Today, ProPublica offers Regulators Let Industry Drill Deeper, Despite Safety Concerns and Unproven Fixes. It describes how deep water drilling has become increasingly common yet the industry and regulators have little idea of how to respond to complications. If the difficulty is an unconstrained high pressure blowout such as that now dumping oil into the Gulf of Mexico, disaster is certain because, as one participant admits, the industry lacks capability to cope with deep spills.
This inability is demonstrated by BP's failure to place a 100 ton concrete and steel funnel over the uncontrolled well. Because of the high pressure at 5,000 feet, water-based solids resembling ice formed inside the funnel and thwarted the attempt. That apparatus has now been pushed aside as BP tries to find alternative control methods and spreads various chemicals, many with toxic qualities, as oil dispersants.
As war against devastation is waged this week in the Gulf of Mexico, Chevron Canada begins deep water drilling at 8,500 feet, in Orphan Basin, 430 kilometers northeast of St. John's Newfoundland. Canadians are in luck though. Chevron has promised to be extra careful. Good thing too because any problems experienced there will be near impossible to resolve.
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