Saturday, July 3, 2010

Danger Lurks In The Deep Water - 3

In this series we have been discussing the hydrate-caused mine field conditions on the seabed and the loop current in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM).

In the first post we noted that Atwater Valley, located in the Eastern Gulf in the middle of the geologic feature called the Mississippi Canyon, had a strong "loop current" in 2002-2004 when exploration was done.

When the Deepwater Horizon disaster occurred the government informed us that the loop current was a hundred or so miles further south, and therefore conveniently away from the Deepwater Horizon oil gushing into the gulf.

That is suspicious because the Deepwater Horizon site is near "latitude 28° N and longitude 88° W", which means Atwater Valley and Deepwater Horizon are in the same Mississippi Canyon, and at about the same latitude north, with Deepwater Horizon being about 50 miles east of the Atwater Valley drill site where the loop current was "strong".

An article in Wikipedia indicates that there have been various theories about an eddy or two that spin off the loop current, extending it randomly and/or cyclically over the years.

That article focuses on surface matters, however, the study we cited to discussed strong currents near the seabed.

If the loop current is still where it was in 2002-2004 it is most likely that the oil and hydrates have been taken into the current, which means that dispersant chemicals, oil, and methane have been carried by the loop current down around the southern tip of Florida and into the Atlantic, probably from close to day one.

If so, these toxins being identified by scientists, will already be present to some degree in the Gulf Stream that flows North-east toward Europe, that is, much earlier than indicated by the federal government so far.

Notice how strong the currents are as far north as the Deepwater Horizon latitude:
Weather was generally excellent, with only one minor squall during the 35-day JIP cruise. The main problem was currents in the Atwater Valley location, which ran consistently 2-3 knots at the surface with subsurface effects felt down to about 1000 feet. The ship had no working current meter, and the strong loop current created problems for the Uncle John in holding position, causing thruster loads frequently above critical redundancy levels. Subsurface currents caused the drill pipe to drift at an angle beneath the vessel and created difficulties in tripping the pipe. A total of nine hours of downtime were attributed to problems created by currents.
(Cruise Report, p. 11 (p. 4 PDF), emphasis added). To those in Florida who want to test my theory: don't look for tar-balls, don't wait for tar-balls, that is a canard.

Instead, take samples like the University of Georgia folk do, be scientific, because the toxins are moving by you Florida, and are in the Gulf Stream now, under the surface.

The reason good samples have to be taken is that 27,000 abandoned oil wells in the GOM are not tested for leaks, so to identify a particular well the "DNA" of that particular oil well needs to be considered.

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Flop Thickens

The regime of Bush II will go down in the history books as the 5th worst (4 presidents ranked worst) in U.S. history, and the very worst modern president (nobody worse, including Nixon), so far:
This year’s poll of 238 scholars found that President Franklin Roosevelt was once again ranked on top, joined by Presidents Lincoln, Jefferson, Washington, and Teddy Roosevelt to complete the top five. However, President George W. Bush did not fare well since the last poll was conducted in 2002. He dropped 16 places to 39th, making him the worst president since Warren Harding died in office in 1923, and one of the bottom five of all time, according to the experts:
Today, just one year after leaving office, the former president has found himself in the bottom five at 39th rated especially poorly in handling the economy, communication, ability to compromise, foreign policy accomplishments and intelligence. Rounding out the bottom five are four presidents that have held that dubious distinction each time the survey has been conducted: Andrew Johnson, James Buchanan, Warren G. Harding, and Franklin Pierce.
Bush was rated second from the bottom on “intelligence,” “foreign policy accomplishments,” and “handling of U.S. economy.” This despite promises from Bush supporters that “history will be very kind” to the former president, as his Attorney General John Ashcroft put it.
(Think Progress, Survey in PDF). This survey that has been conducted since 1982 indicates that the feverish rewrite of history being conducted by bushie propagandists is not working.

The validity of the poll is bolstered by the very low scores for foreign policy Bush II received, one of which was "bringing democracy to Iraq":
Since Iraq’s parliamentary elections in March, killers in this violent northern city have stalked members of the Iraqiya Party, which won the most seats, part of a nationwide outbreak of violence directed at officials and other civic leaders.

Some 150 politicians, civil servants, tribal chiefs, police officers, Sunni clerics and members of Awakening Councils have been assassinated throughout Iraq since the election — bloodshed apparently aimed at heightening turmoil in the power vacuum created by more than three months without a national government.

