The oceans look delicious now.

The aptly-named Orange Beach, Alabama, 90+ miles from the BP volcano:

Some random guy on the Internet says:

Contrary to what most of us would think as logical to stop the oil mess, actually opening up the gushing well and making it gush more became direction BP took after confirming that there was a leak. In fact if you note their actions, that should become clear. They have shifted from stopping or restricting the gusher to opening it up and catching it. This only makes sense if they want to relieve pressure at the leak hidden down below the seabed..... and that sort of leak is one of the most dangerous and potentially damaging kind of leak there could be. It is also inaccessible which compounds our problems. There is no way to stop that leak from above, all they can do is relieve the pressure on it and the only way to do that right now is to open up the nozzle above and gush more oil into the gulf and hopefully catch it, which they have done, they just neglected to tell us why, gee thanks. [...]

This down hole leak will undermine the foundation of the seabed in and around the well area. It also weakens the only thing holding up the massive Blow Out Preventer's immense bulk of 450 tons. [...] If you have been watching the live feed cams you may have noticed that some of the ROVs are using an inclinometer... an inclinometer is an instrument that measures "Incline" or tilt. The BOP is not supposed to be tilting... and after the riser clip off operation it has begun to... [...]

What eventually will happen is that the blow out preventer will literally tip over [... ] as the well casings cannot support the weight of the massive system above with out the cement bond to the earth and that bond is being eroded away. When enough is eroded away the casings will buckle and the BOP will collapse the well. [...]

All of these things lead to only one place, a fully wide open well bore directly to the oil deposit... after that, it goes into the realm of "the worst things you can think of". The well may come completely apart as the inner liners fail. [...] the very least damaging outcome as bad as it is, is that we are stuck with a wide open gusher blowing out 150,000 barrels a day of raw oil or more. There isn't any "cap dome" or any other such fixer device on earth that exists or could be built that will stop it from gushing out and doing more and more damage to the gulf. While at the same time also doing more damage to the well, making the chance of halting it with a kill from the bottom up less and less likely to work, which as it stands now? the only real chance we have left to stop it all.

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20 Responses:

  1. ivorjawa says:

    Nuking it from orbit is sounding more and more appealing.

  2. anktastic says:

    ocean [oh-shuhn]


    1. oil delivery system.

  3. azul_ros says:

    I posted both of these (the photo yesterday) & the blog post today on FB. It's frightening.

  4. heresiarch says:

    that picture looks disturbingly like vinaigrette.

  5. dasht says:

    That particular comment from has been getting a fair amount of attention. A few days later, published an article offering an alternative explanation.

    See BP's Deepwater Oil Spill - Why the Flow Rates are Increasing and Open Thread 2 ( ).

    Now you will notice that this says nothing about those ideas such as that propounded by Dougr that the casing has been cracked and oil is escaping into the surrounding rock., and that the casing is becoming a lot weaker. There are two reasons for this, firstly if there was a crack, in the same way as with the BOP, then over time that would have been eaten away as oil, gas and mud flowed through it. Once a flow starts it will rapidly eat out a larger passage, as the above has demonstrated. Once that passage was created then oil flow through it to the surface would make it impossible to see what was going on around the well (look at the cloud above the BOP). In fact there are very clear pictures from under the BOP. This would seem to show that there is no oil leaking there at present.

    The other thing to remember is that BP are planning on using the second LMRP cap effectively as a seal on the well. They could not do that if the upper segments of the casing were damaged, and I imagine that they have enough data from the Top Kill testing to reassure themselves of that.

    This other fellow points out that, yes, the flow is very abrasive but, looking at the various pressures and diameters, a tiny amount of abrasive expansion of a hole in the BOP could explain the increased flows.

    Also, reducing pressure might have been part of the motivation for cutting the riser off the top of the BOP but the official main reason makes fine sense in its own right: to get a clean surface to form an approximate seal with the inside of the collection device. That's why they tried using a saw at first and having to resort to shearing was a set-back: the saw would have given a cleaner cut.

    I think it's all (for those of us on the outside) still one of those "well, we really don't know" things. BP has acked that there might be casing damage at the top but not confirmed that there is. Some say they've spotted tiny eruptions in ROV images looking at the seabed away from the hole - others say, no, those are seeps from damaged containers in the remains of the sunk rig. That Simmons fellow is preaching fire and brimstone but nearly every "smart sounding" commenter on theoildrum seems to think he's not making sense. We'll see.

    My current paranoia is about what's going on deep in the hole where the relief well is supposed to hit the original bore. At first I thought they can't possibly hit such a tiny target with precision but, no, they're good at it: they run a current down the original and use the resulting magnetic field to guide the relief well drilling head. The guy doing it claims a track record of 40 for 40 successes. Now I'm wondering if the bottom of the hole is sufficiently compromised that they'll find there's nothing left with enough integrity to hit and flood with mud.

    • biggeek says:

      From that same thread:

      "For a couple of weeks now I have come to believe that they will not be able to kill the well with one or even two relief wells. The downhole cavern is now bigger than the Twin Towers, and the ability to pump heavy mud fast enough given the viscosity and Reynolds number of heavy mud without bursting the casing won't be there."

      I knew the 9/11 truthers would be getting involved with this sooner or later.

  6. georgemink3 says:

    I think Nuking is an especially bad idea. The Radioactive fallout,notwithstanding, let us not forget that oil is flammable, and we don't need the Gulf of Mexico on fire, heating up the ocean more than it already has/is.
    About this "catching the oild" notion: I wonder how they would catch it? What would they use. Perhaps they should involve nasa. On certain space brobes, they use a form of gelatenous membrain to collect particles emitted from the sun. I wonder if of a similar absorbant material, of immense size, might absorb the oil. If it's not probable/possible now, if anyone can make it so, it would be NASA, would it not?

    • georgemink3 says:

      Does it remind anyone else of the Primus Album "Sailing the Seas of Cheese"?

    • hadlock says:

      the nuke is detonated 1000ft below the surface of the ground, which itself is 5000 ft below the water. The amount of radiation in the area would be negligible on dry land, and there's almost zero life at that depth and that far away from the coast. In terms of places on earth to detonate bombs, that's a fairly safe place to do it, with the benefit of stopping up an oil leak with thousands of tons of earth. The French were detonating nukes in coral reefs (just under the water) on a regular basis up until the 80s with few ill results.

      • shandrew says:

        I can't tell if you're serious or not, but the French coral reef nuke testing left behind what is essentially a radioactive waste dump. If by "few ill results" you mean few human deaths, that's because the island chosen was far away from anything and guarded as a military secret.

        Wasn't exploding one whale enough?

      • dr_memory says:

        Three facts worth noting about the Russian experiences with using nukes to seal off natural gas leaks:

        1. They did it five times. It worked on four. So hey, only 15% odds (assuming, generously, that previous history is predictive) of uselessly detonating a nuke on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico.

        2. None of the Russian leaks were oil wells: they were all natural gas.

        3. All of the Russian leaks were on dry land. (source for all of the above)

        4. Russia's general safety record in re nukes is, how shall we say, uninspiring, especially on or under the ocean.

        Four. Four facts.