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Thread: APNewsBreak: Bubble of methane triggered rig blast

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    APNewsBreak: Bubble of methane triggered rig blast

    ON THE GULF OF MEXICO – The deadly blowout of an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico was triggered by a bubble of methane gas that escaped from the well and shot up the drill column, expanding quickly as it burst through several seals and barriers before exploding, according to interviews with rig workers conducted during BP's internal investigation.
    As has been posted earlier on this subject, cement placed at the bottom of the well meant to act as a seal seems to be the culprit.

    Based on the interviews, Bea believes that the workers set and then tested a cement seal at the bottom of the well. Then they reduced the pressure in the drill column and attempted to set a second seal below the sea floor. A chemical reaction caused by the setting cement created heat and a gas bubble which destroyed the seal.
    There are safe guards and from interviews of the workers on the rig, the safeguards did not work.

    Investigators looking into the cause of the explosion have been focusing on the so-called blowout preventer. Federal regulators told The Associated Press Friday that they are going to examine whether these last-resort cutoff valves on offshore oil wells are reliable.

    Blowouts are infrequent, because well holes are blocked by piping and pumped-in materials like synthetic mud, cement and even sea water. The pipes are plugged with cement, so fluid and gas can't typically push up inside the pipes.

    Instead, a typical blowout surges up a channel around the piping. The narrow space between the well walls and the piping is usually filled with cement, so there is no pathway for a blowout. But if the cement or broken piping leaves enough space, a surge can rise to the surface.

    There, at the wellhead of exploratory wells, sits the massive steel contraption known as a blowout preventer. It can snuff a blowout by squeezing rubber seals tightly around the pipes with up to 1 million pounds of force. If the seals fail, the blowout preventer deploys a last line of defense: a set of rams that can slice right through the pipes and cap the blowout.

    Deepwater Horizon was also equipped with an automated backup system called a Deadman. It should have activated the blowout preventer even if workers could not.

    Based on the interviews with rig workers, none of those safeguards worked.
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_gulf_oil_spill
    Last edited by Gina; 05-08-10 at 01:30 PM. Reason: forgot to post link
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    Re: APNewsBreak: Bubble of methane triggered rig blast

    Quote Originally Posted by Gina View Post
    As has been posted earlier on this subject, cement placed at the bottom of the well meant to act as a seal seems to be the culprit.
    Well, here we go. Now we have people who don't know jack **** about how an oil well works acting like they know how an oil well works. Hint #1, they don't use cement as a plug.

    This is a classic case of some reporter taking half-assed information and adding their own creative license to it. I was waiting for this.
    Quote Originally Posted by Top Cat View Post
    At least Bill saved his transgressions for grown women. Not suggesting what he did was OK. But he didn't chase 14 year olds.

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    Re: APNewsBreak: Bubble of methane triggered rig blast

    Quote Originally Posted by apdst View Post
    Well, here we go. Now we have people who don't know jack **** about how an oil well works acting like they know how an oil well works. Hint #1, they don't use cement as a plug.

    This is a classic case of some reporter taking half-assed information and adding their own creative license to it. I was waiting for this.

    Did you read the link? The reporter is quoting Robert Bea:

    Portions of the interviews, two written and one taped, were described in detail to an Associated Press reporter by Robert Bea, a University of California Berkeley engineering professor who serves on a National Academy of Engineering panel on oil pipeline safety and worked for BP PLC as a risk assessment consultant during the 1990s. He received them from industry friends seeking his expert opinion.
    So:

    Based on the interviews, Bea believes that the workers set and then tested a cement seal at the bottom of the well. Then they reduced the pressure in the drill column and attempted to set a second seal below the sea floor. A chemical reaction caused by the setting cement created heat and a gas bubble which destroyed the seal.
    It's not the reporter's supposition, it is Bea's.
    I don't attack my constituents. Bob is my constituent now.
    This is the important stuff. We canít get lost in discrimination. We canít get lost in B.S. We canít get lost tearing each other down. I want to make a point here that no matter what you look like, where you come from, how you worship, who you love, how you identify, and yeah, how you run, that if you have good public policy ideas, if you are well qualified for office, bring those ideas to the table, because this is your America, too. This is our commonwealth of Virginia, too.
    Danica Roem - The nation's first openly transgender person elected to serve in a U.S. state legislature.

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    Re: APNewsBreak: Bubble of methane triggered rig blast

    Quote Originally Posted by Gina View Post
    Ö There are safe guards and from interviews of the workers on the rig, the safeguards did not work.



