Beta

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

DoE Posts Raw Data From Oil Spill, Coast Guard Asks For Tech Help

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the glad-to-know-you-guys-are-on-top-of-things dept.

The Internet 138

coondoggie writes "The US Department of Energy this week opened an online portal where the public can get all the technical details it can stomach about the BP oil disaster in the Gulf. The DoE site offers online access to schematics, pressure tests, diagnostic results and other data about the malfunctioning blowout preventer and other problems in the ongoing mess. This comes alongside news that the US Coast Guard has issued a call for better specialized technology to help it respond to the ever-widening spill. The Coast Guard is looking for all manner of technology, such as advanced wireless sensors to help it track the movement and amount of oil in the Gulf, or devices that could help to contain and control the underwater leak." Reader freddled points out a story at the Guardian that illustrates how the location of an oil leak is frequently the primary factor in its perceived importance.

cancel ×

138 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Speaking of the BP gulf spill (3, Funny)

sconeu (64226) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539172)

Has anyone seen the new "Visit Florida" ads?

They discuss the fact that potential tourists are worried about the Gulf spill, and then say something like ...

"Florida has 835 miles of coastline. Northeast Florida has 221 miles of crystal clean beaches..."

In other words, "Come to Florida! Only 3/4 of our coast is covered in oil!!!"

Re:Speaking of the BP gulf spill (4, Interesting)

maotx (765127) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539456)

The problem with Florida isn't BP, but more likely ships illegally dumping. [cnn.com]

"We've done a number of tarballs from Florida, Key West, Miami and so forth, none of which so far have matched the Deepwater Horizon," Gronlund said. "The tarballs that have been found on the beach in Florida are fuel oil."

Re:Speaking of the BP gulf spill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32539854)

Good news everyone! If we leave it alone, Nature will fix it for us!

With microbes already feeding on crude oil in the Gulf of Mexico, that could be key to helping the Gulf make a long-term, permanent recovery.

After the aerobic oil-eating microbe population has exploded like the DotCom bubble, consuming all the gulf oil, as well as all that pesky gulf oxygen; Mother Nature will be able to clean up with a series of equally catastrophic algae blooms and red tides which will kill off everything else; then, eventually, the gulf will be back to a clean slate. Hooray!

Re:Speaking of the BP gulf spill (4, Interesting)

Knara (9377) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539472)

Not all coastline is beach environment, numbnuts.

Re:Speaking of the BP gulf spill (1)

Chapter80 (926879) | more than 4 years ago | (#32542272)

Not all coastline is beach environment, numbnuts.

Hey, a little courtesy please? I happen to have had a vasectomy earlier today and don't appreciate being lumped in with him.

Re:Speaking of the BP gulf spill (2, Interesting)

protektor (63514) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539778)

Only a 1/4 is oil free....at the moment. I thought I read or heard somewhere that they were worried about the oil slicks/spill getting caught in some water flow thing and coming around the coast of Florida and up the Eastern Sea Board, not to mention every other country and island near there. So it may only be a limited amount of time that the beaches are clean and able to be enjoyed before most of Florida and parts of the Eastern Sea Board are a complete mess, let alone all of the Gulf of Mexico areas. Time will tell for sure.

Re:Speaking of the BP gulf spill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32541350)

The Gulf of Mexico oil spill must be under control as CNN has moved on to the next big thing. As I predicted last week - the latter part of the preceding sentence that is.

A Reader? (2, Funny)

malakai (136531) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539214)

How does a reader point something out when there's 1 comment on this article and it's not that "Reader"?

Re:A Reader? (1)

uofitorn (804157) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539434)

"Reader [of slashdot] freddled" is the implied meaning, I imagine.

We need a BP Bailout (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32539274)

Look at all those Republican hypocrites like John Boehner saying this is the Federaal Fuckup and we should all foot the bill to clean up BP's mess.

Just to recap - BP isn't responsible for people whose community is ruined by the oil and lose their jobs.

But if a sleazy lawyer wants to sue you for 1.3 million dollars cuz you shared a couple CDs - well the bribes speak for themselves.

Don't ever vote Republican, and careful which Democrats you vote for.

Re:We need a BP Bailout (1)

rmstar (114746) | more than 4 years ago | (#32543040)

This is not "-1, Offtopic". It is "+5, sadly true". Please remoderate.

Why is nobody talking about blowing it up? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32539436)

The well goes through > 30,000 feet of rock, and is less than 2 ft wide.

Why hasn't anybody talked about forcing down some explosives to cause a cave-in and thus seal it off?

Because it might not work (3, Informative)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539536)

Because it isn't going through rock, it's going through mud. If you think it's hard to stop a gusher from a 2' diameter pipe, imagine how hard it would be to stop a 40,000 BBL/dy, methane propelled ooze from a 500 foot radius area with no containment.

Re:Because it might not work (1)

toastar (573882) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539684)

Because it isn't going through rock, it's going through mud. If you think it's hard to stop a gusher from a 2' diameter pipe, imagine how hard it would be to stop a 40,000 BBL/dy, methane propelled ooze from a 500 foot radius area with no containment.

You have a very valid point, But I think the idea is Why not stop on of the relief wells where they are and use a big explosive, Surely they're below the mud by now.

Re:Because it might not work (1)

theguyfromsaturn (802938) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541310)

Explosives will be the last resort... yes they "may" collapse the well... but they could also induce fracturing in the rock. You don't want a wide area uncontrolled and uncontrollable leak. As bad as things are, we have to remember that they could be worse. And as we have run out of cheap to extract oil, the risks of further exploitation are only getting worse.

