Sunday, May 30, 2010

BP Unmasked As Movie Version Of Freddie -- Act I

Failure of BP engineers to plug the massive oil gusher in the Gulf of Mexico with a "top kill" snuffing procedure is another kick in the gut to frustrated and outraged residents along the Gulf shorelines.

Every promise to fix the nation's largest economic and environmental accidental disaster has failed and mitigating the damage will not begin until the hole 5,000 feet below the Gulf water surface is plugged.

BP has taken on the face of the movie monster Freddie who keeps coming back to kill.

Its latest tease in this continual murderous drama is promises that by the end of this week, the gusher might be throttled by undersea robots using a diamond-cut saw to slice through the 21-inch ruptured pipe and cap it with a funnel-like devise. Pipes attached to the cap would use the underground pressure to shoot the oil and gas mixture to a surface ship.

Explaining the engineering underwater Buck Rogers event, with a straight face at that, was Robert Dudley, BP's managing director and head of disaster management, on NBC’s "Meet The Press" show Sunday.

Company executives are now telling us the "top kill" effort was a longshot  from the get-go. Now they are saying the robot capping stands a better chance of success. And before that a four-story steel structure sitting on top of the gusher was their best hope.

And somewhere during these failures, BP CEO Tony Haywood said the company's assessment of the pending ecological damage would be minimal.

The latest approach slicing and capping the ruptured pipe is risky. A bend in the ruptured pipe is most likely restricting the flow into Gulf waters at the rate of 12,000 to 19,000 barrels per day.

“If they can’t get that valve on, things will get much worse,” said Philip W. Johnson, an engineering professor at the University of Alabama. Johnson said he thought BP could succeed with the valve, but he added: “It’s a scary proposition.” If not, the rate of even more Louisiana crude will be spilled unabated.

Equally scary is that the "final solution" of two relief wells drilled to 8,000 feet into the ocean floor and intersecting with the ruptured pipe actually will work. That chapter in this movie drama is not scheduled to happen until August.

Looming in the minds of everyone from the White House to the shores from Texas to Florida is the BP oil leak lasting longer than the world's worst accidental oil spill, also in the Gulf of Mexico. That would be the Ixtoc I submersible platform leased by Mexico's Pemex that exploded and sank on June 3, 1979, spilling between 10,000 and 30,000 bpd until it was capped nine months later on March 30, 1980.

And, that, folks was in shallow water at a depth of only 162 feet, not 5,000 feet as is the case with the Deepwater Horizons explosion on April 20 and counting. The Deepwater Horizons explosion killed 11 platform workers whose families are outraged that BP and Transocean demonstrated extreme callousness for their loved ones' memorial services.

While President Obama expressed his outrage and heartbreak over the BP disaster, one of his underlings with ashen face and choking voice expressed her pain on David Gregory's "Meet The Press" Sunday.

“This is without doubt the worst environmental disaster in our history,” Carol Browner, director of the Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy. Here's the video.

That the latest BP failure as a kick in the gut is seen by surfing the cable networks and reading the assortment of on-line websites from the City of New Orleans to that city's major newspaper, the Times Picayune.

Michel Claudet, the president of Terrebonne Parish, 60 miles southwest of New Orleans, said that when he heard the news, he felt “sorrow, despair and like this ordeal will never finish. If you go around the parish, it is all our folks talk about.”
Claudet said that he was trying to remain hopeful, but that it was increasingly difficult. “As every item fails,” he said, “I am less and less optimistic.” 

Most of the time you can find on CNN James Carville, the Democratic strategist, eloquently screaming in the faces of the Obama administration and BP executives of the disaster that is killing his beloved roots in Louisiana. He also has turned pitchman, reminding folks that the City of New Orleans is still thriving and come visit.

“It’s like a bad movie that just won’t end,” said Billy Altman, 45, a mechanic in New Orleans. “You know, you think they finally killed the bad guy, and then he comes back to life. It’s crazy.” 


This concludes Act I of a three-act play on the BP oil spill.

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