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BP's Final "Top Kill" Procedure For Gulf Oil Spill

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the aww-i-wanted-a-nuke dept.

Earth 593

eldavojohn writes "So far every attempted fix has resulted in failure to contain the Gulf of Mexico oil spill with the exception of the riser insertion method that appears to be little more than a mile-long tube sucking up oil. After attempting many options to allow the continued collection of crude oil, BP is finally considering a 'top kill' option that will kill the well. A vessel at the surface will use 30,000 horsepower pumps to slam kill mud and clay into the well's bent riser, allowing them to cap the well off with two relief wells (which won't be ready for several months). If that fails, the vessel will move on to a 'junk shot' that involves spewing larger debris like shredded rubber and golf balls into the lines to gum up the flow and stop it. Government officials acknowledge that while this may provide a solution, it may also worsen the situation if the resulting pressure causes the lines to blow or fail at other points. While this is likely one of the worst environmental disasters to hit the gulf, BP's debacle has caused Shell to pre-build cofferdams into seven wells that it is currently drilling in the gulf. These would drop into place in the event of such a catastrophic failure of a riser under the well."

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593 comments

How many blunders will the American gov't allow? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32296620)

How long will the American government keep allowing BP to blunder its way into not fixing this problem?

Maybe the government should step in and put and end to this situation themselves.

Re:How many blunders will the American gov't allow (4, Insightful)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 4 years ago | (#32296686)

The question is, though, will the government be able to do any better? I say let a disinterested (disinterested in the collection of the oil, that is) tackle the problem. Get BP out of the equation completely (aside from paying for the 3rd-parties services).

Re:How many blunders will the American gov't allow (1)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 4 years ago | (#32296706)

3rd-party's*

stupid grammar.

Re:How many blunders will the American gov't allow (1)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 4 years ago | (#32297254)

or better yet, 3rd parties'. There may be more than one 3rd party.

And this is more stylistic than grammatical, but one usually spells out numbers up to and including ten, so it should be "third parties'", or "their 25th attempt to fix the problem failed, too".

Just saying, if you're going to be pedantic, do it right.

Re:How many blunders will the American gov't allow (5, Insightful)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 4 years ago | (#32296808)

Do you know WHY governmental regulation has been so bad in the last dozen or so years? It's because presidential administrations and Congress have NOT ALLOWED it to be good. They have purposefully put people in those political jobs knowing that they weren't going to regulate on purpose. The Bush administration did this more than anyone else. The Clinton administration was 2nd only to Bush, and Bush, Sr. was a close 3rd.

Do you think government can't get the experts it needs to professionally oversee these companies? Are you kidding? They could in a second. It's that the politicos don't want to put competent people without conflicts of interest in these positions. And we're paying the price for it now and he gulf cost will be paying the price for the next century or so....

Re:How many blunders will the American gov't allow (4, Insightful)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 4 years ago | (#32297002)

In all fairness, we still have no idea what went wrong. I want BP to be dragged across the coals for this as much as the next guy, but the truth of the matter is that we still don't know why the BOP failed, given that it was designed and certified to protect against this very sort of disaster.

As others in this thread have mentioned, several aspects of this accident are unprecedented, and although the oil industry should be faulted for pushing too hard too quickly, this accident may simply have to serve as a learning experience, given that it's entirely possible that BP, Transocean, SLB, and Halliburton were all following the established safety protocols in conformance with past experience.

Re:How many blunders will the American gov't allow (4, Informative)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#32297120)

given that it was designed and certified to protect against this very sort of disaster.

Designed? Possibly. Certain safety standards that are mandatory for offshore drilling near other countries were not used on this rig. Certified? Not really. If someone did certify the safety precautions, they should lose whatever authority they have to certify anything. How many reports of safety precautions and features being overlooked, ignored, or just plain not done properly do we need before we can consider that this well was not being built with adequate safety precautions?

given that it's entirely possible that BP, Transocean, SLB, and Halliburton were all following the established safety protocols in conformance with past experience.

Yeah... you might want to read up on that some... it is quite clear to anyone who has read any of the reports out there that safety protocols and industry best practices were not followed.

Re:How many blunders will the American gov't allow (4, Interesting)

cgenman (325138) | more than 4 years ago | (#32297232)

True, though why did we allow them a month of spilling millions of gallons of oil into the bay while attempting to save the well in a way that it could be re-used? Maybe I'm just old and jaded, but rescuing the bay should have been priority 1 over rescuing the financial investment.

Also, shrimp has been terrible for the past month. Thanks, BP!

Re:How many blunders will the American gov't allow (1, Offtopic)

King_TJ (85913) | more than 4 years ago | (#32297266)

Personally, I think it's amazing that one of our solutions for these spills is still to "burn it off" from the surface of the ocean. Then another alternative involves dumping bacteria into the water that will "eat" the oil.

Why haven't we done more to build devices to collect up the oil that's spilled (since oil and water don't mix anyway, you'd think their separation wouldn't be a huge technological hurdle), vs. wasting a natural resource we've already gone to such great lengths to collect in the first place?

