BP may re-drill near Gulf of Mexico oil well site

Aug 07, 2010 by Erica Berenstein
A painting condemning energy giant BP is seen outside a shop in Larose, Louisiana. The Gulf of Mexico oil spill is the largest environmental disaster in US history and is threatening the entire region's way of life, fueling widespread outrage among residents.

BP has shrugged off a potential public relations hit when the energy giant said it may drill a new well in the Gulf of Mexico reservoir which fed one of the world's worst oil spills.

BP is on the hook for tens of billions of dollars in fines and clean-up and compensation costs, so tapping into the rich field deep under the seabed might well be worth it.

"Clearly there's lots of oil and gas there and we'll have to think about what to do with that at some point," Doug Suttles, BP's chief operating officer, told reporters.

Asked whether BP would consider donating the proceeds from the sale of any oil from the reservoir or selling the rights to another oil company, Suttles said "we just haven't thought about that."

"What we've been focused on is the response right now. We haven't even thought about what we'd do with this reservoir and this field someday."

He declined, however, to say that BP would leave the rich reservoir alone out of sensitivity to those affected by the spill, prompted by a deadly August 20 explosion on an offshore drilling rig that killed 11 workers.

"What we've stated is the original well that had the blowout and the relief wells will be abandoned," Suttles explained.

BP later released a statement appearing to try to downplay his remarks, saying "BP's present focus is entirely on the response effort in the and the future use of the reservoir is not currently under consideration."

Yet it too failed to say whether the Macondo reservoir would be a source of any further BP development.

With the runaway well finally plugged and work underway to "kill" it by injecting mud and cement in through a relief well, public attention is shifting away from the months-long disaster.

But officials cautioned there is still a huge clean-up job and experts warned that the impact of the spill could be felt for years, or even decades, to come.

More than 11 million feet (3.3 million meters) of protective boom is set to be collected and either disposed of or cleaned and stored for future use.

But fears about the effects of the oil remain, particularly as figures show that only eight percent of the crude that gushed into the sea was removed through burning and skimming.

While the massive slick which once spread for hundreds of miles has mostly dissolved or dispersed, according to the US government and BP, tiny droplets of oil are still toxic to the marine life which once supported a multi-billion-dollar commercial and recreational fishing industry.

The good news is that the oil appears to be biodegrading rapidly. The problem is there is simply so much out there.

At 4.9 million barrels -- or enough oil to fill 311 Olympic-sized swimming pools -- the disaster is the biggest maritime spill on record.

"It's a race between the microbes eating it and everything else being exposed to it," said Larry McKinney, executive director of the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies.

"Microbial action comes at a cost. They're organisms. They use oxygen."

The Gulf was already under stress from coastal erosion and a massive "dead zone" created by agricultural runoff from the Mississippi River that feeds algae, which sucks oxygen out of the water.

"We will likely have a pretty severe impact," McKinney told AFP, adding that the real concern is that the spill could be the final tipping point for an already stressed ecosystem.

"You can only be knocked down so many times before you can't get back up again."

Yet people across the Gulf Coast could not help but breathe a sigh of relief that the well is finally, nearly, dead.

"Now that it has been capped, we're seeing buyers creep back into the market," said Mary Anne Windes, a real estate broker in Destin, Florida who also helps run her family's charter fishing business.

But there's still a "perception that this place has been ruined forever."

After months of frantic efforts to cap the well, officials are now waiting for the cement to dry in the well before they can begin the final "kill" procedure: cutting the well off from the bottom with a relief well and entombing it in mud and cement.

BP said mid-August is the most likely date that the first of two relief wells being drilled will intercept the Macondo well.

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User comments : 11

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Bob_Kob
1 / 5 (2) Aug 07, 2010
Well wouldnt a better method be to reoxygenate the water? Send a few ships with devices blowing air down into the water?
Shootist
1 / 5 (7) Aug 07, 2010
"figures show that only eight percent of the crude that gushed into the sea was removed through burning and skimming."


Does everyone remember how BP's original estimates were dismissedd by the establishment as far too low? How the press jumped on this? How BO's gob'mint jumped on this? How wild and ridiculous prognostications of disaster were on every news report?

BP's estimates were correct all along.

Oil and gas were flowing into the gulf at about the same pressure as the surround sea water. About 50% of the discharge was Natural Gas. The volatiles have evaporated. The solids have sunk.

Never waste a crisis.
HeloMenelo
1 / 5 (4) Aug 07, 2010
"Well wouldnt a better method be to reoxygenate the water? Send a few ships with devices blowing air down into the water?"

Yes, kind of what they do with fish tanks. If it will work then i cannot see why not.
pres68y
not rated yet Aug 07, 2010
New wells in that tract can be done safely...
just don't let Halliburton (or any of its criminally run subsidiaries) do their defective well bore plugging.
-and frequently test the BOPs.

The last thing US oil corps want is a foreign company (BP)profitably doing US offshore drilling.
Too much more profit to be made from foreign oil and their associated wars!
Caliban
3.7 / 5 (3) Aug 07, 2010
"figures show that only eight percent of the crude that gushed into the sea was removed through burning and skimming."


