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Old 06-18-2010, 07:18 AM   #21
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No joke, hope its not true but it makes sense with the oil leaking from fissures nearby.

Here is a link msnbc.com Video Player
Looks like that is based completely on fear and rumor.
Has anyone actually detected oil coming from the sea floor?
The report is actually ten days old.
Perhaps there is a conspiracy to hide the leaks
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Old 06-18-2010, 08:02 AM   #22
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i watched all i could. is there a single media reporter who has an engineering degree? the politicians are no better. did you know petroleum engineering is an undersupplied field (well, we've found our equilibirum, i think)? when i graduated, there were only like 10 PE programs in the country. point being, chances of finding someone who is knowledgable (and i'm probably not one of them) are few and far between, especially when it comes to the like of media reporters and politicians. i would caution you from being swayed too much by what you hear on the technical side in the media. it pains my ears!

batholith. saying granite (or quartz or some type of igneous rock) contains mobile hydrocarbons is silly. which has poor permeability, essentially zero. so poor, i don't know of single reservoir of igneous rock. even if it did exist, so what? it wouldn't be the source of the problem today. molten you say? we are most likely 250-300 deg F at bottom hole. i'm not an igneous rock expert, but my guess is it takes more heat to melt rock than it does to bake cookies.

nuclear is just silly. why not use something much more practical like nitro glycerin? which has a history of being used in the oilfield...besides, what would they do, blow the bop stack off? then go into the well.

underground blow out is a possibility. it's a complex issue and i don't have the time to go over the entire drilling fluid system. BP should know if this is a possiblity. I don't know if a Leak off or formation integrity test is mandated, but it is industry practice to do them (at least at the company i work for it is). but, the main concern of an underground blowout is the loss of mud (essentially, you loose the head of your mud and then the formation comes to see you). or causing a blowout in a nearby well. this is most likely why they aren't "capping" the well or doing as i think they should and "pump like hell," they should have a pretty good idea of what their mud density window is...fissures, although possible, are highly unlikely imo, especially at 18000' (not to say that is where the source is).

i guess everyone just exclaims the worse...
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Old 06-18-2010, 09:01 AM   #23
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Yesterday, BP told Congress the size of the exploration target at the MC 252 well - 50 MM(million) barrels. While that may sound like a lot of oil, in fact it is an economically marginal deepwater prospect. It can only be economically developed if they could drill it within or near their AFE, do a subsea completion and tie it back to the nearby Rigel Field.

Note to the people who will jump in an say "AH HA! This PROVES they were negiligent because they were cutting corners!" There is a difference between drilling a well cheaply (and safely) due to efficiency and drilling a well cheaply due to cutting corners. Safety has always been the paramount importance in deepwater drilling - realize that you're out in the middle of the Gulf with no where to go. It's in everybody's best interest to NOT end up in the boat. While the details of the decisions are not yet known,obviously BP made a series of bad decisions in order to control costs that compounded to cross the line.

In regards to the batholith idea....This area is well understood, thoroughly mapped, and -for the deepwater -densily drilled. This is NOT a frontier area.The Rigel Field is a little over a mile away. In 2006 I drilled several 20,000' wells through the same section a few blocks to the west. No geologist or competant technical person would claim that there are batholiths anywhere nearby (its a sedimenary section dominated by salt tectonics). Once again, take anything appearing to be technical that the media says with a grain (make that a pound) of salt.
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Old 06-18-2010, 09:13 AM   #24
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I couldn't watch the Olbermann clip all the way through either. His over-the-top style might be OK when reporting on the latest political outrage, but not technical stuff.
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Old 06-18-2010, 09:32 AM   #25
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Here's another example of stupidity of news media. In the second half of this video:

Ask CBS News: Could Oil Spill Lead to Terrorism? - CBS News Video

The reporter says that drilling platforms are not a likely target because they are:

  • Isolated
  • Far from shore
  • In Deep water
  • Easy to Protect

I don't see any of those as a deterrent. A fast boat full of terrorists and/or explosives and you're all set.

