Thursday, July 15, 2010

BP containtment cap has stopped oil leak!

British Petroleum (BP) has capped the Deep Horizon oil well leak some 5,000 feet below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico and now there is no new oil flowing into the gulf. Oil had been flowing from the hole since April, 20th, 2010.

The US Government was at the complete mercy of BP's technology and promised word that they could cap & clean-up any disasterous situaton that occurred when they originally granted the oil giant the right to drill in such a vital resource.

Logic dictates that the government had no buiness granting BP a license to drill in the first place if the government had no tools, technology or a "Plan B" if a disaster of such "Biblical" proportions occurred.

Blame for this event starts at the US Bureau of Mines and Geology all the way down to the company that placed the drill into the ground. To point the blame completely at BP is completely inaccurate a "scapegoat" tactic. Everybody as to pay for this mess starting with the US government. To point a finger at just BP is to beleive politician press releases

From AP:

Officials have been testing a cap to temporarily halt the leak. It was put in place Monday with its valves left open. Government officials were afraid the build up of pressure from closing the valves could cause additional leaks. After further analysis BP engineers were given the okay to close the valves. Wednesday night a leak was detected before testing of the new cap could begin. As of Thursday morning, the minor leak was repaired. As of Thursday afternoon, the gushing major leak has been plugged.



Elli said...

Thumbs up! This summer season is lost, but let's hope from now on it will get just better, I would like to book holiday in Florida once again.
Btw. any idea what happened to Kevin Costner's mysterious cleaning machines?

Tony Austin said...

From Nation & World: "...The giant oil skimmer, "A Whale," is getting another chance to prove its value in the Gulf. But the leader of the federal response, Thad Allen, doubts its effectiveness. He said Thursday it seems more useful in a huge pool of oil than in thousands of smaller slicks. ...."

i.e. oil disperse chemicals may not have been a good idea.

Anonymous said...

BP rushed this project through and ignored recommendations from at least one of the engineers working on it. Unfortunately, this is not uncommon in the oil and gas industry. I worked for engineering firms in oil & gas for most of my adult life, and the saying went "There's always time to do it right the second time around." The province I worked in had developed very strict regulations over time, but only because there had been a few serious blowouts.

Tony Austin said...

I am sure BP cut corners and devastating results prove it but why is the United States granting permits if we can't ensure the work is being done to top notch standards and that we can step in and address any disaster should they happen?

Anonymous said...

Not sure why we're talking about this, and not sure I know where to start, so I'll stick with one-liners:

- The "cap" is not going to work because this is a deep-sea high-pressure reservoir under a soft sea bed: the pressure, now that the methane crystals and other stuff has been set in motion, will build and it's only a matter of time before it gushes out the side of the unfinished hole. The solution, instead, is to connect the relief well, which is very close, and will allow the oil and the pressure to flow through a hole that's finished with concrete and steel and controlled with an armada of valves and sensors (which BP was in the process of installing - late in my view - when the blow-out occurred).

- One reason BP is drilling relatively small reservoirs in the deep sea is that they have not been allowed to drill in the easy formations on land. There's a huge amount of untapped oil in the U.S., not just in shallow water with firm seabeds, but also on land. Oil reserves have increased dramatically in the U.S. because of improved technology in precision drilling, formation analysis and pressure pumping.

- If the U.S. stops offshore drilling, it won't stop it, it will merely outsource it. Cuba is preparing to drill in the Gulf - and Brazil has grabbed most of the offshore equipment that was idled by the ban in the U.S. Meanwhile, the BP problem notwithstanding, the standards of work by the U.S. operators is pretty clean and neat - in contrast to the environmental messes of, for example, a Nigerian oil field, where it's not uncommon for workers to worry about warlord bullets while walking ankle-deep in the oil that's spilling into the swamps and estuaries. In other words, if you care about the environment, outsourcing is a stupid way to attack the problem.

- Finally, if you think the government - especially one run by Mr. Competence himself - is going to solve anything, you really have to be dillusional.

Tony Austin said...

First off, I have been unimpressed with the past 4 Presidents; Bush junior was the worst, Obama is way better but ineffectual.

I also mentioned in my post that this failure began at the approval process all the way down to hole in the ground.

It is my position that all drilling should take place on land only, that we should go nuclear in powering our cities rather than using both coal and oil and we should invest heavily in creating the world's first fusion reactors. (The material it would take to power San Francisco would be so minute, it could fit in the back of a pick-up truck and the cost less practically non-existent.)

According to Popular Mechanics, it would take a $840-billion investment to switch over to a hydrogen-based economy rather than oil. The solution: Nuclear power. (How much have we spent on the Bush wars? We could have paid for it twice by now.)

Popular Mechanics article:

As for the well, i suspect the they will will have to pump out tons and tons of oil via the relief wells to reduce the pressure. I suppose irony will "bless us" with two or three oil rigs surrounding the deep horizon hole receiving oil to relive the pressure before capping.

Anonymous said...

Tony, I'm expecting to be in your heat in the 200 free next weekend, but I dunno about your last post. Our leaders spent about $800 billion to "stimulate" the economy. If your favorite president wanted to solve the energy problem, and if your solution really worked, and if the price tag really would be $800 billion, then why didn't he launch such a program rather than incur the mountain of debt in a way that seems to have had little positive effect on unemployment?

I agree with you on G.W. Bush. The conclusion, however, isn't that we should be happy with the current Genius in the White House, but that our optimism about government may be misplaced - that, no matter who runs it, government may be the problem.

Anonymous said...

By the way, I said the cap was a dumb idea before the relief wells were ready to relieve the pressure. Right on schedule, here's the latest news:

Bottom line: BP isn't going to have money for its sports sponsorships ...

Tony Austin said...

My favorite President is long dead - I don't have a favorite president that is still alive. He has not existed since I was a toddler.

That 800-billion stimulus was "free money" and bailout money rather than meaningful project money like a Hoover Dam or national highway system. that is observable.

Why did he not launch such a plan? he probably could not get it through because, as you know, politicians are paid to vote they way they do and they wouldn't allow it; from oil companies to environmental interests, I think we live in a "banana republic" now.

The $800-billion is Popular Mechanics estimates.

Also, I am the bottom third in all the events I am swimming at regionals ... Enjoy your easy win over my sans techsuit body! ;-)

Tony Austin said...

Do you think they will have to pump oil out of the relief wells for a long while before it can be capped?


Anonymous said...

In theory, the relief drilling will intercept the current hole, at a point that is many thousands of feet below the sea bed. The technical challenge is pretty large: they have to hit a one-meter target that's more than 14,000 feet below the surface. Plus, the reservoir has built up a lot of pressure, it appears. One of the risks is that, when the relief well's drill bit punches through the wall of the existing hole, the pressure will blow up the relief well - exposing the drilling string (which includes the drill bit as well as a very long string of sensors and control devices) to the pressure. What they won't want to have is a "gusher" that blows out the top of the column, destroying a second platform. Hence, the drillers are taking a lot of care to finish the relief hole. My guess is that they are finishing it with concrete lining, and inserting a lot of plumbing, including very exotic control valves, very deep down the hole.

If this relief well can be connected successfully, the drillers will then try to "flow" the oil out the relief hole. They will simply "produce" the well - that is, they will capture the oil and allow it to flow (remember, they don't have to pump it because it's already under pressure - in fact, that's the whole problem here) into a pipeline that takes it onshore ...

Your tech suit problem has my sympathies, but I think that the fact that I'm not in great shape will more than offset your disadvantgage ...