BP’s first effort to contain the oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico failed this weekend. They are now looking at a plan B and plan C, and are so “befuddled” may even be open to attempting “Plan 9 from Outer Space.” Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert untangles the confusing oil company spin Monday and determined “no one knows what the fuck they’re doing.”
A four-story, 100-ton box was lowered Friday to the seabed to try to capture most of the oil and allow it to be funneled up to a ship on the surface, but it was rendered useless on Sunday when ice crystals formed in its domed roof.
BP found a way to spin this unsuccessful attempt as something other than a failure. “I wouldn’t say it’s failed yet. What I would say is what we attempted to do last night didn’t work,” Doug Suttles, BP’s Chief Operating Officer said Saturday.
“Okay. It hasn’t failed. It has not failed. Just like I wouldn’t say oil has spilled. It just didn’t stay in the rig,” joked Colbert Monday.
The oil company has articulated plans B and C for dealing with the problem.
BP experts believe a smaller “top hat” containment box would not suffer the same problem as the first containment dome because it would not hold so much freezing cold seawater, and they are preparing to drop it into the inky depths to carry out a similar fix to what is unfolding as one the worst oil spills in US history.
In tandem with the “top hat,” BP is also preparing for a bizarre operation to inject golf balls, tires and other “junk” into the main leak, 1,500 meters (5,000 feet) down on the seabed, and then jam it up.
“We actually pump that material in and plug up the blowout preventer and follow that with heavy fluids followed by cement,” explained Suttles.
The “junk shot” could be risky as experts have warned that tinkering with the blowout preventer — a huge 450-ton valve system that should have shut off the oil — could see crude shoot out unchecked at 12 times the current rate.
“Oh. So no one knows what the f*ck they’re doing. It’s play time in the world of imagination,” remarked Colbert.
But the crazy ideas don’t stop there. One Russian solution is to use a nuclear warhead to stop the leak. True/Slant‘s Julia Ioffe flagged the concept presented in Komsomoloskaya Pravda. According to Ioffe:
[I]n Soviet times such leaks were plugged with controlled nuclear blasts underground. The idea is simple, KP writes: “the underground explosion moves the rock, presses on it, and, in essence, squeezes the well’s channel.”
Colbert introduced the “Oil Containment Solution Randomizer” Monday, an invention that is sure to provide countless ridiculous ideas for staunching the oil flow.
Colbert’s device utilizes three wheels. Each containing a partial solution. The outer wheel describes choices for how the plug is prepared. The middle wheel describes what the plug is made of and the inner wheel denotes how it’s delivered to the spewing wellhead on the sea floor.
His first spin solved the problem by delivering “breaded juggalos” by way of “trained dolphins.” The next spin suggested “ultraconcentrated packing peanuts” delivered by “monkey submarine.” Colbert’s final spin advised “bundled used futons” dispatched by the “hot chick from Mythbusters.”
This video is from Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report, broadcast May 11, 2010.
(with wire reports)