Given the unfortunate failure of BP’s first 100-ton containment dome, they’ve now come up with a new, much smaller solution.
Measuring four feet in diameter and five feet tall, the smaller “top hat” will be lowered over the primary leak point by the drillship one pipe at a time. In contrast, the large cofferdam that became clogged with hydrates over the past weekend was lowered by crane from another vessel.
Doug Suttles, BP’s Chief Operating Officer based at the Louisiana site, said that the top hat — like the larger containment dome — is designed to channel the flow of crude oil up through the riser system to the drillship Discoverer Enterprise. Unlike the larger dome, however, the smaller dome will have much less space for seawater to enter and facilitate hydrate formation — at least that is BP’s rationale.
Suttles added that the injection of methanol, along with sending heated water down through the risers from the drillship, should aid in keeping the slushy crystals at bay. The smaller dome is undergoing modifications at Port Fourchon, La., before deployment later this week.
They’ll plug the leak sooner or later, and the sooner they do, the sooner this whole disaster recedes from the public eye.
BP and Transocean shares have been hammered. It will be interesting to see how much of the damage to their market valuations is justified and how much is hype. While the leak is flowing, they’re vilified, but once it stops perhaps they’ll walk away with manageable costs far less than the many billions of market cap that has been wiped away from the shares:
Don’t miss: Amazing pictures of the Deepwater Horizon explosion >
Note: The author does not own any securities related to BP or RIG, but investors he speaks or works with could have exposure.