The Sea of mud that never stops flowing in Sidoarjo in Indonesia

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The Sea of mud that never stops flowing in Sidoarjo in Indonesia

Covering 20 square kilometers to the depth of a building.

A friend has just returned from Sidoarjo in Indonesia and told me about a place he went to that was being covered in mud, not just a little but tons and tons of it never stopping flowing.

It seems a mining company were drilling a hole looking for oil, but used the wrong type of equipment. They hit an area where there was pressureized boiling mud and it just started spewing out the top of their mning hole.

It never stops, and coming from so far underground could flow for ever, more and more and more mud covering over 20 kilometers of land to the depth so far of a house.

So they build a huge wall around it, and now the wall is nearly at the max as well.

from Latimes
Local prospector PT Lapindo Brantas was carrying out routine drilling at the Banjar Panji-1 well located near the town of Sidoarjo, a site that is part of a joint operation known as the Brantas Production Sharing Contract. Burrowing through hot rock almost three kilometers deep, Lapindo’s drill string hit something soft.

According to company documents, the resulting drop-off in pressure caused the crew to lose the drill bit in the hole when they tried to raise it up.

The next day, toxic gases and hot mud began rushing out of the well - a danger sign in gas prospecting known as a “well kick”. Drillers pumped a mixture of cement and mud back in the hole in an attempt to seal it, which seemed to work, until huge quantities of effluent began to emerge from large cracks in the ground nearby. For an entire month, Lapindo experts tried to stem a seemingly limitless stream of mud and water gushing from the ground.

Here is an article from the BBC on it.

Thousands of people on the Indonesian island of Java have been forced from their homes by tonnes of hot mud and gas.

The sludge, which has been spewing out of the ground for more than two months, is the result of a crack in a gas drilling project near Indonesia's second city, Surabaya.

In a sign of growing international concern over the disaster, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono visited the affected area of Sidoarjo last week.

But despite attempts by government officials and the company involved, so far nothing has managed to contain the flow.

The mud now covers around 20 square kilometres. Climb up a bank of earth at the outskirts of Shiring village and you see it - a lake of mud stretching for kilometre after kilometre.

A white plume of gas marks the spot where it all started; a crack in the earth spewing out steaming sludge.

You can count the rooftops floating in the mud - marking out factories and schools. And you can imagine the things you cannot see - the homes, the rice paddies, the furniture, the toys: whole lives buried; their owners gone, forced to run for higher ground.
By netchicken: posted on 16-11-2006

Photos from a friend who has just just visited Sidoarjo in Indonesia

In the distance is the hole still pumping out the mud.

The wall with the mud on the right and the original township on the left

What used to be a town street

Source of the mud, they are trying to dig another hole on an angle to pump concrete into the original hole as a plug
By netchicken: posted on 23-11-2006

Last I heard on this one, they have no clue how to stop it and are basically WAGing it as they go. I don't think anyone realizes the enormity of this flow. It's just too mindboggling to fathom.

Wonder where else this would be capable of happening.
By MELtdown: posted on 24-11-2006

They are laying huge pipes to let it flow into a river and on into the ocean, but there it will kill all the life up and down the coast.

Looks like a mess no matter what they do, but putting it into the sea is the worst.
By netchicken: posted on 24-11-2006

More on the mud flood. According to another article they are expecting the flow to increase as the wet season arrives and rain adds to the mess.

It started as a natural gas well. It has become geysers of mud and water, and in a country plagued by earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis another calamity in the making, though this one is largely man-made.

Eight villages are completely or partly submerged, with homes and more than 20 factories buried to the rooftops. Some 13,000 people have been evacuated. The four-lane highway west of here has been cut in two, as has the rail line, dealing a serious blow to the economy of this region in East Java, an area vital to the countrys economy. The muck has already inundated an area covering one and a half square miles.

And it shows no signs of stopping.

The mud is rising by the hour, and now spewing forth at the rate of about 170,000 cubic yards a day, or about enough to cover Central Park.

Foreign companies, environmental groups and political observers are now watching closely to see whether the government will hold the company that drilled the well accountable for the costs of the cleanup, which could easily reach $1 billion.

