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Was it All About The Methane?

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posted on Jun, 21 2010 @ 02:12 AM
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Beyond Petroleum, the self-appointed industry leader in alternative energy solutions... After reading the following report I wonder now if maybe BP was after the Methane all along...




source
Quinn Eastman
Science Notes
Thu, 29 Dec 2005 12:00 EST
In December 2003, an international team of geologists announced that they had successfully tapped a new energy source. Methane hydrate, a solidified form of natural gas bound into ice, lurks under the seafloor along the margins of every continent and under the Arctic permafrost. On the Mackenzie River delta in the Canadian Northwest Territories, engineers drilled hundreds of meters below the permafrost into the hydrate deposits. They punched fractures into the layers of sediment and pumped hot water into the earth, releasing the natural gas from its icy prison.

This first harvest of methane hydrate could mark a new direction for the energy industry. Engineers once assumed that the energy costs of melting the frozen fuel would outweigh the gains. But rising oil and gas prices and creative uses of existing technology, like the recent test in the Canadian Arctic, are beginning to change their minds. The United States Geological Survey estimates that the total amount of natural gas in methane hydrates surpasses all of the known oil, coal, and gas deposits on Earth in energy content, although only a fraction of the frozen fuel will be extractable.


Only a fraction of that frozen hydrate is extractable... unless of course that deposit is sitting under high pressure on a volcanicly active area. The discovery of these massive deposits of Methane Hydrates were intriguing to the oil industry to say the least, and it does seem to answer some of the questions I had about why BP was drilling in an area that usually oil companies avoid because of the risks associated with the depoits of methane. Why on earth would they do such a thing?
Money...


(from above)
Just like natural gas, methane hydrate would burn more cleanly than coal or oil. The DOE forecasted in 2003 that the world’s natural gas consumption will grow the fastest of all energy sources in the next 25 years. Governments expect that with increasing demand, research into techniques for recovering methane hydrates will pay off in a couple decades.

Until recently, the energy industry mainly regarded methane hydrates as a nuisance. Engineers on oil platforms regularly confront the frozen deposits because they form spontaneously from cold water and gases flowing through pipelines, sometimes plugging them for weeks or even causing blowouts. The $12 million that the U.S. Department of Energy has allotted to research on harvesting hydrates since 2001 is small compared with the estimated $100 million U.S. firms spend every year on antifreeze, repairs, and other gas-flow—assuring remedies.

“It’s an interesting flip,” says Richard Charter, a marine conservation specialist at Environmental Defense in Oakland, Calif. “In the past, the oil industry did everything in their power to avoid disturbing hydrate deposits,” says Charter, who calls himself the “token environmentalist” on a federal advisory board on hydrate research. “Now, it’s a potential resource. Oil engineers’ eyes get really big when you start talking about it.”

In 1999, a USGS report estimated that the world’s free natural gas deposits could yield 368 trillion cubic meters of the methane. By comparison, the report approximated that U.S. offshore areas contain over 10,000 trillion cubic meters of gas in hydrate form.

The Article goes on to say that...


The most promising places to mine hydrates, he says, are sites where deposits are concentrated, like veins of ore — such as in the Arctic. But the Gulf of Mexico is also a hot target. The Gulf already accounts for 30 percent of U.S oil production and the bulk of exploration for new oil reserves. “The crucial thing about the Gulf of Mexico,” Collett says, “is that when we figure out how much methane hydrate there actually is, the infrastructure to take advantage of it already exists.”

In a typical oil deposit, the oil contains roughly 5% methane, but according to John Kessler an oceanographer with Texas A&M University, the oil in the gulf is as much as 40% methane. BP was certainly familiar with this concept, familiar with the volcanic activity in the reigon, and drilled into an extremely risky situation and were in a hurry to do it apparently. Were they looking for oil, or was this some kind of experimental project to get a volcano to do your Hydrate mining for you?
I'm no expert, and I know this article has made some rounds on ATS already but I thought I would throw this out there for speculation.
I was also reading up on methane a while back and I ran into some studies that showed low pressure systems signifigantly increase the release of methane gas from areas like swamps and wet lands, with the massive amount of methane already released from the leak, and with what's in the deposit still in the form of hydrates now possiblity being heated up by magma from a volcanic area that is venting pressure trying to equalize through BP's well bore. If magma starts heating up this deposit of hydrates and sublimating them, and you throw a hurricane which is a massive extreme low pressure area, into the mix, it could trigger a massive and sudden release of methane.
Sounds looney, but oil companies have to take precautions to keep their drills cooled to prevent small scale explosive sublimations from happening when drilling into methane hydrate deposits and scientists have raised concerns about this very scenario for decades. There is some evidence to sugest that sudden and unexplained global methane releases in the past have causes ELE's, and even smaller scale releases from lakes and the like can be deadly.
They knew all of this, and drilled there anyway...




posted on Jun, 21 2010 @ 02:23 AM
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The key thing is to remember the difference between methane and methane hydrates.

What's being released right now is not Methane Hydrates, as that is methane ice basically. Methane forced into water molecules creates Methane Hydrate.

You would actually have to carve those out in chunks...

What we have here is methane which is liquid/gas

Though the fact that almost half of whats coming out is Methane... it's a rather high percentage...

