but messed up... OR, finally told what's closer to the truth. If you watch the video of seabed returns from drilling a tyical 36" surface conductor hole, it's drilled with a circulating rate of +- 1200 gallons per minute or +- 30bbls/min. The returns to the seabed are not NEARLY as much as what they're showing from ONE of the leaks, let alone three... albeit they are producing associated gas as well. This looks more like AT LEAST that volume, and doesn't sound bad at 30bbls/min, EXCEPT... that's 1800bbls/hr or 43,000bbls/day. Been watching the interviews and they've had some "supposed" experts, but NOT ONE PERSON with a calculator, no discussion of hydrostatic vs formation pressures, why top kill is just bullheading the well, which won't work because it HAS TO BE SHUT IN!!! That's why it's bypassing the stack back up into the ocean. Path of least resistance... NO pressure integrity at the top of the stack people.

      May 27, 2010 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
  3. Jason

    It's odd to me how most of these posts are about assigning blame. Bame BP. Blame the president. Blame the manufacturer of the blowout preventer. Blame anyone but ourselves.

    Look in the mirror. If you drive a car, heat your home with natural gas or oil, own anything made of plastic, eat food that wasn't grown locally, or indulge any of the other countless privileges you feel are your due as a member of our nation, and which almost invariably require oil to feed some part of the chain that brought you or facilitated that privilege, then you share as much blame as BP.

    You demand the oil. Don't you dare get on your high horse and point fingers at those who strive to bring it to you. Start making lifestyle changes that reduce or eliminate your dependence on oil, THEN and only then will you have the privilege of complaining about oil's impact on our environment.

    May 27, 2010 at 2:33 am | Report abuse |
    • uhuru

      right on the money Jason...............those who blame the loudest are probably driving a guzzler, keep temps at 65 and waste energy left and right 365 days a year. they should live without it for a day and would probably blame BP again for not pumping enough

      May 27, 2010 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
    • David - green thoughts

      Jason, while I partially agree with your encouragement of personal action, I believe you have not seriously considered the points you make. We live in a governmental structure and a society that channels people into commutes, plastic, fossil fuel heat, and so on. Not everyone can easily move to a small hut in a forest, or even a small house in a forest. Some people have done that - but what if it means abandoning a spouse, parents, children, jobs, friends? I live in a city (very efficient from a transportation view) and I try to buy products that don't involve plastic, but much food is in plastic. My family members want cheese, bread, etc. They can not eat bakery bread due to celiac so we have bread in a plastic bag. I use cloth shopping bags, compostable garbage bags, and more, but this is after much study, and I am still driving, using plastic, and so on, despite my efforts. Society as a whole needs to change via government and via education of the citizenry. Alternative energy sources, good rail lines, electric vehicles, flexible work locations, much needs to change. Meanwhile, the oil that is being extracted is, as I see it, being done so with criminal negligence. When you read the list of government complicity, technical neglect of the drilling and the BOP, and more, you see definite blame to be allocated. As the world moves slowly away from fossil fuels, we still need to do each action with care for other people, for animals, and for the planet.

      May 27, 2010 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Henry

      Stop living in your fantasy world. The world revolves around money and not saving the environment. That wont ever change.

      May 27, 2010 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
    • TomCom

      I disagree, They're are risks in many industries. The job is to identify those risk and put all the guards in place to minimize the chance of an accident. In this case, there was guards in place, but if appears corners were cut. Goverment is to blame also. From what i understand inspections were not done as often as fed regulations require.

      May 27, 2010 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
    • look in the mirror

      Each and every one of you should stop blaming BP. Yes, I said it and here's why. If BP or any other company stopped drilling for oil, our lives, as we know it would be chaotic. Oil is used in everything from food additives to clothing to building supplies to fuel for cars, homes, and the buildings we work in. Its not just about driving that SUV. Risks are involved when doing this and sometimes sh-t happens, even if you have back up methods in place.

      This is a tragic tragic event, but why is BP all of the sudden a big crook? Because they already make billions and billions? I have family who depends upon the sea for their livelihood but I'm not going to be a bigot.

