Deepwater Oil Spill - Sealing the Cap and Jet Pumps - and Open Thread 2

Please transfer discussion to

There has not been much change down on the sea bed where Thursday evening BP were able to put a cap onto the short riser section coming out of the Lower Riser Assembly (LRA) that sits on the Blowout Preventer (BOP) at the top of the well. I have looked in a variety of places for information on steps forward, and did discover that there is a second assembly above the cap, that I had seen, but had not been able to recognize until watching the video on capping available at the Deepwater Response site. It is here that the methanol is sent down to the cap to make sure that no crystals form within the cap. So for those who wish to keep the right names for the right parts, take note. UPDATE: I have added a request to the end of this post. UPDATE 2: And have now found where to look, thanks!

The cap, drill pipe, LMRP and riser assembly used to cap the well.

And given that I was calling the cap the 7th generation LMRP when it was (as the big 4 on the side of the yellow structure showed) neither, means I need to take my own message to heart. In this post I am going to talk about the seal under the cap.

There are four ports on the top of the cap, that continue to allow the oil that is flowing into the cap to flow back out while the cap was initially positioned, and to reduce the flow according to BP's plans, until the system has been checked out to ensure there are no unforeseen problems. BP only slowly raised the flow rate up the pipe when they first started using the Riser Insertion Tool (RIT) starting out with a flow of around 1,000 barrels/day and then ramping it up, at the time reporting that flow ramped up first to 2,000 bd and then up to 4,000 bd. However they later rescinded the latter number and dropped the maximum flow level to around 2,200 barrels a day. Oil and gas have started flowing up to the drillship at the top of the riser where the oil is separated and stored, and the gas is being flared. (This was taken during the flare from the RIT operation).

However the flow out of the RIT was monitored, and higher rates have now been reported.
On May 25, 2010, at approximately 17:30 CDT, the RITT logged oil collection at a rate of 8,000 barrels of oil per day, as measured by a meter whose calibration was verified by a third-party. Based on observations of the riser, the team estimated that at least 10% of the flow was not being captured by the riser at the time oil collection was logged, increasing the estimate of total flow to 8,800 barrels of oil per day. Factoring in the flow from the kink in the riser, the RITTI Team calculated that the lower bound estimate of the total oil flow is at least 11,000 barrels of oil per day, depending on whether the flow through the kink is primarily gas or oil.
With the full flow now being emitted through the single confluence of the riser and BP flows at the top of the remaining riser section on the BOP, a full estimate of the leak will, no doubt, not be long in being announced.

The high volume of flow means that there needs to be cautious progress in capturing all the oil and gas and sending it up the DP. However there is still a little communications conflict, since there were some reports that the taps bypassing the oil/gas would be closed later today, however at 10:43 pm the Enterprise ROV 2 was still showing an open port.

Oil was also leaking out of the bottom of the cap, which is, even when almost all the oil is being recovered, likely to be a good thing in small quantities, somewhat less than this.

From Skandi ROV 2 10:55 pm 4th June (The Skandi Rov 1 has the picture from the other side, also of the bottom of the cap).

Why is this? Well the way in which the Shear was used to cut the end of the riser and DP means that it is likely to be impossible at the present time to get a good strong seal around the chamber between the flow into the cap from the BOP and that out into the DP up to the LMRP.

When a stream enters a chamber through one port, and exits through another, both of relatively small size, then the jet will create a vacuum in the chamber, which pulls fluid from the surroundings into the chamber and carries it, with the jet fluid into the second port. I am going to embed a short video of a commercial down-hole video and am not endorsing anything but the animation shows you how the jet pump works. (And the flow in the Gulf is easier than that shown here ).

Animation of an oil well jet pump. There is a competing design here (shorter video too)

The reason that it is critical in this operation is that the fluid outside the cap is seawater. If the jet pumping action were to become too efficient as all the oil flowed from one passage to the other, then the “jet pump effect” would draw cold seawater into the chamber and the problem of hydrate generation and blocking of the flow path would be back to block the cap, as it did top hat. By not getting all the flow into the second pipe it should be possible to drop the suction in the chamber to the point that a little oil still leaks out (treated with dispersants) but the majority goes up the well. Getting this right should prove an interesting exercise. (But isn’t calculating this what the “best and the brightest” – Dr. Chu’s team - are there to do?) And it is not nearly as simple as it might at first appear, being able to capture almost all the oil, without getting the jet pump effect bringing in the seawater that would stop the flow.

