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Methane Release From the Gulf Oil Spill: What Does It Mean? How Bad Could It Get?

George Washington's picture





 

Washington’s

Blog

Tremendous quantities of methane are being emitted by the Gulf oil
spill.

The methane could kill all life in large areas of the Gulf.

However,
rumors being spread widely around the Web claiming that the methane
could bring on a doomsday catastrophe are not credible.

This
essay will attempt to clear up the confusion and convey the facts
regarding methane and the oil spill.

Thank Uncle Sam

As
a preface, I want to touch on the government's role in this mess.

Many
people know that the government has encouraged deepwater drilling for
oil by giving huge tax
subsidies for deepwater drilling.

As the Los Angeles Times writes:

Some
say the Gulf of Mexico catastrophe can be linked to Congress' policy of
oil-friendly tax breaks and financial benefits.

***

At
issue was the 2005 Energy Policy Act — the largest energy bill in years.
The committee chairman, Rep. Joe L. Barton (R- Texas), a friend of the
industry, had saved some big issues for the end: billions of dollars in
tax and royalty relief to encourage drilling for oil and gas in the Gulf
of Mexico and other offshore areas. There was even a $50-million annual
earmark to support technical research for the industry.

***

 

The
royalty waiver program was established by Congress in 1995, when oil
was selling for about $18 a barrel and drilling in deep water was seen
as unprofitable without a subsidy. Today, oil sells for about $70 a
barrel, but the subsidy continues.

 

The Government Accountability
Office estimates that the deep-water waiver program could cost the
Treasury $55 billion or more in lost revenue over the life of the
leases, depending on the price of oil and gas and the performances of
the wells.

 

***

 

Oil companies won a lawsuit last year
requiring the government to pay back $2.1 billion in royalties from
previous years, including about $240 million to BP.

 

An increasing
number of analysts say the waiver program has pushed drilling into
fragile and remote areas where emergency response plans were inadequate.

 

"If it wasn't profitable for them to do it, then that's a good argument
for leaving the oil in the ground," said Robert Gramling, who studies
the history of the oil industry at the University of Louisiana,
Lafayette. The government-subsidized rush to deep-water exploration led
to a situation where the industry was doing "things that were
technically possible but were beyond our ability to undo them if we find
out we have a problem."

But most people don't know that
the government has actively encouraged drilling for methane in the Gulf
of Mexico as well.

For example, Congress passed
the Methane Hydrate Research and Development Act
of 2000
"to promote the research, identification, assessment, exploration, and development of
methane hydrate resources...."

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 also
provided government
support for methane hydrate research, exploration and development -
including in deep water.

The Department of Energy has actively
encouraged deepwater drilling for methane hydrates. See this
and this.

Indeed,
this has specifically included support for deepwater drilling for
methane in the Gulf of Mexico. See this,
this,
this,
this,
this,

In
fact, the government,
oil industry and academia
have been exploring
the high methane content in the Mississippi
Canyon
area of the Gulf of Mexico - where the spill is occurring -
for years.

Unprecedented Release of Methane

As CBS notes:

The oil emanating from the seafloor contains about 40 percent methane, compared with
about 5 percent found in
typical oil deposits, said John Kessler, a Texas A&M University
oceanographer who is studying the impact of methane from the spill.

As
Kessler also points
out
:

This is the most vigorous methane eruption in
modern human history.

A U.S. scientist says
that methane levels in the Gulf are "astonishingly high", that 1 million
times the normal level of methane gas has been found in some regions
near the oil spill, high enough to create "dead zones" devoid of life.
Methane depletes oxygen, and the scientist noted:

At some
locations, we saw depletions of up to 30
percent of oxygen based on its natural concentration in the waters.

Another
scientist writes:

Researchers
studying the [plumes] have found concentrations of methane up to
10,000 times greater than normal and oxygen levels depleted by 40 percent below normal.

This
unprecedented release of methane into the ocean kill all life within
large swaths of the Gulf of Mexico.

Global Warming

NASA
has found that methane is 33
times more potent
than carbon dioxide in causing global warming.

Many scientists have said that methane releases have caused past warming
spells. See this,
this,
this, this
and this.
Indeed, methane has such a powerful effect on climate that scientists
believe that woolly
mammoth
farts gaseous emissions are responsible
for warming the Earth 13,000 years ago.

As Nature wrote
last year:

The Siberian Shelf alone harbours an
estimated 1,400 billion tonnes
of methane in gas hydrates, about twice as much carbon as is contained
in all the trees, grasses and flowers on the planet. If just one per
cent of this escaped into the atmosphere within a few decades, it would
be enough to cause abrupt climate change, says [Natalia Shakhova, a
biogeochemist at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, and one of the
leaders of the Siberian Shelf study].

