Mexico blowout could hardly have happened outside of Lofoten

April 20 the Deepwater Horizion was hit by an explosion. NPD doubt that a similar blowout will take place outside Lofoten.

April 20 the Deepwater Horizion was hit by an explosion. NPD doubt that a similar blowout will take place outside Lofoten. Photo: U.S. Coast Guard / AP

It is very unlikely that an oil blowout like the one in the Gulf of Mexico would have had similar consequences if it had happened off the Lofoten Islands in Norwegian Sea and Barents Sea.

This is the conclusion NPD (Oil Directorate) drew after having compared the conditions in the different areas.

The Directorate writes in a report that the blowout rate, ie the number of barrels of oil that would have leaked out, probably would have been far lower outside Lofoten and the Barents Sea due to depth ratio and geological conditions.

In the survey they found about 70 discoveries in 1520 meters of water in the Gulf of Mexico, the same drilling depth where the blowout occurred, and that it is common to drill at such depths.

Shallower

On the Norwegian continental shelf, only in the Norwegian Sea are wells drilled in deep water, but they all turned out to be dry. The Barents Sea is mostly shallower than 300 meters.

On the continental shelf outside Lofoten and Vesterålen are prospects that the NPD has mapped mainly at depths down to 200 meters, while three have been mapped on the shelf slope from 1,000 to 1,200 meters deep.

The risk of blowouts have to do with pressure. NPD concludes that the pressure is much lower than in Lofoten in the Gulf of Mexico.

Pressure at the accident well outside of Mexico is estimated to be 825 bar. In the Norwegian Sea no reservoir was encountered in deep water with pressure higher than 690 bar, which the Norwegian authorities describe as a high pressure. At such a high pressure they set extra stringent safety and quality requirements.

Source: NRK

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