Re: [rp-ml] How could RP & RM help in solving BP's Gulf Catastrophe?

From: G. Sachs <>
Date: Wed Jun 09 2010 - 05:46:29 EEST


You're basically right, but because the oil and gas (remember both come out of any oil well) are very compressible and water is not, the oil can actually have a higher density than the water in such depths. In fact, even though BP has chosen to keep pretty much all its data a secret (and lied about what they did disclose) we don't know exactly what this pressure is, but the oil down there could have a density of 1.5-2.0 that of the water. Also the tremendous pressure is at least in part due to both oil and gas being compressed by the both the depth, the heat and the continuous production of gas, in an, otherwise, sealed field (kind of like producing steam). It's probably mostly the gas that allows a well to actually produce. They always try to burn off the gas when making a well productive (unless maybe its on land). It was the gas (not oil) exploding, that killed those 11 workers. It's very dangerous work, especially if everything doesn't go just right.
 Not much margin for error, but BP chose to play Russian roulette anyway, because they wanted to get at this black gold as fast as possible. And the CEO says he basically would like to have this over so he can get back to his golf game. One guy (who died) made a will just before going back to work and prepared his family in the event he didn't come back, then called his wife the day before the explosion, to tell her something had not been done right in regards to the wall thickness and that everyone was nervous but pressured to keep going.

G. Sachs

From: Adrian Bowyer <>
To: G. Sachs <>
Cc: Rp-ml <>
Sent: Tue, June 8, 2010 6:43:40 PM
Subject: Re: [rp-ml] How could RP & RM help in solving BP's Gulf Catastrophe?

G. Sachs wrote:
> Not a good idea (at least very risky), and I am sure there are some others here who could tell you why.

You fracture the rock round the well head, and then (effectively) have to deal with a hole spilling oil 10 m (o.w.e.) in diameter...

Elaine Hunt <> wrote:

> Could they not plant a charge and blow up the well. Our well which
> was some 375 feet deep caved in when lightening hit the pump and we
> lost our water source. Cave that sucker in with a depth charge!!

The key word there was "pump". Your water was not rising under its own pressure.

Remember that the oil is coming out because it is less dense than water. The effective hydrostatic pressure it's under must be somewhere about equal to the difference in densities (water - oil, though the rocks complicate matters) times the depth (into the Earth, not underwater) of the well times g.

-- Best wishes


Dr Adrian Bowyer
Received on Wed Jun 09 05:44:45 2010

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