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lebouche

Multiple Leaks, Deep Water Horizon

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This is TFH stuff. Who knows how much truth there is in it? None, I hope.

But one thing stuck out for me.

WTF is this idea of a nuke to seal the well all about?

On the one hand they're saying the seabed is fractured and there are other leaks, well a big explosion would help that no end, wouldn't it? Also can you imagine the size of the tsunami that would probably be generated?

You wouldn't want to own any beach property in that region of the world!

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Guest Noodle

This is TFH stuff. Who knows how much truth there is in it? None, I hope.

But one thing stuck out for me.

WTF is this idea of a nuke to seal the well all about?

On the one hand they're saying the seabed is fractured and there are other leaks, well a big explosion would help that no end, wouldn't it? Also can you imagine the size of the tsunami that would probably be generated?

You wouldn't want to own any beach property in that region of the world!

They need deflagration rather than detonation. Deflagration is sub-sonic and just a bunch of extreme heat that would fuse the in the upper formation sands, vitrifying to glass.

I sent them a quick brief, but no idea how to vitrify sands 5000 feet under water. Told them to contact the military.

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Guest Noodle

The idea would be to melt the rock, causing a different type of non-porous rock formation, similar to glass. I think it has been done successfully by the Russians (who are shocking child-like nuclear pyromaniacs and even used atom bombs to dig canals, hydro projects and quarries back in the day!).

(It would only cause a tsunami if the explosion was enormous - much, much more than is being proposed, I think.)

We use the same in contaminated land remediation and hazardous waste management. Although not using nuclear bombs, we use graphite and huge electric currents.

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They need deflagration rather than detonation. Deflagration is sub-sonic and just a bunch of extreme heat that would fuse the in the upper formation sands, vitrifying to glass.

I sent them a quick brief, but no idea how to vitrify sands 5000 feet under water. Told them to contact the military.

OK, if you say so.

I had no idea it was possible to generate enough heat to vitrify sand and rock without generating a massive blast wave.

I'm no scientist, but at those kind of temperatures wouldn't the surrounding water vapourise and expand enormously, generating a wave?

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Guest Noodle

OK, if you say so.

I had no idea it was possible to generate enough heat to vitrify sand and rock without generating a massive blast wave.

I'm no scientist, but at those kind of temperatures wouldn't the surrounding water vapourise and expand enormously, generating a wave?

Probably yes. Or at least a lot of surface roughness. Remember the force it takes to generate a tsunami. Megathrust earthquakes about manage it.

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Usually they nuke things in US films as a finale resort... often after the US military has sent to the oil industry for help! :blink:

Well I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

More seriously though, might I recommend the oil drum as one of the few sources of coverage of this spill that's not complete and utter drivel? It'll take some time to wade through but the tech talk posts in particular give a good picture of what's going on.

As to what happened, I think that this is well worth reading. The short version is that BP was running behind schedule with the well and cut corners massively to try and keep costs down. This was done in some cases over the specific objections of the contractors on site, Haliburton among them.

If true, it looks like blame rests squarely with BP executives.

BTW, I don't think that the well is leaking elsewhere but it may be the case that the flow rate from the BOP on top of the well is increasing as the oil flow starts to erode the BOP's innards.

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We use the same in contaminated land remediation and hazardous waste management. Although not using nuclear bombs, we use graphite and huge electric currents.

How would that work under water?

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The idea would be to melt the rock, causing a different type of non-porous rock formation, similar to glass. I think it has been done successfully by the Russians (who are shocking child-like nuclear pyromaniacs and even used atom bombs to dig canals, hydro projects and quarries back in the day!).

(It would only cause a tsunami if the explosion was enormous - much, much more than is being proposed, I think.)

See the Plowshare Project.

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How would that work under water?

Well rather than electric currents we'd use banana skins.

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Well I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

More seriously though, might I recommend the oil drum as one of the few sources of coverage of this spill that's not complete and utter drivel? It'll take some time to wade through but the tech talk posts in particular give a good picture of what's going on.

As to what happened, I think that this is well worth reading. The short version is that BP was running behind schedule with the well and cut corners massively to try and keep costs down. This was done in some cases over the specific objections of the contractors on site, Haliburton among them.

If true, it looks like blame rests squarely with BP executives.

BTW, I don't think that the well is leaking elsewhere but it may be the case that the flow rate from the BOP on top of the well is increasing as the oil flow starts to erode the BOP's innards.

There is along posting on the worst case scenario and why it is plausible at this link: http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6593/648967

This does not represent the official line at TOD but as theys ay, you can only expect lots of dark speculation in the absence of transparency from BP.

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:o

Yes. Under 5000 feet of water banana skins temperature rises to 28,000 Kelvin. Enough to melt the sand benthic zone and create a glass seal.

Clever I thought and of course no radioactivity.

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More seriously though, might I recommend the oil drum as one of the few sources of coverage of this spill that's not complete and utter drivel? It'll take some time to wade through but the tech talk posts in particular give a good picture of what's going on.

I'd second that - if you want to learn about/discuss this head over to The Oil Drum. the oil drum

I read somewhere that the Schlumberger workers, who were raising Cain re. the shortcuts, were heli'd off the rig hours before it blew. That's class.

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Yes. Under 5000 feet of water banana skins temperature rises to 28,000 Kelvin. Enough to melt the sand benthic zone and create a glass seal.

Clever I thought and of course no radioactivity.

But the smell! And the pollution. Who wants the atlantic polluted with vitrified banana skins?

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But the smell! And the pollution. Who wants the atlantic polluted with vitrified banana skins?

