Big Storm to Hit Gulf of Mexico ... All Oil Relief Operations Will Be Suspended ... Cap Will Stay On, Unattended

George Washington's picture

Washington’s

Blog

As
oil industry expert Bob Cavnar writes:

The
National Hurricane Center this morning forecasted a 70% chance that
Invest 97, now just south of the Bahamas, would form into a tropical
cyclone. Destination? The central Gulf. In his McBriefing yesterday,
Kent Wells announced that instead of running and cementing the last
liner into relief well 1, they had already run in a storm packer to
temporarily seal the well and were preparing to shut down. Here's the
storm track by computer model.

July 22 storm.jpg

In
other words, BP is shutting down its drilling of the relief wells until
the storm passes.

Cavnar points out that this could be awhile:

A
hurricane, or even a tropical storm, will cause 10 days to 2 weeks of delay. Yesterday, [Admiral
Thad] Allen said that the decision whether to open the capping stack or
leave it closed was currently being discussed. Without monitoring,
there is fear of a major leak causing serious damage to the wellhead
endangering future containment efforts. He also said that they would
leave an ROV boat as last boat out, since it can travel faster than the
service vessels.

I agree with what Cavnar as
written previously: instead of doing the "well integrity test", BP might
have been able to kill the well by now if it hadn't suspended drilling
of the relief wells so that it could run
that test.

It is not yet clear whether the storm will turn
into a hurricane. As I warned
on May 14th, there is a possibility that a hurricane could spread the
oil inland.

The Weather Channel notes
today:

"The oil movement will be strongly
impacted not only by what the storm track is but how large the storm
is," says Luettich. "A small storm that has very strong winds could
have a very large impact. But also a weaker storm that is larger will
also have an impact."

 

***

 

"A hurricane on Katrina's path
would push a lot of stuff onto shore, given where a lot of the oil is
right now," says Luettich.

A storm that moves up the west coast
of Florida may be the best case scenario for the oil slick, if there is
such a thing. It may push the oil farther out to sea and help
disperse it more.

 

***

 

What happens when the hurricane moves
inland? It's not just coastal residents affected by the massive
storms. The remnants can affect communities hundreds of miles inland.

 

***

 

As
the hurricane moves inland it will pick up particles of oil. That
will become part of the sea spray that moves inland with the storm.
According to Chris Zappa, an oceanographer at Columbia University, we're
likely to see a light coating of oil on electrical wires and trees.
He likens it to standing in sea spray for a while. You'll walk away
with a light sheen of salt water on your skin. Instead of salt water,
it will feel like oil water.

However, this would be a very
localized effect. For example if a hurricane made landfall in Alabama,
the coastal communities would feel the oily sea spray. However, it
wouldn't make it to Montgomery or even Dothan, which are both more than
hour inland.

Thinking about a sheen of oil on your skin may give
you the heebie jeebies, but it won't hurt you. Experts at NOAA
(National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) say the amount of oil
that would be carried inland in water vapor would be less than normal
levels of pollution.

I don't believe anyone
has studied the potential effect of a hurricane on the large
amounts of methane
released by the oil gusher, and the millions of
gallons of Corexit sprayed into the Gulf. While some blithely
dismiss any danger and others are giving apocalyptic visions, I don't
think anyone really knows how bad it could be.

The government has
just announced that the cap will stay on - unattended - throughout the
storm. Specifically, National Incident Commander Thad Allen just announced:

The decision has been made to leave
the cap on, even if the well is unattended.

I hope
and pray that the well does not blow out while no one is looking.

Hurricanes
can also tear up the seafloor, but probably only in shallow waters. As
pointed out in a study conducted by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory
at Stennis Space Center, Mississippi (via Science
Daily
):

Based on unique measurements taken
directly under a powerful hurricane, the new study's calculations are
the first to show that hurricanes propel underwater currents with
enough oomph to dig up the seabed, potentially creating underwater
mudslides and damaging pipes or other equipment resting on the bottom.

