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BP Says "Top Kill" Operation Has Failed

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the unlimber-the-nukes dept.

Earth 768

MrShaggy sends a quote from a CBC story: "BP has scuttled the 'top kill' procedure of shooting heavy drilling mud into its blown-out oil well in the Gulf of Mexico after it failed to plug the leak. BP chief operating officer Doug Suttles told reporters on Saturday that over the last three days, the company has pumped more than 30,000 barrels of mud and other materials down the well but has not been able to stop the flow. 'These repeated pumping[s], we don't believe will likely achieve success, so at this point it's time to move to the next option,' Suttles said."

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Top Kill didn't work, (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32395394)

let's try Bottom Seduction.

Amazing (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32395400)

It's amazing that BP can drill for oil with no provable solution to a catastrophic failure. It's like operating on a patient and going 'Trust me, I'm a doctor'.

Re:Amazing (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32395430)

Find a sufficiently desperate patient and promise to help him, then "trust me" might be all you need.

Re:Amazing (5, Insightful)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395662)


This is exactly what happened here. A government addicted to petroleum taxes as well as a band of politicians personally heavily invested in the oil industry makes for just such a desperate patient, who needs no assurance and asks no questions about the complex, expensive and dangerous procedures being conducted.

If the government was truly objective about its handling of industry, oil companies would have been required to demonstrate contingencies for all outcomes, including total catastrophic failure of equipment or processes. It's not like the industry operates on the knife's edge of profitability and can't afford to be held to account for their safety and recovery procedures; the oil industry has both the means and the funds necessary to keep such contingencies at the ready. However, they buy political apathy, and can put the money they would otherwise spend on safety into big bonuses for their directors and major stakeholders.

Fuck modern politics.

Re:Amazing (5, Insightful)

kthreadd (1558445) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395690)

Instead of simply blaming governments and oil industries we have to think about our own desire to consume oil. Why don't we put more energy and effort into finding and using existing alternatives to oil? We, as consumers, have a responsibility in this situation as well.

Re:Amazing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32395478)

Why are the British drilling off the US coast rather than their own?

Re:Amazing (3, Informative)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395482)

We are drilling off our own too. And we're drilling off your coast because you gave us the contract to do so.

Re:Amazing (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32395560)

BP is actually the result of a merger between AMOCO (AMerican Oil COmpany) and the old BP.

Re:Amazing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32395604)

That's what the "multi-national" in "multi-national corporation" is about: exploit the whole world without being responsible anywhere.

Hey that's capitalism, so you should be ok with it.

Re:Amazing (4, Funny)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395672)

Yeah the whole reason this is screwed up is because of foreigners. Let's get a environmentally friendly company like ExxonMobil to drill for our underwater oil. Their record is impeccable.

Re:Amazing (5, Insightful)

Lumbre (1822486) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395490)

It's amazing that BP can drill for oil with no provable solution to a catastrophic failure. It's like operating on a patient and going 'Trust me, I'm a doctor'.

It's amazing that ANY corporation can drill for oil since NONE have stepped up to the plate with a viable solution.

Re:Amazing (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32395598)

I have one. Sue GM and Chevron to reclaim the NiMH battery patent, and bring back the fully electric car.

Re:Amazing (1, Insightful)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395636)

It's amazing that ANY corporation can drill for oil since NONE have stepped up to the plate with a viable solution.

What's really amazing is that someone types a message like that on a keyboard ... made of oil. Sitting in a room, painted by oil. Someone says that after eating food, harvested by oil-using machinery, grown by dropping oil over plants. Someone who walks, over oil (the road is made of oil, in case you don't know), over to the supermarket, constructed from nothing but oil and a bit of metal, melted and delivered by using oil. In that supermarket you buy food, which isn't infected with disease due to being packaged ... in oil.

The only reason it is possible to keep about 80% of the US population ... well alive ... is oil.

Hypocrisy. Truly and completely off the scale hypocrisy.

Quite frankly, since asking the US not to use oil is asking a democracy to kill off some 80% of it's population (at least, probably more), utterly devastating the entire U.S. coast, and even inland, would probably be considered worth it by the vast majority, even for just a one month extension of the oil supply. Anyone who prefers life over death should do so. And once it becomes clear that this is exactly the blood sacrifice "green" demands, it is what will happen*. Lying about it only works as long as all the bellies are sufficiently round.

There I've said the obvious, inconvenient, truth, and the obvious fact that even if BP deployed soldiers and re-started prohibition, we still probably wouldn't punish them. Unfortunately, for good reason. You can downmod me into oblivion now.

