Plausible Gulf Oil Spill Scenario: Underground Blowout and Mudflow
By: Dian L Chu
Jul 27, 2010
Amid rising fears over a circulating story about a leak and seepage, the federal government’s oil spill chief said that seepage detected two miles from BP’s oil cap is coming from another well. Meanwhile, BP is on track to use static top kill procedure in Macondo.
The static kill option is basically the cousin of the previously failed top kill. According to Platts, “the static kill would pump drilling mud and cement into the well, using the same entry points as the previous top kill procedure. The materials would be forced into the choke and kill lines of the well’s blowout preventer (BOP).”
Although BP’s new containment cap has stopped the flow of oil, circulating stories about a leak and seepage had caused mounting concern that the cap was displacing pressure and causing leaks deep underground.
One oil industry veteran engineer describes to me an underwater blowout (UGBO) as quite plausible, with the well being capped plus the static kill adding pressure from the top.
That is, capping the well might not be such good news.
The more they try to restrict the oil gush, the more pressure could be built up within the wellbore (like a soda can.) The increasing pressure could eventually push the leak below leading to a UGBO. (See graph)