A Petroleum Engineer's Explanation

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posted on Jun, 17 2010 @ 09:58 PM
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Originally posted by poet1b

So you guys involved in the industry, do you think there needs to be more regulation?

From what I have read, there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of effort to establish standard automated shutdown proceedures, or even standard procedures to drill these wells.

Considering the massive impact on numerous eco systems, and large numbers of people having their property destroyed by catastrophic environmental disasters, having rules that guide these operations are more important than traffic laws.



Well control has been around for quite a while. One of my very good friends dad is the Prentice part of a company called Prentice and Records. They don't put Walmart greeters on off shore rigs. They are highly trained and highly skilled professionals.

I can tell you from first hand experience that nobody relishes the thought of MMS, OSHA, TRRC, DOT, or the EPA showing up. The industry is regulated by numerous government agencies and in spite of many ridiculous claims to the contrary there is no good ole boy network. OSHA, EPA, TRRC, DOT, MMS... and some that I'm forgetting, all visit a site with one goal in mind- find a violation and correct any safety or regulatory deficiency.

This disaster was created by a combination of bad decisions and faulty equipment... but in the end it's going to boil down to multiple instances of human error that overwhelmed the capability of the safety equipment and a well that did not behave in a way that they "expected" it to. The expectation was in and of itself a mistake. imho




posted on Jun, 19 2010 @ 02:28 AM
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Urgent - Radioactive Oil From BP Blowout!

Posted At Godlike Productions
6-18-10

Geiger Counter Results On Gulf Oil - Vid



This is going to blow the roof off of the scope of this disaster. This is why people are getting sick. This is why they are using Corexit in such quantities, this is why there aren't many ships out there. The radioactivity is beyond safe levels.

Remember 'Alas, Babylon' while you read.

Lets first start with Eugene Island 330.

The mystery of Eugene Island.

Eugene island is a submerged geological feature like an underwater mountain 80 miles off the coast of Louisiana. The landscape is littered with deep fissures and faults which gush large amounts of oil and gas. A platform named Eugene Island 330 was producing 15,000 barrels of oil in the early 1970's. By the late 80's, the flow has reduced to 4,000 barrels a day. Then suddenly a mysterious thing happened. Production at Eugene Island 330 suddenly jumped back to 13,000 barrels a day. The reserve was refilled just like that. It is estimated the reserves went from 60 million barrels to 400 million barrels in a few days time. Something very strange is happening under the Gulf of Mexico.

What happened at Eugene Island supports the growing theory that oil is renewable from deep Earth processes. But don't let the general population know this. This aids to explain why the Middle East oil feilds seem to be inexhaustable.

Scientists noticed oils chemical composition did not change as fossil records had changed. Many scientist now believe oil is not created by decomposing remains of life since areas of very different ecospheres are producing oil of equal composition.

But there is much more to talk about the new discoveries of deep oil. Something very dangerous lurks in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Keep in mind the reserve Deepwater was drilling happens to be the deepest offshore reserve to date. Also keep in mind how we learned oil is sourced from deep below the Earths crust. Further down then mankind has been able to study and observe.

Helium is a naturally occurring gas formed in oil reserves. So common that helium detectors have been used to discover oil reserves. Helium is an inert gas known to be a by-product from the radiological decay of uranium and thorium. Uranium and Thorium are known to be in great quantities at greater depths. Yes, radioactive elements occur naturally and can be found and detected in trace amounts in shallow oil reserves. Oil reserves that do not produce large amounts of methane also lack uranium and thorium. The presence of methane is proportional to the presence of uranium and thorium, both radioactive elements.

Yes, you read that correctly!

The more methane that is present reflects the amount of Uranium and Thorium in the oil reserve. The deeper the oil, the younger the radiological decay is that produces helium. The Eugene Island 330 rig was replenished showing deep oil is resupllying the more shallow oil reserves in the Gulf of Mexico just off the coast of Louisiana.

www.sanfordundergroundlaboratoryathomestake....
org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=100%
3Auranium-thorium-neutrino-research-could-determine-earths-
age-energy-production&catid=21%3Aother-news&Itemid=6


"The energy coming from uranium and thorium decay is thought to be the most significant energy source inside the earth," Tolich said. "So this is the driving engine for things such as tectonic plate movements, volcanoes and earthquake. We are looking for neutrinos, particularly electron antineutrinos ... coming from uranium and thorium decay inside the earth. The uranium and thorium is distributed all through the earth in the mantle. One part in 10 million of the earth's mass is thought to be made of uranium and thorium.