* ironically, in the original gaia cultus, the early greek one, people were also sacrificed. Buried alive. Seems somehow appropriate.

Re:Amazing (5, Interesting)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395674)

There are alternatives to all of those products. If the oil industry wasn't so heavily involved in politics, the absurd regulatory structure that makes oil the best way to do just about anything would not exist, and alternative methods of producing many goods would come about.

Have a look through the dormant patents held by oil companies for a taste of how things could be, but aren't thanks to businesses run amok.

Re:Amazing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32395676)

Praise be to the god of oil! What a rant that was. We are saturated with oil based products precisely because of the oil industry who discourage alternatives and the research into them. Get a clue.

Re:Amazing (2, Interesting)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395698)

They've all been viable solutions so far with what was thought to be a real chance of success. Ultimately most of the solutions were impossible to test beforehand.

One solution known to work (the russians did this method), is nuking the hole and collapsing it to an extent that the pressure of the oil can't breach it. You then concrete over the rubble.

BP cannot use this method themselves. It requires Obama to step in and take some responsibility. It's a proven method that's probably a whole lot cheaper and reliable than anything BP has done and the envoironmental implications aren't anywhere near as bad as all the oil. BP can then foot the bill for the nuke and handle any decontamination needed.

Sadly Obama was all too willing to let companies drill for oil in the gulf, knowing there's risk of something like this happening and is content to sit there saying how awful BP are to deflect any blame he might receive.

Re:Amazing (1)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395590)

It's amazing that BP can drill for oil with no provable solution to a catastrophic failure. It's like operating on a patient and going 'Trust me, I'm a doctor'.

<devilsadvocate rant>
You think medicine was not in that phase?
Also, no one cares about the environment except for hippies and Greenpeace freaks, right?
When its your body, the issue is close and the price instantaneous.
When an ecosystem dies, a couple of species go extinct, the earth heats up and oceans rise, we don't have to pay the price in the next 10 years. By then the media will focus on something else and the companies (if they still exist) will have great excuses. It's not just BP ...

Do you know what the price is? Do you know 2010 is the year of biodiversity?

Re:Amazing (1)

Mathness (145187) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395612)

First of, BP isn't the only ones doing so.

Secondly, when lobbyism is allowed to influence politicians (and law) big cooperations will get away will as much as they can.

One can only hope that with the recent bank and oil brouhaha that some restrictions will be put in place.

Re:Amazing (2, Funny)

Heed00 (1473203) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395616)

It's amazing that BP can drill for oil with no provable solution to a catastrophic failure. It's like operating on a patient and going 'Trust me, I'm a doctor'.

So, BP is the Dr. Zoidberg of oil exploration?

Re:Amazing (1)

williamhb (758070) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395684)

It's amazing that BP can drill for oil with no provable solution to a catastrophic failure. It's like operating on a patient and going 'Trust me, I'm a doctor'.

I've got some scary news for you about what doctors actually do... (195,000 deaths from medical error per year [] , etc)

Re:Amazing (4, Interesting)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395696)

Really? How exactly do you test solutions for catastrophe of unknown nature a mile underwater, working with wells of unknown pressure filled with oil and gas of unknown composition? You do understand this was an exploratory well right; the point of this thing was largely to find out what is down there.

If you have a solution to this problem of being able to prove catastrophic failure modes can be solved by doing X with all the other unknowns you are clearly way smarted than the rest of us and I welcome our new over lord; otherwise you just another arm chair quarterback here.

The only amazing thing ... (2, Insightful)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395736)

It's amazing that BP can drill for oil with no provable solution to a catastrophic failure.

... is how naive you are.

1. It's not just BP - the other oil companies are doing exactly the same thing. It's just that BP drew the short straw today.

2. We do tons of things with no provable solution to a catastrophic failer. Do you want the short list or the long?

So... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32395404)

I believe the proper tag for this is 'now what'

Re:So... (1)

davidbrucehughes (451901) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395664)

The "next option": sit down and cry. By July people will be begging for the nuclear option, and that will mean the end of the SE US.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32395700)

Well if what I did after seeing the title is any indication, it's for your jaw to drop open, your face to droop down, and be incredibly depressed.

Man, shit. Fuck. I mean, seriously what the hell man? What the hell? Now we not only have all this oil in the water, there's all this mud screwing up the water too?

What next, let's shoot nuclear waste at the hole because if we're lucky it'll melt through and dig a deep enough hole for the oil to fall into? It's like solutions will, if they don't solve things, just make things worse. If they're doing to need to take drastic measures, TAKE IT. Don't take less then drastic measures which poison the water even more before moving on to the real drastic measures.

