Newspaper: Uncontrolled gas well in Gulf is highly pressured — New flyover of area; numerous work and supply vessels (PHOTOS)

Published: February 21st, 2013 at 10:00 pm ET
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Follow-up to: Uncontrolled gas flow continues from well in Gulf of Mexico -- Trying to stop it from moving underground

Upstreamonline, Feb. 21, 2013 (Subscription Only): APACHE is seeking to kill a highly pressured gas well at Main Pass Block 295 in the Gulf of Mexico as jack-up rig Rowan Cecil Provine mobilises for possible relief drilling at the request of US regulators. [...]

On Wings of Care, Feb. 17, 2013: We returned to the mainland via Breton Sound and stopped at Main Pass Block 295, site of the Apache-operated ENSCO 87 platform sitting in about 200 feet of water, from which 15 workers were evacuated recently for an uncontrolled upwelling of natural gas from the 8300-foot well to only about 1000 feet below the seafloor. We circled the area looking for evidence of gas bubbles in the water, but we did not see anything definitive. Numerous work and supply vessels were in the vicinity.

See more photos of scene here

Published: February 21st, 2013 at 10:00 pm ET
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7 comments

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7 comments to Newspaper: Uncontrolled gas well in Gulf is highly pressured — New flyover of area; numerous work and supply vessels (PHOTOS)

  • irhologram

    Thad has maintained that this "upwelling" was from a drilling accident. I have not read that. Did I miss it? Please show me. In the meantime from the story, after "an uncontrolled upwelling of natural gas from the 8300-foot well to only about 1000 feet below the seafloor," they went back to the evacuated platform looking for "evidence of gas bubbles in the water" but found "nothing definitive," (read: found no gas bullbles) with respect to "a highly pressurized gas well." Soooo, if the gas isn't coming to the surface, and it has "up welled" for 8300 to 1000 feet beneath the sea floor, it is either migrating horizontally or it will erupt into the ocean, either exploding on land or exploding off shore…but either way, massive amounts of toxic gas will be released if they can't contain this…..and it would appear that, if all they are doing is going back to the drilling platform now and then, looking for bubbles…I'd say they are past trying conventionally.


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    • PavewayIII PavewayIII

      I didn't see Thad's comments but Apache said the well kicked during drilling (hit a high-pressure gas pocket) and they activated the blow-out preventer (BOP) in response. It's not a normal response to a kick, but they won't hesitate to activate it if they're concerned about the well blowing out. The BOP shears off the drill string and seals the well – in theory anyways. It apparently worked as expected. If it didn't work as expected, then you get another Macondo.

      The sand and silt underneath the Gulf's bottom tends to flow into voids. In this case, the gas is supposedly running up the outside of the casing. If it doesn't blow out anywhere else, then they're best bet is to wait and see if the sediment seals the migration path. If not, then they use another rig to pump heavy mud in to do the same thing. This is described right in their Environmental Impact Statement. I posted the link a few days ago.


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  • irhologram

    Or, the heavy liquid worked…the gas well sealed (its just that liquid against extreme pressure seems very unlikely to me…but maybe I've grown jaded…) and no bubbles means the gas was again entombed. I guess that plan seemed so highly unlikely when at one point in 2010, it was said it would take a nuke to seal the ocean floor. More likely? The parsing of words about the 2sq miles of Bayou Corne gas pocket and bubbles at Lake Peugnuer ….apparently new information, or released as new information just can't be ignored as being a part of the whole picture IMO.


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    • Time Is Short Time Is Short

      I would think exploding a nuke at any wellhead/leak in the Gulf, if there is any methane present, could be the trigger to blow up the New Madrid Fault, possible taking the southern part of the Mississippi River Valley with it. I think it's pretty clear methane is migrating through a very large area, much larger than anyone wants to admit.

      Just my take.


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  • ftlt

    The very idea of drilling over a ocean waters has always seemed insane to me…

    The want to begin massive mining for minerals next..

    Why can't we live on less….

    O that's right Capitalism is freedom…


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    • Jay

      ftlt , your last sentence sais it all .

      If Multinational companies employing hundreds of thousands yet having a Centralized structure , are succesful , than WHY we , the People , can not have Our Govern-ment to work for us ?

      Our Govern-ment ( controling Legislation , eh ! ) will compete with the private sector : will offer guaranteed jobs , guaranteed free education , free dental and medicare , no Banksters , no wars , no polution , no …. sorry , someone is knocking heavy at the dooor … I got to go ….


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  • irhologram

    Pave way. Thank you. I wasn't sure what "kicked" meant. But I'm hearing you say this wasn't an accident, but that they encountered this pocket and are attempting to seal it. That's what I thought.


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