Seems to me the best course of action would have been to plug up the well ASAP, followed by recovering as much oil as possible that leaked to the surface, BEFORE it had days or weeks to float all over the place with the changing currents.....

Re:How many blunders will the American gov't allow (1)

jra (5600) | more than 4 years ago | (#32296714)

I would speculate that if these two things don't work, we'll send in the Navy. I'm pretty sure that there's an exploratory minisub that can go down that far without trouble -- Tom Clancy says there is, anyway. :-)

Couple satchel charges, and we're done.

An argument could certainly be made that we should have done that 2 weeks ago... but do you really want to make it *here*? :-)

Re:How many blunders will the American gov't allow (2, Informative)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#32296816)

Couple satchel charges, and we're done.

You don't need a manned mini sub to handle satchel charges - the ROVs could do it just fine. While I realize the male Geek driven drive to Just Blow Things Up is quite strong, it doesn't always work that way. Engineering takes time and reality is quite often quirky, bitchy and hard.

Re:How many blunders will the American gov't allow (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#32296838)

You're actually arguing that the solution to a leaking well is to make the hole bigger?

Re:How many blunders will the American gov't allow (1)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 4 years ago | (#32296978)

Actually explosives are often used to stop rampant wells oil wells, usually though it's intended to out a fire in a well.

Re:How many blunders will the American gov't allow (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 4 years ago | (#32296852)

We actually already have one of the most competent armed services/governmental agencies on the job: the Coast Guard. They have one of the widest areas of responsibility in government and they actually do quite a good job with it. This was such a clusterfark in terms of things that went wrong, though, it will take even the best minds a long time to figure it all out.

Not on my dime (3, Insightful)

jDeepbeep (913892) | more than 4 years ago | (#32297016)

Maybe the government should step in and put and end to this situation themselves.

So long as they send the bill to BP and not the taxpayers, I'm for it.

Re:How many blunders will the American gov't allow (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 4 years ago | (#32297140)

Maybe the government should step in and put and end to this situation themselves.

How?

This is horse shit (2, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32296630)

Why didn't they just do this in the first place? Why muck about with wholly unproven methods? They should have sealed this thing up weeks ago. They greed and attempts to keep the well usable are a fucking disgrace.

Re:This is horse shit (4, Insightful)

Daetrin (576516) | more than 4 years ago | (#32296696)

From the sounds of it, this method is _also_ wholly unproven, with the added bonus that there's a chance it could actually make things worse.

Re:This is horse shit (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32296748)

Odd...I didn't read the article linked in the summary because I had seen this story elsewhere before. In the other stories (seen on CBS and CNN), they mentioned the use of concrete, not a mixture...I wonder which one is right?

Re:This is horse shit (1)

gorzek (647352) | more than 4 years ago | (#32296842)

So, what you're saying is: hooray! This is great news! :-p

I think a lot of people forget this (4, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#32296928)

While you can come up with all kinds of theoretical methods for dealing with something like this, it isn't the sort of thing you can test. I mean it is unfeasible (not to mention irresponsible) to build an oil rig and then break it just to test and see how fixes might work. So pretty much everything is unproven, untested and you just have to try shit and see what works.

Now this isn't to say BP is blameless here, there are remediation measures they should have taken, but didn't. The biggest would be having enough booms ready to contain a well disaster (it would take a lot, but really not cost all that much) and training their people in proper booming. That is a proven method for reducing the spread.

However it is just to help deal with the spread, it doesn't actually fix the problem. The problem fixes, well you just don't know since it cannot be tested until an actual disaster happens.

Re:I think a lot of people forget this (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 4 years ago | (#32297052)

The Russians have suggested a tested solution. I wonder how many of these concerned people would be even more upset of BP nuked the well to shut it off?

And then there is the possibility that the nuke would just REALLY open up the well full bore.

This does remind me of another failed drilling well though. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sidoarjo_mud_flow [wikipedia.org]

Re:This is horse shit (1)

will_die (586523) | more than 4 years ago | (#32296880)

No, alot of solution have been put on the back burner because the scientists are afraid of messing things up more then they currently are. The source of the spill is capable of producing a lot more oil and the thinking has been lets try other potions that if they fail do not have a significant possibility of opening it to its full potential.

Re:This is horse shit (1)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 4 years ago | (#32297144)

I think we should have taken the Russian suggestion of nuking the sucker. I find it hard to believe a small nuke deep under the ocean would have a worse effect than millions of barrels of oil flooding into the ocean. http://www.crunchgear.com/2010/05/05/russian-advice-nuke-the-oil-spill-thatll-fix-it/ [crunchgear.com]

Re:This is horse shit (2, Insightful)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 4 years ago | (#32297200)

And, pray tell, what proven method is there of stopping an oil leak a mile underwater?

Re:This is horse shit (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 4 years ago | (#32297212)

They greed and attempts to keep the well usable are a fucking disgrace.

Yes, yes, evil corporations are evil. We get that.

