Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Baby rescued from bathwater

A judge has blocked the deepwater drilling ban, which even
though I'm not a fan of judges doing anything other than say
guilty or not guilty, is a good thing. The blanket ban was a bad
idea because waiting six months just kicks the ball down the field
for 6 months, there's not much technology wise that is going to change,
and just deciding to stop drilling in deepwater is bad for everyone
involved (except maybe the pelicans)

I think that bp is guilty of stupidity and their design and operating decisions
probably caused this disaster, so there's some quick fixes that can allow
drilling to continue on most rigs:

- dual shear rams required on every bop
- Before every well is spudded, a joint of drillpipe needs to be sheared. (Before latching onto the wellhead, stop running riser, run drillpipe in the hole and shear off a chunk. repeat each well using the largest diameter drillpipe onboard)
- once per year all bop's tested on the surface. first test must happen within 90 days.
- test closure of bop's using the ROV's (apparently when they tried to close the shear rams after the blowout using the rov's the piping leaked. It was never tested.
- remote acoustic control of bop's required by 2012
- review all well designs so that they conform with standard best practice (it sounds like a lot, but there's only50 rigs drilling in deepwater)
-cement bond logs required over every section with hydrocarbons or with direct annular path to surface. Or just make it every section. Current law requires logs over the entire wellbore, just add a cbl.
- answer is no for all exemptions that are for saving operating time, eg changing riser mud out when the well is still live, using a single casing string instead of a liner with a tieback, etc.

Even if some of these requirements stop drilling for a little while, the current deepwater ban means they want us to wait 6 months while they make this list, then begin compliance with a list that will be similar. Start now. If the well is dead, pull and inspect all bop components and do a full bop test, install redundant shear rams and test their ability to cut drillpipe. If the bop doesn't pass then that rig is banned until it passes.

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