During the past 72 hours alone, at least eight Iraqi police officers, an Iraqi Army general, a government intelligence official, a member of an Awakening Council, a tribal sheik, and a high ranking staff member of Baghdad’s local government have all been assassinated in either Baghdad or Mosul.
(NY Times). The bushies want the media to say "we won the Iraq war", probably because of the oil leases to BP by Iraqis, so one wonders what the joint would look like if we "lost the Iraq war".

They will try the same propaganda on the Afghanistan war no doubt.

The U.S. lost a lot of respect and reputation in the world due to the Bush II policies, one of which was to send the 4th Fleet to the Americas south of us, another was wild war spending that damaged our economy and its reputation.

That does not seem to be "working out" (intimidating them) so far, seeing as how Venezuela just took over a bunch of U.S. oil wells via nationalization, and the U.N. is talking up getting rid of the dollar as the world reserve currency.

The big mystery question is: Why Is President Obama following the Dubya compass?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Epoch of The Straw That Broke - 2

Little-straw-mistakes add up to "one Titanic"
The first in this series, The Epoch of The Straw That Broke, set the stage for discussing a certain reality we tend to forget.

It is a bit like when the Titanic went down in the sense that the Titanic disaster was a series of events, none of which were alone sufficient to bring down "the ship that even God could not sink".

But after the tipping point had been reached, "the point of no return", then even the smallest event, anywhere in that series of events, was qualified to be the straw that broke the camel's back, if done again.

Like the Titanic scenario, we are in the epoch or age of the straw that breaks the camel's back too, in terms of the next event that does damage to the environment.

The gist of it is that there is an environmental tipping point which scientists talk about, a twilight zone on the edge of what the earth can take, but no more, without breaking down into a killing machine.

That killing machine, which world civilization is unwittingly making, will take out world civilization leaving only some of humanity to try to live on through and form a subsequent civilization.

Even the flowers, grass, trees, and other greenery are aware that something is terribly wrong, and they are moving toward safer ground.

Events are converging toward the border line while world governments seem incapable of keeping "the last straw" off the camel's back.

Morning Joe Loses It

The main stream media (MSM) has morphed into a drama queen over the years, fuelled by being in bed with MOMCOM as well as feeling commercial pressures that have brought some of them down to the level of the suffering "little people", as BP calls them.

Yesterday Joe Scarborough of Morning Joe on MSNBC (owned & controlled by GE) indicated that John "Agent Orange" Boehner had a reputation of not working hard.

Agent Orange's PAC expenditures of $90,000 on golf, his bar-hopping, voting against helping people on unemployment who have lost homes, jobs, and health care, and his saying the economic crisis was an ant that democrats killed with a nuclear bomb were said to be the well known characteristics of Agent Orange.

Never-the-less, Agent Orange came down on Joe Joe like he did on Barton for apologizing to BP, or like Limbaugh coming down on anyone challenging his right to his madness.

This mad-dog reflex caught Joe Joe by surprise, so today he went into a 1960's style republican apologist's rant against the "anti-war left" for not opposing the Afghanistan war hard enough.

Evidently Joe Joe thought that rant against the "anti-war left" (the majority of Americans) would be an offering to the Agent Orange volcano god who was spewing out hell fire and damnation against Joe Joe.

The lair of social dementia has been stretched a bit by all this drama, so now MOMCOM needs a bigger dress.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Danger Lurks In The Deep Water - 2

In the first post of this series we noted that the "loop current" in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) reached all the way up to the Deepwater Horizon area (up to "Atwater Valley").

This loop current there was first discovered when researchers did drilling to explore the extent and nature of methane hydrates on the seabed of the GOM (1999-2009).

We noted that the researchers said that, without those loop currents, drilling would have been much more dangerous, because those loop currents helped cool the drill apparatus, which was heated up intensely when friction from the bit ground through the strata beneath the sea floor.

We asked what caused the loop current to move south, if in fact it did move, as the government had said in news releases.

In this post we consider the effect that pressure and temperature could have on the stability of the seabed of the GOM.

Even without the loop current factor, the researchers pointed out early on in the ten years of research into these mysterious gulf hydrates, that they posed a threat:
Natural gas hydrate deposits are found in deep offshore environments. In some cases these deposits overlay conventional oil and gas reservoirs. There are concerns that the presence of hydrates can compromise the safety of exploration and production operations [Hovland and Gudmestad, 2001]. Serious problems related to the instability of wellbores drilled through hydrate formations have been documented by Collett and Dallimore, [2002]. A hydrate-related incident in the deep Gulf of Mexico could potentially damage the environment and have significant economic impacts.
(Hydrate Related Geohazards, 2002-2004, page 5, emphasis added). Clearly the dangers were there, were well known, and the "damage to the environment" as well as "significant economic impacts" were foreseeable.

