Vessels assisting in the capping of the Deepwater Horizon oil well are seen on the Gulf of Mexico off of the Louisiana coast. Photo: AP (click title to entry - thank you)
By Rupert Cornwell in Washington
Wednesday, 4 August 2010
BP yesterday began pumping mud into its blown-out Gulf well, under the "static kill" procedure that is the penultimate step before putting a final end to what is now believed to be the worst accidental oil spill in history.
BP crews began the long-awaited effort yesterday afternoon, hours after engineers had dealt with yet another 11th-hour hitch - this time a leak in the valve on the well's temporary cap installed on 15 July....
I knew it would leak. Oh, well. The pressure within the capped well is increasing as the 'static fill' begins. The mass of methane ice, oil and whatever else is in the top part of the well has no place to go, except, to increase the pressure on the existing cap. It will be okay if the pressures under the cap remain stable, but, I believe the pressures need to be monitored closely to understand what is occurring under that cap. I would anticipate the ship with the relief well filling the capped well need to be monitored for 'safety' issues and any difficulty in securing the goal of closing the well.
...Barack Obama has ordered a moratorium on deep-sea drilling, and with BP also due to start exploring for oil and gas in the Mediterranean Sea off Libya within weeks, clamour is growing within the EU for a temporary ban on deep-sea drilling. The EU's energy commissioner, Günther Oettinger, describes a moratorium as the "right approach for potentially dangerous drilling... in light of the risk exposed by the Deepwater Horizon spill", and the Italian Environment minister, Stefania Prestigiacomo, said the plans in the Med "give rise to serious concern"....
I know there is a lot going on around the world that could be discussed, like Israel cooperating with an investigation into the Floatilla incident, but this is a truly significant issue. The Gulf Coast is still seeing oil washing up on its shores and I really feel there can't be enough attention given to this problem.
Briefly, I think Israel is confident about its position as there were arms on the Floatilla boats. Sorry, but, that does not classify as a peaceful mission or one with a completely humanitarian purpose. I know there was an exchange of gunfire at the Lebanese border, but, that is not a matter of escalation of tensions. It was a minimal exchange. Yes, there were deaths on both sides, including a journalist, but, the reason the exchange of gunfire occurred was hideous. The Lebanese army officer admitted they began the exchange because there were IDF forces removing a tree from the Lebanese side of the border.
Sorry, but, removing a tree is not suppose to be met with deadly force. That is the problem with the Middle East, there is no 'answering' to authority before acting. The Lebanese army was wrong to meet the removal of a tree with deadly force. If that was an issue, it should have been told to their commanders and dialogue between Lebanon and Israel should have taken place.
It could be said the Israeli forces felt the tree was a threat to their security and decided to remove it. That is still not a good excuse for crossing the border, but, there is always the possiblity they were unaware of where the border was exactly.
So, here we are with an international incident that could have been avoided, but, instead it will be exploited to hold Israel in a poor light. That kind of 'reactionary' process has to stop. Those men could be alive today, if the circumstances were handled properly with higher level authority being called in to handle it. That isn't what happened and now Israel is suppose to have a discredited reputation due to this. I don't think so.
Let's hope by tomorrow the Gulf Well will be permanently closed. It will be a good beginning to recover the Gulf Coast.