Today, the AP asks: "What happens if the crane attached to the blowout preventer accidentally drops the 50-foot, 300-ton device onto the wellhead?"
Former Shell Oil/Development engineer Rice University engineering professor George Hirasaki, who was involved in the oil containment effort in the Bay Marchand field off Louisiana after a rig burned in the early 1970s, responds:
"It would crush everything... It would be hard to place another blowout preventer on top of it... if you dropped it, everything could be opened up."
The AP adds, "Allen said there is no 'significant risk' of more oil leaking into the environment. But he said that after the cap and blowout preventer are removed, 'The goal there will be to secure the annulus as quick as we can.' The annulus is an area between the inner piping and the outer casing."