There’s a relatively simple way to prevent, with near certainty, disasters like the Gulf Oil Spill from ever happening again. The solution doesn’t put any moratoriums on drilling and should have no effect on the price of oil.
Today’s New York Times has an article on the 2 relief wells being dug which engineers say is “all but certain to succeed” in stopping the flow of oil from the blown Deepwater Horizon rig.
While the drilling process involves locating the original well’s bottom casing — a 7-inch-diameter steel pipe roughly 18,000 feet below sea level— it is not a typical needle-in-a-haystack problem. Because the existing well was constantly surveyed while it was being drilled, engineers know with a high degree of certainty where in the haystack the needle is, according to the article.
“Essentially, they have every inch of the (original) well measured,” said John Hughett, a petroleum engineer in Dallas who is not involved in the effort.
That certainty, plus the constant surveying that is being done on the relief wells, should make it relatively easy for the engineers to locate the existing well using three-dimensional display software and other tools, Mr. Hughett and others said.
So, the solution for preventing future disasters is to require every well to have 2 relief wells dug so that they are ready to go should something go wrong with the main working well. The government must require that every well currently operating have relief wells dug (no grandfathering allowed), and every new well must have relief wells dug.
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