Given the constant failure of "blowout preventers" in offshore oil wells, and a lack of technology to create reliable fail-safe methods of capping an endlessly oil spewing mess, one simple and very old tactic almost always works.
It's a relief well, just like the two being drilled now in the Gulf of Mexico. Some online folks began talking last week about how Canada requires oil companies to create a relief well for all offshore drilling before said companies are allowed to drill.
Except that is not quite true and even today, BP is pushing Canada to drop that requirement, citing the costs involved.
"• Canadian regulations about relief wells are not quite as simple as the Reuters story suggested. • Oil companies do not actually have to drill relief wells in advance. Rather, in order to get a drilling permit they have to satisfy the National Energy Board that they have the capability to drill a relief well the same season as the exploratory well.
"In 2008, BP paid C$1.2 billion ($1.8 billion) for rights to explore three parcels in Canada's Beaufort Sea, north of the Arctic Circle.
It has yet to announce plans to drill in the region but shortly before the U.S. disaster, BP and other oil companies urged Canadian regulators to drop a requirement stipulating that companies operating in the Arctic had to drill relief wells in the same season as the primary well."
So many who previously moaned about the intrusion of government now see government as superhero.
Confusion grows in times like these. Getting information is important, but a recent transcript of a Q and A with reporters and Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen offers mostly confusion.
"Q: (Inaudible) - (inaudible) (expect that 2,000 acres to fill in), but it's more like 30 acres, do you have any updates on that and how (inaudible)?
ADM. ALLEN: We're beginning conversation of what I would call linear versus top (inaudible). And I think probably the best thing for us to do is - (inaudible) - folks a couple of days to - sit down and come up with a (inaudible) (metric). (Inaudible) - miles of shoreline doesn't necessarily equate the impact you're looking at with the half-mile in the marsh. And I understand the difference there and we will reconcile - (inaudible).
And today I read where the underwater robots bedecked with diamond-edged saws which BP is using to try and cut off part of the leaking pipe so they can contain some of the spill is stuck in the pipe.