The Unique Oil Spill Containment Dome Used for BP Oil Spill

As an oil spill containment measure, there has been devised an excellent but rarely used method to contain the oil spill that occurred in the Gulf of Mexico in April this year. Known as the Oil Spill Containment Dome, the equipment has been launched to clean up the oil spill mess caused in one of the BP oil rigs, which has already led to a huge casualty happening to the marine eco-system.

It is said that the dome as an oil spill containment measure can help to contain around 85% of the oil leaking from the oil rig and thereby staunch the casualty caused to the marine eco-system. When it comes to the dome containment, it has to be noted that this is the very first time in the history of shipping and rigging operations that a dome containment facility is launched so deep into the oceanic water. Since the incident that happened in one of the many BP oil rigs occurred very deep into the sea, in order to prevent further leaking of the oil, something different had to be tried. By using the oil spill containment dome 5000 metres deep into the seabed, there is a high possibility that the precious loss not just to British Petroleum oil but also to the marine eco-system can be curtailed.

Understanding Oil Spill Containment Dome

The dome as an oil spill containment equipment is a steel structure weighing around 98-tons and measuring around 40 feet in lengthwise, 24 feet width wise and 14 feet depth wise. Additionally, it also has flaps in its base so as to prevent it from sinking deep into the bed of the sea while it carries out the oil spill containment procedure.

The dome is built in such a way that while it helps to recover the copiously and continuously spilling oil from one of the many BP oil rigs it also provides for sea water and methanol to be put in the leaking rig so as to prevent the formation of crystallization or hydrates as they are called. These hydrates have the potential to cause more damage than the actual spilling of the British Petroleum oil in the oceanic water, which is why there is a need for a counter-active mechanism to prevent them from being formed and harming the eco-system further. The oil spill containment dome acts as a counter-active mechanism, thereby fulfilling a twosome responsibility of recovering and containing the oil spill while at the same preventing other repercussions to the oceanic area and eco-system.

The oil thus recovered and contained with the help of the oil spill containment is then transferred to a drillship and further treated so as to separate the water and gases (that lead to the formation of hydrates) from the oil before finally taken to a naval vessel set aside specifically for the purpose of storing the recovered oil from the BP oil rigs.

Risks

However, it also needs to be mentioned that since this is the first time that such an instrument has been deployed as an oil spill containment measure in the deeper parts of the high sea, there is every possibility of certain things not going as per theorised plan. Hence, in order to avoid any such defection from the original way the dome is supposed to work and function as an oil spill containment measure every small detail has been checked and re-checked countless times.

In terms of engineering science, the planning behind the dome to work as an oil spill containment measure is one of the best that can be devised about. And since the oil spill in one of the most important BP oil rigs was something that called for high level servicing, it became imperative to come up with a solution that could provide an immediate respite. With the help of the oil spill containment dome, the process of stopping the British Petroleum oil can be achieved faster, thereby slowly halting the degeneration of the marine eco-system because of the leak in one of the many important BP oil rigs.

You may also read Effect of marine pollution.

References

Livescience
Reuters
NationalGeographic

Image Credit

Csmonitor

Latimes

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