Though at the time that article you mentioned suggested that methane hydrates are a second tier source of energy primarily mined off of the coast of India and some other place...

[edit on 21-6-2010 by HunkaHunka]



posted on Jun, 21 2010 @ 02:26 AM
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Beautiful. Let's forget about oil and go for the good stuff that is 100x more potent then CO2 Emissions.

2nd line



posted on Jun, 21 2010 @ 02:28 AM
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Originally posted by SneakAPeek
Beautiful. Let's forget about oil and go for the good stuff that is 100x more potent then CO2 Emissions.

2nd line


Actually no... it's 23 X more potent... not 100X more potent...


EPA.gov... check it out


Why is there concern about methane emissions?
Methane is 23 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide (over a 100-year period).


[edit on 21-6-2010 by HunkaHunka]

[edit on 21-6-2010 by HunkaHunka]



posted on Jun, 21 2010 @ 02:39 AM
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Originally posted by HunkaHunka
You would actually have to carve those out in chunks...

Or find an efficient way to heat a large deposit of it for exploitation.

I know the difference between the Gas and Hydrates, the hydrates are stable and kept in check by the pressure of the surrounding environment, the sea bed, the low temperatures, and the water pressure from above. I'm suggesting that BP was perhaps experimenting with a technique of getting at these hydrates, counting on hydrothermal or volcanic vents to cover the otherwise prohibitive costs and technicalities of heating them for extraction. Sounds pretty crazy, but when you consider the methane deposits far exceed the world's entire petroleum and coal deposits in terms of a usuable energy resource, who wouldn't want to tap into that kind of potential?



posted on Jun, 21 2010 @ 02:48 AM
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reply to post by twitchy
 


Because they also hold the sea floor in place...


Check out "slope failure" in that's same article you posted...


I was thinking the same thing though... About how to go harvesting hydrates


Though Ive seen enough data to know bp just cut corners on this rig and they didn't expect 40% methane from the well... And it blew



posted on Jun, 21 2010 @ 03:22 AM
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Originally posted by HunkaHunka
they didn't expect 40% methane from the well... And it blew

Ah but they knew all about the methane, that's part of the reason why I posted this thread. BP spends more on exploration and geology than we would probably want to know about, and I find it exceedingly difficult to believe with all the prior data available from independent research, some of which BP funded, that a major corporation with a vested interest in the reigon didn't know about the elevated levels of Methane in the Gulf Reigon. Hell I knew about it from looking around on the internet a couple years ago looking into alternative energy, and I'm just a schmuck.



posted on Jun, 21 2010 @ 03:24 AM
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reply to post by twitchy
 


That the oil in that reserve 30,000 feet below the sea floor contained 40% methane as opposed to the normal 5%?

How can you tell that from methane on the sea floor?



The oil emanating from the leak contains about 40 percent methane, compared with about 5 percent found in typical oil deposits, said John Kessler, a Texas A&M University oceanographer who is studying the impact of methane from the spill



Plus... Why would they have been so stupid to configure the well in such a way that it was a given it would blow, if they knew this already?

Its possible they skipped safety because someone felt comfortable enough with the normal 5%





[edit on 21-6-2010 by HunkaHunka]



posted on Jun, 21 2010 @ 03:48 AM
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Originally posted by HunkaHunka
Plus... Why would they have been so stupid to configure the well in such a way that it was a given it would blow, if they knew this already?

At 70,000 PSI I don't think it matters much how you configure the well to be honest. The trillion dollar question here in my book is why would they drill in this location at all? I've seen alot of speculation suggesting that they wanted to tap into a migration channel in accordance with the Abiotic oil theory, but to my knowledge, most oil companies avoid areas with known deposits of methane hydrates because of the risks involved with explosive releases of gas. BP isn't going to drop a 35 thousand foot deep sea well somewhere without knowing darn well what's down there, and what's down there, aside from oil, is a massive deposit of methane hydrate with a free toaster under it.
Can you honestly say that BP just didn't know about the massive deposits of methane in the Gulf Of Mexico before this summer? It's an oil company, and methane hydrate was thought to be the next big enchilada in the energy industry, they knew.

As to how they tell what percentage of methane is trapped in the oil, I don't know, I guess they test it.



posted on Jun, 21 2010 @ 08:27 AM
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reply to post by twitchy
 


This is an awesome thread.. can't believe this hasn't got more attention. I'll be looking at this more when I get home, but I would be willing to bet my balls that BP knew about the concentration of the hydrates in this well long before this summer.

This is a conspiracy site right? What you've suggested here sounds more like you were in their damn board meeting rather than a conspiracy. S&F well earnt from me man.



posted on Jun, 21 2010 @ 02:58 PM
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reply to post by ItsallCrazy
 


Well I think it's important to point out that this is pure speculation on my part, but given the monetary incentives involved in developing those hydrate deposits that are so prevalent in the gulf reigon, it wouldn't surprise me in the least and it does seem to answer some questions about why BP would take on such a risky location.



posted on Jun, 22 2010 @ 05:57 AM
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reply to post by twitchy
 


Oh yeah, I understand that it's all just speculation at this point, but the real reason for drilling in such a high risk place probably won't hit the history books until we're all long dead and buried. So you have to take what you can from the way they're behaving, and with that in mind I think you've got a very probable reason here.



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