The 125-ton and 40 foot high structure will be lowered to the seabed in an attempt to cap the oil pumping uncontrollably into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico as a result of the explosion and subsequent sinking of the Deepwater Horizon deep-sea oil drilling platform. The oil would then be pumped to the surface via a 5,000 foot pipe to a surface vessel.
How it works:
• The system is made up of a 125-ton, 14’ x 24’ x 40’ structure that will be set on top of the largest leak source. This leak is located at the end of the riser, about 600 feet from the wellhead.
• Equipment at the top of the system is connected to a 5,000 foot riser that will convey the hydrocarbons to the surface ship, the Deepwater Enterprise.
• Once in place, oil will flow up into the containment system’s dome to the surface ship.
• Once on the surface ship, the hydrocarbons will be processed and oil will be separated from water and gas. The oil will then be temporarily stored before being offloaded and shipped to a designated oil terminal onshore.
This is the first time such a system has been used in this depth of water - the source of the leak is more 5,000 feet below the ocean's surface. BP's CEO Tony Hayward told the Houston Chronicle today that there could be some trial and error involved in deploying the well and that, “this will not work perfectly at all when we first do it.”
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