How To Fix The Oil Spill: Samantha Bee, Bill Gates, and You

Thursday, June 03, 2010 - 06:20 PM

We asked several guests from The Takeaway this week how they might suggest addressing the largest environmental disaster this hemisphere has seen in decades.  Noted Canadian Samantha Bee chimed in, as did Bill Gates and former nuclear submarine officer Christopher Brownfield. Oh, and Takeaway morning intern David Ingram. (We doubt BP is turning away suggestions at this point, so we cast the net wide.)

Watch the full interview with Bill Gates and his father.


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Comments [37]

rob from Mobile AL.

one flang,40ft of pipe,one ball vale will fix the oil leak.

Jul. 10 2010 03:24 PM
james carter from selma,al

I can tell you the most effective way to stop it...its a very simple but logical idea. You would take a solid "soft steel" rod that is 4" larger in diameter than the pipe & machine taper it down to about 6" in diameter over a distance of 20' leaving 5' unmachined. Weld 2ea lifting eyes onto the sides of the untapered end. Use a large enough crane on a ship or barge to lower it into the pipe tapered end first. The fiscal weight of the rod will stop the flow. Then using another rod or heavy object drop it down on the plug like a pile driver to swedge the tapered rod down into the pipes flanges. I have used the same method in high pressure power boilers many times & know that it will stop 100% of the flow.

Jul. 07 2010 02:44 PM

I think it's hilarious nobody critisized him on the "50" million gallons spilled. It's roughy 5k a day from the leak. I'm curious how the media convinced you there were 10,000 times as much lol

Jul. 05 2010 02:53 PM
Kathy Evans from Coeur d'Alene, ID.

@ Joe Murphy


I disagree. Poking a few more holes (and redirecting the stream elsewhere) would reduce the pressure coming out of the first hole, because it would redistribute the pressure.
If you pop your balloon in a few more places, the water will now trickle out of three places where before it was shooting out of one.

Another solution would be some kind of huge underwater explosion that would bury the entire well in dirt/sediment. They would permanently lose their well, but it would stop the leak by putting the oil back under the Earth's crust where it came from.

Jul. 04 2010 04:26 AM

Why can`t they bring in another rig and restem it.

Jun. 16 2010 09:22 AM
Joe Murphy from Kentucky

Okay here is the thing first and fore most British Petroleum capped the gusher when they first tapped it, so when they realized the severity of the leak they should have lowered a new blow out prevent to the well head and shut the well off, which i don't understand why they still haven't done that. Granted it is 5000 ft below sea level and the pressure down there is tremendous, and its cold, and there are currents, but they did it once they can do it again. Let me take a moment to explain our worlds situation, imagine a water balloon filled this is the pocket of oil in the earth. Now lets say the water balloon is strong enough for you to sit on it without it busting, you are the earth pressing down on this pocket. That in itself is a lot of pressure now lets take this simulation and place it at the bottom of a lake, this adds more pressure. Now someone comes along and takes a long needle and sticks it down through your your head, through your body and into the balloon. The water in that balloon is going to come out of there very very fast and at tremendous pressure trying to catch it would be fruitless. and poking 2 more holes in the balloon when you cant stop the first hole is going to compound the problem times 3. Now lets talk numbers top government scientist have reviewed the video and determined that a million gallons a day are flowing out of this pipe, and that at least 50 million has leaked out so far. This amount leaks out of the ground from cracks and crevices naturally on a yearly basis, but we have put this amount into the water in less than 2 months with no resolve yet. in my opinion if there is that much oil on the planet then gas should be as cheap as water. Bottom line is. We need to stop the flow by putting on a new shut off valve, and try to salvage our beaches, wildlife, and future health. Thanks for listening. May God bless us all.

Jun. 11 2010 01:55 PM
Trisha DeVore from Batavia, Iowa

Woven fabric, cotton + synthetic. The synthetic would react with the oil, and expand, and the cotton would give it something firm to expand against. Try it.

Jun. 11 2010 03:55 AM
riddle from florida

take a 30 foot circum tube of any kind of material canvas metal plastic ete position around pipe and have tankers siphon from atop all water/oil from inside tube

Jun. 11 2010 03:02 AM
Ken from Wilmington

This comment was removed for guideline violations.

Jun. 10 2010 10:28 PM
Lencha Aniya from Texas

It seems like the pressure on the well is too high. So, my best guess is to drill more on the side of the hole to reduce the pressure so that BP can manage that particular well. If you're going beyond 60 days, I suggest you get NASA and international community involved since this is going to impact the whole Wold some time soon.

Jun. 10 2010 10:25 PM

Take an old battleship and seal the top except for a few long hoses. Cut off the bottom and sink it over the leak.