I'm not saying that they are a significant target, but for someone to say that they can't be attacked because they are in deep water is silly. Most boats float fine in deep water.
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Old 06-18-2010, 10:13 AM   #26
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Yesterday, BP told Congress the size of the exploration target at the MC 252 well - 50 MM(million) barrels.
Do you know if that is 50 MMbbls in place or recoverable? The economics would be mighty slim if that figure is in place.
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Old 06-18-2010, 11:22 AM   #27
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Not sure; will assume for sake of arguement that it was recoverable. That was BP's pre-drill estimate. I assume, once again, it was based on volumetrics. Knowing that BP uses a version of the Pete Rose probabalistic methodology for reserve estimates, that the number was either a most likely case or P50 case.
Even assuming is was recoverable, the economics would have been slim but positive; if in-place numbers, even with a strong water drive, it would have been extremely marginal considering cost of a SS completion and flowline.
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Old 06-18-2010, 12:00 PM   #28
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Not sure; will assume for sake of arguement that it was recoverable. That was BP's pre-drill estimate. I assume, once again, it was based on volumetrics. Knowing that BP uses a version of the Pete Rose probabalistic methodology for reserve estimates, that the number was either a most likely case or P50 case.
Even assuming is was recoverable, the economics would have been slim but positive; if in-place numbers, even with a strong water drive, it would have been extremely marginal considering cost of a SS completion and flowline.
Agreed, I did some quick "Back of the envelope" calcs. I don't have BP's price deck, but let's assume it's $60 oil. If 50 MMbbls were recoverable, that's $3b not discounted. If they got 30% oil recovery, that would be $1b.

An interesting thought, since I live in the completion world. Almost all deepwater wells have downhole sand control. BP is praying for this thing to sand up. A change in deepwater sand control philosophy?
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Old 06-18-2010, 12:07 PM   #29
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LOL. For once, they're probably praying that it waters out.
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Old 06-18-2010, 12:39 PM   #30
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I am no geologist or oil professional but when I looked up the description of a batholith it puzzled me that someone would think that they would encounter that here. We have such rock in my world where there have been gaseous volcanic flows but I see no sign of such activity in the Gulf. Batholith volcanic flows are very porous as a result of holes left volcanic gasses that were entrained until the flow cooled.

There is natural oil seepage in the Gulf. Some crude deposits found on FL beaches was chemically different that what is comming out of the spill field, for example.
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Old 06-18-2010, 01:54 PM   #31
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I think they took a calculated risk that backfired. No one knows how to plug this pipe. All the standard safety precautions are based on containment down there at the site before the fact because intervention from the surface is so problematic!

Imagine the effect of this well blowing itself out. That would be my guess as to the most likely outcome. BP would never agree to a $20 billion escrow fund unless they felt that the exposure was many times that amount. 50 million barrels of pollution!

Possibly $100 billion of reparations...
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Old 06-18-2010, 02:29 PM   #32
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Sounds like they were using the same kind of risk management assumptions as the investment banks.
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Old 06-18-2010, 02:59 PM   #33
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Here's another example of stupidity of news media. In the second half of this video:

Ask CBS News: Could Oil Spill Lead to Terrorism? - CBS News Video

The reporter says that drilling platforms are not a likely target because they are:

  • Isolated
  • Far from shore
  • In Deep water
  • Easy to Protect

I don't see any of those as a deterrent. A fast boat full of terrorists and/or explosives and you're all set.

I'm not saying that they are a significant target, but for someone to say that they can't be attacked because they are in deep water is silly. Most boats float fine in deep water.
I agree that oil rigs would be relatively easy targets for terrorism. But I don't think they are particularly attractive targets. Most of the time the BOP would work even if the rig were suddenly gone. It would not be a good day for the people on board or the company that lost the rig. But in terms of impact I think it would get a big yawn.

