Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Deepwater Oil Spill - More questions than answers

Hmm! So what is going on at the well? On Tuesday evening there were a couple of posts in the comments at TOD, one of which showed oil leaking past the shear rams in a BOP, as a Youtube segment, (H/t TOB ) while the second was a short clip showing the shear opening (H/t Chuck Schick ) . Because of the bandwidths involved I am just going to take a couple of frames from them to show the situation. This is from the Youtube segment:

This is a different shot from the one shown in a loop by Chuck which includes this frame:

And then there was the ejection of what appeared to be mud from the stack at about 12:41 pm that (H/t MoonofA) is also on Youtube.

Which leaves one wondering what is going on? Did the DP fall and rupture the casing and this is flow from the annulus? Has the seal at the top of the annulus lost its integrity? Is this oil, gas or some combination – since mud alone would be denser than seawater and should sit in the well without a problem, given the testing that was done at the end of last week. Is this perhaps some residual fluid in one of the lines that was being flushed out, and if so which one?

There are (and I am writing this around 10 pm Central) it seems two borehole cameras. The official one, which is swinging in free water it appears at the moment, and that from the BOA Sub C ROV1, which is the feed that is showing the ram blades and the flow. Unfortunately (unlike the main ROV cameras) this is not date stamped, so that when I just went back for a check the view is relatively quiet with no flow and the valve open – so this may have been another unwarranted alarm. But it would be nice if, perhaps, the Admiral could explain this. (At the moment the listing of the Transcript of the press conference for Aug 24th reverts through a link to the Transcript from the 23rd).

In regard to the events in Chile, now is not the time to talk much about the rising price of metals and other minerals that come from underground – their depletion and the problems they cause are more the subject of the more conventional posts that we write at this site – but I did note the comment on the price rise of copper which has gone from $1.835 to $3.234 per pound in the last year.

More small diameter drill shafts are being sunk, so that there is communication down one, supplies down a second and a third, soon to be completed, will be for ventilation. The large drill that will drill the rescue shaft is now on site and is being set-up to start the hole.

For those who have not seen the layout, ( H/t Ericy this shows the relative position of the refuge and the slope that was the main access to the underground.

You will notice that there are a few more turns than the simple spiral that some of the networks have been showing.

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