Friday, July 16, 2010

BP, an Oil Leak: And Good News From the Gulf?!

"WRAPUP 11-BP says test shuts off oil leak from Gulf well"
Reuters (July 15, 2010)

"BP ... said on Thursday it stopped the flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico from its deep-sea well for the first time since it ruptured in April, prompting hope that the leak can be plugged for good.

"BP conducted a test in which it closed valves and vents on a tight-sealing containment cap installed atop its the well earlier this week. BP said results early in the test showed the cap had completely contained the flow of oil....

" 'It's a great sight but it's far from the finish line, Doug Suttles, a senior BP executive, told reporters.

"President Barack Obama, who has seen his U.S. public approval ratings drop as the crisis dragged on, called it a 'positive sign' but noted that the latest effort was still in the testing phase. BP's huge oil spill has caused an economic and environmental disaster along the U.S. Gulf Coast...."

I'm not terribly surprised that the new cap seems to be working, at least to some extent. Pleased, yes. Particularly since it's in place and working ahead of schedule.

As to "hope that the leak can be plugged for good," well, it's nice to see that folks at Reuters feel that way. I've assumed that oil loss could be stopped - or at least reduced to some acceptable level - eventually. British Petroleum has a huge incentive to do so.

A nice, quick, done-by-the-next-evening-news solution would have been - nice. But that oil's coming out of the sea floor about a mile down: and we just don't have Thunderbirds-level technology yet.

In fairness, I don't think BP is the sole cause of the Gulf Coast's economic woes. Shutting down all drilling - a major industry in the area - didn't exactly help the folks earning a living there. But that's another topic.

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