May
31
2010
BP Needed Golf Balls That Plugged
By Stephanie Wei under General

Kramer can hit a Titleist into a whale’s blow hole, but BP can’t get golf balls to plug the catastrophic Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

For the last few days, BP attempted to close off the oil leak, using balls as part of a “junk shot” that also included shredded tires and knotted rope, which were pumped into the well at a high pressure.

Via CNN:

BP press officer Sheila Williams told CNN that the balls had been used part of a “junk shot” including shredded tires and knotted rope that were pumped into the well at high pressure to plug the leak. Mud and cement was then injected into the well to keep the junk in place.

Williams revealed that this process was carried out “a number of times” in conjunction with the U.S. coast guard before the oil giant admitted that the experiment had failed.

Golf balls were selected as part of the ‘junk shot’ because they are small enough to plug gaps between the rope and tires and strong enough to withstand the pressure of the oil which is gushing out with significant force.

Engineers first used the ‘junk shot’ to quell the 1991 Kuwait oil fires but never at such depths. The fact that the Deepwater Horizon leak is 5,000 feet below the surface of the ocean is thought to be the reason the technique did not succeed. “I don’t think we’ll be using golf balls again,” commented Williams. US President Barack Obama said the failure of the earlier “top kill” plan was “heartbreaking”.

Who knew golf balls had the potential to be so resourceful? Let’s hope the oil giant has something else up its sleeve.