    APNewsBreak: Bubble of methane triggered rig blast - Yahoo! News
    Oh, the irony Ö

    ďA group of BP executives were on board the Deepwater Horizon rig celebrating the project's safety record, according to the transcripts.Ē ó Associated PressÜ
    ďReal environmentalists live in cities, and they visit what's left of the wilderness as gently and respectfully as possible.Ē ó Donna Moulton, letter to the editor, Tucson Weekly, published on August 23, 2001

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    Re: APNewsBreak: Bubble of methane triggered rig blast

    Quote Originally Posted by Gina View Post
    Did you read the link? The reporter is quoting Robert Bea:



    So:



    It's not the reporter's supposition, it is Bea's.

    Those who can, do and those who can't, teach.

    I'm not really concerned with the opinion of a school teacher, from Berkley, of all places. And, if Bea is saying that they use cement as a plug, then his credibility is shot. Either he knows dick about drilling, or the use of the word cement is being used to set it up to be Halliburton's fault, and on we go to Dick Cheney.

    Let me add something that I should have clarified in my first post: could a gas pocket have been the culprit? Sure! That's how blowouts typically happen. I recall hearing the guy on Mark Levin's show saying that the rig, "took a kick". That's when the workstring--the drill pipe--penetrates a cavity and natural gas, at massive pressure tries to travel up the string. Now, taking a kick and blowing out are two different things.

    The piece of information I'm waiting for, is what they were doing when the well blew out. I've heard they were drilling. I've also heard they were running casing. That's a very important tidbit that hasn't been clarified, yet.

    If they were running casing, then the gas bubble theory, IMO, isn't accurate.

    As far as the BOP--blow out preventer--goes, the Horizon was using what's known in the industry as a subsea tree. The tree houses the BOP stack, which is made up of the BOP(s) and the annuler.

    This is a conventional BOP stack. The annuler at the top, then a double BOP, then a single BOP. The subsea tree is much more advanced than this apparatus, which has only one hydraulic power source. The subsea tree used on the Horizon--built by FMC--had three operating sources.

    Quote Originally Posted by Top Cat View Post
    At least Bill saved his transgressions for grown women. Not suggesting what he did was OK. But he didn't chase 14 year olds.

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    Re: APNewsBreak: Bubble of methane triggered rig blast

    Quote Originally Posted by Chappy View Post
    Oh, the irony Ö

    ďA group of BP executives were on board the Deepwater Horizon rig celebrating the project's safety record, according to the transcripts.Ē ó Associated PressÜ
    I saw that too. A little premature?

    I wonder what their reaction is since they were there to experience the danger their workers faced. Will they push for more strict safeguards?
    I don't attack my constituents. Bob is my constituent now.
    This is the important stuff. We canít get lost in discrimination. We canít get lost in B.S. We canít get lost tearing each other down. I want to make a point here that no matter what you look like, where you come from, how you worship, who you love, how you identify, and yeah, how you run, that if you have good public policy ideas, if you are well qualified for office, bring those ideas to the table, because this is your America, too. This is our commonwealth of Virginia, too.
    Danica Roem - The nation's first openly transgender person elected to serve in a U.S. state legislature.

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    Re: APNewsBreak: Bubble of methane triggered rig blast

    Quote Originally Posted by Chappy View Post
    Oh, the irony Ö

    ďA group of BP executives were on board the Deepwater Horizon rig celebrating the project's safety record, according to the transcripts.Ē ó Associated PressÜ
    Yeah, the Libs are all excited about this. Huh?

    Now ya'll have an excuse to stop drilling and put a million people out of work.
    Quote Originally Posted by Top Cat View Post
    At least Bill saved his transgressions for grown women. Not suggesting what he did was OK. But he didn't chase 14 year olds.

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    Re: APNewsBreak: Bubble of methane triggered rig blast

    Quote Originally Posted by Gina View Post
    I saw that too. A little premature?

    I wonder what their reaction is since they were there to experience the danger their workers faced. Will they push for more strict safeguards?

    You better believe they will. BP will lose billions because of this blowout. They sure as hell don't want it to happen again.
    Quote Originally Posted by Top Cat View Post
    At least Bill saved his transgressions for grown women. Not suggesting what he did was OK. But he didn't chase 14 year olds.

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    Re: APNewsBreak: Bubble of methane triggered rig blast

    Quote Originally Posted by apdst View Post
    Well, here we go. Now we have people who don't know jack **** about how an oil well works acting like they know how an oil well works. Hint #1, they don't use cement as a plug.

    This is a classic case of some reporter taking half-assed information and adding their own creative license to it. I was waiting for this.
    Actually.....

