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Reflections on the Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico

Reflections on the Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico


Special Commentator / Chen Xinhua


On April 20, there was a loud bang in the waters of the US Gulf of Mexico, and a BP offshore oil rig exploded, triggering the largest oil spill in history. On June 23, the accident worsened again. The underwater device originally used to control the oil leakage point was dismantled and repaired due to failure. The once suppressed crude oil at the bottom of the well was out of control again and spewed out. The scope of oil pollution in the Gulf of Mexico was further expanded, resulting in the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. It will take several months to close the oil wells after the fire is extinguished, and the clean-up of oil pollution on the sea surface and the purification of sea water will take several years, and the economic losses to the ecological environment of the Gulf of Mexico will reach hundreds of billions of dollars.


On July 8, at the time of writing this article, the US media published the latest report that oil globules from oil leaking wells in the Gulf of Mexico had been discovered on the eastern beaches of Texas. This shows that the oil pollution has been found to span nearly 900 kilometers from Florida in the east to Texas in the west, spreading to all five states along the U.S. Gulf Coast. At present, the oil spill is still invading deep into Louisiana. At the same time, BP announced that the company spent as much as $3.12 billion on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. American public opinion commented that the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was "comparable to the '911'" national disaster.


Looking at the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico with a professional eye, the cause is petroleum technical equipment. Oil technical equipment is also used to control oil spills, seal oil wells, and plug underwater leaks. Oil technical equipment is inseparable from oil pollution and even purification of sea areas. It was the problems that occurred during the use of petroleum technical equipment that led to the biggest environmental disaster in American history, and the final uniform of the environmental disaster had to rely on petroleum technical equipment. In this sense, to draw lessons from experience, the first warning is the petroleum equipment manufacturing industry.


One of the warnings: Cheng ye petroleum technology and equipment, loses petroleum technology equipment. So far, oil exploration and development activities, especially offshore oil operations, have relied on petroleum technology and equipment, and they are also working hard on petroleum technology and equipment. Petroleum technology and equipment can change the face of oil development and push the oil business to the top; it can also destroy the dream of oil development. , pushing the oil business to rock bottom. It can be said that the success of petroleum technology and equipment, the failure of petroleum technology and equipment.


According to reports, the direct cause of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was that the casing of the oil well could not withstand the high pressure down hole, and there were multiple ruptures of. Some public opinion condemned BP Oil Company for blindly pursuing commercial interests and catching up with the progress of work due to the use of immature petroleum technology and equipment.


This incident warns people that without mature, complete and reliable petroleum technical equipment as a guarantee, it is easy to carry out oil deep-sea operations. Once an accident occurs, the loss and harm caused will be irreversible and even fatal.


Before the accident, BP Oil was the most valuable company in Europe, and it was the company's investment in the Gulf of Mexico, which was the offshore business that propelled BP's oil business to the top, BP oil company has drilled one of the world's deepest offshore oil wells (10,700 meters) in the Gulf of Mexico. However, all this is very difficult, but very easy to go. - Overnight, BP oil company fell into a "destroyed disaster". In just over two months, it paid 2.65 billion US dollars just to control oil leakage and build relief wells. As a result, BP's market value quickly evaporated, the loss exceeded $100 billion, and the company's credit rating plummeted.

事故发生前,BP石油公司曾是欧洲市值最高的公司,而支撑其市值登顶的精彩表现,正是该公司在墨西哥湾的投资,正是那里的海上业务将BP的石油事业推向了顶峰,BP石油公司曾在墨西哥湾打出了一口世界上最深的海上油井(10700米)。然而,这一切来得十分艰难,去得却极其容易。 —夜之间,BP石油公司便陷入了“灭顶之灾”,短短两个多月时间,仅控制漏油、修建减压井就付出了26.5亿美元。BP石油公司市值因此迅速蒸发,损失超过了1000亿美元,公司信用评级一落千丈。

According to preliminary estimates, BP will eventually spend $69 billion due to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and has established a $20 billion compensation fund under the supervision of the U.S. government. In order to pay the huge compensation, BP Oil has announced that it will stop paying dividends for three quarters and sell about $10 billion of "non-core" assets. It is reported that the first asset sale is the US$9.1 billion stake in Argentina's Pan American Energy Company under its control. BP Petroleum is currently negotiating this stake sale, and the negotiating party is China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC).

