Gulf Oil Leak Spurs Innovative Thinking, but No Solutions Yet

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Boats surround the leaking oil from the site where the Deepwater Horizon oil platform sank as work continues to contain the leak on May 9, 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico. (Joe Raedle/Getty)

Oil from the Deepwater Horizon leak continues to gush into the Gulf Coast Ocean at a rate of around 210,000 gallons per day, leaving engineers and cleanup crews with two massive challenges: stopping the leak, and mopping up the oil that has already made its way into the water.

After BP's forty-foot containment dome malfunctioned, officials at BP began to float other ideas — some of them experimental — including a technique known as a "junk shot": a big wad of trash injected into the top of the well that could, theoretically, plug the leak.

Philip Johnson, a professor of civil engineering at the University of Alabama, joins us with his thoughts on innovative ways to plug the leak. And Erich Gundlach, an independent oil spill consultant who worked on the cleanup of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, among others, offers his take on the creative thinking around cleaning up all that crude oil.


Erich Gundlach and Philip Johnson

Produced by:

Noel King

Comments [7]

Ken from from Atlantic City

I had a quickly do-able solution the second day of the leak. Simply insert a deflated heavy-walled rubber bladder about 15 feet into the pipe while it's connected to a pressurized airhose and once in place fill the bladder to capacity. Clamp the airhose and cut it free for later deflation. Then BP can install a new valve at the broken section and later remove the bladder...

Next job clean up the mess. Hey BP, ever hear of a centrifuge?

And when Obama's plan for healthcare epically fails, call me.

Jun. 20 2010 06:28 PM

I have two ways to fix this to me I've all ways been a good troubleshooter.

Jun. 03 2010 06:52 PM
Mike from USA

Maybe try a cement donut around the casing . Prefab a large enough peice to surround existing bop. Need a large flange welded to casing , with multiple cement injection ports. Then reduce to a companion flange for new stack. This would hold because cement would start below the bop and stop flush with bop .

May. 19 2010 09:25 AM
Matt Rankin from Ontario, Oregon

Tampax needs to make a tampon that is 5 feet in diameter to fill in the pipe.

May. 17 2010 01:49 AM
ballerinaX from SLC, UT

an update to the design i posted earlier,-a.k.a.-Oil-CorralRevised-UPDATED

May. 11 2010 03:49 PM
Stephen Lemonds from Casper, WY

Make an enlarged adaptor flange with bearings on the perimeter to pass cable threw. Attach to a second set of BOP's and pull the two sets together using surface cranes, After cutting the pipe. Slot the alignment holes to allow for extra alignment clearance. Then use rov's to make up the attachment bolts.

May. 11 2010 09:41 AM
ballerinaX from SLC, UT

check out this idea for containing the DWH gusher

May. 11 2010 07:28 AM

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