That is correct! There is a large feed from Deep Earth just off the coast of Louisiana. Does this ring any bells? Give you the idea of the scope of the disaster yet?

Deep Earth oil is flooding to the

[edit on 19-6-2010 by Streetwise]



posted on Jun, 19 2010 @ 04:16 AM
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reply to post by Streetwise
 


You're supposed to use external source tags for external sources.

There's nothing that says oil from deeper deposits can't migrate up to shallower levels. And this could happen suddenly under certain conditions. Maybe the depletion of a shallower reserve causes a fissure to suddenly form and then the deeper oil can migrate up to the shallower level through the fissure.

This means there is deeper oil, it doesn't mean there is some inexhaustible source of oil production inside the Earth.


Originally posted by poet1b
So you guys involved in the industry, do you think there needs to be more regulation?

I have two observations:
1. If the casing isn't able to withstand the bottomhole pressure, then that is a safety concern in my book and needs to be addressed. It turns out in this case the 15000 psi casing should be adequate for the 12000-13000 bottomhole pressure, but if what billyjack said is true that the casing isn't always rated to withstand bottomhole pressure, then it should be, otherwise the BOP can end up being useless if the casing ruptures.
2. I'm very interested to learn more about the undocumented BOP changes that BP referred to and what role those modifications played in the failure of the BOP to perform as expected. There might need to be more careful monitoring against making undocumented changes like that, whether or not those changes played a major role in the disaster. The BOP is a critical safety device and any modifications need to go through a formal review and approval process and should be documented.

[edit on 19-6-2010 by Arbitrageur]



posted on Jun, 19 2010 @ 10:38 AM
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2. I'm very interested to learn more about the undocumented BOP changes that BP referred to and what role those modifications played in the failure of the BOP to perform as expected.


My first hand info is that it did play a role in the disaster but to what extent I'm not certain. It seems to me that multiple failure modes are the root cause of the blowout and ensuing fire.



posted on Jun, 25 2010 @ 08:07 PM
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I couldn't find the thread on Peak Oil so I thought it had died. Glad to see there's still interest in the reality rather than the hysteria of the MSM.

Would someone please shut Matt Simmons up. He's a banker at best and a journalist at worst. Every thing he says is mindless prattle and physically impossible. This is bad enough without his idiocy.

Don't know whether I'm answering all the questions and I may end up repeating myself,but here goes.

Do we need more regulation? As much as I hate to admit it, as you can well imagine how much disdain I have for regulators with limited knowledge following a bureaucratic list of how to drill a well, we may need it. I say this because of my concern about a generation of engineers that have had their raises,promotions and bonuses based upon cutting costs,instead of producing oil without killing people. Until we've had a few years inwhich accountants are not running things we may have to live with increased oversight so that the cream of the profession can rise to the top where the scum currently resides.

Technical issues concern that it was stated that they closed blind rams first. This tends to confirm that the pipe rams were gone or the wrong size. Yes, we do want to save the well and so closing the pipe rams saves the casing while leaving a conduit to the bottom of the hole to circulate out and perform the bottom kill. We always close the pipe rams first. In my experience the blind rams when pipe is in the hole is a last resort or when there is no pipe to close arund. In either scenerio, the flow is not shut off just diverted in a controlled environment. This is also the reason that the casing designs for the intermediate strings are not necessarily to hold back the bottom hole pressure. The well starts flowing at lower pressures to indicate that its coming and steps are taken at that point to divert. A flowing pressure is generally less than half the bottomhole pressure. The reservoir oil still weighs 6-7 #/gallon even with 3000 cubic feet of gas in solution so it has hydrostatic head.

BP anounced they elected not to run a cement bond log. In 35 years I have not run a CBL exactly zero times. The field rumors are that Schlumberger declared a hazardous enviroment and left. The announcment by BP is obviously to keep Schlumberger from spilling their guts, by taking full responsibility. The well was blowing out so the CBL couldn't be run. Not trying to sound too obnoxious, but had the pricks in Houston told me to cement before we got bottoms up, I would have been in Houma drinking with the Schlumberger hands.

Reading the posts, the nuclear options continue to be reiterated. As stated previously I am not even sure if it's a last resort that would not make the situation worse. In addition, even if we have a small enough diameter, I'd bet it couldn't withstand the hydrostatic pressure without messing up. Finally guys, I have worked in the oilfields in Russia and the FSU. Based upon my experience the last thing we need is Russian technology which by now is nearly up to 1970's over here. Remember Chernobyl, the oilfield isn't alot better. Since it's the only place I've been hungover three times in one day, I can understand how they came up with a nuke instead of much better options, after a week I wasn't thinking real well either.