On the plus side, if we have *another* spill some time in the future, I'd hope to high heaven that they'll have figured out how to deal with it after the disaster, the catastrophe, NAY the CATASTRAFUCK this has been.

long history of cutting corners (2, Informative)

damasterwc (1247688) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395416)

the good people at larouchepac have compiled nice laundry list of crimes they've committed [] floating around out there... this is compiled from state and federal testimony.

Re:long history of cutting corners (4, Insightful)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395508)

The bit that I loved the most was:

Two BP representatives scheduled to testify in Lousiana on Thursday, today, dropped out. Mr. Vidrine cited an undisclosed medical issue. Another top BP official, the well-site leader, who was scheduled to testify, Robert Kaluza, declined to do so, asserting his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. Transocean's assistant marine engineer on the Deepwater Horizon also called in sick.

Can you cover your ears with your hands and sing "la la la" loudly please?

Re:long history of cutting corners (0)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395670)

Fifth amendment not to testify? Well, isn't the next step to start a criminal investigation against all of these people, including all of the top management in all of the companies involved?

On the issue of the spill, the Ixtoc spill in 1979 happened about 160km into the gulf and at about 50 meters of water and they did EXACTLY the same thing as they were doing this time, so obviously it did not work then, it's not working now and it will not work. The only thing they know how to do is drill, not to stop the consequences of failed drilling. So their 'bottom kill', or drilling a relief well (likely more than one) and then inserting mud and cement from the bottom of the current well is the only way that BP/Transocean/Halliburton know how to do.

This Oil spill needs to be stopped now, it took 9 months to fix it in the Ixtoc disaster in 50 meters of water, it will take YEARS to do this here. By the time they stop the spill, the Gulf of Mexico will be gone. It will be totally annihilated and not only gulf of Mexico (I read someone write this as Guelph of a Mexican, I thought it was funny).

Nuke it. Calculate the necessary force to collapse the shaft, put the nuke where it should be (probably somewhat under the ocean floor to one side of the well shaft). I would also drop a bunch of shipping containers filled with rocks on top of this place just in case first, then nuke it.

In fact I think the drilling must be all stopped until there is a procedure to stop a leak like this within a week rather than taking months or years.

As an idea for the future development: how about preparing giant metal containers that can interlock together and can be filled with rocks, that could be dropped or lowered to the bottom of the ocean together or one by one and then a mechanism to interlock them so that they could be set on top of a leak like this and then connected together and pushed down maybe with ability to dig into the ocean floor to anchor themselves, like a Lego system that would put a heavy metal floor on top of the ocean floor and would just press down against a leak like this altogether, possibly aided by large propellers that would add dynamic push to the static, gravity added push against the leak.

Of-course this is just of top of the head and maybe stupid, but I don't see this guys coming up with ANYTHING NEW at all for decades now. The same shit they tried 30 years ago for Ixtoc and what they always try is the same shit that did not work 30 years ago, is not working today and probably just cannot work at all.

Re:long history of cutting corners (1)

foobsr (693224) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395728)

The bit that I loved the most was: ...

You will love it even more when you read about suicides and deadly accidents of people who were willing to testify.


Re:long history of cutting corners (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32395526)

LaRouche and his ilk are nutters. Why are you even linking to that nonsense?

Re:long history of cutting corners (1)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395678)

Nutters, or people who are parodied by the big media because they say the things that are not in the interests of the incumbent commercial-political cartel?

Re:long history of cutting corners (1, Informative)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395552)

the good people at larouchepac

LaRouche and "good people" in the one sentence? Mutually exclusive.

Re:long history of cutting corners (4, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395658)


These are the same people over the past decades who have done nothing except spout nonsense.

They're the nuttier parts of the Tea Party. They're the ones comparing Obama to Hitler. They're the ones that said your grandma is going into an oven. They're the ones that came up with "death panels" bullshit.

They. Are. Nuts.

I've seen other people calling you out being modded down. Go ahead, mods, mod me down, but before you do, look here: []

I wouldn't trust a Larouchian to tell me the sun was going to rise in the east.


Re:long history of cutting corners (0, Offtopic)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395734)

What does LaRouche have to do with the TeaParty? The fact is if you look at the Teaparty has lots of intelligent educated members. Its rallies have actually be characterized by being peaceful and resulting in less damage to property and shared services than Obama political rallies. People like you and the press are routinely characterizing the TeaParty as a bunch of violent raciests; its just not true. You people also apparently don't understand its politics at all as LaRouche would be the last person in the world to join the TeaParty.

Suppose they can't stop the oil (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32395420)

What would that mean for the environment?