      Even if we could ween ourselves off oil, everything we know and use in the world would have to also be weened off oil. That takes years and years and years of new development in a time when we are still battling a recession. It's easy to blame BP because it's their operation. But no one is to blame here. It's a risk that we all take. The Governor of LA sits on his high horse demanding action and blaming BP for this and that, YET he receives taxes for the same oil companies who ship it into his ports and refine within his borders.

      This country makes me sick sometimes, when people start pointing fingers without trully thinking. If you want to point fingers, then lay some of the blame on yourselves and our forefathers for making oil such a daily part of our lives.

      May 27, 2010 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      Well, I got smaller car that gets over 40 on the highway, put geothermal in my home, bike whenever possible, grow food in my back yard to cut down on transported goods...so I guess I can complain, and so can millions of others who are making changes. There are plenty of people to blame. Administrations that since Carter left office that have never worked on alternatives and affeciency with any sense of urgency, car companies and fossil fuel companies for fighting regualtion and higher standards, climate change deniers who have created a false sense of doubt in science and many more.

      May 27, 2010 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Rez

      Right on Henry. There was a lot of neglect which resulted in this disaster.

      May 27, 2010 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Inga

      100% agreed! Now, how do we make these changes in our lives? How can we make an impact on others to make these changes? I'm ready!

      May 27, 2010 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Max

      you hippies make me sick

      May 27, 2010 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
    • don

      seems like you might have some sort of better than complex, the world runs on oil Jason thats not the question? sustainability? hmm, I would rather see things get better but the fact is they wont, overpopulation is the problem so be the true enviormentalist and go kill yourself.

      May 27, 2010 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Cindy

      Amen, Jason!!!!!

      May 27, 2010 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
    • chris

      do you drive a car moron? or do any of things you listed? in order to live in this time, those things are required. what money hungry BP should be doing is inventing other solutions besides oil and getting those solutions to us. we all cant take our bikes to work. you arent think loigically.

      May 27, 2010 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Megan

      Finally! Thank you Jason. I don't know a lot about drilling for oil but sooner or later what did they think was going to happen when they poked a hole in the earth and bled it?

      May 27, 2010 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Jake

      Dear Jason,

      Please remove yourself from your own high horse before you go accusing others. Until you have rid yourself of all plastics, any food you did now cultivate yourself, and use zero transportation that involves the use of oil and its' byproducts please don't preach. No one loves using oil, I know it doesn't put a smile on my face, but as our infastructure is currently constructed, it is a neccessary evil. Until you wake up and realize that, nothing is going to change.

      There has to be a balance, people and government working together to do something, and I don't think any of us see that coming anytime soon.

      May 27, 2010 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Jake

      Megan, don't be so close minded. There is nothing wrong with drilling for oil, it is a necessity in our lives right now. The problem is the deregulation of everything and BP overlooking certain problems while they were containable. This should have never happened were the proper channels taken on both sides. Also, no one is to blame but BP and this government for not having a plan in place. They should have built the burm around the coast line a month ago before it ever came to this point, but they were trying to save themselves and their money first, not what mattered most, it's citizens.

      May 27, 2010 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Stan Haas

      We are not going to stop using oil overnight, but we are making a lot of progress on doing so, but the facts remain that BP and Haliburton took short cuts they should not have been taking and caused this horrendous accident, and then the failure of the B.O.P. to not shut off the oil immediately. The Government absolutely must stop all off shore permits until they are confident that all oil companies are not ever taking dangerous short cuts again

      May 27, 2010 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  4. Lonnie

    I have a very simple question; why did BP wait 5 weeks to attempt this "kill shot"?

    May 27, 2010 at 8:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Because they were trying other methods. Not watching the news bud? And the reason for trying the other methods: Because they thought they would work. Don't worry, the people trying to stop this are ALOT smarter than you and your simple questions.

      May 27, 2010 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
    • VeryOldMan

      Because Top Kill is risky and the success rate is much lower than BP claimed (20-30%, instead of 60-70%). It could make situation worse with more spill.

      May 27, 2010 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Risky Business

      Top Kill is riskier? Or does it mean if they tried it sooner they would not have been able to "collect" any oil for the last 5 weeks...

      May 27, 2010 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Thomas

      Risky, if you think they can do much with the oil they collected the "last 5 weeks" as you say, you are kidding yourself. Sure, they may have collected a few thousand barrels but if you knew anything about how the oil industry works and how crude is bought and sold, you'd keep those comments to yourself. Refineries don't make a habit of buying 5000 barrels of crude here and 2000 barrels there. It isn't economical and it's likely there are quality issues and high water content in these bbls.

