What if this is the end of deepwater drilling?

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Erik T.
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What if this is the end of deepwater drilling?

I think we should discuss what it would mean to the economy and the world if deep water offshore oil exploration were outlawed in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

The United States Government has a long history of inaction in the face of credible warnings, followed by overreaction after something has gone terribly wrong.

For example, the nuclear power industry in the United States was basically halted in the wake of the Three Mile Island nuclear powerplant mishap back in 1979. Putting that event in context, what really happened was not a disaster by any stretch of the imagination. A small amount of radioactive gas leaked out of a reactor containment building after a malfunction and leak. Nobody died. Several cases of cancer were later attributed to the event, but the question of whether bona fide cause and effect really exists or if the claimants were just opportunists hoping to profit from lawsuits has been hotly debated. But just the possibility of another nuclear accident led to a public outcry of concern about the threat of something worse happening. That was enough to cause the government to effectively shut down an entire industry, in so doing further increasing the nation's dependence on foreign oil.

Contrast that event with Deepwater Horizon, which unlike Three Mile Island, is a true bona fide disaster of proportions we're only beginning to understand. Until now, the biggest accidental oil spill in the history of the world was the Ixtoc I spill which leaked 3,000,000 barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico in 1979, several hundred miles south of the Deepwater Horizon site. If one assumes that BP's 5,000 bbl/day guesstimate is low and that the 75,000 bbl/day estimates tha several credible t scientists have put forth are more accurate, Deepwater Horizon has now already leaked 3,000,000 barrels, making it the biggest accidental spill in history, and more than twice the size of Exxon Valdez. And it's still going strong, with no end in sight.

The situation with Ixtoc I was almost identical to Deepwater Horizon. The Blowout Preventer malfunctioned, and the well could not be shut off after a blowout. In the case of Ixtoc I, the emergency shutoff rams hit a drill collar that was too strong to be severed. In the case of Deepwater Horizon, the rams appear to have simply malfunctioned, which is not surprising considering that at least one eye witness on the rig told 60 Minutes that the control system that operates the BOP device was known to have malfunctioned before the accident ever occurred, but that BP continued the drilling operation rather than stopping to fix the malfunctioning blowout preventer.

So the problem we face now is nearly identical to Ixtoc I: A malfunctioning blowout preventer that won't shut off, and oil that continued to leak until the device can somehow be made to shut off the flow, or until a relief well is drilled, which would take months by the most optimistic estimates.. In the case of Ixtoc I, it took fully 8 months to get the thing shut off, and doing so required the use of deep sea divers to repair the Blowout Preventer. The Ixtoc I well was in 160' of water, within the range of commercial divers. But Deepwater Horizon is 5,000' below the ocean's surface, a depth far below that which can be reached by divers. It seems to me that if it took 8 months to shut off Ixtoc I, there is no reason to expect it to take any less time to solve the much more difficult problem of Deepwater Horizon. At currently estimated flow rates of about 75,000 bbl/day, that would make Deepwater Horizon approximately 8 times worse than the worst oil spill accident in the history of the world. But the Deepwater Horizon well is a mile underwater. If it took twice as long to fix this one, it will eventually leak 50 million barrels, making it 15 times worse than the worst oil spill accident previously recorded. What's worse, the oil will eventually find its way to the loop current and then the gulf stream. That means the entire east coast of the United States, Greenland, Iceland, and even Scotland could all experience coastal damage from this oil spill. The U.S. economy is already facing crisis. What if the entire east coast commercial industry from Florida to Maine were lost? What if the Grand Banks of Newfoundland - one of the biggest and most important offshore fishing grounds on earth - became unfishable? What would that do to the economy? To the global food supply? What if Katla were also to errupt, and agricultural crops were destroyed en masse at the same time that major fishing grounds were lost? What would we eat?

For sake of argument, I think we should assume that once the full extent of the damage Deepwater Horizon has caused is fully understood, it will very likely result in a permanent ban on deepwater oil production projects.

That's a really sobering statement when you stop and think about it. On one hand, if that is the outcome I would score it a huge victory for the Environment. The risk of something like this going so terribly wrong was clearly not widely understood, and preventing it from ever happening again with an outright ban on deepwater drilling seems to me like a great idea when I think like an environmentalist.

