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New solutions to stop oil spill in Gulf

Now that British Petroleum (BP) has failed in its latest attempt to stop oil spewing from its busted oil well in the Gulf of Mexico, it is time to consider other options.

Obviously BP wasn't prepared for the disaster. And considering how the British go about solving problems, one should not have expected success. We once owned an MG which always had something wrong with it, so it spent more time in the shop than on the road. One of the chronic problems was it leaked air into the cabin. The British mechanic explained how his country views such a problem. "Rather than fix the problem, you could wear an extra sweater."

BP has been throwing sweaters at the oil spill.

Generally when there is an emergency the emergency management team usually brainstorms a whole bunch of options, all of which are crazy and will case more damage than the problem at hand. After considering and throwing away all the bad ideas, the emergency management team then begins to actually look at realistic solutions that might work.

We assembled our petroleum exerts from the General Delivery University, all of whom have extensive experience buying gasoline, and they came up with the following possible solutions to the oil spill:

BLOW UP THE WELL:  The first solution to any problem in the United States always involves the use of high explosives. Blowing up the blown out well was the unanimous first choice of the GDU experts, who only disagreed about what kind of explosives to use. One faction was entrenched in the nuclear option, while the remainder of the group suggested drilling 1000 foot deep holes around the bleeding well and using bunker buster bombs to shatter the top layer of the ocean floor and plug the well. Of course, the experts noted that this could backfire and the entire pool of oil and gas lying beneath the Gulf could explode to the surface.

A BIGGER STRAW: GDU's team of experts were actually impressed with BP's mile long straw solution, but they felt the straw was too small. They proposed a four foot diameter concrete pipe system, sort of like a storm drain, inserted over the leaking well, funneling the oil and gas to the surface, where it could be captured or burnt off in the biggest flare in history. Concrete storm drain pipe is readily available in the US, but no one knew whether or not the pipe would withstand the pressures of a mile of water. Alternative materials suggested for the giant straw  system included 4 foot diameter steel pipe, and a mile long tube of plastic garbage bag material.

DO NOTHING: All environmental impact statements require folks to consider the "no action" alternative, and the GDU team looked at this. Considering the ineffectiveness of BP's response, the GDU team concluded that the "no action" alternative was in fact being tried in the guise of "no effective action". The result would be 100 million barrels of oil (they were sure BP has some idea of how much oil is down that hole) destroying the Gulf of Mexico and all the economies along its coast line, which would bankrupt BP and everyone associated with the catastrophe and result in GOP control of the Congress in November, and a new President in 2012. The only disagreement was over what consequence was the best in the long run.