Around the world:
800,000 oil wells
3000 oil rigs on the water
Larry King Live: Jeff Probst, Bill Nye (The Science Guy), Prof Steve Wereley, Purdue University
They finally found someone not affiliated with oil to look at the video and make an unbiased estimate of the flow rate.
STEVE WERELEY, Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University looked at the video and estimated the flow to be 70K barrels/day (plus/minus 14K) not 5K as estimated by BP.
Had the video been released immediately, the numbers would have been obvious as they were to anyone who saw the gas and oil gushing out, which is why it wasn’t released.
And where was the media?
It took until Day 21 (May 11) for BP to release the first video.
And where was barry’s environmental czar or whatever?
Why isn’t the media asking themselves what they haven’t done and what barry’s administration failed to do.
I guess the real question is why does anyone in America believe the press is doing anything about anything remotely related to barry’s watch.
Can’t find Larry King video but here’s Prof Wereley speaking with the BBC. Starts at (2:30)
Pertinent Larry King TRANSCRIPT FOLLOWS
“The Science Guy” BILL NYE, MECHANICAL ENGINEER: Not right now, not one this big and I think it’s from traditions. That is to say in the oil field, there are about 800,000 oil wells around the world. There are about 3,000 oil rigs out at sea and when something goes wrong on land, you have a gusher, a big problem, you enclose it. You put a fence around it. You sweep it up. You pour cement on it. You get the thing to stop. But at the bottom of the ocean is really difficult.
PROBST: Are they doing the right things?
NYE: I guess so. But the problem is it’s a very corrosive environment. You have literally in many cases, sulfuric acid coming out and the sea water is very cold, the oil is very hot. Everything has to be very precisely aligned. They’re going to try to put this pipe within a pipe?
It’s a difficult business and then what happened they put the dome over it. The dome kind of looks like a house. I didn’t think of that. The bubbles of methane gas turned into this stuff we call clath rates, or this ice crystal. It’s a water — it’s one molecule of methane, natural gas enclosed in a few molecules of water. And it plugged up the pipe. And with experience, that wouldn’t happen. But they have never tried it like this before.
PROBST: And does it surprise you that they have not tried that before, knowing this is a possibility?
NYE: Well, it surprised me a little bit. Here is the problem in my opinion. Everybody uses the expression fail-safe.
PROBST: We talked about it earlier.
NYE: Yes, exactly. But these systems in oil wells are really not fail-safe. If things go wrong, you can turn them off. There are systems to shut a valve, a big valve. Even if the drill stream is solid steel rod is still in there, it will cut through it and shut it off. But you have to activate it. You have to turn it on to do that. It doesn’t happen on its own. And so it’s not –
PROBST: So it’s not like a train where if the conductor goes down, everything shuts down.
NYE: That’s right, the so called dead man pedal. In this case, in congressional testimony they said if the battery is dead, the dead man pedal, the dead man system doesn’t work. It’s not quite the same.
PROBST: Steve, you’re a flow measurement expert. We’ve been talking about it. Everybody is talking about it. What is your take on how much oil is actually leaking out?
STEVE WERELEY, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, MECHANICAL ENGINEERING, PURDUE UNIVERSITY:
Well, so when the video was released two days ago of the oil and gas poring forth from the pipe in the bottom of the gulf, I tried my advanced analysis techniques on it. A technique called particle image velocimetry and I was able to calculate 70,000 barrels a day are leaking into the gulf.
PROBST: So Steve, obviously — BP now says 5,000. That’s a huge discrepancy. So are you suggesting that they don’t know what they’re doing? Or you have two very different opinions? Or maybe they’re not being as forthcoming for obvious reasons?
WERELEY: Well, I have seen the description of BP’s number and their methodology isn’t clear. So I can’t really say one way or the other that their number is wrong. But I can say — one thing that I can say for sure, I’m looking at a snapshot in time.
This 30-second snapshot of this video that they posted and during that 30-second time period, I see a flow rate of 70,000 barrels a day, plus or minus 14. So it could be as low as 56 or as high as 84. But I’m quite confident. I’ve been doing this for almost 20 years. And I’m quite confident the correct number is in that range.
PROBST: And they’re saying also there is a mixture of gas in there. Could that be? Can you tell the difference in looking at the video?
WERELEY: Sure. Yes, if you look at the video, I don’t know if you can run it for — on the show.
PROBST: It’s running.
WERELEY: OK, the first six seconds of the video, there is a lot of white material coming out of the end of the pipe, and that is the gas. In fact, you can see it float upwards in the video. Quite a bit more rapidly than the oil does.
PROBST: And then it turns dark.
WERELEY: Right, and that’s the oil. Toward the end of the video. I based my analysis — yes, go ahead.
PROBST: Well, I mean, as another engineer, you trace a particle, then, and you have software that measures how fast it’s going?
WERELEY: Exactly. The name of the technique is called particle image velocimetry, and basically that means measuring the velocity of the fluid based on a particle’s motion. So typically, the way that this would be done in a laboratory setting is you would have — you would either put small particles into the flow, or you would have some small particles that lap to be there, and you would track how those move.
Now, I can’t do exactly that with the video, because the oil is opaque. So I can’t see into the oil. But what I can see, and what any viewer can see, when you look at the video, you can track these clouds and different features within the cloud of oil that is coming out of the end of the pipe.
A viewer at home can do this. You can look from one frame to the next you see a little glob, let’s say some sort of little feature on the video, you can track from one frame to the next and see how far that moves in how long a time.
PROBST: Steve, I’m going to interrupt. Bill, what happens briefly for a laymen like me, what is happening with cold water and oil? How does that impact this?
NYE: Well, I think — let me back up one. The estimate of 5,000 barrels a day. I think came from the EPA using satellites. And then I suspect people at BP said oh, yes, 5,000, that’s about right. But here Professor Wereley’s got it much more accurate when they finally release the video.
WERELEY: Yes, I heard the same history, Bill.