"Some speculate as much as 100,000 psi — far too much for current technology to contain. The shutoff vales and safety measures were built for only 1,000 psi.......Geologists are pointing to other fissures and cracks that are appearing on the ocean floor around the damaged wellhead.......There are some that think that BP has drilled into an deep-core oil volcano that cannot be stopped, regardless of the horizontal drills the company claims will stop the oil plume in August."
This is one of the most misleading articles (one of many) that I have read to date:
The highest oil or natural gas reservoir pressure recorded to date was in the Blackbeard well which is the deepest well drilled below the sea floor (mud line) to date. The Blackbeard well encountered an abnormally high pressure gradient which may require up to 30,000 PSI production equipment (well head, valves, tubing, etc) currently unavailable to the market. Blowout preventers, well heads, tubing, valves, connectors, etc, are currently designed to handle up to 20,000 PSI with 25,000 PSI designs currently being tested. The flowing pressure of the BP blowout well (at the blowout preventor - i.e. sea floor) is estimated at ~8,000 PSI.
The highest pressure previously recorded by the Deepwater Horizon (at a deeper well) was around 22,500 psi. The BP blowout well was only drilled to a depth of ~18,000 feet below the sea floor and as such it encountered much lower pressures. The bottom hole pressure of the BP blowout well is calculated at ~14,000 psi (5,000 feet of water = 2,154 PSI, 18,000 feet of rock, pressure gradient of 0.6 and 0.66 PSI per foot ( 11.6 to 12.7 mud ) would put the total pressure at under 14,000 PSI).
Again, this is one of the most misleading articles that I have read to date. Scientists have in fact looked for new fissures or cracks nearby (leaking plumes) and have found none to date. All of the large plumes of oil found below the water surface (oil plumes floating with deep water currents) originated from the blowout well (located on the sea floor); however, there are some previously documented naturally occurring oil and natural gas seeps under the Gulf of Mexico, but none that are seeping large enough quantities of oil to represent any real concern.
As new oil and natural gas discoveries are made, future wells will eventually produce enough oil and gas to relieve even the highest reservoir pressures. As these deep reservoirs are produced, the naturally occurring oil and natural gas seeps will diminish or disappear. Some of the largest naturally occurring oil seeps are located off the Santa Barbara Coast with tar balls washing up on the beach on a daily basis.