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Deep-Sea Ice Crystals Stymie Gulf Oil Leak Fix
CBS/AP) ^ | 08 May 2010 4:16PM

Posted on 05/08/2010 5:19:56 PM PDT by Touch Not the Cat

Icelike crystals encrusting a 100-ton steel-and-concrete box meant to contain oil gushing from a broken well deep in the Gulf of Mexico forced crews Saturday to back off a long-shot plan to contain the leak.

The latest problem for BP comes as about a half dozen tar balls are washing up on an Alabama island.

Coast Guard chief warrant officer Adam Wine said the tar balls had been collected by Saturday afternoon at Dauphin Island. He says the substance needs to be tested, but officials think it came from the oil spill.

The buildup on the specially constructed containment box made it too buoyant and clogged it up, BP chief operating officer Doug Suttles said. Workers who had carefully lowered the massive box over the leak nearly a mile below the surface had to lift it and move it to the side. Now they're trying to unplug it while they look at other solutions.

More than 200,000 gallons of crude have spewed into the Gulf since a rig exploded April 20, killing 11. The containment box, a method never before attempted at such depths, had been considered the best hope of stanching the flow in the short term.

"I wouldn't say it's failed yet," Suttles said. "What I would say is what we attempted to do last night didn't work."

The blowout 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 knx1070.com ...


TOPICS: US: Louisiana
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"I wouldn't say it's failed yet," Suttles said. "What I would say is what we attempted to do last night didn't work."
1 posted on 05/08/2010 5:19:56 PM PDT by Touch Not the Cat
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To: Touch Not the Cat

That ice came from global warming.

/sarc


2 posted on 05/08/2010 5:20:50 PM PDT by GeronL (http://libertyfic.proboards.com << Get your science fiction and fiction test marketed)
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To: Touch Not the Cat

Time to let oil companies drill on land. We are in a total experimentation mode with the mile down leak/seepage. No man can go down there and everything is being done by robotics. An almost impossible task like a blind man shooting at a mile away target.


3 posted on 05/08/2010 5:27:29 PM PDT by George from New England (Escaped CT in 2006, now living north of Tampa)
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To: GeronL
That ice came from global warming.

/sarc

That can happen after drinking coolaid.

4 posted on 05/08/2010 5:27:42 PM PDT by EGPWS (Trust in God, question everyone else)
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To: Touch Not the Cat

I wonder how long it would take to make a 5000+ foot long vertical containment boom?


5 posted on 05/08/2010 5:30:26 PM PDT by rottndog (WOOF!!! Be prepared for what's coming AFTER America.....)
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To: George from New England

The relief drill will work it will just take time.


6 posted on 05/08/2010 5:43:16 PM PDT by screaminsunshine (S)
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To: rottndog

Could they rig an explosive clamp to crush the pipe closed with explosives?


7 posted on 05/08/2010 5:43:25 PM PDT by omega4179 (www.jdforsenate.com)
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To: omega4179

I’m wondering why they can’t progressively crimp the pimp closed—even if that didn’t stop the leak, it could slow it significantly.


8 posted on 05/08/2010 5:48:03 PM PDT by rottndog (WOOF!!! Be prepared for what's coming AFTER America.....)
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To: Touch Not the Cat
The latest problem for BP comes as about a half dozen tar balls are washing up on an Alabama island.

Coast Guard chief warrant officer Adam Wine said the tar balls had been collected by Saturday afternoon at Dauphin Island. He says the substance needs to be tested, but officials think it came from the oil spill.

Oh, that's easy.

% tar -xfv

Problem solved!

9 posted on 05/08/2010 5:48:17 PM PDT by Lucretia Borgia (Never bring a knife to a gun battle. Never bring a community organizer to lead your army.)
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To: omega4179
"Could they rig an explosive clamp to crush the pipe closed with explosives?"

That is what a BOP is SUPPOSED to do.

10 posted on 05/08/2010 5:49:03 PM PDT by jonascord (We've got the Constitution to protect us. Why should we worry?)
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To: Touch Not the Cat

A guest on Coast to Coast AM on Thursday night predicted that this was exactly what would happen. I would have to go to the web page to get his name. VERY bright man. Perhaps BP should give him a call.


11 posted on 05/08/2010 5:51:24 PM PDT by codder too
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To: jonascord

The BOP cannot shear casing, and it does not use exploives to perform its function. During the cementing process the BOP is basically idle.


