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Runaway Undersea Oil Well Is Changing Everything

By James Donahue   

The disaster occurring in the Gulf of Mexico is the result of excessive greed, irreverence for the Mother Earth, and corruption that has been going on in high places for too many years. Now all of the nations bordering the gulf are about to pay the terrible price, and it may reach far into the Atlantic before it is over.

While I admit I don’t understand the technological goings on at 5,000 feet under the sea I know that this massive spill some calculate at 210,000 gallons of oil a day is spewing from a pipe measuring 21 inches in diameter and oil and government engineers don’t know how to stop it. Every experiment tried by British Petroleum to date has failed. The Coast Guard says it has never had a disaster like this to deal with and has no plan for fixing it.

Other voices in the crowd are suggesting that the well head be bombed in hopes of getting enough debris jammed into the hole that it stops the flow. But that might only serve to open the cavity even wider.

This is a dilemma that the oil companies never expected to happen, but we don’t know why they were so complacent. New wells usually always come in with great force because of the pockets of methane gas that exist within a field of crude. A mere spark from metal striking metal, or a carelessly thrown cigarette can trigger an explosion and fire. These fires are not uncommon at well heads and the British Petroleum people should have expected it.

I used to work around oil wells and from everything I know, the strange effort to plug the well with golf balls, trash and cement may not work either. Nothing short of an expertly threaded bronze cap screwed over the end of a prepared casing end is going to hold back the powerful force of the gas and oil now gushing from that twisted and broken pipe.

Even though they successfully pushed a six-inch pipe into the hole and managed to pump some of the oil through this pipe into a tanker waiting above, notice that it did little if anything to stop the disaster or even slow it down. Also, because of the extreme cold water at that depth, and the long flow the oil takes to the surface there is a natural collection of paraffin along the inside of that pipe. The pipe already is slowing and will be plugged within days.

This week some were looking to the government to "do something" because BP seems incapable of stopping the oil geyser.

In the end they probably will try to initiate a trick used by the late Red Adair, the master of extinguishing oil well fires and plugging runaway well heads. I saw Adair and his team at work when a well exploded into flame near Jonesville, Michigan, in the 1960s. He used dynamite to snuff out the fire, then moved in quickly with his team to force bronze fittings over the well head and cap the super heated well before another spark reignited everything all over again.

Before his death, Adair developed a method for dealing with disasters at underwater drilling rigs, but his secrets apparently died with him. Or else the rigs he worked on never tried drilling at depths reaching a mile under the sea.

If the cement and golf ball idea fails, we predict someone will try to bomb the well head. That will either work or make the disaster even worse than it already is. After all, this issue may be somewhat comparable to attempting to plug a volcano. These oilmen are fighting a powerful force operating a mile under the surface of the sea. They just don't have the technology. We question whether anybody else has it either.

Great plumes of oil, mixed with tons of toxic chemicals dumped from aircraft in a frantic effort to break up the crude, are collecting and they are about to be carried into the Gulf Coast shoreline as soon as the first hurricane strikes. It already is creeping into the protected marshland along the Louisiana coast and destroying all of the sea life. The massive fishing industry is all but destroyed in that part of the country. Even the shipping industry has been affected as big freighters cannot enter or leave without collecting crude on the hulls and in the underwater working parts of the ship.

The tourist industry for the entire area is all but destroyed. Florida and the East Atlantic coast probably will not be spared because the oil is already moving into the Gulf Stream that will carry it up into the Atlantic.

This is already the world’s worst ecological disaster ever, and it is getting worse every day. And yet one report said the Minerals Management Service, an obscure division of the Department of Interior that regulates deep water off-shore drilling within U.S. coast lines, already has issued permits for at least seven new offshore drilling permits, a New York Times report states.