Re:Suppose they can't stop the oil (3, Insightful)

Swampash (1131503) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395536)

Well I presume that it would mean the sterlization of the Gulf of Mexico and the poisoning of the South of the USA.

Re:Suppose they can't stop the oil (0)

wisdom_brewing (557753) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395586)

Long term? Over fertilisation and a very interesting new ecosystem... If the well contains as much oil as it predicted and say 30% of it makes its way out and continues at its current rate then we have a few decades of flow at current rate....

Oil is very energy rich, there is life that will thrive off of it. Maybe Louisiana residents can be like gold-rush individuals panning for gold... Stratifying the water and oil, skimming it off and then selling it for $80+ bucks a barrel... If it can't be stopped it will be very interesting...

Re:Suppose they can't stop the oil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32395688)

You'll like just get a literal dead sea in which the only life is a bunch of bacteria. Oil isn't exactly healthy for any life form except a few freak strains of those little buggers.

Re:Suppose they can't stop the oil (3, Interesting)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395706)

Don't shovel that crap you fucking industry shill.

Nothing but a very small number of anaerobic microbes can survive in an oil-saturated environment, as oil coats cell surfaces and prevents oxygen transfer. A dumping of that much oil into the world's ecosystem will have catastrophic results, and if it makes its way into the Gulf Stream, it'll be spread globally with results too great for me to describe without sounding like a crazed religious apocalyptic doomsayer.

If the entire well is emptied into the global current system, it will be enough to reduce fish populations to levels where seafood is taken off of humanity's menu. It's unlikely that whales will survive, as krill cannot survive even with trace amounts of oil in their water. And the effect on atmospheric oxygen with phytoplankton levels reduces is impossible to predict, but it'll be large.

This is a catastrophe, not some "shift in ecological balance". Take your misinformation and downplaying tactics elsewhere.

Lets Try (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32395422)

Lets try the same thing again, except with BP senior execs

Nickels (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32395426)

If BP converted their quarterly profits to coin and dropped a huge sack of nickels on the spill it would stop.

I'd rather they use dollar coins, by way of punishment, but at this point I'll take the nickels.

Why only focus on the leak? (4, Interesting)

krou (1027572) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395432)

Okay, plugging the leak is important, but why aren't BP also doing something like this [] to contain the effect of the leaked oil: use 'empty supertankers to suck the spill off the surface, treat and discharge the contaminated water, and either salvage or destroy the slick.' Instead, they're just rolling out containment booms and sending people out to mop up beaches, never mind trying to initially insist that the crude was red tide, dishwashing-liquid runoff, or mud [] . Oh wait, the supertanker idea costs a lot of money. Sorry, sorry, my bad.

Re:Why only focus on the leak? (3, Insightful)

lolbutts (1638867) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395486)

Unfortunately, BP has been using dispersants on the failed well to prevent the oil from slicking on the surface. Because there is so much oil, the slicks on the surface are still happening, but this isn't all of the oil. I don't know of any defensible estimates for the % of oil that is getting to the surface versus hanging out in "clouds of oil". However, it seems that most people, even BP, will acknowledge that this is a nontrivial amount of oil. Though it would be nice to do something more about the oil. Perhaps it could even dissuade them from using the dispersants... (Haha, I kid. They wouldn't backpedal on the effectiveness of dispersants now.)

Re:Why only focus on the leak? (1)

Jezza (39441) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395520)

Money isn't the issue here. This is costing BP a fortune. What we're all forgetting is deep drilling is inherently risky - as the oil is under so much pressure. Sad to say what you're suggesting isn't doable with a leak of this size - it is simply too serious, with too much oil. BP's real failure happened before the accident, this is a situation you can't allow to happen. In addition to the on going environmental damage 11 men were killed - personally I think there is a case of culpable homicide to answer, and BP employees should be charged.

We also need to think about our use of all oil, it is becoming very hard to obtain the huge amount of oil we're using. This accident shows that it simply isn't sustainable and there is an urgent need to rapidly reduce the amount we ALL use. This needs to be done to protect the environment (even if you don't believe in global warming - this accident shows just how dangerous to the environment deep drilling techniques can be) and to ensure security (let's face it - most of the oil is in places that are politically "difficult").

Of course, lastly there is the huge question about what MUST be done to help the people who will lose their jobs as a result of this. If we're ever to restart deep drilling we need better safety procedures BEFORE an accident and a workable plan for AFTER. But really most of the problem here causing the accident in the first place. This goes deeper than just not wanting to spend money to clear it up - in truth they don't lack any amount of money, they just don't have a clue what to do.

