Ringler Radio

The BP Oil Spill Disaster

 

Millions of gallons of oil have spewed into the Gulf since an oil rig, operated by British-Petroleum (BP), exploded and later sank off the Louisiana coast on April 20, 2010.  On this edition of Ringler Radio, host Larry Cohen welcomes Attorney Daniel E. Becnel, Jr., to discuss the litigation from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  They look at the kind of lawsuits that could be filed and the impact this oil spill could have on the fishing industry, tourism and ultimately the environment.

  • Yuri Korchinski, P.Eng.

    Oil Leak – Pinching The Pipe.
    May 24< 2010
    A relatively simple method to quickly and completely stop the oil leak cloud be by PINCHING OFF the leaking riser pipe, now lying on the sea floor, with a suitably designed CLAMP, remotely operated by a hydraulic cylinder. Two main questions to consider would be: (1) – is there a suitable section of the pipe upstream of all known or suspected leaks where the clamp could be positioned? (2) – how malleable or elastic is the material the riser pipe is made of so that it wouldn’t develop a large crack? (The jaws of the clamp could be designed so as to minimize the possibility of the pipe wall cracking, while pinching it.) Even if a crack did develop, it would likely only seep some negligible amount of oil compared with the gushing torrent from a completely open end of the pipe, as at present. Or is the "Junk Shot" the way to go??

  • paul miao

    I agree that pinching pipe option should be pursued.

    A robot submarine clamp that will:
    Land on the drill pipe upstream of broken sections,
    Attach itself and press the pipe flat to reduce the flow,
    and cut the broken pipe end free.

    It is frustrating not to find information about progress on this tool.
    It is in the national and world interest that this tool be developed and employed.
    Even if it is not needed, it should be available.

    As to your questions,
    It appears in an newspaper art rendition that some sections of pipe upstream of leaks are undamaged and thus suitable as a clamping location. It is not clear whether there are more leaks closer to the well head, where the pipe goes underground. So there is the possibility that if the pipe is clamped the increased pressure within the pipe may find other weak points.
    The drill pipe material is certain to be steel. I have heard the pipe is 21″ diameter.
    Flattened pipe usually develop longitudinal cracks at the edges where the pipe is bent the most.
    Radial cracks can develop along the clamp line due to pipe movement and preventing that is the main reason for cutting loose the damaged downstream pipe.

    I can hope BP is successful plugging the leak at the well head with high viscosity sealant.
    But if that doesn’t work, I hope people are working on designing, building and testing the pipe clamp that could stop the leak. And I think the American public would appreciate hearing how the project is going.

    Regarding the robot submarines control system
    comments about the robot subs already deployed mentioned that operations were effected by the mile long umbilical control lines. In my opinion a separate wired transceiver lowered to the vicinity and tasked with relaying instructions and data to and from the robot clamp boat and the human controller is more likely to be successful than the current approach.