12 posted on 05/08/2010 5:59:28 PM PDT by Bruinator (God is Great.... Beer is good.... Muzzies are.........?)
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To: Bruinator
A ram BOP utilizes two horizontally opposed hydraulic rams that either close around the drill string, shear through the drill string and then seal, or close off a wellbore when no drill pipe or tubing is in it. The ram BOP was invented by James Smither Abercrombie and Harry S. Cameron in 1922, and was brought to market in 1924

I've learned to check before I make a statement on FR. There is no single place on Earth that will jump you harder and faster, with a smile on their faces and a song in their hearts, than FR readers.

A word to the wise...

13 posted on 05/08/2010 6:08:50 PM PDT by jonascord (We've got the Constitution to protect us. Why should we worry?)
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To: George from New England

Yes!


14 posted on 05/08/2010 6:09:05 PM PDT by SaraJohnson
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To: jonascord

So you cut and paste? I know what a ram bop is. We manufacture them. The ram bop cannot shear casing. Which was running through the BOPs when it exploded. The casing is minimum 16” diameter and con not be shearedn the wall of the pipe is too thin to close off. Understand the cementing process before you cut and paste and lecture based on your “readings.”. I work in the oil patch and have a bit more undrrstanding of the process than just “reading” about it.


15 posted on 05/08/2010 6:20:13 PM PDT by Bruinator (God is Great.... Beer is good.... Muzzies are.........?)
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To: jonascord

So you cut and paste? I know what a ram bop is. We manufacture them. The ram bop cannot shear casing. Which was running through the BOPs when it exploded. The casing is minimum 16” diameter and con not be shearedn the wall of the pipe is too thin to close off. Understand the cementing process before you cut and paste and lecture based on your “readings.”. I work in the oil patch and have a bit more undrrstanding of the process than just “reading” about it.


16 posted on 05/08/2010 6:20:26 PM PDT by Bruinator (God is Great.... Beer is good.... Muzzies are.........?)
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To: Touch Not the Cat

So, it’s crystals...like ICE....what is the temperature down there in the water,...I’m confused, we’re talking GULF here not ARTIC.


17 posted on 05/08/2010 6:23:21 PM PDT by rovenstinez
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To: rovenstinez

5,000 feet deep? Probably just above freezing.


18 posted on 05/08/2010 6:28:50 PM PDT by Frantzie (McCain=Obama's friend. McCain/Graham = La Raza's Senators & Estefan-Rubio)
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To: Touch Not the Cat

I’m not a chemist but at what point does methane gas freeze and thaw?


19 posted on 05/08/2010 6:33:18 PM PDT by mapmaker77
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To: Bruinator

con not shearedn undrrstanding


20 posted on 05/08/2010 6:36:42 PM PDT by humblegunner (Pablo is very wily)
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To: Frantzie

The average person has NO IDEA how alien and out of this world a mile deep is. It is totally dark, pressures beyond belief and life almost non-existent except for a few things that only exist down there. It would almost be more difficult to put a manned community a mile down than on the moon.

Working on the surface has all the advantages without any drawbacks if only the politicians had brains.


21 posted on 05/08/2010 6:41:26 PM PDT by George from New England (Escaped CT in 2006, now living north of Tampa)
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To: mapmaker77
at what point does methane gas freeze and thaw?

Here is the explanation of these crystals. Methane gas freezes at very low (cryogenic) temperatures, but "methane ice" can be solid up to +18C under high pressure (which is present down there.)

22 posted on 05/08/2010 6:44:07 PM PDT by Greysard
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To: omega4179

“Could they rig an explosive clamp to crush the pipe closed with explosives?”

I understand the Russians nuked there’s in similar situations.


23 posted on 05/08/2010 6:51:41 PM PDT by GGpaX4DumpedTea (I am a tea party descendant - steeped in the Constitutional legacy handed down by the Founders)
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To: Touch Not the Cat

I don’t understand why ice clogs up the dome yet it doesn’t clog up the hole in the pipe or wherever these three leaks are.


24 posted on 05/08/2010 6:56:14 PM PDT by plain talk
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To: mapmaker77

Melting point at STP (Standard, Temperature, Pressure)
is -297F. Hence the use of CH4 as “natural gas”.
The pressure at 5000 ft of water is 2165 psi, probably higher with the sea water column due to the increase of SpGr over “regular” water. I’ll have to figure out what the melting point is at that pressure but it is very low.


25 posted on 05/08/2010 7:01:36 PM PDT by TaMoDee
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To: Touch Not the Cat

Ice nine?


26 posted on 05/08/2010 7:02:48 PM PDT by Jim Noble (Let tyrants shake their iron rod, and slavery clank her galling chains)
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To: plain talk

For the same reason you leave a hose running in freezing weather. The flow dosen’t allow it to geather to clog the hole.