Jun. 10 2010 10:23 PM
joe murphy from kentucky

good point linda from mi thats what is there now its called a bop( blow out prevent) but it has failed so in my opinion they should take it off and put a new one on they did it once they can do it again hell at this point they need to stop worrying about collecting their precious oil and worry about stopping the flow period. the governments scientist have gone over the vidio footage and have calculated bp has been lying were losing a million gallons a day that to me is a phenomenal amount how long before the oil outweighs the water and the ocean is destroyed the planet will die shortly there after taking all of us with it so sad so very very sad that a wallet is more important than our future life as we know it

Jun. 09 2010 11:18 PM
James Stalp from U.S.A.

fix the pipes fix the well put all newpipes etc. let it leak and fix to have a working well

Jun. 09 2010 04:48 PM
Benjamin Celestin from Saint. Lucia

i think they should have a close off point just like whne a pip line burst, there is a close point then after weld back it. There should have a plan in place and have prepare ffor sch disaster. I think they should get something to block off it. huge and heavy will do.

Jun. 08 2010 12:10 PM
Linda Swint from Midland, MI

Why can't they use the existing flange on the pipe coming up out of the bottom of the ocean to attach a shut off valve?

Jun. 08 2010 11:44 AM
Meghan McDonald from nyc

BP should offer a prize of $1 million dollars to the person who comes up with the best plan to stop the oil spill. All submissions would have to clearly lay out a plan of action and implementation (not just idea). For BP, an actionable plan that works would save them much more than the prize in the long run and the monetary incentive should get the world's best minds working to find a fix.

Jun. 07 2010 03:49 PM
Paul E. Bretzger

Cap it with a weather balloon. Replace it successively as required when it fills up.

Jun. 07 2010 10:39 AM
john from brooklyn

First of all Bounty towels are ultra absorbent. Sure, there's no chemical that can SOAK this oil up. right. Second, you know those oldfashioned diver helmets? they're big round...... make a huge one, put it over that thing. make several one way gasketed exit tubes from it that lead directly to tankers, not to refine it, just to load it on ships and take them away. they're not engineering their way out of this because it's in someone's interest not to fix it. get a life.

Jun. 07 2010 10:15 AM
sj from seaford ny

use a tool like a automotive ball joint remover...Secure a clamp to the pipe with a 4 (or more) pronged claw (like the ball joint remover) and slowly screw in a long bolt with plug at the end into the pipe. this will hold the pressure of the oil as the plug is slowly pushed into the leaking pipe.

Jun. 07 2010 09:12 AM
Patty from BAbylon, NY

I don't know how to stop this leak, but I do know how to stop future leaks. Stop drilling for oil.

Jun. 07 2010 06:35 AM
Montie from oklahoma

Place a pipe ring with nozzels just below the top of the wellhead and have a weld on cap ready to install, pump liquid nitrigen down the pipe and freeze the well solid, place the cap on and weld in place with the ROV's

Jun. 06 2010 08:47 PM
Joe Murphy from kentucky

make a solid steel rod 100 ft long with a flared top and a crane hook, machine lathe grooves in the last 25ft of shaft to install a number of O rings. Remove the blow out prevent its broken anyway. and lower the steel rod into the well head until it seats itself on the flange. wall ah flow stoped

Jun. 06 2010 07:00 PM
Anna DeGrauw from Carlton, Oregon

Use the existing bell pipe as an "introducer". Introduce a metal pipe that is tapered at the bottom to a cone shape. This tapered cone shaped section of the pipe has many holes for pressure release at the bottom only, to accommodate the incoming oil pressure. It will be introduced until it is firmly seated to the inside of the broken pipe at the oceans bottom. The length of the pipe, the diameter of the holes, and tapered bottom at the cone shaped end would need to be engineered/mathematically calculated to accommodate the incoming pressure. Top off the pipe near the ocean surface with flex tubing, etc. to ease the connection to the oil tankers.
Anna DeGrauw RN

Jun. 06 2010 05:34 PM
Anna DeGrauw from Carlton, Oregon

Use the existing bell pipe as an "introducer". Introduce a metal pipe that is tapered at the bottom to a cone shape. This tapered cone shaped section of the pipe has many holes for pressure release at the bottom only, to accommodate the incoming oil pressure. It will be introduced until it is firmly seated to the inside of the broken pipe at the oceans bottom. The length of the pipe, the diameter of the holes, and tapered bottom at the cone shaped end would need to be engineered/mathematically calculated to accommodate the incoming pressure. Top off the pipe near the ocean surface with flex tubing, etc. to ease the connection to the oil tankers.
Anna DeGrauw RN

Jun. 06 2010 05:33 PM
Seshadri Ramkumar from Lubbock, TX

To remediate the oil contamination we can use cotton and other natural sorbents. Texas Tech University has developed Fibertect technology for this application. Please see this video link on how the technology works:

Jun. 06 2010 04:12 PM
Kent Thomas from North Dakota

Has anyone see this? Does anyone remember this?