But this was never a production well, it stopped being "usable" the first day, and BP has different places they can drill to get at the same oil once this is capped. BP is no doubt greedy, as any evil corporation should be, but that's not what's going on here.

to cap the spill. (1)

SYSS Mouse (694626) | more than 4 years ago | (#32296632)

I wonder if BP has a WMD at their disposal.

Re:to cap the spill. (5, Insightful)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 4 years ago | (#32296722)

They do, it's called an uncontained oil leak.

Re:to cap the spill. (1)

gorzek (647352) | more than 4 years ago | (#32296866)

Oh, my kingdom for some mod points. Well-played.

Re:to cap the spill. (1)

Anonymusing (1450747) | more than 4 years ago | (#32297000)

Thank you for making me laugh (and cry).

Re:to cap the spill. (2, Insightful)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 4 years ago | (#32297074)

The leak is not uncontained. The BOP and (partially-destroyed) riser stack are providing resistance against the flow of oil. The concern is that this proposed solution could cause enough pressure to build up inside the BOP that the entire apparatus fails completely, which could then increase the flow of oil by at least an order of magnitude.

Top Kill (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#32296634)

A Ross Matthews once said, that sounds like a great new drink name at a gay bay. But seriously, since when did "dump a bunch of shit on it and hope that plugs it up" become a formal strategy?

Re:Top Kill (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#32296694)

I mean "gay bar," but a gay bay would probably like it too.

Re:Top Kill (1)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 4 years ago | (#32296832)

Gay bars [youtube.com] .

Re:Top Kill (1)

TheLuggage2008 (1199251) | more than 4 years ago | (#32296794)

since when did "dump a bunch of shit on it and hope that plugs it up" become a formal strategy?

I'm guessing that at least one BP exec has gone looking for missing car keys/jewelery/leftover pot roast and discovered a 3 year-old at a newly blocked toilet. How much different can it be 5000 feet under water with oil gushing out at what is now estimated to be more than 50,000 barrels a day?

Re:Top Kill (2, Insightful)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#32297026)

since when did "dump a bunch of shit on it and hope that plugs it up" become a formal strategy?

About a week ago, if I recall correctly.

Before that, it was "let's slip a tube down in the middle of the hole so we can keep sucking some of the oil out of it, while we fill a couple of tankers and stall for time."

Before that, it was "let's put a funnel on top of it so we can keep sucking the oil out of it."

The "top kill" only became an option after all other options that allowed them to continue extracting at least a small portion of the oil from the well were utterly exhausted.

And, remember, the "top kill" option will probably require the fast drilling of a couple of "relief wells" nearby - and since they are "relief wells" there will be a great deal of push to exclude the same fucking safety features that would have prevented this disaster in the first place in the name of urgency this time rather than saving money. I wouldn't be at all surprised if some congresscritter managed to get the relief wells paid for with FEMA money.

KILL !! KILL !! KILL!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32296644)

I wanna KILL !! KILL !! KILL !! I am enlisting in YOUR ARMY TODAY !!

Do niggers like BP? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32296658)

i'm curious..

Environmentalism (1, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#32296702)

Everybody wants to blame the need for oil, or greedy corporations, or a slew of other things for this disaster. Not once do they acknowledge that (a) this is an unprecidented engineering failure, (b) there were multiple safeguards, (c) it's an economic necessity that we drill for oil, and (d) Murphy's law -- no matter how hard you try, eventually mistakes will be made.

BP is doing everything possible to fix the problem, while we sit on the sidelines and debate their ineffectiveness. I don't think that's really fair -- if we get into a car accident, we're quick to shrug it off as just that: an accident. Nobody's fault. We pick up the pieces and move on.

But when it's a large corporation, we somehow think they should be held to a higher standard? No, I don't think they should. They're holding themselves to the same standard the average person would.

Re:Environmentalism (4, Insightful)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 4 years ago | (#32296756)

Accept car accidents don't kill of entire ecosystems.

Re:Environmentalism (1, Insightful)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32296802)

No, but they frequently kill off entire people...

Re:Environmentalism (1)

lehphyro (1465921) | more than 4 years ago | (#32296984)

Apples and oranges...

Re:Environmentalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32297078)

Really? I've never heard of cars committing genocide against an entire race of humans, before...

Oh, wait, you were just making a redundant platitude.

Re:Environmentalism (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32296828)

Wow, learn to spell.

Re:Environmentalism (3, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#32296966)

Accept car accidents don't kill of entire ecosystems.

The scale changes, the ethics remain unchanged.

Re:Environmentalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32297158)

Not if you're utilitarian, which many people are.

Re:Environmentalism (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#32297226)

Exactly, in a car accident the responsible party has two options: Fix the issue and pay all costs or try to get out of it. BP is trying to go for the latter.

You do not get to run into someones car crippling them and then not pay for their loss.

Re:Environmentalism (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32297110)

please see http://theoatmeal.com/comics/misspelling =p

Re:Environmentalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32297192)

I accept that.

Re:Environmentalism (5, Funny)

jewelises (739285) | more than 4 years ago | (#32297202)

Accept car accidents don't kill of entire ecosystems.

