DeepwaterHorizon Seal

by juniortan May 31, 2010
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"My idea is similar to juniortan's here, only it is conceived to fan out, once its passed the bottom of the wellbore into the main body of oil underground, to suddenly be larger than the hole it would then hopefully plug. "

The well doesn't penetrate a vast hole in the ground full of liquid oil. Oil reservoirs aren't geologically like that (check my username). A well penetrates a zone of rock with abundant pores - gaps in otherwise solid rock - which are filled with oil. Judging from the flow ability that it has, a r
easonable guess at the pore volume would be around 30% of the total volume. Excellent to huge pores would be one to 2 millimetres across. The rest of the volume is, err, rock. (I believe the well in question targeted a sandstone reservoir not a limestone, but that doesn't matter for this point.)
ere will be no "void" down there.

Juniortan's idea (and Marty Kurzfeld's redescription of the CST "Cement Support Tool", below) both assume that someone has already removed the mangled drill pipe from the wellbore. Which happens to be one of the major reasons for drilling the relief wells. It's
generally quicker to drill a relief well than to fish and strip-out a drill string in the face of a continuing blowout, then strip-in a kill string. But that's experience talking, not general knowledge, and the're not to be blamed for not knowing that.
Marty isn't to blame either for not having see
n more CSTs fail to work than actually do work at their designed job; useless excuses for emasculated umbrellas that the tools are.

Dear Thingiversees;

I too submitted an idea for plugging the Deepwater Horizon well gusher in the Gulf of Mexico, to BP by me (Marty Kurzfeld) on June 11th, 2010 {... on their ideas site you mentioned at:  http://www.horizonedocs.com/artform.phphttp://www.horizonedocs.com/ar... }.  I didn't know how to do the sort of detailed spec illustration a

s you have so nicely done here. I just hoped that my description would suffice to get the idea across well enough for someone to extrapolate upon and perfect my design... assuming, as you say, they are even considering these ideas in good faith.

My idea is similar to juniortan's here, only it is c
onceived to fan out, once its passed the bottom of the wellbore into the main body of oil underground, to suddenly be larger than the hole it would then hopefully plug.

Brief Description of the Technology

Use a riser insertion tube tool (RITT)-- something they already have-- to insert a newly-desi
gned heavy metal "flower"/wellbore plug-- which, like those collapsible colander/vegetable steamers used in cooking, is made of super-strong metal pieces capable of collapsing in on themselves so that the "flower" is large enough to be pushed all the way down through the wellbore, until it emerges i
nto the main body of oil a mile and a half(?) beneath the sea floor... Then the "flower"/plug would be allowed to "bloom" and be deployed by the RITT operators on the surface... opening up into a strong concave plug that the pressure of the oil trying to escape, and/or our operators controlling the
RITT to pull it up into position over the bottom-most opening of the wellbore, would plug the hole, stop the flow, and allow us to clear and cement the entire wellbore above of.

Materials Required

A metal alloy "flower" (and additional polymer-rubbers-whatever to help the seal?) that when folded i
n upon itself will be small enough to fit in and be pushed down through the wellbore-- but when opened up will suddenly be larger than the wellbore hole it is being deployed to plug..

Equipment Required

Our new metal "flower" plug... and a Riser Insertion Tube Tool, plus whatever other equipment y
ou determined are needed to facilitate the operation..

Expertise Required

To design and manufacture the new "flower"/wellbore plug... we no doubt need mechanical engineers capable of selecting materials capable of being best manipulated, and that once "deployed" are strong enough to withstand the
subterranean oil pressure and temperatures present in that well, at that depth, long enough for us to permanently cement the wellbore closed.

To deploy our newly-designed flower/wellbore plug... All of the technical expertise for executing such an operation should already be available or easily att
ainable within the oil industry or academic community, etc., just waiting on the proper tools capable of pulling off the job.

This actually looks like it would work! :-D

I like the way you've designed it to have low flow resistance when positioning it.

You need some way to hold the retainer clamp mechanism to the mechanism head during the insertion process. A solution that will hold the parts securely during insertion, yet disengage easily under tremendous shear
force. Explosive pins? Maybe not the best idea when there is natural gas present. Let me think...

As for the insertion process itself, I think you need four - maybe more - large diameter thick-walled tubes attached perpendicularly to the mechanism head on one end, and attached to an encircling larg
er curved tube on the other - like a spoked wheel with the mechanism at it center. Using remotely controlled submersibles, the wheel would be used to position the mechanism over the pipe. Weights suspended from the wheel would pull it down on to the pipe. The subs would just have to guide it.

The i
nsertion process would be that much easier if the mechanism head was tapered; it would also accommodate somewhat a non-circular pipe.

Of course there would have to be tethers to the surface and subs to retain the mechanism if the flow blew it away from the pipe.


@TeamTeamUSA - you are absolutely right. I am moving the retainer clamp to be a simple plate BETWEEN the two cams. There should be a much stronger retaining force; and with a simple pull of the retaining plate, the cams will swing out. The current retaining 'jaws', on the other hand, will probably deform and give away under load.