Dollar, I was thinking the same thing. Till yesterday. But now they are saying its spewing 5X more than believed at first... Its hard for me to believe, that there weren't some kind of save guards built in, to enable them to cut the oil flow off. In a blowout like this one... They will never convince me, they didn't know the possibility of something like this happening... And now, there was no plan in place when it happened. As bad as the Valdez BS was... Right now, it looks like this could turn out to be a "lot" worse... Sure glad ole Forest Gump ain't still operating his shrimp boat out of Louisianna... This shit is getting real serious...
I can't read all the 1800 posts written in the last 24 hours, but a quick sampling suggests many folks don't understand blow-out preventers - BOPs. These were invented in the 1920s, and are the "save guards built in, to enable them to cut the oil flow off" which you ask about.
Fundamentally these are - or used to be, unless the technology has moved on - monstrous hydraulic rams that close over the well head. Some shear clean through the tubulars. What I don't know, not being a driller - but someone smarter than me out there has the answer - is whether (1) they can only be closed, manually, from the rig, or whether they have an automatic capability, and (b) whether the required hydraulic pressure is supplied from the rig. It may be that any catastrophic severance of the various umbilicals between the rig and the sea-floor would make the BOPs inoperable. Anyone know?
Exxom Valdez 11 million gallons. The stock price recovered in 3 months. The company is insured. BTW, estimate is for 4 million gallons so how could it be worse than Exxon Valdez? Maybe because we have 24 hour news. Who is to say that some greenie didn't place a little package on the rig and then blow it up. They ram boats etc.! Now with the Va. gov. wanting to drill and actually getting permission, this would have been a great way of destroying that option for our country. It would be a great way for Obama to say yes to drilling and then keeping his green supporters too. Remember he is from Chicago.