OK, I accept.

Re:Environmentalism (3, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#32296804)

They're holding themselves to the same standard the average person would.

Well that's not the standard of care they're supposed to follow.

Re:Environmentalism (4, Informative)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32296806)

if we get into a car accident, we're quick to shrug it off as just that: an accident. Nobody's fault. We pick up the pieces and move on.

I would just like to say that, as a former mechanic, I've been blamed for accidents caused by a completely unrelated item I worked on.

"You worked on my car, and I got in an accident three days later! It's your fault!"
"Sir, I replaced your air filter and both O2 sensors."
"And now my car didn't stop in time!"
"Sir, what happend exactly"
"I was texting my wife, and next thing I knew I had run into someone! I tried to stop but I couldn't!"
(What I wanted to say): "Sir, life isn't like Mechwarrior, you can't stop instantly."
(What I actually said): "Sir, why were you texting and driving?"

Re:Environmentalism (3, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#32296824)

It sure isn't fair to the fishermen who may very well be watching their livelihoods disappear. The real disaster here might not even be the beaches, but the salt marshes.

BP should be made to pay and pay and pay and pay and pay and pay until every last solitary nickel of economic and physical damage is fixed, even if it takes fifty years and a trillion dollars. That's the risk side of the equation, my friend.

Re:Environmentalism (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32297108)

Are these the same fishermen who want cheap gas?

From:
http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/insurance/2007-03-26-fishermen-gulf-coast_N.htm
"Gulf Coast fishermen say that in the long run, they need insurance prices and gas prices to drop, and shrimp prices to rise, to make a living. In the short term, though, they'd like grants and low-cost loans."

So, they want gas prices to go down, but want increased regulation to make oil wells safer (i.e. spend more money on safety)?

Re:Environmentalism (5, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#32296826)

Accidents are rarely accidents, someone fucked up. I sure blame the person who backed into my last car. Guess what she did not even come close to risking death zones in the gulf. Her insurance paid the for everything and got me a rental while my car was fixed. That is all we ask here, they fix their mess. If that means they go out of business collecting every last drop of that oil, too fucking bad for them.

These assholes cut corners, you can read all about on the news sites. The simple fact is they did this to make a quick buck and now thousands of folks are screwed, fishermen with no fish to sell, property owners with ocean front property ruined, the list goes on and on.

Re:Environmentalism (2, Insightful)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 4 years ago | (#32297122)

Maybe this is just a semantic quibble but this part of your statement kind of left me curious:

Accidents are rarely accidents, someone fucked up.

How exactly does someone fucking up preclude it from being an accident? In fact, so far as I know, someone fucking up is pretty much inherent to the term, 'accident.' It's very rare that someone fucks up intentionally. It's very rare that accidents just spontaneously happen without someone dropping the ball somewhere along the way. To use a car analogy, even if a tire blowout causes an accident, that often is due to someone fucking up by not checking their tire pressure regularly, or someone disposing of hazardous materials (screws, nails, glass etc) on the road intentionally or unintentionally (improperly tightened bolt, improperly secured goods in a truck whatever). I don't think the OP was trying to say that nobody fucked up. I think the OP was trying to say that, yeah, somebody fucked up. It caused a legitimate accident, a bad one true, but an accident nonetheless, and we should hold that entity that fucked up responsible. The point he (or she?) was making was that BP is being held responsible. They are trying to fix the problem. They have been taking numerous steps since the accident to fix the problem. So far, those have not worked. So, rather than get frothing mad about it and scream, "OMG teh evul corporations!!!!!!!," maybe we should calm down a bit and let the people capable of solving the problem (i.e. those folks who have experience at drilling and operating heavy equipment in high-risk underwater environments [oil rig workers]) keep trying to solve the problem.

Frankly, that seems like a much more level-headed statement and assertion than claiming that, 'thousands of folks are screwed...' fishermen have no fish to sell, and ocean front property is now ruined.

That's just my two cents though.

Re:Environmentalism (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 4 years ago | (#32297148)

The point he (or she?)

Oops, I just rechecked the UID, the OP is almost definitely a she....or a very lonely he in a very lonely world (his mom's basement). However, I think I'll go with the former.

Re:Environmentalism (1, Troll)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#32297160)

Accidents are rarely accidents, someone fucked up.

Human beings aren't perfect.

I sure blame the person who backed into my last car. Guess what she did not even come close to risking death zones in the gulf.

The scale of the accident doesn't change the ethics. If you say killing one person in self-defense is right, then at what point does it become wrong? Five people? Ten? Fifty? How many people have to die before it becomes unethical? Likewise -- if you spill a quart of oil down the drain, by scale you've done what BP just did -- it's just that BP employs a lot more people and pumps a lot more oil, but reduced to your personal scale of living, it's the same.

Her insurance paid the for everything and got me a rental while my car was fixed. That is all we ask here, they fix their mess.

