Friday AM May 7th, 2010

Engineers have been working around the clock to come up with solutions to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Solutions range from the concrete-and-steel dome to capture the oil to chemical dispersants to burning surface oil and using booms and skimmers. Civil and environmental engineering professor Satish Nagarajaiah with Rice University says it's been interesting to see all this brain power work on a solution.


"You know, it's a challenging technical problem, but, you know, the industry's mature, and you know, they use state-of-the-art techniques, so we know the best attempts are being made to resolve this unfortunate accident.  My area's offshore structures and it's interesting to see this evolve and how the industry's responding to this whole event, you know.  BP's really trying hard to plug this well, and let's hope for the best." 

Even before the leak has been plugged, there are investigations underway to determine why the spill occurred. That will intensify.


"All the data they collected, hopefully some of that has been transmitted to onshore, you know, recording stations at Transocean and hopefully they have some of those occurred. So, it's going to be difficult to reconstruct this whole event, but I think there will be evidence in the riser which has collapsed and the BOP, which has also partially failed. The operators tried to trigger the BOP and that led to violent vibrations."

The bop is the blowout preventer. Nagarjaiah studies semisubmersible drilling and production platforms and deepwater drilling and production risers.

Bio photo of Ed Mayberry

Ed Mayberry

Local Anchor, All Things Considered

Ed Mayberry has worked in radio since 1971, with many of those years spent on the rock 'n' roll disc jockey side of the business...