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Oil spill in the gulf of Mexico

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Old 05-09-2010, 07:26 AM
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Looks like trouble, regardless of who's 'fault' it is.
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Old 05-09-2010, 06:15 PM
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Default Mother of all gushers could kill the world's oceans

This is just a teaser for the main body which is very long. Click the link to read the rest;

Mother of all gushers could kill Earth's oceans

Imagine a pipe 5 feet wide (potentially) spewing crude oil like a fire hose from what could be the planets' largest, high-pressure oil and gas reserve. With the best technology available to man, the Deepwater Horizon rig popped a hole into that reserve and was overwhelmed. If this isn't contained, it could poison all the oceans of the world.

"Well if you say the fire hose has a 70,000 psi pump on the other end yes! No comparison here. The volume out rises geometrically with pressure. Its a squares function. Two times the pressure is 4 times the push. The Alaska pipeline is 4 feet in diameter and pushes with a lot less pressure. This situation in the Gulf of Mexico is stunningly dangerous." -- Paul Noel (May 2, 2010)

http://pesn.com/2010/05/02/9501643_M...Earths_oceans/
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Old 05-10-2010, 03:47 PM
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Sound like this may be months before they get it stopped.

Talk about putting things in a tail spin.
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Old 05-10-2010, 09:16 PM
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Default US oil regulator "gave in to BP" over rig safety

No plan for a blowout at 5000ft??? There has to be wholesale housecleaning at MMS and DOI. Salazar needs to go.



US oil regulator 'gave in to BP' over rig safety

Firm allowed to drill without devising plan to cope with blow-out

By David Usborne, US Editor

Friday, 7 May 2010

As crude oil continued to pour out of control into the Gulf of Mexico yesterday, questions were being asked over the relationship between BP and regulators in Washington amid allegations that the company was allowed to drill the deepwater well without filing plans for how it would cope with a blow-out like the one now in hand.

"My understanding is that everything was in its proper place," the US Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar, said during a tour of booming operations on the Gulf Coast. But an investigation by the Associated Press and other media outlets seemed to show that, after lobbying by BP, the Minerals Management Service (MMS) within the Interior Department relaxed the rules so that the company could dodge filing a proper blow-out contingency plan.

The CEO of BP, Tony Hayward, attempted meanwhile partly to pass the buck for the disaster to Transocean, the company that owned the Deepwater Horizon rig that blew up on 20 April, triggering the leak and killing 11 workers. He told the BBC: "I think I have said all along that the company will be judged not on the basis of an accident that, you know, frankly was not our accident."
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As officials confirmed the first landfall of oil on an uninhabited island beach, Mr Hayward who can expect to be grilled harshly at hearings in Washington starting next week along with other BP executives pointed to the failure of the "blow-out prevent" at the drill hole. "That is a piece of equipment owned and operated by Transocean, maintained by Transocean; they are absolutely accountable for its safety and reliability, and they report to the regulatory authority for its safety," he said.

A cofferdam which may contain the worst of the leaks by trapping the oil and feeding it to a ship above arrived at the source at sunrise and engineers were preparing to begin lowering it to the ocean floor yesterday.

The rules on what plans must be filed by exploration companies before drilling a well were relaxed in early 2008 by the Bush administration. Thereafter there was reportedly some confusion over whether the BP well qualified to be exempted, but that appears to be precisely what happened.

If so, lawmakers in Washington are likely to target the Interior Department for falling down on its responsibilities and becoming too cozy with the oil giants. "I'm of the opinion that boosterism breeds complacency and complacency breeds disaster," said Congressman Edward Markey. "That, in my opinion, is what happened."

Members of Congress will be looking to tighten the rules on the industry in the wake of this disaster. "I suspect you're going to see an entirely different regime once people have a chance to sit back and take a look at how do we anticipate and clean up these potential environmental consequences," noted Senator Judd Gregg of New Hampshire.

A Washington Post investigation concluded that in April 2009 the MMS granted BP a "categorical exclusion" from requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act to file papers on what it would do in the event of a blow-out at the new well. It reported that BP had lobbied for the exclusion just 11 days prior. Moreover in its own assessments, the MMS concluded that a blow-out at a deepwater well in the Gulf would be unlikely to generate spills bad enough for oil to threaten coastal ecosystems.

That no blow-out plan was filed prompted fury from experts like Robert Wiygul, an environmental lawyer. "This is kind of an outrageous omission, because you're drilling in extremely deep waters, where by definition you're looking for very large reservoirs to justify the cost." He added: "If the MMS was allowing companies to drill in this ultra-deep situation without a blow-out scenario, then it seems clear they weren't doing the job they were tasked with."

The cost of the catastrophe for BP is expected to reach billions of dollars, but Mr Hayward said the company will "bounce back". "We're responding to a tragic accident, and as I said we'll be judged by our response," he offered. "The scale of it... the quality of it, and ultimately the effectiveness of it."
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Old 05-10-2010, 09:39 PM
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I don't feel like looking for the link right now, but that division of the Interior Dept responsible for oversight is the one that got busted for the wild parties they were having with oil company executives a year or two back. Great. Put em in the same box with the financial regulators and use their sorry azzes to plug the leak.

4 million gallons and counting...
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Old 05-10-2010, 10:06 PM
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if there's a named storm and the tide comes up 15'.....
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Old 05-10-2010, 11:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jayboat View Post
I don't feel like looking for the link right now, but that division of the Interior Dept responsible for oversight is the one that got busted for the wild parties they were having with oil company executives a year or two back. Great. Put em in the same box with the financial regulators and use their sorry azzes to plug the leak.

