Archive for Thursday, May 20, 2010

Inventors say BP ignoring their oil spill cleanup ideas

May 20, 2010


Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, center, and Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser, right, tour the oil-soaked marsh of Pass a Loutre, La., on Wednesday. Oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill is infiltrating the coast of Louisiana.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, center, and Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser, right, tour the oil-soaked marsh of Pass a Loutre, La., on Wednesday. Oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill is infiltrating the coast of Louisiana.

— A suggestion box or publicity stunt? BP has received thousands of ideas from the public on how to stop a blown oil well in the Gulf of Mexico, but some inventors are complaining that their efforts are getting ignored.

Oil-eating bacteria, bombs and a device that resembles a giant shower curtain are among the 10,000 fixes people have proposed to counter the growing environmental threat. BP is taking a closer look at 700 of the ideas, but the oil company has yet to use any of them nearly a month after the deadly explosion that caused the leak.

“They’re clearly out of ideas, and there’s a whole world of people willing to do this free of charge,” said Dwayne Spradlin, CEO of InnoCentive Inc., which has created an online network of experts to solve problems.

BP spokesman Mark Salt said the company wants the public’s help, but that considering proposed fixes takes time.

“They’re taking bits of ideas from lots of places,” Salt said. “This is not just a PR stunt.”

BP said Wednesday it hopes to begin shooting a mixture known as drilling mud into the blown-out well in the Gulf by Sunday. The “top kill” method involves shooting heavy mud into crippled equipment on top of the well, then aiming cement at the well to permanently keep down the oil. Even if it works it could take several weeks to complete.

“This is all being done at a depth of 5,000 feet and it’s never been done at these depths before,” said Doug Suttles of BP PLC, which leased the rig that exploded April 20 off the coast of Louisiana.

If the top kill effort fails, BP is considering a “junk shot,” which involves shooting knotted rope, pieces of tires and golf balls into the blowout preventer. Crews hope they will lodge into the nooks and crannies of the device to plug it.

About 70 BP workers are taking more suggestions at a tip line center in Houston. The company plans to test one idea from actor Kevin Costner — a centrifuge device to vacuum up the oil — but that was not delivered through the suggestion-box system.

Thousands of barrels of oil are still pouring into open waters each day, and some of it has washed ashore as far east as Alabama. Tar balls found in the Florida Keys were not from the spill, the Coast Guard said Wednesday.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists said a small portion of the oil slick from the blown-out well has reached a powerful current that could take it to Florida. They said diluted oil could appear in isolated locations in Florida if persistent winds push the current toward it, but that oil also could evaporate before reaching the coast.

In Louisiana, a chocolate-brown blanket of oil about as thick as latex paint has invaded reedy freshwater wetlands at the state’s southeastern tip.

Gov. Bobby Jindal and Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser led a flotilla of media to inspect the oil encroaching on remote wetlands lining Pass a Loutre, near where the mouth of the Mississippi River empties into the Gulf of Mexico.

Jindal, sitting at the edge of an airboat, swept a handheld fishing net through the mess and held it up. It was coated with brown sludge, which had stained the lower shafts of the leafy green reeds sticking up to eight feet out of the water.

“The day that we’ve been fearing is upon us today,” Jindal said later at a news conference.


Richard Heckler 8 years ago

Fmr. EPA Investigator Scott West: US Has Told BP "It Can Do Whatever It Wants and Won’t Be Held Accountable"

One month after the BP oil spill, we speak to Scott West, a former top investigator at the Environmental Protection Agency who led an investigation of BP following a major oil pipeline leak in Alaska’s North Slope that spilled 250,000 gallons of oil on the Alaskan tundra.

Before West finished his investigation, the Bush Justice Department reached a settlement with BP, and the oil company agreed to pay $20 million. At the same time, BP managed to avoid prosecution for the Texas City refinery explosion that killed fifteen workers by paying a $50 million settlement.


lounger 8 years ago

How about we plug the hole with the bunch of foolish republicans who are trying to get BP out of this mess by veto-ing the increase BP would have to pay. How in gods creation can you veto something like that? BP has a cap of only 75 million and Dems are pushing for a 10 billion limit. How about NO cap at all!! CLean it all up BP and pay for the entire bill!!!!

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