29 May 2010

Robots Pushing the Limits of Deep Sea Efficacy

Update #1: This article from "Heading Out" brings us more up to date on the "top kill" operation combined with the evolving "junk shot." This NOLA article claims that BP is already moving on to the next operation which involves cutting off the old riser at the BOP, then capping the LMRP (lower marine riser package) and installing a new riser from another drill ship -- to divert the oil and gas to waiting vessels at the surface. Al.com has an AP story on the apparent failure of the top kill operation to this point.
The procedure to cap the LMRP will not be easy, fast, or pretty -- not at those depths using remotely operated machinery. But if they are successful in capping the LMRP and retrieving the hydrocarbon flow, at least the scope of the future cleanup operation will be somewhat limited. BP is also considering taking the blowout preventer from the second relief well and installing it above the faulty BOP sitting on the gushing Macondo bore.

Again, it is an extremely dynamic situation, which may change very quickly.

It is clearly far more difficult to perform simple tasks such as bolting / unbolting, sawing, attaching / detaching, etc. when you are 5,000 feet underwater. One of the ROVs (remotely operated vehicles) spent a half hour cutting into what appears to be an access point in the BOP. At one point the robot dropped the saw and had to go retrieve it. Finally, when the robot pulled back, it appeared that a thin spew of grey fluid was coming out of the point where the saw had been.

The operators who control the ROVs must necessarily have a great deal of training and experience, yet it is clear how cumbersome it is to work through such constraints of even the best and most advanced ROV robotic technology.

When you are tempted to become impatient with the progress of the well-capping effort, remember that these techniques are being worked out for the first time at these depths.

If you think that President Obama can magically call on legions of amazingly efficacious undersea experts -- capable of instantly stopping the oil flow and putting everything to rights -- you should think again. President Obama, and most of those he works closely with, are puffed up poseurs with a lot of education, but no real competence or practical knowledge.

Competence still exists in the military, and in the private sector, but for the most part the public, media, and academic sectors are full of empty talking heads who could not repair a leaking sink faucet, much less a high pressure oil well deep undersea.

Live discussion by a mix of amateurs and experts with article by "Heading Out", an instructor of mines and knowledgeable authority.

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Blogger SwampWoman said...

Thank you! Husband and I were talking about how few people can do anything outside their area of expertise and how limited that particular area is.


We even know our way around the computer better than a lot of the younger folk who are supposedly more tech savvy.

Saturday, 29 May, 2010  
Blogger CarlBrannen said...

Even if the guy weren't a loser, the whole concept of attributing to the President everything that goes wrong or right in the country has to be a "follow the leader" instinct left over from our tribal days. It's like blaming the Gods (or Bush) for bad weather.

Saturday, 29 May, 2010  
Blogger al fin said...

SW: It seems to be a type of "programmed obsolescence" for entire generations of people, brought to you by the people who really, really, care.

Carl: Very true. Once thought of as the "great white father", the US president is now more properly seen as the "great mulatto messiah."

For the government school educated:

Mulatto denotes a person with one white parent and one black parent, or more broadly, a person of mixed black and white ancestry.[1] Wikipedia

Sunday, 30 May, 2010  
Blogger George said...

Perhaps BP might try Mighty Putty.

Sunday, 30 May, 2010  

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“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

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