Skip to comments.APNewsBreak: Bubble of methane triggered rig blast
Posted on 05/09/2010 4:00:51 PM PDT by tips up
ON THE GULF OF MEXICO (AP) - The deadly blowout of an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico was triggered by a bubble of methane gas that escaped from the well and shot up the drill column, expanding quickly as it burst through several seals and barriers before exploding, according to interviews with rig workers conducted during BP's internal investigation.
(Excerpt) Read more at apnews.myway.com ...
An oil worker who was on the platform said that over a week ago. I guess it is official now.
More good info here. Read comments too.
Methane? Wasn't there a posting on FR maybe a month or two ago saying that methane was going to be the next target of the AGW crew . . . now that so many holes are appearing in the carbon theory?
Prayers for those families of the lost and hurt.
Old news. There were multiple thread here on FR that discussed it at length.
it seems this should happen regularly. so maybe this one was larger than expected and met the right combination of things which resulted as an explosion? it just seems all these rigs are at risk of this happening and I’m surprised what we saw here appears to be somewhat rare.
Methane does not explode all by itself. It must be in the presence of oxygen and some ignition source.
I read your posts, and appreciate your knowledge.
Perhaps you could point me to a source of information with a diagram
or something that describes how a BOP is “supposed” to work.
Is the leak now coming up behind (on the outside of) the well casing
or is it all escaping up through the failed BOP?
I wondered about the containment structure in that if they did get it to work,
it would permanently deny them any future access to repair the BOP.
Was it supposed to be a temporary fix until the relief wells were drilled?
Thanks in advance.
As Texas Cajun wrote, this kind of methane bubble is common, and usually controlled.
The methane escaped into the atmosphere ( a reliable oxygen source ) formed an explosive mixture and found probably one of several ignition sources. The gas cloud exploded, then the leaking gas continued to burn.
What I don’t get is why the rig sank. The fire was well above the ‘water line.’
Well, that’s all well and good but people aren’t mad at BP because there was an accident. They’re pissed because they did not level with the public to begin with about the scope of how bad it was and kept acting like they had it under control until it became obvious that there was a catastrophe on their hands and they had lied about it since the beginning.
diagrams and info found here: http://www.google.com/search?aq=f&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=blow+out+preventer+diagram
Per reports, there are a couple/several oil and gas leaks below the surface. One of the smaller leaks is reportedly from/through the failed BOP. The other is out of ruptured casing.
This was TREMENDOUS pressure. Think of it like this — the gas pushed a 5000’ foot column of very dense drilling mud all the way out of the pipe and then ruptured REALLY STRONG BOPs. When the forensics are done on this one it’ll be a real “teaching moment” for the industry.
OK, tell me specifically why this is a “catastrophe”?
Yes, it’s a tragedy that 11 people died.
Yes, the spill MAY cause a costly clean up.
But WHY, specifically is this spill a disaster or a catastrophe?
And what lies did they tell? (I realize “they” repeatedly changed the rate of the leak, but that might have been a mechanically dynamic environmental on the floor of the Gulf)
It didn't explode, but was under such high pressure that it blew out the sealing liquids that were containing the well pressure.
Once the gas and oil reached the surface, and thus oxygen, ignition was inevitable.
Well technically it is Halliburton’s fault. They were running underpressure to save time and money.
This is why the climate bill must pass. It will reduce greenhouse gas emissions such as this one of methane.
It breached all the seals and blew over the drilling paltform tossing tools and drill equipment all over the place - lots of sparks. From what the survivors are saying it was a very large “kick”. I read somewhere that this is a 40,000 psi well. If that is true look out baby!!!
Just so ya know ...”Until Saturday none of the thick sludge — those indelible images from the Valdez and other spills — had reached shore.”
Having lived near the Louisiana coast where leaks, spills, releases and accidents were too frequent, I can tell you that offshore spills like this one are less of a problem that a tanker running aground and breaking up near the coast.
The quote above comes from this article (which use the word catastrophe but then illustrates why it isn’t yet even a big mess on shore.)
“Early Sunday, there was little visible new activity at the site of the oil spill. The skies were clear, but the waves on the sea were kicking up and the wind was more breezy than in previous days.
There was a renewed sense of urgency as balls of tar, some the size of golfballs, washed up Saturday on Dauphin Island, three miles (five kilometers) off the Alabama mainland at the mouth of Mobile Bay and much farther east than the thin, rainbow sheens that have arrived sporadically in the Louisiana marshes.
