16 May 2010

BP Announces Successful Insertion of Siphon Tube

It's still unclear whether the new siphoning operation will work. Even in the best-case scenario, the tube won't capture all the leaking oil.

The pipe connected to the tube is full of nitrogen, which will gradually be pulled back to allow oil and gas to flow into it. But the process must be done slowly to avoid seawater entering. Seawater could form hydrates that might block the pipe and stop the flow of oil to the surface.

BP has also received permission from federal authorities to resume spraying chemical dispersants into the leaking oil underwater, a method it says has proved effective in curtailing the oil slick. _WSJ

BP has just announced the successful insertion of the 6 inch 4 inch stoppered siphon tube inside the 21 inch riser pipe. The siphon tube is not expected to collect all of leaking oil -- only a portion.
BP Plc said it made a breakthrough today in its attempts to control oil leaking from a damaged well in the Gulf of Mexico, successfully inserting a tube that will funnel oil to a ship on the water’s surface.

It was BP’s second attempt to insert the tube to capture oil gushing from a well 5,000 feet below the water’s surface. A first attempt failed when the frame that holds the tube shifted, Doug Suttles, BP’s chief operating officer for exploration and production, said yesterday.

The tube will capture only some of the spillage. “While not collecting all of the leaking oil, this tool is an important step in reducing the amount of oil being released into Gulf waters,” the statement said.

After the tube was successfully inserted and working to funnel the oil, it was dislodged, halting the test. Technicians inspected the system and have reinserted the tube, BP and government authorities said today in a statement from the oil spill’s Joint Information Center.

The tube is made from a 4-inch (10.2 centimeters) pipe wrapped with a rubber flange and inserted by remote-operated vehicles into a larger pipe leading from the leaking well.

The idea is that undersea pressure will force the oil into the pipe and up to the surface, where a drill ship will separate and store the oil for processing at a refinery. After it was in place, the tube was successfully capturing oil and gas and funneling it to the ship, BP and government officials said in the statement. _Bloomberg
We will have to wait for futher analysis of oil discharge to determine whether this success will make a long term difference to the effort to limit environmental damage.

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