The relief well is the method that offers the best chance of succeeding at plugging the leak, with the least amount of uncertain collateral damage. It does take time, and if anything is to be learned by that is that maybe any future well should be drilled with a relief well started at the same time... that way, if something goes bad, you have a few weeks of drilling to complete the relief well instead of months. The downside is that it doubles the cost of drilling. Given the alternative, I think its a small price to pay.

For this blowout, though, I'm afraid there is nothing else to do but wait. No R & D has been spent by anyone over the past 20 years or so to address containment of a leak in deep ocean until the well can be plugged. It's not just BP that failed the R & D, or the U.S. government that failed to required it... if it existed anywhere, the technology would be used now. The bottom line is nobody invested the resources that they should have on contingency plans... Blow Out Preventers have been treated like miraculous devices that can never fail. Well, I'll stop man rant here. The bottom line, is as frustrating as it is to wait for them... the RW are the only real hope. Ixtoc took 10 months to plug.

Re:Because it might not work (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#32543214)

If you use a nuke, some of the rock will be vaporized, some further down the shaft will be melted, then solidify. That would seal it.

Take a look at the photos from [wikipedia.org]

Oops - links to nuke articles, pics (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#32543254)

operation gnome [wikipedia.org]

more info [nuclearweaponarchive.org]

Re:Why is nobody talking about blowing it up? (4, Insightful)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539542)

Pick one:

The RUSSIANS did that sort of thing. The RUSSIANS. RUSSIANS.

There's a one-in-a-billion chance it could make things SLIGHTLY WORSE by making the oil come up at SEVERAL spots in the area instead of the one shitstream we hope to maybe have under better control in a few months.

If we blew it up, we couldn't reuse that well.

Re:Why is nobody talking about blowing it up? (3, Insightful)

zill (1690130) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539748)

The RUSSIANS did that sort of thing. The RUSSIANS. RUSSIANS.

Yes the Russian successfully performed the procedure on land. This is underwater at 5000 feet.

As for the explosives, I offer you this car analogy:

After the mechanic ruptured my gas tank while performing a routine checkup, he blurted out the excuse "there's a lot of pavement out there so don't worry about it" and offered to install a nitrous system instead. Do I really want that nitrous system?

Re:Why is nobody talking about blowing it up? (1, Interesting)

nschubach (922175) | more than 4 years ago | (#32540434)

You do remember that the flaming oil fields in Iraq were successfully put out by explosives, right? Detonating an explosive near the well could potentially close the breach without introducing it to catching fire or exploding. Given the properties of underwater/underground explosives, you could also drill a hole nearby and drop some explosives in there to seal off a long stretch of the well.

At least, in my head that makes sense.

WTF?? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32540762)

"You do remember that the flaming oil fields in Iraq were successfully put out by explosives, right?"

Talk about a non sequitur. Explosives were used in Iraq to terminate combustion. Is that what we're dealing with in the Gulf?

Re:WTF?? (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 4 years ago | (#32540998)

Yes, I assumed the GP was talking about putting Nitrous (a highly explosive solution) in their car to alleviate the leaking fuel issue...

Sorry if that wasn't portrayed properly.

Re:Why is nobody talking about blowing it up? (1)

akgooseman (632715) | more than 4 years ago | (#32542290)

IIRC, the explosions were used to blow out the fires. After the fire was out, crews could come in and bring the wellhead under control. The wells weren't sealed shut by the explosions.

Re:Why is nobody talking about blowing it up? (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 4 years ago | (#32543100)

Right, but is there fallacy in drilling secondary holes nearby and "pushing" the well shut with secondary explosives?

What I was thinking was 2-3 holes nearby equidistant from each other and set off at the same time. Wouldn't that push enough mass to seal the well or cause enough rubble and opposite pressure to close it of?

I could be wrong and it could all go downhill from there.

Re:Why is nobody talking about blowing it up? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32542814)

The explosives were used to stop the fire, not close the wells. After the fire was extinguished, sometimes using explosives, a new blow out preventer was cemented in place and closed.

Re:Why is nobody talking about blowing it up? (2, Insightful)

yurtinus (1590157) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541874)

Please explain your car analogy. I've put a lot of effort into analyzing it against what I know, and I clearly must be missing something.

Re:Why is nobody talking about blowing it up? (0, Redundant)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#32540080)

Yeah, it's because we don't want to admit the Russians have ever done anything right. Or because we want to re-use the well.

It's not because it's an utterly retarded idea to use in this situation, and people keep bringing it up because they have a completely inaccurate idea of what the ocean bed is like. Nope.

Re:Why is nobody talking about blowing it up? (1)

theguyfromsaturn (802938) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541904)

I don't think reusing the well is an option. The relief wells will kill it without possibility of reuse. At least that's the plan. As for explosions, they my have unexpected side effects that could conceivably make things worse. When the russians resorted to the nukes, it was because alternatives had be exhausted. Also, you should be wondering if it was so successful, why have they not attempted it again since the early 80s? Was there some undisclosed event that could make it undesirable?

Re:Why is nobody talking about blowing it up? (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#32542874)

The relief wells will kill it without possibility of reuse.

Exactly, making that part of the whole "why they aren't using explosives" conspiracy rather retarded.

At least that's the plan. As for explosions, they my have unexpected side effects that could conceivably make things worse.

Seriously. You know people watch too many action movies when they think every engineering challenge can be solved with a big enough explosion, and more difficult problems simply require bigger explosions. Nukes are the biggest kaboom, ergo they are the perfect solution!