But as any Crash Course graduate should immediately understand, the world was already screwed in terms of the coming Peak Oil shock. We were already at risk of a horrific economic collapse as a result of declining energy availability at increasing cost. Not even the most devout anti-Peak Oil "drill baby drill" hardliners dispute the immutable fact that the Elephants - the big conventional oil fields on land - are being depleted. Those who claimed Peak Oil would not be a big problem were basing their whole argument on optimistic forecasts about new unconventional sources of oil. By far, deep offshore drilling was the biggest part of their "solution". Most of us who studied the facts carefully thought that these people were kidding themselves to think deepwater drilling was going to solve the world's energy problem. But if deep water is taken off the table, we're really screwed.

Let's revisit what may be the most telling chart ever produced by the U.S. Government:

(Source)

The world's only hope to avoid economic, social, and industrial armageddon is to somehow figure out a way to fill in that huge gap shown on the chart as "Unidentified Projects". If deepwater offshore drilling is taken out of the game, it appears to me that what was previously a nearly impossible problem just got twice as hard to solve.

So this thread is for discussion of the key question, what will it mean if Deepwater Offshore Drilling is outlawed? That includes economic effects, implications to society, how national and foreign policy might be affected, impact on financial markets, and everything else. I really hope someone smarter than me will tell me that I'm overreacting and that this isn't as big a threat as I think it is. I hate to jump to conclusions, but this seems inescapable to me. Something has to be done to prevent another Deepwater Horizon disaster. I myself feel adamantly that banning these risky deep water projects probably is the right move. But when I consider the implications of such a move, it's staggering. What do you think?

Erik

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Re: What if this is the end of deepwater drilling?

Erik,

I'll make this short but....

They may outlaw it for a time, but when the idea of "Peak Oil" actually hits mainstream and governments are forced by social unrest to find as much oil as possible as fast as possible....game over.  They'll break down faster than a Yugo and start pumping in as deep water as necessary.  OR, they may outlaw DWD but still do it without telling anyone.  Then it would just become another CT on the radars, and some of our members will deny it to the end.Tongue out

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Re: What if this is the end of deepwater drilling?

Many of you are unaware of my vocation as a heavy construction safety engineer. From what I can tell this incident was entirely caused by a lack of respect for safety procedures.  We safety managers like to call such things incidents, not accidents, because the term "accident" is laden with a raft of "it was unavoidable!" presuppositions. The term "accident" implies there is no one to blame; these things "just happen." In this case, that's not so. Here's the best of my sources.

http://adropofrain.net/2010/05/rumor-schlumberger-exits-deep-horizon-hou...

With all the usual caveats, here's a recap of what I know.

BP's safety consultants,  Schlumberger, found an unsafe condition and BP was advised to shut the well down. Not only did BP's on-site management  refuse to shut it down; they refused to allow Schlumberger's staff to leave via a BP helocopter. Schlumberger got on the horn to their corporate headquarters and got their OWN helocopter to get them off the rig, STAT. 

Six hours later the damned thing blew, just like the safety consultants told them it would.The fire and explosion were mostl likely a result of natural gas from the well. To add insult to injury the BP employee survivors, it seems, were detained until they signed something that expunged BP's liability (but we all know how useless a contract signed under duress is.)

I forecast  much more attention to safety. We need the oil; but no one will want to become responsible for another disaster like this. The lawsuits, my friends, are going to be EPIC.

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Re: What if this is the end of deepwater drilling?

At some point, the desire for oil will trump safety.  In a few years, they will probably think something along the lines of, "This coast is already ruined so we might as well keep drilling here.".   If they wait too many years, the existing equipment will be that much more rusted and in need of repair/replacement.  It will take a lot more time and $.  Even now, according to Wiki, it costs $100 million for 100 days of drilling.

Erik, that's quite a combo you've come up with - DWD ban and a volcano.  Everyone will be eating out of their mylar bags and plastic buckets in their basements and you will be in Maine welding giant metal sculptures of extinct fish such as cod.

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Re: What if this is the end of deepwater drilling?

Erik, another fine post and I'm starting to think that you need a Pay-Pal donation account to compensate you for all the work that you have put in lately, lol. I do think its likely that this accident could be a trigger event for the peak oil trade to start up again. The fact that the price of oil hasn't budged in the face of this news has me concerned about unseen deflationary pressures, however. 

I don't really think that this will mark the end of DWD, because it doesn't really matter what the people think,  our constitution says:

"One nation, under the corporations, of the money, by the money, and for the money, people and the environment be damned."

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Re: What if this is the end of deepwater drilling?

This is amazing... Bloomberg is reporting operation top kill a success! It's all better now! And this is CONFIRMED by both LA times and the Coast Guard!

