How Much of Leaking Oil Can Be Siphoned Off?
(Day 27 since explosion of Deepwater Horizon Well on April 20)
BP announced Sunday that the riser insertion tube has been successfully installed, oil and gas are being siphoned from the well to tankers on the surface, and the rate of flow to the surface is slowly being increased. The oil leak has therefore been slowed, but by how much? What percentage of the oil leak can ultimately be intercepted and siphoned? These questions should be answered in the next few days.
The riser insertion tube is only a temporary solution. The next permanent solution to be attempted is probably a "mud kill" where drilling mud will be inserted into the well to attempt to plug the leak. Another possible solution is an attempt to replace the blowout preventer. Next there is the the possibility BP will attempt a "junk shot" or "bridging agent" which consists of forcing materials, junk, into the blowout preventer to clog up the blowout preventer and therefore the leaking well. Finally, and probably the ultimate permanent solution, is the one relief well that is now in its 14th day of drilling and a second relief well that reportedly began drilling on Sunday. However, the relief wells are a few to several weeks away from reaching the Deepwater Horizon well.
Video of how the riser insertion tube works:
Video: BP Says Tube Inserted Into Leak Site