See also this,
this,
this,
this
and this.

The
Associated Press points
out
:

Estimates from the U.S. Geological Survey's
"flow team" [are] that 2,900 cubic feet of natural gas are escaping for
every barrel of oil.

Assuming 100,000
barrels
of oil a day are spewing from the Gulf, that would mean
that 290,000,
000
cubic feet of gas is escaping a day, and 105,850,000,000
cubic feet of methane is escaping a year.

That's 105 billion cubic feet
a year. That's a very large number.

However, as the Guardian notes:

The
new study, published
in the journal Science
, shows that methane emissions from the
Arctic increased by 31% from 2003-07. The increase represents about 1 [million] extra
tonnes of methane each year. Palmer cautioned that the five-year
increase was too short to call a definitive trend.

***

[Researchers]
found that just over half of all methane emissions came from the
tropics, with some 20
[million]
tonnes released from the Amazon river basin each
year, and 26
[million]
tonnes from the Congo basin. Rice paddy fields across
China and south and south-east Asia produced just under one-third of
global methane, some 33 [million] tonnes.

As Scientific
American notes:

440
million metric tons of methane [are] emitted worldwide each year from a
combination of human activities and natural sources like rotting
plants in wetlands, termites and wildfires.

1 ton of
liquefied methane equals
approximately 16 barrels or 50,000 cubic feet of natural gas, depending
on methane content (Natural gas contains between 75
and 90
percent methane by volume. Natural gas used by consumers is composed
almost entirely of methane
. However,
natural gas found at the wellhead, although
still composed primarily of methane, is not
as pure. )

So using a rough calculation, 440 million metric tons
equals approximately 2.2
× 1013
or 22,000,000,000,000 cubic feet.

That's
22 trillion cubic
feet a year ... 210
times bigger
than the amount of methane being released from the
Gulf oil spill.

So the bottom line is that the methane gushing
out from the broken oil equipment is adding to the worldwide methane
output, but constitutes less
than one-half of one percent
... which would normally be considered
a statistical rounding error.

Remember, these are very rough
estimates which are certain to be somewhat off. I hope that an expert
can provide better estimates, and correct any erroneous assumptions
which I made. But the estimates still provide some sense of scale and
context.

(Note also that Iceland's volcanoes are probably going
to throw a
lot of ash into the air
. This could have a cooling effect which
offsets any warming from the Gulf methane release.)

Look Out
Below!

Methane released deep underwater might not even make it to the atmosphere.

As
Newsweek points
out
:

The latest science suggests that relatively
little, if any, methane hydrate is currently degassing, amounting to at
most 2 percent of global methane emissions, and much of that may not
even be entering the atmosphere. Most
of the degassing hydrate would be deep underwater, so the methane
that’s released can get dissolved in the water or chewed up by certain
microbes before it reaches the surface.

David
Valentine of the University of California, Santa Barbara, agrees:

"Although
methane from surface-vessel spills or shallow-water blowouts escapes
into the air, I expect that the vast majority of methane making the
long trip to the sea surface from a deep water spill would dissolve,"
Valentine wrote. "Unlike oil, methane dissolves uniformly in seawater.
And the tools are available to measure it accurately and
sensitively."

As Alexander Higgins points
out
:

[A] study called Project “Deep Spill”
... debunks the lie that the methane gas being released from the well
is floating to the surface and not being absorbed into the sea.

 

The
study analyzed a wide range of controlled releases at different depths
below the sea surface of different types of oil found all over world
to help better understand the flow of hydrocarbons released from a
deepwater blowout.

 

One of the studies, called DeepBlow, released
10,000 barrels of oil per day at a depth of 800 meters which is less
than half of the depth of the Deepwater Horizon blowout.

 

The
basic findings of that study has been recreated by scientists from the
University of North Carolina.

 

In their research the scientists simulated of the formation of the underwater oil plumes
that are created during deepwater blowouts
.

Watch The
University of North Caroline Simulation Shows How Oil Released
Underwater Forms Plumes

While
the University of North Carolina simulation gives you a basic
understanding of how deepwater blowouts create oil plumes it does not
fully account for all the findings of Project “Deep Spill”.

