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LIVE BP OIL SPILL GULF OCEAN CAMERA
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Friday, June 18, 2010, 1:41 PM
From a petroleum engineer with first-hand knowledge:
A lot of people are missing the gist of what has been happening in the Gulf right now.
BP has not capped the well because they are terrified of a problem they have not yet discussed in public. Namely that the rig explosion cracked and damaged the sea floor around the well head, and that besides the broken pipe there are other, more fragile leaks of oil coming up from the sea floor itself.
This is why they are so cagey with information, and why they are keeping everyone not directly involved with the repair out of the area. They don't want to panic the public and they don't want the sea floor disturbed.
They have not capped the well because they are afraid if that if they totally capped the pipe closed, the pressure would back up into the damaged well bore and cause a blow out of the damaged sea floor around the well head.
This would be a much much MUCH bigger disaster than what is happening now; with little or no hope of us being able to control it. They are purposely letting the leak run in order to keep the pressure low in the well and minimize any further pressure damage to the well bore.
A 20 inch pipe leaking into a containment cap is much better than a 75 foot wide crack or hole in the sea floor rocketing an enormous unstoppable geyser of oil into the Gulf. If that happens, it's goodbye Charlie. The Gulf would be overwhelmed in a short period.
They have to do this, no matter how frustrating it is. This is also why they are capping it in increments, so they can carefully observe what each change in well pressure does to the damaged area. This is why it was unacceptable when the first cap iced over, because it was blocking the oil flow, and again the pressure would back up into the well and might cause a catastrophic sea floor blow out.
When viewed in this context, what they are doing makes sense. They are trying their best to avoid the worst case scenario, and it definitely can get worse than what is happening now. They are not letting the pipe leak just for their health, or negligence, or for financial gain.
Barack Obama did not cause this, and he is trying as much as possible to stay out of their way so that they can think and work without government hassle in order to try and get this extremely dangerous situation under control. The US government is not an oil company and does not have the expertise to handle this, although it's obvious BP doesn't really have it either.
There is a distinct possibility that if the government shoved their hand in there to get things going, it would end up making it far worse. What is happening now is a disaster. If the sea floor blew out at 5,000 feet, it would be a holocaust.
This page seems to support this theory:
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