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About that relief well in the gulf

by Steven Haninger / August 5, 2010 10:43 AM PDT

Maybe I'm just stupid about oil drilling but I don't see why the relief well effort can't just be another tap into the same oil supply that we know is there. If they pump mud and cement successfully into the blown out plumbing, why drill another hole to pump in more mud and cement? I could understand if the relief well was to take pressure off the damaged well to help plug it up but it's already plugged now....or as good as plugged anyway. Why not just drill a proper new well and start bringing up the crude? We already know where it is. Happy

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There is a problem with that approach ...
by Bill Osler / August 5, 2010 8:23 PM PDT

It doesn't make scientific sense, but what I heard on a radio news report is that the BP folks believe using the well in any way will create major public relations problems. My understanding is that if they do access that field it will be through a completely new well.

It sounds stupid to me - drilling a new well is expensive, and there are risks - but it's their money to waste as they wish.

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So BP needs to rediscover the same oil?
by Steven Haninger / August 5, 2010 9:06 PM PDT

I suppose you could be right. But I was under the (probably mistaken) impression that the relief well was to help eliminate the earlier problem of well pressure in the blown out pipe that inhibited flow of mud during the earlier failed attempt to plug it. Perhaps, now, the drilling of the relief well is at the point of no return and needs to be completed and plugged in order to not result in another blowout and further escalate the PR problem. It just strikes me as odd. I've had water in a ceiling due to faulty plumbing and I bored holes in the sheet rock to let the water escape to where I could collect it rather than let it do more damage. To me that made sense. I would think that the relief well plumbing BP is now drilling will encounter the same pressure as did the previous hole and be just as difficult to flow mud against. That's what one gets for trying to use logic.

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I agree that PR may be paramout here
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / August 5, 2010 9:19 PM PDT

Whether this was an avoidable problem or not, and whether history will see this as the major ecological disaster that it has been portrayed so far, there's no doubt it has been a public relations disaster.

I suspect that BP will cease much of it's operations in the gulf and lick it's wounds, at least for the foreseeable future.


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BP says it still might drill in spill reservoir
by EdHannigan / August 6, 2010 2:53 AM PDT

NEW ORLEANS ? BP PLC said Friday it might someday drill again in the same undersea pocket of oil that gushed millions of gallons of its crude into the sea, crushing livelihoods and fouling beaches and wildlife habitat along hundreds of miles of Gulf of Mexico shoreline.

"There's lots of oil and gas here," Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles said at a news briefing. "We're going to have to think about what to do with that at some point."

The vast oil reservoir beneath the blown well is still believed to hold nearly $4 billion worth of crude. With the company and its partners facing tens of billions of dollars in liabilities, the incentive to exploit the wells and the reservoir could grow.
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"$4 billion worth of crude"...Interesting how the
by Steven Haninger / August 6, 2010 5:49 AM PDT

measurement is expressed in dollars and not barrels.

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All in all
by Willy / August 5, 2010 10:01 PM PDT

Depending on the oil well(region) itself and its nature makes sense to relieve pressure. The oil could be suspended in broken rock, harden sands, below or a huge oil bubble, etc., so pressure is always present, but if released too much even by a ***** of a hole, it may overcome that well until controls are in place. All the mud does is seal even in a working well the surrounding drilled hole to maintain a constant pressure and seal it from surrounding defects of the well wall. The relief holes is close enough provide a 2ndary pressure release that helps. Even though these are relief wells, these too can be used to pump out oil but in the nature of the current situation, they can "cap" but not permanently and return to them just as if the original problem oil well hadn't blown. Afterall, it was an exploratory drilling in finding new oil deposits. I think once the hoopla dies down, this could be very well be a revisited area, especailly since work in already in place. -----Willy Happy

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