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Atomic Bomb proposal for Gulf of Mexico blow out well a very bad idea for many reasons, by Geologist Chris Landau

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What people do not understand in oil and gas drilling is that less than 5% of the world's wells are high pressure oil and gas wells. I want to stress here, that I do not mean great depth wells, in sea water. There are places in California, on land, where new mudlogging geologists would not be sent until they understood about high pressure oil zones. It is a dangerous game drilling into high pressure oil and gas zones because you risk having a blowout if your mud weight is not heavy enough. If you weight up your mud with barium sulfate to a very high level, you risk blowing out the formation. What does that mean? It means you crack the rock deep underground and as the mudweight is now denser than the rock it escapes into the rock in the pore spaces and the fractures. The well empties of mud. If you have not hit high pressure oil or gas at this stage, you are lucky. If you have the oil and gas comes roaring out and you have a blowout, because you have no mud in the well to suppress the oil and gas. You shut down the well with the blowout preventer. If you do not have a blowout preventer, you hope that the oil and gas pressure will naturally fall off with time, otherwise you have to try and put a new blowout preventer in place with oil and gas coming out.

I saw the strain on many company men's faces and those of the mudmen who were responsible for keeping that fine balance between mudweight and not blowing out the formation when I logged in high pressure zones.

THEY WOULD ASK TO BE NOTIFIED IMMEDIATELY THE BACKGROUND GAS UNITS WENT ABOVE 50 UNITS OF GAS OR 1% GAS WHILE DRILLING. Geologists were responsible for logging the geology but more important was watching the background gas, so they could weight up the mud and prevent a blowout. When mud began to flow back out the well under pressure from deep underground, you knew you were losing that well and you would probably have to shut that well down with the blowout preventer and spend weeks getting cement into the well and basically write off the well. The investors who put up the money for the drilling would then be asked to pay more money in for a non functional well

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Let us say whoever worked on that well from the geologist to the mudmen to the drilling contractors to the company man to geophysicists who sited the well, their reputation was mud.

Personal history on one blowout well near Sacramento California in 2006.

I was responsible for preventing a blowout just south of Sacramento at 11500 feet when the well began to flow. The company man was an arrogant man and would not believe our instruments for measuring the gas pressures during drilling and therefore would not weight up the mud. I called the offsite petro-engineer to get him to take control away from the company man. I was kicked off the site. The well began to flow and the blowout preventers were actuated to shut down the well. They lost the most productive zone of the well because of the great pressure and only saved the top 8000 feet because it was already cased with steel. It took many weeks to get the well under control. The investors had to pay in more money. I do not know if they ever made a profit, but I think they did, probably after 6 months to a year. Normally you will pay off a land well's cost within two months from the oil and gas flows. That means you have paid off at least $5 million dollars in 2 months and then it is all profit as long as the well keeps producing. It is not surprising that the world is greedy, mad and blind. How can you get the oil companies to convert to solar? Where's the profit?

High PRESSURE wells are not the norm, like this Gulf of Mexico BP one. It is very dangerous and although the rewards are higher, nobody likes working on them. The investors do not care as long as they make a profit.

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The company knows the risks and is prepared to sacrifice people and the environment. After all money is money. There are always more people and the environment is the responsibility of somebody else. NO OIL COMPANY CARES ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT. If they did, they would not be in this business. There is no such thing as clean oil. It is all carcinogenic. It is like asking the tobacco companies to care about your health. You can not ask people with no morals to care. It is hard enough for them to manage the façade of caring. They have learned to keep quiet and say nothing. BP gets all the flack. They deserve a great deal, but spare some for two of our other friends. Where are Transocean and Halliburton? I do not see them standing up to shoulder any of the blame. I guess they are lying low, as usual and counting their loot.

Chris Landau (geologist)

June 6 2010

530 751 9829

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I was born in South Africa in 1958. I came to the USA with my wife and three daughters in 2003. We became US citizens in 2009 and 2010. My wife Susan is a Special Education English Teacher. She has a bachelor's degree in Micro anatomy and (more...)

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