Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Deepwater Oil Spill - nearing intersection, hurricanes, the TWIP and gold

Progress on the Deepwater Horizon well is going well enough that the Admiral considers it likely that the remaining work (other than plug and abandon) may be completed within the next four days.
just to summarize again, in the last 24-hour period we proceeded to go ahead and drill to the intercept. At the time we started drilling we estimated that we were 3.5 horizontal feet away and 50 feet away from the intercept. We drilled down (inaudible), we went through the drill string, we put in a ranging tool just to make sure that we wanted to calibrate what the ranging tool told us versus the equipment that now allows us to do some ranging measurements from inside the drill bit.

The drill string is now packed and it’s commenced drilling so the air at this moment as we’re speaking drilling that last 20/25 feet and they are almost touching the well at this time. That’s the report I got just before I came out here. When we do the intercept, which will be imminently I will say in the next 24 hours because they may elect to pull that drill bit back do another ranging run, which would add time. That’s the reason I’m not going to say it’s going to happen in the next hour.

Sometime in the next 24-hour period, we should do the well intercept. Once the well is intercepted, we’ll have to understand from the pressure differentials and the drilling fluids the nature of the annulus. Once that’s been determined decision, will be made on cement and then once it’s cemented the cement will have to adhere and be pressure tested.

That entire element from this morning I would estimate to be about 96 hours.

It is good that the remaining critical work will be done in this time. Right at the moment there are two Category Four hurricanes in the Atlantic (something that hasn’t happened since 1926). While both of those are likely to head North up the Atlantic, Tropical Storm Karl may turn into a Hurricane after it crosses the Yucatan, which may be some cause for concern because, when it re-enters the Gulf, it will be quite close to the offshore Mexican wells, where over 2 mbd is produced.

The possibility that global warming is causing an increase in hurricane intensity, if not overall numbers, is something that climate scientists continue to debate, but the possibility of another series of hurricanes of the likes of Katrina and Rita clobbering the oil supply/distribution network, regardless of cause, is something that the EIA has to consider, and that is the topic of the front page of the TWIP, this week. The EIA is introducing a Hurricane page, which will, on a hurricane specific basis, show the projected path of the hurricane, and the facilities that might be at risk.

As an example, they showed this illustration from the recent path of hurricane Earl ( a larger version is available here

And speaking of the state of the refineries, with the driving season over, inputs to the refineries have fallen, with most of the drop coming from imports, domestic production even had a slight uptick.

Gasoline production remains constant for the moment:

Although demand has begun its seasonal fall.

Fuel ethanol production continues to rise,

Some of that increased production is going into rebuilding stocks, which had been falling until recently.

Distillate demand is also rising seasonally, and is significantly ahead of where it was last year.

Speaking of things rising, I note the record price for gold on Tuesday, though it has since fallen a little. But it may show what happens when a product that is in demand, passes beyond the point of peak production.

And finally, speaking of mining metals, it appears that the trapped miners in Chile, will have a lot of job offers when they get out safely. We can only hope that this comes sooner rather than later.

1 comment:

  1. The Drilling Fluids are filtered through agitators to remove all fragments of rock before being reused. Watching for abnormalities in the returning cuttings and volume of returning fluid are imperative to catch "kicks" (when the pressure below the bit is more than that above, causing gas and mud to come up uncontrollably) early.