27 posted on 05/08/2010 7:08:10 PM PDT by TaMoDee
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To: Greysard

Well then, the next box that they build all they need to do is embed a heating element in the concrete, It may take awhile, but that should warm the environment down there marginally, the wild card will be what characteristics methane will exhibit as it thaws It will probably get a little lighter, so that should be taken into account. What about expansion?


28 posted on 05/08/2010 7:08:16 PM PDT by mapmaker77
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To: Bruinator
A direct quote from Schlumberger:

"Some can effectively close over an open wellbore, some are designed to seal around tubular components in the well (drillpipe, casing or tubing) and others are fitted with hardened steel shearing surfaces that can actually cut through drillpipe.

Don't you think you owe it to your competitor to tell them they are wrong?

In any event, despite, or perhaps because of your arrogance, (I don't know whose BOP failed, but I now have a suspicion), the BOP in this case failed to do it's job.

By the way, I've worn out more joints and rotary bits than you have socks. I got tired of midnight towers and learned how to engineer...

29 posted on 05/08/2010 7:10:39 PM PDT by jonascord (We've got the Constitution to protect us. Why should we worry?)
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To: humblegunner

Casing is not I repeat not drill pipe. Drill pipe has a much thicker wall than casing. Casing is used when cementing abd plugging. This is where an inherent gap in the process is acknowleged. It was during period that that methane gas bubble breached. The BOP would not have helped in any case.


30 posted on 05/08/2010 7:16:51 PM PDT by Bruinator (God is Great.... Beer is good.... Muzzies are.........?)
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To: Lucretia Borgia

LOL


31 posted on 05/08/2010 7:18:39 PM PDT by MikefromOhio (There is no truth to the rumor that Ted Kennedy was buried at sea.....)
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To: TaMoDee

exactly what i figured....velocity keeps it flowing


32 posted on 05/08/2010 7:19:10 PM PDT by dennisw (It all comes 'round again --Fairport)
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To: Lucretia Borgia

You forgot to close your tag. Here, let me help you with that.

< /Unix nerd>

;-P


33 posted on 05/08/2010 7:21:26 PM PDT by FreedomPoster (No Representation without Taxation!)
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To: rovenstinez

It’s also a function of pressure.


34 posted on 05/08/2010 7:29:16 PM PDT by USNBandit (sarcasm engaged at all times)
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To: USNBandit
Can somebody tighten me up with the academics on this. It's been 24 years since I took chemistry.

When they say crystals is this like crystals falling out of solution in the lab?

35 posted on 05/08/2010 7:31:41 PM PDT by USNBandit (sarcasm engaged at all times)
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To: Touch Not the Cat

In some ways to have this fix stalled by methane hydrates is quite ironic. Hydrates are so abundant they are be a greater energy resource than all our oil and coal deposits combined.

see this old report on methane hydrates:

http://marine.usgs.gov/fact-sheets/gas-hydrates/title.html


36 posted on 05/08/2010 7:36:01 PM PDT by theBuckwheat
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To: USNBandit

NO. Crystals come out of solution in a chemical due to the liquid reaching a saturation point at which it cannot carry a particular substance. Methane changes to “ice” like water changes to “ice” due to temperature.


37 posted on 05/08/2010 7:42:27 PM PDT by TaMoDee
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To: Touch Not the Cat

The ocean depths involved put this site in the ultra-deep range. We are drilling here because that is where the remaining reservoirs of oil exist. (The South China sea has too many political disputes over ownership to make it practical.)

As much as we would like to think there are untapped reservoirs just waiting on federal land, the reality is that most of the hydrocarbons in those locations are in the form of tar oils (where only the bitumen remains due to erosion) or oil shale, which is really kerogen, a precursor to crude oil. (In other words, the oil shale has never been exposed to the temperatures needed to convert it to oil, and some heat source - and energy - is needed to do that.)

The liberals are busy with derisive “Spill, Baby, Spill” comments, but if this incident shuts down off-shore drilling, we are in a world of hurt. Even if we found a new reservoir within the continental United States, it would take years to bring it on-line. This is why the military highlighted the lack of investment in oil drilling in its March Joint Operating Environment report as being a threat by 2012-2015. According to that report, we could be short 10 million barrels a day, or 13 percent of global crude production by that time. And that assumed off-shore drilling would continue as usual.

Keep pulling for those engineers and technicians at BP.


38 posted on 05/08/2010 7:54:59 PM PDT by Dark Fired Tobacco
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To: TaMoDee

Thanks. Sometimes it is hard for me to fire those synapses, when they haven’t been used for so long.


39 posted on 05/08/2010 7:56:25 PM PDT by USNBandit (sarcasm engaged at all times)
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To: Dark Fired Tobacco

Please don’t forget the Bakken Formation of western N/S Dakota and easern Montana. Estimates are of huge amounts.