In Is A New Age Of Pressure Upon Us - 2 we considered what changing pressures might have on these sub-sea floor deposits.

The "Hydrate Related Geohazards" report linked to above confirms that even gravity, or the instruments used to explore below the ocean, create enough impact to cause some pressure on the deposits and substrata:
Gravity waves on the sea surface produce small changes of hydrostatic pressure on the seafloor. These pressure variations produce very small deformations of near-seafloor sediments, and the resulting elevation changes can be sensed by a seafloor gravity meter. The seafloor compliance (ratio of the deformation response to the pressure drive) is sensitive to elastic properties of sediments hundreds of meters below the seafloor [Willoughby and Edwards, 1997], i.e. coincident with the GHSZ. The success of this seemingly improbable method depends on exquisitely sensitive (but commercially available) field-deployable gravimeters, and averaging times of several hours per site [Willoughby and Edwards, 2000]. Methane in the water column, where the water depth is more than 500 meters, is a strong indicator that methane hydrate is either being accumulated [Roberts and Carney, 1997], depleted [Hutnak et al., 1999; Sasaki et al., 2002], and/or redistributed [Paull et al., 1995] within the sediments below. Any of these situations can affect seafloor stability.

The stability of a hydrate-affected formation is controlled by its temperature and pressure. Thus these quantities, which have only ancillary roles in conventional oil and gas reservoir characterization, are of prime importance for monitoring hydrate deposits.
(ibid, pages 2-3, emphasis added). In the Dredd Blog posts, quoted above, we hypothesized that global warming would warm the GOM, and that as the GOM water level rises due to both warming and the ice caps melting around the globe, the pressures and temperature fluctuation on the seabed could destabilize the sub seabed areas, raising the danger level even more.

In the Dredd Blog post From Deepwater I To Deepwater II, we considered the fragmentation, which the great asteroid impact that created a ~112 mile wide crater on the seabed and the Yucatan Peninsula, could have caused.

There is evidence of substantial fragmentation that goes from the seabed level deep down into some of the reservoirs:
... the Blake Ridge deposit, which is situated on a quiescent passive margin, has a fault system extending from below the base of the bottom simulating reflector to almost the seafloor. These faults are believed to constitute efficient conduits for transport of methane [Rowe and Gettrust, 1994; Booth et al., 1998].
(ibid, page 11, emphasis added). In other words, methane hydrates can gasify, then move upward through the fractures or faults.

The report indicates that the fractures or faults go deep, as would be expected in the area around the crater caused by an asteroid impact that destroyed the dinosaurs along with much of the earth's ecosystem 65 million years ago.

The report flatly stated that the danger lasts for the entire lifetime of a well, because an entire reservoir can become dangerous:
These measurements warn of the possibility of drilling hazards, and provide inputs to wellbore stability and seafloor stability models that help predict whether the deposits will become hazards during production. However the predictive power of these stability models is still untested. Moreover, even after more experience has been acquired with them, the models are unlikely to provide totally reliable predictions of hazard events. Offshore platforms, wellheads and pipelines are very costly assets, and the environmental risks associated with disruption of hydrocarbon production in deep water are considerable. Therefore prudent engineering practice dictates that potential hazard conditions be monitored, possibly over the lifetime of the reservoir.
(ibid, page 14, emphasis added). It is likely that reservoir instability may resonate to other reservoirs near by, or to the seabed above the reservoir, and spread the instability.

Clearly the people who are crying "drill baby drill", even as a mega disaster unfolds before their eyes, are careless, reckless, and in some cases criminally insane.

The next post in this series is here.

Open Thread

Open Thread

Hurricane Alex - Vexes The Oil Catastrophe Workers ... computer models are more certain of its path and category now.

Evidently the Afghan debacle is on track to remain a debacle; some soldiers say they will not miss McChyrstal ...

Oil is a major player in this movie, and will determine how long "we" stay.

The "world's largest passenger and cargo hub" is on schedule to open in Dubai UAE

(Just down the street from Haliburton World HQ)
First Woman Prime Minister - Australia
The "genetics of mental illness are still a maddeningly complex mystery"

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Politicization Of Internal Revenue - 2

We discussed political persecution in the post Politicization Of Internal Revenue, and specifically mentioned the Don Siegelman case.

In that case Governor Siegelman was not given the same "treatment" Senator Stephens was given by Eric Holder, who denied Siegelman.

