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May 11, 2010 -BPs attempt to contain the oil spill due to the Deepwater Horizon disaster has prima facie failed its mission. It is suggested that methane in an ice crystal form has prevented the containment dome from succeeding in its mission of containing the oil spewing from the gusher. Experts from the oil industry said that icy hydrates are always a problem at these ocean depths and this was a known factor before the operation began. The operation, probably never attempted on an open gusher this big and this deep, was anyway challenging to begin with. With question marks over the success of this containment dome, the world is waiting to see what would be the next steps that BP takes in containing the looming environmental disaster. It has been suggested by some to have some kind of local heating in the dome to melt the hydrates, but it is really challenging to come up with such and arrangement in so short a time and which will operate at such a depth.
Meanwhile oil droplets have been spotted near the Alabama coastline near Dauphin island according to some media reports. Some beachgoers have spotted several pea sized balls of a viscous sludge, most likely oil from the open oil well. Authorities have already visited the area but no official statement has been issued upto now, although some news reports quoted Coast Guard officials as saying that they had collected about half a dozen “tar balls” from the beach.
The world is watching how BP handles this crisis. For sure, after this event, deepwater oil drilling will never be the same again.