View Full Version : Any thoughts on the latest oil spill effort?

jack grebe
05-06-2010, 09:53 AM
They are trying to funnel it up into ships

doesn't seem like a long term fix.

John of Phoenix
05-06-2010, 09:58 AM
doesn't seem like a long term fix.
It's not intended to be long term. Just something to catch the gunk while they work on a means to cap the pipe.

05-06-2010, 09:59 AM
They've gotta lower that concrete cover 5,000 feet. Good luck.

05-06-2010, 10:03 AM
It's not, my understanding was that the cap was in transit and the ship used to process the crude wasn't up to the capacity that the well is leaking and a seperate rig is beginning to drill down and intercept the leaking well 12,000 below the sea bed which will take about a month. Hopefully the leak doesn't go that long but there was a huge rig lead years back then went for 9months.

05-06-2010, 10:06 AM
There's a long article about it in my paper today - and it looks absolutely heartbreaking. A catastrophe. Those must be resilient people to have picked themselves up after Katrina - and now this. It doesn't bear thinking about.

Whatever people may think of Greg Palast, he is a tough journalist. Here's his take on BP:


I have long avoided using BP stations since long before this happened - it's a company I detest. Makes no difference, of course, but it's my own small protest.

05-06-2010, 10:11 AM
Of course, the other part of the story has to do with the inadequacy of regular blowout preventers from actually preventing thse kinds of accidents. Supposedly, the right equipment would have been some sort of 'accoustic' device.... but the oil drillers got a waiver on the requirement to use these because they are expensive.

Not as expensive, of course, as the cleanup is going to be.

It's a classic case of a situation where there's a low probability of failure... but the consequences of any failure are massive. No wonder that the conservative politicians in the oil companies' pockets are backing off the 'drill, baby, drill' mantra right now.

It's not clear that acoustic remote shut off is a failsafe device but there's records of the Mineral Management Service recommending them for deepwater drilling in 2000 and miraculously after three years of the Cheney/Bush presidency they're deemed an excessive expense not warranted by the risk.
Kind of like invading Iraq with less than a historical ratio of troops to civilians for securing the post invasion environment wasn't deemed likely to create a power vacuum with terrorism flourishing. Increased terrorism was an acceptable trade for the risk of the US being vulnerable to Saddam playing with oil production in the coming decade.
Risk/reward, all depends on who's ox is being gored and who has political power.

05-06-2010, 10:19 AM

The containment dome, as engineers are calling the structure, was built over the past week by a crew of more than two dozen welders working around the clock at a shipyard in Port Fourchon, La. The dome began its journey to the site of the ruptured well on Wednesday and arrived early on Thursday; the plan is to lower it by cable to the sea floor, 5,000 feet below the surface, and sit it atop the larger of the two remaining leaks.

The dome will not shut off the gushing well, which is still spilling an estimated 210,000 gallons of oil a day; the goal is just to keep some of the oil out of the water by capturing it and then funneling it to a drill ship, called the Discoverer Enterprise, waiting on the surface.

Michael D. Storey
05-06-2010, 10:19 AM
Its a big piece of water, there, and Current and Tide could bring it to Nova Scotia. (Always thinkin the best, here.) It would seem that if the containment technique currently underway pumped hard enough, and if they could separate the water from the oil at the surface, it could be a short-term solution. Could enough be sucked out to relieve the gushing? I was of the impression that the gushing business nowadaze gives way to the pumping business pretty quickly, at least in the Gulf.
Some real trashy political answers over the last 10 years have contributed to this disaster, it would seem. The coal mine disaster, too. I would reckon that a close inspection of the federal regulation process would not be a bad thing.

Clan Gordon
05-08-2010, 12:05 PM
As already stated - the dome is not the long term fix.

The dome is an attempt to reduce the leak while the long term fix (drilling an intercept well) takes place (several weeks).

If the dome works, the oil will go 5000ft up the riser to a drillship with its own oil tanks. The oil will be stored in the oil tanks and offloaded by shuttle tanker as the drillship fills.

Getting this to work will be no easy matter. The oil is not under high pressure any more and will need serious encouragement to rise 5000ft. Also hydrates can form in the riser. So this a a long shot.