Re:Why only focus on the leak? (1)

testghost (1817556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395606)

I am sure that come a year or two when gas prices head upwards of $5 to $6 a gallon, people will be screaming for BP to start drilling again. This oil spill is just an excuse to lash at BP because they are a for profit company, and that is the whipping boy people attack because they are unable to compete in a global market. In reality, most Americans, especially here in California, value being able to drive somewhere without astronomical gas prices than some gunk dumped in some flyover states. Maybe BP needs protection like diplomats do from unpopular nations. I'd say give companies diplomatic immunity so they can do business and not be affected by politicos stirring up the rabble and handing pitchforks and torches.

Repel earths forces with mud and cement (1)

OpenQL (1754612) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395434)

Okay that should work?

BP working relentlessly (4, Funny)

OrwellianLurker (1739950) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395440)

Doug Suttles later stated that BP is hard at work to come up with even cooler names for their next failed attempts to stop the oil leak. When questioned about their competence to do the job, he was quoted saying "we're stuck between overkill and final death."

Re:BP working relentlessly (1)

GF678 (1453005) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395580)

"we're stuck between overkill and final death."

They should have used Unreal Tournament nomenclature.

M-m-m-monster KILL... Kill... kill...

Re:BP working relentlessly (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395650)

"The final solution" has a nice sound to it.

Déjà-vu (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32395444)

Seems all to be a Déjà-vu :

Re:Déjà-vu (1)

Jezza (39441) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395564)

Excellent link. I'd not seen this - but I agree totally with everything she said.

let hell freeze over (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32395460)

time to inject the liquid nitrogen and freeze the pipe shut.
lol my capcha is felony

wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32395462)

...trying to shove some beach mud into a pipe spewing a slippery substance at several thousand gallons a day didn't work...i can't believe it failed.

Re:wow (4, Informative)

thygrrr (765730) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395544)

"Mud" is a technical term for all sorts of drilling fluids specifically designed to keep the pressure on an oil well.

In this case, they used a special type of "Mud", even, "Kill Mud".

But it still failed (and the failure has quite possibly damaged the Blowout Preventer atop the borehole further, potentially increasing the amount of oil gushing into the ocean.

Solution. (5, Insightful)

Buzzsaw5 (1047078) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395464)

Why don't they start pumping into the well all the bullshit they've been spouting for the last month. That should plug that sucker up real quick.

Expect repost.... from 1979! (5, Informative)

leuk_he (194174) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395468)

This is all deja vu. This has occures before [] . In 1979 a oil well [] in the gulf blew and it took 9 months to close the gap, using the same techniques [] they used so far.

So expect repost of failed attempts for the next 9 months.... in the true /. tradition. If it is important it will be posted again. ;)

Re:Expect repost.... from 1979! (1)

virtualonliner (1278494) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395626)

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
- Albert Einstein

Re:Expect repost.... from 1979! (3, Interesting)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395704)

Oh quiet. People think that this stuff is new or something, in the same way that the gulf doesn't already leak a few million or is it a few hundred thousand, barrels of oil naturally every year anyway. The reality is when you're dealing with a BFP is to go through the steps of things that have and haven't work in the past. Working your way through up to what will work. Anywho it's just my guess but they'll have to use something in relation to relief wells, it's a large amount of oil with just a little bit of water giving it forced pressure.

*parts may be sarcasm.

Re:Expect repost.... from 1979! (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395722)

9 months? That's for a well that started only 50 meters below the ocean. Here the depth is 1500 meters. I takes more than one try to drill the relief well into the right place - to puncture the current shaft. I think it may take years to do this right.

Nuclear energy anyone? (2, Insightful)

jackflap (715225) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395480)

And so proponents of nuclear energy are seriously considering trusting companies like BP with nuclear power?


Falacy (5, Insightful)

aepervius (535155) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395568)

Firstly this is not the same domain of competence and risk, to drill an oil well thousand of feet deep, and to maintain a nuclear plant. Secondly nobody is trusting BP with a nuclear plant, but trusting other company. Finally there are many nuclear plant world wide maintained in a satisfactory state, and only a few major incident, none in the last 20 years with the latest design. There isn't many bulk way to generate energy for a baseline and/or peak electricity generation, fission, coal, gas, oil. Note on how 3 of those release carbon in the atmosphere which was trapped for a long time. Without going into global warming debate, nuclear plant are today the only baseline/peak generation which avoid that. Other generation method do exists, but the possibility are either exhausted (hydroelectric) are not compatible with baseline generation (wind, solar for example).

So carbon or nuclear, by govt or by private, TAKE YOUR POISON. The only real alternative is to go back to a pre-modern society.