"Easy to protect" is perplexing. I have no doubt that most rigs have a decent amount of firepower on hand and radar to warn of approaching boats. But that does not help much if the bad guys sneak up with a fiberglass boat filled with amfo.
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Old 06-18-2010, 03:07 PM   #34
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Ok, here's a question for the geologists out there:

Petroleum is decomposed organic matter from long ago. In that area it is from the Permian I believe, around 200 MYA but is very old in any event.

Naturally occurring organic matter can be accurately dated by measuring the ratio of radioactive carbon 14 to carbon 12 (not radioactive). The halflife is of order 6000 years.

So, the carbon in petroleum would seam to me to have had so long to decay that it should be essentially all C-12. Is this the case?

If not, why not?

If so, wouldn't burning fossil fuels be changing the C12/C14 ratio in the atmosphere and provide a highly accurate way to measure the amount of C in the atmosphere from natural sources (cow farts etc) as opposed to from burning oil?

What am I missing here?
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Old 06-18-2010, 03:22 PM   #35
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At the rate this thing is spewing 50MM barrels will flow in less than 3 years. That's a long time to wait, and I don't like the damage it is causing, but if they can recover some decent fraction of it then just letting it flow until it runs out on its own might become a reasonable option.
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Old 06-18-2010, 04:16 PM   #36
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At the rate this thing is spewing 50MM barrels will flow in less than 3 years. That's a long time to wait, and I don't like the damage it is causing, but if they can recover some decent fraction of it then just letting it flow until it runs out on its own might become a reasonable option.

People seem to forget they are drilling some wells to plug the thing... it just takes some time...

Now, I don't know what Plan C is if those do not work... probably the nuke...
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Old 06-18-2010, 04:29 PM   #37
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Anyone know how they do the lateral drilling on the relief wells
and control the positioning?
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Old 06-18-2010, 06:23 PM   #38
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my 2 cents (since i enjoy talking about this stuff)...take it or leave it.

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I agree that oil rigs would be relatively easy targets for terrorism. But I don't think they are particularly attractive targets. Most of the time the BOP would work even if the rig were suddenly gone. It would not be a good day for the people on board or the company that lost the rig. But in terms of impact I think it would get a big yawn.

"Easy to protect" is perplexing. I have no doubt that most rigs have a decent amount of firepower on hand and radar to warn of approaching boats. But that does not help much if the bad guys sneak up with a fiberglass boat filled with amfo.
when i worked on the rig that is currently over the maconda well, we prepared for such a thing. since there are no guns or weapons (just big pipe wrenches, some rigs don't even allow knives) the plan was to basically lock ourselves in the engine room and let the terrorists take over the rig without our help. a driveoff should trigger the EDS.

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Ok, here's a question for the geologists out there:

Petroleum is decomposed organic matter from long ago. In that area it is from the Permian I believe, around 200 MYA but is very old in any event.

Naturally occurring organic matter can be accurately dated by measuring the ratio of radioactive carbon 14 to carbon 12 (not radioactive). The halflife is of order 6000 years.

So, the carbon in petroleum would seam to me to have had so long to decay that it should be essentially all C-12. Is this the case?

If not, why not?

If so, wouldn't burning fossil fuels be changing the C12/C14 ratio in the atmosphere and provide a highly accurate way to measure the amount of C in the atmosphere from natural sources (cow farts etc) as opposed to from burning oil?

What am I missing here?
it's the complex world of petroleum systems...and not one of my strong suits...but, here are my thoughts. oil and nat gas exist all over the geologic time scale. in the absence of tectonic forces, geologists use the law of superposition, or that the deeper reservoirs are older than the layer/reservoir just above it. add in tectonic forces and these things get split in half, turned upside and everything else. but...let's focus on no tectonic forces. generally speaking, your older (and usually deeper reservoirs) contain natural gas (and their associated liquids). your more shallow reservoirs (like in bakersfield) have the younger, not as mature oil and therefore "heavy" (very dense and very viscous). but to answer your question, every reservoir or field or region has a story. figuring out that story will tell you if there is just gas, heavy oil, oil and gas etc. permain is one time of many. the field i'm working on right now is of miocene age...i don't know enough about the chemistry end of it...

