Saturday, June 26, 2010

Emerging Methane Dragon: Super Vortex In The Gulf

The Well From Hell

By Christian A. DeHaemer

The Dwarves dug too greedily and too deep. You know what they awoke in the darkness of Khazad-dum... shadow and flame.

- Saruman, The Lord of the Rings

There is something primordial about BP's quest for oil in the Gulf of Mexico. It's an Icarus-like story of super-ambition; of reaching too far, delving too deep.

I don't know if you've stopped to contemplate what BP was trying to do...

The well itself started 5,000 feet below the surface. That's the depth of the Grand Canyon from the rim.

And then the company attempted to drill more than 30,000 feet below that — Mt. Everest would give 972 feet to spare.

Furthermore, the company sought oil in a dangerous area of the seabed.

It was unstable and many think BP sought it out because seismic data showed huge pools of methane gas — the very gas that blew the top off Deepwater Horizon and killed 11 people.

More than a year ago, geologists criticized Transocean for putting their exploratory rig directly over a massive underground reservoir of methane.

According to the New York Times , BP's internal "documents show that in March, after several weeks of problems on the rig, BP was struggling with a loss of 'well control.' And as far back as 11 months ago, it was concerned about the well casing and the blowout preventer.”

The problem is that this methane, located deep in the bowels of the earth, is under tremendous pressure...

Some speculate as much as 100,000 psi — far too much for current technology to contain. The shutoff vales and safety measures were built for only 1,000 psi.

It was an accident waiting to happen... And there are many that say it could get worse — much worse.

Geologists are pointing to other fissures and cracks that are appearing on the ocean floor around the damaged wellhead.

According to CNN:
The University of South Florida recently discovered a second oil plume in the northeastern Gulf. The first plume was found by Mississippi universities in early May.

And there have been other plumes discovered by submersibles...

Some geologists say that BP's arrogance has set off a series of events that may be irreversible. There are some that think that BP has drilled into an deep-core oil volcano that cannot be stopped, regardless of the horizontal drills the company claims will stop the oil plume in August.

Need the mudlogs

Geologist, Chris Landau, for instance, has called for a showing of the mudlogs. A mudlog is a schematic cross sectional drawing of the lithology (rock type) of the well that has been bored.

So far, no one has seen them... BP keeps them hidden.

Mr. Landau claims:

It is a dangerous game drilling into high pressure oil and gas zones because you risk having a blowout if your mud weight is not heavy enough. If you weight up your mud with barium sulfate to a very high level, you risk BLOWING OUT THE FORMATION.

What does that mean? It means you crack the rock deep underground; as the mudweight is now denser than the rock, it escapes into the rock in the pore spaces and the fractures. The well empties of mud. If you have not hit high pressure oil or gas at this stage, you are lucky.

But if you have, the oil and gas come flying up the well and you have a blowout, because you have no mud in the well to suppress the oil and gas. You shut down the well with the blowout preventer. If you do not have a blowout preventer, you are in trouble as we have all seen and you can only hope that the oil and gas pressure will naturally fall off with time, otherwise you have to try and put a new blowout preventer in place with oil and gas coming out as you work.

Obviously, the oil and gas pressure hasn't fallen off

In fact... it's increased.

The problem is that BP may not only have hit the mother of high-pressure wells, but there is also a vast amount of methane down there that could come exploding out like an underwater volcano.
Read full article @ Petroleum World

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One Hundred Years of Solitude