So, Just How Much Oil Are We Talking About?

Posted by | June 15, 2010 14:26 | Filed under: Top Stories

by Thomas Wellborn

In an effort to facilitate more transparency between the public and the oil industry, a person claiming to be an oil industry insider, and known only as “dougr” in posting circles, has been lending his alleged (and arguably compelling) expertise on numerous forums dedicated to uncovering as much information and analysis as possibly regarding the Deepwater oil spill.  The following synopsis is both damning and frightening.  (h/t The Oil Drum)

I used to cover the energy business (oil, gas and alternative) here in Texas, and the few experts in the oil field — including geologists, chemists, etc. — able or willing to even speak of this BP event told me early on that it is likely the entire reserve will bleed out. Unfortunately none of them could say with any certainty just how much oil is in the reserve in question because, for one thing, the oil industry and secrecy have always been synonymous. According to BP data from about five years ago, there are four separate reservoirs containing a total of 2.5 billion barrels (barrels not gallons). One of the reservoirs has 1.5 billion barrels. I saw an earlier post here quoting an Anadarko Petroleum report which set the total amount at 2.3 billion barrels. One New York Times article put it at 2 billion barrels.

If the BP data correctly or honestly identified four separate reservoirs then a bleed-out might gush less than 2 to 2.5 billion barrels unless the walls — as it were — fracture or partially collapse. I am hearing the same dark rumors which suggest fracturing and a complete bleed-out are already underway. Rumors also suggest a massive collapse of the Gulf floor itself is in the making. They are just rumors but it is time for geologists or related experts to end their deafening silence and speak to these possibilities.

Too many oilmen lie about everything. The stories one hears about the extent to which they will protect themselves are all understatements. BP employees are already taking The Fifth before grand juries, and attorneys are laying a path for company executives to make a run for it.

The article goes into much more detail, and includes references from a wide variety of sources.  The crux of it points to the sobering fact that this disaster and this industry are deeply complex in nature.  The public at large has offered its help to a problem that may be much different in nature than what we’re seeing or being told.  How much oil are we dealing with down there under this broken oil gusher?  If “dougr” is even close, a terrifyingly larger amount than anyone has yet dared to imagine.

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