Oil Slick Post at WUWT
Posted by Jeff Id on May 1, 2010
The recent oil rig disaster in the gulf has everyone’s attention. There are so many safeties and backups, it’s hard to imagine which accident would cause something like this. Currently oil is flowing rapidly into the gulf from very deep locations both through the well head and at least two fissures surrounding the well. They are working to seal the breach using a number of methods, I’ll be surprised if they work to shut off the flow before two months time when another rig will drill into the same area and pump heavy fluid to shut the original well off.
Anthony Watts contributor Jimmy Haigh wrote a really high quality article on the situation which people interested should check out.
If a secondary well can shut off the first with a bit of heavy fluid pumped into the wellhead, perhaps the secondary well should be a safety requirement for deep subsurface wells. It sure would have been nice to send an ROV and pull the lever this time. I’m sure a subsurface explosion at 3000 ft next to the shaft could be designed such that the little zit got plugged. Perhaps the explosive could be designed into the whole length of the well liner to be set off by an immediate proximity ROV explosion.
The true costs which can be associated with this disaster both in direct liability and in indirect perceptions of the usage of oil will be more than astronomical. It’s up to us to make sure that not improving the safety of these oil releases costs more to the companies than the release itself, however, we need to make sure to charge the companies involved, without punishing ourselves long term. Backups on the wellhead were not enough, there were many, many backups, none worked. In my opinion, we should be looking closely for terrorist involvement, but once the event has occurred, we obviously need a fully independent, fast acting and difficult to sabotage shutoff solution.
Check out the article at WUWT, it is excellent.