As you may recall, fairly early in the Deepwater Horizon disaster, I quoted a petroleum engineer who claimed that sand entrained in the gusher would steadily erode the well casing, leading ultimately to a totally uncontrolled eruption of petroleum from the reservoir. In the weeks since, there has been a steady flicker of claims around the fringes of the blogosphere that the well is structurally damaged and that oil is already emerging directly from the sea floor.
These claims have appeared from commenters at The Oil Drum, where the front pagers generally pooh poohed them, and at various other places, most of them not particularly credible (e.g., World Nut Daily). I haven't mentioned them here because what do I know?
But they keep circulating. Now the assertion is steadily moving onto more solid ground, and an Oil Drum commenter has caught the attention of Casaubon's Book and been treated respectfully by the Drum masters.
Here it is, if you dare. It's a long argument, but he marshals plenty of evidence and sounds might convincing. I'm going to quote the really, really ugly part:
I am convinced the erosion and compromising of the entire system is accelerating and attacking more key structural areas of the well, the blow out preventer and surrounding strata holding it all up and together. This is evidenced by the tilt of the blow out preventer and the erosion which has exposed the well head connection. What eventually will happen is that the blow out preventer will literally tip over if they do not run supports to it as the currents push on it. I suspect they will run those supports as cables tied to anchors very soon, if they don't, they are inviting disaster that much sooner.
Eventually even that will be futile as the well casings cannot support the weight of the massive system above with out the cement bond to the earth and that bond is being eroded away. When enough is eroded away the casings will buckle and the BOP will collapse the well. If and when you begin to see oil and gas coming up around the well area from under the BOP? or the area around the well head connection and casing sinking more and more rapidly? ...it won't be too long after that the entire system fails. BP must be aware of this, they are mapping the sea floor sonically and that is not a mere exercise. Our Gov't must be well aware too, they just are not telling us.
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.
Maybe that's why Mr. Obama inflicted all that drivel on us about prayer at the end of his speech. Maybe that's really all they've got at this point.
In any case, we need the president or a responsible spokesperson such as Admiral Allen to address this. Is it true or not? Obviously Tony Hayward knows and if he knows Barack Obama better damn well know too. We all need to know. Now.