- WEB EXCLUSIVE
- PE COFFEEHAUS
If the mud cap continues to hold, the next step would be to pump a cement mixture to permanently seal the special valve. The two relief wells that are currently underway and considered to be the best seal process but will take a couple of months to drill, will continue as planned to intercept the bore hole.
There are a number of estimates as to the volume of crude that has escaped. Many of those put the spill as exceeding the Exxon Valdese spill, making it the largest U.S. spill known. There was another spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 1979 from the platform named Ixtoc I located in the Bay of Campeche that took ten months to cap. That exploratory platform was owned and operated by Petróleos Mexicanos and although it impacted the Texas shore, full restitution was never made.
BP officials have continually said they accept full responsibility for this event and will take needed steps to complete this cleanup. While the focus for attention of the cleanup has been on the shores of the potentially impacted areas, perhaps the most difficult area to repair will be the subsurface pools of materials that are being found by various organizations. It is currently believed that the dispersant materials that had been approved by government agencies allowed the crude to form miles long pools of materials below the water’s surface.
The diagram of the top kill procedure was provided by BP. The image is the copyright of BP p.l.c.