Also, you should be wondering if it was so successful, why have they not attempted it again since the early 80s? Was there some undisclosed event that could make it undesirable?

The Russians? Not fully disclose any and all failures? Surely you jest!

Re:Why is nobody talking about blowing it up? (0)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#32540292)

There's a one-in-a-billion chance it could make things SLIGHTLY WORSE

Really, you'll guarantee that? You're an expert in ... something? Nuclear weapons? Petrochemical Geology? Anything?

I just love the armchair generals this sort of thing brings out. Sometimes things are hard to do. Very hard. Maybe impossible.

Re:Why is nobody talking about blowing it up? (0, Offtopic)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#32540358)

Yes, I'll guarantee it.

Put me in charge of an operation to stop the shitstream and I'll have it done within a week.

If I fail, I'll gladly kill myself.

Re:Why is nobody talking about blowing it up? (1)

Albatrosses (1712146) | more than 4 years ago | (#32540830)

Alright, I hereby give you my permission to stop the Gulf Oil Leak. Report back in a week.

Re:Why is nobody talking about blowing it up? (2, Insightful)

Guppy (12314) | more than 4 years ago | (#32540700)

The RUSSIANS did that sort of thing. The RUSSIANS. RUSSIANS.

I'd like to bring up that a physicist is heading up the government's working group on the spill. If the approach has technical merit, I'm sure that Dr. Chu will be able to evaluate it. You know, based on the physics of the problem, rather than repeating the word "Russians" a couple of times.

Re:Why is nobody talking about blowing it up? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#32542576)

If they seal the well, will you buy me a turkey?

If they don't, I'll buy you a Russian.

(To be clear, I mean this hole, I would not be surprised if they come back and put a new hole in the reservoir once people use their desire for cheap gasoline to forget about the carnage)

Thank dog for the groaniad (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539508)

the location of an oil leak is frequently the primary factor in its perceived importance

They gotta be shitting me? So if it's near my house or where I'm going on holiday I'll think it's more serious than if it's in some kind of bongo-bongo land that I couldn't even point to on a map - and a map of bongo-bongo land to boot!

Awesome.

Re:Thank dog for the groaniad (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539620)

Yes, statistically speaking. A big oil leak sucks. A big oil leak in your back yard, or at your vaction home, sucks WAY more to you than an oil leak in a place you will never, ever visit.

Note that an oil leak in the sahara, or the unpopulated southwest US, is far less of a big deal than an oil leak in, say, the Galapogos, or the center of New York. Different impact means different importance. Did you really give a shit about the oil leaks in the Iraqi desert, or were you mostly concerned that the soot would carry to other areas?

Re:Thank dog for the groaniad (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539672)

Sorry to self reply, I caught myself mid-click:

By New York, I meant Manhattan. Clearly NOT the middle of New York. Not that the middle of New York wouldn't be bad, but I was trying to show how the inconveniencing of millions of people and a major financial center would be worse than an area which is exceptionally sparsely populated.

Re:Thank dog for the groaniad (2, Informative)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 4 years ago | (#32540040)

The good thing about this is that it's less likely BP will be able to shirk their compensation committments or drag out the legal proceedings for eternity without massive public outrage like Exxon did.

Prince William Sound is apparently a beautiful, natural pristine area, but Exxon was lucky - it was not highly populated and not many people visited there so they could get away with dragging out the compensation lawsuits for decades.

The GOM is a whole different story.

Re:Thank dog for the groaniad (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539688)

Well, some people claim that they care about Environmental Issues and that this (Gulf) oil spill is the epitome of man's destruction of all that is good in the world blah blah et cetera. The outrage when it's in Nigeria, though, is strikingly muted. This demonstrates, again, how it's really the freakishly skewed perceptions of people playing politics that drive "environmentalism" as it is currently practiced, and it doesn't have much of anything to do with the real environment.

Re:Thank dog for the groaniad (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 4 years ago | (#32540060)

isn't this WAY outpacing the cumulative spilling in Nigeria (as in 2 years worth every month)?

Re:Thank dog for the groaniad (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 4 years ago | (#32540074)

Well, the story isn't helping with things like:

the public can get all the technical details it can stomach about the BP oil disaster in the Gulf

I read that and think to myself, what if I read it all? Does that mean I'm an immoral person because I didn't stop reading and think this thing was the worst disaster in the world (making me ill)?

Re:Thank dog for the groaniad (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#32542110)

You need to be more arrogant, taking moral cues from the people that write /. summaries is like trying to stop your eyes burning with a nice gasoline rinse, it just doesn't make any sense.

Re:Thank dog for the groaniad (3, Insightful)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#32542878)

This demonstrates, again, how it's really the freakishly skewed perceptions of people playing politics that drive "environmentalism" as it is currently practiced, and it doesn't have much of anything to do with the real environment.

Actually, the people who are serious about environmentalism do care when it happens in Nigeria or other "off the radar" places. They actually expend a lot of energy trying to draw people's attention to these areas.

What you are seeing has nothing to do with environmentalism, but with the mass media, which naturally reports on things that are sensational, easy, and nearby.

My suspicion is that if this were a story about environmentalists trying to expose an environmental disaster in Nigeria, you'd be lambasting them for focusing on such a trivial issue that's not relevant to you.

Re:Thank dog for the groaniad (1, Insightful)

raddan (519638) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539844)

Did you actually RTFA or are you responding to the lame editorializing? The Guardian article is quite disturbing.

