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So far so good, but hold on to your hat: This Thing's Gonna Blow!

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By Dave Lindorff

What the hell are they thinking in Washington, and down at the "Unified Command" in New Orleans, letting BP try to close off the oil volcano spewing out the top of the damaged Blowout Preventer (BOP) stack?

And what the hell is the mainstream press doing not asking about the clear evidence of oil or gas spewing out under pressure from cracks in the seafloor around the base of the BOP? (See the image of oil spewing from the sea floor here)

Sure the initial partial closing of the valves is working, but they haven't built up much pressure yet, and a lot could go wrong. seriously wrong, and there's good reason to think it will.

I made a call to the media office of the Unified Command, the office set up to respond to public and media inquiries about the disaster, which is supposedly composed of people from the US Coast Guard, other federal agencies, and BP. When I mentioned the videos taken by BP's own remote operating vehicles (ROVs) of the oil and/or gas spewing from cracks in the sea floor, I was told I had to call the press office in Houston, "because you're asking us a question about the sub-surface well."

But here's the thing. The press office in Houston is not run by the Unified Command. The people at the office answer the phone with the phrase: "BP Press." They do this because they are BP employees, and the office is in BP headquarters.

This means if you want to know anything about the structural integrity of the well below the BOP, you have to get that information from BP, not from the government. That's the same BP that told government regulators that they could handle any emergency. The same BP that assured us when the well blew that the spill was just leaking 1000 barrels of oil a day--a figure that appears to have been knowingly understated by a factor of 50 to 100.

Now, when I called BP I got a PR guy with a Brit accent named Toby Odone, who claimed he was "not aware of any oil leaking around the well itself."

He also said, "We're pretty certain that there is no oil leaking around the well that shouldn't be there."

How then to explain their own ROV videos, showing exactly that? Odone assured me he'd "get back" with an answer. So far, no answer.

Odone also said something else that was disturbing in its facileness. He said that the relief wells were within feet of the original bore, and that they had "not detected any hydrocarbons." This, he assured me, meant that there was no leak from the casing. But I pointed out that those side wells had been drilled from a mile away, on a slant, so that they only approached the original well during the last quarter mile or so from the bottom of the 18000-foot bore. They were nowhere near the bore during the first several miles of casing, so they can offer no clue as to the integrity of the bore above the first quarter mile or so above the oil reservoir. Odone agreed that this was true.

_________________

For the rest of this article by DAVE LINDORFF in ThisCantBeHappening!, the new independent, collectively-owned, journalist-run online newspaper, please go to: ThisCantBeHappening!

 

Dave Lindorff is a founding member of the collectively-owned, journalist-run online newspaper www.thiscantbehappening.net. He is a columnist for Counterpunch, is author of several recent books ("This (more...)
 
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CNN Reports the well has weak points at 9,000 and ... by Aurora on Thursday, Jul 15, 2010 at 10:55:55 PM
Matt Simmons on the second leak (15th July): clic... by Aurora on Thursday, Jul 15, 2010 at 11:01:39 PM
Oil industry expert Bob Cavnar expresses the same ... by Aurora on Thursday, Jul 15, 2010 at 11:10:55 PM
Both blow-out preventers fail at Relief Well: cli... by Aurora on Friday, Jul 16, 2010 at 8:42:38 AM
Congressman Markey on CNN - 15th JulyCNN Cooper: Y... by Aurora on Friday, Jul 16, 2010 at 9:08:02 AM
BP isn't interested in actually stopping this hemo... by Bia Winter on Friday, Jul 16, 2010 at 1:05:50 PM