Monday, November 29, 1999

BP says successfully tests oil-siphoning system

News posted by

Energy giant BP said on Sunday it successfully tested a system to siphon oil from a blown-out well, a move the company called an "important step" in containing a spill that threatens environmental disaster.Crude oil has been gushing unchecked into the sea from a ruptured undersea well in the Gulf of Mexico about a mile (1.6 km) under the water's surface, threatening an ecological and economic calamity along the U.S. Gulf Coast.After other attempts to contain the spill failed, BP Plc succeeded in inserting a tube into the leaking well and captured some oil and gas, according to a statement posted on a website maintained by BP and U.S. government agencies.The operation was stopped briefly when the tube became dislodged, the statement said, but technicians inspected the system and reinserted it successfully."While not collecting all of the leaking oil, this tool is an important step in reducing the amount of oil being released into Gulf waters," it said."The concept can now be considered proven," a source close to the operation said.In the attempt on Saturday, a cord taking the oil to the surface became entangled. Gas was taken to the surface and flared. The oil entered the pipe, but didn't make it all the way to the surface, the source said.The fix involves guiding undersea robots to insert a small tube into a 21-inch (53-cm) pipe, known as a riser, to funnel the oil to a ship at the surface.Officials said that so far the spill has had minimal impact on the shoreline and wildlife, but oil debris and tar balls were washing up on barrier islands and outlying beaches in at least a dozen places in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi."As nasty as they are, they are more manageable than a slick. They can be collected. They can be cleaned and we have crews doing that," Coast Guard Petty Officer Luke Pinneo said, referring to the latest discovery of tar balls on Grand Isle, Louisiana.Scientists and residents of the Gulf Coast say a greater concern is the anticipated encroachment of oil into the environmentally fragile bayous and marshes teeming with shrimp, oysters, crabs, fish, birds and other wildlife.The spill began after an April 20 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig, which killed 11 workers. It threatens to eclipse the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill off Alaska as the worst U.S. ecological disaster.(Additional reporting by Jeff Mason, Matthew Bigg, and Tom Bergin)
News posted by
Click here to read more news from
Please follow our blogs



No comments:

Post a Comment