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Showing posts from July, 2010

Feds And BP Roll The Dice On Well Shutdown

We have never been as close to getting BP's now capped Mocando well irrevocably sealed. At the same time the associated risks have never been higher.

Five sea floor leaks around the well and a single leak two miles away have been dismissed as inconsequential by Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen. The logic Allen used to dismiss the leak two miles away is a pure guess that the leak comes from an old abandoned well. Allen also discounts the five leaks near the well as "drips," displaying an official willingness to continue taking the risk of a significant sea floor rupture. Despite recent differences between the two, Allen and BP now agree they can monitor closely and quickly open the well cap if the leak volume escalates. Hopefully it works out for them, and  for us.

There's a storm now building and likely to impact operations within days. That means a key decision point will be reached when and if they have to pull away all ships: will they leave the well closed or not unti…

BP Dumped Toxic Chemicals In Well Before Rig Blast

In testimony at an official hearing yesterday, it emerged that BP succumbed to the temptation to exploit a loophole in environmental law and dumped 400 barrels of toxic chemicals into the Mocando well just hours before the blowout.

Leo Lindner, a drilling fluid specialist for contractor MI-Swaco gave evidence to the government panel that the quantity of chemical 'spacer' pumped into the well was roughly double the usual amount. Later, Ronnie Penton, an attorney who represents one of the rig workers, told the Washington Post that the double dose of fluid had altered the outcome of a crucial pressure test which preceded BP displacing mud in the well with sea water.

In evidence, Linder said BP had hundreds of barrels of two hazardous chemicals which under environmental regulations it was prohibited from dumping in the Gulf. The company decided to mix the two chemicals and dispose of the mix down the well. When drilling for oil, BP is exempted from strict adherence to normal envir…

Flow Model Shows Gulf Spill Affecting East Florida

Most of the oil spill from BP's Gulf gusher is still under the sea surface. That means that even satellite images have difficulty presenting us with a true picture of the extent of the oil spread.

The University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science has produced a computer model of the likely spread, based on the US Navy Coastal Ocean Model and using the sophisticated maths of turbulent flows in fluid dynamics to understand the evolution of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.

Their video of the oil spread only runs to June 13th, so you'll have to use your imagination for the last two weeks.

The model shows the Florida Keys began to be affected around a month ago, and the Tampa Bay and Sarasota areas with oil about twenty-five miles offshore on June 13. But by then, tendrils of oil were sweeping up Florida's east coast as far as St. Augustine and Jacksonville.

Two weeks have elapsed since the final frames of that video. Two weeks of more than two …