Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I do not believe that the idea I have will fix the oil leaks. I am quite certain that I can provide a basic design for a system that will channel the vast majority of the fluid and gas that are escaping from equipment on the sea bed to the surface where they can be collected before spreading into the Gulf of Mexico. A large diameter tube can be constructed and the bottom positioned above the source of each leak. The necessary size can be determined by analysis of the images that are obtained by the ROV's operating on the sea floor. It should be large enough to allow the plume to enter the bottom and rise unrestricted. Seawater will settle and exit around it(the plume). If this tube is large enough and made in a way that some fluid can flow in and out of it at intervals along it's length, then neither the sea pressure that is encountered at any depth nor the column of oil inside it will subject it to extreme stress. Although some oil will probably escape these vents, if they are made correctly, it will be a small amount. I theorize that a round shaped tube will not have such great stresses placed on it by deep water currents that it cannot be made in a way that can withstand them;my understanding is that the deep currents in the area are not very fast. The tube can be made of fiberglass, metal or plastic pipe or plastic sheeting stitched together(it's remarkably strong). Each material has it's advantages and disadvantages; weight, buoyancy, availability, speed and ease of construction, but with the right engineering any of them should work.
I suggest that the top of the devices be located at a depth that will remain calm even during heavy weather. I believe a depth of around 30 feet meets that criteria during most storms. Perhaps a cap can be built to carry oil and gas to the surface from there. Fluid can be pumped from the top of the tube. If the leaking fluid can be brought that close to the surface, the area that any fluid that may escape the pump inlet(s) will spread to can be contained relatively easily as compared to the current situation.
I know that to build pipes of this length and maintain their position in the ocean is a major undertaking. I am also sure that it can be done with the right engineering, anchors, cables, and buoys, etc. If built of of a heavy material, the pipes should be attached to cables and every section should be tied to the cables so that they support the column, rather than the load being transferred to the bottom of the pipe.
The largest pipe that I know of being readily available has a diameter of four feet. It is stocked by Mandal Pipe
I spoke with Tim there.
As far as I can tell, if the flow of oil to the surface is not restricted, hydrate crystals will not form. As the pressure increases, the temperature the crystals form at does as well. This is why the larger the diameter, the greater the chance of success. If the pressure is low enough, as it seems to be as the leak escapes from the equipment on the sea floor now, it doesn't matter how much water is there, no crystals form. The crystals formed when the hydrocarbon mix was channeled towards a small opening and the pressure rose. At least that's my interpretation of why the first containment dome failed and why the top hat might as well.
I think that as important as it is to have some sort of high capacity recovery system now, if work on the Blow Out Preventer begins that carries any risk of further damage then it will be even more important. Also I have read that abrasive material is often found in oil so the current leaks may be getting worse as the openings are worn larger.
I think that a system like what I propose has some advantages.
1. It is unlikely to worsen the problem
2. Work can be carried out below the openings

I also recommend that this company be consulted. They specialize in this type of problem and I know they have offered their assistance.

The concept mentioned here I think is worth looking at, especially as the oil spreads further. It is the oil tanker as skimmer concept:

Thank You All for your Hard Work
Julian Shulman

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