For Dorrey: Your analysis of the failure of …

Comment posted Continuing gas leak at Elgin platform as deepwater drilling starts west of Shetland by newsroom.

For Dorrey: Your analysis of the failure of the casing of a well is looking very likely, from what we are hearing from industry insiders in Aberdeen on the circumstances in which the leak took place – as a spent well was closed.

newsroom also commented

  • And why so gratuitously offensive about our honest work to research and report?

    We have neither seen nor said that the Elgin platform situation is similar to that of the Deepwater Horizon incident.

    We correctly described this well as deeply drilled – 3 miles below the sea floor – rather than in deep water.

    The point is that gas extracted from these depths is more intensely poisonous because of its proportion of hydrogen sulfide and carbon dioxide.

  • Have just read that H2S is removed from natural gas during the extraction process by being passed through a container of hydrated iron(III) oxide.

    Its appearance on the surface at the Elgin platform would appear to confirm a breach in the pipework bypassing passage through the hydrated iron oxide.

  • H2S is also produced during anaerobic digestion, a process used in the production of biofuel.

Recent comments by newsroom

  • Gigha community ownership on brink of failure
    While noting the continuing ambiguity in your statement – that you had ‘nothing whatsoever to do with the authorship of the final report’, which is not the same thing as having written a part of it, we will nevertheless accept your statement above, while reserving the right to revisit the matter in the future should there be reason to do so.
    We are happy to apologise for any and all of what you assert are inaccuracies.
    We would point out that there is nothing malicious in seeing your status as being capable of a request to write part of so important a document, had you indeed done so; nor do we imagine that you would see an invitation to deliver such work as embarrassing to you or demeaning of you.
  • Gigha community ownership on brink of failure
    You have repeatedly refused to clarify which part of what we said is incorrect.
    The situation therefore remain unclear until you do so.
    We have removed the sentence from the article as you asked.
    All you have to do is simply to say that you wrote no part of the final report issued by the LRRG.
    As we have consistently said,if you do so we will accept that without hesitation.
    And where you point directly, as we have asked you to do, to a specific inaccuracy, such as this, we will be happy to apologise for it.
    At the moment we can have no idea exactly what you would wish us to apologise for.
  • Gigha community ownership on brink of failure
    We have never said that you ‘authored the main text’.
    If you state without equivocation that you did not write any of the final report issued by the LRRG, we will unhesitatingly accept that – as we have already said.
  • Perfect fit in new partnership marketing initiative for Cowal’s Creggans Inn
    Had a grin at your imagineering of ‘a sobering run to Dunoon by HM finest’.
    This sort of occasion is obviously about staying overnight and we had expected that this was central to the marketing strategy – but we will inquire.
  • Gigha community ownership on brink of failure
    [Updated below] A sentence in the opening section of this article has been removed
    Mr Wightman has simply said to us:
    ‘This statement is untrue. Please remove it.’
    So of course we have removed it.
    However, the sentence is actually a multiple statement so, for the record because one issue is important – we have asked Mr Wightman to clarify which of its internal statements is incorrect – or if all of them are:
    ‘Did you write any section or sections or parts of any section or sections of the final LRRG report?
    ‘Is it incorrect to suggest that you were ‘allowed’ to write an element or elements of the report, where, for instance, you may have seen this as a right?
    ‘Is is incorrect to suggest that your authorship of elements of the report was ‘unacknowledged’ where we may have failed to notice such an acknowledgement?
    ‘Is it incorrect that the writing of the report was ‘the formal responsibility of others?’
    For Argyll is aware that sections of the final report of the Land Reform Review Group were indeed written by Advisers to the Review Group rather than, as one is entitled to expect – by the topline membership [albeit a regularly shifting one] of the Review Group itself.
    Our analysis of the language style and content analysis of major elements of the report as being both distinctively different from other sections of the report and arguably authored by Mr Wightman, who was an Adviser to the Review Group.
    The passage on ‘ Statutory limitation on land ownership’ seemed a particularly attributable; and the passage ‘Inheritance rights changed to break up established landholdings’ scored a possible similar authorship.
    These analysis may well have come to the wrong conclusions – and if Mr Wightman assures us that he was not the author of any of the main text of the final LRRG report, we will be glad to accept that without equivocation.
    In our article of May 2014 on that report [http://forargyll.com/2014/05/final-land-reform-report-substantial-challenging-provocative-not-final/], we said:
    ‘The lack of philosophical, conceptual and tonal strategic unity weakens the report. It demonstrates the impact of specific influences pulling aspects of it in different directions – sometimes asymmetrically. There is no evidence of any kind of the necessary final editorship. Responsibility for this must lie with the Group’s chair since its inception, Dr Alison Elliot, former moderator of the Church of Scotland.’
    24.00 update:
    Mr Wightman has refused to clarify his position on any of the questions which, as above, we o]put to him, saying: ‘I have no intention of responding to the range of bizarre and unsubstantiated allegations that you make below.’

