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In the latest setback in efforts to end the spill, pressure testing of the well was delayed after a hydraulic leak in the new cap prevented BP from fully closing it. The test was originally scheduled to start midday Tuesday but was pushed back to late Wednesday, and will now begin “as soon as we can,” the company said.
Now that the sealing cap has been installed, all eyes turn to the well-integrity test, which BP is starting today. The test will involve completely "shutting in" the well so the full pressure of the oil gusher can be measured, giving the scientists and engineers a read on the structural stability of the piping that lines the 13,000-foot-long well.
Determining an oil spill’s toll on wildlife is never an easy feat—and the challenging conditions of the current gulf spill make it all the more complicated. While most of the animals collected alive have been visibly covered in oil, the majority of those that have been found dead have had no oil visible on their bodies, making the cause of death difficult to ascertain.
The massive oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico is already making history. The well has been hemorrhaging oil for more than two months and is without a doubt the largest offshore spill the U.S. has ever faced. Here's a numerical look at the magnitude of the disaster and the enormous response that has been staged.
The 'Avatar' director may be an expert in undersea robotics, but that's not the kind of knowledge that's needed to clean up the gulf.
The deep water of the ocean is the largest habitat on earth but it’s also the least understood, making the effects of this deep-sea spill without precedent. As a result, scientists say, the impacts of this spill are likely to go far beyond oiled birds and dead sea turtles.
Today, the EPA directed BP to choose a less-toxic (but equally effective) dispersant for use in combating both the oil slick on the surface and the oil plume gushing from the broken riser on the sea floor. More than 600,000 gallons of dispersant, a chemical solution that breaks the oil down into finer droplets that degrade more easily, have been applied on the surface, and another 55,000 gallons have been applied underwater. These amounts are unprecedented—far more than has ever been applied to U.S. waters before. It’s generally agreed upon that dispersants are toxic, but many argue that using them is better than not using them, since the toxicity of the undispersed oil can be greater. Scientists have been debating many sides of the dispersant issue—including whether their benefit outweighs their risks in this case, whether it’s safe to use them in the deep sea at the source of the leak, and whether a better (less toxic and of equal or greater...
Kevin Costner has a machine that he says could help clean up the massive oil slick from the ongoing spill in the gulf. Developed with the help of his scientist brother, Dan Costner, the device uses centrifugal force to separate oil from water. It draws in an oil-water mixture at up to 200 gallons per minute, and spits out separate streams of oil and water from the other end. Kevin Costner has reportedly spent millions on the device over the years and believes that he has finally found a use for it. BP officials say the company plans to test some of Costner's machines in the coming days. ...
We still don't know exactly how much oil has been spilled into the Gulf of Mexico since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded on April 20, because there is no way to directly measure the flow. The oil is leaking out of at least two different points along the crumpled drill pipe that used to run between the wellhead and the rig, and estimating flow based on the size of the slick on the sea surface is an inexact science. But some independent experts believe that the official estimate of 210,000 gallons a day could be on the low end. BP itself admitted in a recent congressional briefing that the well could potentially spill as much as 2.5 million gallons of oil each day, more than 10 times the current estimate. If the official estimate is accurate, then the spill's magnitude will surpass that of Exxon Valdez by mid-June, but that milestone may already be past if the flow is actually higher. We may never know for sure, but in the meanwhile, here is...