CNN’s Wolf Blitzer: “Billion potential barrels of oil” under BP’s ruptured well; “Thing could really explode” expert says

Thursday, June 17, 2010
By Paul Martin

FloridaOilSpillLaw.com
June 17th, 2010

CNN’s first mention of concerns about the structural integrity of BP’s blown-out well occurred on the June 16 edition of the Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, during an interview with a member of the government’s Flow Rate Technical Group, Professor Steven Wereley.

Blitzer described a conversation he had with an expert who said, “They’re still really concerned about the structural base of this whole operation.” “This thing could really explode,” added Blitzer, “And they’re sitting, what, on — on a billion potential barrels of oil.”

Wereley responded, “I’ve heard concerns about the structural integrity of the well.” More precisely, the structural concerns were if “the casing of the well is — is faulty at some point.”

The one billion barrels in estimated reserves mentioned by Blitzer is similar to the number stated by Bush Energy Adviser Matthew Simmons during a June 15 interview with Bloomberg TV.

Simmons concluded BP’s ruptured well could flow for 25 to 30 years at a rate of 120,000 barrels a day.

120,000 barrels/day * 365 days/year * 25 years = 1.095 billion barrels.

Wereley interview transcript excerpts from the Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, June 16, 2010:

Let’s talk about this with Steven Wereley. He’s an associate engineering professor at Purdue University. He’s a member of the government’s flow rate technical group…

BLITZER: One — one expert said to me — and I don’t know if this is overblown or not — that they’re still really concerned about the structural base of this whole operation, if the rocks get moved, this thing could really explode and they’re sitting, what, on — on a billion potential barrels of oil at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico.

Is that a real concern or is that just out of the question, unrealistic?

WERELEY: Well, I’ve heard concerns about the structural integrity of the well. In particularly, with the “top kill” — the attempted “top kill,” lots of cement and drilling mud was pumped into the well. And it didn’t come shooting back out of the well and yet it didn’t stop things. So there is some conjecture that the — the casing of the well is — is faulty at some point.

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