That's a best estimate, and testament to how ineffective cleanup efforts were.

Does everyone remember how BP's original estimates were dismissedd by the establishment as far too low? How the press jumped on this? How BO's gob'mint jumped on this? How wild and ridiculous prognostications of disaster were on every news report?BP's estimates were correct all along.


WRONG- Bp's estimates were wildly, and very obviously way off. The "official" figure of 62Kbpd is still probably low.

Oil and gas were flowing into the gulf at about the same pressure as the surround sea water. About 50% of the discharge was Natural Gas. The volatiles have evaporated. The solids have sunk.
Never waste a crisis.


That is a complete falsehood. Oil gush was driven by pressure MANY TIMES that of water column. Go peddle your revisionist BS elsewhere. contd
Caliban
4 / 5 (4) Aug 07, 2010
contd.

Shootist,

Plainly, you don't live near the northern Gulf Coast. You were entirely wrong in every particular of your post. And not wrong in just an ill-informed, ignorant way -but in a deliberate, calculating way. If you're a subject of the Crown, then you'll have to take the lumps along with BP for their blatant wrongdoing, for just as long as you take their side in this.

It's sickening to see someone try to deny the well-established facts of the matter. According to you, this is just an inconsequential splash of oil.

The WORST ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTER IN US HISTORY's effects will be with us for decades. Thousands will die. Wildlife decimated. Ecosystem grievously harmed. Lives and Livelihoods destroyed.

It's too bad that you don't live in Loiusiana, Mississippi, Alabama, or Florida, because then, you'd be whistling an ENTIRELY different tune out of your arse. Guess you'll have to wait for the Corexit/oil plume to wash up on Albion. Don't worry
-it's on the way!
DaveGee
1 / 5 (1) Aug 07, 2010
And yet the fishermen (who all had their hands out for the cash handouts) are now telling the world that their fish have been tested and are contaminant free and ready for sale!

Someone wanna try and explain away that little bit of confusion?

Was the Gulf contaminated beyond hope rendering all fish worthless and as such compensation was MANDITORY for the fishermen?

OR

Hey, our Gulf fish are fine and dandy come on down and buy em up!

Link to Fisk are fine: http://www.physor...572.html
Caliban
3.7 / 5 (3) Aug 07, 2010
And yet the fishermen (who all had their hands out for the cash handouts) are now telling the world that their fish have been tested and are contaminant free and ready for sale!

Someone wanna try and explain away that little bit of confusion?

Was the Gulf contaminated beyond hope rendering all fish worthless and as such compensation was MANDITORY for the fishermen?

OR

Hey, our Gulf fish are fine and dandy come on down and buy em up!

Link to Fisk are fine: http://www.physor...572.html


@DaveGee,

Maybe you just weren't looking in the right places. Try this link:

http://www.democr...covering

for a start, anyway. And a quick google search will turn up plenty more that will put paid to any notion of this disaster being no more than a "tempest in a tea pot".

It goes without saying that some areas are mildly, if at all affected. Others, sterilized for decades. That's no Disaster?
DaveGee
4 / 5 (2) Aug 08, 2010
I agree and I'm certainly not sticking my head in the sand and refusing to see there's clearly damage done... More damage than even what was captured in those photos. However this was an accident and so long as something was learned from it and systems put into place to reduce the chance this could happen again I see no reason why they can't redrill the site and resume operations... Yes the plans will have to be gone over by a lot of people before this happens but in the end it should become operational.

When you crash your car do you stop driving? When a plane falls from the sky killing everyone on board do we permanently halt all aircraft? When the space shuttle suffers a catastrophic failure do we cease all space related endeavors? No, we study why failures happened and do our best to prevent them from happening again.

Not drilling a site that has a sizable oil deposit because an accident happened is the wrong path to take and sets a very bad president.
Caliban
3 / 5 (2) Aug 08, 2010
@Dave,
I agree that there isn't any reason not to - as long as offshore drilling is permitted. And for only just so long as we still have to rely on Oil.

But, having said that, it is of ABSOLUTE NECESSITY that everyone understand that this dependence, and the corruption and arrogance it breeds, are the direct cause of this disaster, and that for just as long as we continue to rely on oil, then this kind of catastrophe will continue to occur with lethal regularity.
Just since the DH rig blew(caused directly by BP's hubristic corner-cutting), there have been 3 major spills domestically. Two in the Gulf, and one in Michigan. I won't even go into the ongoing horrors of the Niger Delta, or Chevron's f****p in the Amazon. Petroleum/coal "accidents" are a daily occurence around the world.
That's why it is so important to, firstly, deal VERY harshly with BigPetro -so they understand there are CONSEQUENCES for misdeeds, and secondly, to eradicate fossil fuel dependency, altogether.
rwinners
3 / 5 (2) Aug 10, 2010
Was there ever a doubt? In fact, the two 'relief' wells can be turned to that purpose once the blown well is finally declared 'capped'. And they probably will.... if drilling is again allowed in deep waters.