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At the rate this thing is spewing 50MM barrels will flow in less than 3 years. That's a long time to wait, and I don't like the damage it is causing, but if they can recover some decent fraction of it then just letting it flow until it runs out on its own might become a reasonable option.
i assume they reported 50MM recoverable bbls. but it could be more (less likely) or it could be less (more likely, people tend to overestimate). that is, however, most likely assuming more than one well, a completion and reservoir mgmt. Also, production rate tends to decline with time, but that is dependent on the drive mechanism. we'll see. historically, production has a plateau and then eventually it goes on a decline (for varying reasons).

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Anyone know how they do the lateral drilling on the relief wells
and control the positioning?
gyroscopes near the bit. the tool sends small pressure pulses to give data. they can then use their directional drilling tools to make changes (communicate to it through rotating, pump rate and pressure pulses). or a bent sub and motor. they can be fairly accurate. the plan for the relief wells is to get near the maconda well and then frac into it.

what are people's thoughts on a hurricane for part of the clean up? liability/legal issues a side...from a scientific point of view.
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Old 06-18-2010, 06:24 PM   #39
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Imagine the effect of this well blowing itself out. That would be my guess as to the most likely outcome.
Are you saying that you don't think the relief wells will work?
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Old 06-18-2010, 07:08 PM   #40
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when i worked on the rig that is currently over the maconda well, we prepared for such a thing. since there are no guns or weapons (just big pipe wrenches, some rigs don't even allow knives) the plan was to basically lock ourselves in the engine room and let the terrorists take over the rig without our help. a driveoff should trigger the EDS.
I'm surprised by this. I'd think a rig would be equipped with some kind of defensive weapons, especially given the recent piracy. I understand a rig would not be too useful to pirate but it is still surprising that no weapons are kept on board.


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it's the complex world of petroleum systems...and not one of my strong suits...but, here are my thoughts. oil and nat gas exist all over the geologic time scale. in the absence of tectonic forces, geologists use the law of superposition, or that the deeper reservoirs are older than the layer/reservoir just above it. add in tectonic forces and these things get split in half, turned upside and everything else. but...let's focus on no tectonic forces. generally speaking, your older (and usually deeper reservoirs) contain natural gas (and their associated liquids). your more shallow reservoirs (like in bakersfield) have the younger, not as mature oil and therefore "heavy" (very dense and very viscous). but to answer your question, every reservoir or field or region has a story. figuring out that story will tell you if there is just gas, heavy oil, oil and gas etc. permain is one time of many. the field i'm working on right now is of miocene age...i don't know enough about the chemistry end of it...
Yeah, I generally understand the geology. I'm just curious about the carbon isotopes involved.


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i assume they reported 50MM recoverable bbls. but it could be more (less likely) or it could be less (more likely, people tend to overestimate). that is, however, most likely assuming more than one well, a completion and reservoir mgmt. Also, production rate tends to decline with time, but that is dependent on the drive mechanism. we'll see. historically, production has a plateau and then eventually it goes on a decline (for varying reasons).
Ok. Leaving it alone to empty into the ocean does not seem like a good plan but if it is only 50 MMB total then we could conceivably have already had 1/4 or so of the oil out. But if it is 50 MMB recoverable that's different.

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what are people's thoughts on a hurricane for part of the clean up? liability/legal issues a side...from a scientific point of view.
A hurricane? I'm certain there will be 1 or 2. They'll cause a mess. The ships will be moved out of the way. The bigger mess is going to be oil blown inland in many areas. There are folks out there with hare-brained yet plausible and science-based ideas for "steering" hurricanes away from critical areas. If ever there were a time to at least try some of these ideas this year might be it! But I doubt anyone is doing that.
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