Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. Will Gold Price Breakout? 3 Things to Watch… - Jordan_Roy_Byrne
2.China Invades Saudi Oil Realm: PetroDollar Kill - Jim_Willie_CB
3.Bitcoin Price Trend Forecast, Paypal FUD Fake Cryptocurrency Warning - Nadeem_Walayat
4.The Stock Market Trend is Your Friend ’til the Very End - Rambus_Chartology
5.This Isn’t Your Grandfather’s (1960s) Inflation Scare - F_F_Wiley
6.GDX Gold Mining Stocks Fundamentals - Zeal_LLC
7.US Housing Real Estate Market and Banking Pressures Are Building - Chris_Vermeulen
8.Return of Stock Market Volatility Amidst Political Chaos and Uncertain Economy - Buildadv
9.Can Bitcoin Price Rally Continue After Paypal Fake FUD Attack? - Nadeem_Walayat
10.Warning Economic Implosion on the Horizon - Chris_Vermeulen
Last 7 days
Russia Buys 300,000 Ounces Of Gold In March – Nears 2,000 Tons In Gold Reserves - 24th Apr 18
Stock Market Study Shows Why You Shouldn’t “Sell in May and Go Away” - 24th Apr 18
CRYPTOCURRENCY MASTERCLASS #CRY90 - 24th Apr 18
UKGC Set to Make Online Gambling Industry More Risk-Free - 24th Apr 18
Chaos Capitalists Short Countries - How Chanos Got China Wrong - 24th Apr
Artificial Intelligence Defines the Political News Narrative - 24th Apr 18
Stock Market "Oops, They Did It Again" - 24th Apr 18
Fox in the Henhouse: Why Interest Rates Are Rising - 23rd Apr 18
Stocks and Bonds, This is Not a Market - 23rd Apr 18
Happy Anniversary Silver Investors! - 23rd Apr 18
The Hottest Commodity Play In 2018 - 23rd Apr 18
Stock Market Correction Turns Consolidation - 23rd Apr 18
Silver Squeeze, Gold Fails & GDX Breadth - 23rd Apr 18
US Economy Is Cooked, the Growth Cycle has Peaked - 23rd Apr 18
Inflation, With a Shelf Life - 23rd Apr 18 - Gary_Tanashian
Stock Market Predictive Modeling Is Calling For A Continued Rally - 22nd Apr 18
SWEATCOIN - Get PAID to WALK! Incentive to Burn Fat and Lose Weight - Review - 22nd Apr 18
Sheffield Local Elections 2018 Forecast Results - 22nd Apr 18
How Long Does it take for a 10%+ Stock Market Correction to Make New Highs - 21st Apr 18
Sheffield Ruling Labour Party Could Lose 10 Council Seats at May Local Elections - 21st Apr 18
Crude Oil Price Trend Forecast - Saudi Arabia $80 ARAMCO Stock IPO Target - 21st Apr 18
Gold Price Nearing Bull Market Breakout, Stocks to Follow - 20th Apr 18
What’s Bitcoin Really Worth? - 20th Apr 18
Stock Market May "Let Go" - 20th Apr 18
Overwhelming Evidence Against Near Stock Market Grand Supercycle Top - 20th Apr 18
Crude Oil Price Trend Forecast - Saudi's Want $100 for ARAMCO Stock IPO - 20th Apr 18
The Incredible Silver Trade – What You Need to Know - 20th Apr 18
Is War "Hell" for the Stock Market? - 19th Apr 18
Palladium Bullion Surges 17% In 9 Days On Russian Supply Concerns - 19th Apr 18
Breadth Study Suggests that Stock Market Bottom is Already In - 19th Apr 18
Allegory Regarding Investment Decisions Made On Basis Of Government’s Income Statement, Balance Sheet - 19th Apr 18
Gold – A Unique Repeat of the 2007 and How to Profit - 19th Apr 18
Abbeydale Park Rise Cherry Tree's in Blossom - Sheffield Street Tree Protests - 19th Apr 18
The Stock Market “Turn of the Month Effect” Exists in 11 of 11 Countries - 18th Apr 18
Winter is Coming - Coming Storms Will Bring Out the Best and Worst in Humanity - 18th Apr 18
What Does it Take to Create Living Wage Jobs? - 18th Apr 18
Gold and Silver Buy Signals - 18th Apr 18
WINTER IS COMING - The Ongoing Fourth Turning Crisis Part2 - 18th Apr 18
A Stock Market Rally on Low Volume is NOT Bearish - 17th Apr 18
Three Gold Charts, One Big Gold Stocks Opportunity - 17th Apr 18
Crude Oil Price As Bullish as it Seems? - 17th Apr 18
A Good Time to Buy Facebook? - 17th Apr 18
THE Financial Crisis Acronym of 2008 is Sounding Another Alarm - 16th Apr 18
Bombs, Missiles and War – What to Expect Next from the Stock Market - 16th Apr 18
Global Debt Bubble Hits New All Time High – One Quadrillion Reasons To Buy Gold - 16th Apr 18
Will Bitcoin Ever Recover? - 16th Apr 18
Stock Market Futures Bounce, But Stopped at Trendline - 16th Apr 18
How To Profit As Oil Prices Explode - 16th Apr 18
Junior Mining Stocks are Close to Breaking Downtrend - 16th Apr 18
Look Inside a Caravan at UK Holiday Park for Summer 2018 - Hoseasons Cayton Bay Sea Side - 16th Apr 18
Stock Market More Weakness? How Much? - 15th Apr 18
Time for the Gold Bulls to Show their Mettle - 15th Apr 18
Trading Markets Amid Sound of Wars - 15th Apr 18
Sugar Commodity Buying Levels Analysis - 14th Apr 18
The Oil Trade May Be Coming Alive - 14th Apr 18

