Friday, June 18, 2010

Is the BP Gusher Unstoppable?

By Julia Whitty
Mother Jones
Wed Jun. 16, 2010 2:26 PM PDT

Sharon Astyk at ScienceBlogs points the way to a seriously scary comment thread at The Oil Drum HERE..., a sounding board for, among others, many petroleum geologists and oil professionals. The comment in question is from a seemingly very knowledgable "dougr." Some of it follows verbatim below. I've highlighted the parts that frightened me the most and left me wondering: Is this why Obama's praying?

You can read the comment in its entirety HERE..., complete with useful links, as well as all the comments (some of which dissent from dougr's claims) made in response. Sharon notes, to the inevitable question of why pass along an anonymous comment: "This one passes my smell test, which is usually pretty good - that doesn't mean I claim commenter Doug R is right - it means I think his information is interesting enough to be worth exposing to a wider audience for clarification or correction." As the Oil Drum staff explains to it's own readers regarding this post: "Were the US government and BP more forthcoming with information and details, the situation would not be giving rise to so much speculation about what is actually going on in the Gulf. This should be run more like Mission Control at NASA than an exclusive country club function--it is a public matter--transparency, now!"

Amen. Meanwhile, judge for yourself:

"All the actions and few tid bits of information all lead to one inescapable conclusion. The well pipes below the sea floor are broken and leaking. Now you have some real data of how BP's actions are evidence of that, as well as some murky statement from 'BP officials' confirming the same."

"To those of us outside the real inside loop, yet still fairly knowledgeable, [the failure of Top Kill] was a major confirmation of what many feared. That the system below the sea floor has serious failures of varying magnitude in the complicated chain, and it is breaking down and it will continue to."

"What does this mean?"

"It means they will never cap the gusher after the wellhead. They cannot...the more they try and restrict the oil gushing out the bop?...the more it will transfer to the leaks below. Just like a leaky garden hose with a nozzle on it. When you open up the nozzle? doesn't leak so bad, you close the nozzle? leaks real bad, same dynamics. It is why they sawed the riser off...or tried to anyway...but they clipped it off, to relieve pressure on the leaks 'down hole'. I'm sure there was a bit of panic time after they crimp/pinched off the large riser pipe and the Diamond wire saw got stuck and failed...because that crimp diverted pressure and flow to the rupture down below." MORE...