Surely you’ve heard about the massive oil leak that has been wreaking havoc on the Gulf Coast for the past week. The slick has been spreading quickly, and BP (the company that owns the well) has been doing everything they can think of to stop the spill since efforts to try to shut down the well have failed.
That’s where engineers save the day.
A massive dome began its descent 5,000 feet below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico on Friday to try to cap the well. Though this procedure had been done before, it had never been tried on a well of this size. The containment dome would have collected the leaking oil at the main leak point.
The workers at BP encountered a problem, however, when hydrates (crystallized gas) clogged the containment dome. Needing to set aside the dome on the sea floor, BP has started work on it’s plan B, a smaller containment dome that they will be able to keep free of hydrates using hot water or methanol if necessary.
The oil is gushing at a rate of 5,000 barrels per day and so far an estimated 2.6 million gallons of oil has been spilled. Hopefully, this engineering feat will be able to contain the oil.