 

In
particular the final report of Project “Deep Spill” found: ound:

  1. Only 2% of the oil released in a
    deepwater blowout may actually make it to the surface.

    That’s as little as 2% naturally without the use of dispersants. Add
    dispersants into the equation and it could be less then one percent of
    oil that makes it to the surface.
  2. None of the methane
    released from the deepwater blowout made it to the surface
    . The
    study found that released natural gas may dissolve completely within
    the water column if it is released from a deep enough depth relative to
    the gas flow rate.

    From the study of the 800 meter release:

    Echo
    sounders provided efficient tracking of oil and gas releases in the
    field and showed that the gas was completely dissolved before it could
    surface.

    DeepBlow does not include hydrate kinetics, and hence,
    under hydrate forming conditions, the model predicts solid hydrate
    particles. Not only is the mass transfer from such particles slower than
    from gas bubbles, but also hydrate density is closer to that of water
    than that of natural gas, substantially reducing plume buoyancy.

  3. The buoyant parts of the oil released in a deepwater blowout
    split from the main plume within the first 200 meters of release. Those
    buoyant parts, which represent only a small portion of the total amount
    of oil, turn into small droplets that float to the surface.

    Here is a
    graph from the study showing this process.

    Deepwater oil release - Buoyancy particle separation graph
    Deepwater
    oil release – Buoyancy particle separation graph

    Here is
    an image that captures the separation process

    Deepwater oil release - Buoyancy particle separation simulation
    Deepwater
    oil release – Buoyancy particle separation simulation
  4. Within the first 100 to 200 meters from the source of the release the
    the majority of the oil loses its buoyancy and stops rising. This
    majority of the oil remains submerged in an underwater plume that is
    then carried away by subsurface currents.
    Deepwater oil plumes lose buoyancy within the first few couple<br />
hundred meters from release

The
fact that much of the methane released from the Gulf oil spill won't
make it to the surface is good for those worried about global warming,
but bad for the marine life. Remember as discussed above, methane
depletes oxygen, and thus kills everything in the ocean.

Methane
Explosions

There is speculation on the Web that the methane
being released from the oil spill will cause a tsunami
or a firestorm.

It is true that one scientist speculates 
that methane bubbles released from the seafloor have caused
extinction-level events in the past.

But the odds that the release of methane from
the leaking oil will cause a tidal wave or a firestorm are infinitesimally
small
.

There are many real things to worry about -
such as the destruction of the Gulf ecosystem, and the threat to human
health from toxic chemicals in the oil and dispersants.

Tidal
waves and firestorms are not worth worrying about. And - unlike the
destruction of the ecosystems and the threat to human health which we
can do something about (by stopping the use of Corexit dispersant and
using proven clean-up and containment methods) - there's nothing much we
can do about such low-probability Armageddon scenarios.

 


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Wed, 06/30/2010 - 01:57 | Link to Comment williambanzai7
williambanzai7's picture

What does Lyndon Larouches ghost think about this?

Wed, 06/30/2010 - 01:42 | Link to Comment StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

scientists believe that woolly mammoth farts gaseous emissions are responsible for warming the Earth 13,000 years ago.

 

What are you people?  On Dope?

Wed, 06/30/2010 - 00:58 | Link to Comment Augustus
Augustus's picture

The premise of this post is that there was some conspiracy to cheap the US popultaion whole benefiting the energy companies.  It is nonsense.

There are huge reserves of methane trapped in the methane hydrates on all of the coasts of the US.  No one has figured out how to harvest them.  If you want to use energy, it is a good thing to figure out how to use the energy in those methane hydrates.  It knocks the heck out of the Peak Energy nutters if additional supplies are developed.  It is their worst nightmare as it disproves their desired end of humanity forecasts.

The quantities of methane trapped is absolutely stupendous.

http://www.killerinourmidst.com/methane%20and%20MHs2.html

Numerous attempts have been made to estimate the amount of methane hydrate in the world's continental margins. The task is a difficult one, partly due to the relative scarcity of drill cores into and through the hydrates themselves. Consequently, all quantity estimates must be based on limited data, and on factors such as the amount of pore space available for hydrate storage which also must be estimated. Nonetheless, a recent study that meticulously identified these various factors and determined their probable ranges came up with a global estimate of 5,000 to 20,000 gigatons (billions of metric tons, abbreviated as Gt) of carbon in oceanic hydrate methane (Dickens, 2001). This seems like a not unreasonable estimate not merely because of the careful work that went into making it, but also because it is in substantial agreement with other estimates using a variety of methods (as Kvenvolden, 1988a, which estimates 10,000 Gt), as well as the fact that the estimate range is quite generous. A new estimate, based on the amount of carbon reaching the seafloor, places methane hydrate at 3000 Gt (Buffett and Archer, 2004). (Map modified from Kvenvolden, 1988)

My point (and what is NOT acknowledged by Geo Wash) is that these hydrates can become an energy resource if we can figure out how to harvest and produce them.  If a technology can be developed, it will reduce energy costs as it increases supply.  We should expect that there will be some royalty arrangement to send funds to the pols.  Then if there are profitable operations from the production there will be taxes on those profits.  The investments in hydrate productions were not subsidies to the O&G industries.  Those were investments in making our hydrate deposits into useable resources and reducing our energy costs.

