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View Diary: "Cut and cap" = BP doublespeak (154 comments)

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  •  BP Has posted some videos... (5+ / 0-)

    ...here under "Latest Videos" which may be mildly interesting to some.

    Kent Well's tech briefing (~13 minutes) from yesterday had a few updates I was unaware of (warning: some poorly done PR attempts are included as well as claims that no engineer should be making - such as "...so there's no chance of any damage to the BOP itself").

    •  Erm... WTF are they DOING? (4+ / 0-)

      Looking at those first two LMRP caps in the staging area... they have what - 6" pipes at most? And only one of them?

      So they're going to try to force the oil which is coming out of the well up a 6", unheated pipe?

      Have they learned nothing from the failure of the containment dome, the top hat, and the minihat?

      I'm guessing that's why they're furiously constructing a third LMRP cap, as shown in BenSS's picture, with what appears to be 18" pipe. Too bad it doesn't appear to have any realistic relief, or any realistic sealing mechanism.

      •  I think the BenSS picture... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SciMathGuy, sullivanst, princesspat

        ...shows a version of a cap that doesn't seem complete - hence there may well be a sealing mechanism that has not yet been attached.

        I can't tell the diameter of the pipes on the LMRP caps they have on the seabed because I can't find a good reference point. However, if they can keep the seawater out, at least mostly, it doesn't seem out of question that a 6" ID pipe could work. The last segment of the well down into the reservoir seems to be about 7" in diameter (and, maybe, has a pipe string in it which would reduce the effective diameter at least slightly) - obviously if there's a casing failure that is letting oil up around the outside and up to the wellhead, the 7" diameter isn't as interesting. Also, from what we've heard, the BOP is not "wide open" either which may be the constriction point which BP is counting on (although, counting too much on that seems risky unless they fully understand why and how it's constricted).

        A six inch pipe can, with enough "suck" power (and we do know that BP is good at that), move a quite a lot of liquid. Even the highest estimates of oil flow I've heard are "small" by standards of industrial pumping.

        I used a flow rate calculator to consider a velocity most of us can relate to - about 3.3 MPH, or a moderately brisk walk. At a liquid velocity of 3.3423 MPH, a 1/2" garden hose would deliver about 3 gallons per minute - a fairly "lazy" rate and velocity. Computing the amount of liquid that would flow through a 6" ID pipe at the same velocity yields 432 gallons per minute (or about 622,080 gallons per day or almost 15,000 barrels per day). Obviously doubling the flow rate (sounds reasonable but someone who didn't sleep though too many engineering courses decades ago would be better qualified to do computations of power needed to accomplish this!) would also double the flow rate.

        But, I'd agree, if those pipes are 6", they are, at best, probably only barely adequate.

        •  My main concern would be temperature (0+ / 0-)

          That's gonna be some real cold oil.

          I believe cold oil is much harder to force through a pipe than water.

          At the reservoir end of the hole, where the casing is only 7", the oil is probably quite warm (being closer to the core of the earth). It's also at much higher pressure - high enough pressure to explosively displace two miles of seawater. As a result, it can flow rather faster than it would be able to through a 6" pipe just above the seabed.

          I'm hoping that my sense of scale is just way off. It might be. The pipe might be closer to the 18" pipe we see in the construction pics.

        •  Feeling a little better about this now (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          WillR

          They put out an animation which explains how it's supposed to work a little better.

          The pipe coming up from the cap is designed to interface with drill pipe. It seems to be big enough to handle the flow. Still slightly concerned about temperature, but that is what the methanol lines are for, and it's a relatively short distance the oil has to travel through "naked" drill pipe before it reaches the heated riser.

          This might actually work.

          •  Good animation. (0+ / 0-)

            I wish they would release more stuff like this -- it would save me so much time speculating.

            (It all works so perfectly in the animation. Let's see what reality brings to the table.)

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