Saturday, May 8, 2010

Spill Spin

The Washington Post and New York Times are both reporting that the attempt to place a dome over the leaking riser have "hit a setback" in the form of gas hydrates forming inside the dome. In particular, the icy material is blocking the port through which the leaking oil was to be recaptured. Below, from the wiki page on methane clathrate (some very interesting information there), is a photo of this material from closer to home: the subduction zone off Oregon's coast.For a number of reasons I was sort of dubious about how well this approach might work, but it's an area in which I have very little knowledge. I wanted to be optimistic, but there were plenty of reasons not to be, including the hydrates that have, for the time being, gummed up the operation. That's not to say there isn't a possibility that someone will figure out a way to get it to work- they might. This is still disappointing.

But I had to shudder at this little bit of doublespeak, quoted in both the news articles, from a BP executive:
“I wouldn’t say it has failed yet,” Doug Suttles, BP’s chief operating officer, said at a news conference in Robert, La., “what we attempted to do last night hasn’t worked.”
Because “what we attempted to do hasn’t worked” is so totally not the same as "failed."

Followup, 3:37 PM: BBC has a more thorough report up.

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