Meanwhile, the live video they are showing depicts oil continuing to spew out! The reporters are saying "And don't worry, that substance you see coming out now isn't oil - it's drilling mud, which is 100 times heavier than water..."

Ok, forgive me for letting the laws of nature get in the way of a good story, but if the substance that looks just like oil that is coming out is 100x heavier than water drilling mud, why is it very rapidly flowing UP and being displaced by the "lighter" sea water around it? Just asking...

Erik

 

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Re: What if this is the end of deepwater drilling?

Ok, forgive me for letting the laws of nature get in the way of a good story, but if the substance that looks just like oil that is coming out is 100x heavier than water drilling mud, why is it very rapidly flowing UP and being displaced by the "lighter" sea water around it? Just asking...

Although I am not an engineer, Erik, I will try to shed some light.  The drilling mud currrently being pumped down the hole was said to have weighed 16.5 pounds per gallon.  Water weighs about 8.5 ppg.  Oil is lighter even than water.  To push the oil and gas rapidly back into formation and encapsulate it necessarily required "heavy" drilling fluid.  The hydrostatic pressure of the water in the well bore would have been 5,967 psi which was rapidly "displaced" by the pressure of the oil reservoir which was significantly more and thus a blow out.  And in very simple terms, that is eaxctly what happened when the well exploded and began a high pressure fire similar to a bunson burner.  Pumping 16.5 ppg mud will exert a hydrostatic pressure of 11,583 psi on the well bore and keep the oil in place and perhaps the gas back into solution. 

The 16.5 ppg drilling fluid is akin to pumping molasses and would require about 3500 psi of surface pump pressure to pump the mud downhole.  That pressure of 3500 remains throughout the system.  Any ongoing leaks would show 16.5 ppg mud leakage and not oil.  The most important weighting agent of the mud is naturally occuring barite (usally mined in Wyoming or China).  It becomes a non-newtonian fluid in that it changes properties with flow and pressure.  A good example of that that we know is -- cornstarch and water.

What we do not know at this point is if there were some sand reservoirs closer to the surface that were pressure charged by the oil rising to the top.  Remember a higher pressure will displace to the path of least resistance which will be lower pressured reservoirs.  I will not rest until I know that the reservoir has been stabilized and heavy cement can be pumped "down hole" and harden in the borehole. 

This may not be entirely the situation but it will be closer to anything that the msm can report.

 

 

 

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Re: What if this is the end of deepwater drilling?
Erik T. wrote:

This is amazing... Bloomberg is reporting operation top kill a success! It's all better now! And this is CONFIRMED by both LA times and the Coast Guard!

Meanwhile, the live video they are showing depicts oil continuing to spew out! The reporters are saying "And don't worry, that substance you see coming out now isn't oil - it's drilling mud, which is 100 times heavier than water..."

Ok, forgive me for letting the laws of nature get in the way of a good story, but if the substance that looks just like oil that is coming out is 100x heavier than water drilling mud, why is it very rapidly flowing UP and being displaced by the "lighter" sea water around it? Just asking...

Erik

Agin this is CHRIS here operating off my cell phone and wife's computer to achieve connection to this site.

Erik, you silly dude!  Don't you know that the laws of physics only operate at sea level?  Or maybe congress repealed them at any level in a rider attached to an omnibus spending bill recently.  You never know what's in those tubes of sausage.

If true, I am going to make a killing on my next business venture, filling party balloons with CO2.  I figure they should float even better than the drilling mud because CO2 is only a couple of times heavier than air, not 100x.

Not only will I be using CO2 and saving the atmosphere, but I won't be using up any of the last dregs of helium which is now in short supply.  It's a win win!!

Seriously, that's a good observation about the 100x heavier mud rising.... perhaps they'll next tell us that we weren't actually watching live feeds all this time and the explanation is not that mud flows upwards, but that they forgot to terminate the tape loop in time.

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Re: What if this is the end of deepwater drilling?

The abject stupidity of the investing public sometimes boggles my mind.

Apparently there was a HUGE spike in BP stock in reaction to the "news" from Bloomberg that the problem was solved. These investors were watching the live photos of the "heavier than water drilling mud" that mysteriously looked just like crude oil rushing upward from its relative bouyancy. But the bimbo announcer was saying "problem solved" and I guess nobody bothered to process the images. Sigh.

Erik

 

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Re: What if this is the end of deepwater drilling?

