Stopping the Deepwater Horizon Oil Leak

Another Makeshift Bridge Plug self-anchors to the Drill Stem

The premise of this is to have a lower resistance as the device is pushed down the well on the drill stem, then with a rotating motion, increase the surface area of the blockage.  The pressure on each blockage plate will create a torque on each section of pipe over the drill stem, which will anchor the assembly to the drill stem.  Steel wedges can be driven between the pipe sections and the drill stem to reinforce anchoring.

The “lower resistance” is a function of having 7 blockage plates in the “shadow” of the first.  Approximately one eighth of the final blocking surface area faces down the well.

There are simple mechanisms that will lock these in alignment with each other for the insertion, and then allow full rotation so all eight block the flow.

Dual fins behind each plate are required. The drawing shows one for simplicity’s sake.

The load experienced is spread across all eight pieces and in eight sections of the drill stem.

If you don’t think this will anchor to the drill stem, go to a gym, and put  a flat-surfaced 25 pound Olympic weight on an Olympic bar, and try to pull it off using one hand on one edge.  The torque and the square angle (90 degree) and the diameter prevent it.

Click on the image to enlarge it.

Oil Well flow-reducing apparatus to attach to drill stem

Push assemblies into place with a pipe over drill stem, rotate to fully deploy and reduce crude flow rate

The challenge will be getting this on the drill stem with 60,000 barrels a day of oil coming out of the top of the well.   This can be overcome by diverting the oil away from the center of the remaining riser pipe with temporary inverse-cone-shaped steel sections.

A clean cut with the diamond band saw is now possible since the weight of the bent riser pipe is no longer a factor.  Evidently the people directing the cut never took a chainsaw to a large tree… of course it was going to bind the way they cut it!

I have a feeling this is all just wasted yelling in the wind of a hurricane, but I had to get this out.  That we all seem to be forced to wait for the holy-crap-hail-mary-long-odds directionally drilled relief well is driving me insane.

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Deepwater Horizon Oil Leak Flow reducing apparatus

These are a couple of quick drawings of the drill-stem attached flow reducing mechanism I discussed on Grist.org.  Successively larger versions would be sent down well to reduce the flow for an eventual top kill.

The force experienced by these drill stem attachments will manageable by the components as they are not subjected to the full force of the flow since each attachment is only meant to restrict the flow partially.

The force is equal to the pressure times the surface area of the attachment.  These can be estimated to ensure the cam axis shafts and assembly won’t shear or disintegrate.

The cams can plate steel cut by a laser (very easily… I know a shop) and built up by lamination, bolting and /or welding together as many layers as required to attain required thickness.

deepwater horizon oil spill solution-drill stem device

The following is the front view.. or the view from the bottom of the well looking up the drill stem shaft. Since I’m currently handicapped by only having Visio to draw, it’s all square. It could be a cylindrical assembly. It would be August before I finished drawing it…. Regardless, the first of a few of these pushed deep into the well will be the smallest, followed by successively larger ones to block more and more of the diameter of the casing, reducing flow enough for a successful top kill.
drill stem attachment for BP gulf oil leak solution

This is extremely simple. It can be made quickly, and unless the drill stem has protrusions I don’t know about, can be implemented quickly.

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Plugging the Deepwater Horizon Leak-New Perspective

I’ve been a small part of a discussion on Grist.com regarding solutions for stopping the Deepwater Horizon oil leak.

I’m going to re-post the solution contained in my latest comment regarding a solution to reduce the flow enough to allow a top kill process to work:

First, a few questions… the answers either make the ideas that follow ridiculous or elegantly simple and very effective:

Is is safe to assume the drill head is stuck in rock below the bottom of the casing?  Wouldn’t that make an ideal “anchor” for a gradually-introduced mechanical block (explained shortly)?

Does the relief well solution or directional bore that would be used to kill the well require the drill stem be removed?

