Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Final Solution Delayed in BP Catastrophe

Finishing the relief well is on hold until late August. Scientists are concerned about 1,000 barrels of oil potentially trapped in the space between the well pipe and the well bore. Pumping cement into the well near the bottom will increase pressure, potentially pushing oil through a seal on the blow out preventer. LATimes reported on solutions:

One option would involve building a mechanism on the existing cap that could relieve the pressure. Allen said they hoped oil would not be released into the ocean under this plan.

The other option would involve removing the existing blowout preventer and cap and replacing it with a stronger one that could withstand any pressure increases when the relief well process starts.

While BP and the government talk about increased pressure at the blow out preventer seal, they leave out rising pressure in the well column. The Deepwater Horizon previously lost drilling mud into the formation around the well. Despite the static kill and cementing, the well still has pressures of 4200 psi.

In four other procedures BP and the government exceeded pressure ratings of the weakest components. From my chair it's not about 1,000 barrels of oil.

From day one BP's focus has been risk management. Notice they never produced from the stacking cap as planned. That would've given hard data on well flow, which the company does not want. What they do want is a whole blow out preventer, not one with ruptured seals. BP needs it to go after Cameron.

This renegade well blew bad cement jobs before. Might it do so again?

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