Sunday, July 4, 2010

Deepwater Oil Spill - July Fourth

Having enjoyed the hospitality of the University of New Hampshire, and their local Rotary Club at a July Fourth Celebration this evening, after a family get-together earlier today I am postponing the Tech Talk that I would normally post this evening.

I hope you all had as Happy a Fourth as we did, and that you equally well enjoy the coming week. I will, however, add the latest picture from the Gulf of the weather situation (courtesy of the National Hurricane Center):

The potential of sequential storms raising the wave levels around the oil spill site, and thereby delaying the connections of the new riser systems has to be worrying, so I hope that they will be able to replace the cap and get the system into production this week.

News from the site includes the information that the "A Whale" tanker that sucks in oily water, separates it and stores the oil, while discharging the water, is now under test, and has been all weekend, to see if it can collect the 500,000 bd of oil (perhaps they mean oily water) that has been reported.

The "A Whale."

The water is drawn in through vents into the ballast area of the tanker, and is then fed further into the vessel
"The oil water will be coming through those jaws, going through those gates," said Chief Officer Moham Bhist, as he gestured toward the grilled openings cut into in the bow, about a foot tall.

The oil-water mix will be pumped through those openings into holding tanks, where simple science takes over. Like a giant decanter, the oil will float to the surface, where it will be skimmed off. The remaining water then will be pumped back into the Gulf.
The initial relief well is now at 17,400 ft, though if one goes back to the briefing that Kent Wells gave and I reported earlier the last casing run was supposed to be made at around 17,100 ft. And I gather that this hasn't happened yet, since, once it was done, then the last couple of hundred feet would be a straight run over with the mud motor and PDC bit to penetrate the WW.

Rather, if you go back to that post and the numbers on the wall in the command center illustration (rather than the graphic) those noted that the casing would be run at 17,758 ft TVD (true vertical depth). At the time I suggested that the correction should be to the 17,100 ft figure, but obviously I picked the wrong alternative of the two choices. However if the well depth achieved is as the Unified Command Center report Then the well has another 300 ft to drill before they ream the bottom of the well and run that final casing, and then complete the connection to the original well. (If the weather holds up, and if they can get the cap and connections done this week, then perhaps we are closer than is being admitted). However if one takes this number and compares it to the story two days ago where
The first relief well for the Macondo blowout is drilling at about 16,817 feet measured depth and is as much as a week ahead of schedule, the head of the US response said Friday. . . . . . .Thad Allen said at a press briefing that Transocean semi-submersible rig Development Driller 3 had to drill about 600 vertical feet before hitting the target zone for the intercept.
(16,847 + 600 = 17,447 ft . . . hmmm! Maybe they will be running that casing on Monday or Tuesday???

As for the oil collected:
For the first 12 hours on July 4 (midnight to noon), approximately 8,500 barrels of oil were collected and approximately 3,965 barrels of oil and 28.2 million cubic feet of natural gas were flared.

On July 3, total oil recovered was approx. 25,195 barrels:
• approx. 17,020 barrels of oil were collected,
• approx. 8,175 barrels of oil were flared,
• and approx. 57 million cubic feet of natural gas were flared.


    (1 ) knowing the way this administration has treated the gulf disaster by trying to hide the damage, adding toxic dispersant, creating a still far greater unknown risk to the environment as it sinks and is moved through shipping lanes by ballast systems, (2 ) the lack of concern for protecting our Great Lakes from the Asian carp, escaping the waters of our presidents home state, (3) a military ballast water plan to follow the IMO lead for 10 years, while ratifying the Law of the Sea treaty, (4) delaying any new legislation in congress with another scientific study for allowable limits of organisms in ballast water. (5) political support for senator Boxer who killed ballast water legislation in 2008. (6) asking governor Patterson who in his short time created the toughest state ballast water laws to step aside ( 7) and the president has public a rift with rep Oberstar who was instrumental in 2008 ballast water laws about how to create jobs when a report for congress suggest that ballast water laws would cause the price of foreign goods to rise.