Note:  CHRIS here...

Excellent discussion of the efforts at the Oil Drum (link to live comment feeds).

The concensus there seems to be that what we are seeign are reduced flows from the various cracks in the drill string and that the substance seen in the videos is indeed mud. 

There's still mud being pumped in to keep the pressure on teh well bore but they are watching the wellbore pressure to see if it is stable.  If so, then in goes the cement.

I will be extremely relieved if this works, so I am keeping my fingers crossed.  Once that drama is over, then the hard work of clean-up begins.

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Re: What if this is the end of deepwater drilling?

Deleted: Dupe post.

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Re: What if this is the end of deepwater drilling?

Erik

I do not believe it is correct to say that 3 Mile Island disaster and the subsequent stoppage of the building new nuclear plants had very much to do with our reliance on foreign oil. Very little of our electricity is produced by oil. Our oil usage is in large measure devoted to transportation.

Almost immediately Mary Landrieu and others not only from Louisiana said this would not stop offshore drilling. In this case I will take them at their word.

My view is that we have a vastly different social conscience than what existed in the 60's and 70's. Many more people were engaged in social causes then especially environmental ones. THe current generation is more interested in how to get through college and get a good job. Witness the lack of outrage or demonstrations about the bailouts, stimulus, wars etc. If this were the 60's we would have seen much more protesting. The work of Edward Bernays has had 30 + years to hypnotize virtually the entire nation. 

The amount of oil already spilled will be grossly underestimated. Settlements will be paltry and bidness will continue as usual. The court system is controlled as is every other aspect of our  political and social lives by the Fascist corporatocracy.

Of course you could always come back from Asia and whip the sheeple into a frenzy to take back the country............nah.

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Re: What if this is the end of deepwater drilling?
Erik T. wrote:

This is amazing... Bloomberg is reporting operation top kill a success! It's all better now! And this is CONFIRMED by both LA times and the Coast Guard!

Meanwhile, the live video they are showing depicts oil continuing to spew out! The reporters are saying "And don't worry, that substance you see coming out now isn't oil - it's drilling mud, which is 100 times heavier than water..."

Ok, forgive me for letting the laws of nature get in the way of a good story, but if the substance that looks just like oil that is coming out is 100x heavier than water drilling mud, why is it very rapidly flowing UP and being displaced by the "lighter" sea water around it? Just asking...

Erik

Lets hope it is drilling mud!  The sources are of course suspect. As regards your initial post I can only add that the sooner we deal with the facts of our predicament the better chance we stand to choose the outcome.

I would add that ending DWD would be a desirable outcome of this event. It is also my opinion that when the reality of peak oil becomes MSN that all restrictions will likely be lifted in order to "save the world" from the ravages caused by the "energy shortage".

Man probably has a few more evolutionary steps to take before he would be up to the task of effectively dealing with the real issues of our predicament. IMHO, those that are still standing after this upcoming transition should have a fresh understanding of the role of man on this finite planet!

Coop

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Re: What if this is the end of deepwater drilling?

This will never happen. There is no way they are going to stop drilling where there are resources and possibly able to extract whether its DWD or not. Like LogansRun say, I think they might outlaw it but only because they will do it secretly without letting the masses know. If we don't drill that means the US government is finally aware about the fact that a huge transition and a change of structure needs to take place as we are getting lower on resources. Good luck with that. The US is never going to give up on their military might and oil is the key to staying on top as far as that goes.

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Re: What if this is the end of deepwater drilling?

Obama Announces Slowdown on New Drilling http://www.cnbc.com/id/37379618

President Barack Obama says a moratorium on new deepwater oil wells will be extended for six months while further investigations of the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico can be conducted.

He also said he was suspending planned exploration drilling off the coasts of Alaska and Virginia and on 33 wells currently being drilled in the Gulf of Mexico.

The president spoke Thursday at a press conference in the White House. He's visiting the Gulf on Friday.

Before Obama spoke, the government said it would announce Thursday that as part of a six-month moratorium on deep water oil and gas drilling, exploratory wells already operating in deep waters will have to stop operations and implement new safety measures.

Companies operating wells at depths lower than 1,000 feet (305 metres) will have to stop at first safe opportunity and then get approval from Interior to restart their rigs after they have met new safety requirements.

The president also said that regulators must have more time to review permits for drilling and must pay closer attention to environmental laws. He decried what he called a "scandalously close relationship" between regulators and oil companies and said that would be stopped.

