Sidoarjo mudflow, well blowout identification.

In summary, the Sidoarjo mudflow, also known as the Java mud volcano or Lapindo mudflow, has been thoroughly studied and one of the key issues is determining who is responsible for the disaster and relief efforts. The well operators, PT Lapindo-Brantas, deny any responsibility but are under pressure from various groups. The cause of the mudflow is still uncertain, but there is a possibility of using heavy fluids and drilling muds to trace a link between the eruption and the well. This method has been attempted before for hydrological investigation. However, determining the exact cause is a philosophical debate and even if it is proven that the drill activities triggered the event, it may have occurred naturally in the future. The trigger does
  • #1

matthyaouw

Gold Member
1,125
5
I've been studying the Sidoarjo mudflow / Java mud volcano / Lapindo mudflow / Lusi pretty thoroughly in recent weeks. One of the key issues behind the disaster and relief effort seems to be a question of blame- if the event is natural the money for the relief effort must come from the Indonesian government, and if it is a gas well blowout it needs to come from PT Lapindo-Brantas, the operators of the well near which the eruption is occurring. As you can imagine, the well operators deny all responsibility, but are under a lot of pressure from various groups, possibly just as a scapegoat.

I've read pretty extensively and still can't decide either way exactly what the cause is, but I've had an idea about how it may be possible to find out. Heavy fluids and drilling muds are injected into the well bore to control pressure during drilling. If a well kick were to fracture the surrounding rock and cause a blowout away from the drill rig, some of the injected material would exit at the site of the blowout. Am I right? If so, is there anything contained within the fluid/mud that would not be found naturally and could be used as a tracer to confirm/deny a link between the eruption and the well? If not, could anything be added to it, say a radioactive tracer or a chemical that does not occur naturally?

Does anyone know if this has been attempted or if it would be feasible for drilling in the future?
 
Last edited:
Earth sciences news on Phys.org
  • #2
matthyaouw said:
Am I right? If so, is there anything contained within the fluid/mud that would not be found naturally and could be used as a tracer to confirm/deny a link between the eruption and the well? If not, could anything be added to it, say a radioactive tracer or a chemical that does not occur naturally?

Does anyone know if this has been attempted or if it would be feasible for drilling in the future?

Adding http://www.geo.uu.se/luva/personal.aspx?namn=Rajinder&lan=1 [Broken] for hydrological investigation has been done. But in this case, causality looks a bit more philosophical.

What is the cause of the mud flow? It's the volcano or the overpressured half graben filled with oceanic sediments. So the mechanism was there, waiting to be triggered. Does it matter what actually triggered it? tectonic changes, earthquakes? Seems like a big post-hoc-ergo-proper-hoc fallacy to me. But even if it could be proven that the drill activities triggered the event, how long would it have been before it would have occurred naturally?
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #3
Andre said:
Adding http://www.geo.uu.se/luva/personal.aspx?namn=Rajinder&lan=1 [Broken] for hydrological investigation has been done. But in this case, causality looks a bit more philosophical.

What is the cause of the mud flow? It's the volcano or the overpressured half graben filled with oceanic sediments. So the mechanism was there, waiting to be triggered. Does it matter what actually triggered it? tectonic changes, earthquakes? Seems like a big post-hoc-ergo-proper-hoc fallacy to me. But even if it could be proven that the drill activities triggered the event, how long would it have been before it would have occurred naturally?

Thanks for the link.
I agree that even if the event is man-made, it probably would have occurred at some point in the future anyway, though how far along the line I wouldn't like to say. The fact is though that the trigger does matter to those who may have to pay out billions on the relief and clean-up operation.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #4
But is the guy guilty who accidentaly tripped the wire of the natural booby trap?
 
  • #5
Yes is most likely the answer to that one. Hitting pressurised fluid is an unavoidable risk when drilling for oil/gas (and indeed the point of drilling in the first place, as oil and gas are both pressurised fluids themselves). You might say there is one of these natural booby traps anywhere you might chose to drill. There are a great number of procedures, rules and techniques for preventing the uncontrolled release of them (termed blowouts). If it wasn't for all of these then there'd be a blowout on a ridiculous number of wells. It is basically very bad well management to allow one to happen and if a company isn't up to the job of preventing them then they shouldn't be allowed to drill in the first place.
 

1. What caused the Sidoarjo mudflow and well blowout?

The Sidoarjo mudflow and well blowout were caused by an accident during drilling operations at a natural gas well. The drilling company did not properly follow safety procedures, resulting in a blowout and subsequent mudflow.

2. How long has the Sidoarjo mudflow been going on?

The Sidoarjo mudflow has been ongoing since May 2006, when the well blowout occurred. As of 2021, it is still active and has been for over 15 years.

3. How much land has been affected by the Sidoarjo mudflow?

It is estimated that the Sidoarjo mudflow has affected around 40 square kilometers of land. This includes residential areas, farmland, and industrial sites.

4. What are the environmental impacts of the Sidoarjo mudflow?

The Sidoarjo mudflow has caused significant damage to the environment, including air and water pollution, destruction of ecosystems, and loss of biodiversity. It has also displaced thousands of people from their homes and disrupted their livelihoods.

5. What measures have been taken to stop the Sidoarjo mudflow?

Various methods have been attempted to stop the Sidoarjo mudflow, including drilling relief wells, constructing dams and levees, and injecting cement and other materials into the ground. However, none of these methods have been successful in completely stopping the mudflow.

Suggested for: Sidoarjo mudflow, well blowout identification.

Replies
5
Views
2K
Replies
4
Views
5K
Replies
14
Views
3K
Replies
46
Views
13K
Replies
2
Views
2K
Replies
63
Views
30K
Replies
14
Views
6K
Back
Top