***

Based
on unique measurements taken directly under a powerful hurricane, the
new study's calculations are the first to show that hurricanes propel
underwater currents with enough oomph to dig up the seabed, potentially
creating underwater mudslides and damaging pipes or other equipment
resting on the bottom.

***

The research team found that
strong currents along the sea floor pushed and pulled on the seabed,
scouring its surface. "Usually you only see this in very shallow water,
where waves break on the beach, stirring up sand," says David Wang,
co-author of the study. "In hurricanes, the much bigger waves can stir
up the seafloor all the way down to 90 meters [300 feet]."

 

***

Hurricanes
considerably weaker than Ivan, which was category-4, could still tear
up the seafloor, causing significant damage as deep as 90 meters.

But even thought the ill-fated well is too deep to suffer a direct hit by a hurricane, there are many things which could still go wrong.

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Oh regional Indian's picture

Hi Everyone. Nice to see a little banter here. A little jivin', man stuff.

Meanwhile, we are approaching a nuclear anniversary of historic proportions.

Playing Prophet here:

The decision to deploy or not deploy a nuclear option will be taken or rather brought into the public discourse between 6th and the 9th of August.

The Matrix pulsed on 16th July, at precisely 11:29:45 UTC. So one knows that the echo is coming.

By August 15th, the GOM will be in much worse shape than it is today. Most worst case scenarios will be playing out at one level or another, peaking and falling.

Something nuclear this way comes. If you have the ability to influence people to move now, do it. Send something like ( http://aadivaahan.wordpress.com/2010/07/04/an-open-letter-to-all-gom-res... ) or write your own.

Get it to as many hands as possible. The more orderly we help people make it, the less power the givernment (!!!) will have. It is in direct proportion to the deterioration of law and order that the government wrests control.

Go on then. Enough talk. Time for some action.

How about a ZH Gulf Disaster relief fund, disbursed by trusted ZHers in the right places? Can be done.

Anyone?

ORI

http://aadivaahan.wordpress.com

RichardP's picture

You are probably right about them setting off a nuclear device soon.  Thee storm is going to be so noisy, no one will hear the bomb when it goes off.  Perfect.

tempo's picture

Not to worry, the well is capped.  Move on there's nothing to see here.  Tadd Allen has blessed the cap.   If there is a blowout it will not be BP's fault.    The $20 billion caps all liability.  Its over.   Let's move on to move important things like Mel Gibson and Lindsey.

George Washington's picture

Absolutely.  If there is a lot of oil all over the place when the ROVs get back, its just a mystery, not BP's fault.

Probably from some other abandoned well.

tahoebumsmith's picture

Look you haven't even been able to get a satellite image of the spill since may. There are no private scientists allowed in the area. There has been no assistance allowed from other countries due to the Jones Act, and then you read headlines like these.....

US: Felony charges, big fines for reporting within Gulf oil spill

Photographers say BP and government officials are preventing them from documenting the impact of the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

BP has issued a "no fly zone" above the spill - preventing journalists from getting current footage

And then today....Some 750 boats drafted in to scoop up oil from the Gulf of Mexico are having "trouble" finding any crude in the sea, a top US official said Wednesday, almost a week after a busted well was capped.

 

repo 105's picture

I wish some of the folks coming down here would read the bad stuff about the oil and stay away. US 98 through Destin today was a nightmare, it took me 30 minutes to get from the Cigar shop back to Holiday Isle. Maybe the storm will run people off because the oil isn't. Folks, it's going to rain oil, the beaches are trashed, the weather sucks, please go to Hilton Head.

mathdock's picture

That stretch of road between FWB and Sandestin is ALWAYS socked in this time of year, ESPECIALLY close to lunch or dinner time.  Just tell them it's Labor Day.

