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  • plugging the Gulf oil leak

    Oil leaks are something this forum knows about. Now think big, really big -- what should the BP engineers do to prevent the unfolding disaster in the Gulf of Mexico?
    They "appear to be trying anything people can think of to stop the leak," said Ed Overton, a LSU professor of environmental studies.
    Allan Ostling

    Phoenix, Arizona

  • #2
    Use something to pinch the pipe shut.

    Mount some Hurst jaws on the sub and have at it.

    --Doozer
    Last edited by Doozer; 05-10-2010, 09:43 PM.
    DZER

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    • #3
      Is it a pipe that is leaking? I heard about leaking from the sea floor.

      I haven't seen an explanation of what the layout is, or does anyone know?

      Dave

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      • #4
        They tried that. It's called a Blowout preventer and is fitted on every well. It didn't work properly but they estimate if they fiddle with it it may fail completely and the oil flow rate could increase by up to ten times.

        This is a very bad time for the off shore deep water drilling business. There seems to not be any single point of failure to point to. It is looking like the current technology may simply not be up to the challenge.

        Here is the best description I have seen of what may have happened.

        http://www.thestar.com/news/world/ar...pill-chernobyl
        Last edited by Evan; 05-10-2010, 09:50 PM.
        Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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        • #5
          With the ramifications of the environmental impact as strong as they are, I am surprised that the US Navy, with all of it's under water technical expertise and capabilities, has not been requested to assist in controlling this spill of monumental proportions.
          Or have I missed something?
          Home, down in the valley behind the Red Angus
          Bad Decisions Make Good Stories​

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          • #6
            This schematic was published several days ago. It gives some idea of what the situation looks like.

            Allan Ostling

            Phoenix, Arizona

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            • #7
              What I saw on a couple of TV reports is that the main leak is on a pipe about 5 to 6 feet off the sea floor, running parallel to the floor for about 200 feet to 1/4 mile, almost an "L" from the drill hole to this parallel pipe at the beginning.

              Heard they may try a big old plug made up of old ground up tires, all sorts of "stuff" and such, almost a landfill type of thing all gummed together, jammed into the hole.

              Heck, may as well try about 7000 pounds of marine epoxy.

              Damn, this thing is getting too ugly to even be somewhat sarcastic at this point.
              CCBW, MAH

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              • #8
                The Navy has been called in,but it's 5,000 feet of water and there is junk laying around.

                The story I got was the preventers worked initially until the rig and 5,000 feet of pipe came down on top of it.

                It's a mess for sure,gonna take time to fix it.

                Some people here are also quietly wondering if it was an accident.It's odd that within 2-3 weeks of new leases being opened up and a public announcement by the prez that we have the first major spill in a very long time in the gulf.
                I just need one more tool,just one!

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Willy
                  With the ramifications of the environmental impact as strong as they are, I am surprised that the US Navy, with all of it's under water technical expertise and capabilities, has not been requested to assist in controlling this spill of monumental proportions.
                  Or have I missed something?
                  The depth is extreme, I'm not shure the navy can do much.

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                  • #10
                    I heard a pretty interesting report on this tonight on public radio. One witness stated that when the well blew, it shot the water column in the pipe over 240 feet in the air...remember, that is a water column 5000 ft. long... think of the weight! Speculation is that the blowout preventer wasn't able to do its job due to a heavy wall pipe liner being in place.
                    My solution? Cut the pipe above the blowout preventer, lower a new section of pipe with an axially sliding ported sleeve and fasten it to the original pipe, start pumping drill mud down from the surface until it comes out the port, then slide the sleeve shutting off the port, continue pumping mud.

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                    • #11
                      A couple of problems I read: The pressure in the well proper is said to be upwards of 40,000 psi. The header pipe that runs between the well head and the surface is rated to 15,000 psi. It was never intended to contain full well pressure, so pinching it off is a bad idea.

                      It isn't known (at least by me and I suspect it just isn't known) to what degree the down pipe is sealed against the drill hole. If the well head is shut off the oil may find a path around the outside of the casing and if that happens it is going to get real ugly. The ocean is 5,000' deep but the bore is 18,000' deeper. That is a lot of pressure, and the erosion of that oil, mud, and gas raging out of control in the bore hole will worry it larger. If that happens then nothing will stop the flow until the pressure is neutralized.

                      Neutralizing it will require another bore to intercept the existing one and for a plugging material to be pumped in (again). Drilling another hole to intercept the existing one is going to be a marvel of technology. But there's a problem with this scenario - what if the second bore hole fails in the same manner as the first? It is still not known what failed with the BOP. Perhaps they don't work well at that depth. It's never been tested according to more reading I've found.

                      I'd also read that the header pipe that ran between the well head and the drilling rig, and which is buoyant, has 1500' standing upright in the water column before it kinks over and drops back to the bottom. That somehow needs to be dealt with in a way that doesn't allow it crush what ever repairs are made on the bottom.

