Tuesday, May 11, 2010

How best we can tackle the Blowout at Gulf of Mexico

With much of our most valuable time lost while making an approach to cap the well which is under full flow, we are surely endangering the sea lives to a great degree without finding any rightful solution as yet which is a great concern to the entire of us. Although the invading of the seashore by the column of oil is prevented till now through initiating other associated actions, it might happen at any time now with setting of spring in the Area early. This shall automatically cause unsettle weather over the entire Area to force us to let lose the enforcement of strict vigilance on its disbursement elsewhere nearby. Therefore we are suggesting a few options to BP to see and analyze its suitability of implementation to the extent possible to cut down the preparation time to the minimum.

So long we don’t allow additional space to accommodate oil and Gas at the Dome itself but restrict the flow from the well exactly equal to the diameter of the last Casing from where the release is taking place, there can never be any ice formation while diverting the flow through the release port in the Dome either due to the ventury effect or production of a notch. If we intend to resort to this process, there must be inflatable element within the Dome to reduce the passage of release to near equal to the size of the Casing. Again if we opt for stepwise reduction of diameter of the Dome up to the release port, both actions shall be time consuming affair to build it. Also, if we convert the Dome into two pieces to join both parts at undersea in the mouth of the well, it too shall require time.

Therefore without losing much of time in doing so while making of a different effort to control the well, we can easily as well as successfully make more ports near to the venting area to avoid formation of ice. The entire release ports can well be connected to a single flow afterwards to collect the oil safely into a vessel. This is the simplest answer to the entire question, as are already successful in placing the Dome in the position. Another design might cause not only delay in constructing it but the rightful placement of it shall become questionable as it shall be subjected to intense pressure that shall be exerted on a lighter Dome by the on-going flow to throw it off position endlessly even during the process of its placement itself to encourage causing a spark .

Further, there should be an additional port or hole provided in the lower part of the Dome with a provision to either close or open it to lower Coil tubing through it into the flowing well, for our ultimate purpose of killing the well without mobilizing a costly Rig but other small set-ups only; as and when the pressure within the Dome become normal with its flow duly diverted to collection ship. This is also not a time consuming exercise and can well be done simultaneously.

ADDED ON 05/12/2010

Since the smaller Dome is already placed nearer to the position and waiting for exact capping, we must take extraordinarily precaution not to allow knocking out the Dome off position by the high force of crude oil and Gas that is accompanying with the flow. A simple metal to metal strike might cause a spark to trigger another Blowout to make the mouth of the flow from one to many apart from doing other causalities. What was successful elsewhere, may not work in another place being there might be many more other related adverse factors associated with it to expect a similar result. Even if it is successful, we must ensure that an addition port is provided in the Dome to lower coil tubing through it to kill the well easy without requisitioning a standby rig. Further, in order to ensure a free flow without producing any low pressure zone or area nearer to the release from the Dome, the release port must be big enough not to offer a restriction in the flow anywhere in the entire length of 5 Feet of it.

ADDED ON 05/13/2010

At-lest I never ever seen a Cameron make B.O.P Stack failure in my life time and it was always my personal favorite during my service Career. Any or all Mechanical Equipment bound to fail under certain condition only as and when we unable to maintain it properly or not carrying out B.O.P Drills regularly which is mandatory for all OIL Companies. But that too fail under certain circumstances when there is a time gap between the operation of closing and happening of a Blow-out. However these are secondary thing in finding the exact cause of happening. It is a fact that when a small amount of Methane Gas comes into contact with air, it bound to produce an explosion. But how and why a pocket of it came inside the Drill String without any indication shown in the Surface is therefore puzzle some to solve. Was the contractor injected a high density plug inside the Drill String prior to putting out or was it happened during the time of connection after running-in? If the first presumption is correct we need to ban it doing so without properly balancing the circulating system in the area but if the second option is correct, how the gas can travel that length to cause the explosion? It is a near impossible proposition. Have the Crew members tested any fire extinguisher? I had once faced with seeing such an explosion taking place when we tested it but luckily there were neither any causalities nor any damage done to the area. Accordingly it looked as if there must be some continuous inflammable gas covering the area to do that much of damage to the men and material. It might even be a failure of cementation of Casing to induce a leak from underground. This cause is also improbable to take the rig and crew member by surprise. If there is a casing failure how come the gas travelled that distance without disbursing itself on the way to the rig? Therefore the actual cause of fire is hard to find. Therefore we must ensure placement of additional monitoring gang in the Rig to monitor all activities of the Rig while drilling in the area.

From the Video footage, it is look somewhat easy to Cap the well with the device i.e. heavier Dome with more ports made available at the release point to capture the crude outside with an extra or separate port for lowing of coil tubing. In case, it is possible provide a little bigger diameter pipe than the casing size from where the release is taking place, it might work on our behalf to control the well fast and quick if it don’t call for an additional requirement of time to delay implementing of the operation.

ADDED ON 05/15/2010

During the entire Career of my Service from joining B.O.C during mid May 1973 to leaving my Company opting for early Retirement during 1st week July, 2004 when it was a PSU of high repute; as I was looking after exactly the same job of supervising ‘Oil Well Drilling’ with some change in sitting positions except during the periods when I had to undergo various temporary demotions for adopting alternative methods; very much breaking the Running Standing Orders of the Company to complete various jobs at less than half the time saving huge cost to the Company; I can well sense a well being of a Drilling Well from a distance but unable to see the exact reason of the ‘Blow Out’ occurred at the ‘Deep Water Drilling Rig’ operated by ‘Transocean’ on behalf of BP. None of the reasons cited are seemed feasible to do that kind of damage to the Rig unless continuous supply of combustibles is maintained to make the fire spread to engulf the entire Rig. Therefore the Satellite pictures if available possibly can lead us to some sort of conclusion on the Subject to know the exact cause.


[Since the direct contact with BP is not possible in absence of proper channel of communication to take an indirect part in the entire exercise of bringing the well under control, I am publishing this small suggestion in Knol in order to bring it to the notice of Management of BP to enable them to give a due thought to it too while introducing other finer methods to control it]

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