“It almost looks like bark, but when you pick it up it definitely has a liquid consistency and it’s definitely oil,” said Kimberly Creel, 41, who was hanging out and swimming with hundreds of other beachgoers. “... I can only imagine what might be coming this way that might be larger.”
About a half dozen tar balls had been collected by Saturday afternoon at Dauphin Island, Coast Guard chief warrant officer Adam Wine said in Mobile, and crews in protective clothing patrolled the beach for debris. Authorities planned to test the substance but strongly suspected it came from the oil spill.
In the nearly three weeks since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded April 20, killing 11 workers, about 210,000 gallons (795,000 liters) of crude a day has been flowing into the Gulf. As of Sunday, some 3.5 million gallons (13.25 million liters) had poured into the sea, or about a third of the 11 million gallons (41.64 million liters) spilled in the Exxon Valdez disaster.
Until Saturday none of the thick sludge — those indelible images from the Valdez and other spills — had reached shore.
Our entire culture is based around the water. This has to potential to kill that for a summer and could long term damage the reputation and fabric of our region.
P O T E N T I A L.
But the news media are doing more to ruin business on the Gulf Coast by using words like DISASTER and CATASTROPHE when so far we are dealing with maybe and probably.
Offshore spills lose their aromatic/ low molecular weight component rapidly, reducing the integrity , thickness and size of the surface spill — leaving gooey ribbons. Then wave action emulsifies a lot of the rest which eventually ‘disappears’ into the water. What’s left floating to shore is the ‘tar balls’ of high molecular weight goo that looks and acts and smells like the stuff we spread on fishing piers and mooring lines — e.g., creosote. THAT is a pain in the butt clean up effort, but not a disaster.
The news media would do us ALL a favor *IF* they would explain WHAT happens over time to crude oil spills that are far offshore.
Not to pick on you, but simply make a point — *IF* the national media could FIND a ruined beach, it would be HEADLINE NEWS.
Nashville has a disaster on it hands. And that news is page 4 below the fold. THAT is a catastrophe.
It was supposed to reach shore a week ago and the winds changed and the announcement of those tarballs came as a scrolling announcement on the screen during the baseball games yesterday and was the front page of the paper this morning, with the pictures of the little tarballs on the beach.
The picture of the tarballs on the beach are on the front page of the local paper this morning. Interestingly enough, in my boat it takes less than a minute to be in the very bay that Dauphin Island is at the mouth of.
We’ve been hearing this crap non-stop for two weeks now and this was all supposed to hit last week. Around town there are plenty of obvious green BP stations that have little shell flags unfurled over the BP signs. Want to know why? Because very few people in the general public knows that BP and Shell are owned by the same company and people have already begun boycotting BP gasoline down here. A spectacular example of this is the one at Halls Mill and McVay.
So, I think I know plenty.
I was thinking the weight of the firefighting water had somwthing to do with it. That’s an issue with boat fires, I know.
Also, Explosion requires some containment. Gas moving up a drill pipe would emerge at the top as a flare, not an explosion. Need more informaton here.
If the hydrate crystals are clogging up the containment vessel,
then why don’t they clog up a production well?
hours and hours of heat....buckling steel plates.....no computer or human control over the ballast system....no pumps for dewatering.... IMO, most of the water from those firenozzles on those boats just ran off, HEAT is what sank that rig...
ah so! erf phart
EEEK! I'd say that all sounds like the right recipe for what happened. (Even worse than being around my big brother after some Texas style baked beans.)
Ever seen an FAE, such as a "Daisy Cutter"?
The containment structure is a temp fix, the relief wells are the cure. There is one link in the noted thread that shows it.
Too much pressure, which breaks them down, although I understand they can cause some problems. In the containment device, although there is plenty of pressure from the ocean above (22,000 PSI in all directions), there is not the contained pressure which is present in a production line. The bottom is open and the contents are a mixture of sea water, oil and gas.
Methane hates white people?
hey check this out
Obama’s Interior Dept, under Salazar, exempted BP’s project from a required environmental impact study in April of 2009. If the study had been done, as required, the project would not have been approved.
Last Wednesday, on Keith Olbermann, environmentalists called for Int Dept Secy Salazar to step down:
Yeah, saw the news about the tarballs this AM as well.
The bad news, the catastrophe if you will, is how tourism is collapsing.
BP needs to take the heat for this. They also need to be recognized *IF* they step up and fix things well.