There has also been alot of surface plugging ideas. The flowing pressures are 4000 to 6000 psi. The riser that were going to pinch is 21". That's 329,000# of force, probably not going to happen.

Also alot of concerns about casing. I surmise that there is something wrong otherwise the obvious bottom kill would be to tie on to the 7" perforate some holes at the bottom & start pumping while its flowing out the annulus. Either messed it up with blind rams or theirs junk in the way.

Finally, looking at the pictures I really don't get why they didn't cut the bolts on the flange rather than cut the riser. Con't



posted on Jun, 25 2010 @ 08:14 PM
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Continuing. I can fantasize about cutting the bolts off and even bolting up aother set of blowout preventers on the broken ones. By the time they got around to cutting off the riser, I would have thought that they could have had a flange manufactured to increase the size of the flow lines, with on-off connections, 9 sets of rams where they could snub in. Snubbing units run pipe into holes under pressure. There must be a reason that I don't understand.

Go releif wells!



posted on Jun, 25 2010 @ 09:26 PM
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reply to post by billyjack
 


I'm in the downstream end of the business (processing) and I can tell you that it's the same for our end too. Engineers = accountants. God I would hate to go through Engineering school, learn essentially nothing about the real world, and then have to turn into an accountant when I should be having fun learning about the real world.

As far as the newsies go... pffft... freakin idiots abound. Even the ones that don't want to castrate the industry say dumb things.

My contact still says around the first week of July for the relief wells (don't know if that's when they start the process or what?). It's first hand info so I'm optimistic. Here's a strange one for you (maybe not). 3 or 4 days ago, Admiral what's his name announced that they were getting close... I heard it one time on one XM 165 news cast. I haven't heard it since and none of the talk shows picked it up. On the same day someone eyeball estimated 100,000 Bbls / day of leaking oil (might have been gallons but I heard BBls). I don't know where these boneheads are getting their estimates from... anyway... not to sound like a conspiracy theorist but I'm starting to think that they don't want this to end well.



posted on Jun, 25 2010 @ 10:42 PM
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Originally posted by billyjack
Remember Chernobyl, the oilfield isn't alot better. Since it's the only place I've been hungover three times in one day, I can understand how they came up with a nuke instead of much better options, after a week I wasn't thinking real well either.


That was the funniest thing I read all week, thanks for making me laugh!


And yes, I remember Chernobyl!



posted on Jun, 26 2010 @ 06:51 AM
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Originally posted by billyjack
...By the way, since they had 14#/gallon mud in the rat hole the reservoir pressure was probably closer to 13,000 psi. The 16.5# mud was pumped to equalize the effective hydrostatic head due to the nitrified cement weighing less than 14#/gallon.

Looks like you're right on the money. In this post I give data from Halliburton's Production Design Casing report for this well, that states the reservoir pore pressure was 13,197 psi and the fracture zone pressure was 14,255 psi. (Not a huge differential there.)

I also provided links so members can download copies of the above report (as a pdf) and also copies of the (now-failed) BOP's subsea test from Feb 10, 2010, plus a link for many other reports and documents. I expect you might be able to make a lot more sense from them than most of us can.

Best regards,

Mike


[edit on 26/6/10 by JustMike]



posted on Jun, 27 2010 @ 10:23 AM
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reply to post by Streetwise
 


NORM is prevalent in the oil and gas industry. Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material



posted on Jun, 27 2010 @ 10:33 AM
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OP -- You may have mentioned this -- sorry if I missed it. What is your opinion on the probability of success with the relief wells?



posted on Jun, 30 2010 @ 10:01 AM
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reply to post by JustMike
 


I appreciate the info, looks like a pretty normal cementing procedure, although I don't understand the faomed cement, when it didn't reduce the cement weight much.

