Tuesday, June 8, 2010


"The immense undersea gusher of oil and gas, seen on live video feed, looks as big as it did last week, or bigger, before the company sliced through the pipe known as a riser to install its new collection device.

At least one expert, Ira Leifer, who is part of a government team charged with estimating the flow rate, is convinced that the operation has made the leak worse, perhaps far worse than the 20 percent increase that government officials warned might occur when the riser was cut.

Dr. Leifer said in an interview on Monday that judging from the video, cutting the pipe might have led to a several-fold increase in the flow rate from the well.

“The well pipe clearly is fluxing way more than it did before,” said Dr. Leifer, a researcher at the University of California, Santa Barbara. “By way more, I don’t mean 20 percent, I mean multiple factors.”
New York Times

Contrary to the government propaganda we hear daily on the news I tend to believe what Mr. Leifer says in the above article. As I wrote the other day, this is no more complicated in concept than working on the plumbing in your house. If you have a pipe that is broken and spewing water one solution is to use a valve with a compression fitting to stop the flow. That's really all this cap they've installed is.

Now the ugly reality is that if you plan to use a compression fitting the pipe has to be smooth and round, not deformed and jagged. I would use a pipe cutter or a saw with a fine tooth blade. BP tried exactly that and failed. What they ended up doing was using a shear. A shear will partially crush the pipe and leave the edges ragged. A compression fitting will never hold to it and could possibly cause more to leak because the original broken pipe was crushed, restricting flow. Since they cut it with the shears they have opened the end of the pipe, allowing more oil to flow out. That was why they originally estimated that cutting the pipe would increase flow by 20%.

In a few days we'll start to hear more backpedaling on their initial claims of success, just like we've heard with every other solution. And the oil will continue to flow.

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