News / Middle East

Saudi Arabia May Have Answer to Gulf Of Mexico Oil Leak

Greg Flakus

As the oil continues to leak from the BP well in the Gulf of Mexico, hundreds of boats are working in the area around the spill trying to keep the noxious slick from reaching shore. Frustrated citizens in the Gulf region have been calling for more effective measures and one expert believes a better solution could be provided by the oil-rich nation of Saudi Arabia, which he says contained a similar oil leak in the Persian Gulf in 1993 using supertankers.

The United States should ask the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for a supertanker or two to clean up the oil in the Gulf of Mexico, according to Nick Pozzi, a former pipeline engineering and operations manager for Saudi Aramco. He says he helped that state-run company deal with a similar disaster in 1993.

Pozzi says an accident caused millions of liters of crude oil to spill into the Persian Gulf.  He was on the team that developed a plan to remove the crude using Saudi-owned supertankers.

"The supertankers in Arabia have the ability to suck or discharge, so they can pump or suck," he said. "What we could [what amounts of oil we could extract] we ran through a centrifuge to separate the oil from the water. We put the water back in the Gulf, because we wanted to get the oil out first, get it out of the water."

Pozzi says the operation cleaned up 85 percent of the total oil spilled.  His idea to use supertankers in the Gulf of Mexico has been endorsed by a number of prominent figures in the oil-and-gas industry, most notably John Hofmeister, the former president of Shell Oil, who has urged the Obama administration to pursue it.

BP officials cite logistical problems with the proposal since it would be difficult to maneuver such a large ship into the area near the leaking deepwater well site, but Pozzi says there are ways of working around that. The other problem is the Jones Act, a part of U.S. maritime law that prevents foreign vessels from working in U.S. waters, but the president has the power to waive that law in the case of an emergency.

Another problem is that the Saudi operation in 1993 involved a spill that was limited once the source of the leak had been plugged, whereas the BP well is leaking vast quantities of oil every day and the best hope of stopping it could be months away, in the form of relief wells that are to be drilled nearby.

Nick Pozzi is skeptical about the relief well plan, because he says the flow of oil is so strong.

He says the pressure of the outflow at the well head is so great that BP engineers have not been able to overcome it.  Pozzi says he and other experts have examined video from the site to calculate the pressure.

Among the more exotic proposals to stop the leak is the use of explosives, including nuclear bombs. The Russians reportedly have used small nuclear devices to cap runaway wells at least four times. But Nick Pozzi says he does not believe such a measure would work at the BP site because the pressure of the outflow would prevent the proper placement of the explosives in the opening.

Nick Pozzi has launched a private company called WOW Energy Solutions and is working with people along the Gulf coast in Alabama to prevent oil slick damage to their beaches and fisheries.  He says if either the US government or BP calls him, he is ready to do what he can to help them contain the catastrophic oil spill.

You May Like

Hong Kong Democracy Calls Spread to Macau

Macau and Hong Kong are China’s two 'special administrative regions' which gives them a measure of autonomy More

After Nearly 2 Years, Pistorius Remains Elusive

Reporter Anita Powell reflects on her experience covering the Olympic athlete's murder trial More

Kenyan Coastal Town Struggles With Deadly June Attacks

Three months after al-Shabab militants allegedly attacked their town, some Mpeketoni residents are still bitter, question who was really behind the assaults More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africai
X
Luis Ramirez
September 15, 2014 11:01 PM
President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africa

President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid