Having got fed up with official press releases, oleaginous presidential puffery, and melodramatic news items, I decided to do a little spadework to find out what the experts are saying about this leaking oil well. I’ve found out, and it isn’t pretty.
What I came across was an fantastically long and detailed comment, fairly bristling with informative links, at a website called The Oil Drum. In short, the story is that the entire steel sleeve lining the hole is compromised, which means that were the pipe to be capped, the oil, under tremendous pressure, would simply blow out sideways and find its way to the surface through interstices in the surrounding rock strata. There is simply no way to plug this thing. The entire reservoir, perhaps two billion barrels (that’s billion, not million, and barrels, not gallons), may bleed out into the Gulf. It will be another two months before relief wells have a chance, and meanwhile the entire structure, from the blowout preventer all the way down the hole, is falling apart.