Branko R Babic 53A Middle Way Summertown Oxford OX2 7LE UK Tel/Fax: 44 (0)1865 310772 Email: babic

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Patented Containment of the Kuwaiti Oil Fires 1991. In early 1991 the world was shocked by the bedlam inflicted on a small, weak but extremely rich country that was not equipped for war. Defenceless against the well armed aggressor, the people of Kuwait were quickly overpowered. Economics seem to have been the bases for the attack on Kuwait and control of the oil wealth of Kuwait was said to be the primary goal of the powers that conceived the war. When western powers moved into Kuwait the retreating Iraqi forces are said to have destroyed some 700 hundred oil wells crippling the Kuwaiti economy and causing an environmental catastrophe. The world had never seen a problem of this type before and the specialist services that were instructed to resolve the crisis had no idea how to cope with the scale of the devastation. The Kuwaiti Government watching the burning of a precious, irreplaceable resource and being advised by the specialist teams hired to put out the oil fires that the task could not be completed in less than two years and could possibly take as long as five, the Kuwaitis were faced with the total destruction of their economy. As a desperate last choice they invited anyone with containment knowhow to come forward and present their concept for consideration. All over the world vast numbers of scientists, specialist firms, oil industry consultants, materials specialist, etc and a huge number of ordinary men and women who have never been near a burning oil well, put forward concepts for the containment of the burning oil wells. Soon after the invitation the agencies set up to handle and oversee submitted ideas were flooded with descriptions and methodology that

had never been tried or tested before and it was reported that in the UK the offices receiving submissions were stuffed full of letters, drawings and proposals on how to put out the fires. Rooms were full from floor to ceiling with submissions from various quarters, most of which never saw the light of day. In this scramble to help solve a unique problem an inventor, Branko Babic put forward a proposal to the Kuwaiti Oil Corporation in London UK, that was accepted and used to contain over half of all the burning oil wells in Kuwait. A Chemistry degree from London University provided Babic with know-how, to offer a simple solution for the control of damaged oil wells. A fire is a well understood chemical process in which oxygen reacts with a combustible substance to achieve new products and at the same time liberate a large amount of energy. It was the heat of the fires that was the main problem in containing the damage caused to the oil well heads and as soon as the heat was removed from any given site the repair of the damaged installation, was the simplest of engineering tasks. The patent applied for technology provided by Babic consisted of a long tube about 10 metres in length, that was positioned directly above the burning oil well. The escaping material being under pressure was forced up this displacement tube to emerge at the top of the structure and continue burning some distance above the damaged installation. In this way, the heat generated by burning oil was displaced some distance from the working area and the engineers could start work on cutting and repairing the damaged oil facility, whilst it was still burning. The fire was put out using basic chemistry principals. A fire being a chemical reaction between oxygen and a hydrocarbon, cannot occur if any of the constituent reactants are absent so that by removing oxygen from the inside of the tube, the fire was immediately extinguished. Very simply principals applied, no oxygen no fire. The removal of oxygen from the combusting environment was achieved according to prevailing conditions and was planned to be used by lowering the tube containing the burning oil to the ground thus preventing air from entering the lumen of the tube. The second method proposed was the removal of the displacement tube to one side of the oil well so as to create a break in the burning column of oil. In this case, the oil was burning at the top of the tube and as the long tube was snapped to one side of the oil installation the hot end of the assembly was moved some distance from the escaping column of oil and not having a source of heat to promote combustion, the escaping oil did not reignite. Thirdly, given that the oil wells were sited in the middle of the desert the pumping of nitrogen gas into the tube was

proposed to prevent air from entering the combustion area. By the time the technology was accepted and applied in Kuwait the fire fighting teams had installed piping to duct water from the sea and vast volumes of salt water were used to keep the working areas around the burning wells cool. Once the displacement tube was in position the intensity of the fires was controlled by pumping varying quantities of water into the lumen of the displacement tube and when the fires needed to be put out the tube was flooded with water, as a means of removing oxygen from the combustion equation.

Picture Displacement Tube Kuwaiti Patent 40/94

The displacement tube concept was extremely effective and well over half of all fires were controlled using this methodology. As a means of controlling burning oil wells the displacement tube has become the preferred method of containing fires, particularly highly pressurised well installations. Much use for the oxygen displacement has emerged since the concept was proposed for use in Kuwait. The fact that basic chemistry is at work means that no fire can occur if any of the components of the fire are missing and by removing oxygen from the equation a vast number of applications have emerged where combustibles can be prevented from igniting. The technology has successfully been introduced to containers of fuel such as aircraft fuel tanks, fuel carrying super tankers, oil storage facilities, enclosed combustible storage facilities and even controlling fires in contained environments such as housing. Many uses are yet to emerge as the value of the concept of oxygen displacement is further innovated.

Mysterious political pressures were at play at the time and the best technology intended for rapid containment of the damaged oil well heads, was NOT allowed to be used in Kuwait. In addition to the displacement tubes Babic also designed counter pressure plugs, that were intended to be lowered into the damaged ends of the riser tubes. The technology provided steel plugs with soft metal collars that were lowered inside the burning well head pipes and dropped, to block the opening of any given pipe and thus staunch the flow of escaping oil, in a similar manner to the way that a cork plugs an opening of a champagne bottle. The total weight of the steel plug exceeded the pressure of the escaping oil and once the plug was in position the installation could be left, plugged and secure from escaping oil, until the engineering teams had time to repair the facility. Several damaged oil installations could have been contained per day with a team of tree men. The entire Kuwaiti saga could have been resolved within a couple of months. Picture Counter Pressure Plugs Kuwaiti Patent 39/94

In all this, Babic has been sidestepped by all concerned and the Kuwaiti Oil Company, the Kuwaiti Oil Corporation, the Kuwaiti Government, The British DTI, and many other agencies contacted with the non payment complaint. Even the Kuwaiti Emir, has refused to answer the complaint,. The technology is in any case, Copyrighted. An amazing situation exists wherein a Nation stands before the World and begs for help to resolve a unique and catastrophic situation and someone, from some part of the World, comes forward and provides an answer that helps the people of Kuwait save their oil industry

from total destruction and the powers that be, then refuse to acknowledge or even pay a token gesture to the inventor who provided the concept. About 20 years later, all attempts to retrieve unpaid royalties have come to nothing and Babic has not been able to retrieve any of the 100 million pounds outstanding in royalties. How can this be? The story of Branko Babic a lone inventor, was documented by the Discovery Science Channel “The Inventors” on shown on, Sky TV. science.channel.com Branko R Babic Invention and Innovation See: http://freespace.virgin.net/babic.branko/kofc.html

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