ROV Skandi Neptune, July 30, 2010 at 6:10 p.m.:
Bubbles seep from the sea floor just inches from wellhead
It may not look like much, but bubbles indicate seepage from the well. Newsweek reported last month, "It’s possible that hydrocarbons are leaking out the bottom or sides of the well. If so, they might erode surrounding sediments and undermine the foundation upon which the 450-ton blowout preventer sits. If such leaks aren’t sealed off in time, the entire structure could topple over."
According to the AP, "An unstable area around the wellbore could create bigger problems if the leak continued elsewhere in the well after the cap valves were shut, experts said. “It’s an incredibly big concern,” said Don Van Nieuwenhuise, director of Professional Geoscience Programs at the University of Houston."
Nieuwenhuise said to CNN, "One of the most serious situations would be is that if you have a leak very close to the well head and you could have a potential erosion of the substrate or the rocks around that well head that could cause it to collapse."
- Newsweek: BOP “tilting noticeably”, “Very possible that there are subfloor leaks” says expert
- Times Picayune: BP confirms blowout preventer is “tilting”
- Drilling near methane deposits “can turn that solid methane into a liquid, leaving the ocean floor unstable” says scientist
The ROV appears fixated on these bubbles coming up from the exact same spot every few seconds.
Bubbles had been emanating from the valves on the BOP, though bubbles seeping from the sea bed near the BOP have NOT been publicly admitted.