FYI frac pressure is the pressure where the fluids go into the formation rahther than circulate back up the hole. The yield point is the force required into the system to get the mud moving after it has been static. Like any body at rest it takes more force to get it moving that is not required once it is in motion



posted on Jun, 30 2010 @ 10:28 AM
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reply to post by ThreeNF
 


Once they start pumping it will eventually work as the proceedure has been done many times and the physics are well known. Main problem that will require more time is the inability to reduce the flow rate at the surface. During normal operations. we try to balance the escape rate to equal the injection rate of the mud. So the first fluid pumped will be diluted. If the blowout rate is 30 bbls/minute and we pump in at 12 bpm, then the weight of 15#/gallon mud required over 18,000' to kill the reservoir pressure of 13,000 psi will be diluted to around 9.2 #/gallon. This will increase back pressure on the formation of around 2000 psi assuming the oil weighs around 7#/gallon. If the back pressure is increased 2000 psi at the sand face then the new blowout rate will be around 20 bbl/min. So the next circulation weight at the surface should increase to a diluted weight of 18#/gallon, increasing back pressure again, reducing the flow rate and so on until we are getting back the same weight of mud that we are puming in. Keep in mind the volume of the hole below the BOP is around 350 barrels, so hopefully once circulation is established it can occur fairly quickly. There can be a myriad of problems that may change the basic procedure. The tricky part is pumping maximum rate while staying below the fracturing pressure of the formation.



posted on Jun, 30 2010 @ 12:08 PM
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I have worked in the two highest regulated industries most of my career as a tech, mostly in R&D. Typically I worked where science and engineering meet the real world. The best people are the ones invested in making the technology work. They are concerned with keeping costs down, but mostly with doing things right. Then there are the politicians, who are mainly concerned with their own power trips, and how much money they can personally extract from the process. My experience is that this is the typical situation everywhere.

I believe in well established standards. This is what we have found to work, so these are the standard procedures we should follow. When you are doing something new, R&D, you stick to the standards as much as possible, find out what works, experiment with things, and then establish additional standards for the new technology. When you have standard procedures to back you up, it is much more difficult for the private sector politicians and the accounts to dictate that things will be done differently. In order to deviate from the standard procedures, some politician has to stick his neck out, and few are willing to do that. They're all cannibals, its like in LOTR, "Looks like meat is back on the menu boys".

Regulators are essentially cops. Good cops help keep things moving in the right direction, and help maintain order, bad cops screw everything up, create chaos which enables them to do what they want. If you have well written procedures, then it makes it a lot more difficult for the bad cops, and your corporate politicians which they typically serve, to screw with you, and interfere with you doing a good job.

When you write good standard procedures, it is simply good project management. If you support the people who recognize the need for good procedures, then things typically work better.



posted on Jun, 30 2010 @ 03:57 PM
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reply to post by billyjack
 


and also:

reply to post by billyjack
 


Thank you very much for your responses and info. As you said in your (second) post I've mentioned above:

The tricky part is pumping maximum rate while staying below the fracturing pressure of the formation.


So, another question or two, and please forgive me if I word them poorly… Firstly, how do they ensure that they do not exceed the fracturing pressure during the pumping operation? Is it done mainly on the basis of prior calculation from known factors, or do they also have ways of quickly measuring any changes and (also quickly) reacting to them? I understand that changes in pressure are monitored but I'm concerned that if things are not going to plan, they have enough time to respond and rectify any problem.

Secondly, if by some chance the fracturing pressure were exceeded during pumping, would this necessarily result in a failure of the attempt or just lead to some possible delays?

Finally, on page 18, sect 5.4 of the Halliburton document I linked to, the report states:

Based on analysis of above outlined well conditions, this well is considered to have a SEVERE gas flow problem. Wells in this category fall into flow condition 3.


(Notes: (1) Block capitals for “SEVERE” are their own.
(2) Members who’d like to view or download a .pdf copy of the Halliburton Production Design Casing Report of April 18, 2010 for this well can access it HERE.)

Could it be that they used foamed cement because it they considered it a “flow condition 3” well?

Regarding their use of “severe”: does this in any way suggest that this “gas flow problem” might make it even more tricky to kill this well via the relief well operation? I was wondering if they might have concerns that -- for example -- gas channels could have formed during the cementing phase (perhaps from percolation).

Many thanks for taking the time to provide your expertise. It's very much appreciated.

Mike



posted on Jul, 2 2010 @ 04:42 PM
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reply to post by JustMike
 


Mike as the pressure increases and exceeds the frac gradient, except in unusual circumstances it doesn't all quit at once. We may be pumping at 8 bbl/min and then the returns drop off to 4 bbl/min where we can see it coming. So it's more of observing what's coming back as well as the pressures.