    I (actually, Halliburton) have plugged wells on several occassions using cement. We also used cement to secure casing. But that was 20 years ago when I worked in the oil patch. Don't know if they still use it today but I don't know why they wouldn't unless some better technology has come about.

    The most common cause for blowouts, as far as I know, is because above oil formations it is quite common to find salt domes, or other formations holding gasses under high pressure. Once this formation is "punctured, so to speak, the weight of the "drilling mud" (barite or "bar" as we called it) is supposed to keep downhole pressures downhole. But when the mud comes into a void, and sucked into that void, it can all be lost in a matter of seconds. When methane, or any gas for that matter, rises it expands thus adding additional pressure, overcoming the weight of the drilling mud, this "burping" the drilling mud out of the string of pipe, thus enabling the gas to make it's way to the surface. Sort of a domino effect.

    Drilling mud is constantly monitored for weight and viscosity and return. When the flapper on the return line clicks faster than the mud goes into the hole, you have a problem. It means something is pushing your mud OUT of the hole and you lose the weight holding the downhole pressures down. When you lose your mud return, it means you're losing it downhole. Not a good scenerio either.

    That's when bopper's (Blow Out Preventers or BOP's) are suppose to come into play. You got blind rams and shear rams. Each have their function. They are tested frequently. At least, they supposed to be.

    I worked offshore on J Storm 5 (Marine Drilling) when the gas count registered in the return mud at over 3000 units. We had stand by boats. Daily drills. Used only brass sledgehammers (brass doesn't spark) and absolutely no smoking was allowed.

    It's no place for a screw up. that's for sure.
    Last edited by Captain America; 05-08-10 at 02:28 PM.

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    Re: APNewsBreak: Bubble of methane triggered rig blast

    Quote Originally Posted by apdst View Post
    Those who can, do and those who can't, teach.

    I'm not really concerned with the opinion of a school teacher, from Berkley, of all places. And, if Bea is saying that they use cement as a plug, then his credibility is shot. Either he knows dick about drilling, or the use of the word cement is being used to set it up to be Halliburton's fault, and on we go to Dick Cheney.

    Let me add something that I should have clarified in my first post: could a gas pocket have been the culprit? Sure! That's how blowouts typically happen. I recall hearing the guy on Mark Levin's show saying that the rig, "took a kick". That's when the workstring--the drill pipe--penetrates a cavity and natural gas, at massive pressure tries to travel up the string. Now, taking a kick and blowing out are two different things.

    The piece of information I'm waiting for, is what they were doing when the well blew out. I've heard they were drilling. I've also heard they were running casing. That's a very important tidbit that hasn't been clarified, yet.

    If they were running casing, then the gas bubble theory, IMO, isn't accurate.

    As far as the BOP--blow out preventer--goes, the Horizon was using what's known in the industry as a subsea tree. The tree houses the BOP stack, which is made up of the BOP(s) and the annuler.

    This is a conventional BOP stack. The annuler at the top, then a double BOP, then a single BOP. The subsea tree is much more advanced than this apparatus, which has only one hydraulic power source. The subsea tree used on the Horizon--built by FMC--had three operating sources.

    Oh for God's sake. He worked for BP. He's an engineer for oil safety.

    Robert Bea, a University of California Berkeley engineering professor who serves on a National Academy of Engineering panel on oil pipeline safety and worked for BP PLC as a risk assessment consultant during the 1990s.
    Further, he also worked for Shell and on oil rigs. So he did, but is now 73 and can't.

    "What we had learned when I worked as a drill rig laborer was swoosh, boom, run," Bea said. "The swoosh is the gas, boom is the explosion and run is what you better be doing."

    The gas flooded into an adjoining room with exposed ignition sources, he said.

    "That's where the first explosion happened," said Bea, who worked for Shell Oil in the 1960s during the last big northern Gulf of Mexico oil well blowout. "The mud room was next to the quarters where the party was. Then there was a series of explosions that subsequently ignited the oil that was coming from below."
    Disparage him all you want, I really don't have a dog in the fight, but he has credentials and his opinion was sought as an expert.



    Also, there isn't a word about Halliburton in the entire article
    I don't attack my constituents. Bob is my constituent now.
    This is the important stuff. We canít get lost in discrimination. We canít get lost in B.S. We canít get lost tearing each other down. I want to make a point here that no matter what you look like, where you come from, how you worship, who you love, how you identify, and yeah, how you run, that if you have good public policy ideas, if you are well qualified for office, bring those ideas to the table, because this is your America, too. This is our commonwealth of Virginia, too.
    Danica Roem - The nation's first openly transgender person elected to serve in a U.S. state legislature.

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