Good news!

The riser insertion tool intersected the riser; where 85% of the oil is said to be leaking.  The riser insertion tool allows a straw placed inside the gushing riser and then a rubber bracelet expands which keeps the straw in place against the pressure of the oil flow.

This has allowed BP to capture, realistically speaking,  20%  of the oil flow from the main leak. Now, the focus is directed towards the remaining 80% of the main leak and then attention will be turned towards the second, minimal, leak.

Now on to the next tool in the “toolkit” to stop the oil flow at it’s source; enter the “top kill”.

A clearer version of this graphic can be found here:

Basically, BP  will insert a 9 inch drill pipe and pump a high velocity of drilling fluids into the well to stem the flow of oil and gas, through the 3 inch choke and kill lines into the blow off preventer (BOP) by way of a yellow control pot that has been rescued from the explosion and reconfigured (wired) about a week ago. Once the oil flow is restricted, the well would be sealed permanently with cement and abandoned completely.

The company was able to get pressure readings from the blowout preventer last week that indicate the bottom and the top of the well’s pressure is lower than expected and dropping, encouraging officials’ belief that a top kill can work without making the problem worse.

“That’s given us the confidence to move forward with this process. If successful, we would be bringing this incident to a close.”  stated BP Chief Operating Officer, Doug Suttles.

Officials estimate that the “top kill” will be operational by the end of the week, possibly this weekend depending on weather conditions. This sounds very promising; but as always, the challenge is doing this in the depths of 5000 ft of water and with only remote operated vehicles.

If this is not successful, the next option that in the tool kit is the junk shot where basically a “scientific” equation of mud, cement and fillers; such as, rubber from tires and golf balls will be used to form a “mound” over the well to where it eventually causes enough pressure against the flow of oil pressure; so that the oil flow will cease to flow.

Another option, the “hot tap” (right) implications of effectiveness at 5000 feet subsea are being “heatedly” discussed.

The hot tap, essentially, is a securing measure that keeps the oil from interfering with the recovery efforts. Then they place another valve on top so that oil can be stopped altogether.

The problem with this measure is that BP is not wanting to risk the excess pressure unclogging of the current blow out preventer as it is semi-blocked, so this measure could actually increase the oil flow rate.

The riskiest option is that of the “hail mary” (as I like to call it). This is where the riser is sliced to put on another blow out preventer; however, the problem with this is that BP is unsure where the oil leak is clogged and so if they miss the calculation by even a small amount~ this could cause massive amounts of oil to gush into the Gulf.

In conjunction with these efforts, there are ROVS (remote operated vehicles) who are the “hands” of this operation working at such dark depths of 5000 ft. Amongst other things, they are trying to “shine light on the situation” (literally and metaphorically) as well as some of the ROVs are holding a wand that is attacking the young oil, the most toxic oil at the source of the wellhead, with the interchangeable use of Corexit’s 9500 and 9527A dispersants.

Further down the line in August 2010~ there are hopes that the two relief wells will be operational which will intersect the gushing oil well and relieve it of it’s pressure. They stopped for testing and will resume active tomorrow and received approval for the second relief well to be built on 05.17.2010.

Let’s not forget about another overlooked recovery tool, good ol’ fashion praying and repenting for our greedy and materialistic nature and hoping that Mother Nature/God etc. will forgive us, heal the Gulf of Mexico and all of her inhabitants and teach us a very important lesson in the grand scheme of things.

At this point, all options are on the table unless proven that it would damage the rescue attempts.

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