It won't be. The banana skins mineralize due to the auto-combustion.

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I'd second that - if you want to learn about/discuss this head over to The Oil Drum. the oil drum

I read somewhere that the Schlumberger workers, who were raising Cain re. the shortcuts, were heli'd off the rig hours before it blew. That's class.

I've read that too. The Schlumberger workers had been flown out there by BP to check the integrity of the cementing job that had been done on the last section of casing installed in the well. It would seem that BP then decided that it didn't need to do this and sent the contractors home again. The cement job then failed causing a blowout.

Oops.

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To make matters worse, it would seem that BP ignored concerns from Haliburton (the contractor doing the cementing) about the way in which the casing was being cemented in place. Haliburton had recommended that spacers be installed between the casing and the side of the well to allow cement to properly fill the space in between. They also recommended a different design of casing to the one BP adopted. In both cases, decisions made by BP seem to have been made on cost grounds.

The fact that BP knew this was risky but sent the set of contractors who were supposed to be inspecting the well home anyway is reckless at best IMO.

If you trawl through articles on the Oil Drum it would seem that there is a bit of a history of blowouts in the Gulf of Mexico, all of which fortunately were contained by the blow out preventers installed on the well. It may well be that BP execs knowingly took risks with the thinking being that if the worst happened then the BOP would stop any leaks. This is not how a BOP is meant to be used - it should be a last ditch measure only.

It seems that the BOP also failed to function or to funtion fully hence the rather impressive leak.

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That link is very comprehensive. I think this bit of common-or-garden physics:

... clinches it for me. BP are no longer trying to cap the well in case they increase the damage to the leaks deep underground.

The 'nuclear option' is real. The Russians were tremendously messy drillers, and I read that they had to use nuclear explosives to stop gushing disasters six times. Five times it worked, which is a very good success rate. There was some work done by the Pentagon on making mini-thermonuclear weapons triggered by lasers rather than A-bombs, reducing radiation, and low-yield bombs which would penetrate deep underground before exploding, to minimise fallout, but I'm not sure how far any of it proceeded.

Quite frankly, it's the option I'd be seriously considering now. But the US government won't push the button for fear of it failing and causing even more damage. Of course BP don't have thermonuclear devices, so I can't see this happening.

We are talking about vitrifying a large area of sea bed here with the risk it could destabilize the underlying formations.

Leave it to gush for 30 years and make sure I have the remediation contract for the shorelines . . . much safer option.

money.jpg

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You're right - most people would prefer oil pollution to nuclear pollution anyway. (If I remember rightly, Lovelock says that Nature loves nuclear pollution - it keeps people away!)

Well, most of the wildlife in the Chernobyl exclusion zone is thriving now.

Just a thought, but there are various nuclear test ban treaties that the US has signed up to that might make setting off a nuke a complicated affair legally.

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That link is very comprehensive. I think this bit of common-or-garden physics:

... clinches it for me. BP are no longer trying to cap the well in case they increase the damage to the leaks deep underground.

The 'nuclear option' is real. The Russians were tremendously messy drillers, and I read that they had to use nuclear explosives to stop gushing disasters six times. Five times it worked, which is a very good success rate. There was some work done by the Pentagon on making mini-thermonuclear weapons triggered by lasers rather than A-bombs, reducing radiation, and low-yield bombs which would penetrate deep underground before exploding, to minimise fallout, but I'm not sure how far any of it proceeded.

It is possible to make a relatively "clean" thermonuclear bomb. Most nuclear weapons are designed with a uranium coating to increase yield and the fission byproducts from this are where a lot of the fallout comes from. Take the casing away and possibly add more fusion fuel and you get a "cleaner" bomb at the expense of a greatly decreased explosive yield.

Fusion still produces lots of neutrons though which can get absorbed by other atoms turning them into radioactively unstable isotopes.

Can you imagine the field day Greenpeace would have if they even tried though?

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It makes me realise all those bombastic movies where an asteroid is heading towards Earth and we send Bruce Willis up with nukes - well life just isn't like that.

Even if this thing totally collapses into some sort of million-barrel-a-day-maw-into-hell, I can see us all just sitting there, building 'Costner centrifuge ships' and twiddling our thumbs. It's the same human political brain-freeze that leads to millions of people starving, dying from basic hygiene failures, 'the war on drugs', and sustainable eco-solutions which by any numerical analysis cannot combat AGW if the threat is real.

(Looking back at medieval times with witch burnings, religious self-flagellation, and crackdowns on the evils of music and dancing, I can see that although we have moved on, nothing changes.)

TBH I don't think we're quite at the nuclear option yet. If the relief wells fail though then they might as well give it a go. I don't think the fallout from a single, relatively "clean" nuke would actually be much of a problem but the environmentalists would probably bring down Obama and his government if they tried it.

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A wiser head than mine. I think you're right, but the last bit makes me think that even if it does become time, it might keep being kicked into touch until it's too late and neither it, nor relief drills will work.

Basically it is a factual physics race - the outcome is probably predecided even now by the geology. Either the relief wells will work quickly enough to reduce the flow before the situation gets unrecoverable, or they won't.

I think it's also a question of the state of the well (and it looks like this may well be deteriorating). It's possible that the top of the well isn't leaking at all and the top kill failed because BP drastically underestimated the flow rates and hence the amount of mud needed. Equally it could be true that the well casing is f***ed in which case it gets more interesting.

BP seems to have been quite coy about the state of the well but then I guess they want to manage the information released very closely with a view to limiting damages from future litigation.

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  • 152 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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