Underwater Robot Accident Causes 100,000s of Gallons of Oil to Gush from BP Spill Source


Image via BP

If it all wasn't so catastrophic, the series of mishaps that have plagued BP's attempts to contain its gigantic oil spill would almost be comical. Almost. After all, we've seen failed 'top hats' and 'junk shots', the rig literally struck by lightening, and now, witnessed a misguided underwater robot bump into a venting system -- forcing BP to again remove the cap that was collecting some of the oil. The leak is again flowing unabated into the Gulf. Here's how it happened: The AP reports (via the Huffington Post):

Hundreds of thousands of gallons more oil gushed into the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday after an undersea robot bumped a venting system and forced BP to remove a cap that had been containing some of the crude.

When the robot bumped the system, gas rose through the vent that carries warm water down to prevent ice-like crystals from forming in the cap, Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said.

They consequently had to remove the cap, and check to make sure no ice crystals had formed before they're able to replace it. Officials said they had no idea how long that process would take.

The containment cap was collecting hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil a day -- in the previous 24 hour cycle, it had reportedly captured 700,000 gallons. What would have been captured is now again flowing directly into the Gulf.

This news comes on the heels of a federal judge's decision to block the Obama administration's moratorium on deep water drilling -- his argument being that just because there was an accident with one well, doesn't mean others should be assumed to be dangerous. But as these high stakes mishaps reveal, if there is an accident on another one of the deep water rigs approved for drilling, there's no clear way to stop the flow of oil.

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Tags: Gulf Oil Spill | Oil | Oil Spill | United States