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BP OIL WELL LEAKING AGAIN

Posted on Friday, 26th August 2011 @ 06:48 AM by Text Size A | A | A

BP’s
Gulf Oil Well Is Leaking Again: “It’s A Dead Ringer For The [BP] Oil,
As Good A Match As I’ve Seen” … “I Think The Primary Source With High
Probability Is Associated With The [Last Year’s Damaged BP] Well”

 

Leaking Oil Is a “Dead
Ringer” For Oil From BP’s Gulf Well

The Press-Register reports
today:

 

Scientific analysis has confirmed that
oil bubbling up above BP’s  sealed Deepwater Horizon well in recent days
is a chemical match for the  hundreds of millions of gallons of oil
that spewed into the Gulf last  summer.

The Press-Register
collected samples of the oil
about  a mile from the well site on Tuesday and provided them to Ed
Overton  and Scott Miles, chemists with Louisiana State University.

The pair did much of the chemical work used by federal officials to
fingerprint the BP oil, known as MC252.

“After examining the
data, I think it’s a dead ringer for the MC252  oil, as good a match as
I’ve seen,” Overton wrote in an email to the  newspaper. “My guess is
that it is probably coming from the broken riser  pipe or sunken
platform. … However, it should be confirmed, just to  make sure there
is no leak from the plugged well.”

 

MC252 is
short for Macondo block 252, which is the official designation for the location
of last year’s BP Gulf oil spill
.

Overton is a LSU professor
and oil spill expert, who has been a lead NOAA consultant for decades,
and who analyzing Macondo oil samples last year for the federal
government.

Here is video the Press-Register shot a couple of days
ago:

And see this and this.

The Leak Is Associated With
BP’s Well

The Press-Register reported
yesterday:

 

Oil is once again fouling the Gulf
of Mexico around the Deepwater Horizon well, which was capped a little
over a year ago. [Deepwater Horizon is the name of the
oil drilling rig drilling at BP’s Macondo well, the one which
exploded and sank last year.]

Tuesday afternoon, hundreds of
small, circular patches of oily sheen  dotted the surface within a mile
of the wellhead. With just a bare sheen  present over about a
quarter-mile, the scene was a far cry from the  massive slick that
covered the Gulf last summer.

***

Floating in a boat near the well site, Press-Register
reporters  watched blobs of oil rise to the surface and bloom into
iridescent  yellow patches. Those patches quickly expanded into rainbow
sheens 4 to 5  feet across.

Each expanding bloom released a
pronounced and pungent petroleum smell.

***“I think the primary source with high probability is associated
with  the Macondo well,” said Robert Bea, an internationally prominent
petroleum engineer and professor emeritus at the Berkeley campus of the
University of California. Bea responded to Press-Register questions via
email after examining photographs taken by the newspaper.

“Perhaps
connections that developed between the well annulus (outside  the
casing), the reservoir sands about 17,000 feet below the seafloor,  and
the natural seep fault features” could provide a pathway for oil to
move from deep underground to the seafloor, Bea said.

“Looks
suspicious. The point of surfacing about 1 mile from the well  is about
the point that the oil should show up, given the seafloor at  5,000 feet
… natural circulation currents would cause the drift,” Bea  said.

We May Never
Be Able To Fully Stop the BP Leak

Washington’s Blog interviewed
Dr. Bea a year ago, and the oil expert noted that we may never be able to fully stop BP’s oil
leak:

 

Few people in the world know more about
oil drilling disasters than Dr. Robert Bea.

Bea  teaches engineering at the University of California
Berkeley, and has  55 years of experience in engineering and management
of design,  construction, maintenance, operation, and decommissioning of
engineered  systems including offshore platforms, pipelines and
floating facilities.   Bea has worked for many years in governmental and
quasi-governmental  roles, and has been a high-level governmental
adviser
  concerning disasters.  He worked for 16 years as a top
mechanical  engineer and manager for Shell Oil, and has worked with
Bechtel and the  Army Corps of Engineers.    One of the world’s top
experts in offshore
drilling problems
,  Bea is a member
of the Deepwater
Horizon Study Group
, and has been interviewed by news media around
the world concerning the BP oil disaster.

***

WB:  Is it possible that this fractured, subsea salt geology
will make it  difficult to permanently kill the oil leak using relief
wells?Bea:  Yes, it could. The Santa Barbara channel seeps are still
leaking,  decades after the oil well was supposedly capped. This well
could keep  leaking for years.

Scripps mapped out seafloor seeps
in the area of the well prior to the blowout. Some of the natural seeps
penetrate 10,000 to 15,000
feet beneath the seafloor. The oil will follow lines of weakness in the
geology.  The leak can travel several horizontal miles from the location of the leak.

[In other words, the geology beneath the seafloor is so
fractured, with soft and unstable salt formations, that we may never
be able to fully kill the well even with relief wells. Instead, the
loss of containment of the oil reservoir caused by the drilling accident
could cause oil to leak out through seeps for years to come. See this
and this
for further background].

***WB: I have heard that BP is underestimating
the size of the oil reservoir (and see this).
Is it possible that the reservoir is bigger
than BP is estimating, and so – if not completely killed – the
leak could therefore go on for longer than
most assume?

Bea: That’s plausible.

WB: The chief electronics technician on the Deepwater Horizon
said that the Macondo well was originally drilled in another
location
,  but that “going faster caused the bottom of the well to
split open,  swallowing tools”, and that BP abandoned that well. You’ve
spoken to  that technician and looked into the incident, and concluded
that “they  damn near blew up the rig.” [See this
and this].

Do
you know where that abandoned well location is, and do you know if that
well is still leaking?

Bea:  The abandoned well is very close to the current well
location. BP had  to file reports showing the location of the abandoned
well and the new  well [with the Minerals Management Service], so the
location of the  abandoned well is known.

We don’t know if the abandoned well is leaking.

WB:
Matthew Simmons talked
about a second leaking well. There are rumors on the Internet that the
original well is still leaking. Do you have any information that can
either disprove or confirm that allegation?

Bea: There are two  uncorroborated reports. One is that there
is a leak 400 feet West of  the present well’s surface location. There
is another report that there  is a leak several miles to the West.

[Bea
does not know whether  either report is true at this time, because BP
is not sharing  information with the government, let alone the public.]

 

Indeed,
in June of 2010, BP
officials admitted to damage beneath
the seafloor
, and numerous scientists have speculated that the
blowout and subsequent clumsy attempts by BP to plug the well could
have created new seeps, and made pre-existing natural seeps bigger
.

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