Geo Wash has again demonstrated that it is not impossible announce that cows release cow shit.

Tue, 06/29/2010 - 23:49 | Link to Comment Yeahsure
Yeahsure's picture

George, Huge props for being objective.  You are all over this thing, and here you present info that isn't slanted to a particular point of view.  I mean, I'm all for freakin' out about this shit too.  And I know you are passionate about this from your vigilant coverage of the issue.  But, you are trying to be objective and are presenting evidence that doesn't necessarily support a freak out narrative on this issue.  Just wanted to say "Props".  It enhances your credibility in general.

 

Tue, 06/29/2010 - 23:29 | Link to Comment Augustus
Augustus's picture

Assuming 100,000 barrels of oil a day are spewing from the Gulf, that would mean that 290,000, 000 cubic feet of gas is escaping a day, and 105,850,000,000 cubic feet of methane is escaping a year.

That's 105 billion cubic feet a year. That's a very large number.

Why not assume 600,000 barrels of oil a day?  It makes a better headline.  and is based upon as much fact as what you wrote.

Tue, 06/29/2010 - 21:22 | Link to Comment Lucky Guesst
Lucky Guesst's picture

I don't think I have seen this video posted here yet.

Guy vidoes water "bubbling like acid" and beach covered in oil. "May God help us all"

 http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=e64_1277415116

Tue, 06/29/2010 - 22:10 | Link to Comment CD
CD's picture

A surprising perspective from an unlikely source:

http://g4tv.com/videos/46934/BP-Gulf-Oil-Spill-Devastation/#video-46971

Watch from 6:35 on forward. "They [GOM residents] get all these dots. But to connect them would mean giving up hope."

Tue, 06/29/2010 - 21:09 | Link to Comment wang
wang's picture
Apocalypse in the Gulf: Could a Sinkhole Swallow the Deepwater Horizon Well -- And BP?

BNET June 29

http://industry.bnet.com/energy/10005034/apocalypse-in-the-gulf-could-a-...

"BP has confirmed that the failed blowout preventer (BOP) on its Deepwater Horizon well in the Gulf of Mexico is tilting sideways at an acute angle 12 to 15 degrees from perpendicular. Geologists and petroleum engineers are now debating the worst case scenario: growing evidence that the Macondo discovery well’s casings beneath the ocean floor have been irreversibly damaged, possibly to such an extent that it may be impossible to cap the well."

 

(There seems to be the armageddon crowd and the trust us we will get it right crowd. Of concern is the latter tends to dismiss the former as alarmists and conspiracy types, yet advocates for both sides are industry pros with lots of backup for their positions (sort of like the global warming opposing sides).

 

 

Tue, 06/29/2010 - 23:19 | Link to Comment Augustus
Augustus's picture

No, BP has NOT confirmed a 15 degree tilt of the BOP.  The BOP tilt is about 3 degrees and has not changed.  It is simply bad journo that does not understand what is being said and explained.  The LMRP on the top of the BOP does tilt more.  It is attached with a flex connector and is designed to tilt to allow the drillship to have movement.

Wed, 06/30/2010 - 15:04 | Link to Comment MsCreant
MsCreant's picture

Who are you Augustus? I don't need a name, but who are you? I could take the comfort you try to offer a lot more seriously if I knew who you were. 

Tue, 06/29/2010 - 20:51 | Link to Comment Jim_Rockford
Jim_Rockford's picture

The relief well is perhaps closer than you think:  http://bp.concerts.com/gom/kwellsreliefwells062710.htm

Good thread at OilDrum.com: http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6672

Comments by Rockman (not I) are a must read.

Tue, 06/29/2010 - 20:32 | Link to Comment tempo
tempo's picture

Why did the UK and many other countries ban corexit from being used in any oil spills?  Its toxic as hell.   1.5 as much corexit is being used as oil is spilled (hundreds of millions of gallons).  What is is resulting chemical reaction and risk?.   What happens when the toxic mix/fumes spread inland over 60 miles (due to a storm) and kills most of the trees, grass, and marshes?   More CO2 and methane.   There could be a firestorm in one or more population GoM population centers   Its not a joke.   Do you want to move there and take the risk of being poisoned?

