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Cap Reported to Recover 10,000 Barrels of Oil a Day - NYTimes.com

HOUSTON -- A cap placed over a ruptured well spewing oil into the Gulf of Mexico is capturing about 10,000 barrels a day, indicating engineers are making some progress in stanching the flow, Adm. Thad W. Allen of the Coast Guard, who is commanding the federal response to the disaster, said Sunday. Enlarge This Image BP PLC, via Associated Press

The oil leak continued to pour out of the well head around the capping device in the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday.

"We're slowly raising production," he said in an interview on the ABC television news program "This Week."

But he also cautioned in a separate appearance on CBS's "Face the Nation" that even if the ultimate strategy -- two relief wells -- finally succeed in plugging the leak one mile below the surface of the gulf, it would take "well into the fall" to clean up the beaches and marshes sullied by the oil and to address other environmental harm. "This is a very, very, very tough problem," he said, when asked if the disaster would end soon.

Early Saturday, engineers were able to divert only 6,000 barrels in a 24-hour period to a ship on the surface as they worked to close two of four vents on the containment cap. But by midnight, according to Admiral Allen, the amount of oil diverted to the ship had reached 10,000 barrels.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 12:44:34 PM EST
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Scientists Will Monitor Deepwater Horizon Methane Plumes for Gulf Oil Spill Answers: Scientific American
Much of the focus at the Deepwater Horizon disaster site has been on the oil pouring out of the damaged well, but some researchers are beginning to turn their attention to the methane, or natural, gas escaping along with the gushing crude. Careful study of this methane, which comprises about 40 percent of the riser pipe output, is expected to provide scientists with a wealth of information, including a more accurate calculation of the spill's magnitude and thereby a better understanding of its impact on ocean life.

The size of the spill has been cause for much speculation, with estimates ranging anywhere from 1,000 to 100,000 barrels per day, although 12,000 to 19,000 barrels appears to be emerging as the consensus. Yet visual observations and spot measurements of oil, water and gas mix are unreliable due in part to the water's turbulent flow, David Valentine, a University of California, Santa Barbara, assistant professor of marine sediment geochemistry, biogeochemistry and geomicrobiology, wrote last week in Nature. (Scientific American is part of Nature Publishing Group.) Valentine instead proposed that quantifying the amount of leaked methane gas dissolved into the waters holds the key to calculating the spill's actual size.

"Unlike oil, methane dissolves uniformly in seawater," Valentine wrote. "And the tools are available to measure it accurately and sensitively." Adding up all the methane should yield a reasonable estimate on the oil spilled, he added. Methane is also thought to be the main culprit in the blowout that started the leak, and ice crystals formed by the gas sabotaged efforts to put a containment dome over the leak a few weeks ago.


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 01:34:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How Will the Oil Spill Impact the Gulf's Dead Zone?: Scientific American
Each spring and summer fertilizer from the fields of the U.S. Midwest runs off into the Mississippi River. Old Muddy carries the nutrients down the length of the continent before dumping them into the Gulf of Mexico. Once introduced, the nitrogen and phosphorus prompts a bloom in algae, phytoplankton and other microscopic plants. After the plants die they drift to the bottom and their decomposition sucks the oxygen out of the seawater. The result is a vast dead zone, lethal to sea life that cannot swim out of the way, in inhabitable waters near the Gulf Coast that is sometimes as large as New Jersey--and the as much as 3.8 million liters of oil now spilling into the Gulf per day may make it worse.

"The oil is in the area of the annual low-oxygen zone that develops off the Mississippi River," says biological oceanographer Nancy Rabalais, executive director of the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON), who has measured an early start to the annual dead zone this year in March. "There will be localized low-oxygen areas under the surface of the slick."

The oil spill may exacerbate the shallow-water dead zone through a variety of physical and biological processes. But it could also help minimize the dead zone through similar means. Overall, the response of the Gulf dead zone to the oil spill is quite uncertain, with oxygen levels being tugged up and down by numerous factors, leaving the future of this habitat in question.


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 01:38:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What's really going on out there:

Probably the scariest well I've been on in the GOM DW was about 6 years ago. They had set csg and were drilling ahead at 22,000'. And then they started to loss circ. They weren't sure where but it might have been at the previous csg shoe. They lost 60,000 bbls of OBM while drilling. No mud ever returned to the surface. So no mud log telling them if they had drilled oil/NG, no LWD to estimate pore pressure, no mud parameters to tell if the MW was being cut by oil, NG or water. And most importantly, no way to tell if the well was kicking. They put very heavy drill mud on the outside of the drill pipe but that would have not stopped a blow out coming up the inside of the DP. Took me 6 days to log that 2,500' of open hole. I ran pressure logs in the wet reservoir they cut: 19,000 psi bottom hole pressure. They were probably very lucky they didn't find oil/NG in that sand: a blow out could have easily happened. How scary was it? Some of the hands were sleeping in the escape capsules when they were off tower. And this insane risk was taken by a well known and very experience operator. Needless to say someone very high up in the company was willing to risk the 130 souls onboard that drillship to get this well down. Equally needless to point out: that person never set foot on that rig. We just finished the job, went home, cashed our pay checks and then tried to forget about it.

http://europe.theoildrum.com/node/6526#more

by asdf on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 06:41:05 PM EST
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