We’ve got a couple of questions for BP and Coast Guard, given yesterday’s troubling incident with the LMRP and the significantly increased flow from the well ever since they cut off the damaged riser pipe:
- If the LMRP should break down, gunk up, or otherwise fail, is there a backup LMRP ready and waiting to be immediately deployed?
- If the well casing fails beneath the seafloor – it’s been under a steady high-pressure, high-temperature sandblasting since April 20, and the BOP is reportedly leaning slightly to one side – much of the leaking oil would likely bypass the BOP entirely, possibly raising the flow rate to BP’s worst-case scenario estimate of 100,000 barrels per day. In that event, we’d need to immediately deploy a large containment device similar to the “dome” that was initally tried and quickly failed. Something we can lower over the entire BOP and onto the seafloor surrounding the well. Has such a device been designed and built, in case it’s needed? If not, why not? It’s imprudent to just hope the casing will hang on until a relief well is successful, and it could take weeks to build and test a backup containment device. Let’s get to work on that ASAP if we haven’t already.
Unless we’re willing to risk weeks of uncontrolled flow at 2.5-4.2 million gallons per day.