How is the drill stem assembled?  Threaded sections?  Pins? What is a typical drill stem diameter compared to the casing over the depth of the well? Would a properly sized pipe be able to fit over the drill stem and make it all the way to the bottom?

The following I like better for the mechanical blockage aspect and it involves a series of simple self-capturing/anchoring devices on pipes put on the drill stem then pushed to the bottom of the casing to GRADUALLY reduce the effective diameter of the well bore, or increase the effective diameter of the drill stem, whichever your perspective.

The self-anchoring device would use properly sized cams not unlike the small ones used in a plumber’s wrench.  A steel frame would hold three of these so they could be pushed down the length of the drill stem.  Any reverse motion would force them to grip the drill stem via their cam shape. The force of the crude pushing against them would reinforce their self-anchoring action. (steel “chinese handcuffs”)

Keeping the profile small enough to incur forces each assembly can handle is important.  They’d have to start small, and be left at the “right” depth, the “pusher pipe” removed for the next one, which would be slightly larger.  Reducing the flow rate would allow for gradual buildup via increasingly larger drill stem “sleeves” equipped with similar self-anchoring devices.  The larger surface area of the sleeve pipes would add to the forces experienced by the anchoring mechanisms, so flow would have to be reduced first, I think.  Then, with flow greatly reduced, a top kill effort through the BOP would be efffective.

Anchoring to the drill stem would help avoid some dangerous forces on a suspect casing.

The shafts through the cams have to be a large enough diameter to resist shearing during self-anchoring action. The drill stem “ring” with these cams could have several more to distribute the load, but this would work against the assembly should it get hit by a rock on the way out of the well.  It’s been 25+ years since I did a differential (or closer to 29 years since Nature of Engineering Materials labs), so I’d only have wild-assed guesses at the appropriate sizes.

With the forces being equal to the pressure times the effective surface area, the required load carrying capability of each cam axis be calculated.

The other idea I had may have already been thought of and dismissed: Feed two or three pipes down the casing alongside the drill stem (think of a golf bag with indidual club sleeves to picture this) to the bottom, pump mud straight to the bottom of the well. To not increase pressure at a dangerous rate, this may require oil being able to rise in these pipes as they are built and inserted… messy, but at the surface. Viscosity and diameter are issues as well as being able to pump appreciable volumes over the smaller diameter through the 3-5 mile pipe(s).

I just can’t see how even intercepting the the well a mile below the surface would allow for a “top kill” with mud with the well so open on top.

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Deepwater Horizon Oil Leak Repair Parts

1. Cut a slot in the riser pipe with circular saw
2. Slowly insert steel plate to gradually block most of the bore, slowing crude flow rate, gradually building backpressure.
3. With flow rate throttled down, do a successful top kill

Minor modification of a grapple like one below could attach an apparatus that could insert a steel plate into the riser pipe. The grapple is needed to anchor the operation.

Grapples to grab the riser pipe

Adapt a grapple like one of these Dymax units to include plate insertion device

Thanks to Dymax Inc for posting the pic.

Additional grapples can and should be fixed to riser pipe and chained to weights on ocean floor to provide anchoring support for when pressure builds in the riser pipe so the riser and BOP don’t get pulled off the well casing pipes.

With a steady and slow decrease of diameter, the pressure will build…

With a decrease in flow rate, all the drilling mud will not get “washed” out.

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How to plug the Deepwater Horizon Leak 2

Since I wrote yesterday, it’s become obvious they have the necessary sawblade at the bottom of the Gulf. Now it is stuck… This may be a good thing for now.

The leak can be greatly reduced by the simplest action…
1. cut slot in riser pipe.
2. insert steel plate, greatly reducing diameter of pipe open to the ocean.
3. The velocity of escaping crude will be greatly diminished.
4. NOW do the Top Kill. With the flow reduced, the injected mud and junk has a chance to form a solid blockage.

I’ll update with a diagram on how to reinforce a steel plate flow restrictor.

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