New video showing largest hole from pipe 21-inches in diameter spewing oil
and natural gas at ~4 barrels per second, along with analysis of the amount of
oil on the surface, supports the estimates closer to several million gallons per day
erupting from this hole BP popped in the ocean floor that contains a vast amount of oil and natural gas.
We originally reported that the main hole was 5 feet in diameter,
spewing an estimated 4 barrels per second, with a possible total
approaching 1 million barrels/day. The pipe is actually 21
inches in diameter; and the high end estimated total leakage is in
the range of 3.4 million gallons/day (Ref.).
We deeply regret the error.
Screenshot from John Wathen's video
of the oil devastation. Here is shown some large vessels trawl
around the huge Development-Driller-III
which is drilling a side hole to reduce pressure or to plug up the hole dug by
Deepwater Horizon. This is expected to take 2-3 months, considering
hurricane season coming.
Mainstream reports are starting to discuss the fact that the oil slick rising from the oil well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico simply has to be a whole lot larger than first reported.
My first report on this stated that the total could easily be 5,000 barrels per day. I said this when the report was that only 1,000 barrels per day was the stated total. I was being cautious because I knew the total was much higher and I knew the public would not believe the real totals. Most people simply could not imagine a well of the size involved.
Now I will discuss the real facts that are known and what the educated guesses on the topic indicate. Prepare to get your jaw off of the floor. The facts are stunning.
Pre-Drilling Estimates and Assurances
BP estimated a spill of 165,000 barrels per day would not even reach land! That is what they told the US Government before they drilled the well. They had excellent science on their
side, which you can begin to comprehend when you understand how oil reacts in salt
water, as we will briefly discuss below.
The fact that the spill has reached land clearly states that the size of the spill is probably well above 200,000 barrels per day. Yes, that's BARRELS, not gallons. There are 42 gallons per barrel.
To get a full estimate we have to look at the process of sinking an oil slick and count money.
A newly released video of the larger of the two leaks also contributes to our
understanding of a minimum estimate of the flow erupting from this man-induced
volcano of oil.
When An Oil Spill Originates on the Surface
Here is what happens when oil hits the salt water. If it is poured on top of the
sea, oil begins to do several things. First some of it dissolves in the salt water. This dissolving is a bit limited but amounts to several percent per day of the spill exposure to the ocean. Some of the oil evaporates. This is several percent per day. This slows over time. As the oil dissolves and evaporates the parts that do this are primarily volatile fractions. These are things like Gasoline and other light components that go away pretty quickly. Once these are gone the remaining oil is heavy fraction crude. This begins to sink into the water very slowly, eventually falling to the ocean bottom over about 6 weeks. Typically this floats into an area where the shoreline is and embeds about 18 inches deep in the sand. This buried oil is not harmless.
Just because the beach might appear on the surface to be clear, the sub-surface
oil continues its toxic work. It locates precisely where the little sea creatures live, and it goes on killing them for about 10 years.
The reason a slick would carry farther than predicted is that the salt water is saturated with oil and the air around it is
saturated, so the slick cannot dissipate. In the case of the BP Gulf leak, the size of the slick and the location of on shore oil say this slick represents at least 2 times the amount of oil BP estimated would never reach
land -- or 330,000 barrels per day, minimum. This is an educated guess, borne out by
aerial photos and the like.
When Oil Shoots Up Through 5000 Feet of Salt Water -- Fractionating Column
In the case of the BP underwater hole, the slick is not being poured on top of the water. It is coming up from the ocean
bottom that is 1 mile deep at that point. That fact raises stunning questions on how big the well releases are.
Rising through 5000 feet of water, the oil is going through a process that the oil men call
Fractionating. Literally the
tremendous pressure and temperature issue are the equivalent of taking the oil and boiling it in a cracking tower 5000 feet high. The oil and Natural Gas change
on their way up. The very light, easy-to-evaporate parts are all that is rising to the surface.
The heavy oil isnt even getting to the top. That oil is losing its volatile fractions and is being dragged along with the rising column into the surface water where it is probably distributing as tar balls that are not being skimmed up or burned or otherwise
In fact the chemicals added at the well head to disburse the oil, speed this process up. This oil is mixed into the water for the top 250 feet or so. Salinity and temperature issues probably keep this oil from ever reaching the very top of the water. The exact behavior here will not be known until studies are published some years from now.
