Coast Guard “Cautiously Optimistic” That BP Top Hat Operation is Working
On Wednesday evening, BP began its “top hat” operation to plug its leaking well. The process is injects thick mud into the well at higher pressures than the earth is using to push the oil out. It is done in stages, with steady pressure and ever-thickening mud slowly overcoming the pressure behind the escaping oil. If it works, BP can then inject cement into the well to seal it. BP is placing its chance of success at about 60 percent to 70 percent. As with BP’s other efforts, this one comes with a potentially heavy price tag.
If the “top hat” operation works, it could actually cause the oil pressure to increase to the point that it would further rupture other valves and cause a series of leaks instead of the one. Considering the extent of the devastation that has already occurred, this is a dismal scenario. As of this morning, though, the U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen told a New Orleans radio station that the operation seems to be working “so far” and that the Coast Guard is “cautiously optimistic”.
With even the most conservative estimates placing the total amount of oil spewed into the Gulf of Mexico at 7 million gallons, some hope is surely better than none.
More on the BP oil spill:
Accuracy of Oil Spill Flow Data challenged
BP Oil Spill significantly worse than Exxon Valdez Disaster
BP Oil Spill Timeline - Ongoing Disaster
Fisherman helping with BP oil spill clean-up becoming sick
BP Oil spill causes political changes of heart about off-shore drilling