Friday, April 30, 2010

Gulf Oil Spill - 2 Million Gallons - Per Day?

The Mobile, Alabama Press-Register has published an article by Ben Raines with an alarming prediction. If the leaking well in the Gulf of Mexico shrugs off all control - the crippled blowout preventer, the wellhead, and any remaining control valves or baffles impeding the flow of oil and gas through the well - the rate of spillage could go to a whole other level: as much as 2 million gallons (150,000 barrels) per day.

Schematic diagram of the leaking well and the relief-well drilling plan. Courtesy Times/Picayune.

This worst-case scenario is based on the fact that there are individual wells in the Gulf of Mexico that produce 1.26 million gallons (30,000 barrels) of oil per day. That's a controlled rate of flow. If all control were removed, the flow rate would be higher. How much higher?
"Typically, a very good well in the Gulf can produce 30,000 barrels a day, but that's under control. I have no idea what an uncontrolled release could be," said Stephen Sears, chairman of the petroleum engineering department at Louisiana State University.


  1. Does anyone know of, or have, polygon or line shapefiles of the spill for use in GIS applications?

    Much appreciated. David DOT Luckie AT bellsouth DOT net.

  2. GFBF, take a look at the Louisiana Oil Spill Coordinator's Office's GIS data:

  3. I believe it may be even worse right now.

    I say this bec use there seems to be a media blackout in the area - everything seems to be April 28 or 29 - any way someone can see pictures from today?

  4. it's almost 5 BILLION milliliters per day in a worst case scenario.

  5. wouldn't it be worth replacing the leaky pipeline with nonleaky pipeline until the new well is done in a few months? why not drill the well closer to minimize the amount of drilling needed? the relief will start if the well hits the oil anywhere - it doesn't have to be the exact same spot. that is one scary drawing - no plans to fix the pipeline and no plan to drill straight down at the location of minimum depth. oh well, i guess those fellows at bp know what they're doing, otherwise uncle sam would take over, right?