They've promised to do more than she did: Not only will the insurance pay for it, but BP has promised to pay for all costs above and beyond that. They are fixing their mess, using the best methods available to them. But the engineering task before them is daunting, and many of these solutions have never been tested before. They don't have a laboratory to test these things out in -- it's happening now.

These assholes cut corners, you can read all about on the news sites.

These "assholes" haven't been charged with any violation of federal or state law, and right now Congress is taking notice of this and changing the laws, issuing temporary bans on drilling, etc., because of exactly that fact. They didn't cut corners -- they appear to have followed the then-current industry regulations.

That said... The investigation isn't complete. We don't know all the facts. We won't know for a long time yet, and everything the news is reporting is largely speculation. A battery was low on power, that must mean negligence! Or it could be that a battery that's several thousand feet below sea level might have sprung a leak during a massive explosion near it. We. Just. Don't. Know.

Wait. That's all we can do right now. The facts will eventually reveal themselves -- but allowing ourselves to have contempt prior to investigation is the surest way to keep our society in everlasting ignorance. And I, for one, believe we need to know the facts and find out what really did go wrong -- so it never happens again. That's a purpose independent of the political agenda currently playing out here and elsewhere, and the more important one in my opinion.

Re:Environmentalism (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 4 years ago | (#32296926)

A) The failure of the well is unprecedented but was still caused by cutting corners and skimping on safety regulations.
B) Many of the safeguards were removed to save time and money
C) At this point drilling for more oil is only delaying the innevitable. You might be able to convince me that the delay is necessary and will give us time to make the needed transitions more smoothly, but since we're not really doing much to prepare for the transition anyway you'd have to convince me.
D) If things will always go wrong then you should be prepared for them to go wrong. Why didn't BP have adequate and safe dispersant prepared for such a spill? Why did they cut safety features? Why are we just now building cofferdams over the wells to prevent this from happening?

If I get hurt in a car accident because GM didn't design my brakes properly, didn't install the airbag (to save manufacturing costs), lied to get through safety inspections, and basically decided that my risk was worth their profit you can bet I wouldn't be saying 'Oh well' and walking away like nothing is wrong.

Re:Environmentalism (4, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#32296974)

But when it's a large corporation, we somehow think they should be held to a higher standard?

Because the large corporation is posting billions of dollars in profits because of their drilling?

Because some people are implying that BP engaged in several salvage operations before looking to actually lose the well?

Because a car accident puts the occupants of your vehicle and the other vehicle at risk, not entire countries, their economies and endangered animals in the surrounding environment?

Because (as the article noted) we're about to let Shell start drilling in the Arctic where the seas are rougher and the location more remote to create delays in response times?

I think at this point we could reopen the debate on the effects of a nuclear plant failing compared to an oil line failing. And how much easier and effective it is to drop a cofferdam on a nuclear core than a well miles below the surface of water.

Your argument of it being a one time thing that is unprecedented does not sit well with me when we look to expand on the number of wells we have. Precedent has now been set. Either tighten regulations so that your point (a) doesn't happen and point (b) is actually true. Care to prove point (c)?

When bad things go wrong to corporations making lots and lots of money, then they should be held accountable, girlintraining. Why you rush to BP and the oil industry's rescue, I'll never know.

Re:Environmentalism (5, Insightful)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 4 years ago | (#32296982)

> But when it's a large corporation, we somehow think they should be held to a higher standard? No, I don't think they should.

Why the hell SHOULDN'T they be held to a higher standard? They are a huge corporation that has a huge amount of money therefore they are hold a huge amount of power. They should be at a MUCH higher standard. As an individual I have the power and money that I could probably ruin the environment for my neighborhood... in this case BP holds the money, power, and equipment to ruin an entire coastline.

This statement is fairly typical of American thinking right now: let corporations have all the benefits and none of the responsibilities. It's the individuals that had nothing to do with the bad decisions and cut corners that are paying in our current corporate dominated culture and government.

Re:Environmentalism (1)

HeckRuler (1369601) | more than 4 years ago | (#32297208)

Yup, came to say this. BP is a huge corporation with a lot on the line and so they should be held to a higher standard.

In a couple of my friends I find a really weird respect for corporations. It's like they believe in them and trust them solely on their profitability. While I can understand that such corporations are important, I just can't understand why they should be trusted and loved. If anything their power and capability should be cause to distrust them. And any amount of love you have for a company is usually just brand marketing.

Also, no, when you fuck up and cause a car accident you pay for it. It's either all up front or spread out over time with insurance (plus overhead and corporate profits).

Re:Environmentalism (3, Insightful)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32296986)

Your comment juxtaposes itself. Many people HAVE acknowledged that this was an engineering failure. And yes, mistakes are eventually made. Thats why we hold THAT to the same standard as a car accident. Accidents happen, they are sometimes preventable, but they will always happen.

Its the aftermath we're upset about. It's how BP is trying to fix the problem: They are trying to recover as much of the oil as possible, or try to recover as much of the well as possible. They are not viewing it from the point of ecological concern, they are trying to stave off their losses. That's what pisses most of us off.

