Christopher Brownfield is An(other) IDIOT

and the evidence is in his op-ed guest shot in the NYT where he advocates explosives to implode the well leaking oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

With this new structure in place, the Navy could focus on stopping the leak with a conventional demolition. This means more than simply “blowing it up”: it means drilling a hole parallel to the leaking well and lowering charges to form an explosive column.
Upon detonating several tons of explosives, a pressure wave of hundreds of thousands of pounds per square inch would spread outward in the same way that light spreads from a tubular fluorescent bulb, evenly and far. Such a sidelong explosion would implode the oil well upstream of the leak by crushing it under a layer of impermeable rock, much as stepping on a garden hose stops the stream of water.
It’s true that the primary blast of a conventional explosion is less effective underwater than on land because of the intense back-pressure that muffles the shock wave. But as a submariner who studied the detonation of torpedoes, I learned that an underwater explosion also creates rapid follow-on shockwaves. In this case, the expansion and collapse of explosive gases inside the hole would act like a hydraulic jackhammer, further pulverizing the rock.

Like every other idiot yelling “blow it up!” he’s missing many points — where will that displaced water go, for one? What about the damage to nearby oil platforms and pipelines, which crisscross the Gulf like pick-up-sticks, yes, even out where they were drilling Macondo No.1? What, this nice even shock wave won’t jar them and make more leaks? Plus, there’s the actual composition of the seabed where all this is taking place. It’s not so much the rock he confidently expounds will collapse evenly as it is a lasagna-like structure that’s actually quite fragile. Not to mention, the methane concentrations in the water and air around the leak will probably not react tamely to the introduction of, you know, EXPLOSIVES. Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!! As Rachel Maddow said last night, this is a typically American “solution” — lots of force, not much thought involved.
All these people screaming for a nuke, or a bomb, or a parallell-drilling installation of a bomb: this ain’t the A-Team, this is real life. Much better to use the killbore to kill the well than to blow a bigger hole in the floor of the Gulf. Stop being morans.

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4 responses to “Christopher Brownfield is An(other) IDIOT

  1. grahamfirchlis

    This what happens when someone expert in a particular field starts imagining what they might do with their experise when applied to a different field about which they know nothing.

    Usually these people are hired in as managers from outside the field they’re entering, by other incompetents higher in the management chain. I have worked for and with several, and they always take a bad mess and make it worse.

    Thankfully this clown just managed to get some space in a rag hardly anyone reads for his foolishness, instead of being brought in to replace the Coast Guard admiral who actually sounds sensible and cognizant of the limitations he has to respect. Things could, actually, be worse than they are.

    A small boy with a hammer sees something that looks like a nail, is all.

  2. BlackSheep01

    then there’s dougr at The Oil Drum, and Matt Simmons, who seems to think the world will end before he can make all the money he wants shorting BP stock.

    Gah.

    I know where you’re coming from — I only ever worked for one of those, and got out before I killed anybody — but it’s still aggravating….

  3. grahamfirchlis

    Good news is neither of us work for this clown or dougr or Simmons, so we can call them all idiots as loudly as we please.

    And there’s your sliver of a silver lining for today.

  4. BlackSheep01

    got any smaller & I’d hurt my eye trying to find it.

    best news to my knowledge: Fishgrease took it all apart — diary title is Booming the Bullsh*t @ DKos.
    Yes, it’s worth the trouble to read. Some of the comments aren’t half bad, either. 😀

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