Physics of Impossibility – A Critical Review of BP’s & Oil Commission’s Blowout Investigation Reports.
– BK Lim
31 January, 2011
Distorted facts, half truths and omissions do tell a story by themselves; especially when they occur so coherently across supposedly independent investigation reports. This article will not delve into the objectives or detailed analyses of these discrepancies found in these reports. A book had already been compiled on them waiting for publication.
This succinct outline of discrepancies illustrates the physics of impossibility if the analyses and conclusions of these official investigation reports are to be trusted, even partially
Why did the investigations ignore so many obvious impossibilities? Stripped bare of technological jargon, it is blatantly clear even to the layman, the disastrous blowout at Macondo MC252 could not have happened as reported and analysed by BP or the Oil Spill Commission, not unless the laws of universal nature (laws of physics) are revised to accommodate the erroneous conclusions contained therein. In general, both reports are long on technical intricacies but short on the fundamental issues that mattered.
Were 3 wells or 1 well drilled? 2.5 months (76 days) is a long time to spend on a single exploration well which normally takes from 2 weeks to 3 weeks to drill. Exploration wells are normally budget for 2 to 3 weeks of actual drilling with another 1 to 2 weeks for testing a strike well. Eleven weeks, excluding the 4 weeks spent from October – November 2009, was definitely excessive by any exploration standard. What happened in the 11 weeks and why were the reports “loudly” silent in this critical area of investigation?
Were the persistent rumours of 2 or even 3 wells examined in earnest, especially in the face of the unexplained documented lies by BP officials at site that the Deepwater Horizon rig (DWH) had drifted 719ft NW in calm weather with 0.69 ft/s (0.05 knots) current? See conclusive evidence: Well A is not the well that blew up on 20 April
Did the blown well deviated (by-passed) or drilled vertically through the troublesome gas formation at around 13,000 ft BML? If indeed the blown well was deviated (as reported in the Well Activity Report) should this not be examined closely for possible direct causes of the blowout? Why was this issue omitted in both investigations? If there was no deviation and the blown well was drilled vertically (as shown in both reports) then BP could not have possibly drilled only one well in the absence of the phenonemal “Physics Of The Impossible”. Were legal improprieties and even criminality involved in drilling these additional wells with blatant disregard of authorized exploration procedures?
Even the promulgated official findings of the blowout itself failed high school physics. For the initial gas influx to enter from the bottom of the well, the pressure of the influx had to be higher than the pressure exerted by the total column of mud, salt water and spacer within the well. With the gas volume expanding inversely proportionally with decreasing pressure, any gas influx from the bottom of the well would have quickly developed into an uncontrollable oil gusher. If the rising gas bubble were to travel even 1/10th the speed of sound (330 m/s) it would have taken less than 25 seconds from the bottom of the well at 23,000 ft BSL (below sea level) to reach the floor of the drilling rig. For comparison, at the speed of 5 knots, the time taken to travel that distance is only 5.2 minutes.
Thus for BP’s investigation report to conclude that the flow indications started approximately 51 minutes before the blowout occurred, it is equivalent to saying the gas influx “took a very slow train to China”. It simply could not have happened. Even ROVs ascend faster than 0.5 knots.
In any case, an oil gush from an open reservoir will continue until depletion as we saw in the 86 days before the well was capped. Just like any pent up coke bottle, once the bottle is popped the gas will flow until depletion without a second explosion. So how could the second explosion have happened?
The second and bigger blowout (explosion) on 22nd April 2010 could only have happened if and only if, the initial gas influx that caused fire to break out onboard DWH on 20 April, were to leak in through the shallow part of the well. The abnormal pressure readings observed during the negative tests and in the 52 minutes prior to the blowout, could be easily explained by a leaky top well section with hydraulic connection to vast amount of drilling mud and cement that had earlier infiltrated into the gas-saturated weak sub-formation (GWSF) zone.
This would have meant that the well bore annuli of all 3 wells drilled were never properly sealed (cemented) to prevent hydraulic connection right up to the seabed. There are ample evidences to support the heavy drilling losses encountered in the drilling. In my previous blowout investigations, this would be the very first area to check for the causes of the blowout. What more when the dangers of gas hydrates in the deep waters of the gulf had already been forewarned. See MMS warned in 2009 about deepwater gas-blowouts in the Gulf of Mexico
“A sixty-page memorandum addressed to Renee Orr, the chief of the leasing division of the Minerals Management Service (MMS), was sent in September 2009 by an environmental investigator, warning of potential disaster in offshore drilling operations and the particular dangers posed by gas hydrates.”
“Reports by MMS, a branch of the Interior Department, also provide evidence of the role bad cement work has played in accidents. One study named cementing as a factor in 18 of 39 well blowouts at Gulf rigs from 1992 to 2006. Another attributed five of nine out-of-control wells in the year 2000 to cementing problems.” (Per NORPA Environmental Investigator Alerts MMS To Dangers Of Outer Continental Shelf Drilling)
Although bad cementing was discussed, both reports failed to recognise the fact that a poorly sealed top section of the well would have easily explained the abnormal pressure readings during the negative testing without having to invoke the illogical unscientific “Bladder Effect”. But admitting a badly sealed hydraulically connected top section would mean willful negligence, since drilling could not have proceeded deeper if tests had shown top hole defects. Is that why this top hole issue was not discussed?
Most important of all, the initial gas influx from the base of the well could not explain the two broken drill pipes stuck in the riser phenomenon. BP tried to explain it frivolously that a weak sea current (0.69ft/s) could have drifted DWH and lifted the drill pipe by 25ft.