据初步估算,BP石油公司将因墨西哥湾漏油事故最终支出690亿美元,现已在美国政府监督下,建立了200亿美元的赔偿基金。为支付巨额赔偿,BP石油公司已宣布停发三个季度的股息,出售大约100亿美元的“非核心” 资产。据悉,首笔资产出售是其掌控下的阿根廷泛美能源公司91亿美元的股权,目前BP石油公司正就此项股权出售进行谈判,而谈判对方则是中国的海洋石油总公司(CNOOC)。

An old-fashioned oil company that has been stunned by the situation for many years, overnight, due to an accident, fell to the point of "bankruptcy", which is enough to sound the alarm to the global oil industry. From a professional point of view, the most shocking is the petroleum equipment manufacturing industry.


Warning No. 2: The corporate survival rule of environmental protection must not be underestimated. The impact of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico extends beyond the incident itself. Under the background of the era when the deterioration of the earth's environment is increasingly troubling human society and the survival and development of high-carbon oil is facing severe challenges, the occurrence of the accident not only discredited the old oil company BP, but also changed the corporate survival rules and mission from environmental protection. Sense, moral sense "change the oil industry forever".

警示之二:环境保护的企业生存法则,决不可小视。墨西哥湾漏油事故的影响已经超出了事件本身。在地球环境恶化日益困扰人类社会,高碳石油生存和发展面临严峻挑战的时代大背景下,事故的发生,不仅使BP这个老牌石油公司,声誉扫地,而且将从环境保护的企业生存法则和使命感、 道义感上“永远改变石油工业”。

After the accident, the U.S. government immediately announced that it would list the oil spill crisis in the Gulf of Mexico as a national disaster and use all available resources, including national defense resources, to fight the disaster. President Obama visited the site four times to direct the disaster response, announced a six-month moratorium on deep-water oil drilling and exploration in the Gulf of Mexico below sea level of 150 meters, and then extended it to this year, and will consider signing a deep-water oil drilling ban, allowing only oil companies.” Drilling in certain low-risk deep water areas. With the gradual deepening of the degree of land and resource exploration, entering the deep land and ocean has become the main direction of today's American oil industry. However, a sudden oil spill almost interrupted the US government's national policy of developing offshore oil resources.


Faced with the environmental disaster caused by oil, even the world's number one power like the United States feels helpless and exhausted. In Louisiana, the worst-affected state, the coastline has been polluted by oil slicks, and the oil pollution is destroying the coastal ecology. With the advent of the hurricane season, tropical cyclones are likely to carry oil spills and form a more terrifying "black storm" that will spread over the vast land. Environmental pollution will not only wipe out coastal life, destroy fisheries production and fishermen's livelihoods in the southern United States, but also cause the ensuing depression of tourism and shipping.


Looking at the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico before and after, it can make people really feel that the enterprise survival law of environmental protection must not be underestimated, especially the environmental accidents caused by oil, which are often major accidents, which can easily lead to unprecedented events. Environmental disaster. Several oil accidents that have occurred in our country also have the same characteristics. Looking at the oil spill accident in the Gulf of Mexico from the perspective of the enterprise survival law of environmental protection, the petroleum equipment manufacturing industry should learn lessons from the "source", vigorously improve the level of research and development and manufacturing of petroleum equipment, and use mature, complete and reliable petroleum technology and equipment. Control and prevent oil accidents and disasters from the "source".

