Deepwater Oil Spill - the Congressional Illustrations - and Thurs. Open Thread 2

Please transfer discussion to

10:06 PM Heading Out's comment: They have the cap on but it has not gone down far enough to generate the seal, and so there is a lot of oil still coming out from under the cap.

We are now reading that BP says there will be a 12 to 24 hour wait before the new cap is installed. So in this post, I will go back background material I put together earlier, based on material presented in the Congressional Hearings.

I am sure you are still interested in current events as well, so before going to the background material, these are a few news items. According to the New York Times:

A technician involved in the effort said that because the shear cut left the riser with a slight bend, a different cap would be used than the one originally planned. This cap would fit over the flange that attaches the riser to the blowout preventer stack, the large assembly of equipment atop the well that was supposed to seal the well in an emergency but failed to do so.

The technician, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment on the work, said that robotic submersibles had to "dress up" the cut end of the pipe before the cap could be lowered. "Everything just takes time," he said.

If the cap succeeds in capturing most of the leaking oil, BP will try a couple of other measures to minimize the amount of oil still leaking into the sea, Mr. Hayward said.

To combat hydrate problems this time around, BP is running methanol, which will act as a kind of antifreeze, and heated water through a hose down into the containment cap.

The Christian Science Monitor reports:

Embattled oil giant BP made headway in containing the gushing Macondo well Thursday morning, severing a piece of riser pipe to make way for a "top cap" device with a garden-hose-type seal designed to siphon leaking oil to surface tankers. . .

Currently, the well is emptying at a pressure of 9,000 pounds per square inch (psi). The pressure of the water at 5,000 feet is counteracting that pressure and bringing the flow pressure at the wellhead to 3,500 psi. For comparison, a crocodile's bite is measured at 5,000 psi.

"The question is, will the pressure of oil going up into the much smaller pipe mean that [it will create] enough pressure to force the oil up and around the oil seals," says Allen. "We won't know until the cap is seated and we can see how the seals are doing their job."

According to the Oil and Gas Journal:

The cut on the riser pipe is irregular, and the top of the riser is leaning about 10º, Allen said. Crews will place a containment cap with a rubber seal on top of the riser. BP has caps available with different widths and sealing mechanisms so that it can use the cap that best fits the cut riser.

“Once the cap is on, there is some chance that some oil could escape,” Allen said. “It could be close to none, it could be some,” leaking out, he said, adding this only can be determined after the cap is placed.

The reservoir pressure is 9,000 psi, and the pressure of oil coming through the BOP is 3,500 psi, he said. The collected oil and gas will go into a smaller pipe, which could increase back pressure and cause oil to leak out around the seal.

Before the riser was cut, federal scientists estimated the flow rate of the spill could increase 20% between the time of the cut and the time that the cap was placed. A team of scientists had released preliminary findings showing the estimated flow rate is 12,000-19,000 b/d although it possibly could be 25,000 b/d (OGJ Online, May 27, 2010).

BP's spill camera is now offering 12 live feeds from ROVs. This is the link I have, but it is not clear how one gets to the 12 feeds.

(These updates are by Gail. The background material below is by Heading Out.)

Congressional Testimony Illustrations

One of the considerable problems that arise in writing about the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico comes in determining what information that is given is actually accurate. I’m going to assume, however, that when a company provides information to Congress that it is, to the best of their knowledge, correct. Since the illustrations that accompanied the testimony of BP officials is now available, albeit in draft form, I am going to summarize some of this so that, as discussion and later posts require, it can serve as a useful point to find reference material.

This information was presented the Energy and Commerce Committee of the House, on May 24th. (Note that the illustrations have been condensed to fit on the page. Clicking on the image should lead to a larger view on a separate page.)

There are several points that I want to highlight, and so I will be taking selected parts of the BP slides to record separate pieces of information. The first of these is where the actual pay zones of oil and gas are, relative to the total depth of the well, and what the pressures are within them. Notice that the pressure at the bottom of the well is about a thousand psi lower than I had been using in earlier posts.

There are several different parts of the overall structure for which more information is available in these slides (and my many thanks to several folk who have pointed me to their existence).

Consider first the Blow-Out Preventer, on which I have focused recently. The exact nature of the different rams is not the same as that illustrated by the paper from which I took the illustration.

The various components of the BOP, from the top are:

UAP – Upper Annular Preventer, used in normal drilling operations for well shut-in, rated at 10,000 psi

LAP – Lower Annular Preventer - down rated to lower wellbore retaining pressure to 5,000 psi.

BSR – Blind Shear Rams – cuts through the pipe and seals the well. 2 rams, one on either side of the drill pipe (DP).

CSR – Casing Shear Rams – non sealing, cut drill pipe and casing, but not designed to seal the well.

The three variable bore rams (VBO) would normally be the following with the functions designated:

UPR – Upper Pipe Rams – Ram packers can close on a range of drill pipe, from 3.5” OD to 6 5/8” OD and seal at 15,000 psi well bore pressure.

MPR – Middle Pipe Rams - Ram packers can close on a range of drill pipe, from 3.5” OD to 6 5/8” OD and seal at 15,000 psi well bore pressure., can also be used to hand-off drill pipe to a maximum weight of 600,000 lb.

LPR – Lower Pipe Rams – A Test Ram that can hold up to 15,000 psi.

The lowest ram did not function, I believe, and there was evidence of hydraulic leakage which has raised questions as to whether, or which, of the other rams functioned. However, as a part of the protocol for the positive pressure test, the drill pipe is lifted out of the BOP, and the BSR is closed to seal the well, while fluid is pumped into the well through the kill line, to raise the pressure and ensure that the cement job had held pressure. That test was successfully completed.

Following the positive pressure test the drill pipe is lowered back into the hole. Note that it is in three sizes, as it goes down the well, with the upper segment at a diameter of 6 5/8” , and the lowest at a diameter of 3.5” extending down to 8,367 ft below the rig.

To separate the seawater that is then going to be pumped into the riser a special, heavy mud known as the Lost Circulation Material (LCM) which has a weight of 16 pounds per gallon (ppg) is injected into the well, through the DP, and it circulates from the bottom of the DP back up to the BOP. The choke and kill lines had been filled with seawater, and the kill line pressure gage was still reading 1200 psi. (This takes the time to 16:28 on the 20th April. The green color is 14 ppg mud, the pink the 454 barrels of 16 ppg LCM, and the blue is seawater at 8.6 ppg.

The sea water is pumped into the well and circulated behind the spacing LCM, material. Once it has filled the drill pipe, and started to rise back up the production casing, the pressure rating of the water in the DP is at 2325 psi, and that in the kill line is 1200 psi. The annular seal is closed around the DP, and the pump is switched off. The pressure in the DP (on the rig floor I imagine) is reduced to 1200 psi, to equate with that of the kill line. Once the two are at the same pressure the kill valve at the BOP is opened, but this is where, at around 5 pm the first signs of a problem appear. The fluid in the well, for the first time, exerts less pressure on the fluid in the rock, than the value of that pressure.

The annular that is leaking is, presumably, the annular seal at the top of the BOP. The term “U-tube” I believe refers to the fact that there is not a pressure balance at the point it is measured. At this point there are two separate scenarios as to how fluid starts to migrate into the well, as the pressure in the DP is bled back to zero. It is now 17:52. Note that the oil/gas flow is shown as an orange arrow and in either case has a path to the bottom of the DP.

Pressure in the well now starts to rise, fluid is flowing from the kill line (about 3 – 15 bbls, the kill line was closed. Pressure in the DP was monitored and held steady at 1,400 psi, This was the negative pressure test, at 19:55 the decision to continue pumping seawater was implemented, at 20:58 it was noted that the flow out was greater than the flow in. The flow meter indicates that the well is flowing. Pressure in the DP continues to build, even after the pumps are shut down.

The first indications of this flow was 51 minutes before the explosion occurred. Seawater displacement restarted, at 21:14 and at 21:56 the Emergency Disconnect System (EDS) was activated, which should have led the shear rams to activate, and released the riser from the well. It did not work. The gage results leading up to the explosion were provided.

The activation time for the EDS should be 46 seconds. In this time, after the EDS button is pushed, the blind shear rams close, cutting the drill pipe and sealing the well.

The choke and kill line valves are closed and the lines unlatched.

The LMRP is unlatched and disconnects.

The sequence is complete and the rig can move away from the well.

There is no evidence that the EDS fully activated. Even if hydraulic power to the BOP had been lost there was a second procedure, the AMF, that should have sensed the loss in power, communications and hydraulics and closed the blind shear rams. But it required all three to have been lost to activate. It should take 37 seconds. There is no evidence that it fully activated.

The subsequent use of ultrasonics and gamma ray examination suggests that the blind shear and VBRs may have functioned, and could have reached the locked (closed?) position.

The testimony also showed a simplified version of how the shoe at the bottom of the casing should act to stop re-entry of fluids into the bottom of the production casing. The flappers stay open as first mud, and then cement is pumped down the well. Once the plug reaches the well, and all the cement has been ejected, then the flappers swing back horizontal, sealing the well. (The testimony pictures has the flapper in the wrong place in the middle figure so I deleted it from this copy.)

Prof. Goose's Comment:

A continued sincere thank you to all who have donated thus far. It will help us pay for the fourth server we are bringing online to accommodate the increased traffic. (See point 3 below.)

1. The Oil Drum is a pretty special place. We strive to maintain a high signal to noise ratio in our comment threads. Short, unengaging comments, or comments that are off topic, are likely to be deleted without notice. (to be clear--engaging, on point humor and levity, more than welcome.)

We are trying to perform a service to the public here to coordinate smart people who know their stuff with other people who want to learn about what's going on. Promotion of that ideal will be the criteria by which we make our decisions about what stays and what goes.

Flame wars, polemic exchanges, and other content deleterious to the community will be removed, either by an editor or by the community through its moderation process.

2. If you see a problematic comment USE THE COMMENT MODERATION SYSTEM--see the "Flag as inappropriate" and (?) beside it? Learn more there. If you see comments that are questionable after you've done that (that aren't being removed), let us know at the eds email address.

It is up to this community to enforce the norms we have established here (a high signal to noise ratio), keep. it. up.

Our guide to commenting at TOD can be found here: . Please check it out if you are unfamiliar with it, but it is essentially 1) citations welcome (if not necessary), 2) be kind to others, and 3) be nice to the furniture.

3. We have gotten a lot of queries whether this bump in traffic is adding costs to keep the site functioning. Truth is, yes, we are incurring added expenses from these events. It is also true that we try not to beg from you very often as we are not the types to bother you with constant queries.

That being said, if you are inclined to help out, your support is always welcome and very much appreciated. To those who have already given, thank you very much.

You can find the donate button in the top left hand corner of the main page.

4. If you have come here to vet your plan to kill the well, understand that you will be queried on whether or not you have read the other 10 previous comment threads and all the myriad plans that have already been run by the kind folks in this room; if you have actually read all 10 comment threads and still think your plan has legs, well, then maybe yours really is the one that will save the Gulf of Mexico.

This is not to say that well considered questions about current attempts and modifications to those attempts are not welcome; they are. But try to place them in context and in what's actually going on, as opposed to your MacGyver dream solution where you have a 10 megaton bomb, an ice pick, and Commander Spock at your side.

5. Also, if you're looking for live chat to talk about the ROV/LMRP video, etc., and are IRC capable, go to freenode, the channel is #theoildrum

(google MIRC and download it; Hit the lightening bolt and fill in your info; select the server as "freenode" (it is in the server list), hit connect; when connected type /join #theoildrum)

or you can get there just via a browser: / Just enter a nickname and #theoildrum in the boxes; then when connected type /join #theoildrum)

6. Do not be afraid to go back and read the last couple of open threads yesterday and today before you start on this thread. They are really good, and will likely catch you up if you have been out of the loop for a while. We shut down threads when we get to 300-400 comments, as it's really unmanageable. Lots of good stuff in there though.

Ironically, just as I was going to post this comment in the morning's thread it was closed for comments :-)

I was responding to a comment by ov with a followup by shelburne.

ov said:

I think it is an important subject that gets buried and missed in the daily thread. Could we have a topic on casing design for the relief well? Something that won't fill up in a day with well cam commentary.

sherburn went on to say:

Excellent idea.

What about threads for:

1 - Cause of original blow out (including casing design)

2 - Oil containment and subsea recovery

3 - Surface spill control/dispersant issues

4 - ROV live feed and political commentary discussion

Having focused threads that are open for a long time allows us to keep comments key to the discussion in one place, ensures there will be few repeated questions, and gives us a place for comments containing important links to outside sources to accumulate.

It also means fewer questions will go unanswered (although we are doing a remarkable job now under the circumstances). Knowing the thread will remain open for comments takes the pressure off of trying to keep up.

The most important benefit IMHO, is the thread would become the best ongoing, comprehensive, and credible source for information about its topic available.

I know there are limits to the number of dedicated threads, but perhaps we could experiment with a single thread and see how it goes.

It strikes me that the BP-lead, government-supported response effort is deteriorating into a fresh round of finger-pointing (consider recent attempts to distance our national response from BP's efforts; for example, Adm. Thad Allen just began holding solo press briefings... no more BP representatives).

At this crucial juncture, it appears the entire endeavor is hampered by poor communication and hazy command structure. And Admiral Allen certainly has more to manage than simply following Tony Hayward (BP's CEO) around all day keeping an eye on everything. He cannot be a hands-on manager directly overseeing BP 24-7.

***This begs the question: who is the administration's "point man" is in the BP nerve center?***

Participants in the effort to kill this well clearly bring sharp minds and years of experience to the table. For example, Secretary Chu recently sent a team of 5 nuclear physicists to the Gulf (including Richard Garwin, a designer of the first hydrogen bomb, and Tom Hunter, chief of Snadia National Labs). The skilled pilots of those ROVs all have at least 2,000 hours of flight time and are doing a remarkable job.

Those credentials are genuinely impressive.

But my concern relates to the central decision-making process. Is this a scenario where:

1.) Tony Hayward & BP make decisions, carry them out and public officials are then brought into the loop as events unfold (perhaps even after-the-fact)?


2.) Someone with command authority is essentially attached to Tony Hayward (physically or electronically), getting real-time information and granting approval or tweaking plans before they are executed?

For example (purely hypothetical): Tony Hayward gets a call from the ROV room that the BOP appears on the verge of rupturing. A crucial decision must be made rapidly. Does he:

1.) Make an executive decision, leaving the government to find out second-hand or via phone call shortly afterwards


2.) Have a public official he directly communicates with and says, "Hey, here's what's happening and this is what we want/intend to do. Good to go?" At which point the public official says either, "You're good to go, let's get this done" or, "Sorry Tony, that's not safe, practical or in line with reasonable procedures. Why is this the best option? Have you considered trying X or Y instead? I can approve that immediately while we hash this out a bit more."

This single factor alone may make a world of difference as events continue unfolding in the days and weeks ahead.

Thanks for any guidance, input or additional thoughts on this vital issue.

_If_ US disaster response doctrine were being followed the 'incident commander' for the oil well should be BP. This is because BP is the largest 'stakeholder' and is performing the bulk of the effort.

What gets tricky here is that government agences are loath to give up control to 'civilians.' As a result I see a command structure where the Coast Guard is overseeing operations that they do not really understand.

If I were sitting in the White House this is how I would organize the response:

The response to the oil leak and everything within 5 miles is 'owned' by BP with a Coast Guard laison keeping tabs on the operation.

All 'deepwater' oil cleanup operations are 'owned' by the US Coast Guard.

All coastal oil cleanup operations are 'owned' by the respective state governments.

FEMA operates as a support orginization for BP, the Coast Guard. and each state response team.

The EPA is tasked to _support_ each orginization that 'owns' a response with advice and technical assistance - however the final decision on any remedation or mitigation effort cannot be blocked by the EPA.

Listened to an NPR interview yesterday w/ whatever 'Secy' this is under. Woman, don't remember the name or position.

She said that Gov't gets over-ride or go-ahead on any move that BP makes at this point.

