Cross posted at Film Annex
“Chevron oil rig on fire in Niger Delta,” “BP’s Deepwater Horizon sinks in Gulf of Mexico,” “Shell confirms oil leak in North Sea,” “Massive fish kill in Trinidad and Tobago.” The headlines have become as familiar as announcements of freeway pile ups and severe thunderstorms.
From Nigeria to the North Sea, from the icy chill of Alaska’s Beaufort Sea to the azure bathwater of the Southern Caribbean the scripts are eerily similar. They tell stories of thousands of oil or gas rigs, tens, hundreds of thousand of abandoned wells and the extraction of fossil fuels from the earth. Tales of pirates hunting treasure, not cargoes of gold on sunken galleons but poisonous black sludge buried millions of years ago under thousands of feet of rock, under miles of ocean.
The stories begin in sweat and toil, hard labor and mind numbing tedium, stories of men drilling holes in the Earth. Then the special effects begin and the drama unfolds.
Read more at Film Annex
Oil giant Chevron, in the wake of one of the world’s worst environmental disasters in the Gulf of Mexico is dragging its corporate feet over Canadian requests for increased safety procedures at a deep water well off the coast of Newfoundland. The company’s Lona O-55 exploratory well is about 258 miles northeast of St. John’s, in the Orphan Basin.
BP’s out of control gusher in the gulf is just over 5000 feet deep while the Chevron well off the Canadian coast is 8,530 feet beneath the surface.
If the pressure of the water column at the site of the BP wellhead is 40,000 lbs per square foot (277 lbs/sq. in.) the pressure of the water column at the site of the Chevron well would be over 68,000 lbs per square foot (473 lbs/sq. in.) The pressures in the reservoir of BPs Gulf well are in the neighborhood of 12,000 lbs/sq. in. after you add up the weight of the water column and the thousands of feet of mud and rock above the reservoir. (water at 8 lbs/cu. ft – rock at 160 lbs/ cu. ft.)
Chevron says that a relief well isn’t necessary; according to their “Atlantic Manager,” Mark McLeod:
“We believe all wells can be drilled incident free. We believe this well will be drilled incident free and we won’t need a relief well.”
Apparently Chevron’s managers and technocrats are suffering under the same the same level of arrogance as their counterparts at BP. I mean really “what could go wrong?”