Skip to comments.Leaking Oil Well Lacked Safeguard Device
Posted on 04/29/2010 11:52:51 AM PDT by Donald Rumsfeld Fan
On all offshore oil rigs, there is one main switch for cutting off the flow of oil by closing a valve located on the ocean floor. Many rigs also have automatic systems, such as a "dead man" switch as a backup that is supposed to close the valve if it senses a catastrophic failure aboard the rig.
Much still isn't known about what caused the problems in Deepwater Horizon's well, nearly a mile beneath the surface of the Gulf of Mexico. It went out of control, sending oil surging through pipes to the surface and causing a fire that ultimately sank the rig.
Unmanned submarines that arrived hours after the explosion have been unable to activate the shut-off valve on the seabed, called a blowout preventer.
BP says the Deepwater Horizon did have a "dead man" switch, which should have automatically closed the valve on the seabed in the event of a loss of power or communication from the rig. BP said it can't explain why it didn't shut off the well.
Transocean drillers aboard the rig at the time of the explosion, who should have been in a position to hit the main cutoff switch, are among the dead. It isn't known if they were able to reach the button, which would have been located in the area where the fire is likely to have started.
Tony Hayward, BP's CEO, said finding out why the blowout preventer didn't shut down the well is the key question in the investigation. "This is the failsafe mechanism that clearly has failed," Mr. Hayward said in an interview.
Lars Herbst, regional director of the Minerals Management Service in the Gulf of Mexico, said investigators are focusing on why the blowout preventer failed.
(Excerpt) Read more at newsgroups.derkeiler.com ...
The more you read, the more it smells.
A backup acoustic switch was never required and may or may not have been effective in any event. To many unknowns.
I just wonder where the part was manufactured, "Made in China" perhaps?
Something smells and it ain’t burnt carbon!
Envirowackos disabled it?
What does a Swat Team know about oil wells and valves?
BP, British Petroleum, may be more short-sighted, thoughtless, and thereby more susceptible to sabotage, than American companies. I don’t know; I’m just speculating.
Rush commented briefly on this too . . . SWAT teams? Terorism, sabatage, or copy-cat prevention? What is going on? Too little information right now, but it does catch our attention.
That’s about the dumbest move I’ve ever seen.
Seems they had the same problem with the Texas City Plant.
U.S. regulators don’t mandate use of the remote-control device on offshore rigs, and the Deepwater Horizon didn’t have one. With a remote control, a crew can attempt to trigger an underwater valve that shuts down the well even if the oil rig itself is damaged or evacuated.
The efficacy of the devices is unclear. Major offshore oil-well blowouts are rare, and it remained unclear Wednesday evening whether acoustic switches have ever been put to the test in a real-world accident. When wells do surge out of control, the primary shut-off systems almost always work. Remote control systems such as the acoustic switch, which have been tested in simulations, are intended as a last resort.
Can you explain the above for us lay people?... Is there something require over and above the BOP which this well did have? Thanks.
Here is what the giant floating Deepwater Horizon rig looked like in the past, it can go up and down in the water with ballasting. it's a giant ship for all practical purposes, and yes they can go through hurricanes.
I read a BP news report that said the blowout preventor was damaged when the rig wreck hit the Gulf floor. This was back when they were doing underwater surveys. They said pipelines were ruptured by the wreck which is where the leaks were.
A whole lot of dots needs connecting here. We need a whole lot more data because the timing of all this, and Obama relaxing offshore drilling, is just too coincidental.
And that coal mine explosion ...
Are we seeing the equivalent of the Reichstag's fire only targeted at energy to get the crap and tax passed?
Hey just asking, just asking ... But wouldn't it be prudent to explore the terror angle?
BP (British) represented by Podesta Group, Tony Podesta the no. 2 bundler for the Democrats, ...Follow the money to the Whitehouse.
And we heard for 8 years about Dick Cheney??!!!
Rush and others are hinting sabotage. Too many coincidences. e.g. one day before earth day.
WONDER HOW THE FLASH BLUBS ON THOSE CAMERAS WILL IMPACT THE AUTOMATIC FIRE ALARMS ON THE RIGS....THAT SHOULD BE INTERESTING.
