Photo via Getty
So Far, Anyways ... Oil Continues Spewing at 200,000 Gallons a Day
As you may already know, BP's primary plan to cap the geyser of oil in the Gulf of Mexico was to lower a 40 ft 100 ton containment dome onto the biggest leak site. The company was then planning on siphoning the oil onto a tanker standing by. Unfortunately, news has just broken that the dome -- which was lowered over the site on Thursday -- has suffered serious complications, and has been removed. While officials say the method hasn't failed for certain yet, Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal has acknowledged that the dome has been removed, and BP and the government will reconsider their options. Jindal, who held a press conference after assessing the extent of the spill in a helicopter flyover, said that the company will "take two days, explore other options, and maybe try again."
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal addressing the spill. Photo by Brian Merchant
The dome had been said to be the greatest hope BP had of cutting off the flow of oil into the gulf quickly, as other options like drilling a relief well could take months. Jindal said that Louisiana must "continue to prepare for the worst." He also said he and his team were "obviously disappointed it didn't work."
Evidently, gas hydrates accumulated inside the huge dome, both making it too buoyant, and plugging up the space designated for the flow of oil. Here's how the dome was supposed to work:
The governor stressed that there were a number of containment measures already underway, and that Louisiana was mobilized to head off the worst of the spill -- miles of boom had been deployed, chemical dispersants were still being dropped on the slick, and a number of "creative responses" like the deployment of Tiger dams by the Navy to protect threatened coastline.
I'll relay more information as it becomes available -- but the dome's failure thus far is obviously a major setback for the effort to contain the BP Gulf oil spill.
UPDATE: The New York Times now has the story on the front page of their website with more details.