Thursday, May 27, 2010

Take Them While They Are Hot - BP Oil Spill

Oil Spill Related articles from several professional journals are being released on line for free for a limited time. Take them while they are hot!Many interesting articles on the Exxon Valdez spill. Will see if I get a few articles on liquid oil and gasoline spills for my roster file...Links below:
Thanks to for the note:

Talking of spills. There are finally indications that a mud plug seems to be controlling the spill from the broken well in the Gulf of Mexico. A nice technical discussion here:

Section through the BOP, showing the anticipated mud flow path (initially from BP)

Some background of mud drilling here. Water wells here use bentonite clay to seal wells. In essence the plug seems to be working.
The news on the plug is here:

BP says tricky deep-sea oil plug plan on track

By the way, here is BP Public Relations webpage:

The primary objective of the top kill process is to put heavy kill mud into the well so that it reduces the pressure and then the flow from the well. Once the kill mud is in the well and it’s shut down, then we follow up with cement to plug the leak.

For the top kill procedure we are designing equipment to pump the highest kill rate we can, irrespective of the flow rate of oil from the well, to force a downward flow of mud into the well. This, combined with the heavy drilling fluid is designed to eventually stop the flow. This has never been attempted at these depths. This is very complex – and involves several complex procedures coming together.

Detailed description of the procedure

We have the Q4000 vessel at the surface which has a crane for lifting heavy equipment and is a central part of the surface equipment for this procedure. We also have a number of other vessels: the HOS Centerline, with Halliburton pumping equipment; the HOS Strongline; and the BJ Services Blue Dolphin and Halliburton Stim Star IV pumping boats.

A total of 50,000 barrels of mud will be on location to kill the well – far more than necessary, but we want to be prepared for anything. Pumping capacity on location is more than 30,000 hydraulic horsepower.

The mud will be pumped down the 6-5/8 inch drill pipe (pipe is connected to the Q4000), then through 3-inch hoses, which go through the manifold on the seafloor. Then the mud moves through another set of 3-inch hoses attached to the Deepwater Horizon BOP choke and kill lines.

With the manifold, we can also pump the ‘junk shot’ if necessary to stop too much of the kill mud going out through the top of the BOP rather than going down into the well to stop the flow. By switching valves in the subsea manifold, we can inject the ‘bridging material’ (the junk), which will prevent such losses and enable the top kill to continue.

We’ve been testing the junk shot on-shore, looking at different configurations of what might restrict the flow out of the Deepwater Horizon riser and what types of materials would help shut it off. Materials in a junk shot can include well-known items such as pieces of tires, golf balls, and pieces of rope.

Most of the equipment is on site and preparations continue for this operation.
This page was last updated 23 May 2010

I hope this info is useful for all these amateur scientists. I hope this trend of available information continues. I hate paying $40 - $45 / article for pdf versions of published papers.

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Kofla Olivieri said...

Such a devastating event. The damage and ecological impact is going to be felt for centuries.

antigonum cajan said...

Certainly, centuries. Since I will not be around, I wonder, why does the thirst for oil continues?

This would be a good indicator to stop the madness since the damages for every juan else, FLORA/FAUNA, think of it there is such in the water, in addition to the other, over water and soil.

This brings one thing to memory. New Orleans. Why would anyone built a city close by such a monster river?
With flimsy concrete/mud walls to try to tame/stop it?

Much worse. Where is the logic of rebuilding a city doomed to death for the above reason, soon or later?

Beato said...

On that issue of New Orleans. There is a logic for its construction and development. It is a crossroads and a bridge between most of the eastern US and Mexico. Still relrvant today? No idea.
Anyway. The Gulf of Mexico has had other large issues, even before BP's spill. This just makes things worse for everybody.
Everyone will pay for this in years to come. The Oil Pollution Act of 1990 will become more stringent than it currently is. It will simply be very costly to others to do oil related business.
Work is just beginning here.
This deserves further discussion on a new post.

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