This is really horrifying news. If oil industry expert Matthew Simmons that appeared on the Dylan Ratigan show and Sen. Ben Nelson's worst case scenarios turn out to be true the situation in the Gulf truly looks dire. Simmons said that they have grossly underestimated the size of the disaster and that it appears to be the result of the biggest blowout in the world and that most of the oil is not coming from the leak the BP cameras are showing, but instead "an open hole with no casing in it which sits about seven miles away from where BP had been trying to fix these little tiny leaks in the drilling riser".
(Rough transcript which I'll gladly add to or amend if someone else can understand what he was saying with that terrible web cam.)
Simmons: When this blew out there had to be resevoir pressures of 40-50,000 pounds per square inch other wise the fire wouldn't have been so intense and what would have come out first is the blowout preventer would have popped out of the water more like a cork. And then what would come out second is the casing. That is what used to kill people on land based blowouts, the casing would come right up to the mouth of the (inaudible) and fall on people. And so we have an open hole that's spewing I would guess somewhere between 100-150,000 barrels a day of oil which is why you now have over a hundred mile oil lake at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico that's apparently 4-500 feet deep.
Now one of the most important things that went on this week is the Thomas Jefferson, the United States biggest research vessel is now on location, it was actually in the general arena... area doing ocean bottom profiling and NOAA four days ago put if off and sent it over. They're going to basically find where these plumes are and why there's this oil lake.
I would think by the end of the week we will discover that we have an open hole with no casing in it which sits about seven miles away from where BP had been trying to fix these little tiny leaks in the drilling riser. I bet where (inaudible) of the drilling riser is still connected to the (inaudible) of it and so they've done everything wrong.
Ratigan: So you say they've done everything wrong, what do you mean specifically when you say that?
Simmons: Well they basically are trying to patch a little leak in the drilling riser. You've got to remember that what we're seeing on television, the drilling riser is 22.5" in circumferance. Most of it is a elastomers to make it bouyant. In the middle is a 7" column with the annulus where the drill bit goes down, so coming out of that is a little plume of gas. It's not oil and it's only about four feet high.
That could not by any way have actually covered 40% of the Gulf of Mexico, so what we're going to find when the Thomas Jefferson finishes its work is we have an open hole with no casing in it and the only way we'll shut it off is either let it complete which might take 30 years which could maybe not only poison the Gulf of Mexico but maybe the Atlantic Ocean or to put a nuclear device down the hole like the Russians did in the 70's and actually encase it by turning the turning the rock into (inaudible).
Ratigan: If you accept the inevitability of this oil flow, best case scenario for months, worst case scenario for years is there anything that we could be doing right now or should be doing right now from a containment perspective that we're not doing whether it's not just booms but booms with a curtain that goes to the bottom of the sea, tankers, again it's obviously beyond my pay grade, but is there something we should be doing that we're not doing?
Simmons: The booms don't work because the oil's coming from the bottom of the ocean. They slip right under the boom. It's not on the surface. One thing they should be doing is every time we unload a tanker at the Louisiana offshore loading port which has all this supertanker offshore loading, they should go right over to the oil lake and start sucking up this black crude at the bottom and putting it on the tanker and get it out of the Gulf wet shorelands because when the hurricanes arrive the hurricane actually blows this oil on shore it will basically paint the Gulf shore black and it will shut down the refineries, the power plants and it will be America's worst catastrophe and nightmare.
It appears Sen. Ben Nelson agrees with Matthew Simmons on the failure of the casing. From bmaz at FDL, BP Well Bore And Casing Integrity May Be Blown, Says Florida’s Sen. Nelson:
Oil and gas are leaking from the seabed surrounding the BP Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico, Senator Bill Nelson of Florida told Andrea Mitchell today on MSNBC. Nelson, one of the most informed and diligent Congressmen on the BP gulf oil spill issue, has received reports of leaks in the well, located in the Mississippi Canyon sector. This is potentially huge and devastating news.
If Nelson is correct in that assertion, and he is smart enough to not make such assertions lightly, so I think they must be taken at face value, it means the well casing and well bore are compromised and the gig is up on containment pending a completely effective attempt to seal the well from the bottom via successful “relief wells”. In fact, I have confirmed with Senator Nelson’s office that they are fully aware of the breaking news and significance of what the Senator said to Andrea Mitchell. Read on...