Re:Falacy (0, Troll)

dbIII (701233) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395668)

The answer is to accept that it is poison (instead of the pretence that nuclear runs on magic beans), and to build small units such as pebble bed where the consequences of failure are a lot less than the 1970s dinosaurs painted green that the US nuclear lobby want to build.
There is a good reason why plants to the "latest design" have no problems, it's because most of those are completely imaginary nuclear plants that were never built. Real ones are slowly falling apart and getting decomissioned before major problems occur.
The obvious answer is to build prototypes of the new designs and go from there until there is something possibly even commercially viable. Some of the smaller systems that are still in development even have the possible advantage of very short construction times and mass production - so the things could potentially be ready and running in less time than the decade or more (ask the swedes for how much more) that it takes to build one of the 1970s designs painted green that are being flogged off as "new technology".

Re:Falacy (2, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395682)

The only real alternative is to go back to a pre-modern society.

Or go forward to a post-modern society. Rejecting what is current does not mean going back to what was before, but moving forward to something new.

Re:Nuclear energy anyone? (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395588)

So your solution is to continue trusting idiots like BP with ruining our environment with oil? now that is insane.

Re:Nuclear energy anyone? (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395660)

Unlike oil, nuclear has historically attracted enough controversy to ensure decent oversight and regulation from teh evil government, and other such worthless, taxpayer-money-sucking organizations that can actually ensure safe operation.

Whereas oil - well, we all remember "drill, baby, drill!". After all, what could possibly go wrong there, and even if it would, why'd anyone care? It's not like it's nuclear...

Re:Nuclear energy anyone? (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395712)

There have been many more oil accidents than nuclear. By your logic we should have many more nuclear accidents.

Re:Nuclear energy anyone? (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395718)

Modern nuclear plants don't have any failure states nearly as bad as what's happening now.

From Russia with Love (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32395496)

Heed the Russians advice and NUKE it...NOW!

Re:From Russia with Love (1)

oiron (697563) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395516)

A wonderful example of a cure worse (or at least, with as many potentially unknown effects) as the disease!

Re:From Russia with Love (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32395528)

I'd rather they'd nuke BP executives.

Re:From Russia with Love (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32395592)

No, make them travel to Mars with no hope of return.

3 the whales (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32395504)

well, whats another 30,000 barrels of shit floating around in our oceans.

Not prepared (4, Informative)

Vicegrip (82853) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395512)

I suspect that they always knew their attempts to fix it would fall short, this is all make-busy to give the appearance that everything that could be done is being done. The correct solution appears to be forcing oil companies to drill relief wells for existing exploitation. The idea here is that the relief well is mostly completed so that if a disaster occurs, instead of taking months to connect to the main well, the work can be done within days.
BP's experience is showing us that the relief well is the only solution that will work.
It's why the Canadian government is taking the position that one must be drilled at the same time as a new well is being built. Unsurprisingly, oil companies are already lobbying hard to have these measures curtailed. []
"At issue in talks between the oil industry and the National Energy Board on relief wells in the North is whether they must be drilled during the same season as the primary exploration well. The window for drilling in the North is only a few months because of ice conditions. However, allowing oil companies to wait a season to drill relief wells could leave a new well exposed to a potential rupture for a year or more. Mr. Pryce at CAPP said the policy for relief wells was devised in the 1970s, and alternative technology for dealing with ruptures has advanced considerably. "

Re:Not prepared (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395614)

what would you have BP do though - try nothing while they drill relief wells?

on the one hand people like you claim they are trying everything knowing it won't work, and on the other people are claiming BP is trying to save money. the 2 can't exist at the same time.

I agree with relief wells being in place, however your also overly optimistic that they would stop disasters like this in days. a week maybe if everything worked well.

Re:Not prepared (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32395634)

"alternative technology for dealing with ruptures has advanced considerably."

Why do they keep using only the stuff that doesn't work on the BP well then?

It's all for show from now on. (4, Insightful)

lightversusdark (922292) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395514)

I've come to the conclusion that this is mostly for show.
Best case estimates of success for any of the proposed solutions have been incredibly low.
Repeated failures are changing the problem conditions with each attempt.
BP has to appear to be trying absolutely everything (and I suppose they are), but I think there is an executive acceptance that nothing before the relief wells kick in (August!) is going to make a dent in the flow of escaping oil and gas.
The ROV operators and everyone with a real job to do are doing amazing, admirable work, but I just feel that this is all futile.
We are down to real basic mechanical approaches.
No technological solutions exist, none have been developed as there is no demand, as the oil companies have not invested in disaster management technology. Unproven response measures like the dispersants have been at best useless, and increasingly appear to have had an overall negative effect on the situation.
We seriously don't have any bright ideas about dealing with this, and it's already too late.