Altho I don't know who, how fast, based on what, etc etc etc.

That may have been Carol Browner, white house energy and climate change adviser. An interview with her, recorded yesterday, was also broadcast today on Morning Edition. Among other things she said

It's important, I think, for people to understand that BP cannot do anything without the administration's agreement. And so if an idea is put forward that are brain trust, our scientists are not comfortable with, they are told that and they do not proceed.

No specifics were given on exactly how that happens.

A transcript of interview available at
Government monitors BP's every move

Audio available at link at the top of the transcript. I heard it this am ... the pauses in her answers aren't reflected in the transcript.

I have not seen it mentioned anywhere, but Mr. Obama has put the director of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in temporary control of the MMS. Quite obviously, BLM knows 'diddly squat' about drilling oil/gas wells in 5,000 feet of sea water. I would also add, if MMS had ethics problems (too many lunches with industry), BLM has ethics problems in spades (harassing land owners, and filing false criminal charges against land owners):

Wilkie v. Robbins

This is like putting the fox in charge of the chicken coop...

Thanks, cactolith. Citations and everything (a recent case, too)!

Not exactly reassuring for the state of affairs moving forward, however...

Please document your assertion that the Dept. of the Interior/BLM is running herd on the MMS.
The MMS did considerably more than have lunch, compliments of "X" oil company.
Several of the employees were busted for snorting coke & crank. Internet porn @ work & partying on the oil companies dime. The same companies that they were supposed to be regulating. There was a serious lack of independence as the oil companies would pencil-in reports only to have MMS fill them out in ink, etc..

I've worked for many a yr. in the WY, CO, UT, ND, MT, & CA oilpatch, & have seen countless BLM personnel, making sure that the blowout equipment was up to snuff & that BOP pressure tests were copasetic, before we were ever able to spud-in.
The Department of the Interior regulatory agency was busted while Bu$h was still in office. The employees w/ the Dept. of the Interior were in the Dnvr. office, snorting cocaine on top of a toaster oven in the break room, w/ oil company representatives & also on many other occasions. The govt. employees were also trading sexual favors w/ oil company reps, as well as accepting gifts, like free tickets to the Broncos & the Rockies, et cetera.
They might have some dedicated & loyal govt. servants in there now, we can only hope.

The SEC employees were downloading porn for 8 hrs./day 5 days/week, on our dime.
There was also some drug use involved. They certainly were not regulating the commodities futures mkt.. Otherwise, they may have caught the criminality, had they been on the job instead of on the dole.
And of course the secret meetings that Dick Cheney had w/ the multinational oil companies to hammer-out a National Energy Policy were somewhat disconcerting. Justice Scalia who had previously gone duck hunting w/ Cheney, ruled that the Shooter didn't have to reveal the names of those who attended the energy policy cabal.
By all rights, Scalia should have recused himself.

Thank you for this great collection of materials, etc. It looks to me like the basic narrative we have previously heard is being proven to a near certainty - the decision to displace with sea water was the fatal step, but occurred anyway despite being poor drilling practice and in the shadow of multiple PHYSICALLY obvious warnings and danger signs.

I see no diagrams regarding the two supposed negative pressure tests that were run. Are there diagrams relating to the negative pressure tests, and the supposed "other tests" that BP testified were their assurance to go ahead with the sea water displacement plan?

Also, the diagram that show an orange arrow penetrating cement dont seem to take into account the earlier diagram they submitted where there was an open path throught the lower annular space to the surface. Which is lying/ wrong?


Once again the Huffington Post leads the way for exploitive BS info meant to get you to read their rag.

Re: the link from the previous thread wherein their title gives the impression that ALL OFFSHORE drilling had been forbidden. From the very same article:" Kendra Barkoff, a spokeswoman for Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, denied that the administration was placing a hold on shallow-water drilling. "There is a six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling," Barkoff said in an e-mail Thursday. "Shallow-water drilling may continue as long as oil and gas operations satisfy the environmental and safety requirements Secretary Salazar outlined in his report to the president and have exploration plans that meet those requirements. There is no moratorium on shallow water drilling."

I knew the "all offshore drilling is banned" statement was BS...I'm in the process of permitting 5 shelf projects with the MMS as I type.

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration is blocking all new offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, a day after regulators approved a new permit for drilling in shallow water.

An e-mail Thursday from the Gulf Coast office of the Minerals Management Service says that "until further notice" no new drilling is being allowed in the Gulf, no matter the water depth. A copy of the e-mail was obtained by The Associated Press.

Yeah, MMS started this "rumor"—which was hastily repudiated by officials higher up the food chain at Interior and the WH. HuffPo is frequently guilty of sensationalism and uncritical jabbering, but they aren't the bad guys here.

They're the bad guys for OTHER reasons
(grumble grumble antivaccination nutcases)

Yeah, but you know where that "He's guilty of *something*. . ." path leads us.

Of course, right now, if you proposed tying Arianna and Tony back-to-back and dropping them off the Golden Gate Bridge (where it would be easy for me to get good photos), I'd be hard-pressed to refrain from cheering you on.

Edit to correct dumb typo.

Shallow-Water Oil Drilling Plans Must Be Resubmitted
By Jeff Plungis and Jim Snyder - Jun 3, 2010

The U.S. suspended shallow-water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico until oil and gas producers resubmit plans to meet revised safety and environmental rules.

The Obama administration is “pulling back” exploration plans and requiring updated information for waters less than 500 feet deep to “ensure that new safety standards and risk considerations are incorporated,” said Bob Abbey, acting director of the Minerals Management Service, in a statement issued yesterday.

Exploration in shallow waters can proceed once new permits are approved and won’t be subject to the Obama administration’s previously imposed six-month moratorium on deepwater operations, imposed after a BP Plc well exploded on April 20 in the Gulf of Mexico, administration officials said today.

“Shallow-water drilling may continue as long as oil and gas operations satisfy the environmental and safety requirements Secretary Salazar outlined in his report to the president and have exploration plans that meet those requirements,” Interior Department spokeswoman Kendra Barkoff said today in an e-mailed statement. “There is no moratorium on shallow-water drilling.”

President Barack Obama and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced the deepwater moratorium on May 27. The administration also delayed planned exploration in the Arctic Ocean near Alaska and canceled plans to search for oil and gas off the Virginia coast.

Hey RM, Sorry for having linked to them instead of a more official press release, it was the first I'd come across, I should have dug up the AP article instead.

No problem somatic -- half the folks it my office took it the wrong way also. This entire incident is in desparite need of a RCO (Rumor Control Officer).

I hope you have a hip-pocket full of onshore opportunities, if needed.

Unless there is a new NTL that I don't know about... "For the purposes of this Moratorium NTL, “deepwater” means depths greater than 500 feet." - from NTL 2010-N04. So yes everything on the shelf should be fine. That doesn't mean that they wont let those permits sit on their desks for 6 months...

This is an area of my expertise. I've been following the financial press/blogs for 3 years now, as a service for another forum elsewhere. You can't believe Huffpo. Financial Times is as mainstream as you can get, always late to the party with blah commentary. Bloomberg - half the time they're right, half the time they're wrong. The London Telegraph is excellent, as is Zero Hedge. But Zero Hedge had the wrong story yesterday; they should stick to what they're good at, analyzing the capital markets and market action. Once in a blue moon, the New York Times will scoop the world.

don't know how current this is from the FT

Further setback in bid to contain leak

By Ed Crooks in Houston

Published: June 3 2010 19:27 GMT| Last updated: June 3 2010 19:27

BP has been forced to use a less effective method of capturing the oil pouring from its leaking Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico, raising the risk that the spill will continue to worsen.

With options for containing the oil now almost exhausted, the setback to the latest attempt raises the prospect that the leak may continue until the relief wells are completed in mid-August.

The setback: "BP on Thursday used powerful hydraulic shears to cut off broken pipes from the valves on the seabed. The move was a fall-back after it was forced to abandon an attempt to make the cut with a diamond-tipped saw." FP seems to be using a huffpo approach to headlines.

From previous thread :

[-] Arthur75

These ROVs and under water tools are quite impressive.

To what extend are they "remote operated" or "robots" ?

By that I mean, is the level of command something like "unscrew bolt number 3" (and the machine has a complete 3D model of the thing, some kind of sensors, and does the job from there), or is it more highly skilled people having direct access to all the movements and functions of the machine through joysticks and the like ?

[-] AlanfromBigEasy

Joystick control. Supposedly minimum 2,000 hours experience to be pilot on 3 person team.


[-] ricx

They're remote operated, not really robots. Basically completely manually controlled, think joysticks. Although they may have automatic 'hover' and basic autopilot modes.

Thanks a lot for the info, and is the feedback on their job only based on the video feeds, or do they have somekind of reconstructed 3D views based on position sensors ?

With the disk cutting stuff, sometimes it caught the oil and the view was totally obscured, in that case they just "back out" and wait for the view to clear up ?

this is skilled skilled work

each ROV is piloted remotely from the surface vessel using a cable by a 3 man crew

1 man is the pilot
1 man works the manipulator (the manipulator can have diff tools as attachments)
1 man is the navigator

no there is no level of command as unscrew a bolt or do this.....every movement is controlled top side by the 3 man crew...

there is no reconstructed views ...a few sensors are there but none is a reactive sensor ....all sensors provide feed to the operators who operate even the slightest function on the ROV's

There is no exact rule for the number of hours an ROV pilot needs to have. The level of expertise is the determining factor. Maturity, knowledge of the work and safety attitude are just as important as stick skill. There is usually, but not always, a correlation between number of hours flying and skill.

They are flying a 200 horsepower vehicle weighing 3 to 5 tons and worth $2 million. It is big and powerful enough to do considerable damage if mishandled. Unlike operating a piece of machinery on the surface these act more like a helicopter with pitch, yaw and vertical thrust as well as back and forth and sideways.

The pilot has a large screen TV with a high definition picture (much better than the BP live feed) but no depth perception and usually a considerable distortion due to the wide angle lens. He also has other cameras showing in side screens that he can switch to his center screen if he wants. He has a sector scan sonar that can help him "see" farther and in black water, not enough to work but to keep from running into things.

Most of the cameras have pan and tilt and zoom. Some of the lights are variable intensity and even may have their own pan and tilt.

The manipulators are 5 or 7 function rate feed and require the same level of skill to operate as the ROV itself.

For work like this it is all hand controlled. Parking in a set location is probably the only computer controlled function, but that allows the pilot to relax a bit.

A number of years ago we were meeting with a bunch of Shell people and were explaining that soon we would have onshore live feeds from ROV video and might even have the capability to fly the ROV from onshore. One of the younger Shell engineers said he really liked the idea of flying the ROV around the wellhead from his office. I said that was great but he would have to sign a waiver taking all liability for any damage, the ROV and lost revenues if it was lost or damaged. A Shell VP in the room put a real quick stop to that idea.

BP Feeds on one page: Reality Check - BP Video Center Courtesy Hx3 at Live Feed Oil Gusher GOM at LATOC.

Can/should we confine this thread to the stated topic? Current events are not the focus of this thread except where ongoing investigations and testimony is concerned. There are other threads for other topics....

..."and Thurs. Open Thread 2".

Is there somewhere else we should be discussing general issues at the moment?

My Firefox keeps crashing when I try to watch the multiple feed links. Any suggestions on a single feed link for the best view? Thanks.

you don't have enough memory

1. close & reopen firefox to clear the cache
2. when viewing the full set of videos, pause all but the ones you are most interested in
3. if firefox isn't clearing the cache effectively you can also do start/run/ & type: ipconfig /flushdns

Which OS are you using?

This one works fine in my FF:

I also did the akamai thing with a local html code file. Read yesterday's link for info on that.

Meantime, does anyone have any idea what the manhole cover looking thing below the LMRP is for? Is that just a stabilizer to keep it oriented upright (seems like the cable from the support ship would do that) or is it intended to go inside the riser acting as a kind of manifold?

Enterprise ROV2 shows it at the moment, suspended below the LMRP

I'm using (as linked to on the last comment thread), working fine in chrome, but as 7 feeds are working at the moment (out of the full 12) it takes a fairly chunky PC to show them all!

Okay, open thread.... dang. I wish there was a thread for the investigation only. Hard to keep up with a topic when 98% of the traffic is going to be "hey, an eel floated by!"

Drumbeat...come on over...

This thread is for current events too. It is hard to have enough threads.

HO wrote this a couple of days ago, and asked us to hold it until there was a "break" in the immediate activity.

Thanks gail. Please, is it possible to have ONE thread that concerns drilling practice/ criminal negligence and the ongoing efforts to find out how this disaster was created/perpetrated?

Yes, the disaster response is important but no, it would not be necessary to do it a second time if we could isolate some of the causes, etc.

Have you noticed the way that intensive ROV-watching affects you, psychologically?

Yesterday there were two incidents that caused me to kinda lose my perspective temporarily:

1) There was a brief and stunningly beautiful scene, just after the diamond band-saw was yanked away, where 2 ROVs, viewed by a third, were hovering in the water maybe 30 or 40 feet away from the BOP top. With all that lighting horsepower, the scene was *very* well-illumniated, best panoramic view I've seen so far. The plume of oil and dispersant from the BOP was horrendous, the clarity of the scene stunning. And for a moment I idly wondered.... what the hell must those ROVs be thinking? ....then I realised.

2) Two ROVs came face to face, and started reaching out their claws and toching each other. "Some kind of ROV mating ritual?" I thought "baby ROVs on the way?"..... after a couple of mins I realised that ROV1 was reaching out to clean the main camara lens of ROV2.

This obsessive observation of the action down there (and I'm sure I'm not the only one.....) is kinda sending me nutty.

Regards Chris

The ROV feeds are certainly captivating. I find myself staring at them for embarrassingly long periods of time.

First time posting here! Have to say how much I appreciate the excellent info on this site, and the actually useful discussions!

I will say: thank goodness my metals lab is much too small to get any of the massive amount of work that is going to be flowing out of this nightmare.

Chris, this must be how primitive people thought of the sun, moon, stars, etc as like "gods" - how we can see so many things as having "human qualities". I think we're wired for that! Babies, as soon as they're born, will fixate visually on anything that appears to be a face - a couple of eyes, a mouth. It's interesting how, from what you write, we interpret actions as "intended" and as empathically motivated. (or possibly warlike - in other cases)

But yes, I caught myself seeing those "arms" as attached to "people" - as not just robotic extensions. So how easily we "connect" - even emotionally - with what's going on.

Robots don't like to be anthropomorphized.

yes, "gotta hankie, mate?"

I say beware spinal-cord life forms, these ROVs are gonna go rogue on us. First clue I'm right, they'll invade and capture your local Toys"R"Us and Wal-Mart-type places, and then spread out to single family homes throughout your neighborhoods.

I caught a glimpse of the little yellow one's stern........Niiice!

Top Hat Interior

Enterprise ROVs 1 & 2 appear to be working on the cap, making some connections (looks like hydraulic tubing) between the cap and the "power pack" (midway station?) that the cap is hanging from.

Feeds are in row 3, the first two from left:

See this illustration for the layout, though it's not to scale:

Scratch that comment about hydraulic lines. From the illustration, they're probably lines for methanol and hot water.

Looks like no ROVs are working on the riser stub at the moment, but two are working on the manifold/LMRP plumbing. Guessing that means we're going to see a capping attempt soon once the system is prepped. I'm assuming that they'll first try to crank up the manifold to divert off some oil flow and decrease the output at the riser stub... also guessing that they'll start the methanol flow during the attempt to forestall hydrate formation. I wonder what the exact sequence of events will wind up being, going to be a nail-biter.

~15:15 CDT Skandi ROV 1 injecting dispersant with the cut portion of the riser visible.

~15:20 CDT Enterprise ROV 2 attaching a blue hose to the top of the yellow and white top hat 4.

~15:20 CDT Q4000 ROV 1 monitoring a pipe or hose and connector.

~15:24 CDT Ocean Intervention III ROV 2 starring into sea water.