Tue, 06/29/2010 - 23:20 | Link to Comment Augustus
Augustus's picture

The statement that 1.5X as much corexit is being used as the oil leaked is simply nonsense.  You post and claims are the joke.

Wed, 06/30/2010 - 00:26 | Link to Comment CD
CD's picture

See, Augustus sometimes makes sense. I don't have the time right now to find the primary source (not that BP or CG would necessarily be more credible) but: 

About 1.47 million gallons of dispersant have been applied to the gushing oil so far

(as of 6/27) - that would be 35K Barrels total. More than that escapes the LMRP and is spilled into the Gulf EACH DAY for the last ~70 days.http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/06/27/1704063/bp-still-using-high-levels-of.html#ixzz0sJ60DjKG

Tue, 06/29/2010 - 20:31 | Link to Comment tempo
tempo's picture

Why did the UK and many other countries ban corexit from being used in any oil spills?  Its toxic as hell.   1.5 as much corexit is being used as oil is spilled (hundreds of millions of gallons).  What is is resulting chemical reaction and risk?.   What happens when the toxic mix/fumes spread inland over 60 miles (due to a storm) and kills most of the trees, grass, and marshes?   More CO2 and methane.   There could be a firestorm in one or more population GoM population centers   Its not a joke.   Do you want to move there and take the risk of being poisoned?

Tue, 06/29/2010 - 20:27 | Link to Comment HFT1
HFT1's picture

Horizon wants to know if anyone has a light?

Tue, 06/29/2010 - 20:24 | Link to Comment CD
CD's picture

Does anyone here remember Matt Simmons' "crazed ranting" about the force of the well blowout sending pieces of the casing pipe up the well? And this being a possible reason for the catastrophe? It seems like Energy Secretary Chu just joined his side of the debate:

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/sc-dc-oil-spill-pipes-20100626,0,3318295,print.story

Tue, 06/29/2010 - 23:25 | Link to Comment Augustus
Augustus's picture

Matt Simmons was characterized as crazed because he stated that the wellhead had been moved seven miles from the drilling location.  He also stated that the miles of pipe attached to it was out of the bore and had flown across the gulf without anyone seeing it.

The wellhead and BOP are still exactly where the well was drilled.  It is possible that some of the last casing string was moved up the hole and could have been in the riser, making the BOP rams inoperable.

Wed, 06/30/2010 - 00:19 | Link to Comment CD
CD's picture

[Sigh.] I knew I could count on you. Welcome back. So the whole deal about having attempted drilling previously in unsuccessful attempts which then had to be filled in with cement were a) unsubstantiated, and b) could not be what Matt was talking about?

Also, if you have the link to where Matt states these things, I solemnly promise I will watch/read it RIGHT NOW, as my recollection of his statements is fundamentally different from your portrayal.

Wed, 06/30/2010 - 09:27 | Link to Comment Augustus
Augustus's picture

Here is the link of Simmons making the claims of the BOP being miles away.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4gHJbVLRW5Q

 

This is the first and only well drilled on the lease block.  At least before the relief wells were started.  There was no previous well drilled to 35,000 ft in secret as part of a plan to attack Iran.

People get confused when trying to understand how the wells are drilled.  They drill to a depth, run casing and cement it in the hole.  They drill out of the bottom of that until they hit another casing point (lost circulation zone that creates a drilling problem) they run more casing and cement.  The same thing happens all the way down the hole.  Look at the casing diagrams that BP presented as to what is in the hole and how many different sets of casing they ran.   Encountering the lost circulation zones is perfectly normal, some formations are just not as strong or a competent as the ones above them so they will break down or might possibly be very porus so that they will take drilling mud.  There are materials that are blended with the mud to plug off the thief zones so that they can get through it while drilling to get the casing past it.  It is not permanent in that it is not certain to stay plugged off while they drill several thousand more feet.  Casing and cement are the permanent solution.

Tue, 06/29/2010 - 20:16 | Link to Comment Jim_Rockford
Tue, 06/29/2010 - 22:31 | Link to Comment Clycntct
Clycntct's picture

Funny stuff.

Tue, 06/29/2010 - 18:36 | Link to Comment Diamond Jim
Diamond Jim's picture

Looks like there have been some pretty good sized EQs in the Gulf...a couple in the 5.8 to 6.0 richter scale events in 2006. At the moment locating the exact number in the area of the blowout is difficult to find.  But most quakes in the GoM are small less than 2 R. Mind you these do not appear to be the result of tectonic movements but  from the sinking of the area due to the amount of sediments built up over years, ie. from the Miss. River delta etc.  So these quakes are more due to compression of overlying sediments and the release of the crust and older sediments in the pile.

