And why so gratuitously offensive about our honest …

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

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.

newsroom also commented

  • 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.
  • 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

  • On nationalism
    If you’re referring to the author of the letter, you demonstrate the process he is talking about.
    If you’re talking about the author of the article, myself – I am a rationalist, not a nationalist. The two are not compatible.
    Lynda
  • On nationalism
    It has to be doubtful that the egg-lobbers of Kirkcaldy see: ‘a Yes vote about trying to protect what is left of the values and institutions that many of us used to think of as being British’.
    There is though a very challenging play by the Irish playwright,Tom KIlroy – Double Cross.
    This identifies the double-jeopardy of empire as being that a state newly emerged from empire into independence and forming its own identity, has no template other than empire – and so ‘creates’ itself in the image of its former imperial principal.
    What you are saying here carries all of the symptoms of that particular double cross.
    How can you know that there never was a better way of doing any of the British things you claim, bizarrely, that a ‘Yes’ vote is designed to preserve? [And the notion that the proposed new Scotland is conceived of as a place of sanctuary for the repository of the sacred artefacts of the Union you would destroy is the laugh of the campaign.]
    The NHS, for example, is now a sacred cow by default. It would be a positive advantage to be free to start again in defining, shaping and delivering a national health service free at the point of delivery.
    Your stance would be more worthy of respect had you shown an independence of mind that is willing to think newly.
    It is also noticeable that you choose the soft option of engaging with the patently honest letter – from the already paralysed victim of the action you support Scotland to take; and that you are sufficiently arrogant to assume that your own idealism is in some way ‘better’ than his?.
    You fail to engage with the major issues of the Achilles heels of nationalism – its chauvinism, its utopianism and its incipient racism.
    And by the way, the federation that the United Kingdom should move to become and which would without doubt be the most popular option of all – cross-party and across the Union – would not be a ‘unitary state’.
  • On nationalism
    ‘we ourselves’ and ‘ourselves alone’ have the same connotation of comfort in separateness.
  • Jim Murphy hit by eggs in Kirkcaldy
    On a point of fact: the ‘Seagull Whisperer’ at Mr Murphy’s Oban street session was not an apocryphal incident. We were there. We have the photographs. We christened him. His powers were mesmeric.
  • Indy, the banks and the Scottish economy
    About 20 months ago, Alastair Darling who was Chancellor at the time of the major period of meltdown in the financial sector in the Autumn of 2008 gave this first hand insight on his experience of the recapitalisation of RBS: ‘All I can tell you is that, on the night of 7 [October] 2008, no one at all anywhere in the world rushed to chip in to bail out RBS, despite the fact that it had a very large trading arm in the United States and many of the losses that it made were there.
    ‘Obviously the US Fed was immensely helpful in terms of liquidity support and tiding over;it kept RBS going for a whole afternoon when it got into trouble on that Tuesday.
    ‘When it came to recapitalisation, though — I think that the recapitalisation figure is about 30 percent of Scottish GDP — there was no one queuing up to do it. As Mervyn King said, these banks are global in life but national in death.’

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10 Responses to And why so gratuitously offensive about our honest …

  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 . . .

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  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.

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  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.

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