纵观墨西哥湾漏油事故发生的前前后后,可以使人真切地感到,环境保护的企业生存法则,决不可小视,尤其是石油造成的环境事故,往往都是大事故,动辄便酿成空前的环境灾难。我国曾经出现的几次石油事故,也都具有同样的特点。从环境保护的企业生存法则角度来审视墨西哥湾漏油事故,石油装备制造业更应该从“源头”上汲取经验教训,大力提高石油装备研发制造水平,以成熟、配套、可靠的石油技术装备,从 “源头”上控制和杜绝石油事故和灾难的发生。

Warning No. 3: Deep oil drilling calls for a "sharp weapon" and a "magic weapon" to overcome the strain. The handling of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico can be said to have twists and turns. The ineffective measures to deal with the accident and the "disappointing" petroleum technology and equipment used are the important reasons for the further expansion of the situation and the bad impact.


After the accident, BP Oil Company immediately launched an emergency plan, and adopted the "top off method" to control and eliminate the accident. The principle is to first inject a large amount of high-density liquid into the oil pipeline to suppress the upwelling of crude oil in the well, and then seal the oil leakage point with cement. According to BP Petroleum, the "topping method" is the best way to plug the oil spill. However, the result of the implementation was that "the (oil leakage) flow could not be suppressed continuously". After hearing the news, President Obama said with great disappointment that the failure of the "Extinction Act" was "both infuriating and heartbreaking."


After the failure of the "top-extinguishing method", BP Oil Company prepared another set of plugging solutions, using a robotic submarine to cut off the damaged oil pipeline from the oil leakage point, and then installing a plugging valve above the pipeline to control and block the leakage. Live oil leaks. At that time, some experts reminded that if the pipeline is cut new but the plugging valve is not installed properly or other accidents occur, the amount of oil leakage will increase instead. As expected, the robot failed to go to sea, and the once suppressed crude oil at the bottom of the well was out of control again and spewed out, further expanding the scope of pollution in the Gulf of Mexico.


Throughout the process of dealing with the oil spill, the U.S. Coast Guard and BP Petroleum have claimed that they have adopted five methods of "fixing both the symptoms and the root causes", namely, using reinforced concrete covers and large plastic covers to prevent the spread of oil pollution; spraying chemical "dispersants" Decompose oil pollution; continue to try to close the "blowout preventer" and open pressure relief wells, and make every effort to control the oil spill and the environmental and ecological disaster caused by the "five-pronged approach". Some scientists even proposed to launch a nuclear warhead deep underground, as the former Soviet Union used a nuclear explosion method to successfully subdue a runaway natural gas well, and let the huge nuclear explosion heat melt the surrounding rocks and seal the oil leaking well. However, this controversial "crazy" idea was not adopted.


When all kinds of plugging measures failed, BP Oil Company pinned its last hope in plugging oil leaking wells on relief wells. The first relief well was activated on May 3, and BP claims it is a proven technology to fundamentally stop oil leaks from subsea wells, which they are very familiar with. However, even if this measure is successful, it will take at least three months to take effect, and the US government and the public may not have the patience for three months.


At this moment, how eager BP Petroleum Company is to have a set of "sharp weapons" and "magic weapons" to deal with accidents and overcome emergencies. In the face of the increasingly widespread bottom-hole oil leakage, the strong American oil industry also appears helpless, passive and helpless. In the process of handling the oil spill accident in the Gulf of Mexico, the performance of petroleum technology and equipment has been "disappointing" again and again, and has issued an urgent and deep call to the petroleum equipment manufacturing industry again and again, calling for mature, supporting and reliable deep oil wells. Technical equipment will come out as soon as possible.


This is the call of the oil industry facing the severe challenges of a low-carbon economy.


This is the solemn mission that the times entrusted to the petroleum equipment manufacturing industry!




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Petroleum technical equipment, oil spill control, oil well closure, petroleum equipment manufacturing industry, environmental disasters, down hole blowout preventer, bottom hole crude oil leakage, oil deep-sea operations, offshore oil wells, credit rating, sounding the alarm, environmental pollution, sealing leaks Oil wells, relief wells, low carbon economy, petroleum industry.

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Poster发布人:Clark Guo,CCSC Technology, Shanghai, China, 2022.09   Youtube: ClarkOilGas  

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