The Supreme Court has vacated the judgment of the Federal Appellate Court for the Eleventh Circuit, which had affirmed Seigelman's conviction.

That court will now have to reconsider the decision it made, per the Supreme Court's order:
The judgment is vacated, and the cases are remanded to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit for further consideration in light of Skilling v. United States, 561 U.S. ___ (2010).
(ORDER LIST: 561 U.S. ___, TUESDAY, JUNE 29, 2010).

Judge Alex Lifts Ban on Moratorium

A federal judge who owns stock in companies who caused the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe stopped the Obama Administration's moratorium on offshore deep water drilling.

The Obama Administration said "stop until we find out what caused this" but the federal judge, a republican appointed by Reagan, said we need "small government, you can't do that Obama, thus, you oil barons drill baby drill until the wheels fall off".

Tropical storm / hurricane Alex reversed the judge, so the oil barons are beginning to shut down rigs and evacuate workers off the rigs in the western Gulf of Mexico (GOM).

The power of judge Alex trumps the signature of neoCon judges it seems.

The path hurricane Alex eventually takes from here on will determine how many rigs must be abandoned, how much oil will be pushed ashore, and how much of the clean up pig circus will be shut down.

Perhaps it is fair that New Orleans not be hit again, that Texas take the brunt of it this time, but anyway one looks at it, the federal government and big oil are the bad guys in this movie.

A few more Dredd Blog posts on this issue:

Danger Lurks In The Deep Water

Shadow of Time Governs The Earth - 2
BP is Too Busy In Iraq To Help Gulf
From Deepwater I to Deepwater II
other related posts:

Ents & The Entities Become Nomadic
Are You In Good Hands With Oilstate?

Monday, June 28, 2010

Oilah Akbar In Afghanistan

For those who do not know what Oilah Akbar is, read this post.

When I read the headline "Afghanistan to Start Oil-Licensing" confirmed by Reuters, at first I thought "Afghanistan does not have any oil does it ... Iraq has the oil - right?"

Then I studied up on it a bit and found this old data:
Since the first oil field was discovered in Afghanistan in 1959 ...

The USGS has previously conducted broad regional oil and gas resource assessments of northwestern Afghanistan as part of the Amu Darya basin, most of which is located in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. These assessments were published by Kingston (1986 and 1990), Masters and others (1995), and Ulmishek (2000).
([for some inexplicable reason, wink, wink, the gov changed the original page, so here is the original page now recorded on The Wayback Machine - gotcha gov]).

I began to wonder why we have not heard much about oil in Afghanistan from our journalists, but have instead been hearing questions that basically wonder why we are even still in Afghanistan after 10 years.

Then I remembered that the news media is an "M" in MOMCOM (see MOMCOM for explanation).

I found another discussion that took place in the winter of 2001-2002 that had made some rather strong statements about oil in the area:
As the war in Afghanistan unfolds, there is frantic diplomatic activity to ensure that any post-Taliban government will be both democratic and pro-West. Hidden in this explosive geo-political equation is the sensitive issue of securing control and export of the region's vast oil and gas reserves. The Soviets estimated Afghanistan's proven and probable natural gas reserves at 5 trillion cubic feet - enough for the United Kingdom's requirement for two years - but this remains largely untapped because of the country's civil war and poor pipeline infrastructure.

More importantly, according to the U.S. government, "Afghanistan's significance from an energy standpoint stems from its geographical position as a potential transit route for oil and natural gas exports from central Asia to the Arabian Sea."

To the north of Afghanistan lies the Caspian and central Asian region, one of the world's last great frontiers for the oil industry due to its tremendous untapped reserves. The U.S. government believes that total oil reserves could be 270 billion barrels. Total gas reserves could be 576 trillion cubic feet.
(Rethinking Schools, Winter 2001-2002, bold added [again they "lost" the page wink, wink, so here is the Wayback Machine copy]). That shocked me a bit because even though I had heard Afghanistan was important in terms of gas and oil pipelines, it is considered to be a "conspiracy theory".

I did not expect Afghanistan to have oil reserves because I had not even heard of any conspiracy theories to that effect.

The recent talk in the main stream media (MSM) about the minerals there (lithium, gold, etc.) threw me further off the trail, which is probably what MOMCOM was trying to do.

In a couple of posts recently Dredd Blog touched upon the BP phenomenon:
in The Luck of MOMCOM we observed how "lucky" MOMCOM was to invade Iraq to accidentally find that it had oil, and how "lucky" MOMCOM was to invade Afghanistan where it "was recently discovered" to have vast mineral deposits.

