Is it time to blow up the leaking Gulf oil well?
BP doing its best to keep that option under wraps
Monday May 17, 2010
Shepard Smith had a fascinating segment on the catastrophic Gulf oil spill today, featuring an interview with a former nuclear-sub captain who argued persuasively that it was time -- past time, really -- to blow up that leaking oil well in the Gulf and put an end to the massive pollution that's resulted from its being open.
Smith originally brought on Christopher Brownfield to discuss the potential for using a nuclear bomb to stop the leak, and Brownfield said that yes, it was decided a viable way to stop it -- it has been done four times previously. But he gave many compelling reasons NOT to use a nuclear warhead for the job -- the biggest one being that the same job could be accomplished with conventional explosives.
So why aren't we talking about doing this? Well, Brownfield explained that too:
Brownfield: If we demolish the well using explosives, the investment's gone. They lose hundreds of millions of dollars, from the drilling of the well, plus no lawmaker in his right mind would allow BP to drill again in that same spot. So basically, it's an all-or-nothing thing with BP: They either keep the well alive, or they lose their whole investment and all the oil that they could potentially get from that well.
As Brownfield explains, "We need to seal this thing off." Desperately. But why hasn't anyone been bringing a complete shutdown of the well to the table?
Brownfield: Yes, I think -- stopping the spill immediately. And the reason why we haven't seen that option is because, frankly, BP is still at the helm. I think President Obama needs to take charge of this, bring all the assets of our military to bear, bring the U.S. Army Corps of engineers, bring the U.S. Navy, and bring in all the private-sector organizations that have the equipment for deep-sea operations to make this happen. Let's explode this, collapse the well, and put an end to it.
I don't know about the rest of you but this story seems like it should be the final straw:
Scientists are finding enormous oil plumes in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, including one as large as 10 miles long, 3 miles wide and 300 feet thick. The discovery is fresh evidence that the leak from the broken undersea well could be substantially worse than estimates that the government and BP have given.
“There’s a shocking amount of oil in the deep water, relative to what you see in the surface water,” said Samantha Joye, a researcher at the University of Georgia who is involved in one of the first scientific missions to gather details about what is happening in the gulf. “There’s a tremendous amount of oil in multiple layers, three or four or five layers deep in the water column.”
The plumes are depleting the oxygen dissolved in the gulf, worrying scientists, who fear that the oxygen level could eventually fall so low as to kill off much of the sea life near the plumes.
If Brownfield is right, BP has had its chance to save its well. The time has run out.
If Brownfield is right, it's time for the president to seize control of the situation and blow this well up.