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Monday, July 19, 2010
As many as four leaks have been detected in the Deepwater Horizon well cap in the Gulf of Mexico, according to live footage shot by one of BP's ROVs (Remote Operated Vehicles). The leaks were detected early this morning, just after 4:00 (EDT).
The HOS SUPER H ROV 1 made the discovery while performing an "integrity survey" of the well and well cap. It recorded what appears to be a thin metal pipe lining the outside of the oil cap. Four small leaks of what appear to oil bubbles were detected during this survey. The first appears just after the elbow connecting the pipe to the two green pipes. The second can be seen through the hole of the large metal ring. The third is seen just to the right of the metal ring.
It is not yet known what the pipe carries or what they connect to. It is also not yet clear if all leaks are from the pipe, or leaking from the well. The substance appears to be oil, though BP has not released a statement as to what the leaks might be. Wikinews contacted BP's London, England, United Kingdom press office for a statement, but the company has yet to respond. On July 18, ROV cameras showed bubbles coming from the base of well. BP said it would test the bubbles to determine what they are and as of Sunday, COO of BP Doug Suttles says the bubbles are not methane, but further tests are being conducted. "If you can imagine, it is not an easy operation to collect those bubbles so that they can be tested to see what their make-up is."
Yesterday an unnamed United States official told the Associated Press that there was "seepage" coming from the area at the bottom of the Deepwater well head. The official said the seepage and methane gas were discovered near the Deepwater well head, but did not specify an exact location. Admiral Thad Allen, a former US Coast Guard admiral who is overseeing the spill efforts for the US government said yesterday in a letter to BP that ROVs "detected seep a distance from the well and undetermined anomalies at the well head." So far there is no word what those substances are, but BP says the bubbles detected on July 18 are not of a hydrocarbon nature.
"When seeps are detected, you are directed to marshal resources, quickly investigate, and report findings to the government in no more than four hours," said Allen in his letter to BP.
On June 13 the Viking Poseidon ROV (Remote Operated Vehicle) 1 recorded oil and methane seeping from the seafloor at around 2:48 a.m.. The ROV monitors the seep for a minute and even gets covered in a plume of oil and sand before it moved on to the next spot. Smaller eruptions were seen as the ROV traveled. After an investigation, Wikinews determined that the seepage was located just over 50 feet from the Deepwater leak point. BP has denied that any oil or methane gas is leaking from the sea floor. On July 16, Kent Wells, the senior vice president of the company, said on their official Twitter page that "4 ROVs using sonar scanning [are] looking for anomalies in seabed floor. No indications any oil or gas escaping."
BP issued a press release earlier this morning, but did not state information regarding any leaks or seepage from the well. BP did say that the well cap "measured at approximately 6,792 pounds per square inch and continues to rise slowly."
The Deepwater Horizon oil spill started on April 20 after an explosion on the rig. Efforts to put out the fire failed and the rig subsequently sank to the bottom of the Gulf. On April 22, an oil slick appeared on the surface of the Gulf. BP capped the leaking well on July 13 which effectively stopped oil from leaking into the Gulf. The company has been running a pressure integrity test on the 150,000 pound cap since it stopped the flow of oil. BP hopes for the well's pressure to rise to or above 7,500 PSI. As of Saturday morning the well's pressure was just above 6,700 PSI. BP fears anything lower than the expected PSI could mean a leak in the cap or elsewhere, such as oil or methane seeping up from the seafloor.
Originally posted by apacheman
Note that seafloor leaks have been observed, I believe this verifies all the reports from ATS observers that there have been leaks from the seafloor, so would the deBPunkers please stop telling us it's merely mud kicked up by the ROVs?
When BP announced they had successfully capped the well and stopped the flow of oil that has been gushing oil into the Gulf of Mexico since April 20, several scientists and industry experts were skeptical. It appears their skepticism has been confirmed by recent reports and videos that show oil and methane gas leaking from the seabed.
Both MSNBC and the AP reported that a federal official says "scientists are concerned about a seep and possible methane near BP's busted oil well."
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official also said that methane might be escaping through cracks in the seafloor and that could be a sign of leaks in the well that has been capped off for three days as part of a test of its integrity.
Testing had been extended until 4 p.m. ET Sunday, but that came and went without any word on whether it would continue even longer. The official is familiar with the spill oversight, but would not clarify what is seeping near the well. The official says BP is not complying with the government's demand for more monitoring.
A close look at BP's own camera footage of the area near the capped well, however, clearly shows leakage from the seabed (see videos below). That would explain why pressure readings have been less than expected. As reported by the Washington Post, initial pressure readings peaked at around 6700 psi, well below the 8000 to 9000 psi that would be considered assurance that the well bore and surrounding seabed are intact. There is no way of knowing how many other leaks may exist farther from the well site.
Michael Rivero, writing on his blog WhatReallyHappened.com, puts it this way:
Common sense (and engineering) will tell you that if you have a pipe with leaks, putting a cap on one leak simply drives the oil out the other leaks. From an environmental perspective this makes no sense, because the oil is still leaking out of the well, just in a different place. Of greater concern is that the oil can flow out into the surrounding rocks the way the mud did during the failed Top Kill procedure, forming what is called a subsurface blowout....Capping a well with known leaks below the surface really serves only one purpose, and that is to present to the media video images showing the well is capped....But the hard reality being withheld from the public is that the problem is not fixed. The leak has not been stopped, it has just been moved out of sight. The camera feed of the capped well head will be shown constantly to assure Americans that all is well and lull us back to a useful torpor. No other views from around the well will be allowed....Except that the cat is already out of the bag!