Senator confirms reports that wellbore is pierced; oil seeping from seabed in multiple places

Senator Bill Nelson was interviewed by Andrea Mitchell this morning on MSNBC and confirmed reports of oil seeping up from additional leak points on the seafloor.

Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL): Andrea we’re looking into something new right now, that there’s reports of oil that’s seeping up from the seabed… which would indicate, if that’s true, that the well casing itself is actually pierced… underneath the seabed. So, you know, the problems could be just enormous with what we’re facing.

Andrea Mitchell, MSNBC: Now let me understand better what you’re saying. If that is true that it is coming up from that seabed, even the relief well won’t be the final solution to cap this thing. That means that we’ve got oil gushing up at disparate places along the ocean floor.

Sen. Nelson: That  is possible, unless you get the plug down low enough, below where the pipe would be breached.

Starts at 2:30:

A report confirms that Senator Nelson’s office is “fully aware of the breaking news and significance of what the Senator said to Andrea Mitchell.

Nelson is not the first to mention reports of a rupture in the wellbore.

BPs findings show fracture in the wellbore

Wall Street Journal, June 2:

BP PLC has concluded that its top-kill attempt last week to seal its broken well in the Gulf of Mexico may have failed due to a malfunctioning disk inside the well about 1,000 feet below the ocean floor.

The disk, part of the subsea safety infrastructure, may have ruptured during the surge of oil and gas up the well on April 20 that led to the explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon rig, BP officials said. The rig sank two days later, triggering a leak that has since become the worst in U.S. history. …

They said much of the drilling mud may also have escaped from the well into the rock formation outside the wellbore.

Will the relief well work if the wellbore is fractured?

Bloomberg, June 2:

Plugging the well is another challenge even after BP successfully intersects it, Robert Bea, a University of California Berkeley engineering professor, said. BP has said it believes the well bore to be damaged, which could hamper efforts to fill it with mud and set a concrete plug, Bea said.

What if the relief well does not work?

Bloomberg, June 2:

The ultimate worst-case scenario is that the well is never successfully plugged, said Fred Aminzadeh, a research professor at the University of Southern California’s Center for Integrated Smart Oil Fields who previously worked for Unocal Corp. That would leave the well to flow for probably more than a decade, he said in a telephone interview

Additional references made to oil seeping from the sea floor because of a ruptured casing along the wellbore

On May 27, oil industry insider Matthew Simmons said that the gigantic 22 mi x 6 mi x 3,000 ft plume north of well is likely coming from another leak point at the wellhead or a fissure in the sea floor.

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May 26, Simmons made reference to “another leak –much bigger– 5 to 6 miles away”:

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Matthew Simmons on Bloomberg, May 28:

Matthew Simmons: “Chairman and CEO of Simmons & Company International, is a prominent oil-industry insider and one of the world’s leading experts on the topic of peak oil. Simmons… create[d] an investment banking firm catering to oil companies. In his previous capacity, he served as energy adviser to U.S. President George W. Bush.”

27 comments to Senator confirms reports that wellbore is pierced; oil seeping from seabed in multiple places

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