Handy cap


Jessica Hathaway

Published on
July 19, 2010

It's been almost a day since BP secured a new cap in place on its blown well in the Gulf of Mexico.

It's hard to say whether we have seen the last of this undersea gusher, and it's hard to be optimistic, but mechanically the cap is a fairly simple rig, as I understand it, bolted to a flange at the top of the well and plumbed to ships at the surface. Within it are three hydraulic valves that were shut off once the cap was secured to the well.

Even if the cap works perfectly, BP is expected at some point to let the flow of oil to surface ships resume, weather permitting.

That is probably not a bad idea, as this would reduce pressure within the well.

As things stand, pressure is continuing to build, which is a good thing — it means oil is not leaking out of the well.

If the well casing were to blow out below the sea floor, my understanding is that we would then have an uncontained spill that someone compared with a volcano.

I, like the rest of you, have my fingers crossed, as I look at the PBS Newshour leak counter on the National Fisherman Web site, which stopped ticking off the gallons around 3:30 p.m. EDT on Thursday July 15th.

I do feel pleased that BP has had this apparent success, but I certainly don't feel grateful to BP.

The number on the counter is 92,340,117.

Thank you for your time.

Jerry Fraser
Editor & Publisher, National Fisherman


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