The company is part of a conglomerate controlled by Aburizal Bakrie, a cabinet member and billionaire who was a major contributor to the campaign of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

The disaster occurred as the company, Lapindo Brantas, drilled thousands of feet to tap natural gas and used practices that geologists, mining engineers and Indonesian officials described as faulty.

But as the liabilities have escalated, Lapindo was sold — for $2 — last month to an offshore company, owned by the Bakrie Group, and many fear it will declare bankruptcy, allowing its owners to walk away.

From NY Times

sidoarji-mud.jpg - 77.36kb
By netchicken: posted on 12-12-2006

The mud hole source, picturesque isn't it :)

Sidoarjo-mud-hole.jpg - 29.77kb
By netchicken: posted on 12-12-2006

Here is a video of the mud hole in Sidoarjo in Indonesia. Quite hellish. They are standing on a platform above the sea of dried mud from the hole. Next to the crane in the photo at the top.

By netchicken: posted on 26-12-2006

They are trying to drop concrete balls into the hole now!

A plan to use concrete balls to stem the disastrous ooze from an Indonesian "mud volcano" may be revised after they slid deeper than expected, a spokesman said Tuesday.

The balls slid about half a mile into the crater, roughly twice the depth anticipated, and many more than planned may be required to staunch the mudflow, said the operation's spokesman, Rudi Novrianto.

"Based on our monitoring of Monday's operations, we may later decide to add to the number of ball chains, but the decision will only be made once the initial target of 374 chains have been dropped into the mud hole," he said.

Each chain comprises four concrete spheres weighing 880-1,100 pounds. Five chains had been dropped into the crater up to Monday.

The audacious but experimental plan aims to slow the toxic mudflow which has submerged entire villages in East Java province by about 50-70 percent.

mudvolcano-balls.jpg - 43.57kb
By netchicken: posted on 28-2-2007

holy **** thats alot of mud lol
By redhotchilipeppers1fan: posted on 4-4-2007

Surabaya mud volcano breaches walls drives out villagers.

The crisis in Surabaya continues with the mud still growing.

There doesn't seem to be an end to this, situation, I wonder what will happen in the long term.

A mud volcano that forced more than 15,000 people to abandon their homes on the Indonesian island of Java in 2006 has breached the barriers built to contain it, causing further damage, police have said.

Residents in Porong in East Java province fled from their homes in panic late on Thursday when hot, foul-smelling mud began to flow into the area, covering the nearby railway tracks and a main road.

"At least 10 vehicles were buried by one metre deep mud, including mine," said Andi Yudianto, a local traffic police chief.

The newly affected area is about 20km from Surabaya, Indonesia's second-largest city. But thousands of homes and factories in an area four times the size of Monaco have been submerged by the hot mud since it first started to erupt in May 2006.

The disaster occurred about 200 metres from a gas exploration well operated by PT Lapindo Brantas, just two days after an earthquake hit the city of Yogyakarta in Central Java.

There has been a dispute over whether the mud volcano was caused by the gas drilling well or by the earthquake.

Lapindo is partly owned, through various other companies, by the family of Aburizal Bakrie, a cabinet minister and businessman. The Bakrie family last year topped the Forbes' list for the wealthy in Indonesia.

The government has tried several schemes to halt the flow, including dropping giant concrete balls into the crater, but the hot mud continues to spurt out.

Ahmad Zulkarnain, a spokesman for a government body managing the mudflow, said it had been unable to reinforce the 10m thick and 5m high dyke built to contain the mudflow because there had been no agreement on compensation with the owner of the land where the defences are situated.

"We had been worrying about this for some time. It is vulnerable, especially during the rainy season," he told Reuters.

The government ordered energy group Lapindo, which many people blame for the disaster, to pay 3.8 trillion rupiah ($NZ530 million) in compensation to the victims and to cover the damage. Thousands of victims have staged frequent street protests, complaining of inadequate compensation.

Lapindo and PT Energi Mega Persada Tbk, which has a stake in Lapindo, dispute the idea the disaster was caused by the drilling and also whether Lapindo alone should shoulder the cost.
By netchicken: posted on 5-1-2008

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