This is the first time humans have encountered a deep ocean leak of this
magnitude. We're in uncharted territory here. Volume per
volume, it is highly probable that due to this fractioning, this oil blowing into the ocean
from a mile down is causing far more ecological trouble than a surface spill of similar
It is also certain that the slick volume on the surface is substantially lower than the rising column of oil.
This is a key point to bear in mind. Because of this fractioning,
what you see from the air on the surface of the water represents maybe just 20% of the volume of the various types of oil in that area.
And we're talking an area the size of Maryland (10,000+ square miles) that is on the surface. The remaining 80% is under the surface; and all of it is highly toxic to the living organisms
All of this brings into serious question the volumes of oil rising. Every factor suggests massively higher
numbers than what has been commonly reported.
Video of Slick
Here is a video that Alabama resident John Wathen shot as a volunteer
pilot flew him over the area where the Deepwater Horizon oil rig sank. He
said, "It's not a leak, it's a volcano spewing oil."
As we watch this, and see other photos and videos from the air and
ground/sea level, we can agree with
Wathen's comment: "The Gulf appears to be bleeding," which is
chilling, considering the prophecy in Revelation 8:8: "The second angel
sounded his trumpet, and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze [appearance
of the burning rig and slick], was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea
turned into blood, a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third
of the ships were destroyed." Most ships cannot travel through
oil-infested waters without damage, any more than jets can fly through volcanic
Budgeting an Oil Rig
There is also another factor that says that the numbers are vastly higher than published to date.
That is money. The BP investment in this well is very high -- close to a
billion dollars. They must earn over $5,000,000 a day off of the well in order to pay back their investment.
(That was before the explosion, and doesn't count the cleanup costs, etc)
They were, until the well blew, extremely happy with the well. In fact, on the
day of the explosions, executives were on board celebrating the well's success.
This well had to produce over 60,000 barrels per day in order to break even. Shocking as it seems, this well would have been closed in and disposed of had it produced a minor total like 20,000 barrels per day. That would have been a
"Dry Hole"! It wouldnt have paid for the pipes to bring the oil to market. The fact that BP management was aboard the rig and very happy, celebrating, just prior to the explosion says the well probably produces more than 200,000 barrels per day. It might well have produced 500,000 or more. Royalties to the US Government multiply the numbers for break even by about 2:1 so 500,000 barrels per day is very realistic.
And that is what they would have been celebrating while things were under
With this in mind, remember that this well is running wild. A wild well produces far more than a well during normal production. This is why it is so dangerous. The conclusions for how much is coming up are simply unbelievable.
The Natural Gas emissions are stunning as well. As you watch the film remember the pipe is 5 feet in diameter.
The Natural Gas doesn't just bubble to the top of the ocean and release into the air. It is absorbed into the water, like air is absorbed, and actually creates oxygen depletion. Hence, the emission of natural gas of these volumes into the sea is producing a significant area of Oxygen depleted water in the Gulf of Mexico which may be very large threat to fisheries and other wildlife in the area.
Never forget this point. The spill was "Impossible" by the view of the oil men prior to this. The biggest cost of the spill cleanup is being borne by the US Armed Forces such as the National Guard etc. None of these costs will ever be paid by BP. These costs will appear in taxes not in the price of oil. Alternative Oil is vastly cheaper and safer than this.
Video from Largest Leak
Below is a video of oil spewing from the larger two holes. As you look at this, it might seem like a small hole, and a small amount of
oil. But bear in mind that the diameter of the pipe is 21 inches.
Oil and gas stream from the larger of two existing leaks on the riser of the
Deepwater Horizon well on May 11. (CNN, viaYouTube;
May 12, 2010)
What Could Yet Come
This is not a system in stasis. This is an out
of control volcano of oil spewing up with between 20,000 and 50,000 psi behind it, from a reservoir
nearly the size of the Gulf, with an estimated trillions of barrels of oil and
gas tucked away. It is this deposit that has me reminding people of what the Shell geologist told me about the deposit. This was the quote, "Energy shortage..., Hell! We are afraid of running out of air to burn." The deposit is very large. It covers an area off shore something like 25,000 square miles. Natural Gas and Oil is leaking out of the deposit as far inland as Central Alabama and way over into Florida and even over to Louisiana almost as far as Texas.
What we are seeing now could be small compared to what
may yet unfold if things break apart, as they can do under such circumstances.
