Federal On-Scene Coordinator Rear Admiral Mary Landry, acting on the validation of government scientists and in consultation with the National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen, has granted approval for BP to begin proceeding with the attempt to cap the Deepwater Horizon MC252 well using the top kill technique.This expedited step provides the final authorization necessary to begin the procedure.
Earlier, the Obama Administration outlined the “round-the-clock” scientific support from the Department of Energy and National Labs to help inform strategies to stop the BP oil spill.
The DOE laboratories are providing on-the-ground technical, engineering and scientific support at BP’s Houston Headquarters. At any given time, those labs have at least 6-8 experts on the ground supporting the response. To date, more than 150 personnel from the National Laboratories have directly supported these response efforts.
Experts from the National Laboratories provided diagnostics of the damaged blowout prevention equipment on the ocean floor through radiography (analysis, design and fabrication efforts) and with innovative, nonintrusive approaches for measuring pressure at various points in the system. The Department has provided BP with high-quality 2D radiography that BP personnel are saying breaks all records for deep water radiography—breaking the previous record by more than 4,000 feet.
The Laboratories have also provided BP with structural analysis of the failed riser. This allows various drill pipe, casing and riser scenarios to be evaluated. They also predicted the structural integrity of the riser kink under different flow scenarios and used sophisticated analysis of computer-estimated fluid flow inside the nonfunctioning apparatus.
The Department of Energy is supporting the National Infrastructure Simulation and Analysis Center (NISAC), which has been modeling the economic costs and societal impact of the oil spill on energy and other industries in the Gulf and along the coast to support the response efforts of the National Incident Commander and the Unified Area Command. NISAC is a modeling, simulation, and analysis center within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that leverages national expertise to address infrastructure protection.
Using the Interagency Modeling and Atmospheric Assessment Center (IMAAC), the Department’s scientists provided smoke plume predictions for the original fire on the platform and surface-oil test burns.