BP's big plug – what the plan was…

The big concrete and steel pill box BP was banking on to plug the oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico failed after hydrate-like crystals formed blocking the top of the dome and making in buoyant.

The oil ended up spewing out of the container, leaving engineers looking for a plan B that could include heating the dome up or blasting bits of old tires and even golf balls into it to try and unblock it. Crazy stuff. This infographic from Owen Sound Sun Tines in Ontario, Canada illustrates what the BP dome sought to achieve…

Source: Owen Sound Sun Times
Source: Owen Sound Sun Times

One Comment

  1. Bruce Hamilton

    Not crazy. The technique ( usually known as “top kill” ) was used to extinguish some of the 1990-1991 Gulf war fires. The injected “junk” accumulates at restrictions and blocks the flow.

    The technique has ( AFAIK ), never been used on sub-sea wells, and it assumes that the kill and choke lines on the Blowout Preventer are available – hence removal of the BOP controller for reconfiguration before trying the method.

    They would need to also pump mud quickly into the well to reduce hydraulic stress on the well head, because oil/gas coming up outside the 36″ upper casing would be a much larger disaster.

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