[Marxism] More Than 27, 000 Abandoned Wells in Gulf - "like dormant volcanoes"
dmozart1756 at gmail.com
Wed Jul 7 08:58:33 MDT 2010
> Jeff Donn and Mitch Weiss --
> (July 7) -- More than 27,000 abandoned oil and gas wells lurk in the hard
> rock beneath the Gulf of Mexico, an environmental minefield that has been
> ignored for decades. No one - not industry, not government - is checking to
> see if they are leaking, an Associated Press investigation shows.
> The oldest of these wells were abandoned in the late 1940s, raising the
> prospect that many deteriorating sealing jobs are already failing.
> The AP investigation uncovered particular concern with 3,500 of the
> neglected wells - those characterized in federal government records as
> "temporarily abandoned."
> Regulations for temporarily abandoned wells require oil companies to
> present plans to reuse or permanently plug such wells within a year, but the
> AP found that the rule is routinely circumvented, and that more than 1,000
> wells have lingered in that unfinished condition for more than a decade.
> About three-quarters of temporarily abandoned wells have been left in that
> status for more than a year, and many since the 1950s and 1960s - eveb
> though sealing procedures for temporary abandonment are not as stringent as
> those for permanent closures.
> As a forceful reminder of the potential harm, the well beneath BP's
> Deepwater Horizon rig was being sealed with cement for temporary abandonment
> when it blew April 20, leading to one of the worst environmental disasters
> in the nation's history. BP alone has abandoned about 600 wells in the Gulf,
> according to government data.
> There's ample reason for worry about all permanently and temporarily
> abandoned wells - history shows that at least on land, they often leak.
> Wells are sealed underwater much as they are on land. And wells on land and
> in water face similar risk of failure. Plus, records reviewed by the AP show
> that some offshore wells have failed.
> Experts say such wells can repressurize, much like a dormant volcano can
> awaken. And years of exposure to sea water and underground pressure can
> cause cementing and piping to corrode and weaken.
> "You can have changing geological conditions where a well could be
> repressurized," said Andy Radford, a petroleum engineer for the American
> Petroleum Institute trade group.
> Whether a well is permanently or temporarily abandoned, improperly applied
> or aging cement can crack or shrink, independent petroleum engineers say.
> "It ages, just like it does on buildings and highways," said Roger Anderson,
> a Columbia University petroleum geophysicist who has conducted research on
> commercial wells.
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