Home > Uncategorized > Houston, We (Still) Have (This Engineering) Problem

Houston, We (Still) Have (This Engineering) Problem

Something rotten is going on, not in Denmark, but 5,000 at to 8,000 feet under the ocean floor in the Gulf of Mexico.

I know. I know. Most people think the BP blowout well is capped but the fact is it is not, at least permanently. The capping at the wellhead 5,000 feet below the old Deepwater Horizons platform is a fragile prayer holding on for dear life.

The latest round of delays since July 15 is what engineers are calling a fishing expedition to clean out debris inside the well, recap it with a new blowout preventer at the top before they continue work on the promised final solution by killing it with a relief well in the earth’s crust and near the oil reserves.

You remember the relief well? It was promised to be connected sometime in August. Today is Aug. 28 and it remains feet away from its target and has been sitting there for more than a month. If that fails, a second relief well was dug just to be safe.

So, what’s going on? The only possible reason is that engineers suspect the integrity of the well that was drilled by Deepwater owners is compromised. Perhaps that is a step too far. For now.

For details, read this account from an engineer critic of the BP and government Mickey Mousing around and the huffing and puffing of the government’s blowout incident commander. Note: Retired Adm. Allen sounds not only pissed but worried.



Houston, we have an (engineering) problem. Meanwhile, I feel the compassion for Gulf coast residents trying to restore their lives and their communities where the toxic oils have hit some but not all areas. On Friday night’s nationally televised football exhibition game between the San Diego Chargers and New Orleans Saints in the Superdome, announcers Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorff played Chamber of Commerce spokesmen raving about the great food and night life in the French Quarter. Fine. Two hours earlier news continued to repeat fishermen’s fears of catching contaminated fish, shrimp and oysters that the government says are safe to eat because they passed the “smell” tests. I don’t doubt the veracity of both but God help us if the two shall meet and one of them is wrong.

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