Oil and Water Don’t Mix

It's been 97 days since a wellhead blew out on BP Oil Rig Deepwater Horizon. As a solution may finally be in sight, and BP posts 2nd quarter profits (yes, profits), BP CEO Tony Hayward is looking to step down and leave the company. Who'll take his place? Bob Dudley, the man in charge of the cleanup operation. Let's review just two days of this crazy story. ---------------------------- May 29th – Day 40 The plan that was supposed to stop the thousands of gallons of oil leaking into the Gulf of Mexico failed. Despite BP saying that the so-called ‘Top Kill’ technique had a 60-70% chance of success, the efforts made over the last three days have had no effect on the oil leak deep down on the ocean floor. The plan was to pump thousands of gallons of ‘mud’ (heavy drilling fluid, bits of tyres, and golf balls) into the blowout preventer, which would slow the flow of oil. Then BP was planning to fill the rest of the hole with cement, sealing off the leak. Even though they had to stop periodically because the hole was vomiting the mud back out, BP still hoped for success. The rest of us braced for exactly what we got: another failure. But there is a small shred of proverbial blue sky in all this: Tony Hayward, CEO of BP, made his first visit to the Gulf. Even though ten oil-spill cleanup workers have already been admitted to a Louisiana hospital, Tony finally took a minute out of his schedule to see the damage first hand. Just as the EPA was directing BP to look for eco-friendly oil dispersants, Hayward was seeing how bad things had gotten since the explosion on April 20. Whether the visit had an impact or not, BP unveiled its next big move to plug the leak. Bp announced its next contingency option: essentially putting a vacuum and a cap on the broken blow out preventer. BP even began their cuts, using a diamond blade to cut the riser and remove it, hopefully leaving a clean-cut pipe so that the new system could be fitted to it. But, like all things thus far, it did not work out as planned. The blade got stuck, and BP was forced to use shears and ended up with a rough-cut riser. Two failures in one day: not the worst of days, but it’s certainly not the best step in the right direction. May 30th – Day 41 One day after the failed ‘top kill’ was ended, and the new Lower Marine Riser Package (LMRP) Cap Containment System was begun, BP is once again in environmental hot water (although, burning oil on water does just about the same thing). Four wildlife rescue and survey flights were conducted, and as you may well imagine, things are looking more and more grim. As balls of tar oil end up on shores further and further away from the spill, environmentalists have kicked into high gear to try and save as many animals as they can that have been affected by the spill. They are not only acting to save the animals, but now they’ve started looking at the damage under water. Environmental scientists have now discovered three huge plumes of oil beneath the surface of the water within 75 miles of the leak. After finding these three plumes, scientists don’t truly know how large any of them are yet. But the consequences of this finding are far worse than oil floating on the surface. Oil floating (as we know, oil and water don’t mix, so it’s really just suspended) underwater can make its way under oil booms, penetrate deep into the ocean bed, and drastically affect the food chain. This oil may even affect seafood markets, such as the fishing and selling of Red Snappers. Despite the news getting worse and worse every day, BP is hopeful that the leak will be plugged soon. Even as they deny and battle the existence of the oil plumes (yes, that’s right, BP is trying to refute these oil plumes), relief well drilling continues. While the relief wells could make the problem worse, they could potentially stem the flow of the oil, giving BP a chance to finally close the major leak. Right now, they’re putting their faith in the LMRP plan, even though American scientists say it could temporarily increase the oil flow by up to 20%. As the largest environmental disaster ever to hit the USA continues, one can only wonder how many gallons will spill before the end is in sight. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Now, I'm not one to tell a company how to do it's business, but am I the only one who sees a revolving head here? In an attempt to walk away with some pride and respect, Hayward steps down. BP of course instates a man who is fighting against the horrible accident and is doing all he can to clean it up But the thing that seems to escape out of all this is that Hayward, along with the BP board, made Dudley the head of the clean up crew. So really, as Hayward decides to move on in his life, BP is trying to fool the public into trusting them again by putting a "good guy" in power. Until the spill is cleaned up, does it matter who's in charge? Whoever it is needs to redirect those second quarter profits into the clean up and try to salvage what they can in the Gulf. I'm sure this accident has affected their revenue and the diversion of funds, but it seems to me like slowing production down everywhere else to put a little more money into fixing their own mess might be worth it. Meanwhile, the world will look on at BP with a smile because they put a better man in power. The cap may be put on the pipe, but the stink and spread of filth doesn't end in the Gulf.