I think the OI 3 - ROV 2 and the Skadi ROV 2 are staring each other down...

High Noon at the OK BOP

An interesting aside is that there are ROVs from at least 4 companies that are usually fierce competitors and highly secretive of their technology and equipment. But here they all realize the stakes involved and are working in complete cooperation.

They were probably all on hire for other oil companies when the blowout happened and they, like many of the engineers and vessels involved in this project, were released by those companies at the expense of their own projects.

I know that BP has the authority, backed by government regulations, to commander anything they need but I haven't heard of once instance that whatever they thought they could use wasn't freely offered.

I really enjoy reading TOD, lots of interesting and useful info, thank you all guys.
Don't know if it had been mentioned earlier, just being curious.. Here comes another sick-minded contraption of an outsider.
The formation of hydrates (or whatever you name those crystals forming from crude in the presence of seawater) had only been considered as a problem. Would it be impossible to exploit this phenomena on our side? The idea is that if we could get access to the DP (that's the hard part I think, even more that now it's sheared to hell - but I can imagine a hydraulically operated gasket that can be lowered into the gusher, on top of the DP, then activated to seal around it) and inject pure seawater in it, this water would flow through the DP to the bottom of the well, forming crystals there, in some time eventually blocking the way of the blowout. Or does that crystal formation happen only with cold water?
Apart from technical difficulties, what is the weak point of this solution?

Here's some great info on hydrates and their habitat:

The problem is that as you go down into the seafloor, it gets hotter. Hydrates/clathrates are only stable at low temperatures. The oil and gas coming out of the well are too hot to permit clathrate formation: they have to cool in contact with water before clathrate can form.

One interesting fact, though, for anyone interested in doing engineering with hydrates: they're about 20 times stronger than ice.

The Saddest VIDEO Yet Broadcast Of The Effect Of The Spill On WILDLIFE....

"Why should man expect his prayer for mercy to be heard by What is above him when he shows no mercy to what is under him?"
—Pierre Troubetzko

~15:30 Enterprise ROV 2 has returned to the square white open frame object with other blue hoses hooked and dangling from one side. I guess this is a pump or interface for top hat 4.

~15:34 Enterprise ROV 2 has retrieved a hose that was apparently dropped below the square object and returned it to a hook.

~15:39 CDT Enterprise ROV 2 unhooks another blue hose, moves downward and releases it. It continues moving downward until top hat 4 is visible. The square white open frame object appears to be attached higher up on the pipe that comes out of top hat 4.

That "white open frame" is another LMRP from the Enterprise. The top hat is connected to drill pipe or drill collars that protrude from the bottom of the LMRP.

I'm guessing that that white disk is just a shield to help keep gas bubbles from going up inside the riser.

Now that you point this out, I see the similarity in the illustration on the BP site, except that the second LMRP is rotated about 180 degrees in the illustration.

Does the LMRP provide/generate the heated water and pump the methanol?

methanol will be pumped from the top side via feed in line

The Enterprise ROV 2 "open frame object" is most likely the cage that it deploys from. This cage device hosts the tether that runs out to the ROV. The cage device is what the mother ship drops into the ocean with a payload cable and various communications cables to link the ship with the ROV.

It is not a ROV cage because it contains equipment (pumps?) and is attached to top hat 4 with a pipe (like a drill pipe). The configuration resembles the following diagram:

I agree with you on the description and purpose.....but I believe what you are citing is what the "Enterprise ROV 1" is viewing. I was citing what "Enterprise ROV 2" was viewing at the time.

Yep. That's the LMRP Cap "equipment" cage. What I saw earlier in the day was Enterprise ROV 2 going back to its "support cage" to get something out of a tool tray. Maybe our timing is off on what we see versus post.

I watched the activity at the top of the BOP this morning for a number of hours. They used the shear last night to cut the riser off about two feet above the flange. They spent a lot of time trying to cut what looked like a remnant from the pipe that was sticking out beyond the flange using a large circular saw. They couldn't get a solid enough grip on the saw (although the specs for the Schilling manipulator suggest it's capable of between 500 to 1000 psi). Anyway they dropped the saw 2 or 3 times. Once they tryed to use a smaller one with a composite wheel instead of a steel blade and it broke almost immediately.
When they finally got down to some serious cutting it didn't look like they were making much headway.
Turns out the the remnant they were trying to cut was actually an entire circular section of the pipe that had been cut loose at the bottom and crushed against the other side of the pipe by the shear.(when they took a closer look you could see a different color stream that was jetting through the narrow gap between the crushed sides, that stood out against the darker main body of the flow.

Question: why haven't they tried to just unbolt the remains of the riser at the flange? It would provide a smooth flat mating surface, and should even lift off over the DP which might still be protruding inside?

The answer I've seen elsewhere on here is that the ROVs can't muster the 3,000+ ft/lbs it would take to unbolt the flange.

They no doubt made a guesstimate of which would take longer to implement, trim the rough edges of the riser stub or try unbolting the flange. My guess is that the collective heads all agreed longer to get the torque wrenches deployed and unbolt the flange, assuming they could get the bolts broken loose. Also, I believe the riser stub sticking up may prove of some benefit when they're trying to rattle the LMRP funnel down over the stream of oil coming out, once they get the lower guide vanes started over the pipe, which they will have some visibility to assist them, then the pipe will more or less center the funnel up and keep it from being blown completely out of the flow stream.

There have been constant suggestions to remove the flange bolts to get a smooth surface thinking this promises the best hopes of a seal. This ignores the ways seals normally work. In designing a seal you aim to make the effects of pressure tighten the seal not loosen it. A seal can be made with a gasket compressed between flat flanges but this is the brute force approach. O-rings are normally retained in a groove between the faces to be sealed. Pressure from fluid flowing between the faces, will compress the cross section of the O-ring in the direction of flow since the opposite wall of the groove will stop the O-ring being pushed bodily in the direction of the flow but this compression will cause it to expand in the perpendicular direction pressing against the surfaces that the liquid is flowing along and tightening the seal.

If the proposed collar has a large O-ring that fits over the outside cylindrical surface of the flange and there is a retention lip on the collar to stop it being ejected downward we will get this self sealing effect as the fluid is trying to push axially downward between the outer cylindrical surface of the flange and the inner cylindrical surface of the collar. The O-ring cross section will be compressed axially between the downward pressure of the liquid and the retention lip of the collar and as a result will expand radially tightening the seal between the outside of the flange and the inside of the collar. If the collar is roughly clipped down or if the weight of a mile of riser above it is sufficient to prevent it rising there is no need of any further force on the O-ring and there no need to locate bolt holes or provide any alignment force. Even slight tilts of the collar from vertical will be accommodated.

If a gasket where used on the upper flat face of the flange a slight tilt of flange above a gasket on the flange face will cause a leak and necessitate the use of some extra clamping force.

Thus although the outer surface of the flange is rougher, its geometry makes it a better bet than the upper face of the unbolted flange (if indeed it is practical to unbolt it).

If a reasonably good seal can be made initially it may be possible to inject some quick setting sealant just above the O-ring so that it sets as it is driven through the remaining leaks.

The following has occurred to me as I have learned about the accident.

The BOP (Blow-Out Preventer) has two types of functions - (1)normal well control to allow the drilling to proceed safely and effectively [choke and kill lines, annular preventers, pipe rams, and blind shear ram], and (2) emergency well control [ Casing shear ram, blind shear, annular preventers, also flow control valves]

In the first case, the device is used extensively during drilling activity and well tests and components are subject to considerable wear and tear.

In the second case only some functions are used as part of normal work and some are emergency only (casing shear and EDS function).

The device cannot be repaired on the seabed if a major component has a problem - it must be brought to the surface and this is a lengthy and time-consuming process - maybe a couple of days or more lost time.

Since some of the emergency functions are not needed in the normal course of work a fault could be overlooked or ignored - especially when a job is behind schedule and nearly finished.

A good operator can still work effectively with a device that has some faults or worn parts if he (she) understands the limitations imposed and compensates for those faults. This may allow successful completion of a job with no time lost for repairs which are deferred until after job completion.

On the other hand, in an emergency when the device is under stress and there is little time to react it may simply fail outright.

We heard that at least one of the annular preventers may have been in rough shape, there were hydraulic leaks, battery backup had problems, functionality had been altered and a test ram installed, it wasn't being tested at normal test pressures, etc.

An analogy: A vehicle with a standard transmission and reasonable gearing can be operated with no brakes by a skilled operator who understands how to compensate for this fault - but in an emergency the chance of an accident is rather high...

If the people on the rig had understood that there was a problem with the cement they could have fixed it with normal procedures and would likely have completed the well with no problem. Or even if it started to come in but they reacted quickly enough that might have been able to pull the DP and shut in the well (when it was giving trouble about an hour before the explosion). By the time the seawater began blowing out it was too late and the emergency functions were not effective at that point.

A design that allowed for effective underwater repair by ROVs would seem to be a very good improvement.

In these water depths, I'd bet BOP repair would cost at least a week of rig time.

You have to:

1. Temporarily plug the well with a bridge plug and cement
2. Test that the cement has set
3. Displace the riser
4. Pull the riser and stack to surface
5. Do the repairs & run surface tests
6. Run back in with the stack and riser & latch
7. Hook up the riser tensioners & slip joint
8. Do a set of BOP tests
9. Circulate the riser back to mud
10.Drill out the temporary plug

That's a 7-10 million dollar operation. No wonder they are loath to do it unless there's no other alternative.

ExArc: "That's a 7-10 million dollar operation." Are we talking about BP making choices between fast, cheap and right in managing the operation?

I heard you have a choice on anything in life - fast, cheap, or safe.

But you only get to select two. :)

Long-time follower of this site, but this is the first time I have been moved to comment here. The flow estimates that are going around just seem really incongruous with the images to me, and I mean by orders of magnitude. Just go through the very basic arithmetic here, starting with a benchmark number of 10,000 barrels per day:

10,000 barrels/d = 1,600,000 l/d = 18 liters/second = 0.018 m3/s

Cross-sectional area of inside of riser pipe = 0.16 m2

Do the division, and you find that the given flow rate emerging uniformly from an opening of that size would have a "muzzle velocity" of a whopping 0.11m/s - a tad more than 4 inches per second! This is about 1/4 of a mile per hour, or about one tenth of human walking speed.

Sure I know that not the entire cross-sectional area might be leaking oil at the same rate, etc. etc. But it rapidly merges into an expanding turbulent plume that has a basal diameter about equal to the inside of the riser tube, and expands from there up. There is just no way, even with all the illusions on earth, that the visible plume is moving this slowly. Even at 100,000 barrels per day, your "muzzle velocity" is just over 1 m/s, which is a typical walking speed. Do you really think you could outwalk that massive jet of oil if it were aimed at you horizontally?

Can anyone reconcile these basic numbers with the appearance of a ferociously boiling and rapidly emerging plume? Is there any reason NOT to think that we are looking at something well in excess of 100,000 barrels per day?

Dude, you've completely overlooked gas.

There are very few wells anywhere in the world that can produce 100K bbl/day (most are onshore wells in the Middle East), and that's only possible when they are drawn down hard because at the surface the backpressure is nearly zero.

On this well the flow has to overcome 5200'of seawater, or about 2,500 psi. I would be very surprised to find that this well is flowing more that 20-40K bbl/day.

Note: this well WILL flow more once they run the sring all the way to surface, if they can get a seal on that LMRP top. If not, it's gonna suck in a ton of seawater with it.

This has been covered before, that it's the total volume of the flow. I hadn't seen anyone using a gas:oil volume ratio at depth of 9:1, however. As for overcoming the pressure of 5000 feet of sea water, that is only modestly higher (by 15%) than the pressure of 5000 feet of overlying oil that would have to be overcome if the top of the well were at sea level. BP's a priori worst-case scenario was something like 160,000 bpd for completely unrestricted flow, so they evidently thought rates that high were possible.

Even 20-40K is considerably more than the "20% increase" forecast over the "12-18K" official estimate, unless you just take the lower bound from one and the upper bound from the other.

Frankly, that muzzle velocity looks many times higher than 1 m/s; if it's 3m/s (brisk running speed) and you've got 80% gas by volume you are still looking at 60,000 bpd of oil.

WeLL... A couple of general reasons.

1st - all flow is not oil. It is a highly heterogeneous mixture of oil, natural gases, and formation waters. So not all that is observed is oil or even a fluid which severely limits this sort of "1st order" evaluation of flow volume.
2nd - your flow rates are way off-the-scale for actual production wells in the US GOM which top out (if they are very, very good) at around 12,000 to 14,000 BBls/day of oil (I don't have a range for NG production but it's generally quite large) for initial production rates.

Deepwater production rates run a lot more than 12,000 - 14,000 BOPD. 50,000 is not rare. If 12,000 was the norm we couldn't afford to drill $100,000,000 wells.

You need to check your sources. 50,000 BBls/day is not common and most GOM wells (including Deep H2O) do not cost anywhere close to $100 Million. Just for discussion let say that this BP well was costing $500,000 a day - to be a $100 M well it would have taken 200 days from spud to TD. I believe that the time frame was around 80 days or more like $40 M.

Isn't the 500k figure just the rig time? What about design/engineering, materials, support operations, and sub fees?

yep...avg. total cost in the neighborhood of 1million per day. the rig w/ no people, support, subcontractors, etc etc etc is 500,000 per day.

Actually, DW burn rates are non uncommonly close to $1MM/day and big exploration wells 120 days+. Many $100-150MM wells recently. I remember when a $20mm well was a disaster, but now a sidetrack can cost double that. On rates: 50KBOPD is close to the upper limit, but there are many wells doin better than 30KBOPD.

Ah, I hadn't thought about formation waters. Yeah I can see they would make a big difference as well. What are typical volume or weight fractions of raw flow for them? I'd imagine it is highly variable.

As for the cross-sectional area, since the flow rapidly expands to cover an area about the same as the full diameter of the pipe, its average velocity a short ways beyond the pipe should be about the same as if it were uniform.

The cross-sectional area of the leak is much smaller than the full diameter of the riser pipe.

I've done similar calculations both today and a few weeks ago which come to roughly the same conclusion. However, keep in mind that not all of the plume you're seeing is oil: some is gas, and the fastest-moving stuff is the gassiest. And, as I found out the first time I posted here, some of the gas is *dissolved* in the oil, which makes the whole thing tricky.

But yes. I think 10,000 barrels a day would have been an absolute minimum three weeks ago when we were just looking at the riser in its seafloor crater. Now, we're at *least* several times that.

~ 15:49 CDT There is green stuff coming out of one of the connectors on top of top hat 4. Enterprise ROV 2 does not seem to be interested in the leak.

Johntrask, removing the flange bolts has been asked and answered (impossible to unbolt, impossible to cut through) dozens of times. If TOD weren't so busy keeping the site running with the enormous traffic load they could put it on a FAQ.

All the hydraulic hoses are meant for the manifold sleds on each side of the well. The LMRP is much more complex than the first "top hat" that was lowered, this one has lots of plumbing inside, likely so they can try different things, like shutting down the flow and possibly injecting mud the right way eventually.

Back at the turn of the century they used hydraulic mining. They would dam a stream a mile or so up the mountain and then run 9" pipe all the way down to something like a firehose. This is similar to what is going on here, except there's no hose in place - yet. Just like hydraulic mining, you don't shut off that firehose cannon with a little valve at the business end, they used signals (usually gunshots) to tell the minders at the dam to put a get in place, even then it could take a few minutes for the water to peter out of the pipe.

A picture of hydraulic mining:

Well thanks for the information. I would have thought that it wouldn't have made sense to unbolt the flange before the pipe was cut because the DP might have still been inside, rendering removal of the outlet pipe impossible. However after it was cut the torque values for 17D and 6BX flange bolts for sub sea applications ranges between 376 ft/lbs for a 1-8UN bolt to about 3000 for a 2-8UN bolt which is well within the range of any number of ROV rated power torque tools.
I would think that the increased traffic on this site would be a good thing, unless its just someones hobby, and even then its a good thing.

