Tuesday, January 25, 2011

[Geology2] Rich but Dangerous Oil Reserves

Rich but Dangerous Oil Reserves

In the oil business, geologists tell stories. Here was a river, they
will say. Here was a shallow sea. Here is where the sea dried up and
left only salt. Here is where the sea formed anew, and widened, and
deepened, and where sediments from another river, and the carcasses of
microorganisms, were deposited, buried, baked, until finally--the
enchanting payoff of the story if you're an eager-beaver oil
executive--the organic matter turned into oil.

The Gulf of Mexico is full of such stories. Unfortunately, the story of
one well, named Macondo, drilled by the rig Deepwater Horizon, has
into a tragedy.

The geology of the gulf is pretty close to perfect for the creation of
reservoirs. There are salt sheets and domes that form impermeable caps
oil fields. There are abundant rock formations that have been deformed
hump-shaped strata known as anticlines, natural traps for oil.

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