OK, last article from Chris. On to other sources now. Perhaps this is our Basics 101 in Hydrocarbon Geology and Ecology.
We do not need oil!!!!
May 29, 2010
How to solve the present oil blowout by reducing the surrounding oil and gas pressure in The Gulf of Mexico
I am going to use two analogies for the oil blowout well and how BP is trying to fix it at present.
1) Imagine you had a flat while driving along in your car. You find three holes in the tire as you had driven over some spikes in the road. You take the tire to your local auto shop and you ask them to fix it. The tire shop manager says to you, they can fix it. You say that is fantastic but on one condition, you would like them to fix it while it is almost fully inflated with air. You attach the air hose in his shop and while the air is rushing out of all three holes you ask them to patch the leaks. I am sure they will think you are crazy and ask you to take your business elsewhere.
Everyone knows that it is best to fix a leak when the tire is completely deflated. If you can imagine that the tire pressure on a average car is 30 pounds per square inch and the pressure coming out of the oil well is at least 200 to 2000 times greater at 6000 to 60000 pounds per square inch, it is obviously necessary to relieve the oil and gas pressure before you begin to patch the pipes.
2) Imagine you are helping out at your local fire station and while testing the fire hoses, you discover that there are a few small holes that under a full water pressure test are squirting water in every direction. The firemen are practising putting out a fire as part of a fire drill. You decide not to disturb them with their demonstration and try wrapping large patches soaked in glue around the leaking pipe.
I think most would agree that it would be better to patch the pipe when there is little to no pressure in that pipe because the water coming out of the holes under extreme pressure would simply wash away the glue.
It is almost impossible to get cement to stick to the walls of an oily pipe where slippery oil is continuously rushing past at high pressure. That is what BP is trying to do. The exercise is doomed to failure before it has begun.
What is worse is that the directional or slant drilling wells that are being drilled into the existing pipe will encounter the same problem. How do you pour cement into an oil pipeline with oil rushing past, if you can not seal that pipe?
So in order to pump in mud at a higher pressure than the oil and gas coming out, you first have to patch the leaks otherwise you now have drilling mud as well as oil and gas coming out of the holes instead of just oil and gas.
The only way to reduce the oil and gas pressure from this blowout well is to relieve the oil and gas pressure underground from the surrounding rock formation by removing the oil and gas. This can be done by drilling four to six new wells around the existing blowout well, spaced about 1500 feet away from this well and allowing the oil and gas pressure to naturally reduce away along pipelines to shore or to oil tankers above the well.
When oil and gas well cement work is normally done, drilling mud fills the well. This is normally a water based mud and it is easy for the cement to harden in a stabilized zone when the oil and gas is not actually in the well but being kept out in the formation by the pressure of this mud. Once the oil and gas is in the well and is in rapid motion in the form of a blowout, it is almost impossible to control unless you have a blowout preventer valve or the oil and gas pressure naturally drops off as you deplete the underground reserves.
As there is no working blowout valve, all anybody can hope for is that the oil and gas pressure will fall off with time allowing the well to be plugged. Unfortunately that is unlikely.
Drill four relief wells immediately to relieve the background oil and gas pressure spaced 1500 feet in all directions away from this blowout well in the Gulf of Mexico.
Do not drill directional wells. Drill four vertical wells into the formation to the same depth as the existing well.
Directional wells into this existing well will be the same as pumping drilling mud into a blown out formation. You lose the drilling mud into the formation and therefore the mud’s back pressure on the oil and gas is lost and you lose control of the well and create another blowout.
Do not drill directional or slant wells into the existing blowout well. That will only create a larger unsealed well. It will be the same as drilling into a blown out formation. All the drilling mud will be lost to the formation or in this case the leaking pipeline and a new blowout will occur, unless the blowout preventer on this new well is activated. This will only stop oil and gas coming out of this new directional well, but will not solve the problem of oil and gas coming out of the present broken pipes and non functional blowout valve.
So, in summary, we need to relieve the oil and gas pressure from the formation before we can patch the broken pipes at this well.
Chris Landau (geologist)