Gulf Oil Spill – 2 Million Gallons – Per Day?

The Mobile, Alabama Press-Register has published an article by Ben Raines with an alarming prediction. If the leaking well in the Gulf of Mexico shrugs off all control – the crippled blowout preventer, the wellhead, and any remaining control valves or baffles impeding the flow of oil and gas through the well – the rate of spillage could go to a whole other level: as much as 2 million gallons (150,000 barrels) per day.

Schematic diagram of the leaking well and the relief-well drilling plan. Courtesy Times/Picayune.

This worst-case scenario is based on the fact that there are individual wells in the Gulf of Mexico that produce 1.26 million gallons (30,000 barrels) of oil per day. That’s a controlled rate of flow. If all control were removed, the flow rate would be higher. How much higher?

“Typically, a very good well in the Gulf can produce 30,000 barrels a day, but that’s under control. I have no idea what an uncontrolled release could be,” said Stephen Sears, chairman of the petroleum engineering department at Louisiana State University.


5 replies
  1. JR says:

    I believe it may be even worse right now.

    I say this bec use there seems to be a media blackout in the area – everything seems to be April 28 or 29 – any way someone can see pictures from today?

  2. nonk9 says:

    wouldn't it be worth replacing the leaky pipeline with nonleaky pipeline until the new well is done in a few months? why not drill the well closer to minimize the amount of drilling needed? the relief will start if the well hits the oil anywhere – it doesn't have to be the exact same spot. that is one scary drawing – no plans to fix the pipeline and no plan to drill straight down at the location of minimum depth. oh well, i guess those fellows at bp know what they're doing, otherwise uncle sam would take over, right?

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