If this thing blew, it could be like the Yellowstone
Caldera, except from below
a mile of sea, with a 1/4-mile opening, with up to 150,000 psi of oil and
natural gas behind it.
That would be an extinction event.
It is not likely to happen, but it is within the realm of possibilities.
That's the kind of stuff we're playing with here.
When we humans go tinkering around with this stuff, it is like the movie of men
flying space ships to asteroids and setting off nuclear bombs to deflect them
from hitting earth. Except in this case, setting off a nuclear bomb on top
of a veritable volcano spewing oil from what is presently a relatively small
hole in order to shut if off, doesn't seem like a very good idea.
There is no way to get the size of this in mind. It is just too big to imagine. The slick is now as large as Maryland and growing. It will grow probably for 90 days or more. Even if contained tomorrow it will set the record for biggest in history.
Here is a fairly safe estimate of the economic damage to tourism, fisheries and the like in 3 US states. (AL, MS, LA) Over the next 10 years this will cost about $1 Trillion Dollars. BP will not pay this. This does not count damage to ports and trade generally. There is no way out now. What
do Texas and Florida get ??? How about the east US Coast or even parts of Mexico? Does this go all the way damaging England and the northern EU?
It certainly will not stop with just 3 states.
Imagine how much alternative energy work that would have produced. Now it is all waste. Now we must do it while it is hard. Imagine how easy it would have been a year or two ago when it was argued it was too expensive.
We have to turn around from this way and never look back. Freedom, prosperity and happiness will not be found in that eruption of oil in the Gulf of Mexico.
Some might think that I am against the oil industry. Actually I view them [rig
workers, not execs] as some of the bravest most heroic people we have ever seen on earth. I have to say this plainly. I am in
awe of many of the things they accomplish.
I just know that we must get a brighter future. This one has no hope.
The Transocean rig drilling right now to relieve the well is drilling a 28 inch well ASAP.
The just spudded in the well and are already a mile down. (Ref.)
They are trying a smaller well to go fast. It isn't 21 inches per the report you are hearing from others. The numbers on the Transocean rig are for the drill pipe size. The inside hole of the drill pipe is 18 inches and the outside is 21. The platform numbers are for a 60.5 inch drill platform opening. This is what fits the outer casing. It is used to torque the casing down into the well. The platform is used at the turntable to torque the well drill pipe.
I have seen lots of these wells. They are really 5 feet in diameter. It sort of shakes you up to see something that big.
You want to see some look at the pictures. That platform I have been right there around it several times. The ferry is fun. Everything I described is on the Gulf High Island 2 rig and some associated production platforms. This is very old technology dating from the late 1970's and early 1980's. The oilfield service launch here is 250 feet long and looks like a tub toy next to the rigs. (in the pictures for the ferry) I have similar pictures.
The field came into production about 1992 or so. I have been around the launch and where it docks.
They drill these wells often decades before they use them.
We have about 9,000 square miles of oil out there. My only question to doubters is how big of a house has to fall on you. The stuff is really big out there. When one compares this to Exxon Valdez it is important to understand that this is an open water spill with wave action to disrupt it. The water temperature is in the 80 degree range causing much more rapid degrading of the oil than in Prince William Sound. There have been massive efforts using disbursant compounds in this spill. There are many many factors that are different. This is light crude rather than heavy crude. It reacts quite differently.
The real question should be why people want to believe so low numbers. A spill of 10,000 Gallons is 328 barrels and is just one tanker delivery truck. Your local gasoline station can drain one dry in a few minutes with gravity. They claimed the spill was equal to 3 of these early on. You could have lost that much oil in a few waves out there. Increasing that to 15 a day still is so trivial that it would have been of no concern. You could stop up such a leak with nothing. It wouldn't be anything to stop a leak of 5,000 barrels a day. That is a trivial oil well size. 5,000 barrels a day is about equal to spilling one tanker truck every hour and 15 minutes. That would be a simple chore to shut off. Please get your head on here. Your local gasoline station unloads a tanker truck at about 5 times that rate. River barges hold like 5,000 barrels of oil. Sink one and it makes a modest slick in the Mississippi river.
Spilling that much crude oil in the Gulf of Mexico off shore like this would never even come to mind at 5,000 barrels per day. BP was entirely right in their report to the Minerals Management Service that 165,000 Barrels Per day would never even reach land. This slick is coming ashore now. The well is belching about 300,000 barrels to 400,000 barrels per day. That is beyond doubt.