In BP Is Too Busy In Iraq To Help Gulf we pointed out that BP is developing Iraq oil fields.
Now we find out that BP is busy with the Afghanistan oil too.

All this "good luck stuff" is probably classified now.

The development of Afghanistan's oil, gas, and a pipeline infrastructure was a strategic plan of those who influence the U.S. government as early as 1998, according to the congressional record.

It is part of the Peak of the Oil Wars.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Danger Lurks In The Deep Water

The state bird of the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) is now the oil covered pelican dying in toxic oil.

It is also symbolic of an oil based civilization that is in the process of destroying itself.

I gathered some research papers that document studies of the GOM that were produced from data gathered from 1999 through 2009.

That research focused on the dangers inherent in the deepwater drilling in the GOM as a result of methane hydrates commonly found there, including substantial analysis of various sorts (the index is 163 pages):
NOTE: This document contains a listing of all published reports and professional presentations relating to work supported by DOE’s Methane Hydrates R&D program. While many of these reports are “shared” publications, with support being obtained from several funding sources, we have endeavored to include only those reports in which the DOE's contribution was meaningful and substantial.
(Index To Research Papers,  page 163 [Wayback Machine copy, they "lost" it]). We could spend years reviewing all the material, so I chose to focus on only a few issues, issues related directly to the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe.

One of the issues is the "loop current", which we have been told is way south of the well-head, but that is not what documents in this set indicate:
At the [Atwater Valley] location, the presence of excessively high loop currents that were an order of magnitude higher than the current velocities used in pre-drill models greatly enhanced the transfer of heat from the drill pipe to the ocean. The current velocities used in pre-drill models were obtained from a sparsely populated NOAA database. These velocities may have provided a reasonable indication of average conditions. However strong loop currents were not anticipated. Once loop currents are accounted for, model predictions were shown to agree quite well with LWD temperatures.

Post-drill simulations indicated that the LWD boreholes in Atwater Valley and Keathley Canyon were sufficiently cool to prevent hydrate from dissociating. This was due in part to management of circulation rates in the borehole. However it was also shown that in the absence of loop currents at Atwater Valley, the risk of dissociation would have been significant.
(Semi Annual 2006-2007 Report, page 26, emphasis added). This begs the question, "where is Atwater Valley?"

An MMS Accident Report dealt with some troubles on the Deepwater Pathfinder rig while it was in "Atwater Valley".

Maps in the report show Atwater Valley to be at or very close to where the Deepwater Horizon site is located (MMS Accident Report, page 29).

Does this mean that the "excessively high loop currents" have been taking the underwater, out-of-sight, massive islands of gushing petroleum products elsewhere, contrary to government statements?

Or have the loop currents moved south away from the Deepwater Horizon site as the government says, and if so when, why and how?

The reason that is important is that these reports show that water temperature can have an effect on drilling in hydrate rich areas, and in fact can be very dangerous:
Throughout early 2009, the JIP has pursued permitting and hazards analysis for five sites (AC21/65; EB 955, GC 992; WR 313; GC 781/825; Figure 2). The site in AC 818 had earlier been deemed too risky for Leg II drilling due to expected reservoir overpressure and was dropped from the Leg II program. However, because of preexisting data the site remains a candidate for GoM JIP Leg III coring activities if the drilling hazard issues can be addressed. As of this writing, ongoing industry activity at two of the locations (EB 992 and GC 781) renders the JIP’s ability to drill at those locations uncertain.
(Hydrate Dissocation, emphasis added). A news source points out why this is so much a factor to consider:
Methane hydrates are volatile compounds — natural gas compressed into molecular cages of ice. They are stable in the extreme cold and crushing weight of deepwater, but are extremely dangerous when they build up inside the drill column of a well. If destabilized by heat or a decrease in pressure, methane hydrates can quickly expand to 164 times their volume.
(Guardian, emphasis added). Dredd Blog has pointed out the destabilized nature of the seabed in Gulf of Mexico deep water areas, which happened during the K-T extinction event 65 million years ago.

In another Dredd Blog post, Is A New Age of Pressure Upon Us, we noted that global warming applies to the oceans, the resultant rising oceans effect pressures on the seabed, and therefore wondered how those should be factored into the equation.

These reports linked to in this current thread show we were on track, because that is exactly what must be considered and paid attention to when methane hydrates are a factor.

In upcoming posts we will discuss the formation of dangerous seabed domes (hills) and other deformities, such as cave-ins, caused by pressure changes inside hydrate reservoirs.

The second of this series is now posted here.