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10 Responses to For Dorrey: Your analysis of the failure of …

  1. I wonder if anyone has the information, and expertise, to hazard a guess at the amount of atmospheric damage being caused by this H2S etc. gas leak compared to the amount of atmospheric damage being avoided by the contribution of Scotland’s green energy sector?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Have just read that H2S is removed from natural gas during the extraction process by being passed through a container of hydrated iron(III) oxide.

      Its appearance on the surface at the Elgin platform would appear to confirm a breach in the pipework bypassing passage through the hydrated iron oxide.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. Nope – sorry Newsroom. The H2S is removed by mixing the gas with amine, a liquid chemical, in this case MDEA, and then that sweetens the gas to the required standard. The H2S laden amine then is boiled and this releases the H2S into the flare system, where it is burnt.

    My guess is that the H2S is coming from a well whose casing has failed. These very deep high temperature and high pressure wells were problemmatic in the old days and I believe that well casing failures were common before the oil companies worked out out how to do it. I imagine that the well can be killed by pumping heavy brine down the well and that they are just waiting for the necessary equipment to get out there. Total are just ensuring that they dont get caught out like BP did and are being cautious.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • For Dorrey: Your analysis of the failure of the casing of a well is looking very likely, from what we are hearing from industry insiders in Aberdeen on the circumstances in which the leak took place – as a spent well was closed.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. This from Jake Molloy of the RMT via Reuters:

    People seven miles away can see a gas cloud coming from the Total rig,” said Jake Molloy, the head of the section of the UK union that represents offshore oil and gas workers.

    “The well in question had caused Total some problems for some considerable time … a decision was taken weeks ago to try to kill the well, but then an incident began to develop over the weekend,” he said.

    “Engineers have told me that it is almost certain that gas is leaking directly from the reservoir through the pipe casing,” he said.

    My favourite quote so far is from Total, who said the situation was ‘stable’ – which seems an unusual way to describe an ongoing uncontrolled discharge of highly explosive and poisonous gas . . .

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. As usual a lot of so called “experts” out there who have never seen a rig let alone a H2s gas leak, why not just let Total get on with it and wait for them to give a clear picture when they know more. This rig and platform is nothing like the the Macondo well drilled by Transocean in the Gulf of Mexico and any comparisons to it are purely speculation by people who are only guessing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. @ Geoffh

    Why so scathing of the contributors? Newsroom might not be able to tell a rig floor from a Pizza Hut, but don’t tar everyone with the same brush.

    I have worked on dozens of rigs, jack-ups, semis, platforms, in the N. Sea and elsewhere – including ones where there was an H2S risk. Dorrey also sounds as though he might know a bit what he is talking about. The quote by Jake Molloy was made after he spoke to men who had just flown in from the rig, so I expect some of them knew what was going on. My son is on another Rowan rig not so far away right now.

    There are other regulars on here who have rig experience who may be along later. I don’t think anyone said this was the same type of disaster as the Deepwater Horizon, but it is inevitable that parallels will be drawn.
    It appears that Total had been having trouble with this well for some time. They have now lost control of it. Your faith in them giving us a ‘clear picture’ is touching but may, I fear, be misplaced. They are likely to be just as concerned with minimising the PR damage as they are with regaining control of the well – whcih is not looking like an easy job at the moment.

    Latest news is that a flare has been left burning on the now deserted platform – which seems quite incredible.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • And why so gratuitously offensive about our honest work to research and report?

      We have neither seen nor said that the Elgin platform situation is similar to that of the Deepwater Horizon incident.

      We correctly described this well as deeply drilled – 3 miles below the sea floor – rather than in deep water.

      The point is that gas extracted from these depths is more intensely poisonous because of its proportion of hydrogen sulfide and carbon dioxide.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. Some intelligent reporting and contributors on Newsnicht. There seems to be a general incredulity that the flare on the platform was left burning. With a complete exclusion zone by air and sea it is hard to see how the situation is going to be easily resolved.

    Newsnight’s reporter in Aberdeen rather tellingly said that Total had not been particularly forthcoming and that most of the information had come from other sources.

    Re. comparisons with DWH – the ‘expert’ talking head made the very valid point that we have had all the easy oil and are now operating at the frontiers of our technology.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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