Is someone around here able to explain to me how it's possible that the BP stock raised ~ + 7% in the last 2 days in NYSE?

People betting on a rally if they contain the leak?

rumor that hayward may get fired/resigned?

Everytime he opens his piehole, BP drops another 100 points.

"Is someone around here able to explain to me how it's possible that the BP stock raised ~ + 7% in the last 2 days in NYSE?"

Two reasons:
The vultures are circling BP, and once it gets cheap enough it is an attractive target for Shell or someone to pick up, liabilities and all

Also at the current share price the dividend pays better than anything else you could invest in:

Well... until they cut the dividend as some are calling for - in order to pay for the costs incurred in this spill.

Possibly it sank so low that some speculators are buying in hopes of a take-over? (I'm no expert, but that may explain some of it.)

By the way, andrea, see here:

I publicized your wonderful comment! You're a hit!

wow! thanks..I was very angry ( and I suspect I'll have reasons to be even more angry..)...and tried to leave my thoughts flow out.. sorry for my english...

Your English was WONDERFUL! Your voice, your passion, they came across beautifully! Thank you for that lovely comment. And many, many people were moved by it. Here and at TPM.

Because it went down 14% earlier in the week. The terminology is "dead cat bounce".

BP stock is still down 34% since April 20.

If criminal charges are brought, presumably they will begin with the events that led up to the original explosion. I was wondering when the period of potential criminality will end? If this latest attempt fails (viz. cutting the pipe with shears) and makes the situation even worse, will BP have some sort of indemnity against a charge of criminal negligence both at this stage of the operation and into the coming weeks / months?

Seems logical that everything done since the blowout is in agreement with "the crisis team" that I suppose includes the MMS. So not criminal acts then, but the overall pollution figures are for BP's account, so increased well flow is their risk.

Yes, thanks, Porker. I guess I was wondering whether a government agency can be accused of criminal negligence if it turns out they made the situation much worse, or whether they'll deemed to have *merely* been incompetent. I fully understand this is a unique situation, but someone must be taking responsibility for what's happening now. I was wondering if that's why the U.S. armed forces are staying well out of it, and the British government, too.

Read it before and now just heard on CNN. Theory goes that fireboats using water to extinguish fire sank the Deepwater Horizon. In panic or explosions, watertight doors were open, allowing water from fireboats to fill booms causing an imbalance and the rig sank.

Watch BP to use this and many others in their defense of negligence.


I would say you owe me a beer but this came from CNN and therefore mostly likely incorrect and I probably owe you one.

shelburn -- was there suppose to be a link attached?


A couple posts up from jay4jet

Read it before and now just heard on CNN. Theory goes that fireboats using water to extinguish fire sank the Deepwater Horizon. In panic or explosions, watertight doors were open, allowing water from fireboats to fill booms causing an imbalance and the rig sank.

I'm sorry, but no. You can't blame emergency responders for damage they cause protecting the public from your own negligence.

Besides, what's the alternative? Capping the well while the entire platform is a flaming inferno? You've probably heard about companies like Wild Well Control who do amazing stuff with explosives and fireproof bulldozers, but that sort of operation gets a lot trickier on a floating, burning steel platform.

Honestly, speaking strictly from a safety perspective, not an environmental one, having the rig sink may have made the capping job easier. Watch those ROVs with the diamond saws, cutting metal 2 inches from the oil plume. Not something you want to try in air.

The government (MMS) gave BP approval in many shortcuts performed. Litigation will take years while people and our planet suffer. I was decades before Exxon settled. In the mean time, more outlay from our financially strapped government.

PT: A generation of judges and lawyer may die off before all the civil issues that have arisen between these multiple parties from different jurisdictions are settled and the potential criminal charges brought by the US and maybe state prosecutors and, also, civil cases brought by the US and states reach a conclusion. I think the criminal charges against Jeff Shilling (remember him?) in the Enron case are still on appeal in the US Supreme Court. Think Dickens' Bleak House.

EL: I do remember someone saying that Change had come to America.


Have details been given on how they will manage the flow from the new "LMRP" on topsides? Presumably a big flare, separator train and shuttle tankers?

The Enterprise drillship is equipped with a permanent well testing package. It is Schlumberger equipment, and their personnel are probably out there to handle the flowback.

E ROV I - they were lowering pipe through the bottom of the LMRP ?, ROV 1 keeping the gasket from slipping?

opps, goodby gasket

Not sure about legalities or Criminalities,
But I am sure of one thing!!!

you must be making al-Qaida proud!

Humiliating them, more like.

Any theories about why we are seeing two distinctly different colour (and hence composition) plumes from the top of the old LMRP? I'm assuming two separate flow streams, one via the drill pipe, the other via the annulus.

Very limited discussion here about the apparent presence of two sections of pipe within the sheared off marine riser. So far we talked about double cut artifacts, section sheared off in the BOP pushed up by flow, section of DP that brittle failed when the marine riser collapsed and fell, section of liner, etc. Any more reasoned debate?

I just logged in to ask exactly the same question.

I can't believe it's a lighting artefact.


That's the discoloration I mentioned in this morning's open thread.

It appears to be more of a coherent stream for a few inches beyond the cut end, so I wonder if it might be the end of the DP, which is probably crimped as well, created a sort-of nozzle.

It certainly looked like the drill pipe bent over sideways that the circular saw was cutting off. If so then it could be letting out oil from deep within the well and have a more disolved gas bubbling out as the pressure drops when it squirts out.

Thank you for asking my question. I felt too stupid to do it myself!
To me there appear to be two places the plumes are coming from. So I wondered if there is a flow of dispersant just behind the oil flow.

EDIT: On second thought, I take that back. Now what I'm seeing appears to be from a different perspective. But 2 colors.

I think earlier someone suggested it could be the lights shining and making the colors appear different - due to the perspective of the lights?

I don't know why they AREN'T injecting their dispersant stream into the choke or kill lines, instead of spraying it into the plume. Perhaps the high heat in the pipe damages it chemically.

Does anyone know the answer to this? Can anyone direct me to a thread where direct dispersant injection into the BOP was reviewed and dismissed?

I don't think there would be much difference in total mixing effect fifty feet from the "nozzle" with that kind of turbulence...

More speculation (from a rank amateur): Could the darker plume be oil and the lighter one gas?

Yes :), the well gets it's head pressure from the gas trapped at the top of the reservoir.

Adding this comment to voice my curiosity.

It's clear as day there are two distinct flows: each a different color, each from different parts of the opening.

I'm interested to read what the pros suggest as the origin.

Oil seems to becoming from the drill pipe that is jammed against the casing, light brown, and from the casing, black.

Any thoughts on what Enterprise ROV1 is doing? Just sliped some gasket onto what looks like the Riser insertion tube?? Seems to be over the well flow, might the be using that to seal up the bottom of the LMRP Cap while it fills with methane prior to placement?

This has ALL the feeds ***386 and Dial up WARNING***:

Of-topic: As a Brit, I find it interesting to see how much genuine-looking insider info on what happened when, who said/did what, etc, is in the public domain at this early stage. IANAL and suspect there are several reasons for this, but one is I think the UK law's insistence on not prejudicing trials -- rather than try to screen out potentially biased jurors, the principle seems to be that witnesses mostly stay schtumm until their day in court, and the media are (in theory) careful about what they print and broadcast. That's how I remember it from Piper Alpha, any any number of other disasters, accidents and terrorist attacks of various sorts over here. A lot of the sort of stuff I'm seeing here would only come out at the public enquiry and/or in court in the UK, months or years after the event. (Not saying one way's better than the other necessarily, there are pros and cons to both systems.)

Off-topic: As a Brit, I find it interesting to see how much genuine-looking insider info on what happened when, who said/did what, etc, is in the public domain at this early stage. IANAL and suspect there are several reasons for this, but one is I think the UK law's insistence on not prejudicing trials -- rather than try to screen out potentially biased jurors, the principle seems to be that witnesses mostly stay schtumm until their day in court, and the media are (in theory) careful about what they print and broadcast. That's how I remember it from Piper Alpha, any any number of other disasters, accidents and terrorist attacks of various sorts over here. A lot of the sort of stuff I'm seeing here would only come out at the public enquiry and/or in court in the UK, months or years after the event. (Not saying one way's better than the other necessarily, there are pros and cons to both systems.)


James Cameron (because he has the deepest manned subs) sez that 'morons in the gulf don't know what they're doing'.

The comment re: gov't needing independent filming, OK (and let's see - could we use that on a future movie?), but in general to see him saying that everybody working the problem is a 'moron' just sounds like more armchair quarterbacking.

Shelburn - do you know the capabilities of any of his machines?

From what I've seen of James Cameron, calling you a moron is basically how he says hello.

To the best of my knowledge Cameron has always used ROVs and submersibles that belong to someone else.

I can only speak knowledgeably about The Abyss where the ROVs and submersibles were on loan from Phil Nuytten the owner of Can-Dive. Phil was and is an icon in the underwater industry. Both on the commercial oilfield and scientific side. He was one of the founders of Oceaneering but has an independent streak and as Oceaneering grew he went back to owning his own company. He is an out of the box thinker who has the chops to know what goes on in the oilfield and he is probably the number one individual BP should have in their war room - and maybe he is as his company was conspicuous by their absence in Cameron's list.

The list of companies he brought in - Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute; the Oceanographic Institute at Harbor Branch, Florida Atlantic University; Deep Oceans Expeditions; the PP Shirshov Institute of Oceanology and Phoenix International - is impressive but only Phoenix has experience on oilfield operations and as far as I know they don't have any capability at 5,000 feet unless it is very recent. Phoenix was a group of Oceaneering employees who "went rouge" and started their own company mostly specializing in deep water sonar search and then backing into oilfield diving.

The Shirshov Institute operates the Mir submersibles and has been doing tourist trips to the Titanic as well as lots of scientific work. They worked with Cameron on his Titanic films and may have connections to the Russian oil industry but I don't believe Russia is doing any deep water drilling.

The rest of the list are strictly scientific and I doubt that between all of them they could come up with any ROV pilots with the experience of any of the people operating the ROVs on site and I can guarantee they don't have ROVs capable of doing the work.

If the goal was to get in the way and make a movie then Cameron is obviously your man, although shooting here is probably a bit more challenging than in a tank in South Carolina.

I have never met Cameron personally but I have a number of friends that worked on The Abyss and I guess to put it kindly they don't really regard him as a people person - although he treated them much better than his own crews.

~17:20 CDT Ocean Intervention ROV 2 is showing a view of the gusher of crude oil and natural gas erupting from the top of the BOP stack. The lights of two other ROV's are in the background and when the lights align, a silhouette of a suspended top hat appears.

~17:26 CDT From the persepective of Ocean Intervention ROV 2 it looks like BP is slowly moving the top hat toward the BOP stack.

~17:29 CDT Top hat 4 is being moved to the BOP stack.

Forgive me if this has been discussed somewhere in the comments, but after reviewing the pic in the other threads I didn't seen anything like what I am inquirying about below.

Does any know what this is? I first noticed it on the "Oceaneering International" feed around 4:15 PM CST. It was visible on that cam for an hour, and now the came ROV is at the LRMP Cap, so it would seem that is the destination. I'll include a screen capture that I took.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

I'm wonder if you experts can shed light on what the boxy set of equipment is. The circular white thing seems to be dampening how quickly the boxy platform above descends, but what is the boxy payload? Is this part of the riser 'package'? Sorry I don't have a better capture of it.

It may be the bottom of the LMRP that will be suspended over Top Hat #4, which will hold the "anti-freeze"......see my link above.

see the diagram and comments in threads above - prob pumps, etc it's above the LMRP

Looks like they're getting #4 ready for action, via Enterprise ROV1 and ROV2 cams.

all those hoses and cables are goin to get shoved under and into the top hat when they get it over the flow if they don't move em ??

We're all hoping not. Just one of many sources of anxiety.

Looks like they noticed that too! Best laid plans of mice and men....

dang folks, this feels like final testing of the heating pumps etc, as the LMRP draws closer to the BOP

Cool view from Ocean Intervention ROV 2

Look out blowout - here comes Top Hat 4 [TP4], and he ain't happy....

I love the green fountains from TP4's shoulders - was that James Cameron's suggestions to make it look mean? :-)

More seriously, I'm assuming that it's a flow of warm water with glycol discharged at 100% loss to heat the top of TP4 for reduced hydrate fomation - any other theories?

didn't they say it was hot water and methynol

how much current is down there? any? the illusion is that they're coming in downwind right into the lowered plume (due to dispersants?)

I have lurked around this site for about 4 years and finally signed up after I went to the APSO meeting last fall. Never really posted until this past month.

I have now advanced to the point of actually donating, something I never do in real life.

But this site is a beacon of reason and responsible discourse on energy matters that are either ignored, manipulated or totally misconstrued by the media and politicians and poorly understood by the general public.

Hopefully in some small way we can help spread the word about the end of cheap oil and prepare people for the coming transition.

My heartfelt thanks to Gail, Heading Out, Nate, Leanne, Prof Goose and all those listed on the right hand column, not to mention the posters who have provided me with a free education for the past few years.

I would encourage those who are just discovering TOD to help support this effort which is dependent on volunteers and your donations

100% in agreement. See that Donate button in the upper left corner. USE IT FREQUENTLY.

~17:39 CDT Enterprise ROV's 1 & 2 are escorting top hat 4 to the BOP stack. E ROV 2 is closest. Ocean Intervention III ROV 2 is providing a wide angle view of the action.

Am disturbed to note that TP4 doesn't seem to have any kind of latching attachments, just stabbing guides. Suppose that they are depending on the weight of the assembly, but later stages show this with a top-tensioned, buoyant riser?


Also, no insulation on the drill pipe coming out of TP4. I know that it would have to be syntactic foam for these depths, but for flow assurance purposes it's a must no?

the "long term solution" will use a different LMRP cap, with 10" thick walls. The top-tensioned buoyant riser is anchored some distance from the BOP.

Kent Wells made a point that THIS current LMRP cap will use some heavy drill collars to weight it down.

video explanation:

slides from video in pdf:

I have a question that pertains to *AFTER* the LMRP/top hat is (we hope) successfully attached to the top of the BOP and sealed the remnant of riser pipe, and *AFTER* oil is (we hope) successfully flowing to the surface....

Would it not make sense to actively pump the oil as fast as possible, in an attempt to, in effect, overproduce the formation and collapse the permeability/porosity? Basically it would be employing bad production techniques on purpose in order to try and kill the well from above...

Is this possible?

If it cant capture any oil, that top hat device looks like it would make a nifty corn liqueur still.

:) Excellent Stvrob. Probably cost a bit more than your average moonshine merchant would be prepared to pay I imagine.


63: Great idea. Maybe a new career for Tony in the hills? He may need one soon.

Worthless...I doubt it's made out of copper.

I can think of several problems: the flow rate is so high already it may be difficult to pump hard enough to increase it and if they could pump that hard they may actually end up compromising the seal and suck in water, forming hydrates...which would be bad news.

Once the fluids start moving up the pipe to the Enterprise, you will have a negative pressure on the 'seal' at the 'top hat'. No pumping required..... The issue then will be how much seawater can get into the ascending h/c column via the seal and potentially form hydrates which could bung the whole thing up.

Whether it helps kill the well or not, I am sure BP will be pumping this well as fast as they possibly can to offset their billions in losses. I suppose, depending on the deposit, one could reduce the pressure by pulling harder but I doubt it would make any appreciable difference.

My question stands: what then? This arrangement cannot be considered permanent, they have failed at top killing the well and I don't hear anyone proposing another method to plug it. The relief wells may or may not take enough of the pressure off, if they don't there will be little time before hurricane season to address the issue.

The relief wells are not designed to "relieve" pressure off this one. Their purpose is to provide an avenue to pump heavy weight mud down to the lower parts of this well, it's anulous and out into the formation from where this well is flowing. IOW, a relief well's objective is to kill this well-- it's purpose is NOT to bleed off --it's to apply pressure until the flow is overcome.

