TV series shows hazards of underwater oil work

Tue May 11, 2010 5:23pm EDT
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Deep sea divers who pull apart oil wells are getting the documentary TV treatment, and their hazardous job brings home a lesson now playing out in the Gulf of Mexico -- expect the unexpected.

National Geographic Channel next week will air "Delta Divers," which by chance comes as experts in the Gulf of Mexico try to plug a ruptured underwater well threatening massive damage along the U.S. coast.

The creators of the series told Reuters on Tuesday the divers they profile work at much shallower depths than the spewing well, which is about a mile underwater.

But they said lessons from the series apply to the ongoing containment efforts in the Gulf of Mexico, where BP over the weekend tried and failed to cover the oil well with a huge metal box.

"All the best laid plans go awry when you're out in the water," said Scott B, who produced, wrote and directed "Delta Divers," which debuts on May 19. He said his last name is a holdover from his days as a punk filmmaker.

"Everything you do, when you're under an immense amount of water, is very tricky. It's like another world," he said.

The "Delta Divers" work for subcontractors to oil companies, and generally are hired for routine work rather than emergencies.

In one storyline, a team of divers works 125 miles out to sea to plug an aging oil well 300 feet below. They must snake an explosive charge into the well to cut its pipes and later plug them with concrete.   Continued...