Over at The Oil Drum, a forward-looking blog discussing energy issues, a comment from a reader with copious reference materials has everyone petrified. The reader gives an outline of the worst case scenario for the oil spill, and why he thinks that worst case is upon us. Here are the bare basics:
WHAT TOP KILL TAUGHT US
All the actions and few tid bits of information all lead to one inescapable conclusion. The well pipes below the sea floor are broken and leaking. ...
I took some time to go into a bit of detail concerning the failure of Top Kill because this was a significant event. To those of us outside the real inside loop, yet still fairly knowledgeable, it was a major confirmation of what many feared. That the system below the sea floor has serious failures of varying magnitude in the complicated chain, and it is breaking down and it will continue to.
WHY TOP KILL FAILURE WAS HORRIBLE NEWS
It means they will never cap the gusher after the wellhead. They cannot...the more they try and restrict the oil gushing out the bop?...the more it will transfer to the leaks below. Just like a leaky garden hose with a nozzle on it. When you open up the nozzle?...it doesn't leak so bad, you close the nozzle?...it leaks real bad, same dynamics.
WHY THE LEAK IS GOING TO GET MUCH WORSE
A down hole leak is dangerous and damaging for several reasons.
There will be erosion throughout the entire beat up, beat on and beat down remainder of the "system" including that inaccessible leak. The ... erosion ... cannot be stopped, is impossible to stop and will always be present in and acting on anything that is left which has crude oil "Product" rushing through it. ... Perhaps BP can outrun or keep up with that out flow with various suckage methods for a period of time, but eventually the well will win that race, just how long that race will be?...no one really knows
WHY THE RELIEF HOLES ARE THE ONLY THING BETWEEN US AND ALL THE REST OF THE OIL IN THERE
All of these things lead to only one place, a fully wide open well bore directly to the oil deposit...after that, it goes into the realm of "the worst things you can think of" The well may come completely apart as the inner liners fail. There is still a very long drill string in the well, that could literally come flying out...as I said...all the worst things you can think of are a possibility, but the very least damaging outcome as bad as it is, is that we are stuck with a wide open gusher blowing out 150,000 barrels a day of raw oil or more. There isn't any "cap dome" or any other suck fixer device on earth that exists or could be built that will stop it from gushing out and doing more and more damage to the gulf. While at the same time also doing more damage to the well, making the chance of halting it with a kill from the bottom up less and less likely to work, which as it stands now?....is the only real chance we have left to stop it all.
It's a race now...a race to drill the relief wells and take our last chance at killing this monster before the whole weakened, wore out, blown out, leaking and failing system gives up it's last gasp in a horrific crescendo ... We can only hope the race against that eventuality is one we can win, but my assessment I am sad to say is that we will not.
The system will collapse or fail substantially before we reach the finish line ahead of the well and the worst is yet to come.