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BP's Deepwater Oil Spill - Response to DougR's Concerns - and Open Thread
Posted by Gail the Actuary on June 25, 2010 - 10:30am
This is a guest post from Oil Drum commenter shelburn, who is a retired manager for an offshore underwater service company. Shelburn also wrote a previous guest post related to the oil spill. - Gail
In this post, I would like to respond to a long comment made by DougR a few days ago, that has received a lot of publicity.
First, I will say that in one area we are in complete agreement. BP and the USCG have been less than forthcoming, and in doing so have hurt both themselves and the general public as all kinds of wild rumors and technical misinformation abound. Some of this misinformation results in harm to individuals and businesses as people suffer increased stress and tourists cancel vacations.
In this information vacuum it is easy to make wrong assumptions that lead to mistaken conclusions. It can be made worse if you have some degree of technical knowledge and verbiage and use that to make a case for a scenario that doesn’t pass muster with actual engineering analysis but sounds highly authoritative to many people, some TV commentators and various politicians.
What eventually will happen is that the blow out preventer will literally tip over
DougR has made a case that he expects the BOP to tip over. He seems to base this on the following information.
1 – The well is leaking into the sediment below the mudline and that is undermining the foundation holding the BOP upright.
2 – In support of that theory he cites that BP cut off the broken riser to relieve pressure on the well.
3 – Currents are pushing on the BOP stack.
4 – He seems to believe the inclination or tilt of the BOP is increasing.
5 – The BOP, riser and well casing are eroding from the inside due to sand erosion further weakening the structure.
He weaves a visual picture of a 450 ton BOP waving around a hundred feet high supported by a thin piece of liner or well casing. Given that description it is understandable that people will believe the BOP is in immediate danger of collapse.
Looking at this from an engineering view point and using real data instead of conjecture and hyperbole I come to a much different conclusion.
The BOP is not in danger of tipping over.