The real Gulf of Mexico and BP oil crsis could be peak oil production which maybe starting to rear it’s head at BP’s Thunder Horse oil platform that was supposed to extract a billion barrels of oil at a rate of 250,000 barrels a day.
Oil production at the Gulf’s Thunder Horse began in May 2008 and by the end of 2008 had reached 170,000 barrels per day. Then something unexpected happened, instead of oil production increasing to the rated 250,000 barrels daily, oil production began to drop at 2 to 3 percent each month so by the end of 2009 production was down to 60 or 70,000 barrels per day.
As BP is under no obligation to tell us what is going on at the Thunder Horse oil well, little news other than mandatory federal production reports have been released.
Meanwhile, geologists and petroleum engineers are now debating the worst case scenario at the doomed Gulf Deepwater Horizon oil spill amid growing evidence that the well’s casings beneath the ocean floor have been irreversibly damaged, possibly to such an extent that it may be impossible to cap the well.
Weakened sand and salt layers above the reservoir could simply collapse, turning a wide area of the outer continental shelf sea floor into an underwater sinkhole that could bleed 2 billion to 3 billion barrels of oil into Gulf of Mexico waters.
In addition, seismic shock tremors could roll in all directions for miles, with an unknown effect on other nearby oil fields, including BP’s Thunder Horse oil field located 15 miles south-southeast of the blowout.
Bill Clinton is the latest big name to weigh in on how to best manage the Deepwater oil spill. The former president said it “may become necessary” for the Navy to use explosives on the seafloor in order to stop the spill.
However many experts believe that if you set off a large explosion at the wellhead, you would somply produce a crater in the seabed, with a ragged piece of the casing projecting from the crater bottom, gushing oil at at at least as high a rate as it is now. Peak oil in the Gulf of Mexico any time soon?