"The American people should know that from the moment this disaster began, the federal government has been in charge of the response effort," Obama said. He was responding to criticism that his administration had been slow to act and had left BP in charge of plugging the leak.

Obama said many critics failed to realize "this has been our highest priority." He conceded that "people are going to be frustrated until it stops."

Obama went on to say he would use the full force of the federal government to protect citizens and that BP

[BP  45.1075    2.6975  (+6.36%)   ]

would be required to reimburse all claims.

"We're exploring any reasonable strategies to try and save the Gulf from a spill that may otherwise last until the relief wells are finished and that's a process that could take months," Obama said.

Obama says right now only BP and other oil companies have that technology—and that's why the White House has to rely on BP to try to fix the disaster.

Obama said he wants to explore ways the federal government could develop a team to directly respond to oil spills and not have to rely on oil companies.

Offshore oil drilling is a key part of Obama's efforts to rejig the country's energy policy. But the spill has forced him and fellow Democrats to rethink their support for such an expansion, which many environmentalists oppose.

Obama has established a presidential commission to investigate the causes of the spill, which by government estimates is the country's largest ever.

His announcement on a new moratorium Thursday was meant to amplify his administration's response before that panel draws its own conclusions on what went wrong. The Obama administration ordered a halt in new drilling permits after the BP's oil rig, owned by Transocean,

[RIG  60.23    1.65  (+2.82%)   ]

exploded in the U.S. Gulf on April 20.

BP, which has been publicly scolded by the president, was working Thursday to plug the leaking well in a procedure known as "top kill.'' Some U.S. lawmakers have called on the administration to lift the permit ban, at least for exploration in the shallow waters of the Gulf while keeping it in place in deeper waters where BP was operating.

Mike Breard, an analyst at Hodges Capital Management, said the decision would force companies to move rigs to places such as Brazil, increasing the possibility of tanker accidents instead of offshore ones. "You're trading a risk of one type of spill for another type of spill,'' Breard said.

Cancellations, Resignations

The energy bill, which ramps up domestic production of renewable fuel sources and sets limits on greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming, is currently languishing in the U.S. Senate.

Democrats hoped increased drilling would attract Republican support for the bill. Political fallout has not been limited to legislation.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Liz Birnbaum, the head of the agency that oversees U.S. offshore oil drilling, had resigned. Salazar briefed Obama and his advisers about the contents of a report about the spill and the deadly blast aboard the Deepwater Horizon rig, which was leased by BP late Wednesday.

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Re: What if this is the end of deepwater drilling?

Now that's what I call great leadership. LOL

You're doing a helluva job Brownie

V.

ps How do you know when Obama is lying? His lips are moving

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Re: What if this is the end of deepwater drilling?

 

I think we should discuss what it would mean to the economy and the world if deep water offshore oil exploration were outlawed in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

Erik,

For the short term, I do not see any economical alternative viable enough to end Deep Water Drilling.  I do believe that the era of Cheap Peak Oil is here and worldwide economic growth, at least up to 2007, has precipitated the need for viable and reliable sources of oil.  It is only by technology driven resources that the oil industry is even able to employ the necessary capacity today to search for oil reserves below massive salt structures 18,000’ to 20,000’ deep in the sub strata.  By all indications, 5000’ of water is rather shallow when more prolific reservoirs have been discovered in water depths of 8000’ or more.  The average spread costs to find these reservoirs is $1 million dollars per day with the average well taking as much as 100 days to drill.  Only the megolithic econimies of scale and vertically integrated oil companies can undertake such an enormous venture.

In the short term, the expense to find these reservoirs is financed by the cash flow of the mega oil companies that often partner with other mega oil companies to spread the costs around.  However, the possibility of finding a viable reservoir with enormous capacity of oil storage goes up exponentially to ameliorate the costs over time.  The Chevron Jack 2 discovery in 2004 in 6000’ of water and geological formations 65 million years old has the potential reserve capacity of 15 billion barrels.  Just that one reservoir online will complement the USA’s total reserve structure by 50%.  Apologetics be damned, but are there any other accessible and viable areas in this country that can deliver these kind of results?

The Gulf of Mexico is also unique in that it is a massive salt-domed sedimentary deposition with readily recoverable reserves that are driven by massive reservoir pressures.  It is the perfect recipe for the extraction of oil.  As strange as it may seem, costs for a barrel of oil from the GOM is essentially lower over time because of this natural phenomenon and the enormity of the reserve base.

