BP to deploy Subsea Oil Recovery System to contain leak

Well, it’s about time we’re hearing something about actions to get at the leaking wellhead of the Deepwater Horizon site that had its rig explode and sink 2 weeks ago. BP is going to deploy a “Subsea Oil Recover System” in an effort to contain the leak. This story over on Fox News describes how it works:

Called the Subsea Oil Recovery System, the 125-ton structure is designed to be placed over the largest source of oil leaking 5,000 feet beneath the Gulf of Mexico. The system collects the leaking oil and pumps it through a funnel and pipe to a tanker at the surface, which stores it and ships the oil to shore.

The structure is a 40-foot tall concrete chimney that conveys leaking oil to a ship on the surface, the Deepwater Enterprise. Once there, oil is separated from water and stored until the ship can return to shore, where it is offloaded and shipped to an on-shore terminal.

The ship is capable of storing 139,000 barrels of oil, processing it at a rate of 15,000 barrels per day. BP hopes it will be able to collect as much as 85 percent of the oil leaking from the sea floor.

I know that 85% captured is a hell of lot better than 0% but I’m hoping they can do better than that. After all, 15% of 5000 barrels is still 750 barrels of oil leaking into the Gulf. BP says they are hoping to deploy this system in 6-8 days. Again, I’m glad they’ve got something but 6-8 days is about 15 days too late in my book. The whole response to this disaster, from BP and from the government, seems to be going in slow-motion. Honestly, there’s been more chatter about who’s going to pay for this over the past several days than about how we can stop the leak or mitigate it far better than we have thus far.

Here’s hoping the engineers working on this solution can step things up and make it work.

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