Thursday, July 1, 2010


Yes, I know. It's been quite a while since my last article. Sometimes life has a way of filling your days and weeks, especially with two kids, a wife, an unpredictable work schedule and the final stages of a home addition. But enough about me.

As I've been watching the events in the gulf go on and on like some sort of continuous hybrid of a Three Stooges short and a Michael Bay action adventure movie. Unfortunately, this flick has too few heroes and way too many villains. But for the purposes of this blog, I am going to skip the political aspect of this nightmare and simply offer some solutions.

Keep in mind, I am not an engineer, but that's never stopped me from throwing ideas around until I found one that worked. As for the stopping of the leak, I submit the following ideas to anyone reading this who might be more credible in the field of structural engineering:

1. Jam a cone-shaped solid steel plug into the pipe and repeatedly drop a massive weight onto it until it stops the flow. The deep sea robots currently on the scene can guide the plug into position until time to drop it, and the weight can be guided similarly.

2. Construct a massive steel "can" to be placed upside-down over the leak. Pile solid steel ingots or massive boulders on top of the can until it sinks far enough into the sea floor to seal the oil accumulating inside. The "can" could even have an access valve near the top for collecting oil under controlled circumstances. A tall enough "can" pressed far into the sand with enough weight on top would have to eventually overcome the pressure of the oil flow.

3. Drill a new pipe as close to the leaking one as possible. Drill to half of the pipe's current depth. Lower into the new pipe the most massive, NON-nuclear explosive charge that will fit into it. Then, fill the pipe with sand and detonate the charge. I would have to assume the sea floor would cave in around the pipe and seal the flow of oil.


To expedite the restoration of the Gulf, simply turn the process into a contest. The President should hold a news conference where he announces a five million dollar prize (tax free) to the individual American who can gather the most oil from the gulf in a two week period. The only rules would be that their method must be deemed safe by the Coast Guard, and not interfere with other contestant's efforts. The "Oil Derby" can be repeated as often as necessary until the gulf returns to a life sustaining condition.
In addition, all oil gathered can be sold on the open market by those who gather it at whatever price they can command.

This plan has muti-fold benefits. One, free labor. Two, competition spawns innovation, so it stands to reason that rednecks across the land will be inventing and field testing new and exotic ways to separate oil from water. Three, as an armada of contestants descend upon the Gulf, they will need places to stay, and food to eat. This solves the problem of revenue lost in the Gulf's tourist industry since the disaster struck.
The "Derby" can be televised and even produced by the guys over at "The Discovery Channel". Mike Rowe can narrate, and even present the first winner with their comically large prize check.

Could any of my ideas work? Maybe, maybe not. But so far, they're better than anything I've seen so far.


Anonymous said...

YOu have some good ideas here...but, with Obama turning down help from everyone who could have helped...I think he would refuse you too. He has shown since day three when the Dutch offered their help and their oil skimmers, and he refused that, that he showed all of us Americans and the world too, that he doesn't wish for this to end. After all why waste a crisis. Remember they did say that no crisis should wasted.

JMK said...

Tons of help has been offered. The Dutch offered the use of their super-skimmers 3 days after the Deepwater Horizon blowout.

The Jones Act can be was during Katrina, so that didn't have to be a barrier.

Exxon-Mobil and Shell both noted that an even worse blowout in the Arabian Sea was handled far more effectively than this one.....but it cost 4X as much as BP's initial plan and since BP gave so generously to Obama, he wanted to give them every break he could.