What I will mention are some ways to contain and possibly stop the oil leak. Note this is written the same week after hearing Robert Kennedy speak at the opening session of a conference, where he railed against any "dirty" fuel (oil/coal) gathering of which this oil leak made great media fodder. But I do understand the need for these fuels, hence the offering of my decades of obscure knowledge and facts that could possibly halt this disaster and prevent similar occurrences.
1) Why not try mercury? We've heard BP tried pumping down some sorts of "proprietary high-density" fluids. Mercury is the densest fluid at the temperatures encountered. I will just about guarantee mercury will at least temporarily staunch the flow, until a more permanent cap can be engaged. What's that - mercury is toxic? I'm not saying spray it over several hectares, I'm saying pump elemental mercury into the wellhead. And so contained, there is minimal chance of sea-based microorganisms turning it into the more toxic methylmercury that finds it's way into out foodchain. Okay Dr.Teller?
2) What about lead shot? We've heard other bizarre schemes tried including "mud" (Was the well in need of a complexion re-do? Was the mud supplier Clinique?) Lead shot if small enough diameter in a slurry would be pumpable/flowable almost like a liquid.
3) Don't like lead or mercury due to toxicity? How about Osmium. Or Antimony? Or Wolfram? (Tungsten to you laymen). Trying any dense metal slurry is better than pulling on your pud while trying to blame dead subcontractors, as BP is.
4) Where's Red Adair's team when you need them? I mean this is different from burning Kuwait oilfields, but these guys are the seminal "pros from Dover." They must have ideas; certainly they ain't cheap, but nothing good ever is. Cost is irrelevant at this juncture; you need to stop the oil leak that has vaulted you into the unenviable position of leapfrogging the Exxon Valdez in terms of horrificness.
5) Why not just use explosives? I estimate a "Bunker Buster" bomb would reach "only" 60-70 MPH before hitting the seabed, burrowing into the bedrock and exploding and sealing the well. I sense a reluctance on BP's part to explore a destructive end to the oil leak, as this means no chance to reactivate the well in the future, recouping some of their costs.
6) What about the Gov'ment? (as my Mom would say). No deep sea submersibles? No wire guided torpedoes or other precision explosives deployment?No replacement for the Navy's NR1? Where's the Alvin or Aluminaut? How about deploying one of those classified atmospheric full body "hard suits" that allegedly can operate at depths of the leak?
7) How about trying cyanoacrylate (Super-Glue to non-scientists)? This glue has one of if not the greatest adhesive tensile strengths known to man. It also reacts catalytically to the presence of moisture to set a mind-numbing rapidity; so it would seal the well quite handily I'd estimate.
8) How about a combined assault, trying a "reactive metal" slurry. Lithium or Potassium metal would react with the surrounding water in a violent way, releasing H2 gas from the water, and igniting said H2; with the heat of the reaction fusing the pipes shut.
9) What about trying hydraulic cement. Note that cement and concrete do not just "dry out" to cure like a water-based glue. They form a hard mortar due to a chemical reaction which takes place regardless of whether they are in the water or not. Pumping hydraulic cement may cap the well.
10) What about trying a chunky organic slurry made from BP executives and 20£ notes? This coarsely-ground paste would react with the water, and the inherent amount of bullshit would generate elevated temperatures like a compost bin, fusing the well shut. Besides, who would it hurt?
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