Separately, I wonder how many beach weddings are still taking place over by the Aquarium.  Is that old beast open this year?

mcarthur's picture

I'm afraid both Simmons and GW will come out of this with tarnished reputations.  I've dealt with blowouts in deep underground mines.  H20.  Providing the materials used are up to the task, a mechanically sealed hole suffers little chance of blowout.  And my experience is that it could take weeks for the original back pressure to re-establish itself since this is a function of the ability of the formation to recharge itself due to permeability/porosity issues. So a net difference between expected and actual backpressure does not signal a leak.

knukles's picture

How come the MSM hasn't reported the latest Rasputin poll of YoBama's popularity in the Gulf States?

Boilerbob's picture

If I am reading the graph correctly it indicates that at the right temperature a 20% increase in pressure could cause the solid crystals to turn to liquid and therefore open the holes. 

 

Unless a cat has kitten on a boat circling overhead in which case......just to many variable and moving parts to know the impact of the crystals without sticking your head in the well to get a first hand look at the situation. 

AssFire's picture

I have a reliable source that tells me; soon as the well is left unattended it will build to 70,000 psi when he (Simmons) opens the bypass valve to salvage his reputation.

Jim_Rockford's picture

Yeah ... why is the discussion of the well casing or the integrity of the cap even relevant?  Yesterday Simmons scientifically proved that the casing is blown out of the hole and the BOP is "blown up" too.  According to Matt Simmons, the storm and the resulting abandonment of the wellsite is irrelevant.  Am I missing something?

I hate to give TD too much "evil genius" credit, but I have to wonder if he didn't post that Matt Simmons article and give it top billing within its own grey shaded box just to take a sampling of his readership.  Get me?Hopefully he got a few laughs.  Lord knows I did.

George Washington's picture

It's not BP's way or Simmons' way.

Most scientists are in between: there are severe dangers, but it's not Armageddon.

By the way, I deleted the following quote from my new story on methane hydrates:

Worse, the freed gas may explode. One theory on the cause of the Deepwater Horizon disaster blames a methane gas bubble for causing the explosion and fire that sank the rig. There have been rumors that a similar methane explosion could cause a tsunami, a concern that government officials say is unfounded.

That's from an article in Tampa Bay's St. Peterburg Times.

Why did I delete it? Because I think people are already too scared of a tsunami or explosion.  I think both are very very very unlikely.

And I'll take heat from some people for not mentioning those !

Jim_Rockford's picture

It's not BP's way or Simmons' way.

Most scientists are in between

Well in that case:

MOST SCIENTIST AGREE ENTIRE WELL CASING BLEW HALF WAY OUT OF HOLE.  BOP BLEW UP HALF WAY TOO!

That one ought to get the readers running in here like a pack of wild wildebeasts!  Glory, Glory!!!

George Washington's picture

That would not be an accurate headline.

This WOULD be accurate:

Most scientists believe that either the well casing is damaged or the oil reservoir has been depleted more than previously thought, and they believe that nothing should be done to weaken the casing.

That is why I write so much about the well casing ... I don't want people to do something stupid which will make it weaker.

Make sense?

Jim_Rockford's picture

I didn't know that there was anybody who wants to weaken the casing.

George Washington's picture

But there might be those who would play a game of chicken with it.

AssFire's picture

I am kinda surprised this is even a story when the real disaster, our government, is flowing billions of barrels of bullshit a day.

John_Coltrane's picture

You wondered about this statement: "that gas hydrate crystals could be plugging any holes in the underground portion of the well, and they could get dislodged as pressure builds."

Let me answer that question with a simple test experiment:  I take an ordinary pipe and drill some holes in it.  Then I add a material capable of being sealing those holes via aggregation/coagulation from the inside as I increase the pressure by blocking one end of the pipe.  Pressure is a force/unit area and is directed outward from the high pressure region (inside the pipe) to the outside (the ambient).  Why would the sealing material become dislodged as suggested when the direction of the force pushes it into the hole not the other way.  So, this so-called engineer doesn't pass his exam.

By the way, this is how "green slime" works in repairing holes from the inside of tires.  It doesn't work so well if you try it from the outside because now the build up of pressure can cause a failure.

 

Jim_Rockford's picture

George - you are way out front dude.  High five.

