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Posted: 6/3/2010 5:47:39 PM EDT
I was talking about this at work today with some guys.  What would happen (theoretically) if the BP oil well was left alone and allowed to keep pumping??

Would it eventually fill the entire gulf with oil?  How much oil is that well tapped into??

Just wonderig if anyone knew some data on the well and how long it would keep going if left alone.
Link Posted: 6/3/2010 5:48:56 PM EDT
The earth would empty and collapse upon itself
Link Posted: 6/3/2010 5:50:34 PM EDT
"Trillions and trillions of barrels" /sagan

Link Posted: 6/3/2010 5:55:42 PM EDT
I don't think anyone really knows.  Most likely it would spew until a pressure equilibrium was reached and then it would still probably leak or seep.  Most things in nature are going to adjust or move to a point of equilibrium within its relative environment.  How many more gallons to go no one can probably say.  The idea of drilling a relief well could slow it down and allow them to manage it but thats not a sure thing last I read.

Any geologists on here to weigh in?
Link Posted: 6/3/2010 6:15:32 PM EDT
Not a geologist.

But it would eventually stop.  How much oil leaks out first and how long it would take are the questions.

The controlling factors include the source of the pressure (trapped natural gas, weight of rock layers if the oil-bearing stratum is compressible), how deep into the oil depositthe well is, how much oil the deposit holds, and lots of others I'm sure.

The leak would probably never fully stop, just taper off to the point where it was essentially negligible.  It could keep leaking for centuries possibly, but maybe at the rate of a few barrels a day or something after many years.  (decaying exponential curve more or less).

Link Posted: 6/3/2010 6:23:58 PM EDT

Sadly I think we may just find out the answer to your question.

BP has already said that the latest attempt to cap it will most likely fail due to the botched cutting job their robot did to the pipe.

Link Posted: 6/3/2010 6:59:31 PM EDT
I may have just imagined this, but i thought i read that it would take approx. 3 years for the well to dry up? No idea where i read this.
Link Posted: 6/3/2010 7:07:12 PM EDT
It would put out an enormous amount of oil and methane into the Gulf of Mexico.  Most of the aquatic life in the gufl would die.
Fishermen and the vacation industry around the Gulf would be destroyed.
The outflow would eventually reach both Cuba and Mexico, causing an international incident with both.
Pollutants would eventually be carried around Florida and onto the East Coast.

And it would all still be...Bush's fault.

Link Posted: 6/3/2010 8:24:34 PM EDT
I read in the paper that it would pump for 7 years till the pressure quit
Not good
Link Posted: 6/3/2010 8:25:50 PM EDT
The Eugene Island oil fields (also off of Louisiana) refills itself.  oh snaps.

Link Posted: 6/4/2010 2:30:21 AM EDT
ya ever seen what happens when you let go of a balloon?
Link Posted: 6/4/2010 2:48:18 AM EDT
Whatever happens, the Gulf is already fucked beyond repair...
Link Posted: 6/4/2010 2:59:49 AM EDT
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