      May 27, 2010 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Domonic

      Bc the top kill seals the well, and that would cut into BPs future profits. Come on man, company first.

      May 27, 2010 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • cathie

      I have a question – cnn was supposedly showing live video yesterday of the "top kill", with pictures of 'mud' flowing out all day long, only to discover that the operation had been suspended at midnight the night before. Would mud still be flowing out of the well 16 hours later? My husband is a petroleum reservoir engineer and thinks a "live feed" would have eventually been showing the mud depleted after awhile and the oil and gas spewing out again.

      May 28, 2010 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Why not bury the well?

      Why can't bp just lower some heavy rocks down there and cover that in layers of mud to rebury the well?

      May 29, 2010 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  5. bruce

    jandrew – check your factoid – BP Suttles indicated that the insertion tube had collected 22,000 bbls over 8 days according to all the searches I have been able to do on that factoid – so looks like an average just under 3,000 bbls per day well within the Coast Guard/BP estimates.

    May 27, 2010 at 9:09 am | Report abuse |
  6. Qwerty42

    Soooo...... as it turns out.... we really such as this whole "learning from our mistakes" thing. Ever heard of "ixtoc"? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ixtoc_I_oil_spill

    May 27, 2010 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
  7. Skip Fadden

    Why not try injecting sea water into the well and let the methane hydrate crystals plug it up like it did with the containment dome. Then cement could be pumped in to seal the well.

    May 27, 2010 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Rich

      That was the cause of the blowout in the firest place. They removed the drilling mud from the system and replaced it with seawater in preparation for inserting a concrete plug. The pressure of the well overcame the pressure of the seawater resulting in the blowout.

      May 27, 2010 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
  8. Jim the Anvil

    Al Qaeda would gladly take responsibility for these atrocities if it wasn't obvious BP had already claimed the duke.

    May 27, 2010 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
  9. Skip Fadden

    Why not try injecting sea water into the well and let the methane hydrate crystals plug it up like it did with the containment dome. Then cement could be pumped in to seal the well.

    May 27, 2010 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
  10. Albert

    It's already too late, this will affect everyone for years to come.

    May 27, 2010 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
  11. Ryan

    My message to BP: (•͡. •͡┌П┐

    May 27, 2010 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
  12. jramin

    they didn't use the top kill at the biginnig because possbily this uses large amount of mud that greedy BP need them for its other exploration projects.

    May 27, 2010 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Wyatt

      Yea. OK. Their best interest and ours are the same. Stop the leak ASAP. BP doesn't stand to benefit from letting it leak at all. Liabilities, tarnished image, tougher regulations coming because of this.

      May 27, 2010 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
  13. Zen

    The US has surrounded itself with WMD all around our coasts. I find it ironic that we fight and deliver enormous destruction in the midle-east to protect our geo-political interests (oil and our access to it), and yet oil from our own backyard is going to deliver enormous destruction to us in kind.

    May 27, 2010 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
  14. Mark

    What I find most disturbing in all of this is the intense coverage of the ecological consequences of this, as well as the companies involved in the accident, but very little has been said about the 11 people that lost their lives in this accident. The people of Louisiana can complain about their loss of fishing income, etc, but there are 11 families that have been shattered by this incident and nothing is mentioned of them. This was an accident, pue and simple. Nobody tried to spew oil into the ocean, but it happened. Stop trying to place blame and concentrate on fixing the problem.

    May 27, 2010 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
  15. Robert Trent Jones

    I say act like a communist and seaze all of BP's assets, Transocean's assets and Halliburton's assets.

    It is clear BP is not capable of ending the spill and they should be removed from the process immediately. The government should take over, hire competant firms and stop the leak as soon as possible.

    May 27, 2010 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Wyatt

      What makes you think anyone else is better? We're so beholden to bianary thinking: It's not going well this way, so if we change something it must get better. In reality, it could be going poorly but is as good as it's going to get.

      May 27, 2010 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Thomas

      RTJ, don't look now but the top kill just might work. Stick to golf courses.

      May 27, 2010 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13