Have we exhausted the state of engineering?
When I read stories about the capping and recapping of the leak in the Gulf, it is clear that there is a gigantic engineering struggle happening here. It is obvious to everyone that preventative engineering was incomplete, and now, we are engineering on the fly. Frankly, that may be impressive, but it is still a disaster. It is not getting significantly better.
Before we open deep water drilling again, the oil industry and its engineers had better conduct a course informing regulators and citizens of the world, how they are going to 1) prevent these things, and 2) how they are going to dramatically improve mitigation.
Most important, is deep water drilling within our current capacity and state of the art in engineering to go forward?
“Progress on containing gulf oil spill reversed as mishap lets well gush anew
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, June 24, 2010
The Deepwater Horizon well became an uncapped geyser once again Wednesday, the hydrocarbons surging freely into the deep sea after engineers were forced to remove the dome that had been capturing significant quantities of oil.
Engineers scrambled late in the day to recap the well, and the video feed showed a protracted battle to seat the dangling dome on the spewing pipe atop the blowout preventer. Late Wednesday, the company said the cap was successfully reinstalled. But it was unclear when it would return to its previous level of performance.
The struggle with the cap provided another reminder, if any was needed, that engineers are trying to control the blown-out well with novel tactics and jury-rigged hardware. Nothing has come easily, and the incremental progress has been vulnerable to swift reversal. “