Monday, June 14, 2010


June 14/2010
   By : Isaac N.

   First off, In the course of reading MMS documents, I found one written for the MMS reviewing current containment capabilities of the Gulf region's divisions responsible for responding to a  deep-water blowout, describing exactly why there is only a 6 hour " window "  to use dispersants on light sweet crude, the danger of deep-water blowouts, and the unknown results the blowout could have on the environment. That led me to study the API gravity of light sweet , and I discovered it actually will start to emulsify with the seawater ( bind like a salad dressing ) after just 10% of methane evaporation. Since natural thermal cracking underground
creates methane in the range of 6-700 degrees f,  the fact they are more than 6.5 miles into the earth , relatively close to underground lava flows, would point to the cause of gas production by way of high temperatures. Combined with a high particulate content 50/70 %, and high pressures quickly eroding sub-floor salt structure pathways, a collapse of the sea-floor seems to be immanent.

Fourteen percent of Gulf oil spills of light sweet crude are highly emulsifiable and have a very narrow window of opportunity for treatment of chemical dispersants. These are called Hi-E oils. They are defined as oils that will start to emulsify either immediately, or after just 10% has evaporated.

*th test done was for a sub-surface blowout in deep water with high flow. The estimate for the blowout was a total of 9 million barrels, 100,000 BPOD x 90 days. This is because it represents the worst case scenario.

The results for scenario 8, strangley are not listed. Results for tests 6+7 were done in " deep-water " of only 150 meters. According to the document, the oil not treated with dispersants within just 6 hours was chemically no longer able to be affected by the application.That's very a narrow window.

The more rapidly the oil emulsifies , the greater the proportion that will become undispersable.

When surface and subsurface blowouts of identical size and oil type are compared, dispersion of the subsea blowout is much less effective operationally than the surface blowout, due to it's larger width, smaller oil thickness and more rapid emulsification.

Overall, the results of the scenarios analyzed suggest that the largest spill that can be treated using existing response capabilities lies in the area of 3180m (c) or 800 m (c) per day for 4 days of continuous spill.

That's not promising.

Then to top it off, light sweet crude, has an API gravity that put's it right into the Hi-E oil category which means this.

    Crude oil is primarily a mixture of hydrocarbons — that is, compounds made of hydrogen and carbon. The simplest hydrocarbon, with only one carbon atom, is methane (CH4) — the gas that is believed to have caused the explosion of the Deepwater rig. The hydrocarbons in crude oil range from simple ones with a few carbon atoms to bigger ones with as many as 40 carbon atoms or more.

    That widely variable composition means not all oil is created equal. There's heavy and light and sweet and sour. Heavy crude tends to have more impurities like salts and metals than light crude. Sweet crude tends to have less sulfur than sour crude. Generally speaking, when you’re looking to make gasoline, light sweet crude has traditionally been preferred because there is less refining needed.

    I haven’t seen an exact chemical analysis of the oil flowing from the Deepwater rig, but the general assumption has been that it is a light sweet crude. I’ll use that assumption in the discussion below, of how methane is created..
    Deeper burial by continuing sedimentation, increasing temperatures, and advancing geologic age result in the mature stage of petroleum formation, during which the full range of petroleum compounds is produced from kerogen and other precursors by thermal degradation and cracking (the process by which heavy hydrocarbon molecules are broken up into lighter molecules). Depending on the amount and type of organic matter, oil generation occurs during the mature stage at depths of about 760 to 4,880 metres (2,500 to 16,000 feet) at temperatures between 65° and 150° C. This special environment is called the “oil window.”

      Geologists often refer to the temperature range in which oil forms as an "oil window"[17]—below the minimum temperature oil remains trapped in the form of kerogen, and above the maximum temperature the oil is converted to natural gas through the process of thermal cracking. Sometimes, oil which is formed at extreme depths may migrate and become trapped at much shallower depths than where it was formed.

     Thermal cracking underground is known to start at the 6-700 degree range. Using the information below in my posts about sub-surface salt structuring in the Sigsbee, and, how close they are to underground lava flows by the depth of the Horizon borehole depth.  ( Horizon was drilled to a depth of 35,050'. That's 6.6382575 miles. The Sigsbee's depth in the G.o.M. is disputed and estimates range between 3,750 and 4,384 metres {12,300 and 14,383 ft}. ), it is obvious that they are encountering uncontrollable methane production in the sub-strata, due to natural pyrolysis and the resulting production of gas.

The following from :

    Focus on Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons, like methane..

    A wide array of toxic chemicals is found in oil — and in gasoline by the way, so be careful when you fill your tank and definitely try not to breathe in the fumes. Let’s focus here on one of those toxins: polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). PAHs are compounds where the carbon atoms are arrayed in a series of six-sided hexagons called rings.

    A 2003 study by the National Academy of Sciences found that of all the typical hydrocarbons in crude oil, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) pose the greatest risk to the environment.

There are at least three things that make PAHs worrisome:

    * They are linked to cancer and other health problems, including fertility, reproductive and developmental issues, in both humans and wildlife.
    * They are soluble in water so can be mobilized into the environment.
    * They can persist in the environment where chronic exposure can cause long-term damage and even mortality at very low concentrations. In fact, these are the toxins that have been implicated in the slow recovery of the Bristol Bay ecosystems after the Valdez spill.

   Air levels of carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons after the World Trade Center disaster were off the chart , and continue to result in many deaths and severe health problems by responders and residents alike.

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