Leaks from the sea floor are appearing and growing in number, making it clear that the BP Deepwater Horizon well is gravely damaged. That being the case, it is obvious that any effort to restrict the flow of oil from the top of the well, by increasing the pressure inside the 2.5-mile long casing that runs down to the oil reservoir will only make any breaches in the casing worse, allowing oil and gas under high pressure to move into the surrounding concrete liner and the geological formations, where they will force their way up to the surface in an uncontrollable way.
Why would anyone want this to happen?
Well, clearly BP doesn't care. The company is financially on the ropes anyway, and so its executives may well be figuring they have nothing to lose by making a long-shot bet. But for the sake of the environment and the lives of the people who depend upon the Gulf of Mexico and its coastline, that kind of risky thinking cannot be permitted.
Retired Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, the nominal head of the disaster response operation, this morning admitted that methane appears to be seeping from the surrounding seabed, and demanded that BP monitor the sea floor closely and be prepared to remove the cap immediately if ordered to do so. There are fears the blowout could get worse, with oil and gas rising uncontrollably from the sea floor, perhaps even undermining and destroying the blowout preventer assembly. Even White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs is today admitting that gas is leaking from the top of the well assembly and from the sea floor.
It all raises the question of why this temporary fix of capping the top of the well was ever even attempted, knowing that there was a strong likelihood that the 13,000 feet of well casing had been damaged by the initial violent blowout and by the racing oil and gas and debris pressing up from deep in the bowels of the earth.
As I pointed out earlier, there was already clear evidence that the casing had been breached. While it had not been mentioned in mainstream news reports, one view taken of the sea floor taken by a videocam on the Hos ROV 1, one of the remote robot submersibles monitoring the wellhead, and on display on the BP website, beginning at about 2:48:40 Central Time on June 16, showed clouds of muddy looking water suddenly spring up and begin obscuring the view of the sea floor. Some of the billowing material was light colored, and could have been mud pushed up by leaking methane gas. Some looked decidedly dark brown, like the oil that has been seen coming from the top of the BOP.
A second rover, the Viking Poseidon ROV 1, which was not included in the live cams displayed from BP's public access site on June 16, but which could be seen live here, also showed a large cloud of churning brown material billowing up from the sea floor beginning at 3:06:00 Central Time.
Other images showed bubbles rising form the sea floor--something that had not been seen earlier.
BP has repeatedly shut down cameras on its live-viewing website when they started showing spewing gas or oil, but here is one video that was saved by someone of oil billowing out of the ground near the BOP this morning at 3:38 am.
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