Monthly Archives: May 2010

How to Plug a Leaking Oil Well in Deep Water

Drawing of an arrangement for taper insertion

Proposed device for taper insertion into an oil well riser

In the light of the current oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of the United States it would seem that not enough engineers thought about how the well might be plugged in the event of such a leak. I was disappointed to learn on TV news that initial attempts to stem the leak have been unsuccessful. The difficulty of working at a depth of a mile below the surface of the ocean is not to be underestimated. I am not familiar with all the technologies that are used, but I could not avoid thinking about the problem over the past few days.
Continue reading