As for the "acoustic" trigger on the BOP - it MIGHT have prevented the original leak - but seems like there is something more wrong with the BOP situation than that. The latest attempts to close the BOP locally are independent of any acoustic device and have not succeeded. Maybe a heavy (solid) drill collar is lying in the BOP and cannot be sheared like normal (hollow) drill pipe could have been.

At least 3 things must have gone wrong for this disaster to happen. Any 1 of the 3 not happening would have meant no spill. Pretty much the same story with most major accidents.

Lets hope that the weather keeps this slick off the beaches. It it stays offshore, its gassy nature and the hot climate should mean that a lot will evaporate.

Lew Barrett
05-08-2010, 12:13 PM
Maybe a heavy (solid) drill collar is lying in the BOP and cannot be sheared like normal (hollow) drill pipe could have been.


I am clearly not qualified to discuss technicalities, but if I am not mistaken this was reported as the problem some days ago; that the drill sheared inside the collar (?) and created the circumstances that made it impossible to pinch off the well by collapsing the wall.

It's the reason that the fail-safe failed, so to speak. Do I understand that correctly Lee?

05-08-2010, 08:02 PM
I am clearly not qualified to discuss technicalities, but if I am not mistaken this was reported as the problem some days ago; that the drill sheared inside the collar (?) and created the circumstances that made it impossible to pinch off the well by collapsing the wall.

It's the reason that the fail-safe failed, so to speak. Do I understand that correctly Lee?

Lew, I don't understand why the failsafes didn't work it but I found a thread that pretty much says we don't
know what happened yet but here's all the various systems that came into play when fubar fubared.



PT Commander
05-08-2010, 08:22 PM
Any of these companies ever see what is on a self serve gas pump. The breakaway should have been installed on several parts of the pipe.

another thought...if this stuff sticks to grass so easily why aren't 3 foot rolls of straw matting sewed together to roll out on the beaches to help trap this stuff.

Just a thought...we could have them made in China so we could contaminate the ocean with LEAD AND OIL at the same time...lol.

05-09-2010, 01:50 AM
Hydrates formed in the dome. What now?

05-09-2010, 02:57 AM
It's not clear that acoustic remote shut off is a failsafe device but there's records of the Mineral Management Service recommending them for deepwater drilling in 2000 and miraculously after three years of the Cheney/Bush presidency they're deemed an excessive expense not warranted by the risk.

Are they required under the latest push by the Obama Administration?

05-09-2010, 03:02 AM
.... but the Exxon Valdez was in a place where the waters were calm enough to use them....

Well yeah, there's no such thing as storms in the North Pacific....


Some harbor boom and a skiff was all they needed.

05-09-2010, 07:59 AM

Newman sounded just as perplexed as many in the industry as to why, as he said, a “cased and cemented hole would have failed so catastrophically”.

Speculating on the root causes is “premature”, he said.


While the precise causes of the April 20 explosion and spill remain unknown, investigators are focusing on the blowout preventer on the Deepwater Horizon rig operated by BP PLC as one likely contributor.

05-09-2010, 08:26 AM
They are using bales of pine straw and pre-fabbed boxes full of sand to try and protect the beaches, besides using the booms. I don't think too many people have faith in what the booms will do. Over half of the booms that the state of Alabama had in stores for this purpose wound up breaking apart within a couple of days of having been set. All of that has since been replaced, but I don't knwo how long these things are designed to last.

They are actually building walls with these sand boxes to surround the oyster reefs, but oysters being what they are (filters) I don't see how this is not going to kill off any reef that is in contact with the oily water.

One thing that is interesting, or that you may find so, one of the fire departments here locally acquired enough boom material and some barges to completely block off the small bay into which two of our rivers drain with three layers of boom attached to barges on either end. They were told by BP that to do so would be to assume liability, that BP would take care of it. What a BP subcontractor did was put out one section of boom that covered one side of the channel through the cut into Mobile Bay from this place. Unbelievable.

Mickey Lake

Lew Barrett
05-09-2010, 10:49 AM
Hydrates formed in the dome. What now?

Big setback, but it appears they didn't have any real faith in this fix anyway. This will be a gamechanger, at least in respect to short-term policy.

But short term is all that really ever seems to matter. How are things in Haiti?

donald branscom
05-09-2010, 10:54 AM
I think that a larger opening in the box could be the answer. The opening look very small.

Ras Baba
05-09-2010, 10:56 AM
These guys seem to be onto something. Of course they admit they want to do the work. Simple to put into effect, complicated to finish.


