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 ...
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.
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