Just when you thought this Bad News Bears nightmare was over, BP’s diamond studded saw became stuck while it was cutting through the riser today during the latest attempt to halt the flow of oil in the Gulf. I’m waiting for them to remind us it has never been tried at this depth, but how could that completely flummox them while cutting a riser?
Apparently the answer to that question is that it didn’t. The real problem today was that the blade had become dulled on the various contents of the pipe, most probably the same junk BP has been shooting into it for a week. Good Lord!
A technician involved in the effort said that the wire saw had cut less than halfway through the riser when it stopped being effective. The technician, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment on the work, said that it appeared that there was other material in the riser — including, perhaps, some of the objects pumped into the well during the failed “top kill” procedure last week — that was dulling the saw.
“It was cutting at a rate far less than it should have,” he said.
The technician said that rather than trying again with the saw, the plan now was to use a large shear to cut the riser. The shear, which is about 20 feet long and nearly 10 feet high, was used to make an earlier cut in the riser about 50 feet from the wellhead.