Category Archives: Atlantic Ocean

The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world’s oceanic divisions.

“Atlantic”, “North Atlantic”, “South Atlantic”, and “Atlantic Basin” . For other uses, see Atlantic (disambiguation), North Atlantic (disambiguation), South Atlantic (disambiguation), and Atlantic Basin (disambiguation).

Two Pre-Season Storms Eyed in Atlantic, Pacific oceans, Could Cause Damages to Gas, Oil Projects in Gulf of Mexico

(Photo: NOAA/NHC)
The new NASA satellite is meant to assist weather analysts to predict typhoons and provide experts with an enhanced outlook of climate change

By Esther Tanquintic-Misa:
May 15, 2012 5:39 AM GMT

Natural gas and oil development projects near the Atlantic Ocean, particularly in the Gulf of Mexico, could be facing potential damages in the coming months with the onset of the rainy season.

This early, two pre-season storms have been spotted in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans by the National Hurricane Center, Bloomberg News reported.

Storms that enter the Gulf of Mexico could damage and halt both operations and production of natural gas and oil development projects in the area. Just this March, according to a one-year progress report on the Obama administration’s Blueprint for a Secure Energy Policy, it said that the Gulf of Mexico is safely back to strong production after the much celebrated 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, otherwise known as the BP oil disaster or the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Of the two pre-season storms spotted by the National Hurricane Center, the stronger one was found in the Pacific about 550 miles or 885 kilometers south-southwest of Acapulco, Mexico. In a weather bulletin, the center said it has a 50 per cent chance of becoming a tropical depression in the next day or two.

The one in the Atlantic, meanwhile, was 460 miles west-southwest of the Azores, with a 20 per cent probability of becoming a sub-tropical storm in the next two days.

The eastern Pacific and Atlantic hurricane seasons officially start on May 15 and June 1, respectively.

The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico flowed for three months in 2010. It is recorded as the largest accidental marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry. The spill, which stemmed from a sea-floor oil that resulted from the explosion of Deepwater Horizon, killed 11 men and injured 17 others, including massive damage to marine and wildlife habitats and to the Gulf’s fishing and tourism industries.

Two Pre-Season Storms Eyed in Atlantic, Pacific oceans, Could Cause Damages to Gas, Oil Projects in Gulf of Mexico – International Business Times.

Total sends fire-fighting ships near N.Sea gas leak

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By Oleg Vukmanovic and Muriel Boselli
LONDON/PARIS | Thu Mar 29, 2012 9:08am EDT

(Reuters) – France’s Total sent fire-fighting ships to wait near the scene of a gas leak from its North Sea Elgin platform, which has created fears a large gas cloud could explode.

The company said the gas was originating thousands of meters below the sea bed, which engineers said might mean that a relief well – one possible option to stop the leak – could take months to drill.

“The leak is from a (gas) well that was plugged one year ago and from a rock formation in about 4,000 meters depth,” a company spokeswoman in Aberdeen said on Thursday.

A flare needed to relieve pressure in the platform by purging excess gas has continued to burn less than 100 meters from the leak, and engineers said changes in wind and weather could lead to an explosion.

“The wind is pushing the gas cloud in the opposite direction (from the platform). At this time, the circumstances are rather favorable,” Jacques-Emmanuel Saulnier, head of communication at Total said in an interview published on Total’s website.

“A gas cloud is always a fire hazard,” he added.

Total kept two fire-fighting ships in a state of readiness outside a two-mile exclusion zone, which was set up to protect marine traffic, a Total spokeswoman said.

The company has also brought in a robot vessel, not yet deployed, to scan the sea bed for signs of spillage, she said.

Total has not yet found a way to stop the gas leak. A team of international engineers assembled by the embattled French oil company are drawing up plans to tackle the leak and prevent the flare from coming into contact with the gas cloud, the spokeswoman said.

The platform is currently off limits to the engineers, however, given the toxic and explosive plumes pumping out of the wellhead.

The leak started on Sunday and forced the evacuation of all 238 workers from the platform, which sits in waters less than 100 metres deep and 240 km (150 miles) off the east coast of Scotland.

PRESSSURE SEEN FOR RELIEF WELL

Total warned on Tuesday it could take six months to halt the flow of gas. The company previously stated it hoped the leak would die down from natural causes as reservoir pressure drops.

“What we know is that the leak is not coming from a well dug by Total but from a naturally occurring pocket of gas located just above one of our wells,” said Total’s Saulnier.

The depth of the non-producing reservoir that is feeding gas to the Elgin platform via compromised layers of piping suggests, however, there is more gas present rather than less, piling pressure on Total to drill a relief well, an engineer with knowledge of the matter said.

Relief drilling would require boring through 4 kilometers of rock with painstaking mathematical precision, because it must intercept the gas pocket at exactly the right point, requiring constant alterations in course, the engineer said.

The leak, one of the biggest in the North Sea for decades, could well inspire tougher safety regulation in due course, according to experts. Britain’s health and safety watchdog said it was considering launching an investigation into the incident, while union officials said the frequency of offshore safety lapses had become intolerable.

Memories are still raw in the North Sea industry of the Piper Alpha platform fire 24 years ago, which killed 167 people in the world’s deadliest offshore oil disaster and led to a major regulatory overhaul.

Total as well as UK authorities have described the expected environmental impact from the plume of gas and a spreading sheen of light oil on the water as “minimal”, although environmental experts said much of the gas “cocktail” would be either flammable or poisonous at close quarters.

Total’s shares have lost about 9 percent in the wake of the incident. They were trading at 37.63 euros at 1305 GMT.

Analysts said the French oil major could face costs of up to $10 billion if its North Sea gas leak leads to an explosion and nearly $3 billion if it takes months to fix.

However, Jefferies securities and investment bank said in a research note that data that had emerged on the spill, which “has further convinced us that the spill consequences should be less than the most pessimistic market estimates and hence that the US$9.7 billion sell-off in the stock since Monday is overdone”.

(Additional reporting by Henning Gloystein and Karolin Schaps in London and Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris; Editing by Jane Baird)

UK: Flare at Elgin Platform Could Ignite Gas Cloud, Experts Say

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The gas leak that occurred at the wellhead platform on the Total-operated Elgin field in the UK North Sea, remains ongoing, the operator reports.

The gas has been flowing since Sunday, March 25th, when Total evacuated all the personnel from the Elgin platform. The precise cause of the gas leak, that has been flowing approximately 240 km east of Aberdeen, is yet to be identified.

According to The Telegraph, experts have warned that the gas cloud which can be seen is very flammable and they described the situation as a disaster waiting to happen because the flare on the Elgin platform is still ongoing.

Total explains that the flare is an integral part of the platform’s safety system, and it is used to safely evacuate all the remaining gas from the platform.  The company says that the flare does not pose a threat, because the winds are taking the gas cloud away from the open flame.

“The wind is forecast to remain in its current direction for the coming days.  You can be assured that this is being reviewed on a constant basis and should this change any impact is being assessed.  In parallel we are investigating solutions to extinguish the flare if it does not burn out by itself.”

Elgin and Franklin are two high pressure/high temperature gas and condensate fields in the Central Graben Area of North Sea. Total E&P UK Limited owns 46.17% and is operator of both fields through its wholly-owned subsidiary EFOG and its average share of production was around 60,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2011.

Elgin/Franklin facilities comprise two wellhead platforms, one on Elgin and one on Franklin and a Production/Utilities/Quarters (PUQ) platform. The PUQ is on the Elgin field and is linked to the Elgin wellhead platform by a 90-metre bridge.

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