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Mark: Let me slow you down, let me slow you down. So they do all these tests to make sure the infrastructure can handle what's about to happen, right?
James: Correct, we're testing the negative pressure and positive pressure of the well, the casing and the actual marine riser.
Mark: OK, I'm with you. Go ahead.
James: Alright, after the conclusion of the test, they simply opened the BOP stack back up.
Mark: And the test, as best as you know, was sufficient?
James: It should have been, yes sir. They would have never opened it back up.
Mark: OK next step, go ahead.
James: Next step, they opened the annular, the upper part of the BOP stack
Mark: Which has what purpose? Why do you do that?
James: So that you can gain access back to the wellbore.
James: When you close the stack, it's basically a humongous hydraulic valve that closes off everything from below and above. It's like a gate valve on the sea floor.
James: That's a very simplistic way of explaining a BOP. It's a very complicated piece of equipment.
Mark: Basically, it's like a plug. But go ahead.
James: Correct. Once they open that plug to go ahead and start cementing the top of the well (the well bore), we cement the top, and then basically we would pull off. Another rig would slide over and do the rest of the completions work. When they opened the well is when the gas well kicked, and we took a humongous gas bubble kick up through the well bore. It literally pushed the sea water all the way to the crown of the rig, which is about 240 feet in the air.
Mark: OK, so gas got into it and blew the top off of it.
Anytime you're drilling an oil well, there is a constant battle between the mud weight, the drilling fluid that we use to maintain pressure, and the wellbore itself. There's a balance. The well is pushing gas one way and you are pushing mud the other way. So there is a delicate balance that has to be maintained at all times to keep the gas from coming back in, what we call the kicks. You know, we always get gas back in the mud, but the goal of the whole situation is to try to control the kick.
James: Mother Nature every now and then kicks up. The pressures that we're dealing with out there, drilling deeper, deeper water, deeper overall volume of the whole vessel itself, you’re dealing with 30 to 40 thousand pounds per square inch range -- serious pressures.
Originally posted by NoJoker13
reply to post by felonius
So it in all actuality wasn't a 20 dollar piece that malfunctioned. It was a pocket of gas that blew out far more then normal that caused this mess. I wonder if this will be on the MSM like CNN or FNC, I feel as if the media is making the American public hate BP and truely they aren't at fault. Obama doesn't help either, with his annual "I'm gonna find out who's ass to kick!" routine, which solves nothing and adds more bull# to the pot.
[edit on 6-7-2010 by NoJoker13]