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

Trading Lessons

BP Gulf Relief Oil Wells Nightmare Scenario

Companies / Oil Companies Jul 14, 2010 - 08:08 AM GMT

By: Money_Morning

Companies

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleKent Moors, Ph.D. writes: Although the global energy sector is entering its most-promising stretch in decades - with more new technologies and more investment opportunities than ever before - I just can't seem to get away from BP PLC (NYSE ADR: BP) and its problems.


Take last Thursday, for instance. I began the day at FOX Business News, where the interviewer wanted me to explain what will happen if the BP relief wells fail. Then I spent an hour as the guest on a radio talk show from Johannesburg, South Africa, detailing what options are available to BP. Later still, I served as a consultant to a Wall Street investment crew - via conference call - once again on the status of the BP relief wells.

The BP relief wells are right now the dominant topic on everyone's mind. But there are two potential scenarios - of "nightmare proportions" - that investors need to know about.

Let me explain...

Problem No. 1: The Armageddon Scenario
Although news on BP's early success with a new oil-well cap really helped fuel investor optimism yesterday (Tuesday), the reality is that two other potential problems are unfolding.

And both will certainly affect how you invest in the oil sector.

In the days and weeks to come, the question that will dominate headlines is a simple one: Will the BP relief wells succeed?

I'm still giving the company no better than a 50-50 chance.

Surprised? Don't be. Take a step back and really think about what BP needs to do.

The bottom of the production casing (what's left of it) for the blown Macondo-1 Well is 18,360 feet down - about 5,000 feet of water followed by 13,000 feet of seabed below. The relief wells are going to intersect the current pipe at about 17,500 feet down. The idea is to interrupt the oil flow and then stop the leak by pushing down a considerable amount of drilling mud and fluid. This is called a "dynamic kill." It is not intended to stabilize the well for later production - it's intended to end it for good.

But this outcome is hardly a certainty. To put it in perspective, BP needs to drill down three miles - having to do so blind for the more than 70% of the operation that is below the seafloor - while hitting, at the correct angle, a target no bigger than a salad plate .

What if the leak cannot be plugged?

The relief wells may still siphon off some of the oil flow, but the leak will continue for quite some time.

The legendary oil firefighter Red Adair gave a series of lectures in Scotland, just as deepwater drilling was beginning in the North Sea some 30 years ago. Somebody asked him then the same question people ask me today: What happens if a relief well cannot stop a blowout?

His answer was direct: Nature will ultimately decline the pressure of the leak to a point at which the well can be capped. However, he added, that would take about three years.

Now here's my answer. Based on flow rate and initial BP production estimates, my current projection holds that, should the relief wells fail, a 1,015-day continuous flow awaits before the blowout suffers a natural death. That's about two years and nine months of spilling oil.

Additional relief wells would certainly be attempted in the interim. But each attempt would take two months or more.

Keep in mind, this is all dependent on whether the structure remains intact. And this introduces what is beginning to worry me more and more with each passing day.

I call it the "Armageddon Scenario."

We can see in the video feeds that the blowout preventer (BOP) is intact. It sits on top of the wellhead. The leak comes from the place where the connection between the BOP and the riser pipeline used to be.

What we cannot see is the stability of the production casing below the wellhead. We don't even know how much of that casing remains intact. The increasing oil flow over the past few weeks may provide some concerns about the continuing integrity of the well structure below the surface. If it begins to concave, the pressure will cause it to rupture, with debris and an accelerating oil flow moving into what is already a compromised annulus (the space between pipe and borehole surface) filled with cement. We already know the cement has fissures - that seems to be how the gas bubble reached the surface to cause the initial explosion back on April 20th.