You accidentally rear end someone. You can get out, offer to pay it, give them your information, or you can back up, speed off, and do your best never to see them again. The latter is obviously going to be less expensive for you, and thats kind of what BP is doing.

Re:Environmentalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32297004)

(b) Um, Hello - Major problems with the number 1 safeguard (blowout preventor).

Re:Environmentalism (3, Informative)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#32297012)

There are multiple accounts saying that BP cut corners when it came to oil rig safety. If this is the case then they need to be held criminally as well as financially accountable for their "accident". If this bankrupts them, so be it.

http://www.thecablevine.com/forum/showthread.php?2434-Eyewitness-Says-BP-Cut [thecablevine.com] ...

http://www.blacklistednews.com/?news_id=8748 [blacklistednews.com]

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/5/17/867129/-60-Minutes:-Despite-damaged-blowout-preventer,-BP-cut-corners-immediately-before-explosion [dailykos.com]

http://ac360.blogs.cnn.com/2010/04/30/evening-buzz-did-bp-cut-safety-corners-before-oil-rig-blew-up/ [cnn.com]

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/12/bp-whistleblower-claimed_n_573839.html [huffingtonpost.com]

Re:Environmentalism (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32297072)

True, but BP keeps trying to apply fixes that would leave the well [i]funcational[/i], instead of just plain fixing it. Their primary goal is to still have access to the oil that's still in the well as easy as possible (which at first I would deem ok, but after weeks and weeks of this isn't) instead of just stopping the leak.

Re:Environmentalism (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#32297098)

BP is doing everything possible to fix the problem, while we sit on the sidelines and debate their ineffectiveness. I don't think that's really fair -- if we get into a car accident, we're quick to shrug it off as just that: an accident. Nobody's fault. We pick up the pieces and move on.

But when it's a large corporation, we somehow think they should be held to a higher standard? No, I don't think they should. They're holding themselves to the same standard the average person would.

There's also the fact that one driver has momentary lapses in attention and judgment. That doesn't go for a large corporation. We can't pass this off as "They were distracted by a cool bird on the side of the road while building the thing." There was undoubtedly multiple people assesing risks of a blowout vs potential profit. They undoubtedly weighted blowout a lot less than anyone living on or making a living in the gulf would have.

And from a liability standpoint, there SHOULDN'T be a difference, but there is. You run into a car, you have to pay for it. BP blows up the gulf: they should pay for it. Except they won't.

They should be held to a higher standard both because the stakes are higher and because they -can- be better.

Re:Environmentalism (0, Flamebait)

el chief (1768752) | more than 4 years ago | (#32297102)

You apologist shill. There is no such thing as an accident. Someone fucked up. They bought some cheap parts. Or didn't follow procedure. This is the same as not maintaining your car, and calling it an accident when your brakes fail.

Accident vs. Negligence (5, Informative)

archer, the (887288) | more than 4 years ago | (#32297154)

I was watching a documentary on this Sunday. They interviewed one of the rig survivors. According to the survivor, pieces of the blowout prevention device had come up the pipe weeks before. They didn't bother to fix the BOP. When one of the controllers on the BOP failed, again, weeks before the accident, they didn't bother to fix the BOP. When Transocean wanted to put 3 cement plugs in the well, sandwiching the heavy drilling fluid, the BP managers said "No, use 2 plugs," so that it would take BP less time to unseal the well when they hooked up the pumping rig. According to the survivor, it was when they took the pressure off the well, with only two plugs, that the plugs failed.

This is people putting money before safety. This isn't an "accident". I would consider an earthquake ripping the BOP off the well an accident. I would consider a jet crashing on the rig and somehow managing to destroy the BOP an accident. This was people cutting corners and getting caught.

(Note well: This assumes the survivor was telling the truth.)

Re:Environmentalism (1)

juancnuno (946732) | more than 4 years ago | (#32297194)

But when it's a large corporation, we somehow think they should be held to a higher standard? No, I don't think they should. They're holding themselves to the same standard the average person would.

I do believe large corporations should be held to higher standards than the average person. For starters, large corporations have far more resources at their disposal they can use to handle accidents than the average person. I guess you could argue that an accident to a large corporation is on a larger scale than that of an average person.

Re:Environmentalism (1)

DdJ (10790) | more than 4 years ago | (#32297204)

But when it's a large corporation, we somehow think they should be held to a higher standard? No, I don't think they should. They're holding themselves to the same standard the average person would.

Then we strongly disagree. They must be held to a significantly higher standard than an average person.

If I have an accident, the consequences to a complete stranger in a completely different part of the world are minor, because essentially I'm just some mostly-anonymous nobody with no special powers or privileges.

As the consequences to the rest of the world for having an accident go up, the standards for preventing accidents and being held accountable for them must also go up.

Re:Environmentalism (2, Insightful)

The Moof (859402) | more than 4 years ago | (#32297218)

But when it's a large corporation, we somehow think they should be held to a higher standard?

No, just the safety standards they're supposed to be held to, which they felt they should not be required to have [go.com] . If you fight tooth and nail against requiring safeguards, I will blame you when your lack of those safeguards cause globally catastrophic problems.