Plugging is to be done through the first completed of the two relief wells.

My idea is to use a device made of solid steel from a metal cone-shaped elongated (along at least 10 times its diameter) ending in a cylindrical part of diameter equal to the inner tube and a length of just a loser penetrate into the tube loser for a length of at least three diameters.
This component must have a central hole of at least 2 inches and the tapered tip end on the cylindrical part with a remote control valve initially open.
This component is positioned with the tapered portion of the needle introduced into the tube loser for a minimum length, only a few centimeters, so that the next operation to succeed.
Meanwhile, the flow of oil continues its regular release.
The part cylindrical plug (where are the valve electrically) is first covered with a metal disc that temporarily closes the hole from 2 "and then placed in a chamber with an explosive charge calculated to provide the necessary pressure so that the cylindrical part of tapered plug fits inside the duct loser, and friction, there remains closely adhered but allow the flow of oil, and without excessive pressure rise.
The push for the introduction of the plug in the conduct loser is achieved by placing the chamber on a metal mass of the inertia weight that costiture necessary to "shoot" the cork in the conduct loser.
When the cylindrical part has been introduced in the conduct loser and the flow channeled into the new pipe from 2 ", will run the welding of sealing between loser and conduct the new device.
Only then can provide to tighten the valve 2 "to intercept the flow and take actions to permanently connect the device to any new pipelines for sending to the surface.

CNN reported BP as stating they were allowing themselves 12-24 hrs to complete this part of the operation....CNN also reports they have six other models of different config's if this one doesn't fit well.

The really big question is: what next? I assume this type of arrangement would not survive storm season?

what next? Recover oil until the relief wells are completed. Why try to complicate things bringing up storms and what not?

I am not at all confident the relief wells will reduce the flow enough to top kill the current one, wouldn't it be just nifty to be in the same spot this September?

Whitf: We are officially in the hurricane season and a storm could occur at any time. However, experience says that most of the really big storms occur later in the season. Probably have 30-45 days before a big one, but I'm not sure how much weather it will take to shut the operation topside down.

RkyMtnMan- Well, last year was very mild. I think not one official Hurricane reached US shores? I may be wrong about that. My skepticism of the relief wells is based on the time estimates BP has given....I bet they are basing this on hitting the same deposit the first time. In theory they can do it, but is this yet another task "no one has ever tried at this depth?"

Re Hurricanes,

BP has a plan to put a "permanent" riser hooked up to a new/different LMRP cap to deal better with hurricanes:

explained in this video:

The cut on top of the BOP stack looks really ragged. I thought the idea was to get it as smooth and clean as possible for the best fitting of the gasket and top hat.

OKAY, enough naysaying and second guessing. This thing is gonna work this time

how is this thing going to sit on the flange without blowing off?

and how can you pump by suction a fluid containing volatile gases to overcome the pipe resistance?

The maximum height you can pump water from above is 35 feet and then you get gas that is not pumpable with a fluid pump.

This thing must have to have a high pressure seal at the bottom end or it is just going to be waving all over the place when connected to the riser to the surface. No way it is going to suck given that oil flow.

Thats 35 feet above the surface level though. As my physics teacher use to say, there's no such thing as suction! It's only the ambient pressure pushing against a reduced pressure, so its not sucking, its blowing from outside. And at that depth there's a lot of puff!

Until before just before the failed 'TopKill' operation, there were 2000 or so bbls a day (according to BP) being recovered from a contraption stuffed in the broken end of the riser. This baby will do better than that - a lot more must be known now about how the fluid behaves at 5000 feet and all the way to those welcoming tanks in the Drillship...


BP is not going to pump the crude oil and natural gas up the riser. The expanding natural gas will lift both fluid and gas upward. The same principle worked with the riser insertion tube. Methanol and warm sea water will be pumped to control the formation of methane hydrates that could plug the top hat and riser.

Life is different at the seabottom. The pressure delta between a water column and oil is about 500psi, more if you include entrained gas. They will be limiting flow at the surface, else water will suck in at the bottom, not oil blow out.

This is the same physics as for the siphon straw, only with a vertical orientation and a better seal. If all the oil is coming out the top of the BOP, it should work well.

I do expect they will ramp recovery over a few days, much as they did for the RITT straw, as they calibrate equipment and hopefully get a surface/LMRP closed-loop control system going.

Geez...I hope so! As much as I'm starting to think of the ROV's as cute little sentient things brought to you by Pixar, I'd just really, really, really like the oil to gush somewhere OTHER than into the water...

stvrob 63

I agree. Let us think positive until it is time to not.

Way up above willis_newton asked about orange-arrow drawing in the thread's article and the open annulus. I've also been trying to figure this out. I believe they said in testimony that the lower liner hanger was not installed.

Open annulus, 17,168 feet:

Look at the above schematic of the well, find 13k feet, and read this part of ROCKMAN's tutorial:

BP drilled thru an oil reservoir at about 13,000’ below the sea floor. The pressure in the reservoir was around 14,000 psi (an educated guess). They ran steel pipe (casing) from the bottom of the hole back up to the wellhead at the sea floor. They then ran the drill pipe to the bottom of this csg string and pumped wet cement up between the csg and the rock. The purpose of the cement isn’t to hold the csg in place…it isn’t going anywhere. The purpose is to isolate the oil reservoir and keep it from flowing along the outside of the csg in either direction…up or down. It appears the cmt job failed to provide this isolation. Opinions vary but IMHO this is not the BIG SMOKING GUN. Cmt jobs fail all the time. You assume that during the course of drilling a well that you’ll have get a bad cmt job or two. That’s why you routinely test the cmt after a period of 18 to 36 hours. The primary and best cmt test is to apply pressure to it. The cmt has to hold a pressure greater than the reservoir pressure. If it doesn’t then you do a “squeeze job”: pump more cmt behind the csg and then test again. There is some question regarding the validity of the pressure tests BP conducted. Opinions vary but the cmt did fail…that’s why the well blew out.

So I have yet another dumb question. If the casing and cement intended to seal off the oil bearing formation, 14,000 psi, at 13k below the wellhead was breached (ruptured), could the annulus have filled and reached sufficient pressure to "bring in the actual well" below the open annulus at 17,168 feet; in other words, blow out enough formation to expose the annulus to the lower oil bearing formation's full brunt? Because that open annulus had to have held pressure at first - right? Or, did the lower concrete seal fail allowing the 13K formation to send o-g effluent down the outside of the well where it found the open annulus at 17,168 feet and then started its way up the annulus?

Just trying to reconcile these two versions. Maybe the open annulus is still holding pressure at 17,168 feet. If BP is correct that the well bore does not have o-g effluent coming up it, would that mean the bypassed formation is the only source of the leak? Is that possible?

son -- I don't quit understand. I'm not sure but I think you might be mixing up the depths. I think there was only one oil zone that was around 18,000' below sea level which would be about 13,000' below the wellhead. Does that make sense?

Taken just a few hours ago in Gulf Shores Alabama.


This last one is a sign being towed by a plane flying over the beach. In case you can't read it it says ,"OBAMA, STOP TALKING-WE NEED ACTION NOW!"

Folks know and they are worried, but they continue on until...

They should adapt recent movie tech for these undersea rovers. Install two cameras to achieve stereo-optic vision and hand out 3D glasses to the operators. I wonder if done correctly if this would help operators of ROVs to do better/faster/more accurate work.

They tried that, but the employers could not afford to keep them supplied with $5 softdrinks and $10 popcorn, plus the sno-caps and JuJuBe's were ruining the carpet in the control room!

Ha Ha! Good One! Twenty years from now we'll get the true stories of what has been going on in the Rover control about the pressure on the ocean floor....I bet more than a few guys were tossed out for not getting the job done. Others likely just walked out.

Is that the anti-freeze methane we can see streaming from the cap now? (clearest on Ocean Intervention 3 ROV, looks like green bubbles but think thats just the light).

~18:25 CDT Enterprise ROV 2 is adjusting a yellow hose on the kill side of the BOP.

Anyone have a feed that shows top hats proximity to the flow?

OI III rov 2 was doing that but had to come down and help untangle the hoses

Not currently, you could see the lights from one ROV from another ones view which was actually looking at the well (ie the lights were visible in the background), so they're close but the actual distance is very hard to guess. Looks like they're waiting whilst OI3 and Enterprise 1 move hoses around the cap, then its all ready to pop on!

At 4845 ft depth, playlist 366.
Think that is about 100 ft off the bottom. Cannot see the flow in image, believe it is off to the right.

OI3 ROV2 seems to be engaged with the top hap and is reading (I think) around 4840'. That would put it still well above the cut.

Thanks TOD for the service. This is just riveting video - not able to leave the computer. Just like a kid and the Apollo program.

It might be a little closer to the bottom than that. The "Alt" (altitude from bottom) display is varying between 60 and 80 feet, and the ROV is slightly above the cap, so the bottom of the cap may be at approximately the same depth as the top of the BOP and riser.

Can't see the oil plume in the background of any of the images, so there's no telling how far they are from the BOP.

The OI 3 ROV2 is holding the hoses for the top hat and escorting it towards the gusher - like a bride heaing towards the altar ....

God Speed.



That's exactly the image I had! And this one very, very long wedding march!

It's an arranged marriage. Will it work? Only time will tell if the marriage can be consummated!

TheraP: If the marriage isn't consummated, then I think BP will be... Oh, yeah, this is a family site. - good array of live feeds here

cat's cradle


way too much clutter at the bottom of the top hat for my liking

Pardon my asking, but can someone please refer me to a site with all (or many) of the ROV cam views? Right now I can only find two of them.


Also, great site guys. I've already recommended to others.

Take a look at for ALL the cams.

Extremely cool, thank you for the link. Have all of the feeds playing simultaneously on my Mac. Now if I only had a matching number of eyeballs and the cerebral capacity to support them....

There's one that only works with Internet Explorer 7 or 8. You can double-click on a camera feed and it will full screen. Then double-click on the full screen and it will go back to the 12 cameras.

~19:00 CDT Ocean Intervention III ROV 1 has backed away from top hat 4 and moved over to the BOP.

~19:00 CDT Enterprise ROV 1 is inspecting the pipe that connects top hat 4 to the open frame object. It is retrieving a blue hose latched to the open frame object. As someone else commented this open frame object does look like an LMRP that allows the riser to deflect at an angle from the vertical without stressing top hat 4. The object also provides an interface, perhaps with some pumps, for various hoses that connect to top hat 4 and perhaps to the BOP. I am not sure where the other end of the yellow hose on the kill side of the BOP attaches.

~19:11 CDT The two Enterprise ROV's appear to be taking the slack out of the blue hoses and perhaps untangling them.

It's a utility package for TH4(- n) - allows termination and pick up of the feeds for methanol, instrumentation, probably water heating, etc.

Wouldn't like to see the utility bill for it though !

Man the 'Main' BOP stack itself seems to have ALOT of holes lower down and gushing.

Good grief those hoses are not cooperating!

Did anyone else see one of the ROVs hook a hose with a strut and then pull away bringing the hose taut before letting off the gas? I know those hoses are probably very strong, but a part of me still squirmed and pleaded with the screen, "STOOOOP!"

Enterprise 2 trying to clear the cables - man I hope they don't foul on the riser.

I do not like the look of all those loose hoses. They're going to get blown all over the place when they hit the oil plume. I hope there's a plan there.

Move them out of the way and tie/hang them off... ?

Yet another BP engineering achievement.

This is unbelievable - someone really screwed up. ROV 101

Huzzah! Hoses out of the way. I guess someone top-side noticed the SLACK NEEDED TO BE TAKEN OUT! :\

Looks like Skandi Neptune 1 is on the way there too now, gonna get busy!

Perhaps they're trying to get shots from two axis so they can more quickly perform the "align and drop" maneuver.

Ahh, he's (are ROV's he's or she's?) back to do his job, dispersant dispenser! Does that mean they think it might be a while before the cap goes on?

So when the ROVs are moving forward through empty water, and the whitish flecks of underwater debris are coming towards, then passing the camera, is anyone else reminded of the view out the Enterprise's view screen when at warp?

Those flecks are the gas hydrates (CH4+H2O compound stable at high pressure and low temperature) - the equivalent of the Klingons in the operation to get the oil out of the sea and into some steel containment... They killed the original Dome - will they get Top Hat 4 ?

I'm optimistic they won't, but we shall see...

My gratitude for this site and those here who have shared their expertise as only the "been there, done that" folks can. I have an amateur question:

Assuming all goes well and oil recovery can begin, how long before one tanker is filled and another has to move in? Any thoughts as to how many ships are in the queue to take up the oil? And where do they then take it? To land based storage tanks? I can't imagine that the oil recovered wouldn't contain water that would have to be removed before heading to a refinery or other facility....

Okay, so that's 4 questions. Again, my heartfelt thanks for the folks here sharing their information. Contribution #1 sent, more on the way. This is an invaluable resource.

There are some pretty large tanks on the Enterprise which will take a few days worth of production. The fewer days the better actually - capture as much as possible from the gusher and fill them. She also has processing kit which will knock out the water, and she will send the gas to flare as it comes through. I wouldn't worry too much about getting the oil away from her - there are plenty of proven ways to do that.

You can see the true problems of this disaster in the ROV feeds and the hydrate clouds...

The Discoverer Enterprise can hold about 125,000 barrels of oil in onboard tanks. I believe they will be using shuttle tankers of about 50,000 barrels capacity, so they will have to have a tanker alongside every couple of days. Unlikely they will keep a tanker there full time, will probably wait until they have enough in the Enterprise to fill a tanker, bring the tanker in, hook up the hoses and transfer a load as quickly as they can. I would imagine the recovered oil will go to one of the refineries at either Texas City, Port Arthur or Beaumont. The refinery deducts a certain amount per barrel for water or other contaminants in the oil.

Of course it depends on what the actual crude production ends up being as well as the size of the tanker being filled at any given time, but i would expect that it will be several days per load to top one off. They will probably use an intermediate vessel equipped with some rudimentary seperation equipment. For instance, what is called a "knockout pot" or "knockout drum" to seperate the gas from the liquids. They will not bother trying to contain the gas it will be piped over to a flare and vented to the atmosphere or burned if they can establish a safe arrangement to do that. Then the produced liquids will probably be seperated coarsely by the use of a settling tank with a weir over which the lighter oil will build up and fall into a chamber from which is transferred to the awaiting transport vessel. The larger part of the production to deal with will be the oily water that remains and they will likely use a seperate transport vessel to bring that ashore. Facilities are in place at several shore installation in the area designed to deal with both the still relatively wet crude oil and the relatively oily prodced water.
It may be that they opt to simply load all the liquids directly into a tanker and deal with the seperation issues at a shore facility, but that seems like an inefficient approach because the coarse seperation is relatively easy and the shore facilities are designed for those tyes of influents.It seems to me that sending all produced liquids to either a produced water or raw crude terminal would overwhelm the systems of either.
I have not seen any notification of what the actual plan is but I am thinking that if one method is less efficint and more convoluted than another........well you see what I mean, which one do you think BP will choose?

The Discoverer Enterprise is a testing ship as well as a drill ship so it has separation and processing equipment onboard. I believe it is rated for 15,000 bpd and it is possible they may be able to handle a bit more.

I'm not sure what their flaring capability is, if the GOR is 5,000 and they are getting 15,000 bpd that could be the limiting factor.

What's the yellow window on the top of the BOP that OI3-2 is jet washing? It looks like it has a electric ring hotplate under it, but that seems unlikely. What ever it is, they've been trying to get a look at it for the last 15 mins and have just resorted to the jet washer.

I think that might be a bubble level.

Ah yes, obvious now, looks like they got a little bit of oil on it, can't imagine how that could of happened, how careless!

In proper oilfield nomenclature that is a bullseye - really just a fancy home level that show the angle of the LMRP. There might be another one at the bottom of the BOP.

Somebody needs to give OI 3 ROV2 a hankie. He's trying to clean the sightglass window on the BOP level. Poor guy has dropped that hose more times than I care to count.