Remember the "underwear" bomber? Nobody wanted full body scanners prior to that event yet after the so-called bomb attempt everybody was screaming for them.
Just too many coincidences???
And right after, Obama-cmmie says we may need to relook offshore drilling .... and how about the coal mine blowing up? Bill Ayers and the weather underground did similar things to help defeat the Vietnam war. hmmm.
And what is Homeland Security being dispatched to the Gulf spill for?
And all the while trying to push the hoax energy bill -— Deserves close watching.
For anyone that maybe interested here is a photo of the rig. Click the photo for rig details/specifications:
WSJ said there was not one because the US does not require it. What's the dealio?
Did I hear right. A swat team is going to the oil rig?
Why would they need a swat team?
this might sound far-fetched and black helicoptorish... but with the recent talk of opening drilling in other areas of the Gulf... I would not be surprised.
Thackney, what have your learned? Is the oil from the well or is the oil from a pipeline damanged by the huge rig sinking?
It would seem to be the well or both since they are bringing in another rig to drill a relieve well. ..that is still the plan, huh?
I believe they were referring to a remote acoustic switch. A deadman switch would be located on the platform.
The more you read, the more it smells
careful what you read.
You may have heard the news in the last two days about the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig which caught fire, burned for two days, then sank in 5,000 ft of water in the Gulf of Mexico. There are still 11 men missing, and they are not expected to be found.
The rig belongs to Transocean, the worlds biggest offshore drilling contractor. The rig was originally contracted through the year 2013 to BP and was working on BPs Macondo exploration well when the fire broke out. The rig costs about $500,000 per day to contract. The full drilling spread, with helicopters and support vessels and other services, will cost closer to $1,000,000 per day to operate in the course of drilling for oil and gas. The rig cost about $350,000,000 to build in 2001 and would cost at least double that to replace today.
The rig represents the cutting edge of drilling technology. It is a floating rig, capable of working in up to 10,000 ft water depth. The rig is not moored; It does not use anchors because it would be too costly and too heavy to suspend this mooring load from the floating structure. Rather, a triply-redundant computer system uses satellite positioning to control powerful thrusters that keep the rig on station within a few feet of its intended location, at all times. This is called Dynamic Positioning.
The rig had apparently just finished cementing steel casing in place at depths exceeding 18,000 ft. The next operation was to suspend the well so that the rig could move to its next drilling location, the idea being that a rig would return to this well later in order to complete the work necessary to bring the well into production.
It is thought that somehow formation fluids oil /gas got into the wellbore and were undetected until it was too late to take action. With a floating drilling rig setup, because it moves with the waves, currents, and winds, all of the main pressure control equipment sits on the seabed the uppermost unmoving point in the well. This pressure control equipment the Blowout Preventers, or BOPs as theyre called, are controlled with redundant systems from the rig. In the event of a serious emergency, there are multiple Panic Buttons to hit, and even fail-safe Deadman systems that should be automatically engaged when something of this proportion breaks out. None of them were aparently activated, suggesting that the blowout was especially swift to escalate at the surface. The flames were visible up to about 35 miles away. Not the glow the flames. They were 200 300 ft high.
All of this will be investigated and it will be some months before all of the particulars are known. For now, it is enough to say that this marvel of modern technology, which had been operating with an excellent safety record, has burned up and sunk taking souls with it.
The well still is apparently flowing oil, which is appearing at the surface as a slick. They have been working with remotely operated vehicles, or ROVs which are essentially tethered miniature submarines with manipulator arms and other equipment that can perform work underwater while the operator sits on a vessel. These are what were used to explore the Titanic, among other things. Every floating rig has one on board and they are in constant use. In this case, they are deploying ROVs from dedicated service vessels. They have been trying to close the well in using a specialized port on the BOPs and a pumping arrangement on their ROVs. They have been unsuccessful so far. Specialized pollution control vessels have been scrambled to start working the spill, skimming the oil up.
In the coming weeks they will move in at least one other rig to drill a fresh well that will intersect the blowing one at its pay zone. They will use technology that is capable of drilling from a floating rig, over 3 miles deep to an exact specific point in the earth with a target radius of just a few feet plus or minus. Once they intersect their target, a heavy fluid will be pumped that exceeds the formations pressure, thus causing the flow to cease and rendering the well safe at last. It will take at least a couple of months to get this done, bringing all available technology to bear. It will be an ecological disaster if the well flows all of the while; Optimistically, it could bridge off downhole.