The foamed cement may be better is a gassy enviroment, but I would have tried to solve the inflow problem that they were apparently having, regardless of the the cement type. In addition, I think the design should have been a muti stage job. Instead of trying to cement all at once since there wasn't alot of pressure to play with between the reservoir pressure and the fracture pressure, I would have pumped the first stage through the bottom of the casing limiting the cement column and set another cemening tool further up the hole 1000-2000' and sent a second stage at it. Due to the increased densisty of the cement higher than the mud weight a full column of cement exerts excessive hydrostatic head if it creates too much height of the column. There are cementing tools that allow a smaller volume of cement to be placed over the bottom of the hole, let's say 1000', then a tool is opened above that cement and circulation is resumed with lighter mud until the first cement hardens in 6 to 8 hours. Once hardened then that part of the hole is sealed off and if the cement needs to be brought up higher then the next stage is pumped filling the void that couldn't be filled due to the weight.

Hind sight is always easier and not knowing all the facts prior to the first job makes it very difficult to give anything other than qualitative assessments of the job. Since we are always working 2 miles under ground in the dark, much of petroleum engineering is art as much as science, where we are making indirect measurements, resulting in judgement calls that take years of experience.

I was working in Russia with some Finnish engineers who were construction types. They always get to put their hands on what they build. One engineer wanted to learn how to make reserve estimates on new wells so they wouldn't have to pay me. I sent him all the books with the theory and the equations. The science is correct. Unfortunately to dtermine the value of the varibles to solve the equations is subjective. After repeated discussions where he just couldn't get the concept that this isn't black and white and the input is a judgement call, he seemed to think that I was purposely not giving him what he wanted. I finally, explained to him that he had everything he needed. If we was a sculpter, I had given him a hammer, a chisel and the block of marble, but despite his talent it was probably going to take years to be able to make a recognizable bust of Abraham Lincoln. Welcome to the oilfield.

Regards,Billyjack



posted on Jul, 14 2010 @ 02:54 PM
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If we could get government meddling out of the picture they would have begun to kill the well by now. I don't know when they were ready to start , I forgot to ask, but I was told that some government official wanted to wait for more calculations. He was afraid that sealing the well might result in cracking the ocean floor and cause catastrophe.... I'm telling you... the current administration does not want the leak stopped... I don't know why but at every turn they delay they process.



posted on Jul, 14 2010 @ 04:20 PM
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reply to post by Mike6158
 


It doesn't matter if the expert works for the government or not, they are right that there are risks with the cap approach.

BP knows how to stop the leak with the relief wells, and it's very unfortunate that they have stopped drilling those because "the move was a precaution being taken in order not to interfere with the test."

The "bandaid" they test will not help them seal the leak permanently, so it's a shame to see the real permanent solution delayed:

BP delays drilling on Gulf of Mexico oil spill relief well


Company says it must carry out analysis as experts warn stopping flow too quickly could result in even more damage

BP today halted drilling on a relief well meant to permanently plug the Gulf of Mexico oil leak as it prepared to test a temporary cap on the well.

BP has said the only way to permanently stop the leak is by drilling two relief wells to intercept the ruptured one.

The first is expected to intercept the oil leak by the end of this month and plug it with drilling mud and cement by mid-August.


I don't have all the facts they do so I'm hesitant to second guess them, but I do agree with the assessment that "BP has said the only way to permanently stop the leak is by drilling two relief wells to intercept the ruptured one", so if that's the case, I'd really want to keep moving as quickly as possible toward that permanent solution, not halt drilling of the relief wells. So I'm disappointed they stopped drilling the wells that will fix the leak.

[edit on 14-7-2010 by Arbitrageur]



posted on Jul, 14 2010 @ 04:56 PM
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I wasn't talking about the cap... I was talking about the relief well operation. They were about to begin the process of killing the well and some Fed stopped the process.

I do not rely on the news. They are being managed. There was a time when I would have rolled my eyes when someone said that. Not anymore...

This whole thing stinks if you ask me...



posted on Jul, 15 2010 @ 08:57 AM
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reply to post by Mike6158
 


I am really starting to wonder about the entire procedure over the last 2 1/2 months. As I stated in a previous post I didn't understand why they didn't unscrew the flange and make up another BOP & that there must be a problem I wasn't aware of. Now they are doing the exactly what I said. The puzzling part is why they didn't do this 2 months ago. There is no information they have now that they didn't have before.

I find it hard to believe that there isn't an engineer in BP that wasn't screaming about doing this procedure from day 1. Although, I think the blow out was caused by a comedy of errors, I now start wondering if the aftermath hasn't hasn't been orchestrated to elicit a political response.





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