I still believe a very small nuke device is all that might be needed to close off the hole. I am not a nuke engineer or weapons expert, but there must be an amount small enough where we can go critical, and not affect a wide area....only need to seal off 50(???) or so feet, maybe less. The idea is to convert porous sediments to impermeable.

Tue, 06/29/2010 - 18:34 | Link to Comment AssFire
AssFire's picture

It will be plugged near the end of August. Sorry I couldn't be gloomier.

Tue, 06/29/2010 - 23:43 | Link to Comment Augustus
Augustus's picture

It could be quite a bit sooner.  It all depends . . . .

An August kill is what BP predicted on day three or four.  Of course they have been lying all the time if you believe Geo Wash.

So far we have not read any reports of drilling problems with the RW.  No wells in the GOM are drilled without ever having some problems.  A problem amounts to a week of rig time.  Trip out of 16,000 ft hole to change bit or the MWD tool is maybe one tower.  Circulate and condition with new mud is maybe six hours.  Net footage rate slows down at depth. 

Tue, 06/29/2010 - 18:08 | Link to Comment Diamond Jim
Diamond Jim's picture

sure have, they run along and parallel to tectonic boundaries. From what I understand the GoM is a subsiding basin, I am sure there is sloughing and movement of sediments off the delta and as a result there may be minor earthquaking. To tell you the truth I do not know that the area is earthquake prone, but will do some investigation into this. If it is true, then I would withdraw my suggestion.

Tue, 06/29/2010 - 17:32 | Link to Comment Diamond Jim
Diamond Jim's picture

Sounds whacked out...last ditch  effort....but let's put a small nuke device about 18,000 feet under the GoM seafloor and seal the damn thing up. Make it all glass.

Tue, 06/29/2010 - 18:15 | Link to Comment RichardP
RichardP's picture

What is the pressure at 23,000 feet below sea level?  A small nuke device would be crushed by the pressure well before it reached that level.  Reality intrudes.

Tue, 06/29/2010 - 17:35 | Link to Comment moneymutt
moneymutt's picture

ever hear of the these things called earthquake faults..

Tue, 06/29/2010 - 23:46 | Link to Comment Augustus
Augustus's picture

I've heard of earth quakes and of faults.  I'm not sure what an "earthquake fault" may be.

There are parts of the earth that are intersections of plate tectonics.  Those tectonic boundaries do not cross the GOM.

Tue, 06/29/2010 - 17:24 | Link to Comment CEOoftheSOFA
CEOoftheSOFA's picture

Good article.  The natural gas production rate actually may be on the low side, though I have no way of estimating it.  This well is producing about 60,000 BOPD which is about triple the MER (Most Efficient Rate), which is the rate the well would be produced into the pipeline.  The goal is to have the gas expand slowly in the reservoir to push the oil toward the wellbore.  When a well is produced this fast, the gas in the reservoir bypasses a lot of oil and takes a short cut to the wellbore.  This increases the gas / oil ratio and reduces the ultimate recoverable oil from the reservoir.  If the natural gas wasn't being disolved into the sea water, the ships drilling the relief wells would lose buoancy.   

Tue, 06/29/2010 - 23:50 | Link to Comment Augustus
Augustus's picture

Good article.  The natural gas production rate actually may be on the low side, though I have no way of estimating it.  This well is producing about 60,000 BOPD which is about triple the MER (Most Efficient Rate), which is the rate the well would be produced into the pipeline. 

 

I cannot estimate so I know it is on the low side?

I cannot estimate so I know the MER?

Do lyou write for Before the News or is it the WMR?  Possibly HuffPoo?

Tue, 06/29/2010 - 20:13 | Link to Comment Jim_Rockford
Jim_Rockford's picture

Not to mention the 50+ million cubic feet of gas that is being flared each day ...

Tue, 06/29/2010 - 17:04 | Link to Comment imapopulistnow
imapopulistnow's picture

So where are the pictures of the dead fishies floating in the gulf? 

Perhaps, just perhaps, the oil spill is not as devastating to fishies as the eco-evangelicals wish?

Tue, 06/29/2010 - 17:29 | Link to Comment ATG
ATG's picture

You've got to be kidding if you expect film at 11.

