Just another Reality-based bubble in the foam of the multiverse.

Monday, May 31, 2010

from very bad to very worse

No solid proof yet, but recent suggestions here seem verified:

...Some drilling experts said that the "top kill" effort failed over the weekend because the force of the oil and gas pushing up from the reservoir 13,000 feet below the seafloor was so great that it had shoved most of the drilling mud through the blowout preventer and into the sea.

Tadeusz W. Patzek, chairman of petroleum and geosystems engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, said it was the "equivalent of six or seven fire hoses blasting oil and gas up, while two fire hoses were used to blast the drilling mud down. They never stood much of a chance."

Sources at two companies involved with the well said that BP also discovered new damage inside the well below the seafloor and that, as a result, some of the drilling mud that was successfully forced into the well was going off to the side into rock formations.

"We discovered things that were broken in the sub-surface," said a BP official who spoke on the condition of anonymity. He said that mud was making it "out to the side, into the formation." The official said he could not describe what was damaged in the well...

Answer: the entire well wall. [tip o'teh tinfoil to Lambert]

Meanwhile, there are increasingly strident voices that suggest the way to deal with this is to nuke the wellhead.

Don't do it. Clean this up the hard way. Protect the shorelines the right way. Experts say they aren't even trying to do it right. Siphon the oil with a fleet of tankers for as long as needed. It's going to cost. These quick and easy fixes are going to be neither and are likely to increase the damage exponentially.

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