Being that you are already working on your next article, I have taken my time to write your neXt several titles while the wellsite is vacated.  My gift to you:

TOP OIL INDUSTRY EXPERT SAYS THE WELL MIGHT BE LEAKING

AS PREDICTED: BP SAYS THEY DON'T KNOW IF THE WELL IS LEAKING

OCEAN FLOOR NOT DISTURBED BELOW 90 METERS YET WHY DID BP PULL ROV COVERAGE?

TOP EXPERT ADMITS NO PRIOR HURRICANE TESTING FOR COREXIT WAS CONDUCTED

MATT SIMMONS SAYS GULF STORM COULD BE START OF ARMAGEDDON AS WE KNOW IT

NOAA TAKES ARIAL PHOTO OF STORM, CAPTURES FACE OF DICK CHENEY IN CLOUD FORMATION

BP ACKNOWLEDGES SEEPS AT OCEAN FLOOR MIGHT BE CONTINUING

I hope that will help you get through the next few days.  Feel free to use them in any order you see fit. 

tahoebumsmith's picture

Can I add just one more?

TOXIC RAIN SENDS PEOPLE FLEEING IN PANIC FROM THE GULF COAST REGION

Jim_Rockford's picture

Nope, it simply won't do. 

You need to add in "top expert says", or insert a conditional like "may" or "could".  For bonus points you could throw in an "as predicted" ... that's always a nice touch.

Nice try, thanks for playing.

knukles's picture

"3 Nobel Laureates in conjunction with Blue Ribbon Panel yet to be appointed stated that possibly....." 

RichardENixon's picture

FRENCH QUARTER SHOESHINE TECHNICIAN CLAIMS OIL POURING DOWN BOURBON STREET

George Washington's picture

Thanks, Jim!  But you forgot:

BREAKING NEWS HEADLINE:  BP SAYS POSITIVE THINKING WORKS ... OIL SPONTANEOUSLY AND MYSTERIOUSLY DISAPPEARED, NO HARM DONE TO ENVIRONMENT, ECONOMY OR HUMAN HEALTH! ALL SCIENTISTS WHO THOUGHT THERE WAS A PROBLEM WERE EITHER DRUNK OF AL-QAEDA WANNABEES!

Jim_Rockford's picture

To paraphrase Bill Hicks, when I see you write that title I will know that aliens have come down and sucked out your brain.

But seriously, how bout:

TOP EXPERT:  GULF STORM TO DIVERT ATTENTION FROM HAYWARD/LOHAN (SHE'S IN JAIL YOU KNOW) LOVE CHILD

George Washington's picture

+10  That's very funny!   You're on a roll today...

 

Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

Oh no worries, because the GOM only has sea depth of 13,000 feet.

Jim_Rockford's picture

You make me proud Mr. Hendrix.  I take it you are sober tonight?

Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

Yes sober and feeling great now that you are here!  Without you I don't know what I would do.  Shall we celebrate the gulf's depth some more or what!

Jim_Rockford's picture

How can you celebrate when Lindsay is locked up?

RichardENixon's picture

I'm more troubled by the breakup of Reggie Bush and Kim Kardashian.

Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

Gossip time!  Kim Kardasian is with another ball player already, Austin Miles. 

Instant Karma's picture

What is it with you and this oil well? Enough with the hysterics.

George Washington's picture

Gang, here's a new piece I'm working on.  Would value any feedback (including from gasmiinder, Augustus or Jim Rockford) ...

Capped Oil Well: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

 

BP will leave the cap on the oil well while it vacates the area for a number of days to avoid the coming tropical storm.

What could possibly go wrong?

One expert warns that increasing pressure might have an unintended danger:

Bill Gale, a California engineer and industrial explosion expert who is a member of the Deepwater Horizon Study Group, said… that gas hydrate crystals could be plugging any holes in the underground portion of the well, and they could get dislodged as pressure builds.

