One More Day to Test BP's Latest Oil Fix

By: Ashton King Email
By: Ashton King Email

The government has given BP another day to keep its well closed, meaning more time for the company to draw up yet another untested plan to kill the well.

With the well holding and the pressure rising, the government is considering BP's request to turn their temporary solution into a permanent one, filling the cap and the well with mud to kill it.

“With the pressure on top, we can probably overcome the hydrocarbons that are in there and basically have the mud defeat the oil that's in the wellbore,” said Adm. Thad Allen, National Incident Commander for the Coast Guard.

BP tried pumping heavy mud into the well to kill it back in May. That was a top kill. A static kill is the same concept only now the oil is contained in the new cap. Drilling mud would be pumped through the cap to choke the oil. BP would still finish the relief well, pumping mud to the bottom of the reservoir to finally plug it.

Yet there's still disagreement over why the well pressure was lower than expected, or what to do if there's a problem.

Along the Gulf Coast skimmer boats are still trolling for oil but not finding much. After months of trying to stay ahead of the spill, there’s finally a chance to step back and assess progress.

Kelly Cobiella reports, “The edge of this marsh used to be covered in oil. You can still see the black stains on the grass, but a month later signs of life – these green shoots are new growth.”

“That tip was almost, you can kind of see, was completely slicked over.”

Laura Wyness is in charge of protecting the marshes around Grand Isle, La. Crews don't touch the grasses, just circle them with boom to absorb the oil. She's seen the grasses go from this - to this. It's happening all across this bay.

“For it to be growing back - even with the presence of oil there - is, I think, a great accomplishment for Mother Nature herself,” said Wyness.

Scientists say they're seeing the same green shoots in other Gulf marshes swamped with oil, but experts warn the effects on the complex web of life here could last for years.

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