How bad could the BP spill get?

by frog

I have asked myself this question repeatedly over the last month or so, as things in the Gulf of Mexico seem to be going from bad to worse. For me it has always been about how long it will take to drill the relief wells, meaning we have 40,000 b/d leaking until sometime in August. Now I think differently. I have just read this post/comment on The Oil Drum, with someone else’s concept of the ‘worst case scenario’.

As you have probably seen and maybe feel yourselves, there are several things that do not appear to make sense regarding the actions of attack against the well.

In fact actually opening up the well at the subsea source and allowing it to gush more is not only exactly what has happened, it was probably necessary, or so they think anyway.

So you have to ask WHY? Why make it worse? It’s really an inescapable conclusion at this point, unless you want to believe that every Oil and Gas professional involved suddenly just forgot everything they know or woke up one morning and drank a few big cups of stupid and got assigned to directing the response to this catastrophe.

The well bore structure is compromised “Down hole”.

In fact if you note their actions, that should become clear. They have shifted from stopping or restricting the gusher to opening it up and catching it. This only makes sense if they want to relieve pressure at the leak hidden down below the seabed…..and that sort of leak is one of the most dangerous and potentially damaging kind of leak there could be.

This down hole leak will undermine the foundation of the seabed in and around the well area. It also weakens the only thing holding up the massive Blow Out Preventer’s immense bulk of 450 tons. In fact?…we are beginning to the results of the well’s total integrity beginning to fail due to the undermining being caused by the leaking well bore.

All of these things lead to only one place, a fully wide open well bore directly to the oil deposit…after that, it goes into the realm of “the worst things you can think of” The well may come completely apart as the inner liners fail.

All the worst things you can think of are a possibility, but the very least damaging outcome as bad as it is, is that we are stuck with a wide open gusher blowing out 150,000 barrels a day of raw oil or more. There isn’t any “cap dome” or any other suck fixer device on earth that exists or could be built that will stop it from gushing out and doing more and more damage to the gulf.

It’s a race now…a race to drill the relief wells and take our last chance at killing this monster before the whole weakened, wore out, blown out, leaking and failing system gives up it’s last gasp in a horrific crescendo.

Thanks DougR, for that uplifting vision. If you want all the gory details, instead of my cut and paste, there are many more – plus numerous links to official documents and press stories that support some of these assertions.

Why would we want to risk this sort of mess in our own waters?

frog says

Published in Environment & Resource Management by frog on Tue, June 15th, 2010   

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