Flow Rate Technical Group

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The Flow Rate Technical Group is a group of scientists and engineers from the United States federal government, universities, and research institutions created May 19, 2010, for an official scientific-based estimate of the flow of oil in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. It issued an interim report on May 27. It was convened again on June 10 by Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen after the drilling riser from the well was cut by Maxx3 ROV Dive #35 on May 31, 2010, in an attempt to redirect the flow. Large amounts of oil were not being captured and the group was convened to estimate how much.[1]


The group is led by Marcia McNutt.

Members of the group[2] are:

Plume modeling[edit]

Uses video of the oil/gas mixture escaping from the damaged well, using particle image velocimetry analysis to estimate fluid velocity and flow volume.

Mass balance[edit]

Used remote sensing data from deployment of the Airborne Visible InfraRed Imaging Spectrometer (AVIRIS) and satellite imagery to calculate the amount of oil on the ocean surface for each day. The figures were corrected the value for oil evaporated, skimmed, burned, and dispersed up to that day and divided by time to produce an average rate.

  • Victor Labson, Director, Crustal Geophysics and Geochemistry Science Center (lead)
  • Roger N. Clark, Lead Scientist, Research Physical Scientist
  • Gregg A. Swayze, research geologist
  • Todd M. Hoefen, research geophysicist
  • Raymond Kokaly, research geophysicist
  • K. Eric Livo, research geophysicist
  • Michael H. Powers, research geophysicist
  • Geoffrey S. Plumlee, research geologist
  • Gregory P. Meeker, research geologist

Reservoir modeling[edit]

Describes the geologic formations as well as composition and pressures of the oil, natural gas, and other compounds that are being released. Using open-hole logs; pressure, volume, and temperature data; core samples; and analog well or reservoir data; the team will populate computer models and determine flow rate from targeted sands in the well as a function of bottomhole pressure.

  • Don Maclay, Petroleum Engineer, MMS Gulf Regional Office (Lead)
  • Other MMS engineers

Nodal analysis[edit]

Uses input from reservoir modeling (including pressure, temperature, fluid composition and properties over time) and pressure and temperature conditions at the leak points on the sea floor, along with details of the geometries of the well, BOP, and riser to calculate fluid compositions, properties, and fluxes from both before and after riser removal.


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 14, 2010. Retrieved June 14, 2010.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 16, 2010. Retrieved June 14, 2010.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)