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Fools' Errand: Time to Remove the Cap from the Well Head!

As I pointed out earlier, there was already clear evidence that the casing had been breached. While it had not been mentioned in mainstream news reports, one view taken of the sea floor taken by a videocam on the Hos ROV 1, one of the remote robot submersibles monitoring the wellhead, and on display on the BP website, beginning at about 2:48:40 Central Time on June 16, showed clouds of muddy looking water suddenly spring up and begin obscuring the view of the sea floor. Some of the billowing material was light colored, and could have been mud pushed up by leaking methane gas. Some looked decidedly dark brown, like the oil that has been seen coming from the top of the BOP.

A second rover, the Viking Poseidon ROV 1, which was not included in the live cams displayed from BP’s public access site on June 16, but which could be seen live here, also showed a large cloud of churning brown material billowing up from the sea floor beginning at 3:06:00 Central Time. Other images showed bubbles rising form the sea floor--something that had not been seen earlier.

BP has repeatedly shut down cameras on its live-viewing website when they started showing spewing gas or oil, but here is one video that was saved by someone of oil billowing out of the ground near the BOP this morning at 3:38 am.

If any of these video images are in fact showing oil or gas coming out of the ground around the wellhead, it could mean only one thing: that the liner has been seriously breached somewhere below ground, and that there is no way to either stop the oil flow, or even collect it all from above the wellhead. That would certainly explain why the pressure at the stoppered wellhead has leveled off at about 6750 psi. That's well below the "8000-9000 psi" that until Friday was what the government and BP said would be full pressure, and is even below the new, improved target mentioned by retired Adm. Thad Allen, who on June 16 said a more modest 7500 psi would be okay. (Allen's claim that the underground pressure in the reservoir, 13,000 feet below the sea flow, could be lower by 15-20%, explaining the low readings at the wellhead, because of the 1-2 million barrels that have already escaped, is patently absurd. We’re talking about a reservoir said to contain over 1 billion barrels of oil! Two million barrels would be just 0.2% of that amount. Furthermore, the reservoir isn't a rigid container like an oil tank. Its pressure is caused by the weight of the 2.5 miles of crust and mile of water sitting atop it, which will continue to press down with the same force however much oil remains in the deposit. There might be a slight decrease as oil comes out, but not by that amount.)

The only hope of stopping this catastrophe at this point is the relief wells that have been drilled to within a few feet of the casing, several miles down below the surface of the earth, but even those offer no certainty of success. If the well casing is damaged below the point of entry of the side wells into the original well they won’t stop the leak from moving up through the original well hole.

story | by Dr. Radut