4 million gallons and counting...
Absolutely SHOCKING. bu$h and Rove stacked the Dept. of Interior and Mineral Management Services with their political lackeys, sycophants and toadies. We see the results of that in the predicament we find ourselves in now.

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Old 05-11-2010, 12:02 AM
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Originally Posted by BUIZILLA View Post
if there's a named storm and the tide comes up 15'.....
...and the storm season will soon be upon us...
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Old 05-11-2010, 12:25 AM
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Leave it to a pile of Democrats to say that this is a cause of a lack of regulation...
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Old 05-11-2010, 12:40 AM
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Default Interviews with rig workers show how the rig was blown up

Million gallons of oil a day gush into Gulf of Mexico

Interviews with surviving Deepwater Horizon rig workers show how explosions led to what may be the world's worst oil spill

By David Randall
Sunday, 9 May 2010

An extraordinary account of how the Deepwater Horizon disaster occurred emerged yesterday in leaked interviews with surviving workers from the rig. They said that a methane gas bubble had formed, rocketed to the surface and caused a series of fires and explosions which destroyed the rig and began the gushing of millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening wildlife and coastal livelihoods. Oil-covered birds caught by the outer edges of the 135-mile slick are now being found.

Word also came yesterday that the oil spill may be five times worse than previously thought. Ian MacDonald, a biological oceanographer at Florida State University, said he believed, after studying Nasa data, that about one million gallons a day were leeching into the sea, and that the volume discharged may have already exceeded the 11 million gallons of the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster, widely regarded as the world's worst marine pollution incident. Mr MacDonald said there was, as of Friday, possibly as much as 6,178 square miles of oil-covered water in the Gulf.

Meanwhile, at the site of the ill-fated well, a mile beneath the surface, a massive metal chamber had been positioned over the rupture so it could contain and then capture the bulk of the leaking oil. The operation, which uses undersea robots, and has never before been attempted at this depth and pressure. But last night, the formation of ice crystals meant the dome had to be moved away from the leak.

The interviews with rig workers, described to the Associated Press by Robert Bea, a University of California Berkeley engineering professor, recall the chain reaction of events that led to the disaster. They said that on 20 April a group of BP executives were on board the Deepwater Horizon rig celebrating the project's safety record. Far below, the rig was being converted from an exploration well to a production well.

The workers set and then tested a cement seal at the bottom of the well, reduced the pressure in the drill column and attempted to set a second seal below the sea floor. But a chemical reaction caused by the setting cement created heat and a gas bubble which destroyed the seal.

As the bubble rose up the drill column from the high-pressure environs of the deep to the less pressurised shallows, it intensified and grew, breaking through various safety barriers. "A small bubble becomes a really big bubble," Professor Bea said. "So the expanding bubble becomes like a cannon shooting the gas into your face."

Up on the rig, the first thing workers noticed was the sea water in the drill column suddenly shooting back at them, rocketing 240ft in the air. Then, gas surfaced, followed by oil. "What we had learned when I worked as a drill rig labourer was swoosh, boom, run," he said. "The swoosh is the gas, boom is the explosion and run is what you better be doing." The gas flooded into an adjoining room with exposed ignition sources, he said. "That's where the first explosion happened," said Professor Bea, who worked for Shell Oil in the 1960s during the last big northern Gulf of Mexico oil well blow-out. "The mud room was next to the quarters where the party was. Then there was a series of explosions that subsequently ignited the oil that was coming from below."

According to one interview transcript, a gas cloud covered the rig, causing giant engines on the drill floor to run too fast and explode. The engines blew off the rig and set "everything on fire". Another explosion below blew more equipment overboard. The BP executives were injured but nine crew on the rig floor and two engineers died. "The furniture and walls trapped some and broke some bones, but they managed to get in the lifeboats with assistance from others," said the transcript. The workers' accounts are likely to be presented in some form to the hearings held by the US Coastguard and Minerals Management Service, which begin next week.

By then, the success of the dome-lowering, if it is resumed, will be known. On Friday, a BP-chartered vessel lowered a 100-ton concrete and steel vault on to the ruptured well in an attempt to stop most of the gushing crude from fouling the sea. "We are essentially taking a four-storey building and lowering it 5,000ft and setting it on the head of a pin," said BP spokesman Bill Salvin. With the contraption on the seafloor, workers needed at least 12 hours to let it settle and stabilise before the robots could hook up a pipe and hose that will funnel the oil up to a tanker. By today, the box the size of a house could be capturing up to 85 per cent of the oil.

The task became urgent as toxic oil crept deeper into the bays and marshes of the Mississippi Delta. A sheen of oil began arriving on land last week, and crews have been laying booms, spraying chemical dispersants and setting fire to the slick to try to keep it from coming ashore. But now the thicker, stickier goo is drawing closer to Louisiana's coastal communities.

There are still untold risks and unknowns with the containment box. The approach has never been tried at such depths, where the water pressure is enough to crush a submarine, and any wrong move could damage the leaking pipe and make the problem worse. The seafloor is pitch black and the water murky, though lights on the robots illuminate the area where they are working. If the box works, another one will be dropped on to a second, smaller leak at the bottom of the Gulf. At the same time, crews are drilling sideways into the well in the hope of plugging it up with mud and concrete, and they are working on other ways to cap it.

Last edited by Catmando; 05-11-2010 at 12:42 AM.
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