June 23, 2010

An overwhelming number of respondents to an poll say the federal government and BP will not be able to cap the Gulf oil gusher by the end of summer as Obama promised. Nearly 89 percent of those who took part in the poll say nothing will be done in the timeframe promised on June 15.


“The president vowed that the administration and BP would clean up ’90 percent’ of the oil before the end of the summer,” the Seattle Times reported.

Soon after Obama made his promise experts said the gusher would not be contained until Christmas. “Dan Pickering, co-president of Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co., a Houston-based oil and gas investment bank, thinks Christmas is not an unreasonable scenario, as worst-case scenarios go,” Laura Parker wrote for AOL News on June 17.

It took 290 days to stem the flow of oil from the Ixtoc 1 well near the Yucatan Peninsula in 1979. Ixtoc 1 was in only 150 feet of water.

BP is less optimistic. “BP’s out-of-control well will go on spewing oil into the Gulf of Mexico for the next two years or more if all attempts to contain or plug the gusher fail, oil industry experts said” on June 18, the Guardian reported. “The estimates, based on new figures supplied by BP’s chief executive, Tony Hayward, during seven contentious hours of testimony to Congress on Thursday, suggest the potential environmental and economic devastation would far outstrip the damage done so far by the ruptured well, which has been spewing for 60 days.”

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According to Hayward the reservoir still holds 50 million barrels. The government has estimated the flow of up to 60,000 barrels a day. At that rate the gusher could go on pouring oil into the Gulf of Mexico for two to four years.

Vladimir Kutcherov, Professor at the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden and the Russian State University of Oil and Gas, predicted that oil release “could go on for years and years … many years.”

The gusher increased in size today after an undersea robot bumped a venting system, forcing BP to remove the cap that had been containing some of the crude, reports CBC. “The smaller cap, which had worked fine until now, had been in place since early June. To get it there, though, crews had to slice away a section of the leaking pipe, meaning the flow of oil could be stronger now than before.”

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