They need a "squeegee guy" to clean the bubble level.

Maybe he could use that "monkey's fist" that is apprently being used as a current drift indicator.


We posted the same idea at the same time. I like your "monkey fist" descriptor.

That type of knot is called a monkey's fist:'s_fist

The monkey's fist is probably attached to a tool or something else. It makes it easy for the ROV to pick as he loosely clamp the manipulator around the line and lifts up, the monkey fist catches and the tool dangles at an easy distance for him to grab with the other manip.

Why don't they grab that floating ball of rope and use it to brush the glass on the level?

What is that red hose that Ocean Intervention III - ROV2 is working with? Does not seem to have a fitting on the end.....

Think its a jet wash.

Ah - cables will get taut as the LMRP lowers down and the slack goes out. Enterprise 2 is just going to make sure they don't get caught during the lowering.

Alright, the bride's veil has been adjusted. Time for the ceremony!

Lets cap that baby and seal the deal!

For those who are knowledgeable, could BP have put in place a better system to keep these hoses organized? The ROVs have been wrestling with them throughout the day. As a musician that plays electric guitar, I know the havoc loose cables can cause. It's making me nervous.

Am I imagining things or does the riser flow look a bit less than before? I wonder if they're suctioning from the choke/kill lines as they've been discussing.

I imagine they've not forgotten to do that - but you never know :)

The Q4000 ROVs would be taking a lead in operating the (ex)Junk Shot manifold and the Choke/Kill plumbing.

Perhaps, but wouldn't they have been all along?

Yes - the ROVs tend to assist/execute the tasks which their own mothership is working on. Helps keep things simpler I guess.

19:45 CDT The Enterprise ROV's appear to have gotten the hoses untangled and tensioned. Enterprise ROV 1 has descended down to top hat 4.

Thanks to all of you who post ROV commentary. Some of us are bandwidth limited and cannot watch real-time feeds.

Unless I missed it, I don't believe anyone has yet mentioned this OTHER interview with Matt Simmons from late last week:

Matt Simmons on Financial Sense Newshour

(The link to the mp3 and other formats is about 1/3 of the way down the page.)

This interview by Jim Puplava is in addition to the Dylan Ratigan and Bloomberg interviews I've already heard about here on The Oil Drum.

I was just remembering a Woody Allen movie (Radio days?) where the Dad and his son sit riveted to the radio listening to a broadcast of the rescue efforts of a child fallen down a well....

See also ACE IN THE HOLE, a great Billy Wilder cynical film about the same mine disaster, more or less.

the rescue efforts to save miner floyd collins was an early disaster event that was carried widely via a new broadcast medium and riveted many for days on end.

Looks like the ROVs are converging now toward the riser...

I can't see the two Enterprise feeds anymore. Did BP cut them off?

I've lost them too on probable just lost the live feed from that ship. Anyone else still got the 2 enterprise feeds?

Feeds are back!

Enterprise is down here also.

For those unable to see, here is a snapshot of the "double" plume others, including myself, were asking about earlier.

I wonder if there is a little fluid separation going on in the plumbing, with gassier flow (the lighter color?) segragating on the high side (or less restricted side?) and an oilier phase on the other.

Could the two tone plume have something to do with oil that comes up ONCE via the annular spaces vs oil that goes up, down and up via the Drill Pipe?? just a wild guess. Not sure what effect that would have, but it might be working to separate the amount of gas inside each oil stream flowing out of this CRIPPLED, criminally negligent disaster/crime site.

Could be.

The 'crime' is drilling for oil to help slake the thirst of America I assume ?

~19:50 The video feeds from the Enterprise ROV's have shut off.

Back Up now.

Looking at the shot from Ocean Intervention III ROV 2 of the top of the BOP, one can see in the upper left two headlight, and occasionally, what I believe is the silhouette of cap #4.

My guess is it's within 100 feet of the BOP.

Agreed. Looks like every ROV is just loitering on station right now. Wonder what the wait is about.

Does anyone know how fast they can move cap, as I assume its controlled by a ship board crane quite a distance above, I guess any movement is pretty slow.

The Discoverer Enterprise is holding the riser, its own LMRP and the LMRP cap directly below the ship. It will move over - slowly - until in position and then lower the cap.

With that length of riser the ROVs can push it quite a ways sideways to make final alignment over the chopped off riser. Then lower the final few feet and ............?

Do we know what face they'll be sealing to with this? Couldn't they clean it with a wire brush first?

the wait is for prez to arrive on scene tomorrow

Any attempt to lower a cap will fail. The way to do this is to make a clam-shell bypass which is installed from the side of the BOP. The clams would have flanges that latch on to the bottom of BOP flange. During the bolt up procedure fluid under pressure is allowed to exhaust through the top port. Once the clams are clamped together a manual valve is actuated allowing for the fluid to bypass to a side port. Now they can attach a riser to the top port, then switch to fluid flow back to the top port.

You have to work with the flow of fluid not against it.

Where'd you get the PHD?

My guess is it will be easier than most of us expect.

I agree that the lowering won't be hard. I think creating a seal and dealing with the hydrate problem will be tricky. I guess we'll see how good the "best minds" working on this are...

In the BP memorial day tutorial, they show a screen shot of what will later in theory be used to make the flow do a U turn as part of the floating detachable "permanent" riser. The U turn is make of steel ten inches think. That's the pressure you are fighting when you want to divert the flow 180 degrees.... not an easy task.

The current number 4 sea condom has a vent at the top, but I tend to agree with you, it is going to be HARD to get this thing settled over the plume. But I am not an expert.

Others have mentioned they flow methanol through the lmrp to prevent hydrate formation. I presume there is also topside pumping action to create negative pressure in the lmrp.

I believe the square frame module suspended above TH 4 is a hydraulic control panel
that will open or close various valves in the TH4 to allow for de-icing (methanol)
circulation. That's what all the hoses are for. There are also inlet and outlets
valves through the TH body to allow sea water to flow through both sides of the unit
to achieve stabilization when lowering the unit to the BOP.

The square frame module is the LMRP from the Discoverer Enterprise. It gives them a lot of control over the hoses going to the cap. Off the shelf (so to say) and proven technology at this depth.

The cap is now within a couple of feet, and about four feet below, the cut in the riser.

It's Showtime!

I can't believe they are only using one camera for the install...

I sure hope it fits,

~20:24 CDT. Looks like top hat 4 is being moved into place over the BOP stack. It is not in the geyser yet and is lower than the orifice. It looks like they will bring it into the stream from the side and below.

20:32 CDT. Top Hat 4 enters the geyser of oil and gas.

20:33 CDT. Top Hat 4's fins are over the flange and Top Hat 4 is enveloped in a dark cloud of oil and gas.

20:34 CDT. TH4 is still in place over the sheared off riser.

20:36 CDT. Enterprise ROV 1 releases its grip on Top Hat 4 and backs away. Top Hat 4 remains in place with crude oil and natural gas emitting from around its base. The yellow cylinder of Top Hat 4 is occasionally visible as the dark cloud thins from time to time.

So this cap has a pipe connecting it to the suspended LMRP, which is in turn suspended from the drill ship by several thousand feet of riser.

IMO, this thing should be plenty heavy to come down hard on the top of the plume and resist any upward force without any clamps.

In addition, with regards to centering it over the plume itself, the flow past all of the small vanes around the bottom should help.

I think they have vanes in the connector pipe between the riser and the cap. I saw them when they were inspecting it late last night. Perhaps the idea is to let the oil vent out of these vanes until the cap is placed and then close the vanes. Perhaps an internal butterfly valve just above the vanes backed up with methanol all the way to the top.


Holy cr@p. That geyser does NOT like being capped.


I think it's on. They need it to start drawing some oil up now.

It's like watching a couple of manatees put R2D2 under arrest.

This reminds me about a story of three monkeys and a football....

Was it good for you?

I could use a cigarette.

To anyone who can't see: the ROV grabbed the cap and wrestled it on top of the riser. It's holding it there right now. Oil is billowing everywhere - there is definitely no seal right now between the riser and LMRP.

Another milestone in BP engineering excellence.

So they going to try another one or call that one good? ;)

Almost zero visibility right now. Oil billowing everywhere. Time to tighten the seal or turn the pumps on or whatever the hell step is next.

wait till august for more progress

why the balons (3 inch?) and why leave em open?

waitin to get it tied to the bop?

First shot at commenting here, and many thanks to TOD for the opportunity to do so. This site has taught me more about the science of deep sea oil drilling than I ever imagined was possible; thanks for making this subject understandable to us laymen.

If I had to guess, they installed a couple of bypass valves (3" bronze body ball valves..??)on top of Number 4 to prevent the outside chance of getting a gas bubble in the cap before they could seat it. Now that it's on, they probably have their first opportunity to take direct pressure and flow measurements, and I expect them to move slowly and deliberately in closing those valves and establishing what the proper pump rate will be. None of this had moved fast enough for some of the posters here, but somehow BP had continued to make steady progress despite the constant announcements of imminent failure.

I am particularly impressed with the ROV drivers. These teams of people have been working nonstop since this all first began, and I am in awe of the skill and proficiency that they all have displayed throughout this crisis. Many thanks are due to them all and I sincerely hope they are being paid what they are worth.

Again, thanks to the folks here at TOD for your patience and your outstanding explanations of what is going on.

First shot at commenting here, and many thanks to TOD for the opportunity to do so. This site has taught me more about the science of deep sea oil drilling than I ever imagined was possible; thanks for making this subject understandable to us laymen.

If I had to guess, they installed a couple of bypass valves (3" bronze body ball valves..??)on top of Number 4 to prevent the outside chance of getting a gas bubble in the cap before they could seat it. Now that it's on, they probably have their first opportunity to take direct pressure and flow measurements, and I expect them to move slowly and deliberately in closing those valves and establishing what the proper pump rate will be. None of this had moved fast enough for some of the posters here, but somehow BP had continued to make steady progress despite the constant announcements of imminent failure.

I am particularly impressed with the ROV drivers. These teams of people have been working nonstop since this all first began, and I am in awe of the skill and proficiency that they all have displayed throughout this crisis. Many thanks are due to them all and I sincerely hope they are being paid what they are worth.

Again, thanks to the folks here at TOD for your patience and your outstanding explanations of what is going on.

I think the central nozzle of oil shown on Enterprise ROV1 will be stopped and eventually sent up the riser. It will take hours, if not days to establish maximum flow, and even then there will be some leakage around the edge. This is by design as they cannot afford to suck in seawater.

The choke and kill lines will be used to produce as well, so eventually they should be able to get >75%. It won't make the situation good, but it will mean it gets worse at a slower rate.

Given some of the estimates on here earlier today of the revised flow rate it'd better be better than 75% else chopping the riser below the kink might have made things net-worse. Given that there's been a really wide range of estimates for the flows both before and after the cut I don't think we'll ever know if the capture rate is on the low end.

I think we are now waiting for a few links in a chain of events to occur. Right now they want to inspect the aspects of the placement of the cap. When it is agreed that the position is optimal, under the conditions, a sequence of transition will occur that probably include optimizing the pressure gradients via the new LMRP above the cap, establishing consistant communication of influent to topside pumps, optimising downstream delivery of calthrate inhibitor, and if it is even part of the design that the seal is of the bladder type, finally kicking in the bladder actuator to effect the best seal possible. I would have recommended such a design to allow the maximum clearance for delivery of the cap, but since I am only marginally involved in deep water exploration,of course, nobody asked me! Go figure.

Now that the cap is in place, it will take awhile to get the flow moving up the new riser to the ship, and the billowing should be expected until they get the flow up to a relatively high level.

This animation of the BP site shows the process. Enterprise ROV 1 shows what I believe the the outflow of oil and gas from one of the valves on the cap that will eventually be closed.

I believe the the outflow of oil and gas from one of the valves on the cap that will eventually be closed.


"I believe the the outflow of oil and gas from one of the valves on the cap that will eventually be closed."

I don't think that is right.

I think that is the main opening at the top of the top hat.

Amazing they got it on.

And I believe that the "leakage" is not a problem, that when it is all connected to new riser pipe with LMRP in place, this "leakage" will be minimized, tho NOT completely eliminated, as it is proof that water is not entering, which would cause hydrates to form blocking the pipe.

Action is on enterprise-1, and also on

"I think that is the main opening at the top of the top hat."

The new cap (top hat) actually hangs by a steel pipe from the bottom of the second LMRP that's suspended by more riser pipe from the ship. The top of the cap is already connected to the surface, but the entire pipe is filled with Nitrogen.

Watch BP's animation at this link:

It talks about the Nitrogen that filled the new riser before the process was started, and at about 1:30 into the animation, it tells of valves that will initially be open.

I HAVE watched the animation.
There are two distinct operations, there are 2 different "caps" (if you want to call them that).

ONE: The first, the preliminary, cap is placed on BOP, that has occurred. There is no nitrogen in this cap, it is open at the top.

TWO: Another "cap" (which is connected to the LMRP and the riser pipe and the auxiliary pipes) is placed on top of the first cap.
This has NOT yet occurred. This second cap is the one that has nitrogen in it, it is the one that is connected to LMRP which pushes methane (and hot sea water?) into the flow.

But right now only the preliminary cap is on and there is no connection to LMRP.

maui, the connections from ship to LMRP(via riser) to cap were all made before the cap was moved over to the BOP. The drill ship slowly moved it all over - the two Enterprise ROVs were escorts.

As they neared the BOP, they paused while a ROV from Oceans Intervention III and one of the Enterprise ROVs tediously gathered up the slack in the loops of hoses dangling from above the cap and hooked them up to higher structures so they wouldn't catch as the cap was placed on what remains of the LMRP above the BOP.

The drill shop then resumed moving the assembly to the BOP and one of the Enterprise ROVs ultimately maneuvered the cap up the last ten feet or so.


Thanks for the link Reno-Dave.

It is me? Or is this cap not 'quite' hermetically sealed? Reminds me of Cheech & Chong carrying a garbage can full of gas.

Holy Hell the WHOLE BOP is rocking back and forth, looks like they are using an ROV to see the see floor and to check the bop doesn't crack off the well.

Holy Hell the WHOLE BOP is rocking back and forth, looks like they are using an ROV to see the see floor and to check the bop doesn't crack off the well.

That would be the ROV rocking back and forth. The BOP is stationary.

What is Skandi ROV 1 looking at? Is this a view below the BOP? It almost looks like one of those flex joints below the BOP? What is it?

If you mean Herc 14, I think it *is* hanging around down by the flex joint. It looks to me like it has its dispersant wand out.

Holy Hell the WHOLE BOP is rocking back and forth, looks like they are using an ROV to see the see floor and to check the BOP doesn't crack off the well.

Don't think the BOP is moving.
It is the ROV & camera that is moving.
Kinda like being on a train thinking the parked cars are moving when the train starts smoothly.

Is >75% the best we can expect?
If a better means of attaching a re-designed top hat comes to them soon (i.e.they read my suggestion, LOL), will they risk removing this one? Would a change of hat need three or four days to be effective?

Holy Hell the WHOLE BOP is rocking back and forth, looks like they are using an ROV to see the see floor and to check the BOP doesn't crack off the well.

It is me? Or is this cap not 'quite' hermetically sealed? Reminds me of Cheech & Chong carrying a garbage can full of gas.

They need to have a submersible pump set in that riser pipe and start pumping this thing till they get it dogged down.

Did anyone else notice what appeard to be oil erupting from vertical fissures in the BOP pipe below the top flange? I would think those cracks were unexpected. I'm concerned about that as it could mean the integrity of the rise connector could be compromised and very brittle. Sure appears to be a lot of oil escaping from the seal. If they are relying on the wellhead pressure to push the oil up a mile to the surface that seal would have to be pretty strong. I am concerned about the escaping oil eroding the elastomere seal. Will they lower the pressure in the riser by pumping? Any links to statements about the progress?

That worried me for a moment, but I convinced myself it's just a jet of oil shooting downward from the gap between the cap and the BOP flange, then rising back up from its own buoyancy.

