Discovery of second pipe in Deepwater Horizon riser stirs debate among experts, New Orleans Times Picayune, July 9, 2010:
For the first time Friday, the Coast Guard and BP acknowledged that a mysterious second pipe, wedged next to the drill pipe. "We found there was actually two sets of drill pipe there," said retired Adm.
While Allen said he believes the second pipe fell from above, some experts have advanced another explanation. They believe poorly cemented casings -- tubes that are supposed to form solid walls down thousands of feet of the well bore -- may have been dislodged by the blast of natural gas that shot up out of the well and above the sea floor.
If that's what happened, the piece of pipe would have gone into the blowout preventer, the 450-ton tower of valves and pistons that sits on top of the well head and is supposed to shut off the well in an emergency. ...
The Coast Guard's acknowledgement [sic] of the two metal tubes Friday -- and a subsequent reference by BP to its plans to tie the two pipes together as the company installs a new oil collection system over the shaved-off riser -- actually comes more than a month after the Department of Energy noted the existence of two pipes using special imaging technology. At the time, BP dismissed the Energy findings as "impossible" because only one pipe in sections was used for drilling, a Tribune News Service story reported last month.
Oil industry expert Matt Simmons says the second pipe is lodged in the BOP after "tremendous pressures" from the blast ruptured the well casing. This ejected part of the casing through 50 feet of steel inside the BOP.
Nuke the Oil Well?, CNBC, July 7, 2010:
Rush Transcript Excerpts
Matt Simmons: There's now sufficient scientific evidence... the government finally did, i think, subsea sonar imaging at the end of last week about the actual BOP.
And coming up through five stories of steel were two shafts of the casing.
Which really indicates that [the casing] must have come out at such tremendous pressures.
If the well casing has come up through the BOP, the relief wells are unlikely to work. For more information on the relief wells chances of success with a ruptured casing, see:
- Shell Oil ex-CEO: “I hope… a 50/50 chance” relief wells will work — & More (VIDEO)
- Blowout Engineer: Relief well risks “the same type of explosion that destroyed the rig”; May drill “directly into the oil producing formation”
- BP’s plan if relief wells don’t work? “Reconfigure the existing containment cap” says senior VP
- Coast Guard Commander: “Chance” BP “could NICK the wellbore”; Risking a well pipe “collapse”
- Geophysical engineer: Once BP tries relief well “they really just have that one chance”; Could “trigger a blow-out in the relief well”
- CBS: If relief wells fail, “the well gushes until it runs dry”; BP becoming less optimistic
- *ALERT* Congressman suspects BP tapped multiple oil reservoirs while drilling the Macondo Well; Oil may also be rushing IN to damaged casing
- BP and government making backup plan “should the relief well effort fail”
- Clinton: Relief wells won’t work, “More oil down there than I ever dreamed”; Navy using explosives could “probably” stop well (VIDEO)
- Newsweek: BOP “tilting noticeably”, “Very possible that there are subfloor leaks” says expert
- Experts: “Very high level of concern for the integrity of the well”; “That’s all people are talking about”
- CNN’s Wolf Blitzer: “Billion potential barrels of oil” under BP’s ruptured well; “Thing could really explode” expert says
- Bush Energy Adviser: Relief well will fail, 46 billion gallons could flow into Gulf
- Former Shell Oil President: “Relief well may not be enough”, next step “to implode well on top of itself”
- CNN Money: “If the relief well doesn’t work” deep sea wells “generally produce oil for 5 to 20 years”
- Senator confirms reports that wellbore is pierced; oil seeping from seabed in multiple places
Video of Bush Energy Adviser Matt Simmons on CNBC, July 7, 2010: