Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Kill Shot, or Air Ball?

Posted By on Wed, May 26, 2010 at 11:36 PM

One month later, it has started. The leak, we pray, is going to be plugged. As Operation: TOP KILL KILL KILL is in effect, we can only hope BP isn't twiddling its thumbs while this happens — there is a coast to clean:

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So, what is this? From BP:

The primary objective of the top kill process is to put heavy kill mud into the well so that it reduces the pressure and then the flow from the well. Once the kill mud is in the well and it’s shut down, then we follow up with cement to plug the leak.

For the top kill procedure we are designing equipment to pump the highest kill rate we can, irrespective of the flow rate of oil from the well, to force a downward flow of mud into the well. This, combined with the heavy drilling fluid is designed to eventually stop the flow. This has never been attempted at these depths. This is very complex — and involves several complex procedures coming together.

This requires 50,000 barrels of mud, at the most, pumped down a 6 and 5/8 inch drill pipe through 3 inch hoses, then another set of hoses attached to the blowout preventer (BOP) and kill lines. Then there's the "junk shot" — if necessary, basically shoots a bunch of random shit like golf balls and innertubes to stop the kill mud going through the BOP rather than down the well to cut off the flow.

OK, but is it any better than this? Louis Maistros at Humid City has more on the neglected plug — even if it never stood a chance, this just illustrates further BP's total neglect, from the waiting volunteers who have yet to hear a call to action, to local authorities who know what's at stake yet end up having to commandeer BP's own fleet, to inhumane working conditions of its own employees before the leak...

If you want to see a mental breakdown in progress, look no further than BP chief executive and Mr. "Modest" Tony Hayward. The head of a multi-billion dollar multinational corporation went from a smug, calm cool to shooing away cameras as he watches his oil smother our shore.

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