Sure enough it is below the blowout collar, in the tapered section between the casing and the wellbore earth wall, which would be okay if it was leaking into the blow out collar. The neck under the collar is cracked in at least 2 places in th picture, maybe more. The whole collar could break off, just like BP Macando. Very delicate, hard to see if there are other cracks from that picture. They are counting on the pressure to decrease in the well, similar to the Pemex well in offshore Tabasco State, that took 1 1/2 years. And the pressure will decrease over intial production rates, but how long will that take? 3k or 4k psi to 2k psi isn't much change relative to the delicate situation. 2k psi could go on for years. So was this orginally a gas or gas/oil well or a gas /condensate well? What was the target? Is what I could never get from the press releases? From the looks of the picture it looks like a re-entry, those well head parts have been down there quite awhile, with that much encrustation on them. Those are not new parts.
It is easier and quicker to go to 2000ft, turn the corner , end up at 3000ft, intersect well bore. Which shouldn't be to hard considering the advances in underground gps. That was definitely a crew on the drilling rig, what kind of crew, is not really disclosed. There are different kinds of crews, Fac, ReComplete, Drill, Siesmic.
It could be just corrosion inside the casing pipe. Some gas and liquids are just highly corrosive. For instance if the gas or oil has a lot of Flouric acid in it, the metals other than gold would just disintigrate. Which can occur in carbonates, like Illinois(the state) formations. They would have to bentonite or resin seal the hole, then cement it.
The wellbore is hot, which means they are a a fault line system. It is from 400 to 600 degrees. This isn't a pocket. Elgin is an OLD field, if the pressure was going to be decreased it would have gone down between 1978 and now. It might go down from 4000 psi to 2000 psi after months of being open, but that is months away, they need a fix yesterday.
When TOT bought the field they looked over the well logs, and decided to go for the fault lines. Maybe shot new 3D or 4D data close to hook ins. One or Two wells can make your Earnings look a lot better. After the Lybia/Tunisia shut in they needed some good news.
Look at BP under reporting production in the Gulf of Mexico. That cash for that under reported oil is tax free, like narcotics. Goes straight to the bottom line.
In a way this is good news. Like BP Macondo, the other oil companies can hardly wait to drill that block. The cat is out of the bag on Elgin. Landmen leasing it up.
Yep, that makes sense, they found something then went into leasing mode, while the well was shut in. They can claim no commercially productive hydrocarbons, then go back re-open the well and claim they found something. Oil companies do it all the time. Why start a land rush? Cats out of the bag now! Elgin is an old field, a lot of the original drilling was for oil, and wet gas(high condensate gas) was considered non-commercial. Now refineries are taking condensate(dilutant) to blend with heavier crude, or just refine into finished product like jet fuel(kerosene). They say in the releases condensate is leaking along with the gas which means it's wet liquids rich gas. Which makes sense, since it is an oil field, where there are multiple productive formations.
The UK is moving off coal to nat gas fired electric plants. Due to EU carbon credit trading schemes. Plus they can ship through the pipelines in the North Sea the condensate to the Rurh Valley refineries and chemical complexes.
It's still delicate the well head being cracked below the blowout collar. It's a good strategy to drill that close to a production platform, since it is very easy to hook in, no matter what they hit, oil or gas.