China Here I Come!

I decided to post at my Blogger site, rather than here.  It’s easier to link to my Picassa website, and I can post video.  Here’s the link:

The Geography Lady

China and the 2 Koreas

via China’s Korean balancing act – Asia-Pacific – Al Jazeera English.

The fallout from the sinking of the Cheonan is causing a diplomatic dilemma for China, which has important strategic links with both countries on the Korean Peninsula.

China uses N Korea as a buffer from US troops in the South, but needs S Korea as a trading partner.  And if NK fails, migrants would flood both SK and China, which neither country wants to deal with.

Loop Current Animation

Click on the graphic to play the animation

an eddy has pinched off of the Loop Current, making it less likely that oil from the BP spill will enter the current.

You Can’t Fool Mother Nature

via Our Fix-It Faith and the Oil Spill –

As Richard Feynman, the physicist, once observed, “For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled.”

Good piece on the limits of technology.

How much did you pay for that iPad?

via Foxconn increases pay — Shanghai Daily | 上海日报 — English Window to China New.

The basic salary at the mainland plants of Foxconn Technology Group — which makes iPhones and other popular gadgets — is about 900 yuan (US$130) per month.

But fortunately the company has agreed to raise wages after several workers committed suicide.  The 20% raise will add $25/month to the workers’ check.  So now, if they save all their money, it will take workers only 3 months to save up enough for an iPad, instead of the almost four months it does now.

Geographic Travels: Bill Nye the Science Guy Explains “Top Kill”

another, much briefer video.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

BP Oil Spill Technical Update

From my Cousin, Pres. of Medco Energi USA:
The concept is to pump heavy weight drilling mud (bentonite, which is a clay material mixed into water with a mineral, barite, added to increase its weight) at a sufficiently high enough flow rate to overcome the pressure and momentum of the flowing oil so that it pushes the column of oil all the way back to the bottom of the well, where the weight (hydrostatic head) of the mud will keep it in check. If successful, BP will then chase the mud with cement to plug the well.

Dynamic kills are very hard to accomplish. Under normal conditions, there is drill pipe in the well – and the bottom of the pipe string, which is either open ended or has a drill bit on it (drill bits have several nozzles through which the mud squirts) is down at the bottom of the well, like a straw inserted all the way into a coke bottle. Mud is then pumped down the pipe and it comes back to the top in the space (annular space) between the pipe and the well bore, where it is filtered and then pumped back down the drill pipe – this is called circulating a well. If you’ve ever heard a drilling superintendent or manager talking to someone in the field about a well in trouble, usually the second question you’ll hear them ask is; “can you circulate the well”? because if you can circulate, you can control the well – just about no matter what the problem might be. Killing a well where you can establish circulation is a relatively safe situation (but often nerve wracking) because you have control of the well – all the fluid and pressure is contained within pumps, piping, and the well. But in a top – or dynamic – kill, the mud is pumped from far off bottom – in this case from the very top. And it requires one hell of a lot of pressure and pump rate to force that Genie back into the bottle! Especially since they only have two three-inch diameter pipes that are connected to the well bore – the choke and kill lines (another lesson for another day) – this will present some very special challenges, not only because they will be pumping from so far off bottom, but because the frictional losses in the choke and kill lines will be very high at the rates they will be pumping and the barite in the drilling mud is an abrasive and there is the possibility that they will actually wear holes in these lines, which could make things a lot worse.

NB: When I first took over at Tengiz, we had 12 wells that had to be dynamically killed – the producing horizons were around 21,000 feet deep and the pipe that was in the wells was in some cases, at only a few thousand feet. We had very high temperature oil, extremely high pressures (10,000 psi), and one hell of a lot of very deadly gas to contend with. If anything broke on us, we’d have killed everyone in sight. We planned for months and I’ll never forget the first one – because I insisted on being right there with my guys as is my custom. Scared hell out of me. It took us a year to plan and kill all twelve wells – and this was on land where we could walk right up to the wells and look on them directly and even touch them if we wanted. Doing this under a mile of water has to be a real trick!


The Geography Lady says:

Link to a good video from BP on what they are doing to kill the well.  I hope the lessons learned are applied to any other wells that are permitted in the Gulf.

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