How could a fixed length riser (drifted or stationary) cause another fixed length drill pipe within it, to move vertically (differentially) by 25 ft? Even if DWH were to sink by 25ft (to compensate for the lateral movement) there would still be no differential movement of the drill pipe within the riser; unless the riser shrunk independently in length. In which case, the top drive (attached to the drill pipe) would have pushed the drill pipe downwards into the well and not vertically upwards (as observed when the top drive fell approx 26ft onto the rig floor).
It is only logical that the drill pipe was forced upwards (vertically), sheared and broke at the weakest point above joint A. What could have caused this tremendous upward force? Again the logical answer was the 2nd and more powerful blowout on the morning of 22nd April 2010 from the base of the well. Gas alone would not be sufficient since gas is compressible. While the initial gas influx and gas feed was from the GWSF zone (at much lower pressure), the second blowout occurred when the Shoe Track Cement and Float Collar gave way. Unlike gas, oil exploding out of the reservoir at very high pressure (13,000 psi) is not compressible. The hollow drill-pipe filled with high pressure hydraulic fluid (just like a “piston system”) would shoot like a high speed projectile upwards. It is doubtful the BOP and wellhead could even stand this tremendous pressure at the mudline. So was the late Matt Simmons right again that the BOP and wellhead were blown off or badly damaged? It does appear that the late Matt Simmons was not so senile after all.
No doubt the experts at BP and Oil Commission investigation team would have arrived at the same logical findings given in this article. This begs the obvious question; why did they overlook the logical explanations in preference for absurdities?
Below is an expanding list (updated 1 Feb 2011) of impossibilities, omissions and questions which had not been addressed or wrongly concluded by BP’s and the Oil Commission’s reports:
1. Impossible for 2 drill pipes to be embedded side by side in Riser from 1st blowout on 20 April 2010
2. Impossible for BP to have drilled at only at one well location
3. Impossible for well A to be the well that blew on 20 April 2010
4. Impossible for DWH to have drifted 719ft NW of original well A location
BP officials could not have determined to 1 ft accuracy the surface location of DWH. That location was calculated from coordinates. But even the Rovs could not be close enough to the burning rig to get a close fix. That location was obtained from the Rov sent down to manually shut down the BOP. It is therefore the seabed location of the blown well-head before the 2nd explosion.
5. Impossible for Well A to be the seabed origin of DWH & riser wreckage pattern
6. Impossible for the oil gush to flow from north to South when well A is south of gushing crater.
7. Why was the first ROV footage of the gushing well at seabed level >700ft NW of well A?
8. Why was the wellhead at Well A not shown to the public before mid June 2010?
9. Why was the bop dismantled and reassembled so many times before it was officially removed?
BP had consistently maintained that the BOP was fixed on well A wellhead since the day of the blowout on 20 April 2010. BP had also maintained that removing the BOP would have undesirable consequences. Thus the riser was left in place leaking and gush oil & gas at 3 locations when the most logical solution to the containment effort would be to cut the riser or even remove the damaged BOP and contain the gushing oil at the blown well itself. BP could not do that because it would have exposed BP’s criminality in the disaster.
The BOP was officially removed in late September 2010 after the well was supposedly killed.
From insiders’ sources this is a total fabrication. Rov footage showed the removal, dismantling and reassembling of the BOP, sightings of the BOP at locations other than well A location, etc; confirm that the gushing well could have been contained instead of being allowed to gush for more than 87 days. In reality the 2nd more powerful blowout damaged the wellhead and blown off the BOP. BP’s “dog and pony show” at well A was to keep the world mesmerized with the predominantly gas gush at well A while they covertly tried to kill the real open gusher, S20BC, which is 720 ft NW of well A.
10. It is impossible to have 2 wellheads if only one well location was drilled.
There is concrete evidence of 2 distinct wellheads, one at Well B and the other at Well A. The wellhead at S20BC had been blown off together with the BOP.
11. Omission: well deviation
On the well activity reports and emails, it was clearly stated that BP applied to abandon the well after hitting an out-of-well control situation at 13,100 ft BML (below mudline) in early March 2010. In a WAR, the supposedly well A (but Well B in reality) was reported to have severed drill pipe at 12,100 ft BML and shut in the well. If the well had been side tracked (or bypassed) to avoid the gas strata should this interval not be examined for possible causes to the blowout? Why was this critical area bypassed in the investigation?
In reality, BP did not bypass or sidetrack from Well B. Instead they drilled at a 3rd location (S20BC) which blew up on 20 April 2010 720 ft NW of well A. Why did both reports not discuss this important issue? A deviated well would have been drawn as below.
13. Impossible for gas influx that caused the fire on DWH on 20 April to come from bottom of well.
14. Unimaginable for gas to enter well for >50 minutes before first blowout
This would easily confirm the late Matt Simmons’ assertion that the BOP had been blown off in the 2nd blowout on 22nd April, 2 days after the 1st blowout.
15. Omission: 2nd underwater blowout (explosion) on 22 April which brought down the DWH
16. Impossible to know the 2nd underwater explosion occurred without ROV observation
This means that Rov footage of the 2nd blowout has been recorded by BP. Why has this video footage been kept from public view? This would easily confirm the late Matt Simmons assertion that the BOP had been blown off in the 2nd blowout.
17. Impossible for 2nd explosion to occur if 1st blowout was from gas influx at bottom of well.
18. Impossible to explain “bladder effect” without shallow well leakage & hydraulic connection with GWSF formation.
19. Impossible for drill pipe to break and be embedded in Riser from 1st blowout
As shown in the following diagrammatic illustrations.