Re:It's all for show from now on. (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395584)

... don't have any bright laws about regulating for this, and it's already too late.
The US allowed the oil sector to write its exploration and drilling laws.
The US knew its protection systems where not great but still handed out more rushed waivers. []
Next Fox 'tea party' public chat with your Dem or GOP legislator, remind them of the oil cash they accepted, their drill baby drill enthusiasm (read it back to them) and their lax law making.
Post to youtube with tags and keep on asking.

Re:It's all for show from now on. (1)

wisdom_brewing (557753) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395632)

Ok, somewhat expensive:

Get several hundred dry-cargo ships full of iron ore, or other heavy but mass-available commodity and just dump it over the well... Keep doing it, over and over again... Eventually the weight of it will stop the "leak"... Though it could take a very long time, and require millions of metric tonnes of material...

Re:It's all for show from now on. (1)

lena_10326 (1100441) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395710)

That would be like using gravel to dam a lake. It'll still seep and then erode away the material.

Re:It's all for show from now on. (3, Funny)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395716)

DEC AlphaServer 3000s. They make great boat anchors.

Re:It's all for show from now on. (5, Informative)

Genda (560240) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395724)

Hhhmmm, I don't know, but I think this would have been a really simple thing to prevent... no need for any new technology whatsoever

  1. First replace the entire bozo squad passing for government regulators, in fact jail the lot of them, for receiving bribes, and causing billions of dollars of damage to the country.
  2. Next when an oil company installs emergency shut off valves at the well head, make certain they work, BP knew for a fact theirs didn't work and ignored it.
  3. Additionally, when your high tech well has special high pressure seals, design expressly for potential disasters, and you know you've damaged or destroyed them, stop drilling, and fix the seals, BP knew they had a problem when they brought huge chunks of rubber and again ignored it to continue drilling.
  4. Finally, when some idiot from an oil company tells the folks on the rig to remove tons of drilling mud from the well, now, to shave a few days off of opening the well to pumping later, knowing full well that leaving that mud in the well is a critical safety feature for preventing disasters like... this one, they should be politely shot in the head. Twice.

There was absolutely no need for this mess. BP played loose and fast with the lives of millions of people. Hell, they virtually murdered the drilling crew. They knew they were engaged in risky behavior, they cut dozens of corners, shaved the rules, lied about their problems, and did anything at all to cut their expense and increase their profit. At some point, when a company creates, literally manufactures a disaster of this proportion, and the only significant cause is a blatant and callous disregard for human life, and environmental safety, I think it's only fair to invite them to leave the country permanently. They've demonstrated they have absolutely no interest whatsoever in being responsible, decent, or even vaguely accountable. We're still the largest consumer of petroleum products in the world. They must serve us, and not the other way.

You can never get a decent plumber in the UK... (5, Funny)

freddled (544384) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395518)

Hmm. The problem here is you are asking Brits to fix a leaking pipe. Queue lots of sucking of teeth, scratching of heads and HUGE estimates. There is probably a guy there right now, using the undersea robot to tap the pipe and go, "well your problem, mate, is its all your own fault see, no offence, I've got a bit of twig I broke off a tree in my van. I'll stick that in the hole and wiggle it around while I think of something more plausible but it will cost you..." Call in the Poles. They have great plumbers: quick, efficient, well qualified. They'll have it fixed in a jiffy and clean up the mess afterwards.

No its their cars (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395602)

They all leak oil. What they need is to get some Japanese automotive engineers to show them how to really seal that thing up.

Re:You can never get a decent plumber in the UK... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32395630)

Apparently they called in a guy a mate of their has used before. He took a look and went off to get a part but hasn't been back since.

Time to invest in renewable energy? (4, Interesting)

fantomas (94850) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395524)

... because your BP shares are going to be worth a lot less ;-)

Seriously though this accident has thrown up a lot of interesting information - such as how the US imports vastly more oil than it produces on its own territories, and I can only imagine regulation around oil drilling will become more strict rather than less after this has all been sorted out. Given that the USA does love to consume energy I would have thought that the silver lining might be increased investment in alternative energy sources; you've got a huge country with a lot of space for generating wind/solar/wave power. Now might be a time to explore more than pilot projects? Possibly an increased nuclear power plant program as well though I am not too sure about whether this is in political favour at the moment?