Re:Environmentalism (1)

WMNelis (112548) | more than 4 years ago | (#32297222)

Your car accident example is a good one. When someone causes a car accident, they have to pay the municipality for the ticket, they have to pay the other driver(s) for damage to their vehicles, and they have to pay for the damage to their own vehicle. I think people want to hold BP to this same standard.

Re:Environmentalism (1)

Alcemenes (460409) | more than 4 years ago | (#32297242)

It isn't fashionable to accept that this is just an accident. For over a decade the mass media and certain member of the U.S. government have been working overtime demonizing big corporations and the wealthy. This is just another opportunity for them to attack "big money" because, hey, it's their greed that caused this, right? Like every other disaster, someone will step forward and use this as political leverage to push their agenda. I find it ironic how so many people will scream bloody murder if the government sidesteps due process even a little bit but when something like this happens these same people want the same government to step in and crucify anyone within arm's reach; shoot first and ask questions later, if there is a photo opportunity.

Re:Environmentalism (1)

dentar (6540) | more than 4 years ago | (#32297256)

The problem with that is that corporations are NOT held to the same standard us regular folks are. If it had been an individual that had caused the spill and not a powerful corporation, that person would be going down in flames, going to prison for life probably, and would lose everything he or she had, all because of what you call an "accident."

The corporation will get a slap on the wrist, and will find a way to get Washington off the hook. Hell, they've already gotten away with violating the first amendment by threatening to arrest CBS for trying to do their job.

Re:Environmentalism (1)

mspohr (589790) | more than 4 years ago | (#32297294)

(a) this is an unprecidented engineering failure, (b) there were multiple safeguards, (c) it's an economic necessity that we drill for oil, and (d) Murphy's law -- no matter how hard you try, eventually mistakes will be made.

a) biggest screwup ever, yes. Due to willful and flagrant disregard for industry standard safety procedures.

b) Willful and flagrant disregard for safety procedures (more evidence accumulating daily)

c) it's an economic necessity for OIL COMPANIES to drill for oil. I personally would be happy never to have to buy another gallon of oil ever myself if that were possible. It would be possible if I could buy an electric car, ride an electric bus or train, generate electricity with wind, solar, etc. but the OIL COMPANIES don't want that and are blocking progress on this front right now.

d) "mistakes will be made" evades responsibility. This is not an "accident" or an act of god. BP MADE MISTAKES

What? (1)

adeft (1805910) | more than 4 years ago | (#32296726)

Why do these ideas sound like they were loosely organized by a 5th grader?

Re:What? (1)

IorDMUX (870522) | more than 4 years ago | (#32296892)

And then given names by a pubescent, giggling 8th grader.

"Top kill"? "Junk shot"?

Really?

Re:What? (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32297032)

Because the media is reporting them probably at roughly the 5th grade level so that the typical reader can understand it..

Or because the media IS at a 5th grade level.

;)

Or, because stopping a well is relatively 5th grade-ish, since that age group likes blowing things up?

2 things (3, Interesting)

2obvious4u (871996) | more than 4 years ago | (#32296768)

1) Why are they poring dispersants on the oil spill instead of coagulants [treehugger.com] ?
2) Good on Shell for being proactive, to bad it took a major disaster to get a more comprehensive disaster plan.

Re:2 things (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#32297186)

1) Why are they poring dispersants on the oil spill instead of coagulants [treehugger.com]?

Because they want to make it look like the problem is fixed. They don't give a fuck about fixing it.

It would take decades of constant work to clean up even a fraction of the shit that's gushed out of that hole so far.

Re:2 things (4, Insightful)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 4 years ago | (#32297230)

1) Why are they poring dispersants on the oil spill instead of coagulants?

Does it have something to do with enabling the microorganisms in the ocean that are capable of consuming hydrocarbons to consume them?

Wrong summary (5, Informative)

MouseR (3264) | more than 4 years ago | (#32296790)

The mud or junk will not be inserted through the riser pipe.

There are access pipes on the BOP itself for this kind of stuff.

The mud or junk will therefore be inserted BEFORE the riser pipe.

Blocking the riser would be useless given it's bent, cracked at the BOP and could potentially rip off due to the blockage.

What KILLS me is... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32296792)

Privatized profits. Socialize losses!

BP wont ever end up paying much of the real cost involved in this. Any fines they do face will be a tiny percent of their yearly profit.

And they will go on to do this again in the future.. Saving a buck or two on safety to make some money. Just like they did 20 years ago for their last major disaster.

Yeah know, we really need the oil.. But i'd say we need someplace to live way way more.

Someday we're really going to have to hold corporations accountable in a REAL way for the lives and things they destroy.

Major oil spill cuz you skiped on some safety that we have invented already? Shoot the CEO in the head.

Sooner or later companys will stop doing things that endanger the environment or peoples lives... Or we'll run out of CEO's. either way... it would be an improvement.

