Wednesday, 16 March 2011

What is an Oil Blowout?

By James Witherspoon
Because of the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, public interest has recently turned to blowouts. Most people realize that these unwanted and downright dangerous side-effects of oil exploration and production can be incredibly devastating, but many don't realize what causes them or the environmental factors which contribute to them. Below is a brief explanation of how these cataclysmic events occur.
How it Happens
Drilling for oil can be a very difficult process, because the pressures of the fluids coming up the well must be balanced with pressures of fluids being pumped down the well. If these forces are not balanced, a "kick" can develop. Simply put, a kick is an intense amount of hydrostatic pressure that travels up the drill pipe. Mechanical barriers called "Blowout Preventers" or "BOPs" are used to shut down the well and prevent this pressure from making it all the way up to a well; if the kick is allowed to progress upstream, a blowout will occur.
These events can result in powerful explosions and spewing crude oil. If the well is located under water, an oil spill may develop, as it did in the Gulf of Mexico disaster.
Before there were expert firefighters and contractors devoted to fighting the fires and other effects of an explosive blowout, gushers would develop from these events. Some of the most famous include:
· The Lucas Gusher, located at the Spindletop field near Beaumont, Texas, is perhaps the single most famous incident. The well blew out in 1901 and gushed about 100,000 barrels a day until it was capped, sparking the Texas boom.
· Masjed Soleiman in Iran in 1908 marked the first large-scale development in the Middle East.
· Daisy Bradford, in 1930, came with the discovery of the East Texas Oil Field, the largest in the continental US.
To learn more about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, please visit the website of the oil spill lawyers of Williams Kherkher.
James Witherspoon
Platinum Quality Author