40 posted on 05/08/2010 8:05:55 PM PDT by TaMoDee
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To: codder too

Yep. It’s mighty damn cold down at 5,000 feet!


41 posted on 05/08/2010 8:07:35 PM PDT by Travis McGee (---www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com---)
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To: rovenstinez

> So, it’s crystals...like ICE....what is the temperature down there in the water,...I’m confused, we’re talking GULF here not ARTIC.

They call it ice, but it’s more like moth ball-like large waxy chunks of crystals mixed in vasoline. It’s methane-hydrate and it is formed from methane and water under very high pressure.


42 posted on 05/08/2010 8:07:40 PM PDT by BuffaloJack (Comrade O has to go.)
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To: rovenstinez

when you get 5000 feet down, there is so much insulation from the surface, that it makes no difference what the surface looks like — the temp is just above freezing


43 posted on 05/08/2010 8:14:10 PM PDT by BohDaThone
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To: Lucretia Borgia
tar -xvzf

Heh, that's exactly what I thought of when I read 'tar balls'. Unix nerds, like us.

44 posted on 05/08/2010 8:15:18 PM PDT by backwoods-engineer ("It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself." --Jefferson)
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To: Dark Fired Tobacco

The Saudis already control the White House, much of DC, many politicians in the US and Uk plus a stake in Fox news and probably the others.

We have the energy.


45 posted on 05/08/2010 9:34:09 PM PDT by Frantzie (McCain=Obama's friend. McCain/Graham = La Raza's Senators & Estefan-Rubio)
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To: TaMoDee

The Eagle Ford Formation south in Southern Texas which stretches from the border with mecio toward louisiana. It is being ramped up.


46 posted on 05/08/2010 9:35:25 PM PDT by Frantzie (McCain=Obama's friend. McCain/Graham = La Raza's Senators & Estefan-Rubio)
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To: Frantzie

Wrong, Fox News was never bought up by the Saudi’s. I keep hearing wild eyed reactionaries making this claim. What actually happened was the Saudi’s paid Murdoch to relocate his ME HQ to the nation of Qutar. This rumor does more harm than good. If they did buy FN then Glen Beck would be off the air!


47 posted on 05/08/2010 10:07:27 PM PDT by STD (islam a spiritual-legal-political Theocratic system of governance which is not to be questioned;)
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To: TaMoDee

I’m including the Bakken Formation. There are in fact huge amounts of hydrocarbons there. There are no large reservoirs of oil, however. Instead, oil is trapped in small pockets that have to be reached using horizontal drilling techniques. Also, the surrounding rock is highly permeable, meaning the oil can escape and migrate downward. It’s rather like water in a sponge.

Several small, publicly traded companies are drilling there extensively. The total volume is still very small. The most optimistic projection I have seen is for six months of current U.S. demand spread over a 20 year period.

It will help, and better drilling methods combined with high oil prices will surely make the formation more productive in the future. It is not, however, going to address the shortfalls in supply over the next ten years.


48 posted on 05/08/2010 10:25:00 PM PDT by Dark Fired Tobacco
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To: rovenstinez

“So, it’s crystals...like ICE....what is the temperature down there in the water,...I’m confused, we’re talking GULF here not ARTIC.”

This is from an article that was written before the box was lowered into the gulf.

The Register Citizen: Northwest Connecticut’s Daily Newspaper
Serving Litchfield County, CT

Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill: Boat with containment box at oil site

Published: Thursday, May 06, 2010

“That process presents several challenges because of the frigid water temperature — about 42 degrees Fahrenheit — and exceptionally high pressure at those depths. Those conditions could cause the pipe to clog with what are known in the drilling industry as “ice plugs.” To combat that problem, crews plan to continuously pump warm water and methanol down the pipe to dissolve the clogging.”

http://www.registercitizen.com/articles/2010/05/06/news/doc4be2ab4474914955388048.txt


49 posted on 05/09/2010 1:30:47 AM PDT by Mila
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To: STD

Wrong. The Saudi prince (POS) who has a lot of stock holdings including Citigroup, who offered a $1 million check to NY after 9/11 but is a Jew hater and Rudy told him to stick it - owns part of NewsCorp (Fox News).

Speaking of Beck - he ranted about Islam at CNN. As soon as he got to Fox he stopped. Beck’s “well the Repubs and Dems are the same” and he and O’Reilly being anti-birthers make they Dems to me.


50 posted on 05/09/2010 8:10:59 AM PDT by Frantzie (McCain=Obama's friend. McCain/Graham = La Raza's Senators & Estefan-Rubio)
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