Clan Gordon
05-10-2010, 05:27 AM
Latest from the industry press...........................


While BP wrestles with hydrates formation in the Macondome, the Transocean semi-submersible drilling rig Development Driller III is drilling ahead on the first of two relief wells planned for Macondo.

BP confirmed the well had reached 9000 feet on Saturday - its target depth is about 18,000 feet - adding the drilling was ahead of schedule. It did not provide an update on drilling depth.

Salt said that the second rig Development Driller II is now on its way to Mississippi Canyon Block 252, and should arrive on location by the middle of the week. This will drill in “competition” with the DD III and act as a back up in case the first relief well fails to intercept.

Should the rig arrive on Wednesday, it is possible the second relief well could spud as soon as the weekend.


BP is set to lower a smaller "Macondome" over the main leak from the blown-out Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico, after gas hydrates choked the opening of first containment dome.

BP is preparing to lower a second, smaller containment dome over the main leak point on the riser which linked the Transocean semi-submersible Deepwater Horizon to the subsea blowout preventer (BOP) stack and wellhead template.

The small dome will be connected by drill pipe and riser lines to Transocean's drill ship Discoverer Enterprise.

Meanwhile, BP spokesman Mark Salt said engineers are looking at ways of resolving the hydrates problem, adding that the company still hoped to be able to use the containment dome to capture leaking oil and condensate from the well.

BP had warned earlier that hydrate formation was a possible risk with the "Macondome" - but it appears that BP believed that hydrates would form in the riser, not in the dome itself.

It had planned to combat possible hydrate formation by heating the riser via an internal pipe circulating hot water, as well as injecting methanol down the riser from the Discoverer Enterprise, which is sited above the dome.

The 70-tonne Macondome, which measures 14 feet by 24 feet by 40 feet, was to be set over the largest leak in the Deepwater Horizon's infrastructure, which lies on the sea floor in 5000 feet of water. It was then to be connected to the drill ship via a rigid 2" steel riser with a 6 5/8" drill string.

"We anticipated hydrates being a problem, but not this significant a problem," BP's chief operating officer Doug Suttles told a press briefing earlier.

"I wouldn't say (the containment system) has failed yet," Suttles added. "What we attempted to do didn't work as hydrates plugged the top of the dome.

"It looks like slush," he said, adding: "There are numerous ways we believe we can manage the problem, including using heat to prevent formation and also methanol injection."

The dome is now “parked” on the sea floor 200 metres away from the ruptured riser it was meant to cap. Work continues on two more domes, one of which is set to go over a smaller leak at the juncture of the riser and the other on the lower marine riser package.

On Saturday, Suttles said BP needed 48 hours to come up with a plan to unclog the dome, but is still canvassing other, alternative options.

In a statement released Monday morning, BP added that further work on the BOP now enables it to attempt a “top kill” option aimed at stopping the flow of oil from the well. This option will be pursued in parallel with the smaller containment dome over the next two weeks.


One of these may well be attempting a "junk shot" through Macondo's BOP stack.

Suttles said a junk shot involved injecting ground-up material, such as rubber, into the bottom of the BOP in an attempt to clog it.

The material would travel upwards into the BOP, blocking it.

“It’s like plugging up a toilet,” Suttles said.

"We are trying to gather data to determine if a junk shot is a good method to proceed with and to make sure we don't make this situation worse," Suttles told Saturday's briefing.

"There are challenges associated with this which could make it worse - we could end up with more oil flowing out the top of the BOP."

Suttles said that BP has already manufactured the equipment it would need to inject cement and fluid into the well and it is being shipped to the location.

It is understood that BP has two cement skids already on Helix’s Q4000 semi-submersible platform, which is already on site to try to place a containment dome over the oil leak.


In a similar option, an industry source told UpstreamOnline that BP may try to fill the broken BOP with cement, using a slurry that will flash set in seconds.

After the BOP is plugged, the company could tap into the choke and kill valves on the subsea wellhead to pump heavy fluid and cement down into the wellbore and kill the well.

A third option may be to shear the lower marine riser package and stab a new BOP on top of the existing one.

“That also is a very, very complicated task and also brings risks with it,” Suttles said.

It is understood that the BOP on board the Discoverer Enterprise would be used.

jack grebe
05-10-2010, 06:57 AM
Does any one know of a real or close to real
time map of the spill? How about satilite images?