Jun. 06 2010 08:40 AM
TT from jersey

send two tubes down in a larger tube shooting pressurized sea water so they can slip past the exiting oil pressure. when the tubes have reached the main oil cavity use the two tubes to send down a pressurized synthetic chemical mix that creates an expanding sticky foam when they contact one another. enough of this might temporarily plug the leak while the other wells are being drilled to relieve the pressure.

alternatively couldn't this sea water freeze and plug it up like it's doing with their other attempts?

flaw of capitalism. sell it as soon as you get or make it without knowing how to break the item back down into nature safely.

plastic the biggest oil spill in super slow motion. so nobody cares.

Jun. 05 2010 03:13 PM
Billy Mayes from Heaven, above









(RIP, Billy my friend!)

Jun. 05 2010 02:00 PM
Kent Thomas from North Dakota

Why not take a 23 inch pipe and lower that down over the 21 inch pipe. Run the 23 inch pipe all the way up to the ships at the surface. Surely that would leak less oil than what they are doing now.

Jun. 05 2010 10:41 AM
Bruce Gionet from Teaneck, NJ

Mr. Green, above, has a solution similar to my own, which is essentially a "plunger" creating a seal around the leak, gradually introducing air into the plunger and using the pressure of the water around it to force the water and oil up into waiting tankers. See my blog, "sickwell" on blogspot:

Jun. 04 2010 08:17 PM
Terry from Augusta, Georgia

Boycott BP 100% until they fix it to our satisfaction!!

Jun. 04 2010 08:07 PM
Nan Schubel from NY

Can't we just pull up the pipe and let the ocean floor heal itself?

Jun. 04 2010 06:30 PM
Angel from Miami, FL

Crimp the pipe. The focus seems to be on fixing the problem in a manner that would help continue in oil extraction. The pipe should just be crimped and sealed. Since oil wells are connected, the oil in this one will probably be siphoned up through another well. The oil won't be lost because another oil platform will be drinking BP's milkshake.

Jun. 04 2010 09:47 AM
Ed Surprenant from Jaffrey, NH

Plumbers use an inflatable bladder to insert into large piping arrangements to leak check. You insert the bladder into the pipe, pressurize to expand or inflate against the walls of the pipe, presto, leak stops

Jun. 04 2010 06:46 AM
Kevin Green

REALITY: the two relief wells will be the ultimate solution in two months

WHAT CAN DO UNTIL THEN: About 80%-90% of leak can be captured by using a simple polyester composite "funnel" secured to ocean floor at leak site,.which quickly becomes a 10-foot-diameter tube -- approx, 5,000 foot long, which takes oil/ water mix to supertanker(s) on surface -- and from there to storage/ separation facilities.

NOTE: Work can begin now on this and will not interfere with other ongoing efforts

MATERIALS: Polyester composite fabric used by Goodyear (blimp constructions) and by NASA has tensile strength (won't tear) and can withstand extreme cold, pressure, etc... material used by NASA/. Can be made into large constructions per customer requrments

ILC Dover Corporation works with polyester composite fabrics, (When deflated the entire Goodyear "Innovation" fits in a 6 x 6 box!)

In short, don't battle the pressure of uprising oil with metal pipes.,,.,., use strong but flexible material to funnel/tube oil to surface for offloading to tankers.

Jun. 03 2010 11:47 PM
Cesar Rospigliosi from New York

My father, a retired machinist, is highly skeptical of any proposed solution that involves capping the well. Failure to cap the well or plug the hole in the pipe may lead to a larger rupture at the sea floor.

Here's his idea. He suggests drilling a hole with a wider bore around the existing well on the sea floor. The new, bigger hole within the existing hole should be as deep as needed to allow engineers to install a larger pipe casing. From the larger casing, attach new pipes to reach to the surface and extract the oil.

I'll offer a similar and simpler idea: place a larger pipe around the existing one to act as a chimney. Of course, the wider pipe would have to be a mile long.

Jun. 03 2010 02:58 PM
Richard Lallo from Wickford, Rhode Island

Morning......I am not a rocket scientist but why isn't a form of angioplasty being done on the oil well? A steel tube would be lowered in the gushing well....a ballon-like device would be sent down and slowly inflated , gradually shutting off the well. then cement is poured on top of the that to seal well off permently or until whatever relief well is drilled.
What do you think??
Richard Lallo

Jun. 03 2010 10:25 AM

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