Day 89 In The Gulf: Cap is Holding Scientists Dispute Government Claims of “Secondary Leaks”

McAuley’s World Comments Bolded Blue

NEW ORLEANS – Engineers kept vigil Saturday over the massive cap holding back oil from BP’s busted Gulf well, their eyes glued to monitors in a faraway control room that displayed pressure readings, temperature gauges and underwater images.

Their round-the-clock work deciphering a puzzle of data from undersea robots and instruments at the wellhead is helping BP and the government determines whether the cap is holding tight as the end of a critical 48-hour testing window approaches. Signs so far have been promising but inconclusive.

[Inconclusive?  That depends on who you listen to. If you think a moratorium on oil drilling is a great idea, you don’t want to accept the well has been repaired and is ready to function normally. Inconclusive is largely dependent on if you have a “horse” in this race or issue. The Obama Administration has several “horses” in this race.

As for the Obama Administration they will do anything to keep from being confronted with the simplicity of the actual well repair and the very minimum of damage, physical damage that was done to the well. The amount of physical damage done to the well was very small and should have been repaired in 10 days or so … the damage done to the environment because the Obama Administration failed to respond appropriately is enormous.]

One mysterious development was that the pressure readings were not rising as high as expected, said retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the government’s point man on the crisis.

[The ‘expectation” was an “estimate” based on a great deal of “speculation”]

Allen said two possible reasons were being debated by scientists: The reservoir that is the source of the oil could be running lower three months into the spill. Or there could be an undiscovered leak somewhere down in the well. Allen ordered further study but remained confident.

[These are two of “several theories” – only one of the theories is supported by competent scientific theory – the pressure in the well reflects, after 24 hours of steady or slowly rising readings – the pressure in the reservoir …. to suggest that additional “leaks” in the surrounding geology could affect the pressure in the oil reservoir is ridiculous … a leak in the lower portion of the well would manifest itself with oil spewing forth in a visible manner, something that has not happened at any time over the last 89 days]. 

“This is generally good news,” he said. But he cautioned, “We need to be careful not to do any harm or create a situation that cannot be reversed.”

Pressure readings after 24 hours were about 6,700 pounds per square inch and rising slowly, Allen said, below the 7,500 psi that would clearly show the well was not leaking. He said pressure continued to rise between 2 and 10 psi per hour. A low pressure reading, or a falling one, could mean the oil is escaping.

[Or it could very well mean nothing at all. It might simply mean that the current well pressure will exert enough force to “push” the oil through the current well design at 6.700 to 6.800 PSI rather than the “expected” or “guess-timated” 7500 psi. One way to increase the pressure is to force the oil through a smaller pipe. The flow rate and the “pressure” a fluid exhibits is directly related to the size of the pipe it is being forced through …. much like your garden hose in the back yard … the stream of water that comes out of the faucet at the back of your house is “strong enough”, it has a high enough pressure, to create a steady, strong stream of water for you to say, wash your car. If you then borrow a hose from your local fire department and hook it up to your house, you’ll get a trickle of water from the end of the hose not a hard stream …. as the saying goes, “size is everything” …. the pressure of the water leaving your house remains the same .. the pressure at the end of the hose is different …. the pressure in the oil reservoir is the same …. to suggest that this event caused geological damage to the earth’s structure is absolutely ridiculous and is based on “bogus science” …. it is highly unlikely that the event in the Deep Water Horizon rig, 10,000 feet above the gulf floor caused any damage to the Lower Marine Riser Package or the well casing stretching thousands of feet below the LMRP…] 

But Allen said a seismic probe of the surrounding sea floor found no sign of a leak in the ground. [Exactly]

The cap is designed to prevent oil from spilling into the Gulf, either by keeping it bottled up in the well, or by capturing it and piping it to ships on the surface. It is not yet clear which way the cap will be used if it passes the pressure test.

Either way, the cap is a temporary measure until a relief well can be completed and mud and cement can be pumped into the broken well deep underground to seal it more securely than the cap. The first of the two relief wells being drilled could be done by late July or August.

[If the well is repaired and the cap is functioning correctly, why kill the well? Why not use the well to produce oil and pay for the cleanup – This Administration is very “short on science” and very long on “political spin”. Are the current decisions being based on “scientific fact” or “political necessity”. Is allowing this well to produce oil consistent with the “politically motivated” Court filings to enforce a “drilling moratorium”? Is the Obama Administration ready to admit that, but for the Administration’s incompetence, this well should have been repaired 70 plus days ago? Or is the Administration trying to “twist” the science to provide “political cover” and advance the Administration’s political agenda?]

Watch for Sunday’s Post: Silly, Unsupported Science… The Deepwater Horizon Disaster: Why the disaster did not disturb the Gulf floor or the geologic structure of the oil reservoir … Fantastic and unsupported claims being brought forward for political and monetary gain.  

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