Do some research and stop being spoon-fed by corporate government media apologists.

http://www.desdemonadespair.net/2010/06/death-by-fire-in-gulf-sea-life.html

Tue, 06/29/2010 - 16:21 | Link to Comment Salinger
Salinger's picture

link to a documentary of the reseach trip scientists took at the end of May to investigate the Oil Plumes

http://bit.ly/ckflIV

Tue, 06/29/2010 - 16:14 | Link to Comment MGA_1
MGA_1's picture

Worst environmental disaster in history and the government is......

Tue, 06/29/2010 - 16:06 | Link to Comment bonddude
bonddude's picture

certainly worse than a water balloon from a frat house window.

Tue, 06/29/2010 - 17:23 | Link to Comment ATG
ATG's picture

"There are many real things to worry about - such as the destruction of the Gulf ecosystem, and the threat to human health from toxic chemicals in the oil and dispersants."

Please forget fart jokes for a moment~

Benzene, Hydrogen Sulfide, Methane, Naphthalene, Toluene and toxic volatile smoke compounds could be the subject of another bigger expose on the BP Government Military Media coverup, with 17,500 troops just in case.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/06/24/eveningnews/main6615414.shtml

The Gulf already has higher cancer rates from toxic oil refinery by-products getting into the air, food and water. Benzene can cause leukemia in 9 months. Corexit disabled and killed Exxon Valdez cleanup workers.

BP initial claims of 5000 barrels a day were so off as to look like deliberate deception.

Then the too-tired BP CEO went sailing around Wight clear waters and paid off his Kent mansion with the proceeds of his stock sale with GS before the spill.

He threw 20 days of peak revenue BP chump change to the President's slush fund, he who played golf with business as usual, Ken Salazar's boot on the throat of BP.

BP spent $200 Million on feel-good PR PsyOp Campaigns like We're Green. We're taking full responsibility for making it right, better than new, gosh darn it, aren't we wonderful?!

http://bp.concerts.com/gom/beaches60_062110.htm

http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=BP

Meanwhile, useful academic idiots, perhaps hoping for BP research grants, told gullible mass media like AP and CBS, who could not get through checkpoints to verify BP Government claims, that most dead mammals like burned endangered Ridley sea turtles, dolphins and at least one juvenile sperm whale that died before its allotted 100 years, were natural deaths from viral epidemics or boat collisions.

While the NOAA director claimed dead sea-life minimal, workers said anonymously they pulled tons of dead sea-life out of the water to be bagged and burned at dumps with the stench of death everywhere. Public overflights, wildlife access and satellite photos were banned shortly after the National Geographic photo cover-up of 4 May 2010.

No wonder Baltic Freight Shipping plummeted to avoid cleanup. Here's a youtube just three days later, showing a God-awful amount of foul oil, just a fraction of what is underwater with dispersants, some of it caught by the Gulf Loop and Gulf Stream bound for the Atlantic and BP's doorstep in England.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uG8JHSAVYT0 5:38

The rest of the spill is sitting on the nearly frozen seabed floor poisoning the food chain with the Gulf Biblical blood red from petrochemicals. Half of the oxygen in the world comes from phytoplankton that do not eat oil.

Like Alaska, 2 degree temps a mile underwater mean the oil or frozen methane may not biodegrade like the oil did when Saddam Hussein turned on the spigots to greet HW, Schwarzkopf and Company before they used DU on his country with a million birth defects and hideous deaths.

One day we heard 72 cleanup workers without respirators were hospitalized with two deaths, then nothing. Workers were asked to sign liability waivers or not get paid, their toxic clothes were confiscated and they were told not to talk to the media if they wanted to get paid.

Obama, Barbour, EPA and NOAH blithely told media the air, seafood, tourism and water were fine, while actual figures on the EPA website and people's noses showed otherwise. Somehow Hu and Putin had more credibility in the post-modern world.

OSHA used BP environmental figures apparently generated out of thin air, as at least one station WEAR, allegedly reported there were no EPA Monitors found. Crops were reported dying from toxic fumes from the gas, oil and smoke. That news, indelible in the hearts, minds and bodies of Gulf Residents, was deleted from websites.

EPA told BP to stop using Corexit, banned in UK where BP is domiciled.

BP showed who was boss and kept using Co Wrecks It, even dispersing it by C-130 Hercules Aircraft over land, people and sea.

