09 May 2010 03:55 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS news)--BP aborted its first attempt to use a huge vault to contain oil gushing from the sunken rig in the Gulf of Mexico when the formation of crystalised gas hydrates caused problems, a company executive said on Saturday.
“We did anticipate hydrates being a problem but not this significantly,’ BP operating officer Doug Suttles said during a press conference.
The 40-foot-tall (12-metre) steel and concrete container was lowered on Friday to the well some 5,000 feet under water, but the formation of crystalised gas hydrates made the nearly 100-ton container box buoyant and plugged the top where the oil would have been siphoned out, Suttles said.
As a result, the container was moved from the well, he said.
Officials planned to spend the next 48 hours evaluating the problem, he said.
While the first attempt to contain the spill “didn’t work,” Suttles said, “I wouldn’t say it’s failed yet.”
Officials were considering a range of options, including using methanol or heated water to prevent the icy crystals from forming, according to news reports.
The 20 April explosion that sank the Deepwater Horizon offshore rig may have been caused by a bubble of methane gas that shot up from the well, according to news accounts.
The BP-operated rig had spewed more than 5,000 bbl/day of oil since the explosion that killed 11 workers.To discuss issues facing the chemical industry go to ICIS connect
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