One thing amazes me about the present fiasco is that we don't hear of more accidents like this, how many offshore oilrigs are there round the world? I guess the oil industry is either pretty careful or pretty lucky when it comes to oil extraction (or good on PR cover-ups...)

Top kill (1)

slasho81 (455509) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395540)

The only thing this operation managed to properly pump is the term "top kill".

Americans are suckers for BS military language... (5, Funny)

fantomas (94850) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395576)

well you can sell the Americans anything if you give it macho BS military stylee language. They get all excited if you use words like "kill". Throw in a cowboy metaphor and you're away. Expect the next solution to be something like "predator total destruction high plains stealth option" or something similar ;-)

Obligatory (4, Funny)

JohnnyBGod (1088549) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395554)

Obligatory link: []

We are very upset that Operation: Top Kill has failed. We are running out of cool names for these things.

How to really motivate them... (5, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395572)

Here's an idea for how to really motivate BP - and any other company with the potential to cause such massive havoc...

For every day that the oil continues to gush, the top 10% of their employees, by total compensation, should be required to work for a day on the clean-up crews. Not simply going to meetings and coming up with plans - they are to get down and dirty scraping oil off rocks and washing birds. The kind of work that gets oil under your fingernails and in your hair, with the smell soaked so deeply into your skin that it takes weeks to get it out.

After all, these guys have so much money in the bank that firing them won't hurt, and fining the company will just translate into higher oil prices. If they had some real skin in the game, I think we would have seen them take the problem a whole lot more seriously from day one.

Re:How to really motivate them... (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395596)

I say we burn their company to the ground and then make them clean up the spill... Every last one of them. If your company makes money off of a dirty industry that is destroying an entire ecosystem, you ought not to get out of it without scars.

Re:How to really motivate them... (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395638)

Most of the shareholders are safe. The BP staff are as interchangeable and disposable as any expert staff where in the Soviet Union.
They get rewards but can be swapped out if they talk to the press or leak.
Want to motivate BP, name and shame the institutional investors, generational investors and trustafarians (generation living off trust funds) investors.
Show up and expose the drill baby drill politicians and their oil coated cable pundits.
Read back the weak oil laws they signed off on if they run for office again.
It takes some research but can really make a congress critter be at a loss for words - makes a great youtube video too.

Re:How to really motivate them... (1)

johnhp (1807490) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395642)

Shit, don't bother with the Polish plumbers. For a job like this, we need the best there is. We need a certain Italian plumber.

Re:How to really motivate them... (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395702)

Shit, don't bother with the Polish plumbers.

For a job like this, we need the best there is. We need a certain Italian plumber.

But I don't think he can swim.

Re:How to really motivate them... (0, Flamebait)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395654)

Yeah! Lets punish a group of people, 95% of which had absolutely nothing to do with the safty of oil rigs just to satisfy the screaming mob! They're rich, who cares about how innocent they are!

If this keeps going, we can go down to the local BP petrol station with some ropes too!

Mud - blah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32395618)

They should simply pump down something like fitting foam glue plus (in a secondary pipe) some water to make sure it hardens quickly.

But then, how do they pump down anything? Have they found a way for that that doesn't allow to pump up stuff in a similar way? Getting stuff down seems to be much harder than getting stuff up, considering that it gets up on it's own.

Same players, same outcomes (4, Informative)

zanderredux (564003) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395640)

No, really. If Rachel Maddow is right this has happened before and continues to happen in the same way. All same players, all same tactics, all same outcomes.

Kinda WTF, but check this out: []

There is one known method known to work (0, Troll)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395714)

Nuke the hole, bury with concrete. Tried and tested and known to work.

How long is Obama going to sit by and let BP try lots of experimental procudures which could all make things worse when he's been sitting on a known solution all this time?

Just nuke the damn thing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32395720)

... and get over with it. What do you americans have all those mega-bombs for anyway? The irony alone that the "liberal, nice guy Obama" blows up some nuke for a "valid reason" would be worth the attempt.

And right now it seems BP is only making it worse and not better anyway... so what is there to lose?

After that fails, we probably should consider that even-cooler orbital ion cannon...

Pissing contest. (0)

stimpleton (732392) | more than 4 years ago | (#32395726)

Just as Cuba is still punished because they showed Kennedy up in front of his friends when his Bay of Pigs invasions got trounced, BP is paying for the Iran oil deal Ayatollah Khomeini reneged on with US oil companies in 1979. BP (*British* Petroleum) became a major player on the back of those reneged deals, when Iran took from the US and gave to the British.

Now they are finding out that US administration with the backing of US oil corporates have a very very long memory. And with Iran back in the focus, it is time for them to pay.

Pay back is a bitch.
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