                      Perhaps a coupling could be attached to the header pipe and extensions of pipe run to it so that the oil flowing from it can be tankered at the surface and lightered to shore.

                      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XlkXkEuS9Gs

                      Here's an article that puts the spill in perspective vs other spills including natural seeps:

                      http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...358019534.html
                      Last edited by dp; 05-10-2010, 11:57 PM.

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                      • #12
                        Well, my initial reaction was the same as BPs...... put a funnel over it and collect the oil......

                        Apparently there was wax in the oil that separated out and jammed up funnel #1... They are going to try to use a second type of funnel, and then they are going to try a "junk shot" to plug the pipe.

                        If you go outside on a hill, and select a point a mile away, you begin to see the issue.... it's a long way off. You'd have trouble even relaying messages as to what to do by phone and video, but in this case, nobody is there, it's dark, you can only see what is nearby, and everything takes 20 times longer, if it goes even that fast..

                        Then under water, you have a mile of water over it, amounting to something over 2000 psi. That means no human can get to it in any contraption allowing hands-on work, even if it were remotely safe to try while monkeying with umpty-thousand PSI oil.

                        There were thousands of these blowouts in Texas..... but the oil didn't get very far on land, and they were usually smaller.
                        1601

                        Keep eye on ball.
                        Hashim Khan

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                        • #13
                          I'd say nuke it...maybe. Would the ocean floor in the Gulf lend itself to being sealed off by a nuclear blast or would it only cause more leaks? Which is going to cause the greatest damage, the oil that will eventually spill into the environment before it's brought under control or the radioactivity from a smaller nuclear blast? Case of damned if you do and damned if you don't, eh?
                          Location: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Arcane
                            I'd say nuke it...maybe. Would the ocean floor in the Gulf lend itself to being sealed off by a nuclear blast or would it only cause more leaks? Which is going to cause the greatest damage, the oil that will eventually spill into the environment before it's brought under control or the radioactivity from a smaller nuclear blast? Case of damned if you do and damned if you don't, eh?
                            I understand that the Russians have some experience doing this. It is supposed to fuse the rock and a good bomb doesn't have much fallout. 5000 feet of water makes for excellent containment too.

                            Try "Russians nuke wellhead" on a search engine or choice.

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                            • #15
                              Some relatively random inlargely incoherent ramblings.

                              Down hole pressures are always startling, but I was under the impression they were using 16 ppg mud to get adequate hydrostatic to maintain control during the operations. At 5000' to the sea bed and another 13000' - 15000' below the seabed, the pressures mount up quick, but not 40,000 psi.

                              18000' = 5486 m
                              16 ppg = 1904 kg/m3

                              HP=.00981 x 5486 x 1904 = 102,468 kPa or 14861 psi.

                              15000 psi systems are around and have been for decades.

                              Under sea BOPs that sit on the seafloor have double redundancy, but the issue becomes getting the signal and the hydraulic oil down there. The control lines and assorted others as well as the main wellbore run through the marine riser which is now still connected to the top of the BOPs and bent over till a portion of it is laying on the seafloor after the rig itself turned turtle and sank. BTW, the riser is the leaking "pipeline" referred to in some reports. Speculation (that's all we have due to the liabilities, etc.) says the control system was compromised in the initial explosion. Now that the riser is damaged, there is no hydraulic nor signal connection to surface to close any of the BOP elements. There were some attempts to activate the BOPs via ROV, but unfortunately, unsuccessfully.

                              Setting something over the well and pumping down the original wellbore is difficult because there would need to be a pressure tight connection installed via ROV. Difficult when you can handle the items directly. Conventionally (onshore) there is a brief interval of time when the wellbore is wide open to flow. If this well flows 5000 BOPd out of a crushed and kinked riser, the unrestricted flow could concievably be an order of magnitude higher or more. Think unrestricted flow out of an 8 3/4" ID hole pushed by about 2000 psi. Sometimes such high flow rates cause the formation rock itself to spall pieces off the borehole wall that would plug off the well bore, but since this formation is supported by casing, that seems unlikely (the well was cased and cemented and preparations were underway to run cement plugs to suspend the well indefinitely until it could be prepared for production). The change in conditions could cause the well to plug off if the fluid starts to drop out paraffins, but high flow rates usually don't do that due to the abrasion and washing of the fluid.

                              Drilling a relief well and injecting from the bottom is the most reliable way, but is time consuming. Once the relief well is drilled, there are several avenues to take, and all kidding aside, epoxy is one alternative. I would speculate that if they can hit the original wellbore (using mag ranging steering technology) a bridging agent could be pumped followed by a large volume of high density fluid or even fast setting cement. At this point saving the original multimillion dollar wellbore is way down the priority list.

                              How did it happen? Like all incidents like this, a comedy of errors, mistakes, miscalculations, and ,likely, a downhole failure or two (packoff leak and cement job failure)
                              Last edited by camdigger; 05-11-2010, 12:26 AM.
                              Design to 0.0001", measure to 1/32", cut with an axe, grind to fit

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