BP close to lowering giant dome over spewing oil well
07 May 2010
As British Petroleum engineers are close to placing a four-storey high cofferdam containment dome over one of the pipes on the ruptured oil well to contain the leak today, top executives of the British oil company said that the effort might not actually work.
BP's chief executive, Tony Hayward said that this was one of the battles to contain the oil leak, while the company's chief operating officer, Doug Suttles said that this was an experiment that has never been conducted at such depths and problems could arise.
But even as they were speaking, crews had started lowering the 100-tonne steel containment dome one mile below the surface of the sea, where undersea robot vehicles will be placing buoys around the main oil leak that will act as markers for engineers to align the dome over the leak.
Once lowered on to the sea bed, the next steps will be to connect the top of the steel dome through a steel pipe to a tanker on the surface of the sea to suction out the oil for collection.
BP hopes that if all goes well, then at least 85 per cent of the oil leaking from this pipe could be collected in the tanker instead of spilling into the sea.
Although the company hopes to comlete lowering the dome in a few days, BP engineers say that the water pressure at depths of 1,500 metres is so intense, that it can even crush a submarine.