Re:Thank dog for the groaniad (2, Funny)

psbrogna (611644) | more than 4 years ago | (#32540182)

Hey, a little courtesy please? I happen to be Bongo-Bongoian and don't appreciate being trivialized.

Re:Thank dog for the groaniad (1)

Altrag (195300) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541016)

For those who didn't RTFA, they were talking in more global terms. They're talking about oil spills that ARE near someone's house, but in a country where those people have basically no recourse (Niger). The government is weak and/or corrupt and the oil companies just run as companies do -- maximize profit and only worry about the expense to others if the cost of a legal battle is high enough. In a country where there's effectively no chance of a legal battle in the first place, the rights of people living around the sites are basically ignored. Do you think BP would bother even pretending to cap that well in the gulf if the US government wasn't forcing them to? The people in Niger are hearing the news of the US' coercion of cleanup efforts and are sitting there amazed that there are places in the world where the government has the power and desire to force BP to deal with the problems they've caused.

Shell is the main company the article focuses on (though BP was also referenced). Rather than doing anything about these spills, Shell just comes up with one excuse after another as to why there are so many. I'm sure they plug them as fast as is economically possible (they don't lose too much product of course) but "economically possible" doesn't necessarily mean "immediate". The oil that's already spilled sounds like it just gets left there a good deal of the time, rather than performing cleanup efforts like you'd see in the US and other more developed countries.

As for their excuses. They mostly amount to terrorism and vandalism. Now that's probably accurate for at least a majority of the cases, but it still doesn't excuse the preventable spills where outside interference is NOT the issue (rusty pipes, etc).

And really, terrorists need to smarten up. If you want to get the attention of these companies, you'd be far better off figuring out how to use one of the valves and block the flow (or better yet, redirect it -- much as a company hates losing money, they REALLY REALLY hate it if someone else is getting that money instead). Simply blowing a hole in the pipe and destroying their own homeland doesn't seem to be working too well if Shell & co are happy to just let the spills go.

Re:Thank dog for the groaniad (1)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541312)

The government is weak and/or corrupt and the oil companies just run as companies do -- maximize profit

It seems to me the way to maximize profit is to minimize losses due to spills. It would be in their best interests to prevent spills. One of the comments in the article pointed out a very interesting point. The English is horrible, which leads me to assume they are not a native speaker.

Is it actual worth pointing out the reality that in Nigerian illegal tapping into oil pipe lines , is a major issue that leads to leaks and sometime major explosion as the very photo used in this article shows. In addition pumping stations are attack which also leads to leaks. In short he claims to care about the leaks but fails to address how they are actual caused , while his total ignorance of the massive corruption in Nigerian , that scales into tens of billions and lies behind most of the problem seen. Merely means that this article is just about attacking the oil companies and doing nothing about the problem, for let?s be clear they only make money for oil they sell , they make nothing for that which is lost. Therefore, if they are really the evil corporations some would like to believe than will do what makes money.

Re:Thank dog for the groaniad (1)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541804)

It seems to me the way to maximize profit is to minimize losses due to spills. It would be in their best interests to prevent spills.

Not quite. Again, preventing spills is important only insofar as it affects operations (delays the completion of a well and thus prevents the expensive rig from moving on to it's next job) or, in extreme cases, renders significant amount of product unrecoverable. Spilled oil, even a lot of it, does not present enough of a cost to warrant the expense of buying the hardware and implementing the procedures that would prevent those spills. Which is the whole point of TFA. The people of Niger are just fucked, yet again, by global business interests. Around the Gulf, though, we like a little more foreplay before we get reamed. The expense side of the ledger will be much, much larger now because of that.

Speaking of the oil spill... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32539520)

Do you know what the amount of pressure was from the leak when BP's 3 failsafe's failed? 20k+ psi. The NOAA has that info; at least they did yesterday.
Crude is extracted at +/-1,500 psi, so they were drilling deep enough to hit magma pockets (I forget the proper nomenclature for those types of pockets).
Only Russia has successfully drilled that deep...but they weren't dumb enough to try that kind of depth under the pressure and weight of the freakin' ocean.
20,000+ psi will destroy anything man can make to "plug" the leak. Is our only option nuking it?
If so, even if they do angle drill and drop a nuke, what if it cracks the strata further?

IMHO this will help to shuttle in that BS carbon tax. The longer the leak remains, the more damage, the more "reason" for the aforementioned tax. ...But, of course, this is conspiracy stuff. :)

Re:Speaking of the oil spill... (4, Informative)

psbrogna (611644) | more than 4 years ago | (#32540284)

20 kpsi is not that big a deal. Equipment happens to be manufactured right here on Earth with ratings in that ball park (c.f. http://www.highpressure.com/valves_fittings.asp?ID=10&ptype=v&section=2 [highpressure.com] ). Your allegation about 20 kpsi destroying anything man can make is an inaccurate and overly-dramatic one.

Re:Speaking of the oil spill... (2, Interesting)

gedw99 (1597337) | more than 4 years ago | (#32540688)

True about valves being designed for 20 K psi being available.

However there are all the other aspects of the architecture of the systems down there that have to deal with 20 K psi. So many other bits of hardware have to be able to handle these pressures too.
Together they make for a very risky architecture because when something goes wrong we are at natures mercy.

