Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Brimestone alley

   Thought I'd come back to these topics....I have the amazing ability to flog a dead horse 'till it looks like a wet prune.

   "  Brimstone, which refers solely to sulfur produced in its elemental form, is used to distinguish elemental sulfur from other sulfur-containing compounds. Brimstone can be recovered from sour oil and gas streams, or mined by processes such as Frasch or as native refined sulfur.  "  (10)

   " Shales and clays are responsible for most natural radioactivity, ( the type of deposit in the BP disaster ) so a gamma ray log often is a good indicator of such rocks. However, other rocks are also radioactive, notably some carbonates and feldspar-rich rocks. The log is also used for correlation between wells, for depth correlation between open and cased hole, and for depth correlation between logging runs. The gamma ray log was the first nuclear well log and was introduced in the late 1930s. (11)

   " A log of the total natural radioactivity, measured in API units. The measurement can be made in both openhole and through casing. The depth of investigation is a few inches, so that the log normally measures the flushed zone. "

 ..the sour crude in the Gulf has an API of 28


   The Gulf of Mexico continental slope is affected by large sheet-like salt thrusts that extend from the shelf edge across the continental slope to the Sigsbee Escarpment, near the edge of the abyssal plain . The geology is conducive to hydrocarbon seepage to the sea floor from a deeply buried petroleum system . Fracture zones associated with moving salt sheets and active faults provide conduits for fluid flow to the sea floor. Massive hydrocarbon seepage manifests itself at the Gulf sea floor as gas hydrate, oil-stained sediments, authigenic carbonate depleted in 13C, and chemosynthetic communities. Seeps and gas hydrate are concentrated along salt-withdrawal basin margins, over salt ridges, and near the edge of the Sigsbee Escarpment . (1)


 The MC853 and KC695 samples had massive gas hydrate densities with in sediment core samples

  Below is a compilation , showing the hydrocarbon pathways, the channel that chemo-synthetic communities prefer, ( on the path of the outer continental shelf )..the location of Block 252/Horizon, and the minor faultline areas. the microbes live where the gases seep up through the sub-floor....on the fault lines.

      The Gulf of Mexico is a natural laboratory for studying gas hydrate dynamics and microbiology for several reasons. Gas hydrate is often found in sediments associated with natural gas venting and at cold hydrocarbon seeps, both of which are abundant on the northern continental slope . In some cases, so much gas hydrate is present that massive gas hydrate mounds break through the sediment surface . The GOM is also one of the few sites globally where both thermogenic (i.e., composed primarily of hydrocarbon gases derived from thermal degradation of petroleum) and biogenic (i.e., composed primarily of methane from biological methanogenesis) gas hydrates have been recovered. (1)

 ...with what I have learned about petroleum geology..and what I already know...it would seem that both abiotic and biogenic processes are both responsible for petroleum productions/conversions.....I mean .....what natural system in the world isn't dependent on all the other systems it comes in contact with...?...trying to say that only one particular result is only the outcome of one particular action,.. especially in any natural system.., makes about as much sense as saying " pantyhose will hold water".  

    Natural systems do not work alone. Period.

   Now...on the topic of the Macondo blocks....and water-flooding of wells in the area....

   The Ursa-Princess Waterflood is one of the largest construction projects on an existing platform in the Gulf of Mexico. Ursa is in 3800 feet (1158 metres) of water and is made up of the Mississippi Canyon blocks 808, 809, 810, 852, 853 and 854. Princess is in Mississippi Canyon blocks 765 and 766, in about 3650 feet of water. Shell is operator of this project with 45%; BP Exploration & Production has 23%; ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips each have 16%.(2)

    Shell made the first injection of water on 3 July and is planned to continue for the next 30 years.
The waterflood is expected to extend the life of the field by 10 years with a listed volume enhancement capacity of 30 thousand barrels of oil equivalent. The Ursa-Princess has produced nearly 400 Mmboe to date and the potential exists for continued development of material oil and natural gas within the basin said the company. (2)

    Next, the location and owners of the Horizon project...and who did the surveys... 

   The Macondo prospect is located on Mississippi Canyon Block 252 in the Gulf of Mexico in a water depth of 4,993 feet (1,522 meters). BP serves as the operator, holding a 65% interest in the prospect; Anadarko holds 25%; and MOEX 2007, a unit of Mitsui holds the remaining 10%. (3)

   A regional shallow hazards survey and study was carried out at the Macondo area by KC Offshore in 1998. High resolution, 2D seismic data along with 3D exploration seismic data of the MC 252 was collected by Fugro Geoservices in 2003. BP purchased the mineral rights to drill for oil in the Macondo Pospect at the Minerals Management Service's lease sale in March 2008. Mapping of the block was carried out by BP America in 2008 and 2009.BP secured approval to drill the Macondo Prospect from MMS in March 2009 without MMS requiring use of an acoustic blowout preventer actuation alternative. An exploration well was scheduled to be drilled in 2009. (4)

   Recent deep gas discoveries on the OCS have shown that these new deep shelf completions can produce gas volumes of 20–80 million cubic feet per day (MMCFd) or more. However, deeper drilling requires upgraded rigs, higher well costs, and considerably longer drilling times. Greater well depths and higher pressures and temperatures make deep-shelf targets riskier and more costly to drill. Target reservoirs therefore need to be substantially larger at deep-depth to warrant the larger investment. So far, the failures from drilling deep gas wells on the shelf outnumber successes. Industry reports,and MMS data confirms, that there is only a 1 in 4 chance of successfully drilling a deep gas well, which can cost $8 to $20 million
per well. (4)

                                              From the MMS in November 19, 2003


Deep Shelf Gas May Be More Abundant in Gulf than Earlier Forecast
Probabilistic Estimate Increases by 175%

Natural gas may be more abundant in the deep shelf area of the Gulf of Mexico than originally forecast.  Officials from the Department of the Interior’s Minerals Management Service announced a 175% increase in their new resource estimate during a news conference in Houston today.(5)

   In this study published, published on the 16th of June 2009, natural gas in shale formations like the Horizon site, were discovered to produce various gases at a much higher ratio, at a much shallower depth, and at much lower temperatures than previously thought.