(Gale was formerly Chief Loss Prevention Engineer for Bechtel in San Francisco, obtained his undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering, Masters in Civil Engineering and PhD in Fire Safety Engineering Science from the University of California, Berkeley. Gale is a registered professional engineer in both mechanical engineering and fire protection engineering, and has more than forty years of industrial loss prevention, process safety management, and fire protection/fire safety engineering experience.)

In other words, there may have been a destruction of a portion of the steel well casing which was temporarily plugged by methane hydrate crystals. Leaving the well cap may slowly raise the pressure in the well to the point where the hydrate crystals are dislodged, in which case the well might really start leaking.

Indeed, the relationship between methane hydrate, pressure and temperature is well-known:

Sound farfetched?

Maybe.

But remember that the top hat containment effort killed because it got plugged up with methane hydrate crystals.

And remember that there's alot of methane down there. Indeed, while most crude oil contains 5% methane, the crude oil gushing out of the blown out well is 40% methane.

Moreover, scientists say that the methane could disturb the seabed. As the St. Peterburg Times points out :

Disturbing those [methane hydrate] deposits — say, by drilling an oil well through them — can turn that solid methane into a liquid, leaving the ocean floor unstable, explained [Carol Lutken of the University of Mississippi, which is part of a consortium with SRI which has been conducting methane research in the Gulf of Mexico for years].

 

***

 

Generally the oil industry tries to avoid methane areas during drilling for safety reasons. But the U.S. Energy Department wants to find a way to harvest fuel from those methane deposits, Lutken said. [I've previously discussed that issue in detail.]

So what's the bottom line?

Hopefully, when the storm is over and the underwater submersibles return to the spill site, everything will be peaceful and just as they left it. I'm not predicting disaster.

But there are many variables - such as methane hydrates - which, in a worst-case scenario, could complicate matters.

knukles's picture

The N. Korean sub will come back?

nmewn's picture

No. Nepolitano's SWAT teams according to Gaia News.

The way I understand it the GoM has abducted Transoceans oil rig thereby creating an international incident. The Fed has been in constant contact with the GoM for it's return, but negotiation is failing. Now with this unprovoked escalation of the GoM calling in a tropical storm to aid in it's criminal activity, the Fed is now backed into a corner. Clearly this calls for more than just another strongly worded statement. Rumor has it, again a Gaia News source speaking on condition of anonymity, that a B1 bomber with a low yield nuke is in route to find the center of the storm and destroy it.

Timing will be important. The hope is the detonation of the nuke will distract the GoM enabling the SWAT teams to enter and free the captured rig.

Let's keep our fingers crossed ;-)

 

 

 

tahoebumsmith's picture

This is why they are removing all the ships from the area. If those so called " SEEPS" turn into geisers and release that huge pocket of methane, every ship would sink! Once again, you only have to follow the money trail to understand their thought process.

ShankyS's picture

First "Indeed, the relationship between methane hydrate, pressure and temperature is well-known:" I was not aware of that one, must have slept thru that lecture.

I want to thank you for outstanding coverage of this giant fucking POS disaster. You are a great voice and are very appreciated. I know you have your shills and detractors, but you do the best you can bringing all the available information together in one place. Thanks for all you do.

As for not babysitting the well, the damage is done. Why they are not hooked up and pumping oil out of that puppy is beyond me. Haven't they really been trying to salvage the well all along anyway? Yes the oil and methane were bad, but the dispersants have done the real dammage. Maybe the best thing about the storm is that they won't be able to poison the ocean for another week.

 

Jim_Rockford's picture

@ George - Yeah, that graph confused the hell out of me too.  All those numbers and stuff.  Do you have a youtube video of Kendra giving this real meaning and what it means to her?  During the time the wellsite is vacated, I am going to be working on opening my chakras.  I suggest everyone else do the same.  There is a chance it just might work!

George Washington's picture

Jim, thanks ... first laugh of the day!

Jim_Rockford's picture

If it is only the first, then I have failed.  ;)

bugs_'s picture

The seismic stuff will be remotely watched.