Ed Note: Latest news this morning as of 6:30am, the cap has been shut down again due to what BP claims on their website is a leaking choke valve. They plan to repair it and begin the stress tests again…oh, goody.
Ed Note 2: At 1:45 pm, Thursday, BP stated they have fixed the leak and have begun the integrity test of the well, fingers cross throughout the Gulf Coast for many, many reasons.
As the nation sits waiting to find out if the new cap will at least temporarily seal the well, a number of people have brought up some interesting points about that long delay that occurred yesterday, you know, the one that the Coast Guard or British Petroleum never really got around to explaining to the public in any sort of detail…yeah, that delay, that delay in the stress testing…
Here’s what recently-retired Shell Oil President John Hofmeister had to say:
“I think the fundamental issue… is there are serious concerns about the integrity of the casing that is the well itself. And that by putting the cap on and doing the stress tests… that the integrity of the steel is insufficient to hold the pressure of the well. And if you lose the casing its game over. It’s like having a volcano on the bottom of the sea. If you lose the casing and oil starts coming up on the outside of the casing you can’t stop it. There’s nothing you can do that would stop it…other than implode the well. There are many in the industry that feel the casing must have been damaged because of the power of that well, the pressure of that reservoir. Let’s not do the “stress tests” until we’re ready to go with the relief wells… Better have relief wells up and operating before you run any integrity tests.”
That’s right…according to the retired president of Shell Oil (someone who might know about oil wells) if the steel casings of the well should disintegrate, rupture, break, while British Petroleum is running these stress tests – a very real possibility due to the increased pressure on already damaged pipes, then this well will blow for real.
You thought that the oil well had already blown?
Well, you’d be right and wrong.
Yes, the well blew up. Back in April the containment machinery failed and the oil began gushing out of a hole in the ground, but here’s where you’d be wrong: inside that hole in the ocean floor is steel casing and for the last eighty days, oil has been rushing through that steel and grinding it down, weakening its integrity so that now, when BP starts to do these tests and applies further pressure to this casing, it could rupture, freeing the oil completely. This would be very, very bad as the oil could start breaking out like a sieve through other locations in the ocean floor.
This would also be very, very bad as this would nullify the relief wells currently being drilled.
Yeah, those relief wells…the savior we’ve all been waiting for to end this thing once and for all…suddenly rendered useless and what kind of a let down would that be? The way a relief well works is they drill into the column far below the ocean surface and inject cement into that column so the oil and pressure pushes the cement up to the ocean floor where it backs up inside the steel casing, hardening, closing, filling, and eventually stopping it up. They continue to blast cement into the column until the whole thing gets plugged a long way down, effectively sealing it off for good, but if the steel casing is ruptured, this process will not work. If the oil is not restricted to that column, it’s over.
This apparently is what the government was concerned about, and this is what British Petroleum assured them was no problem, but this is where I might ask: why the hell is the government taking British Petroleum’s word for anything anymore?
If the risk of this operation is so high, high enough that oil industry insiders are having “what the hell?” moments, high enough the government demands BP stops the process for close to twenty-four hours and, let’s not forget the relief wells being drilled are less than twenty feet from breaching the column…well, then seriously, what the hell are they doing? Twenty feet away from completing a relief well and you are undergoing a procedure that has the potential to blow this thing wide open, and this, being done by a company with a well-known reputation for taking big risks that blow up in their face…you know, like speeding up the work on the Thunder Horse Rig that five years ago, almost collapsed and gave the Gulf of Mexico a preview to…oh, I don’t know… the Deepwater Horizon that blew up because BP was again cutting corners and taking risks by not completing the required testing of the well, using cheaper, less effective equipment and sealants…and this is the company Obama and the Coast Guard give the go-ahead to – to take another risk that could blow the steel casings and make it impossible to seal this well short of nuking the whole damned thing?
What the hell?
The relief well is twenty feet away.
Oh, and now this just in from the Humid Beings site about that delay yesterday…
“It has been reported to Humid Beings, from those working within BP, that the pressure created by installing the new cap has worsened cracks at the wellbore. The shut-in procedure, that has been discussed at length this past week as a possible end of the continuous flow into the Gulf, may not be attempted for fear of catastrophic effects. The flow restrictions from the new cap have made the situation much worse. There is now talk of removing the new cap all together. More news as we receive it.”
Since this was reported, the tests have begun…
Here’s hoping they know what they’re doing, and these cracks don’t worsen and this isn’t a rush-job, as a letter writer pointed out, to get this thing sealed before British Petroleum’s July 27th shareholders meeting…Nahh, that couldn’t be the reason for this risky maneuver, after all, BP wouldn’t be crazy enough to risk completely destroying the Gulf of Mexico for profit margins and a good report to stockholders, would they?
Have a nice day…unless this thing blows…
Then, have a drink…
Have a lot of drinks…