Lets take an look at this another way. When we design an aeroplane we design in a Safety Factor. That means that everything is over designed to whatever the "Safety Factor" requires.
The engineering safety factor is determined by the consequences of a failure. For an aeroplane we design for a safety factor 1.5 . So everything structural is designed over by 1.5 times because if the wing fails it will likely kill 300 people.
See the Nasa article about it as it shows that safety factors are commutative for all the hardware combined.
http://blogs.nasa.gov/cm/blog/waynehalesblog/posts/post_1229459081779.html [nasa.gov]

For an oil well we should probably have a much much safety factor than just 1. So at 20 K SI, the equipment should be designed to handle at least a safety factor of 2, and so hence be designed for a 40 K psi.

Frustratingly because the damages claimable is limited to 75 million USD; and there is a self monitoring policy that wont design the hardware properly.
For aeroplane makers, there is no statutory limit on the damages, and they are heavily monitored throughout the lifecyle of manufacturer and usage.

As we are seeing the consequences of a failure of the oil well are likely to ultimately kill more than 300 people when you factor in the laws of cause and effect.
But humans that see it immediately; when an aeroplane crashes the laws of cause and effect are right in our faces, but when an oil well leaks if is less apparent to us immediately.

Its a shame that the industry has been allowed to get away with this. Energy policy is screwed up. We want oil, and so we let them get away with low safety because we dont want to scare away investment.
How crazy can it get ...

Re:Speaking of the oil spill... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32540920)

What the hell are you talking about low safety? We have been doing this for the better part of a century and this has never happened before. Sounds pretty good to me.

But it feels good to blame the evil corporation doesn't it?

You sound like you have an engineering background, do you not understand that things go wrong. Period.

We need the dammned oil, and someone is going to dig it up.

Re:Speaking of the oil spill... (1)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541252)

Its almost as if he is saying that the evil oil companies wanted to loose millions of barrels of their product into the open sea. If they really are evil, greedy capitalists wouldn't it make more sense to, you know, sell it instead? I doubt that this was an instance of cutting corners. Id wager it has a higher chance of being corporate sabotage from a third party that went much father than they expected.
BTW pun intended.

Re:Speaking of the oil spill... (1)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 4 years ago | (#32542040)

So... what? Because BP didn't want to lose oil, that means the disaster can't possibly be their fault? You're making some awfully generous assumptions. (And also, you're ignoring that oil companies routinely lose more oil each year than the Deepwater Horizon event is costing them.)

Legal definitions notwithstanding, corporations are not individuals. They do not have a unified will. They do not always act in their own bottom-line interest, because the interests of the decision-makers are not always aligned with the corporation's interests. Even if a corporation were an individual with a single will, you could not assume that they would never weigh the costs, risks, and benefits in a socially responsible manner. Nor could you assume that they would always be correct in their assessments of costs and risks.

The term "evil corporation" is a bit extreme, but then again it was those defending BP who introduced that term into the conversation, not those blaming BP. In any event, the problem isn't that corporations are "evil"; the problem is that the corporate system allows decision-making without regard to moral responsibility by shielding decision-makers from liability; and that, sure enough, fits any rational definition of evil that can ever be attributed to man.

Re:Speaking of the oil spill... (1)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 4 years ago | (#32542090)

Its almost as if he is saying that the evil oil companies wanted to loose millions of barrels of their product into the open sea.

No, but the most certainly did intentionally gamble on that. The looked at the potential payoff, weighed that against the likelihood of a disastrous failure with the associated "expenses", and decided that it was worth it to throw the dice. They simply figured they'd make more money by cutting corners. Period. Evil or not never figured into the equation. It is the corporation's job to do just that, dispassionately decide what the most profitable course of action is, then execute it in an efficient manner. It is the job of government to draft and enforce regulations that would prevent that corner cutting from hurting the citizens whom that government serves. In Niger (and in a lot of other places around the globe) "the government" has failed utterly at carrying out that responsibility. Ours has failed pretty miserably too, in this case, but in the end, this mess will cost BP far more than an identical one in Bongo-Bongo (with apologies to the overly sensitive Bongo-Bongoans here).

Re:Speaking of the oil spill... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32542310)

"No, but the[y] most certainly did intentionally gamble on that."

PP was referring to the PPP genius.

"Its the job of government" blah blah.

Whining and whining like all libs, always looking to blame someone else or get someone else (preferebly the government) to do a thing.

Wake up you fools.

Re:Speaking of the oil spill... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32542132)

I'd wager it has a higher chance of being corporate sabotage from a third party that went much father than they expected.

Does that make it better?

You're claiming terrorists can easily blow up an oil well and pollute all the nearby water. Because if it was sabotage, it wasn't a big group that took credit, and no evidence was left behind at all. It was probably one guy with a shotgun, and he can kill us all.

Live in fear my friend, live in fear.

Re:Speaking of the oil spill... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32543058)

Its almost as if he is saying that the evil oil companies wanted to loose millions of barrels of their product into the open sea.

Finally somebody uses "loose" correctly! Thank you!

Re:Speaking of the oil spill... (1)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541790)

Where to start...

Ok, when you say "we've been doing this for the better part of a cenury", define "doing this". Not all oil operations are equally risky, and I'd like to see a citation to back the claim that we've done deepwater drilling for the better part of a century.

Maybe more importantly, what do you mean "this has never happened before"? There have been many oil spills. Including from blown oil wells. Including in the Gulf of Mexico (1979). Here's a list of a few of them [infoplease.com] . If that's not enough, if you read the links from the submission you'll see that being neck deep in oil is pretty much the norm for Nigeria.

