Bloomberg is really on a roll today for some reason. Rather than regurgitate the same nonsense that the normally uninformed mass media is prone to, Bloomberg actually posted an article about how A: incredibly difficult it will be to pump any oil at all from their recent deep sea finds, and B: how the technology to do it does not yet even exist.
So don’t get too excited about the coming drops of Brazilian oil.
Brazil’s plan to become one of the world’s biggest oil exporters hinges on exploiting crude six miles below the ocean surface in deposits so hot they can melt the metal used to carry uranium to nuclear plants.
Tapping what may be the biggest oil finds in the Western Hemisphere in three decades will require equipment that can withstand 18,000 pounds per square inch of pressure, enough to crush a pickup truck, pipes that can carry oil at temperatures above 500 degrees Fahrenheit (260 Celsius) and drill bits that can penetrate layers of salt more than one mile thick.
“This is a very, very technically challenging environment where no one’s ever done this,” Cline, who tracks the Latin American oil industry, said in a telephone interview from Washington. “These discoveries are in very deep water, and once you get to the seabed they are very deep under the floor, with a layer of salt that is definitely a difficult barrier.”
Brazil’s oil will be harder to develop than the Gulf of Mexico, where the deepest wells are now in production, Cline said. Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp., the two biggest U.S. oil companies, saw diamond-crusted drill bits disintegrate and steel pipes crumple when they attempted to tap deposits beneath the Gulf’s seafloor two years ago.
Brazil Oil Trapped in 500-Degree Heat, Metal-Crushing Pressure, Bloomberg
What’s amazing is that when you look at the technical challenges of drilling this deep, you start to realize that these fields now constitute our best hope for the future. In case you have trouble understanding this: there will be only more and more complex and expensive oil finds now. We are at the end of the road, and this level of challenge merely proves that we are in fact facing the true crisis, now.