20? Try just last year BOZO !! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32296896)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas_City_Refinery_explosion [wikipedia.org]

Damn near felt it over here.

Re:20? Try just last year BOZO !! (2, Informative)

d1r3lnd (1743112) | more than 4 years ago | (#32297030)

I'm not sure that "BOZO" is really the correct term to be using, especially given that the link you provided states quite clearly that the explosion happened 5 years ago.

Re:What KILLS me is... (1)

Xonstantine (947614) | more than 4 years ago | (#32296960)

Privatized profits. Socialize losses!

Except that the government makes more off taxes on oil and it's downstream products than companies like BP make in profit on oil.

Re:What KILLS me is... (3, Informative)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#32297084)

What does that have to do with anything?

You think Phillip Morris should be allowed to kill babies since cigarette taxes are so high?

Re:What KILLS me is... (1)

d34dluk3 (1659991) | more than 4 years ago | (#32297270)

He's making the point that profits are socialized as well as losses.

BP makes 93 mil a day (4, Informative)

jDeepbeep (913892) | more than 4 years ago | (#32297126)

Except that the government makes more off taxes on oil and it's downstream products than companies like BP make in profit on oil.

I don't have the tax numbers at my fingertips, but it seems that BP posted $93,000,000 USD profits per day [thinkprogress.org] for the first quarter of 2010.

Streamlines and Bottles (1, Interesting)

cosm (1072588) | more than 4 years ago | (#32296820)

I posted this once before, but here [esri.com] is a good link to an ArcGIS 'Message in a Bottle' plotter. Now I know the dynamics of an oil spill and the dynamics of a floating bottle are apples and oranges, but it still provides an inkling of the possible ramifications of this goop spreading. Click a couple points around the perimeter [ajc.com] of the spill, and just watch the areas that will be affected due to lack of early containment.

I understand they are a business, but dammit if they didn't do everything in their power to eek money out of it, even after it was deemed a catastrophe. Yes, I understand they are an oil company and that killing the well is your least favorite option because it doesn't make your money, but well, I believe intentions are a bit 'questionable' at best when it comes to the order of control methodologies.

top kill (4, Funny)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#32296850)

$ man top |grep -A5 -B5 -w kill

* <k> :Kill_a_task
You will be prompted for a PID and then the signal to send.
The default signal, as reflected in the prompt, is SIGTERM.
However, you can send any signal, via number or name.

If you wish to abort the kill process, do one of the fol-
lowing depending on your progress:
1) at the pid prompt, just press <Enter>
2) at the signal prompt, type 0

Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted!
Filter error: Please use fewer 'junk' characters.
Lameness Filter is stupid. I have to add a bunch of regular characters to add "code characters" to a technical page? LAME.

Already in progress (4, Insightful)

grahamsaa (1287732) | more than 4 years ago | (#32296914)

The top kill is what happens when the oil gets to the surface. These desperate (and failing) attempts to contain the spill should have inspired the government to take control of the situation earlier. It's clear that BP doesn't know what the hell they're doing.

I hope everyone who chanted "drill baby drill!" during the last election cycle is willing to go down to the gulf coast and help with the cleanup. What a mess!

Re:Already in progress (1)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 4 years ago | (#32297248)

You think the government knows what the hell they are doing?

Still saying 5,000 barrels a day....a blatent LIE (2, Insightful)

Fallen Kell (165468) | more than 4 years ago | (#32296944)

Heck the SIPHONING 5,000 a day from the line they put into the one breach! And that isn't even getting everything coming out of that breach, and there is ANOTHER breach on the line which is gushing oil. The 5,000 a day value is an out and out LIE, and needs to be published as such. The estimates of 20,000-50,000 seem a lot more realistic, which would mean that this would already be the worst spill in history (620,000 - 1,550,000 barrels). And even those seem small considering the rig itself was producing 300,000 - 500,000 barrels a day.

Bet the meeting went something like this... (1)

smilnrt (1648147) | more than 4 years ago | (#32296980)

"Shredded rubber and golf balls, huh? Oh hell, why not???!!!"

Yes MUCH better (5, Funny)

DarthVain (724186) | more than 4 years ago | (#32297006)

We will solve this horrible situation by dumping shredded tires and golf balls into the ocean until the problem is solved!

"But perhaps...

I said until it was solved!

Re:Yes MUCH better (5, Funny)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 4 years ago | (#32297116)

We will solve this horrible situation by dumping shredded tires and golf balls into the ocean until the problem is solved!

"But perhaps...

I said until it was solved!

I agree. What we should be doing is dumping a bunch of shredded oil executives in the hole until the oil stops flowing.

Top kill (1)

cfc-12 (1195347) | more than 4 years ago | (#32297284)

Have I been reading Slashdot too much or did anyone else think that "top kill" meant they were going to nuke it from orbit?

Not BP's Fault! (1, Troll)

oddTodd123 (1806894) | more than 4 years ago | (#32297286)

What I don't like from the president's administration is this sort of, 'I'll put my boot heel on the throat of BP.' I think that sounds really un-American in his criticism of business.

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