Deepwater Horizon

Question: Did gases really go all over the exterior of the rig, and into the engine room as shown?

Answer: According to survivor reports, yes. In a gas blow-out, a huge quantity of pressurized petroleum gas pours out for many seconds, forming a rapidly-expanding cloud, before a single spark finally ignites it. Typically, the outpouring of gas creates its own spark as static electricity builds up.

Charles Austin Miller

Question: Is it true Jimmy Harrell was taking a shower as the disaster began?

Answer: Yes. There are actually many cases where the actors portray what the actual people were doing at the time of the disaster. Another example is when the guy (I can't remember his name off the top of my head) rubs mud off the main drill pipe.

A Demon Premium member

The guy who rubs the mud off the main pipe name is Caleb.

Thanks it's been a few weeks since I last watched the film.

A Demon Premium member

Answer: Yes.

Question: What blew the door to Mike's workshop off its hinges?

Answer: That was the initial gas blow-out, prior to the explosion. Pressurized gas was coming out of the drill pipe with sufficient force to tear the place apart, even before it ignited.

Charles Austin Miller

What caused the gases to ignite?

Gas blowouts are notorious for igniting themselves. The vast quantity of gas and particulates, expelled under high pressure, create an electrostatic charge in the gas cloud that arcs to the nearest grounding point. It's like shuffling across a carpet and then touching a metal doorknob: a tiny electrostatic spark is created. Such a tiny spark is all that is necessary to ignite a cloud of petroleum gas.

Charles Austin Miller

Question: Why did Vidrine not think there was anything wrong with the drill pipe, even though the drill pipe test showed a lot of pressure? Second, why did the test on the kill line show no pressure?

Answer: Vidrine didn't think there was anything wrong with the the drill pipe because there was nothing wrong with it. The problem was the cement cap they tried installing to seal the well. The thing to keep in mind is that British Petroleum didn't intend to immediately tap that well. Managers and crew of the floating platform rig planned to just cap the well and let another rig come along to handle actual production later. The crew was thus a little anxious to cement the well closed and abandon it. Some think it was this anxiousness to move on that produced the blowout. Of many procedures performed prior to abandonment was the "negative test" (whereby drilling mud was pulled out of the well to determine whether the cement cap could withstand the pressure). The negative test was bad, showing pressure in the drill line, an indication that gas had entered the well because they were applying suction to it, and the integrity of the cement cap was compromised. That's when Vidrine ordered the second test, this time on the kill line, and got a reading of no pressure (which was good, but was probably a false reading). Obviously, something wasn't right; but Vidrine, anxious to wrap the operation, decided to trust the kill line reading and basically ignore the drill line reading. This was a major mistake. As they continued pulling the drilling mud out, highly-pressurized gas shot straight up the drill pipe to the rig, and that was the end of Deepwater Horizon.

Charles Austin Miller

I thought it was mud that shot straight up from the drill pipe to the rig.

They were sucking the drilling mud up the pipe, but there was high-pressure petroleum gas behind it. They only realised too late that they had failed to cap the well; and then hell, as they say, broke loose.

Charles Austin Miller

Then what was that fluid flying upward through derrick?

You can liken a gas blow-out to somebody popping the top on a pressurized can of soda; gas and fluid alike come spewing out of what was, a moment before, a fairly stable fluid. Under tremendous pressure, all you need to do is give natural gas an escape route and all kinds of stuff comes up with it, including crude oil, asphalt, drilling mud, water, etc. The gas is blasting out of the earth and carrying anything and everything with it.

Charles Austin Miller

Authorities don't think Vidrine was ultimately responsible though. They believe the an employee who died in the disaster was, because he was responsible for the bladder effect hypothesis. I think what the film is actually trying to say is that the person who made the mistake of trusting the kill line was ultimately responsible.

In real life, it was Vidrine who chose to trust the kill line reading and ignore the drill line reading.

Charles Austin Miller

Question: What causes pressure in an oil well?

Answer: That largely goes back to how oil is formed: from dead organic material. That sinks to the bottom of the sea, and if certain layers of sediment build up over that, it gets buried deep enough that's it's compressed, and after enough time passes, it becomes oil. But that pressure from the massive weight of miles and miles of rock on top of it never actually goes away, so when you poke a hole in it, that pressure suddenly has a way to go, via the oil spewing up through the well.

Friso94

So basically the pressure is created by massive weight of miles and miles of rock on top of the oil that creates the well pressure. Is that correct?

Geologic forces are one thing, but there are different types of petroleum wells, ranging from crude oil to natural gas to combinations thereof. The lattermost, a oil/gas well, is most dangerous because it can suddenly start spewing natural gas when crude oil was expected. Tapping into an oil/gas well can be like popping the top on a can of soda: Gases are released from the fluid and expand rapidly, creating immense and unexpected pressure. In the case of the can of soda, the thing unexpectedly spews soda all over you and your clothing. In the case of an oil/gas well, the thing unexpectedly undergoes a gas blow-out and, potentially, a catastrophic explosion when it reaches the surface.

Charles Austin Miller

Question: Why do authorities think Vidrine was not the true villain on deep water horizon? He is the one who brushed off safety concerns, and ordered a second negative pressure test. And according to the investigators, an employee who perished in the disaster was responsible for the bladder effect hypothesis not Vidrine. Even if it was true, how would it make him the villain? They are treating who the true villain was like it has to do with who was responsible for the bladder effect hypothesis, and not for brushing off safety concerns, and ordering the second pressure test. Plus it could still have been Vidrine's fault, given that also say the cause of the explosion was years of small mistakes, those mistakes could have been Vidrine's mistakes along with his decision to order a second pressure test instead asking the employees what they wanted to do, Especially since they knew the rig, and he didn't.

Answer: Films often take some artistic licensing in portraying the characters and they may have been some misunderstanding in whom the film was trying to say was at fault. In real life, Transocean and BP were charged with multiple counts of manslaughter and other crimes. In agreeing to plead guilty, Transocean Deepwater admitted members of its crew on board Deepwater Horizon, acting at the direction of BP's well-site leaders, were negligent in failing to fully investigate that the Macondo well was secure and that oil and gas were not flowing into the well. BP admitted the two highest ranked well-site leaders were negligent. Those two well-site leaders were Robert Kaluza (portrayed in the film by Brad Leland) and Donald Vidrine. Kaluza and Vidrine observed clear indication that the well was not secure and oil and gas were flowing into the well and did not take the obvious and appropriate steps to prevent the blowout. Both Kaluza and Vidrine were charged with 11 counts of manslaughter and prosecutors said they botched the pressure test that would have warned the crews to stop. When Vidrine agreed to plead guilty to pollution charges and testify against Kaluza, prosecutors dropped his manslaughter charges. Kaluza went to jury trial (although was found not guilty.) It seems likely too many factors played a role in leading up to the blowout that was a result of BP trying to save money and time over safety concerns and more than 2 supervisors were ultimately responsible.

Bishop73

Question: I have two questions. First, Did the disaster start as shown in the movie? Second, did the explosion look like what we saw in the movie?

Chosen answer: The disaster started as a gas blow-out followed by a massive explosion on the oil rig, visible from 40 miles away. Eleven people were killed. Two days later, the burning rig collapsed into the sea, which severed the wellhead at a depth of over 4000 feet. If anything, the movie underplayed the disaster.

Charles Austin Miller

Actually, according to history vs Hollywood the real life explosion was equally as bad as what's shown in the movie.

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