Oh, and when a company makes a decision to remove a safety mechanism [nola.com] and then suffers exactly the kind of failure that mechanism is meant to prevent, you can't file that under "things go wrong, period". BP took a risk (for reasons unclear - but if you'd like to bet against me, my belief is it had to do with someone's bonus) that they had no right to take; this is, in fact, the "evil corporation's" fault. (And no, the fact that the well might, maybe, eventually have blown out even with the safety fluid in place does not change the fact that it's BP's fault. BP could make that argument if they hadn't removed the drilling fluid.)

Re:Speaking of the oil spill... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32542120)

Drilling for oil. We are only drilling in deep water now due to recent environmental regulations, of course that hasn't been happening for 50+ years.

Yes it's more difficult to drill in deep water genius. You want lower risk bring the hole in closer to shore.

Of course there have been spills, none like this one. And I was mainly referring to domestic efforts, yes in other parts of the world that are less highly regulated these events are more common. So BP can we not agree was highly regulated in what they were doing, so then doesn't this make this the fault of the overseer? Do you want to argue that?

Actually I don't, the facts are the facts. I am not excusing BP here; lets just be clear, we need the oil, and accidents are going to happen. If you think BP wanted this to happen then you are a fool. They have the greatest motivation of anyone to prevent it - and to plug it and to clean it up.

Bring the damn holes in closer to the surface.

Re:Speaking of the oil spill... (1)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 4 years ago | (#32543170)

I'm glad we agree that it's "obvious" you were lying when you said we'd been "doing this for the better part of a century". It's a shame you've decided to try to blame me for being the one to point out you were lying, and to deflect attention to the entirely irrelevant issue of why we're trying more difficult drilling operations.

You think there's never been a spill like this one? Guess that shows how effective media propaganda really is. Go educate yourself.

Re:Speaking of the oil spill... (1)

Sepultura (150245) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541474)

20k PSI is doable with small areas for pressure build-up. But when you have large areas, you have a lot of pressure over that area which makes it difficult to contain.

For example, I've read that the well head is either 21" or 22" in diameter. That gives slightly less than 1400 sq inches to slightly over 1500 square inches for the area at the outlet of the pipe. At 20,000 psi that equates to 29 or 30 million pounds of pressure. There's no way to make a cap that can withstand that pressure. And even if you could the walls of the pipe would burst.

This is, of course, assuming a lot of things, most of which we can't be sure of since BP seems insistent on keeping everyone at arms length.

Re:Speaking of the oil spill... (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#32542268)

The pressure under the BOP is closer to 4500 psi (the reservoir is not at 20,000 psi, and the 18,000 foot column of oil contributes a decent pressure drop). The pressure above the BOP is probably less than 3,000 psi (according to figures released by the government, the data is linked from the DoE site).

So you are off by a factor of at least 20x there. Then, your arithmetic is faulty, a 21 inch pipe has a surface area of about 415 square inches, not 1500 (pipe sizes are diameters, it looks like you used the 21" size as a radius). So the cap 'only' needs to hold back about 415,000 pounds.

Re:Speaking of the oil spill... (1)

darkmeridian (119044) | more than 4 years ago | (#32542470)

Especially since BP was able to pump mud down there with enough force to push the oil back into the ground. Of course, this top-kill didn't work but it still puts the lie to your contention that these pressures are unworkable for human technology.

Re:Speaking of the oil spill... (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 4 years ago | (#32540384)

If so, even if they do angle drill and drop a nuke, what if it cracks the strata further?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crack_in_the_World [wikipedia.org]

Hollywood always seems to be a step ahead of current events . . .

Re:Speaking of the oil spill... (1)

abner23 (724467) | more than 4 years ago | (#32540442)

Yep. And aren't salt domes kinda, um, brittle? Wonder what a leftover Cold War nuke'll do to it...

Re:Speaking of the oil spill... (1)

redbeardcanada (1052028) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541072)

I tried. I really did try to bite my tongue and not respond, but you just have no idea what you are talking about here. You sound like one of the technical writers for 24.

Onshore or offshore, wells have been drilled and are producing from reservoirs with pressures far greater than 20kpsi. Industry is moving towards wells with pressures greater than 35kpsi. I am not sure where the 1500 psi number comes from, but that is far below what even depleted wells are at. Maybe you mean the differential pressure from the production system to get the well to flow (i.e. 20kspi -1500psi)?

I would worry less about forgetting the correct name of magma pockets and focus a bit more on understanding the topic you are commenting on... I am not sure how this got modded Interesting.

Re:Speaking of the oil spill... (1)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 4 years ago | (#32542074)

A direct injection engine in your every day sedan can spray fuel at well over 20,000 psi. That pressure isn't some insurmountable force for which we have no recourse to handle.

One thing we can do right now... (2, Informative)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539538)

...is let the president know of our support for Clean Energy:

http://my.barackobama.com/CleanEnergy-auto [barackobama.com]

Re:One thing we can do right now... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32539716)

I like how completely ambiguous this page is. It would be substantially more effective to vote in favor of a one child policy. At least that has a transparent metric for success.

Ethanol and traditional photo-voltaics are as dirty, if not dirtier than oil respectively because of inefficiency and heavy metals.

I am in support of clean energy if we are talking about building some gigantic nuclear power plants next to major population centers to decrease transmission inefficiencies.

Unfortunately, as the BO website stands, I would not be in support of a carbon tax while also giving subsidies to turn natural gas and corn into ethanol that is then mixed with gasoline for some reason.

Re:One thing we can do right now... (0, Offtopic)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 4 years ago | (#32540362)

who's going to pay my social security if we have a one child policy?

Re:One thing we can do right now... (1)

MachineShedFred (621896) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541358)

I like the picture of all the eyesore windmills standing above the tree - because that's what it would take, everywhere, in order to adopt wind power as our primary generation method.

