“As enraging as it is heartbreaking.”

Let’s play ‘Guess what I’m blogging about?’

Operation ‘Top Kill’- blast stuff to fill the ruptured well.

Place dome over the leak (later blocked by ice crystals).

Mile long tube to capture gushing oil.

Use underwater robot (with its saw) to hack off leaking pipe.

If you were thinking Batman and Robin’s latest scheme to save the Louisiana coast line, you were wrong. Unfortunately, this is the summary of BP’s epic fail to end the oil spill that resulted after a oil rig exploded and sank in April.

My apologies for the blatant sarcasm, but the situation is ridiculous. I’ll admittedly say I know very little about how to end an oil leak below 5,000 feet (I know, BP was disappointed when they called me too) but here’s a general lesson the international community seems incapable of learning again and again:

If you don’t know how to fix it when it goes wrong- then don’t do it.

I’m curious- any Terry readers have any thoughts for BP before they delve into the robot strategy? I have to believe we have a bright undergraduate who has just been dying for BP to ask them for a solution or at least some reparative measures (if I had known about your suggestion, I could have passed on your number after they called me!)

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2 Responses to ““As enraging as it is heartbreaking.””

  1. Florin Gheorghe

    Statistically, this event was a freak of nature, since the part that exploded is actually the thing that’s specifically designed to prevent any leaks if the entire bloody thing explodes. It’s hard to say for certain without knowing the full context (was there corruption involved? was there clear criminal negligence?) but from the engineering point of view, these systems are relatively safe and generally reliable. Obviously not here.

    You could say there are a lot of things we do without knowing 100% how to fix it if things go wrong. Airplanes, surgery, etc. The best you can do with these kinds of things is minimize the risk by maximizing your understanding, but in the end it’s a human system you’re working in and these are never perfect. But I do think the blame game for this catastrophe goes far beyond BP – government, industry lobbying for lower standards, and of course, consumers!

  2. Florin Gheorghe

    Also, as a fun game to try at home: can you spot 30 items in the photo that were made from, or use, oil (aside from the petroleum-based spray-paint)?

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