Two or three days ago, I had an idea what to do to stop the flow of oil from the Deepwater Horizon incident in the Gulf.
Just entered it into the public suggestion form that you can reach via deepwaterhorizonresponse.com: Suggestions. And as sort of a “yes I was (virtually) there” souvenir, here is the idea:
This idea is a modified “top kill” variant to cap the flow of oil from the well: instead of pumping drilling mud etc. from the top down into the well, the idea is to use a long metal tube for that.
The tube, perhaps half the diameter of the well bore, would be inserted from the top into the well. The tube should be as long as technically feasible, even up to several hundred meters if possible. If necessary it should consist of multiple pieces that are connected to each other before insertion.
The advantage of this technique, if feasible, would be that it is more like what will be done via the relief well drilling (intercepting the well bore at some depth). In contrast to the “top kill” method, the drilling mud would hopefully accumulate in the well bore more easily, as it can be inserted without pushing against the flow of a gushing well. Means the chances that this works could be better than with a top kill. The advantage over relief well drilling is, it can be deployed immediately, not needing several month of preparation.
Note that, if this method successfully seals the well, it should also successfully have sealed the insertion tube, as that tube will be full of cement also. The tube can be left in the wellbore therefore.
And here is the “proof” that I was there: 😀