Gulf of Mexico oil spill tragedy.

Judging by numerous Net blogs you would be entitled to believe we have a nation whose collective IQ is equivalent to pig dribble.

It seems science has not be taught in our schools for generations.

The fact is that this environment on the ocean floor is more hostile and difficult to work in than outer space.

All humans tend to underestimate risk prior to unforeseen events.

It seems an operator made a mistake back in early March and drilled out a vital seal. A very human error. The rig operators fought against tragedy and lost. You can’t just pull the pipes, the gush would be catastrophic. The weight of a mile of rock above the well makes the pressure enormous. It is apparently 10,000 PSI. That is twice the pressure in a diesel injector that atomizes fuel. However this is not a pin sized hole, but a 26″ pipe with three pipes down the middle.

When the well blew the BOP actually worked and closed all pipes but the drill pipe, was only partially closed. This is probably why BP thought that this would not be a major event at first. What they did not know until after top kill was that the oil was coming up around the pipes, posing a severe risk of total well blow out.

The top kill almost certainly did a lot more damage and opened up passages in the BOP and increased oil spill.

Worry over the fact the well might blow totally, with unimaginable consequences, has prompted the riser cut. This to lower resistance and make total well blow out less likely.

Unfortunately as can be seen from the videos, oil flow has dramatically increased since the riser was cut; a lot more than 20%, that’s for certain.

Unfortunately the riser cut could not be one cleanly, and the riser is slightly bent, stopping the collection device from seating against the BOP. At the moment it looks as if the cap has come off the BOP.

A tight seal is important as leaks will make the jet of water entrain cold water. This will defeat attempts to warm the water up. As the methane gas is released it will cool quickly, just like in a heat exchanger in an air conditioner. This will cause hydrates of methane and ice to form and prevent flow up to the ship. I personally doubt anything further can be done to control this leak on the sea floor, and think far more likely than not the present scheme will fail.

So most likely this horrendous gush of oil will continue until a relief well is placed in the correct spot and bottom kill accomplished. As far as I can find out, no relief well has got to the correct spot until at least the fourth attempt. I think we will be very lucky if bottom kill is accomplished before the memorial weekend. I further believe that no matter how many resources a thrown at this clean up efforts will be largely window dressing until bottom kill is accomplished.

For the record, you can not place silk curtains to do the job. You can not drop heavy objects on it, because in water they are not heavy, because of the Archimedes principle. You can not drop explosives or nuclear devices down a pipe flowing under 10,000 psi. Because of damage done to the BOP during top kill and above all from information learned during the top kill event, placing another BOP on top of the one above the well is no longer an option.

Conspiracy theories are really dumb. Of course BP would like to get this stopped more than anyone.

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