The company lowered a second, smaller oil containment box into the sea near the blown-out well. But it won't be placed over the spewing well right away. BP spokesman Bill Salvin said engineers want to make sure everything is configured correctly and avoid the same buildup of ice crystals that stymied their first attempt.
Engineers hope the gas will come in less contact with seawater. BP also planned to inject methanol into the new system to help prevent buildup of methane ice, and it said crews might be able to start siphoning the leaking oil up to a tanker by the middle of the week.
At best, however, it's only a partial solution. Over the next two weeks, BP said it will pump golf balls, rope knots and shreds of tires into a partially closed valve on the sea floor, to see if it they can jam it up and stop the flow of oil that way.
All right, what the fuck? This sounds like a joke. This is Plan B? What the hell is Plan C? BP says this "Junk Shot" method has worked before, and this may sound a little familiar at this point, "in shallower depths." What's more, videos of the oil source have not been released, making an independent evaluation of just how much is coming out rather difficult. BP's estimate of 5,000 barrels a day might be a vast understatement. Here's part of an NPR conversation with science correspondent Richard Harris:
NEARY: Through all of this, BP's been saying they don't even really know how much oil's coming out of the well.
HARRIS: That's true. It's an estimate based on how much is on the surface. We keep talking about 5,000 barrels a day, but that's a pretty wild guess, actually. And oceanographer Ian McDonald, at Florida State University, says it could be actually five times as much as that. He's also frustrated because neither the Coast Guard or BP has released videos of the underwater gusher. And he says if he could actually see what those videos look like, there are methods for estimating oil coming out of it.
But again, the videos are not forthcoming. So we know less than we might, actually, about how much oil is spilling into the Gulf.
Meanwhile, BP and government cleanup crews continue to use a toxic dispersant, despite a better alternative. God damned right this thing better influence the energy bill, because it's shaping up to be one of the worst environmental disasters we've ever managed to pull off.