Another idea for plugging the hole in the Gulf in a relatively short time.
The drawings are of course not done to scale. They are conceptual.
I suspect that BP engineers are totally focused on using the existing blowout prevention machine that is not working as the main part of their fix. Consequently, their thinking is running along the lines of what the machine’s capacities and weaknesses are. This may prevent them from thinking ‘outside the blowout preventer,’ so to speak. There should be some engineers spending their time thinking of the problem as if there were no blowout preventer at all. Just an open pipe in a hole with lots of pressure spewing out hot oil and gas. How would you plug that?
I might plug it with a huge concrete and steel cap weight that had a perforated pipe extending from beneath it. The weight and its extending perforated pipe would be slowly lowered over the gusher hole. The perforated pipe would slide inside the gushing well pipe until the huge cap weight above was sitting on the ocean floor. Then cement could be pumped from the surface down a long pipe which would connect to the giant cap weight and its perforated pipe now sitting inside the well pipe. The cement would push down this pipe extension and out through the perforations to plug up the well pipe.
I wonder if this idea holds any merit at all. Perhaps the best part of the idea is for engineers to consider options outside of the blowout preventer.
Plug the hole with a big… you know… plug. There are no ideas coming out of the U.S. government or its bosses at British Petroleum, so why not offer some of our own. I’m pretty good at offering lots of dumb ideas while trying to find a single good one. So here’s my latest dumb idea.
To modify my idea in the film slightly, I would guess that instead of dropping the plug from chains, you would set the thing down on short legs at the ocean floor and then, when it was aligned with the hole, blow the legs out from under it to drop it into the hole.
I wonder if there are lots of ideas like this for solving the disaster in the Gulf. I’d be very curious to see what other people are coming up with.
After posting my doomsday hole plug idea last night, Scot Monette wrote me a note to point me to this video for his oil spill cleanup product, Petronet. It’s a biodegradable cellulose fiber made from ground up garbage. It’s environmentally friendly and it absorbs huge amounts of oil. When a country gets into a situation where it can only elect intellectual midgets to the highest federal offices (yes, I’m referring to our dimwitted President), you need people like this who are thinking on their feet and use their ingenuity to actually make things that help. Look at this video and ask yourself why the Coast Guard is not on the phone with Mr. Monette at this very moment: