If the casing is broken, as now seems higly likely, attempts to close the well at the top will fail. Leaks from breaks in the casing will just increase. For the same reason, it would not help to stop the well 10,000 feet below. That, it is hypothesized, is why BP is drilling the two wells, as ordered by the Obama administration, all the way down to the bottom of the well.
What we don't know is whether the casing problems were caused by Haliburton, if Haliburton did an incomplete job, not sealing large sections of the well. We now know that Halliburton accepted instructions from BP to use inadequate components-- centralizers-- to seal the well. That's just one factor that has bubbled up from BP's well of secrecy. When is it the contractor's responsibility, to say no when contracting company gives orders to do a job in an way that they both know is un-safe?
BP said today that their revised plan would capture up to 53,000 bbl/day of oil by 7/1.Of course, these new higher numbers that BP now admits to only reflect the flow from the riser that they are showing. They do not include any oil leaking through the casings, coming to the sea-bed surface at other points 5,000 feet below the surface of the gulf. It would be nice to know whether the coast guard, the Navy or even James Cameron have deployed resources to explore whether there are other leaks. So many questions. Not enough answers. Not enough questions from the Obama administration.
THAT means that they acknowledge that the leak is greater than 53K bbl/day. THAT means that they've measured the flow and have known, probably since day 1, the day to day flow rate.
BP, which said that further enhancements will increase the collection capacity to as high as 80,000 barrels a day by mid-July, submitted its latest plan after Watson, the federal government's second-in-command for the spill response, told the company Friday its previous plan didn't meet the bill and gave BP a 48-hour deadline to come up with a revised scheme.
THAT means that they think the leak is greater than 53K bbl/day, and maybe up to 80K bbl/day, which would be in line with what a lot of other people in the business are saying.
After all, I think it was in 2008 that they bragged about their new flow rate measuring ability (you can Google that).
My source inside BP also tells me that there is considerable likelihood that the gas explosion that led to the sinking of the Transocean's Deepwater Horizon drilling rig probably, like air in water pipes, probably shocked and damaged the well casing. In addition, as oil combined with mud rushes through the casing, with pockets of gas sending additional shocks to the casing system, it is likely that further erosion of the casing's structural integrity will occur. This could lead to a total breakdown of the connection of the casing to the BOP at the top, which would lead to an increas in oil flow from the 80-100,000 barrels per day most scientists estimate to 600,000 barrels a day. If the last ditch effort using the pair of deep alternate wells fails to stop the gusher, it is HIGHLY likely that this breakdown of the casing will eventually happen. That's why it's so important to drill additional wells to take pressure off the system, though even that idea is highly speculative.