The reason there was no safety plan has many reasons but one of these was the company figured it was impossible to bring ashore a slick from that far away. The Gulf of Mexico is vast. It soaks up many things.
This represents the oil per my prediction including the distillation that I told you was happening with the tar balls. The stunning implication is that I was wrong in quantity and the leak may in fact be much larger than I said. My curiosity has to do with the motion of these mats. Will they sink or will they warm up and float up somewhere? Big surprises and not fun ones could be in store. I sort of suspect they will hang around and wander for a while and then rise to the surface. (Only a suspicion-- Lets hope it doesn't happen!) Round and round they go, where they stop nobody knows.
Just one mat the size described represents over 240,000 barrels per day over the entire spill duration and the article implies more than one of these! We are absolutely safe to say I am totally confirmed on oil volumes and then some. The article suggests 4 or 5 such mats. If this is so the gush could easily have exceeded 1 million barrels of oil per day.
I can safely say now that if there was any doubt of what I was saying about the leak there should be no doubt now.
On a side note: I just learned from Alabama sources that the situation is far worse than is being portrayed. No facts to describe this except that qualitative analysis.
Sterling the riser is in fact and I was wrong on the size it is a 21 inch riser. Sorry to all but none the less it is massive. Even if the pressure were 20,000 PSI shouldn't that about be Sci-Fi to most people. You don't want to stand in the way of that for sure. I suspect based on the mat sizes that my pressure statements are correct.
The facts are that BP has just kicked out into the ocean a spill that is much more than equal to Exxon Valdez every day for 18 days now. It could be 3 times that every day.
I will say it now and without any reservation: The heads of BP, Haliburton and Transocean should be arrested and tried under the Common Law for crimes against humanity and against nature itself. On conviction they should be executed for their crimes as a monument to corporate management that you should never consider to do such evil deeds again. What has happened here is beyond war crimes. It is absolutely evil what they have done. Silence and no action on this licenses more disasters to come.
BP testimony before Congress states that their worst case was 60,000 Barrels per day. That estimate is at least 7 times too low to account for the now observed facts. I am assuming only one such mat exists for this estimate. I can only guess based on this that my estimates could be low by a very wide margin. I am definitely not high at all.
My apologies for any errors that may have allowed distraction, but this situation is vastly out of hand.
I think if you realize that one mat described is about 1.7 cubic miles in size, and the well keeps on blowing and easily could do this for years, you get a hint of the size of the oil deposit under the Gulf of Mexico. At this rate the Deposit could deliver in 1 year something in the order of 35 cubic miles of oil. It could blow for a decade or more if it is not stopped. It isn't anywhere near out. I just hope they get it corked up shortly. That relief well they are drilling could blowout too!
I told you there was a "dragon" down there! [Symbolism] I have warned people that he has only nipped us. [Symbolism]
This is by no means the limit of this deposit. You could get many times this much out of the deposit. The facts that have now come to light should absolutely settle once and for all the following facts.
There is no energy shortage.
 The oil men have been manipulating us terribly for decades.
 That solving the energy needs of the world using oil is too costly and unbelievably dangerous for us in so many ways that only a crazy person would try.
 Alternative energy is a much better option.
 If I was wrong it was because I was too conservative. ...
A warning here: The removal of 2 cubic miles of oil from this deposit is setting us up for a sea floor collapse. We could see earthquakes, tsunami and worse. We may get by with very little or no problem but the risk grows each passing day. I do not want to predict such. I only say they are possible. Action at Petronius nearby has in the past caused 4.0 earthquakes and near Atmore Alabama they also caused similar earthquakes. I think the shifts and energies there were actually much lower.
Please note the discussion of depletion of Oxygen in the water columns in the article. This spill is going to assassinate sea life in massive quantities. Unaccounted for in their studies is the massive quantity of natural gas escaping which is probably even more damaging in this respect than is the release of oil.
I know I have sounded insane to some. I wish I was wrong. I wish above all things that this could get stopped up and we could at least begin the process of recovery.
Sterling: It was a bit of hyperbole that this could kill all life in the oceans but now it seems more like the plague in the bible where a 1/3 of living things in the sea died and the sea became as blood. I am not trying to say it is that bad, but it is awful. People have to understand the massive dangers here.
