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Gulf oil spill: New blowout preventer placed on BP's troubled oil well

A new blowout preventer has been placed atop BP’s problem oil well, a move that should allow crews to drill into the well deep underground and kill it for good in about a week. 

The old blowout preventer — a now-notorious piece of hardware that failed to stop a gusher that resulted in the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history -- was removed early Friday afternoon. Thad Allen, the federal spill response chief, announced just before 10 p.m. CDT that the new, stronger blowout preventer had been successfully installed.

“This is an important milestone as we move toward completing the relief well and permanently killing the Macondo 252 well,” he said, referring to the name of the offshore prospect area where the well was drilled.

Experts believe the new, stronger blowout preventer will allow them to handle any spikes in pressure that may occur when they penetrate the well underground and pump it with mud and cement –- the so-called “bottom kill” procedure that has been touted as the well’s’ ultimate seal.

After spewing 4.9 million barrels of oil, the well was fitted with a temporary cap July 15 that stopped the oil flow.

The relief well that will intersect the original well is 50 feet vertically and 3 ½ feet horizontally from the intersection point. Allen has said it will take four days to carefully complete the remaining drilling, and “several days after that” to inject the material, conduct pressure tests and declare the case officially closed.

-- Richard Fausset in Atlanta


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The earlier blowout preventer did not work and caused the worst oil spill in U.S. History, and still the BP is allowed to work on the troubled oil well. I hope this time everything goes well and resolves the problem. Going ahead a ban should be imposed on offshore drilling after certain depth so as to avoid further damage to environment, as neglecting the same has already caused serious damage to marine environment and human life.

I think it is high time we started taking nature and our planet earth seriously and do our bit about environment, sustainability, climate change, biodiversity, clean energy, green living and so on. One great place to start would be Elpis is an online community focused on responsible living and sustainable growth. You can measure, reduce and offset your carbon footprint; set up petitions, volunteering and fundraising projects for your favourite causes; help create action plans for sustainable communities; buy a range of eco friendly products and services; and network with other people who share a common interest in a low carbon, responsible lifestyle.

This oil spill might be an opportunity as big as the recent BP oil spill if you are in the right business.


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