Ruptured casing would cause the collapse of the surrounding ground, producing an implosion, a widening sinkhole, and a rapid rush of oil up to the surface.

Estimates now put the oil flow at as much as 80,000 barrels a day - including the volume being captured by BP. In my "Armageddon Scenario," that figure would immediately double or even triple. And any attempt to combat that kind of spill, either on the surface or at the shoreline, would be futile and pointless.

Let's hope that doesn't happen.

Problem No. 2: A Severe Global Oil Shortage
Even if the production casing remains intact, and Armageddon is avoided, there is another major difficulty coming into focus.

All indications point toward deepwater drilling as the source for a rising amount of crude oil needed internationally. This is the reason companies are assuming the great risk and expense of drilling considerably offshore - because that's where you find most of the major fields left undiscovered. The only net additions to U.S. production through 2015 were to come from deepwater drilling (800 to 1,200 feet) in the Gulf of Mexico. Worldwide, it was expected to accelerate - off of Brazil, Vietnam, Nigeria, Ghana, Russia, and a number of other locations. In five years, deepwater drilling was to have made up 10% to 12% of all global production.

And now, this is where the oil market impact of the Macondo blowout could have its most serious effect.

We are slowly moving out of a financial crisis that significantly cut oil demand. As the economic situation stabilizes, that demand will begin to return. It has already begun in a number of regions.

Total present worldwide crude supply tops out at about 91 million barrels a day (mbd), counting all of the Saudi spare capacity. Current demand is about 86.5 mbd - and rising.

Increased volume from deepwater drilling is an essential part of bringing additional supply online to meet that increasing demand. (Remember, the decline in demand resulted only from an international financial crisis. Not a sudden change in the oil market itself.) The collapse in oil prices in the fourth quarter of 2008, and their leveling off in the first quarter of 2009 - a period of less than six months - actually resulted in delaying new drilling by as much as two years.

Now, as demand levels surge, supply is questionable. That magnifies the problem from the BP spill. It is not the volume lost from that well alone. Rather, as the Macondo experience causes a rethinking of deepwater-drilling-production plans, the tragedy may result in the loss of a far greater volume of supply from elsewhere around the world.

With the demand-supply balance becoming a concern, another BP failure - this time at capping the well - would have widespread impact. And none of it will either lower prices or increase the available oil.

Against my better judgment ... all this leaves me with no choice but to root for BP.

[Editor's Note: Dr. Kent Moors, a regular contributor to Money Morning , is the editor of "The Oil & Energy Investor," a newsletter for individual investors. In a career that spans 31 years, Dr. Moors has been consulting the energy industry's biggest players, including six of the world's Top 10 oil companies and the leading natural gas producers throughout Russia, the Caspian Basin, the Persian Gulf and North Africa. His experiences - as well as his unrivaled industry access, contacts and insights - will serve as the foundation for the Energy Advantage, an advisory service that debuts this week. For more information on that service, please click here.]

Source : http://moneymorning.com/2010/07/14/bp-relief-wells/

Money Morning/The Money Map Report

©2010 Monument Street Publishing. All Rights Reserved. Protected by copyright laws of the United States and international treaties. Any reproduction, copying, or redistribution (electronic or otherwise, including on the world wide web), of content from this website, in whole or in part, is strictly prohibited without the express written permission of Monument Street Publishing. 105 West Monument Street, Baltimore MD 21201, Email: customerservice@moneymorning.com

Disclaimer: Nothing published by Money Morning should be considered personalized investment advice. Although our employees may answer your general customer service questions, they are not licensed under securities laws to address your particular investment situation. No communication by our employees to you should be deemed as personalized investent advice. We expressly forbid our writers from having a financial interest in any security recommended to our readers. All of our employees and agents must wait 24 hours after on-line publication, or 72 hours after the mailing of printed-only publication prior to following an initial recommendation. Any investments recommended by Money Morning should be made only after consulting with your investment advisor and only after reviewing the prospectus or financial statements of the company.

Money Morning Archive

© 2005-2018 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Comments

justmeint
17 Jul 10, 01:40
Judas Money now?

And if the caps holds and the cleanup can really get underway ... what then?

It is reported that scientists are being offered $250.00 per hour by BP, if they will simply sign on the dotted line, and keep silent about their work and findings for at least the next three years. Traitor? such a strong word "Judas" .... you choose....

http://just-me-in-t.blogspot.com/2010/07/judas-money-sign-on-dotted-line.html


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

6 Critical Money Making Rules