It's not an elastomer seal, it's a steel ring between the BOP & the wellhead.

All I can see (atWKRG) is a view of the BOP from about 30 metres away and it looks like there's quite a bit of flow upwards from the base of the BOP. I'm thinking this could be the effect of the downwards jets of escaping oil from the seal stirring up the mud?

Are the white threads in the turbulence some sort of deep seabed-dwelling worm?

Perhaps the dispersant? I noticed a little while ago that the Skandi Herc 14 was using a wand with white-looking dispersant.

The main action is at Enterprise ROV-1:

view from distance of BOP at OI3-1

I posted these links before, check it out.

Ah, well that is a totally different view! Thankyou! Pretty turbulent down there. Wonder if this will help with dispersal at least?

Sorry if this has been discussed before. Once they get it to the top, where will they put the oil? If they put it in a tanker, how long will it take to fill up?

The median IQ of comments in this thread is rapidly approaching the median age.

What is going on? I see what looks like the area they cut, and huge plumes are coming out from below......what am I seeing here?

Please pay NO attention whatsoever to what Matt Simmons says. He was a very successful investment banker for the oil services industry, but he doesn't know s**t about drilling. I'm afraid he's gone senile.
Example, he advocates use of nuclear explosion to kill well, saying Red Adair used explosive to do it. However Adair and successors used explosives at SURFACE to snuff oil well fires by depriving them of oxygen. Well capping always followed using other techniques.
Matt has become so irresponsible that his own company has issued a statement declaring a sepeation from him.....

From: Herbert, Bill
To: Herbert, Bill
Sent: Wed May 12 15:37:30 2010
Subject: Simmons & Company Views and Clarification

Recent tragic events in the Gulf of Mexico have led to a period of collective introspection for the industry as well as a surplus of opinions. And sadly, the forensic evidence associated with this tragedy is far from complete and will likely take several months to assemble in order to formulate a more complete and informed narrative.

This is a highly-charged environment, as well as an exceedingly fluid one, as the prospects for abating the blowout and mitigating the spill are opaque. All of us are trying to better understand the cause and effect of the tragic blowout in the GOM and the implications for the upstream industry, especially as they relate to energy policy and the regulatory framework in the GOM.

Accordingly, we wish to remind industry participants, as well as our clients and friends, that the views of Simmons & Company International are separate and distinct from many of those being currently expressed by our good friend, founder and former Chairman, Matthew R. Simmons.

Several of the recent statements on the part of Mr. Simmons relating to the Macondo blowout and the implications for the industry and the individual companies involved in this incident are discordant with the views of Simmons & Company International. This accident has tragic consequences for the families of the deceased and injured, and potentially exceedingly serious ramifications for the principal companies involved in the MC252 well in addition to the natural habitat of the broader Gulf of Mexico and Gulf Coast areas. We view this tragedy as an unfortunate and isolated accident for an industry otherwise known for its steadfast devotion to safety. We believe constructive changes will be made in order to further enhance safety and that the future for offshore drilling will remain vital.

Separate and apart from the Macondo blowout, Mr. Simmons’ views and opinions regarding the productivity of the North American unconventional natural gas and oil resource plays are in direct contradiction to the conclusions Simmons & Company International has reached from the in-depth and lengthy research we have conducted on the subject. Our view is that were it not for unconventional gas, the North American natural gas resource base, which is presently witnessing compelling productivity, may otherwise have entered into a period of sustained decline.

While our respective views, historically, have often been in harmony, over the past year they have significantly diverged on some important fronts.

Thank you for your consideration and support.


Michael E. Frazier
Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer
Simmons & Company International

20% more flow, sure...

What's with Enterprise ROV1 and ROV2? Two different leaks?

I'd guess the flow is 5-10X greater, plus more pure oil.

Shorter version: Simmons is nuts.

With due respect, Mr. Frazier is "talking his own book" as we say in finance.

Saw Simmons on a couple of shows in the last few days. I'm not an oilman, but his "solutions" sounded a little nuts to me as well.

Even I know that the explosives people like Red Adair used to snuff a burning well were designed to burn all of the available oxygen in the immediate vicinity of the well fire, not to seal the well.

He talked of supertankers cruising along picking up oil. That's pretty crazy too, unless he was thinking of the Liparus, Karl Stromberg's sub-catching supertanker in the James Bond film, "The Spy Who Loved Me".

The explanation behind explosive extinguishing of well fires is that it consumes available oxygen, and this is the explanation I see everywhere, but this does not make sense. High-explosives tend to be non-oxidizing and would not consume any atmospheric oxygen. To me it seems that a more likely mechanism is the supersonic shockwave from explosive detonation separates the subsonic deflagration flame front from the fuel source. Perhaps I'm just confused.

Re: the supposed e-mail in regards to Matt Simmons:

Why is a letter from the Chairman, President, and CEO:


Michael E. Frazier
Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer
Simmons & Company International

being sent in an e-mail FROM Herbert, Bill and also TO: Herbert, Bill:

From: Herbert, Bill
To: Herbert, Bill
Sent: Wed May 12 15:37:30 2010
Subject: Simmons & Company Views and Clarification

By the way, in reading this supposed e-mail, I find absolutely no mention of opinion on the key issues of:

a) using conventional or nuclear explosives as a method of sealing the well

b) THE KEY POINT MADE BY MATT SIMMONS, that being that the real leak is not coming from the BOP and the riser, but from somewhere else......and thus, all that is being seen, done, and discussed is merely corporate eyewash by BP and their taxpayer-sponsored friends, USGS, etc.

Refresh my memory, but I don't seem to recall Simmons discussing much (if at all) in regards to:

"We view this tragedy as an unfortunate and isolated accident for an industry otherwise known for its steadfast devotion to safety. We believe constructive changes will be made in order to further enhance safety and that the future for offshore drilling will remain vital."


"Separate and apart from the Macondo blowout, Mr. Simmons’ views and opinions regarding the productivity of the North American unconventional natural gas and oil resource plays are in direct contradiction to the conclusions Simmons & Company International has reached from the in-depth and lengthy research we have conducted on the subject."

So why does the e-mail From Herbert, Bill to Herbert, Bill from Michael E. Frazier about two points that are completely and wholly subsidiary to the major points of Simmons in regards to the BP Blowout lead some people to conclude that Simmons "has gone senile"?

Perhaps the people that reach such a conclusion are merely "projecting", as they like to say in the psyche biz?

Or is it something deeper than that?

Matt Simmons knows, or maybe the word is knew, a great deal about drilling as well as all phases of production and refining. He could hold his own in a technical discussion with any petroleum engineer or geologist.

I originally met Matt in the mid 1980s and his overall knowledge of the industry was second to none. For years his annual forecasts were vastly better than the projections from the oil majors.

He was one of the first to really quantify peak oil and was the one who convinced me it was real.

I'm not sure what is happening but it is heartbreaking to see his recent TV appearances and a lot of his recent papers have not had the same sense of hard hitting facts and data that he is famous for.

If the above letter is for real I hope his close friends are attempting to get him help.

Incidentally, he was a principal in the formation of Oceaneering, the company doing most of the ROV work, and was on their original Board of Directors.

"Matt Simmons knows, or maybe the word is knew, a great deal about drilling as well as all phases of production and refining. He could hold his own in a technical discussion with any petroleum engineer or geologist."

Yes. And, for more than a dozen years (he's been forecasting longer than that, but I'm a relative newbie), I've been seeing and hearing more believable numbers on reserves and discoveries from Simmons than from the vast majority of insiders, the EIA, IEA, USGS, etc. But. . .

When one of my friends told me, the other day, that Matt was promoting the idea of nuking the wild well, I refused, at first, to believe he had said any such thing and then, when I saw the video, had a hard time believing what I was hearing.

Along with much other evidence of confusion, it seemed that Simmons thought the leaks at the riser crimp were the main leak near the wellhead, and his comment about fish swimming through the oil jets unscathed (supposedly suggesting that not much oil was leaking from the top of the BOP), was. . . well, sad, I thought.

I had not read his more recent writing until after watching the disturbing interview. I think shelburn is correct that there is an indication of loss of sharpness, there, also. And I, too, hope someone is taking care of Matt. I could be wrong, of course, but it looks like he needs it.

For a while, I felt like I was watching the cheesy animation CBS aired back in '69 while Walter Cronkite commented and we were spellbound by the blurry black and white TV images of the LEM (lunar excursion module, for you younger folks). In fact, I have not been able to get all the work I wanted to get done the last couple of weeks because I have spent so much time following the asinine moment to moment of this disaster. I am one of those people who can piss you off because I never seem to care, or from my perspective, worry never helped anything. I wish I could detach a bit here and say "I don't have a dog in this hunt" but it is overwhelmingly clear to me now that if you live on this planet, that attitude is not reasonable. Now, as a people we established a federal government, an MMS, a Coast Guard, and with respect to other concerns, manifold agencies of government to mitigate our risks at large. Then, like a bunch of teenage girls, we turn elections into an "Americal Idol" type popularity contest. Other events are unfolding in the "American" conciousness that I am hopefull will effect a re-evaluation of the way we delegate the authority of the people, one does not have to be of any particular political persuation to understand that the political system as it has evolved must be reset to delivery any chance of mutually satisfactory outcomes; special interest groups having premium access to our representatives must cease. I know everyone is focused on the play by play right now, but for Earth's sake, don't go to bed thinking that this event is isolated from how we conduct our day to day lives or how we delegate authority; do not discount what each of us may be able to contribute to being good stewarts of the environment we have borrowed from our grandchildren! No mandate, no call to arms, no pressure; just one human to another asking you take take an introspective moment to ponder what really matters.

"I believe the the outflow of oil and gas from one of the valves on the cap that will eventually be closed."

"I don't think that is right."

"I think that is the main opening at the top of the top hat"

Are you was connected when they set it. Was it removed...or blown?

Pretty sure it's still connected. I think the outlet that's being show in the Enterprise ROV 1 is one of the outlets that were spewing the green fluid in the photo at this site labeled "Update 9:35":

Thanks Tunaholic. Well said.

I can sort of read the depth (looks like a couple hundred feet deeper than the wellhead location), but not the coordinates. Can you help locate this in relation to the well, please?

I'm not seeing anything worth mentioning in that ROV image, but based on the eastings and northings, that ROV is 5 km south and 1.37 km west of the BOP.

What are you seeing?

Thanks. I'm not seeing anything I can identify.

I presume that avonaltendorf thinks there is (or was) something at this location that supports Matt's "other big leak" assertion.

Yeah. At the time he posted that, I didn't see anything on camera, but the ROV was at 5200 feet depth. Now I still can't see anything, but it's headed to the surface. Not sure what that means.

Viking Poseidon ROV 2 went to the bottom -5300 ft, no question that I saw what I saw. No other reason for the ROV to be there. Seafloor is bubbling with hydrate blizzard. There is a subsurface migration miles away from the well.

Got a screenshot?

I can't capture video. You have to take my word for it.

If no screenshot, you might check with the inmates of the IRC channel madhouse and see if anyone is recording the stream from that ROV.

Scandi#2 seems to be off looking at the sea bed at the moment

Is that ROV arm holding down the cap on the riser?

I would say it is holding on in order to provide a stable video feed of the outflow from that valve.

Once they connect to the surface, there is going to be a heck of a stack effect. Rough numbers here, but if the gravity of the stuff coming out is, say 0.8 gravity, the difference between a mile of static head of hydrocarbon and water at a 0.2 difference is 0.2*64*5280/144 or about 460 psi lower pressure at the bottom of the hydrocarbon.

This is the driving force available to get to the surface. Depending upon the leak rate, the balancing force is friction so if the frictional pressure drop is less than the chimney effect they will actually suck in sea water once this is connected - I guess they may have to throttle the flow at the top to maintain a small oil leakage out at the bottom and avoid drawing up seawater.

If you include gas expansion the drive would be considerably more. They learned how to throttle with the RITT, though, so I'm not too worried about that part.

He is holding the T-handle of the relief valve. He is currently observing the flow out of the valve and when they get the oil and gas going to the rig hopefully he will close that valve as they start to recover more and more of the oil. But it will probably be several hours. Tune in tomorrow morning.

sorry for my lack of knowledge, but how is that valve staying in the riser, if that is where it is?

The valve the ROV is holding is on top of the LMRP cap that was just lowered onto the cut off riser. It is a relatively small valve, it appears to be a 3" valve but could be a 4" or even 2". I think there is another one on the other side. This valve is to allow excess oil to escape from the cap until they get the flow up to the rig stabilized - and that will take at least several hours. Then, if they are successful, they will close those valves to allow more flow to go to the rig.

My stupid question of the day that I pose to you guys is this...Does anybody know what kind of condition the seabed is right now? Is there any chance that we could see an all out collapse of the seabed. Something similiar to the Actinia blowout of 1993.

Not with the anemic seal we have seen thus far, but, without some upstream accumulation of the produced constituents of the well, a disaster of unmanagable proportions is possible.

I think we're already there.

Shouldn't be any problem with the seabed here. Actinia was a shallow gas blowout, probably only a few hundred feet below the seabed so when it blew it created a crater. Completely different situation to a 13,000 foot deep well.

I can comprehend the argument that the top-kill could have over-pressurized a liner joint near the top, and enabled a surface conduit outside the pipe. I have a really hard time understanding how it could blow-out a few miles a way. I'd sooner believe a natural seep or a leaky other well than a self-boring well miles away.

But I've been wrong before.....

Macondo had shallow problems, stuck tool, then lost circulation on the bypass (who knows? maybe a sidetrack - we need to see the logs). Gas and light liquid could be migrating through a salt weld or fault plane. You recall that the BOP is obstructed, almost completely shut, casing broken, so the well is flowing subsurface too. My opinion based on ROV evidence.


The Actinia, off Vietnam working for BP, from my memory was at around 10000ft and involved a fault line. The actual subsea blow out originated some distance from the rig and after some time then worked its way around the casing and under the rig.

Did you see the video that one of the smart hands shot. BP were not impressed. Up to that time BP had a good record with well control.

I was in Singapore in 1993 when it happened and we had some hands on the rig. My memory is that it was shallow gas - but then Alzheimer's might be setting in.


Here is a link to video, note how it starts in the distance and also the riser is in place.

This one we can blame on the geos and PEs. Sorry to all rock doctors out there.

I've been watching Anderson Cooper on CNN for the past hour as he watches the video of the ROV manipulator holding the handle of a relief valve at the top LMRP and he mistakenly identifies the valve as the actual cap and wonders why they haven't connected the wire to take the oil to the surface.

And now he has Prof Wereley from Purdue on the phone, Mr. 92,000 bpd (+/- 20%), who is saying that HIS group in the task force hasn't made their report yet but "I can't say what it is, but its much higher".

The US news media has turned into tabloid journalism.

Anderson Cooper is also begging for anyone with information to contact CNN.

Anybody here want to get on the air? LOL!

I think it would be a good public service for one of the people here to send an email to Anderson Cooper so
he could explain to the millions of CNN viewers that the oil is coming from an open valve per his video feed-
if that is the case.

Actually I tried the other day on something else equally stupid but can not find an email address that seems to go through to anyone.

Undoubtedly they monitor comments on their blog, though I don't know if that is an effective (or even viable) way of getting something to Cooper.


I too have been watching Anderson Cooper. One of you smart guys/girls should call in and tell him what is going on so that he can report accurately.

Hmmm...wonder who they have on at Fox explaining it.

Probably Bill Nye the Science Guy

Has turned?
That boat left the dock long ago.

Tony Hayward quote..

It ends with a heartfelt promise: “We will get it done. We will make this right.” (The same day, in an interview published in The Financial Times, he said, “What is undoubtedly true is that we did not have the tools you would want in your tool kit.”)

This is what I've been thinking all along.

It seems the support mechanisms for DW drilling have lagged behind. For what reason(s)?

Did it require an incident like this to motivate that sector?