Its a sad day when something like this happens to any rig, but even more so when it happens to something on the cutting edge of our capabilities. The photos that follow show the progression of events over the 36 hours from catching fire to sinking.
One thing I am wondering about...did the rig sink down on top of the wellhead? If so the devices to close the well might have been damaged.
Just a question.
I have run a bunch of oceanographic research cruises into that area (in fact, I recall sailing past that rig several times), and I have always been amazed it the level of technical complexity involved in those things.
So there is a higher level of redundancy on foreign wells?
The SWAT team is the backup authority for the inspectors.
Same reason we had SEALs on oil rigs during the Gulf War.
I was looking at blow out valves on google.
It seems many are made in CHINA.
Maybe their expecting violence from who knows what. Obama and his henchmen are rather clownish.
Hydril, Cameron, NOV ?? I don't think their insurance will cover the bills.
I believe the rig settled 1500 feet from the bore hole.
Not necessarily. They just didn't use the remote acoustic device.
I hope they packed their undies because they won’t be back for a while.
The US jurisdiction goes out 200 miles with the exclusive economic zone.
I do not remember the US Congress passing the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) which contains this 200 mile limit (exclusive economic zone - EEZ). When did that happen? I thought the bill was still in Congress however not acted upon as yet.
In the Gulf of Mexico I would think many countries would be tripping over each others 200 mile limit. I just don’t see mutual friends in nations battle for exploration rights of the sea bead (for oil/ng) in this EEZ. If it is the in the EEZ why would we allow a British company to drill rather than a US company? Doesn’t make real economic sense, except for an Administration that opposes drilling (for American companies on American territory).
This sounds like another backup switch to the backup switch for the main switch to trigger the BOP. Since they have had submersible ROVs directly trying to fully actuate the BOP since Sat the 18th I doubt it would have helped.
If the main, direct panel does not work, a remote switch that triggers the main panel is not likely to have helped. If the main breaker trips in your house, it doesn’t matter how many light switches you have, the lights are not coming on until the main breaker is fixed.
The rig wreck landed quite a distance from the wellhead. The coast guard web site has pictures, video and drawings of the location of all as well as video of using the BOP control panel afterwards.
Treaties and Conventions to which USA (contiguous states) (USA) is a Member
The Federal Government administers the submerged lands, subsoil, and seabed, lying between the seaward extent of the States’ jurisdiction and the seaward extent of Federal jurisdiction.
Federal jurisdiction is defined under accepted principles of international law. The seaward limit is defined as the farthest of 200 nautical miles seaward of the baseline from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured or, if the continental shelf can be shown to exceed 200 nautical miles, a distance not greater than a line 100 nautical miles from the 2,500-meter isobath or a line 350 nautical miles from the baseline.
Outer Continental Shelf limits greater than 200 nautical miles but less than either the 2,500 meter isobath plus 100 nautical miles or 350 nautical miles are defined by a line 60 nautical miles seaward of the foot of the continental slope or by a line seaward of the foot of the continental slope connecting points where the sediment thickness divided by the distance to the foot of the slope equals 0.01, whichever is farthest.
BP and their partners bought the rights to this lease at the federal auction. BP is the largest oil and gas producer in the US Gulf of Mexico.
BP is also the largest oil producer in all of the US.
Yeah I saw the CG pictures too, but it is quite possible that the wiring and pipeline connections to the rig tore out the blow out preventer controls, or even other rig debris.
But to have an explosion in the control room, maybe that was designed to prevent the blowout preventer from being deployed. And that would cause a spill, would it not? And don’t you think that would be the intent, cause a spill spectacular that shows up on TV.
And then Obama says he will have to rethink offshore drilling. Just way too convenient as Rush was saying today.
I doubt anyone is going to risk their billion dollar drill rig and not have one of these blowout preventers down there on the well head. Why it didn’t work, may not be be knowable, yet.
Got to keep digging, the stink is rising. You note Homeland Security is to get involved now ... hmmm
These particular units were Camerons.
All lot of suspicion of multiple actions just in case a blowout happened?