 " Shales generated gas under anoxic gas flow at 50°C, nearly five times more gas than the same shale would generate at 350°C " (6)

     The temperature of the deposits in the Macondo deepwater are known to average right at 405° f

     50°C = 122 ° f
     405° f =  207.2 °C

    The depth of the deposit is a little over 18,000'

    The exact seabed depth is  5,249'

    18 000 feet = 3.409 miles.                    

     Typically sub-floor temperature increases with sediment depth by about 40°C to 50°C per kilometer
      ...or about 115°F to 145°F per mile

    Hottest possible field temperature : 494.305 ° f
    Coldest possible field temperature : 392.305 ° f

    494.305 ° f = 256.836 °C
    392.305 ° f = 200.169 °C
    Again,..the temperature of the deposits in the Macondo deepwater are known to average right at 405° f

    405° f =  207.2 °C
    Three conditions must be present for oil reservoirs to form: a source rock rich in hydrocarbon material buried deep enough for subterranean heat to cook it into oil; a porous and permeable reservoir rock for it to accumulate in; and a cap rock (seal) or other mechanism that prevents it from escaping to the surface. Within these reservoirs, fluids will typically organize themselves like a three-layer cake with a layer of water below the oil layer and a layer of gas above it, although the different layers vary in size between reservoirs. Because most hydrocarbons are lighter than rock or water, they often migrate upward through adjacent rock layers until either reaching the surface or becoming trapped within porous rocks (known as reservoirs) by impermeable rocks above. However, the process is influenced by underground water flows, causing oil to migrate hundreds of kilometers horizontally or even short distances downward before becoming trapped in a reservoir. When hydrocarbons are concentrated in a trap, an oil field forms, from which the liquid can be extracted by drilling and pumping. (7)

  The deeper sediments with no intact associated gas hydrate had similar microbiological cell counts to the sediments associated with gas hydrate. These direct counts are similar to those commonly obtained from standard marine systems . This result is unexpected, because other studies based on extractable lipid concentrations show up to 30-fold higher biomass, a value indirectly correlated to cellular abundance, in the Gulf seep system than in nearby marine sediments

    That supports the theory that biogenic hydrocarbon production in deep-marine sediment/shale/sand layers are not dependent on hydrates for food. It shows that the density of the biomass is not proportional to the density of hydrates.

  Given the various maps, documents and industry papers I have read, IMHO, they are in an area with massive anoxic/biogenic gas production. Given the fact that normally sulfide oxidizing microbes convert methane to hydrogen sulfide, this would account for the large amount of H2S gas normally found in sour HI-E oil reservoirs, but would also signal a large amount of methane in the reservoir too. I definitely think that out of the 4 forms of sulfur...1 was found naturally in the reservoir held at triple point in thermodynamic equilibrium. When the deposit was punctured, pressure release started a cascade/chain reaction of phase shifting in the sulfur.

   "  In the sulfur system four possible triple points (one metastable) exist for the four phases comprising rhombic S (solid), monoclinic S (solid), S (liquid) and S (vapour)." (8)

 " The most common form found in nature is yellow orthorhombic α-sulfur " (9)

  Chemical properties of sulphur

   Sulfur combines directly with almost all the elements with the exception of gold, platinum and the noble gases. In its native form, sulphur is a yellow crystalline solid. It can be found as a pure element or as sulphate or sulphide minerals. The crystallography of sulfur is complex. Depending on the specific conditions, the sulfur allotropes form several distinct crystal structures, with rhombic and monoclinic S8 best known.(10)

    .............it remains to be seen what effects the COREXIT applications and the combination of a massive influx of microbial food-sources to the area will have.....It's obvious that everything else under the surface of the water is dying. So the fact that they are killing the microbes that normally would proliferate to eat the hydrocarbons, ..means that they will not be there to handle the problem.

 ......this is why some people who were surfing recently went to the emergency room in Pensacola with blisters on their skin......mustard gas and sulfuric acid in large quantities.. Plain and simple.

    Feel free to e-mail me


Sources :

  1.      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC93283/

  2.     http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/article158739.ece

  3.     http://www.subseaiq.com/data/Project.aspx?project_id=562&AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1

  4.     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macondo_Prospect

  5.     http://www.gomr.mms.gov/homepg/whatsnew/newsreal/2003/031119.html

  6.     http://www.geochemicaltransactions.com/content/10/1/6

  7.     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petroleum

  8.     http://goldbook.iupac.org/T06502.html

  9.     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allotropes_of_sulfur

  10.   http://www.sulphurinstitute.org/learnmore/glossary.cfm

  11.   http://www.glossary.oilfield.slb.com/Display.cfm?Term=gamma%20ray%20log

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