By M. Nisha

‡ Oil well fires oil wells caught on fire & burn uncontrollably ‡ Resultof
± human actions, such as accidents ± natural events, such as lightning

‡ Can exist
± on a small scale - an oil field spill fire ± on a huge scale - as in geyser-like jets of flames from ignited high pressure oil wells.

Extinguishing the fires
‡ More difficult to extinguish - enormous fuel supply ‡ In fighting a fire at a wellhead :
± Dynamite are used to consume all the local atmospheric oxygen & snuff the flame out ± Doing so - removes the oxygen necessary for the fire to burn - fire's fuel shower down upon working crew ± After snuffing, wellhead - capped to stop flow of oil ± At this stage, one small spark /other heat source re-ignite oil. ± To prevent re-ignition : brass or bronze tools / paraffin coated tools - used during capping process

‡ Explosive re-ignition - may take even worse than the original blowout ‡ Due to advances in technology & environmental concerns : ± Wells - capped while they burn ± Use of high-powered water sprays & Purple K dry chemical (a potassium bicarbonate mixture)

Other Techniques
‡ Dousing with copious amounts of water ‡ Raising the plume- Inserting 1 metal casing 30 to 40 feet high over the well head (raising flame above ground) - Liquid nitrogen or water - forced in at bottom reduce oxygen supply & put out fire ‡ Drill relief wells redirect oil & make fire smaller (and easier to extinguish with water) ‡ Using a gas turbine to blast a fine mist at the fire ‡ Using dynamite - one of the earliest effective methods ‡ Dry Chemical (mainly Purple K) - used on small well fires - such as those in refineries

Its movie time !..

‡ Loss of millions of barrels of crude oil ‡ Ecological problems caused by ± Large amounts of smoke ± Unburnt petroleum falling back to earth ± Smoke from burnt crude oil contains sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, soot, benzopyrene, etc., ‡ Enormous economic losses

Aerial View of Oil fires

‡ Kuwait had set production quotas to almost 1.9 million barrels per day - sharp drop in the price of oil. ‡ By 1990, Kuwaiti overproduction - become a serious point of contention with Iraq. ‡ Some analysts speculated : Saddam Hussein's main motivations - to punish ruling al-Sabah family for not stopping its policy of overproduction

Kuwait - Environmental Impacts
Heavy acid rain Short term immediate global warming decrease in air quality, causing respiratory problems contaminated around 40 million tons of sand and earth Vegetation - adjoining the oil lakes groundwater resources

Documentary Coming up next !..

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