Remembering the BP Horizon Oil Spil:Engineering Disasters


On April 20th 2010, gas went up the riser of the well and caused oil spill and gas.11 people died as a result and 115 were saved.It took 87 days to come up with a plan to cap.While Suttles estimated 5,000 oils of hydrocarbon were dispersed a day , Admiral Allen dismissed this notion and by the end of their studies they learn it was 35,000 to 36,000 barrels a day.BP reportes that 4.7 million barrels of oil was spilled but that they recovered a quarter of this and yet environmental agencies like EPA say 70% of the spill is still there;they kill shrimp at an alarming rate and fishing was banned until a unforeseable future;they might never be able to perform their jobs again.BP has secured a 10 year lease meaning that it can disperse the liability cost of fixing it for 10 years,their methods of cleaning the beaches are innefective and is only done for PR.They are individualing just scooping the mud mixed with the oil and moving on.Doug Brown,one of its former workers  points out that there were issues since they started drilling on October 9th,2009.They were supposed to be out of there by 90 days but complications such as a hurricane delayed the process.They began losing money and Brown infers it’s because they hurried the process.The blowout preventer was dealing with weak valves that could only squeeze without completely shutting the pipe.Over 3,000 units of amount of gas was giving out daily and Brown said it was the biggest amount he has experienced in his whole career.There were only 6 centralizers to keep cement seal intact however 23 centralizers are recommended.The last pressure test was not completed and workers were told to leave. Doug Brown was not allowed to have an attorney for a period of time and he had to sign a nondisclosure agreement(all the scientists and engineers cannot talk about the spill).They are still allowed to drill in the same area.There were 5 sdifferent methods that were approached to solve the problem.First they tried a dome to trap the oil but it took over 7 hours to descend to the 5,000 feet .Hydrates formed outside and inside the dome and the pressure was too great.Then they tried dispersents called corexit .This was the worst thing they could have done.This dispersent is banned in Europe and even though they are a company in Europe because they operate in the United States and the laws aree more lax , they were allowed to use it.This chemical only disperses oil on the surface and breaks it down ,as a result the oil goes to the bottom and it makes the water look clean.This toxic chemical also breaks down blodd cells,kills vital organs and causes blood disorder.Dispersed oil is more toxic than just oil alone.What the company and its scientists were hoping would be for the bacteria to eat the alkanes but it also had aromatic hydrocarbons.Their third attempt was to use a machine called Top Kill.You would fill the pipe with junk such as golf balls,tennis balls because of their structure and fill it with special drilling cement made out of barium sulfate and water.As soon as they’d stop pumping the drilling oil, all the materials were pushed out due to pressure.Their fourth attempt Was to use a Top Hat which was a open containment system to collect oil but then they realized that they needed to cut the pipe which led to their 5th and final (sadly) solution which was to use Pipe Cutting Shear called the ‘Bass’. They started by cutting the outer pipes and then closing in on the innermost pipe and using the Bass.They oped the pipes one by one(there were three to release pressure) and then they were closed one by one.Finally they put a 3 ram Capping stack on top of it.They used The Entreprise to collect the oil and they called it a day.Now all they do is use the dispersent to appear like it’s cleaned up.Shell CEO said they could have used pumps to suck the oil,then separate the oil from the water and return the water using  super tankers.While it could have been expensive it would have been more effective.Now it’s too late to use this method. They violated several of the ethics code.They caused harm to the public, they were not honest about the early defects they had;they did not publish honest reports.This was an engineering mistake;engineers were rushed .But it was also a Political mistake as well.Obama tried to get more studies before allowing them to drill there,but then gave in .The Coast Guard by their own initiative placed a $40,000 on anyone that came close to 20 meters of the incident;now it’s illegal.This just goes to show you how much Corporations have a say in Politics .