BP Oil Leak: Ready, Set...Brainstorm!

Postby scotthenderson » June 17th, 2010, 2:20 pm


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Are you tired of watching the BP Oil Spill continue to flow unabated, and all anyone seems to be talking about is who is going to pay for the damage that is ongoing with no end in sight?

The relief wells that BP has finally begun drilling to shut off the leak will not be ready until the end of the summer, while the BP Oil leak is producing an Exxon Valdez sized spill every eight days. That’s about 12 more Valdez’s on the way at least!

Where has all of the ingenuity gone? Can industrial Design save the day? Ready, Set...Brainstorm!...
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Re: BP Oil Leak: Ready, Set...Brainstorm!

Postby yo » June 17th, 2010, 2:42 pm

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I think that second idea made a lot of sense!

Re: BP Oil Leak: Ready, Set...Brainstorm!

Postby NURB » June 17th, 2010, 3:14 pm

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Re: BP Oil Leak: Ready, Set...Brainstorm!

Postby Greenman » June 17th, 2010, 3:22 pm

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Nuke the site from orbit, it's the only way to be sure.

I would post what I helped work on, but uh, I think it's pseudo-proprietory.
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the water would be inside the tube too though... ? Pressure should be equal and not crush the tube I think.

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I read some informed speculation today that the well pipe is actually cracked and/or eroding and on the verge of collapsing- this is below the level of the sea floor where it would be completely inaccessible. This goes some way to explaining why the previous junk shot and top kill attempts didn't work and have been completely abandoned. All these procedures increase the internal pressure, increasing the risk of catastrophic failure.

If the well pipe fails down near the bottom, we are pretty much fcuked until the oil field drains itself. The resulting spill would make this current situation look like a pool party, and oil would end up all around the globe. If all this is correct, the only hope is that the relief well hits its mark before the pipe goes. I think it's fairly clear that there is more going on than what we're being told. This might also explain why they were so keen to get the money from BP up front in escrow. The current scale of this, even if it goes on for another couple months, is nowhere near big enough to threaten the viability of BP as a going concern. If the well collapses though...

Re: BP Oil Leak: Ready, Set...Brainstorm!

Postby NURB » June 17th, 2010, 7:06 pm

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Scott Bennett wrote:I read some informed speculation today that the well pipe is actually cracked and/or eroding and on the verge of collapsing- this is below the level of the sea floor where it would be completely inaccessible. This goes some way to explaining why the previous junk shot and top kill attempts didn't work and have been completely abandoned. All these procedures increase the internal pressure, increasing the risk of catastrophic failure.

If the well pipe fails down near the bottom, we are pretty much fcuked until the oil field drains itself. The resulting spill would make this current situation look like a pool party, and oil would end up all around the globe. If all this is correct, the only hope is that the relief well hits its mark before the pipe goes. I think it's fairly clear that there is more going on than what we're being told. This might also explain why they were so keen to get the money from BP up front in escrow. The current scale of this, even if it goes on for another couple months, is nowhere near big enough to threaten the viability of BP as a going concern. If the well collapses though...


That's terrifying.
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Re: BP Oil Leak: Ready, Set...Brainstorm!

Postby bjd9282 » June 17th, 2010, 7:55 pm


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I was thinking the same thing about some sort of long straw to simply pipe the oil up and out of the water. I have to believe that there is some solid reason why this wouldn't work, and not that it just hasn't been thought of. It seems so obvious. Or, could the focus be so much on "plugging" the problem and putting it back the way it was, that an outsiders solution like this just doesn't come up.
I don't think the pressure would be the issue, because as someone said its not an empty tube so it's supported from the inside. I mean there's jellyfish that live down there and they're not being crushed by the pressure. Who do we call about this?

Re: BP Oil Leak: Ready, Set...Brainstorm!

Postby NURB » June 17th, 2010, 8:36 pm

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That's actually what they're doing right now. However, lightning struck the boat and started a huge fire... no more pumping.
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Re: BP Oil Leak: Ready, Set...Brainstorm!

Postby cg » June 18th, 2010, 12:49 am

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bjd9282 wrote:I was thinking the same thing about some sort of long straw... Who do we call about this?



Re: BP Oil Leak: Ready, Set...Brainstorm!

Postby NURB » June 18th, 2010, 7:03 am

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Nicely done, sir. Nicely done.
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Re: BP Oil Leak: Ready, Set...Brainstorm!

Postby mgnt8 » June 18th, 2010, 10:18 am


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Re: BP Oil Leak: Ready, Set...Brainstorm!

Postby hansmaus » June 18th, 2010, 11:00 am

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It is one thing to make some design sketches with good old Tucker during the IDSA conference effected by the 2003 blackout in NY, but for my taste this oil spill is a little too sad and way over our heads to turn it into a sketching game.

Besides, I am sure that Kevin Costner and Sean Penn are on their way already.
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Re: BP Oil Leak: Ready, Set...Brainstorm!

Postby nicanor » June 18th, 2010, 11:19 am


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Maybe the problem with the current ideas (or at least the ones I've seen) is how to fix the pipe so we can continue piping the oil out safely. How about just sealing it permanently, probably an easier solution. If Dubai can build islands, I'm sure there's a similar solution right there??

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The problem isn't a lack of ideas, the problem is that some things just can't be fixed easily or quickly. There are lots of conceivable ways of blocking off the top of the well pipe, but if the well pipe is not sound upstream of that point, then none of those flow stopping approaches are viable. They will all exacerbate a much worse problem. It's like plugging up a garden hose that has pinhole leaks all along its length. You just moved the problem somewhere where it's impossible to manage. We haven't been told that, but the fact that they have completely given up on any top kill flow stopping approach is telling.

The only real solution then is to block off the flow lower down in the pipe, which is what the relief well is going to do. In the meantime, the only thing to do is try to capture as much of the oil as possible as it comes out, which they are doing a reasonable job of.

I think they should also probably knock it off with the dispersants. It seems a lot easier to collect or burn surface oil than plumes of oil heading off to points unknown. But I'm not an expert, and there are probably factors involved I know nothing about.

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