Monday, July 19, 2010

"If the reservoir casing is compromised, we’re fucked, end of story"

In case you are wondering what the deal is now with the supposedly contained oil leak in the gulf, and, like a lot of us, can't really find anything concrete in the news today, one of John Cole's followers sums it up pretty well: means that the entire oil reserve's casing might be collapsing. To give you a visual metaphor: they are currently trying to fix the plumbing in the bathroom, maybe stop the shower from leaking. What might be happening now amounts to the huge water main under the house breaking and causing the entire house to sink, bathroom and all.

The problem is that the well is deep underground and under high pressure, so once it springs a leak it just worms its way to the surface through a thousand crevices and makes them bigger and bigger over time. You can't "plug" them because… well, to use another metaphor, imagine you have a garden hose that's blocked by a pillow. Once the water works its way through the pillow and soaks through, you have water leaking from every fiber of the thing, and putting a little rubber patch on any given part of the pillow is really just pointless. This is why the government was worried about capping the well: it amounted to blocking the only escape route for the pressure, thereby forcing out of other little holes in the compromised reservoir, which as I said become bigger and bigger with time.


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