Re:One thing we can do right now... (3, Informative)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 4 years ago | (#32542260)

I like the picture of all the eyesore windmills standing above the tree - because that's what it would take, everywhere, in order to adopt wind power as our primary generation method.

You say that like it's a bad thing. "Eyesore"? Come down here to the Gulf and have a look, pal.

Rubber duckies (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32539578)

Rubber duckies with GPS tracking built-in. Wherever the oil is going, the ducks will go too.

Re:Rubber duckies (3, Insightful)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 4 years ago | (#32540042)

Not unless you build special duckies that are suspended at 50m, 100m, 150m, 200m, etc. all the way down to 1500m below the surface. This spill is manifesting itself in 3 dimensions.

More exposure of Africa is good (2, Interesting)

e2d2 (115622) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539590)

Any chance to expose the pillaging of Africa is a good thing IMHO. Such a tragedy, does anyone care? Not many where I live. Now I know that not everyone can account for what happens on the other side of the world, but I mention the Niger Delta, the DRC, the current state of Somalia and their civil war, Sudan, Egypt's relationship with Israel, anything from Africa.. and watch the eyes glaze over. I usually just take it as a chance to tell someone, an opportunity. If we ever want to be a truly global community then we need to know what is going on in that community. Heads in the sand cause future conflict.

Re:More exposure of Africa is good (2, Insightful)

e2d2 (115622) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539936)

JFC, how am I offtopic _this_ time? The summary posted an article about the Niger Delta.

Re:More exposure of Africa is good (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 4 years ago | (#32540332)

Spammers and keywords would be my guess.

Re:More exposure of Africa is good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32543050)

You're talking about caring to black people/Africa in a racist society like USA?

Americans don't give a crap about anything that happens outside their land and "their land" means the whole globe for the majority not because they are geography-retarded but because they couldn't care less.

As this oil spill mostly affects the southern black communities, who gives a fucking shit?

Americans only care about iPhones and iPads and the cardashians, chest pounding and NASCAR. America pretty much can dissapear from the face of the earth and nobody would give a shit either, you're so irrelevant.

Crowdsourcing? (0, Flamebait)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | more than 4 years ago | (#32539610)

What's this government for, of, and by the people coming to? How dare they solicit our help... Tax us to death and hire the usual incompetent rubes to mismanage, misdirect and overpay the contractors like usual. Kennedy was just saying those things so he could distract us from the real problems of the time.

Re:Crowdsourcing? (1)

Chapter80 (926879) | more than 4 years ago | (#32542512)

This should have happened on about day 2, not on day 50 (or whatever we're up to now).

Unfortunately, we've had no leadership on this matter. Just a politician trying to act like a thug and put his foot to the throat of BP and kick someone's ass. As much as I like Obama, I think he missed a chance to shine on this one!

He could have organized a multi-faceted team to gather leaders from industry, government, and military, and had organized committees focused on a) stopping the leak, b) preventing it from hitting the shores, c) cleaning it up, d) getting ideas from the public, e) technology, f) fund-raising (through federal budget, FEMA, and "save the gulf" telethons and the like), g) communications with the public, h) regulatory changes, and i) prevention of future disasters. He really needed a quick "war room" approach to this issue. There are plenty of people, employed in the Oil industry, employed in the shipping industry, and unemployed people who would gladly chip in to help. Especially for pay. But that didn't happen.

OK, proceed to mod me down because you're in love with your politician, and can't offer constructive criticism of someone that you voted for.

Give the data to Bruce Willis! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32539662)

He's always able to get things under control after an appropriate theatrical delay. Besides he drilled a well on an asteroid.

Seriously, this is of no use at all.

Things that would be useful:

mud log
wireline logs
rate of penetration data
leak off test results
formation tester pressures
gas oil ratio
BOP hydraulic system pressure readings

Forget Bruce Willis (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32539768)

Let's call Chuck Norris, he'll roundhouse-kick the oil back into its hole.

Oh man, that department.... (1)

icannotthinkofaname (1480543) | more than 4 years ago | (#32540222)

the glad-to-know-you-guys-are-on-top-of-things dept.

Are they on top of this like oil on water?

Re:Oh man, that department.... (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 4 years ago | (#32540622)

Unfortunately yes.

Dumb question time (1)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 4 years ago | (#32540312)

While they tried to block the flow of oil by shoving mud and other stuff down the tube, is there are a reason why they couldn't use some variant of expandable foam to seal the pipe?

By that I mean, shove a smaller diameter pipe down the main pipe, say to a depth of 500', then inject the expandable foam into the main pipe to seal it?

Yes, I am aware, as James Cameron remarked, one has to worry about the oil bursting out somewhere else, but is my above question even feasible?

Re:Dumb question time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32540978)

My guess would be that any kind of foam we have would have a hard time expanding at that water pressure.

Re:Dumb question time (1)

MachineShedFred (621896) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541422)

Expanding foam expands because the gas that is inside the foam is at higher pressure than the atmosphere, and is trying to escape. This equation changes greatly when instead of atmospheric pressure (~14 PSI) you are talking about 5,000 feet of water (2,165 PSI)

Re:Dumb question time (1)

theguyfromsaturn (802938) | more than 4 years ago | (#32542380)

The mud (mostly a bentonite clay slurry, with other minerals to add density) offered a means to *seal* the leak. The purpose is to fill the hole with a column heavy enough to cancel the pressure. It also lets you know if there is a leak somewhere down the tube if you lose too much of it. From what I heard, they found out that somewhere (I think 1000 ft down, but that's just from memory), they were losing a lot of mud.... it would only be an estimate from what they guess they were losing through the riser. That's why they stopped all other options (like putting another BOP on top of the riser) that would increase pressure. The odds are that the well liner is compromised, and that any pressure will push the oil through the rock formation, and it will likely start leaking over a wide area.