Corexit is a deadly chemical cocktail that under a different name, took the health and lives of Exxon Valdez workers, while NLC Nalco, a BP XOM spin-off, claimed Federal tests showed it is perfectly safe, with no negative effects on Clean-up workers.

http://www.nalco.com/

http://www.valdezlink.com/gwv/EVOS-GWVdiscussionforum.htm

In fact, the Corexit Manufacturing Safety Data Sheets clearly state it is hazardous. Lawyers don't need Sarbannes Oxley to tear Nalco apart, unless government indemnified them like they did BP with a $75 million liability cap.

http://www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com/posted/2931/Corexit_EC9527A_MSDS...

NLC is 22, with a target of 12.

Meanwhile, some more informative reading from a Norwegian Group used to dealing with North Sea BP cock-ups and cover-ups, documenting the BP takeover of government and the Coast Guard, BP evasion and HAL harrassment:

http://www.bellona.org/articles/articles_2010/bp_info_blackout

Wed, 06/30/2010 - 00:25 | Link to Comment Augustus
Augustus's picture

Your post IS a fart joke.

BP did NOT make a claim of 5,000 bopd.  That was the US coast Guard.  The flow has increased, the initial estimate may have been correct.  Prove otherwise or fart.

$20 Billion is not chump change.  If it is to you, prove it or fart.

The sea turtles found dead were autopsied and seem to have died from being caught in shrimper nets.  Prove otherwise, or fart.

One day we heard 72 cleanup workers without respirators were hospitalized with two deaths, then nothing. Workers were asked to sign liability waivers or not get paid, their toxic clothes were confiscated and they were told not to talk to the media if they wanted to get paid.

One of the two workers who died shot himself.  The other one died at the hotel swimming pool.  Prove otherwise or fart.

EPA told BP to stop using Corexit, banned in UK where BP is domiciled.

Uh, entirely false per this EPA statement:

http://www.epa.gov/bpspill/dispersants/statement-dispersant-use-may24.pdf

Step outside when you perform all of the farts.  Then have your oxygen checked.  Your internal bacteria may kill you with their output if you are not careful.

Wed, 06/30/2010 - 09:56 | Link to Comment MayIMommaDogFac...
MayIMommaDogFace2theBananaPatch's picture

the initial estimate may have been correct

Ya really think so?!?!?!  Gosh, that makes me feel a whole lot better than before.  Thanks for lending so much clarity via thoughtful commentary...

</sarcasm>

Tue, 06/29/2010 - 22:22 | Link to Comment Clycntct
Clycntct's picture

Niiiiiice ++++++ I'll spread your information.

Tue, 06/29/2010 - 19:50 | Link to Comment blindman
Tue, 06/29/2010 - 17:35 | Link to Comment 4shzl
4shzl's picture

Good input.  BP = BK.

Tue, 06/29/2010 - 15:54 | Link to Comment RockyRacoon
RockyRacoon's picture

Good reading.  Not being educated in this area well enough, I'll just say that I appreciate being informed of all possibilities, regardless of credibility.  One does not have to accept nor prove every number in order to be edified.

Tue, 06/29/2010 - 15:46 | Link to Comment Merlin12
Merlin12's picture

Will one of you financial geniuses explain to an old, worn-out engineer how ol' George acquires (I will not say earns) a pile of money from publishing all this chicken-little BS ? 

Wed, 06/30/2010 - 09:34 | Link to Comment Augustus
Augustus's picture

Crammer is short BP.  The Crammer team uses many methods to make profits appear in their accounts.  Perhaps fiction writers are helpful in the endeavour?

Tue, 06/29/2010 - 15:24 | Link to Comment hooligan2009
hooligan2009's picture

methane = CH4

sea water = H20 +Na Cl

CH4 + H20 +Na Cl = H Cl +Na OH +3H?

damn I wish I had paid attention in Chemistry 101! I know one is acid and one is caustic soda..wtf is 3H

still

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_difference_between_heavy_water_and_heavy_hydrogen_peroxide&src=ansTT

and

http://www.green-trust.org/wordpress/2009/10/11/hot-water-and-methane-plus-compost-from-wood-chips/

Tue, 06/29/2010 - 15:35 | Link to Comment gasmiinder
gasmiinder's picture

CH4 is stable in seawater - it will dissolve at high enough pressures but does not react chemically with H2O.  The "breakdown" is by bacteria which take the reduced carbon (CH4) and combine it with O2 (oxygen dissolved in seawater) to obtain energy(CH4 + 2O2 = CO2 + 2H2O).  That's an oversimplification but it basically captures the idea.......

Tue, 06/29/2010 - 16:29 | Link to Comment hooligan2009
hooligan2009's picture

so carbon dioxide plus 2 water molecules.. and the salt doesnt matter i guess. i was trying to get to acid rain...but theres only chlorine, no sulphur..thanks for the help

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