It has been a long trend - 25 or 30 years I would say, but recent coverage of any really important issue has been.... spin (of one flavor or another), dumb, superficial, obfuscational, sensationalized, peculiarly uninformative... I could go on... McClatchy and Reuters still dig up some interesting stuff on occasion, BBC at least gives an offshore perspectine - even if it too has a party line to toe, Al Jazeera does some interesting reporting...

Good blogs like this one I find to be the best source these days, but they are necessarily topical and being a good aggregator takes a lot of resources - let alone doing actual reporting.

I think it's called reversion to the mean. Read some in the history of US journalism about Pulitzer and Hearst. You can draw a straight line from them through Walter Winchell and Westbrook Pegler to Fox and MSNBC. Surprise! The idea is to make money and news is the commodity for sale.

"Officials suspect that the mud could have been escaping from the well far below the ocean floor, possibly through a rupture disk, a built-in weak point in the steel pipe that lines the well."

BP-on why the top kill failed.


What is the inner diameter of the first pipe that leads from the new top cap?

It looks small.

If it is small, how do they expect to capture the flow on an unsealed or semi-sealed system from a 20" well-filled outlet pipe?

If they can seal it, the pressure inside the BOP will go up, an undesirable condition.

I would have expected them to come in with a pipe AT LEAST as large as the riser remnant.

Again, we are being told "best of the best"...

They are capturing a high-pressure flow that makes it though a small crevice in the BOP which then expands to fill at a slow flow the large pipe. A smallish pipe going fast again (which it will, at fairly high differential pressure) will handle the flow.

Do the math and see how little a pipe it takes to carry 10,000 bbl per day. Not very big.....really!

No seal is needed, except to limit water intrusion.

The main flow constraint is not in the BOP is down below. If it was in the BOP they would have killed the well with mud.

Why use a small pipe? You would need terrific suction to even come close capturing the flow. The flow velocity would have to accelerate, creating more turbulence in the small volume of the top cap. The flow is quite complex already, probably multi-phase. You really want to disturb it as little as possible - just let it go into a straight pipe of the same diameter as the outlet.

That's why I have been arguing for a connection of a standard 21" riser pipe going to the surface, using standard production methods. This well is producing just fine - just seal up a riser and you are good to go.

Unless the USCG is lying to the public there is a 5,000 to 6,000 psi drop across the BOP and that has to be a major restriction. There are a lot of other possible reasons why they couldn't get the top kill to work.

Go back and read some of the threads, especially Rockman's posts.

The drill pipe leading from the cap to the LMRP above the cap (there are 2 LMRP involved - the damaged one below and the new one above) is capable of passing a lot more than the 15,000 bpd that the Enterprise can process.

Please. Does anyone know of any video links that are iPhone compatible? That WKRG feed I used to use never works anymore.

Darn Steve jobs and his feud with Adobe

This is kind of a techie thing, but I have to say, that the LMRP that has been in place has delivered Big Time. The Oilstates flex joint has undergone forces exponentially greater than a design specification could have reasonably required. Not only has the damn thing been subject to a blow out, a toppling of the riser bundle, and a heavy handed, jack booted, and in my opinoin misdirected, jerking about by "The Claw"; the paint depicting the company logo has not even flaked, and the riser connection remains as our best hope of mitigating this disaster! If everything related to this deepwater endeavor were as robust as that particular critical component, I doubt that any of us would even be consious of the technical difficulties and short comings the drilling operation is now attempting to mitigate!

Not to mention anchoring the Deepwater Horizon in place from the time they lost power until it sank.

Hey Shelburn- Thanks for your response last night re: about my suggestion adding a UV sensitive dye to the dispersant. Today I used what little time and influence I had to try and break through the signal to noise that NOAA is getting via their suggestion line. I was not encouraged. I did however find out that the same dyes used for antifreeze can be made to bond with hydrocarbons. I didn't spend enough time though to get anywhere. I've been training employees all week. I'll see what I can accomplish during my lunchbreak tomorrow. This idea is so far behind the curve that it is practically worthless but may help somebody sometime.

I am impressed with it as well!

Have they tried simply using the hydraulics to decouple the H-4 head? Has anyone witnessed them hooking up the line to it?

Wouldn't it be a hoot if after all that cutting and clawing they simply pushed a button and removed the whole damaged top, replacing it with an industry standard new riser stack?

Can the annulars on the the old LMRP still be operated? Now that they have a direct shot to the bore of the BOP assembly, could they open the upper annular and slip a new piece of 9 7/8 pipe over the stub of the old DP. There would then a be a positive pressure seal to the new LMRP, which could throttle the flow to regulate pressure to a safe level. As a later phase, run a cutter in to sever the old DP just above the blind shears. Open the shears and repeat below to get clear access to the lower section of DP, pump in mud like a normal bottom kill (well mid kill).

I'm wondering why they can't do that through the choke, and then when the pressure is workable get the drill pipe connected. Screw the shears and get pipe rams around pipe and last then you have something to work with. We don't even know for sure yet if the flow is coming up from the cement shoe up the middle of the production casing, or if it is coming in at the bottom of the last intermediate string and coming up the outside of the production casing. Uncertain of seals at the well head.

If gas isn't coming up the production casing then we have a formation channel problem. IMHO perferating the production casing and doing a cement squeeze is the best way to seal off the formation. It is already in the perfect spot, unlike a relief well that is poking in the dark. A relief well still needs to be drilled because BP has to pay some penance to the public but their best bet is to take a completions workover approach to this and solve the problem before the relief well gets there. If the flow is in the 9 7/8 and can be sent out through the choke then there wouldn't be any pressure in the production casing unless the seals were shot at the wellhead. Also, if the flow is in channeled cement, or washed out formation then it will follow the production casing and the best chance of sealing it is through the production casing. Considering the casing design used for this particular well.

I wonder how long until they have that info.

We were just having a conversation in the chatroom, thought I would ask this question here concerning CNN and other news networks. Why is it, that since this entire disaster started, we haven't actually seen any real "experts" commenting or answering questions. I mean we see plenty of professors and the like, but no REAL experts with many years experience drilling oil rigs under the ocean floor. ARe there some sort of regulations in place, prohibiting experts from other oil companies actually getting on tv and giving their expert commentary live, concerning important events like we watched tonight?

Let me know when one of them says "peak oil".

Are you saying that Douglas Brinkley isn't an expert on oil wells?


Doug Brinkley has been singing the same tune for 3 weeks. The B in BP is for BAD

There have been a very few petroleum engineering professors and the like but they tend to be pretty low key and don't spout a lot of hyperbole and are never seen again.

But I haven't seen any real effort from the media to talk to experts in the field. There are plenty who don't work for the big companies, who are retired or independent. I think there is probably a reluctance as so often they are taken out of context and once burned...

I did have some communication with a reporter for a major outlet about the time the flow rate was getting a lot of press. The reporter said it seemed that the academics almost bidding to see who could have the highest flow rate. And it seems that Prof Wereley of Purdue won and the fact that he was completely discredited hasn't seemed to slow him down a bit.

Interesting, I hadn't heard Professor Wereley was discredited. Everyone seems to be criticizing BP for under reporting the flow. Prof Wereley is Andy Coopers go to guy these days.

Also, Sounds like CNN wants an expert but doesn't want to pay for him. Could it be a bit of CNN Corporate greed? Nonetheless CNN is at least putting an effort in on coverage.

A few humble questions -

1. Mechanical stress - the pipes and BOP are being subjected to extreme vibration and pressures. Are there any estimates of the forces and stresses being subjected to the structure that could result in metal fatigue and failure? Are those forces beyond the ratings of the pipes and BOP given such a sustained period of time?

2. Abrasive forces - The pipes and BOP are also being subjected internally to abrasive blasting from the oil laden with sand and rock. Are there any estimates of the rate of erosion on the pipe and the BOP? What is the estimated time before failure from the abrasive rate the pipes are being subjected to?

3. Resonance forces - The Pipes and BOP are under tremendous pressure and vibration forces which may go into and out of mechanical resonance. Could those resonance events in and of themselves cause catastrophic failure? Has there been any acoustic measurements done at the site? Could the low frequency components of the vibration caused by the rapid oil flow transmitted through the length of the pipe into the adjacent rock and develop fissures and cracks?

If these question have already been asked and answered, please delete this post.

1 - Mechanical - I'm sure BP has been trying to figure that out. There were reports that the surge pressures during the blowout reached 30,000 psi - no information about where the measurement was taken or if it is reliable. The BOP is rated to 15,000 psi. The axial and bending moments during the time the BOP was anchoring the rig had to be tremendous.

2 - Abrasive - The original flow was estimated at 1,000 bpd, a week later 5,000 bpd and from the time video was publicly available it seemed to be steadily increasing. Supposition is erosion within the BOP and the kink in the riser have been gradually increasing the flow since the beginning.

3 - Vibration - Most of the flow is probably pretty low velocity about 3 ft/sec except that it must very high right at the restriction point(s). Fatigue values of the BOP materials is probably pretty high so I don't think that will be a major problem. The first several hundred to a couple thousand feet of the well are in soft mud so there probably isn't any worry about formation damage due to vibration.

BP is obviously getting more and more concerned about the structural stability of the wellhead. I guess they may have got some information during the top kill operation that they didn't like.

Fabulous details, thanks. (I just made a donation). One question: what caused the riser to lean 10 degrees?

Is the casing bent below the BOP's, or are the BOP centerlines vertical with a bend above them?

Probably either due to the Deepwater Horizon pulling on it for about 2 days until it sank or during the sinking itself.

Very difficult to tell where the bend is with the information made public. The videos are distorted and therefore unreliable.

herc 6 exploring?

Bedtime thought: "You can only be young once. But you can always be immature." — Dave Barry

What are they monitoring on the pipe at about 3300 feet depth? Is there something that would tell them when oil gets to that point? This camera:
has been watching it for quite a while.

Does anyone know when BP plans to turn on the pumps for the new "cap"?

As I understand it, just the cap itself is in place. Most of the upper parts of this package are yet to be deployed fully. Just the cap--open ended is all we are looking at now--and I believe the ROV is just sitting there holding it in place.

I think all the pieces were in place when the cap was installed. The ROV is observing a relief valve which it (hopefully) will close in coming hours. The rig is letting thing stabilize and will gradually start recovering oil. Lots of things to watch and very slow and cautious operations to keep from hurting anything.

Or it could already be jammed with hydrates.

I saw them pick up the LMRP cap this morning, and have trouble with the locking plate that holds the LMRP cap to the pipe.
They used the drill pipe within Discoverer Enterprise's riser to do it.
At times I could see many tens of feet of pipe, beyond the range of the light.
Later the ROV swam up to the LMRP unit at the end of DE's riser.

BP just added a new animation to show this process.
It clarifies the use of nitrogen to purge the drill pipe of water before allowing oil/gas in.

There are 4 valves on top of the LMRP cap #2 (side number 4).
Enterprise #1 has the handle of one of them.
They are brass valves with a long T handle for the ROVs.
(also two inlets for methanol).

One can barely see the valves at 0:50 in this video (LMRP #2 is to the left):
maybe the view is better here:
Or try slide 4 in this pdf:

Much of the oil plume is escaping from underneath, though you can see flow
in the Enterprise #1 view from the valve.
which may have decreased a tiny bit.

I think they have to start the flow in the riser pipe very slowly to avoid
(a) uncontrolled surges, and
(b) sucking water into the cap and riser.
Same with the Riser Insertion Tool - agonizingly slow.

n.b they may be re-numbering their caps,
i.e. cofferdam, top hat, LMRP cap #1, LMRP cap #2 --> #1, #2, #3, #4.
there are pictures of #7, #8 & #9 in various stages.
The last pic in this shows lead ballast being added to #7.

Does anyone know what Q4000 - ROV 1 is viewing? It's been that cable for hours.

woodswell asked as well is the depth accurate? 500m up though... dunno has been there since 5 Louisiana time i think......when is "stack effect" expected?

Depth right now on Q4000 Rov 1 is ~3287 / 1047 - it cycles between the two numbers so I think the 3267 is feet, 1047 meters. RvA is 227 / 0.0 ; HDG 14.3 / 130 ; another reading may start with 'N' but I am not sure, numbers are 31779367 / 3171530 .

I may be off on some of the figures - I either get to try to read sharp numbers too small to read or go to full screen and try to make out the pixelated numbers.

Roadchild, I think it is coiled tubing with a manifold valve or flange in the middle. Maybe it will be part of the assembly that will take the oil to the surface ships?

That's kinda my guess, part of the line to take the oil up, looks small but I guess we don't really have anything to get real perspective on size.

Okay is that a new "cap"? We're on number 3 now? If that's what's on Viking Poseidon - ROV 1 it looks like it would let way more oil shoot out all around it.

Where can I find the information on the location of each ROV? For example, where is Q4000 ROV1?

There are a number of pages that have been setup to show the various streams, this is the one I'm using.
I think there is a BP page that has the name of the feeds with the URLS but I don't know where that one is.

Here is the BP page with all the feeds:

This page is streaming all of them:

I check that page to see what is interesting, open the individual camera feeds by right clicking the link on the BP page, zoom to 200% and size the window to that. I've got four windows open with camera feeds right now.

Thanks. I have the feeds but I would like to know where they are relative to the BOP and to each other. Very curious about Q4000-ROV1 because I swear I saw a fish swim by.

A while ago I saw a shrimp pass by, back up, hang out for a bit, then drift on downstream. Of course, I have no scale to work with, but it must have been a good sized shrimp, maybe ten to the pound.

I've been slightly encouraged that we are seeing some sea life in these shots.

There are eel and jellyfish down there too... I saw one eel go in and out of the plume coming from the broken end of the riser lying on the seabed.

Yes, that ROV has been hanging out at about 3,000 ft. and in fairly clear water. More critters there than near the oilcano at the wellhead.

A quick readthrough at Wikipedia should give an idea of the positioning systems: Once you have that concept, check the coordinates of a ROV near the wellhead and you can figure the relative positioning of others (if you can read the on-screen display—my eyes can't always do that).

The oilpatch guys here can explain how it all *really* works. I come from telecommunications, but I've been kinda obsessed with energy issues for a long time, so a tiny bit of it has leaked into my skull.

Glad to know I wasn't seeing things. Also glad that there's still some life down there. It was a nice colorful fish too. Kind of like Dory.


I'm not feeling very confident that this current approach BP is taking is going to work. I've put together a diagram showing my own solution that is a bit more complex but i think it addresses some of the weakness of the current containment effort. I'm an architect and not an engineer BTW.

One of the hard things to understand is that for safety reasons they can't seal the cap to the riser.

They must be able to shut off the flow on the ship without allowing a pressure build up and they can't develop enough suction to bring in seawater. So they want the relief area at the bottom to minimize seawater intake.

Flow control will be done very carefully at the surface, that's probably why there doesn't seem to be any action although it appears the cap has been in place for hours.

It took them about a day to get the flow started on the RITT, and this might be more sensitive.

"They must be able to shut off the flow on the ship without allowing a pressure build up..."

Yeah. Makes me nervous just thinking about it, and I don't know a fraction of what shelburn and the other experts here know. The guys and gals on the drillship are working a well that blew up and sank a semi-submersible, killed 11 guys and... you know the rest. This time, they *know* they don't have BOP, can't shut it in, etc.

It's "hard to understand" because it sounds wrong. Sorry.

Of course they can seal the cap, if the "cap" is a 21" riser pipe and it goes all the way to the surface where the oil is processed away, just like on a production well.

The difference is that they can never shut it down nor throttle it much. So they need plenty of capacity at the surface to process everything that this well is producing.

They do have to have a divert for safety reason, but they can always have one at depth, operated from the surface. They also need to disconnect in an emergency, so another one of those fancy H-4 hydraulic connectors is needed. So sometimes they have to dump oil in the ocean. But most of the time they can get all the oil to the surface.

It's called a seal and they are not doing it.

Herc 6 has a new assignment...disperse baby. disperse...
no but what was the other op? anybody anybody read it?


and why is posidon I back at the th-5?