What the major oil companies are missing in the rush to find reserves replenishment is a fail-safe method of protecting the workers and the environment.  That necessary implementation will be forthcoming in the days and months ahead that I hope will be a catalyst that the world can learn from.  Soon all 33 DWD rigs will be shut down till an acceptable answer for this calamity is found and methods put in place that are reliable.  It will happen as a part of our workable future.  A new paradigm is upon all of us and that includes our government as well.  I need not remind anyone that billions of dollars of offshore Federal lease payments have lined to pockets of the Federal Treasury desperately lacking revenues today.

What our country needs is a bridge to the future that will allow our economy to transcend to the next energy infrastructure that is clean and renewable.  At the current pace “green energy” has to be subsidized by taxes to remain sustainable and cheap.  The net energy equation also rules the economic viability of such a venture.  After all, solar and wind only supply about 1% of our total energy needs.  The path to renewable energy also has to traverse a course sustained by carbon fuel.  Any extraction, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, cosmetic, fertilizer, or synthetic industries are intricately supported by petroleum and carbon products.  I fear the road to our energy future is paved by the asphaltic roads of petroleum.  Like it or not.

So, the question I have, Erik, is “Will the government continue to over react when ‘Black Swan’ events such as Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, Exxon Valdez, and the Horizon rear its tragic head?”  We do not over react to airplane crashes and it is stilled deemed as the safest form of transportation.  What alternatives do we have?

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Re: What if this is the end of deepwater drilling?

Erik

Since you and many others here are very involved in the markets, I wonder if anyone noticed any unusual stock trades in regards to BP or the other criminal elements involved in this incident, a la 9/11

V

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Re: What if this is the end of deepwater drilling?

Here is a comment on the latest update about top kill from someone on the oil drum:

Quote:

what has happened essentially is

Top Kill Attempt No 1 failed last night....they pumped 30000 bbl of kill mud in 10 hrs ......thats 50 bbl per min ....or 2100 gal per min .....and if they really had to go upto 2100 gal per min to jam the mud downhole that means they are loosing a lot of kill fluid through the leaks and not enough is making its way downhole or they are loosing ti all in the formation..

going forward for top kill attempt no 2

the only thing left to even try is ....pump junk in the BOP ....hope a few pieces stick and provide enough coverage on the leaks that when they pump mud again it goes downhole....this is the only logical attempt they have

we are in 10% or less success chances range here folks...no mistake

Thoughts on this?

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Re: What if this is the end of deepwater drilling?

What if it ends up like the Indonesia mud volcano. As for the topic, I am personally in favour of anything which removes our ability to use more oil. Books like "The Limits to Growth - 30 year update" clearly show, the sooner we transition away from oil and coal the better it is for our future. Or put another way, if we use every short term gain to keep on pushing to the bitter end, it will be exactly that, the end. As Richard Heinberg said, "The Party's Over".  Like the Titanic, it is better to leave early than try to find a lifeboat which no longer exists near the end. 

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Re: What if this is the end of deepwater drilling?
Erik T. wrote:

This is amazing... Bloomberg is reporting operation top kill a success! It's all better now! And this is CONFIRMED by both LA times and the Coast Guard!

Meanwhile, the live video they are showing depicts oil continuing to spew out! The reporters are saying "And don't worry, that substance you see coming out now isn't oil - it's drilling mud, which is 100 times heavier than water..."

There is NO substance on Earth that is 100 times heavier (denser) than water.  Water is abouit 62 lbs/ cubic foot.  100 times that would be over 6000 lbs / cubic foot.  A solid block of lead is ONLY about 900 lbs / cubic foot.  Depleted uranium maybe a bit more...

The only way BP could create drilling mud 100 times denser than water would be to mix in minute quantities of black holes in their mud...

Typical reporting of anything remotely technical in the media...

You are right though - black hole drilling mud would not flow UP! LOL

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Re: What if this is the end of deepwater drilling?

There is NO substance on Earth that is 100 times heavier (denser) than water

They probably meant 100% (i.e. 2X) heavier. It's surprising how many non-technical people fail to appreciate the difference (although there do seem to be a fair number of snake-oil salesmen in the financial arena who are happy to abuse this ignorance). 2 times heavier would be about right given most rock is 3-4X heavier and mud is a rock/water mixture.

I've not read this thread thoroughly but get the sense there is surprise that the mud is rising. If so then consider the ash that is rising out of the Icelandic volcano is over 1000 times (not %) denser than the air!

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