The problem with the top kill (and any "plugging" method) is that it has to put pressure FROM the top, to fight back the pressure, only releasing it as the column gets close to the reservoir.

The relief well starts filling from the bottom, so the pressure will actually decrease as it moves up. The rocks closer to the surface are subjected to less pressure naturally (because there is less weight on top of them) so they are more likely to break under a given amount of pressure than at greater depth where they have more confining pressure. The relief wells were ALWAYS the preferred method to kill the well. Only public pressure made them attempt the top kill and the dangers involved.

You should look up the Ixtoc spill, also in the Gulf of Mexico, in 1979. There, they succesfully managed to shut down the BOP, but they had to reopen it in a hurry as the pressure caused the oil to leak outside the well head, if I remember correctly. The most certain way to kill a well is ALWAYS the relief well.

wrap a plastic bag around the preventer (2, Interesting)

mark_osmd (812581) | more than 4 years ago | (#32540354)

I'm still wondering why can't they make a mile long plastic tube (tough nylon mesh fabric coated with oil proof material) that's wider than the BOP at the bottom end. Lower it down from a tanker to the BOP, use the robots to wrap it around the bottom of the BOP so it's encased and then the oil will be contained and it could be pumped out at the surface. Oil is less dense than water so it should rise up the tube to the tanker. You don't even have to care about a poor seal at the bottom where the end is wrapped around the casement pipe since there's no pressure difference involved (unlike the other attempts so far where they jam things right in the pipe. Also since the oil is moving out in the open in the tube there's no freezing problems.

Re:wrap a plastic bag around the preventer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32540796)

Download ANSYS, simulate it out and see how it would works. See the forces in your tube. How long does it last? How does vortexes created by the ocean movement moves the tube?

I expect your homework done tomorrow or just shut the fuck up.

Re:wrap a plastic bag around the preventer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32541506)

Even better, why don't we just make a big "sombrero" shaped concrete structure that we lower upon the leak?! That would solve the problem instantly.

Now, what could we call this operation...

Re:wrap a plastic bag around the preventer (1)

yurtinus (1590157) | more than 4 years ago | (#32542030)

The Mexican Hat Dance!!!!

Re:wrap a plastic bag around the preventer (1)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541572)

Some version of that is what some of the dome-with-pipes attempts were, but the pipe ended up being clogged up by slushy hydrate ice, among other problems.

**sigh** (1)

nimbius (983462) | more than 4 years ago | (#32540392)

yeah, i guess i can fire up the bluegene for this...but just this once!
and you so totally owe me a beer.

Prosecute BP Under +1, Plusgood (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32541668)

R.I.C.O.

I'll let the sods who don't know about RICO search for it.

Yours In Dallas,
Kilgore T.

Some comments about the oil spill. (1)

hackus (159037) | more than 4 years ago | (#32541832)

The drill depth was never attempted before by BP, and now from what I have heard from inside sources, the drill depth has produced pressures beyond the technical resources of _any_ of our science at the well head to contain it. All three safety measures failed at the well head.

These pressures were not expected and where a surprise and unfortunately the equipment cannot handle it.

So, it isn't that anyone is stupid, it simply cannot be stopped using any known engineering science.

Interestingly enough, our Russian friends currently hold the record for drill depth. But Russian obsession with drill depth mainly have to do with politics, in that they do not want any sources of Oil influenced by western banking or US dollars. So, against current thinking about how Oil forms (it is a fossil fuel) most Russians believe it is formed through natural processes in the Earth's crust through some unknown geological chemical process. The Russians are also familiar with the consequences of drilling those sorts of depths (10 miles down or further) and would _never_ attempt to do something like that in the Gulf. Why? Because the well head pressures at the surface require specialized and very large structures to contain the pressure that is almost impossible to build at that ocean depth as BP did in the Gulf. So, they only do that on land.

But I digress, but this theory of natural geological process to create Oil is called Abiotic Oil.

If you have not heard of it, it is because only recently have depths been achievable to test it, so there hasn't been any evidence to support it.

Incidentally, when BP was contracted to create the well, the Russians were surprisingly silent and returned no comments on the project.

But over the past 5 years the Russians began projects to test this theory and now have very secretive wells, 5 of them and just 5 wells that have single handedly turned Russia from the number 5 Oil producer to number one in the past 5 years. Internally producing more Oil than Saudi Arabia.

So, if you here people proposing tactical Nukes to shut the well down, they aren't joking. It may be the only way to do it by fusing the crust....if it works.

My guess is, this Oil Well, due to the facts above, isn't going to be shut down any time soon and this could be going on for a while, perhaps even YEARS.

-Hackus

Re:Some comments about the oil spill. (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#32542440)

They had tapped the reservoir and had the well under control. Then they pumped about 1/2 of the mass out of the casing (which, if you do some math, means that they reduced the containment pressure of the man made side by about 1/2).

They knew full well what the pressures were and made a stupid decision, it was a human failure, not a result of unexpected conditions underground.

Format Question: (1)

drainbramage (588291) | more than 4 years ago | (#32543184)

Does this "Raw-Data-From-Oil-Spill" come in a tar file?

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?
or Connect with...

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>