How to Fix the BP-Halliburton Louisiana Oil Disaster—Kind Of

Illustration for article titled How to Fix the BP-Halliburton Louisiana Oil Disaster—Kind Of

Cleaning up the effect of the disastrous oil eruption in the Gulf Coast—thanks BP-Halliburton!—is a huge job. Here are some of the tech options available when it comes to cleaning up a gigantic mess like this:

Illustration for article titled How to Fix the BP-Halliburton Louisiana Oil Disaster—Kind Of
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Booms and Skimmers - These guys suck up oil and water from the ocean surface. 'Booming the area off with floating dams to protect these areas is the best option, but the size of the spill will exhaust the world's supply of oil booms very quickly.'

Illustration for article titled How to Fix the BP-Halliburton Louisiana Oil Disaster—Kind Of
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Underwater Containment Dome - This is what we've heard the most about. The idea is to cap the leaking wells and collect oil at the surface. A 40-foot tall, 24-foot wide, 14-foot deep steel-concrete box will be dropped in to a spot where the two leaks are releasing the most oil. A second box well be placed near a third leak. Oil will be collected and piped to a ship over the course of about a week. Unfortunately, no dome has been deployed at depths of 5,000 feet before, and there's a 2-4 week construction time.

Illustration for article titled How to Fix the BP-Halliburton Louisiana Oil Disaster—Kind Of

Blowoff Preventer - This is what malfunctioned on the Deepwater Horizon rig. When the spill started, it should've automatically kicked in to stop oil from pouring out of the ground. It didn't, and robots sent to turn it on manually were unable to get it working, either. It's not known why it failed.

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Dispersants/Detergents - These chemicals turn crude oil in to fine droplets for microbial breakdown. Unfortunately, the amount of oil in the gulf would 'overwhelm such efforts.' Another option is to try to apply the dispersants and detergents right at the leak site, but it's unclear if that will work or not. "Dispersants have proven far more effective than skimmers, which may only be able to soak up 10 percent of the spill, the Coast Guard said today."

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Burn - This method is pretty straightforward: set fire to sections of the slick and let the crude burn off. It's generally the last resort.

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Microbes - Breeding microbes on a large enough scale to combat spill is impractical. Also, the microbes don't really break down the crude, rather they work on the substance at the interface between the surface water and oil, so this probably won't be explored too deeply.

It's clear that none of these methods are going to avoid the huge impact the disaster will have in the economy and environment of every human and animal around it. At the end, the only fix against these catastrophes is preventing them at any cost. Too bad that, like Exxon before them, BP-Haliburton didn't take the appropriate measures to avoid this calamity. [Research by Don Nguyen; Sources: The Big Picture, Tech News Daily, FoxNews.com, Chron.com, LiveScience]

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DISCUSSION

james-deichelbor-old
James Deichelbor

BP is paying to fix this problem, and as a corporation they should, not to mention that they are legally bound to. What I don't understand however is why we all so willing to allow the shit from this disaster to roll up hill.

A quote from the NY Times:

The acoustic systems cost about $500,000, The Wall Street Journal reported last week, which is about the same amount it cost for BP to lease the rig for one day from its owner and operator, Transocean Ltd., per day. The replacement cost of the Deepwater Horizon is estimated at $560 million. BP is now spending $6 million or more each day to try to staunch the spill.

BP didn't blow this thing up, they don't even own the damn thing. They are paying out all this money and doing the right thing because it was detailed in the oil lease that they purchased from the government, they would if it did.

Read the news and tell me how many times you read Transocean Ltd. Either we as a society are too stupid to use a 10 letter name over a 2 letter name, or we just don't like capitalism anymore.