All of this having been said, I am not against deep sea drilling. I am in favor of strict safety management of the oil drillers. I am in favor of being more careful. I have nice words to say about the heroism and bravery of the oilmen who risk their lives in trying to get us oil. I am dead set against the killing of our earth in a reckless mad rush for saving a few dollars on the way. We demand safety of our Airlines, how much more should we demand of these people.
A painful analysis of the energy situation has to be made. Mankind must turn away from oil but in turning away it will take 50 or 60 years to make the turn. Until that time we will need oil. This is something that will take much time and effort. It is the work of lifetimes. I have supreme confidence that we have the ability to do this. But even the best solutions require much time. We have to start the journey. It is time for us to head for the land where we will be Beyond Petroleum and not with BP. Wasting time here only assures more sorrows.
# # #
Paul Noel, 52, works as Software Engineer (as Contractor) for the US Army at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. He has a vast experience base including education across a wide area of technical skills and sciences. He supplies technical expertise in all areas required for new products development associated with the US Army office he works in. He supplies extensive expertise in understanding the Oil and Gas industry as well.
While not an "expert" in the field, he knows nearly as much as most industry experts. The difference? He's not afraid to talk.
Born in Lynnwood Washington, he came to Huntsville Alabama, when his father moved to be part of NASAs effort to put men on the moon.
Neil Armstrong may have gotten the ride, but his fathers computers did the driving.
Paul is also a founding member of the New Energy Congress.
We started at 5,000 barrels a day, then 20, 50 and 100,000 barrels a day.
Yesterday I saw a figure quoted at 200,000, today I saw 210,000. But 1
million barrels a day? That's almost three full days ahead of schedule for the
media. Didn't Slashdot
get the memo?
* * * *
Impact > Deepwater
Horizon debacle pushes alt energy - In addition to devastating
ecological despoiling, the oil slick could shut down Mississippi River
transport, effecting nearly half of U.S. import/export commerce. The
damage to the tourism industry in Alabama and Florida could top $25
Billion a year for several years. Faced with this disaster the Obama
Administration has just stopped all off shore drilling. (PESN;
May 1, 2010)
Impact > Mother
gusher danger not passed - With BP applying several fixes to
the leaking well and the spreading oil, people might tend to classify
this spill as "just another spill" among so many, which will
go away after a while. A blowout is still a very real possibility, and
the repercussions of the oil spilt are far-reaching. (PESN; May
Impact > Mother
of all gushers could kill Earth's oceans - Imagine a pipe 5
feet wide spewing crude oil like a fire hose from what could be the
planets' largest, high-pressure oil and gas reserve. With the best
technology available to man, the Deepwater Horizon rig popped a hole
into that reserve and was overwhelmed. If this isn't contained, it
could poison all the oceans of the world. (PESN; May 2, 2010)
Gulf Coast oil spill's Dr. Doom - Oil and gas industry insider, Matt
Simmons, says: "There's a lake at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico
that's over 100 miles wide and at least 400 to 500 feet deep of black
oil." (CNN Money; June 9, 2010) [15,598 Trillion Barrels.]
method to quantify Gulf oil spill - While the world has reacted with
shock and anger to the massive amounts of oil leaking into the Gulf of
Mexico as a result of the Deepwater Horizon platform blowout, a UC Santa
Barbara scientist has proposed that methane gas dissolved into the waters of
the Gulf holds the key to calculating the magnitude of the spill. (PhysOrg;
May 23, 2010)
Marine scientists study ocean-floor film of Deepwater oil leak
- Marine scientists were carefully viewing footage of oil and gas billowing
out of a ruptured well on the ocean floor today, to try to deliver the first
reliable estimates of the crude gushing into the Gulf of Mexico it could
be as much as 70,000 barrels a day. (Guardian; UK; 13 May 2010) (NPR)
report: Government fears Deepwater Horizon well could become unchecked
gusher 30 Apr 2010 'The following is not public' document --A
confidential government report on the unfolding spill disaster in the Gulf
makes clear the Coast Guard now fears the well could become an unchecked
gusher shooting millions of gallons of oil per day into the Gulf. "The
following is not public," reads the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration's Emergency Response document dated April 28.
"Two additional release points were found today in the tangled riser.
If the riser pipe deteriorates further, the flow could become unchecked
resulting in a release volume an order of magnitude higher than previously