Flow control is achieved, simplistically, with a valve at the top of the riser on the Enterprise. By adjusting the flow the valve effectively controls the pressure at the top of the riser and thus also at the bottom.

Incidentally in other circumstances jet pumps are neat tools. One of my students developed a high pressure one for use in lifting high-level radioactive waste out of nuclear waste storage tanks (you want to minimize water use, and do this by upping the driving jet pressure). Worked like a charm, when used in the real tanks. They are also used as remote inexpensive pumps in mines, lying in depressions where water can collect. The water collects, a float valve lifts and the jet flows, sucking the water away. As the water disappears, the float drops and the jet switches off.

Oh, and for those who have ideas on how to deal with any part of this problem, the Government is stepping up the ways in which you can get funding. The process goes through the Federal Business Opportunities Webpage where there is a Broad Agency Announcement on the subject. It would be more fruitful to contact them.

UPDATE:BP are slowly increasing the amount of oil taken up the drill pipe from the cap on the BOP. They have announced that they will give an update on the daily flows measured.
BP announced plans to provide a daily morning update on how much crude is being collected by their oil drillship Enterprise as the oil company struggles to contain the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Although Toby and Bendal in comments have stated that BP have raised the flow rate up to the Enterprise to 6,000 bd, from the 1,000 bd initially ( which included 3 hours when the system was shut down) so far I can’t find a reference for this, so I would appreciate the help of readers in finding where these numbers are being posted so that I can make them available to the general readership, who often don’t read the comments.

Prof. Goose's comment:

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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.

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I'm wondering if there is any plan to put a big-ass pump between the cap and its riser. A straightforward servo loop (a.k.a. feedback loop or control loop) could regulate the speed of the pump so as to hold the average difference in pressure between the oil in the cap and the water outside the cap to be zero. No differential pressure, no oil going in and no water going out. It's a "virtual seal". Not completely different from a "virtual ground" at the input to an opamp wired up in an inverting configuration and its + input shorted to ground.

Now, even with an average differential pressure of zero, the turbulence of the oil means there will be a lot of mixing (some oil coming out and some water going in). So you still have to maintain a bit of excess oil pressure to keep the water from going in (and then freezing).

Maybe there's a pump already in the LMRP? If so, has it been turned on or not?

I am just so frustrated to see this huge friggin gusher coming out of the cap and Thad Allen shedding no light on the problem at all.

Interesting way to think about it, not sure you could build a BAP with enough "frequency response". Perhaps a "capacitor" (a pressurized tank) before the pump input to cut some of the HF noise.

But yes, I like it -- obviously, the rate regulation is going to track better, the closer it is to the leak. I'm not sure you need a BAP regulator, either -- put a "capacitor" on either side of the regulator, and just adjust the regulator (a valve of some sort) as quickly as necessary to keep the water out and minimize the oil loss.

(I'm not an oil professional at all, but EE, that's much closer to home.)

Here's two paragraphs from an article in the NY Times today:

First of the two makes no sense, as he seems to be saying that if he CLOSES the vents, which of course would INCREASE the oil pressure relative to the water outside, that "water would rush in".

Admiral Allen said that while engineers were able to bring 6,000 barrels of oil to the surface in a 24-hour period, they were hesitant to close the vents out of fear that if they did so too quickly, water would rush in and form the kind of icy hydrates that doomed a previous attempt to cap the leak.

2nd of the two makes more sense but is in direct conflict with the first!:

The admiral had initially said that engineers hoped to begin closing the vents on Friday. But on Saturday he said they had not because of fears that the pressure inside the cap would become so great that oil would blast through the imperfect seal.

And this guy Allen is running the show for the government? Holy crap!


god help us all.

more likely the reporter making a mistake in the 2nd and mispeaking in the first

And this guy Allen is running the show for the government? Holy crap!

And you get upset because you take the reporter seriously and did not even try to get the source material instead? com'n. Don't be lazy. It is internet age and it is easy. This is what Thad Allen said this morning... If you heard even one conference call from this guy, you should figure out that he has full command of the information and he is telling the truth as much as he know.. He does not sugar coated any answer.. we have the right guy on the helm...

Q: Is the cap (inaudible) well (inaudible) to be working (inaudible) doing what it's intended to do so far?

ADMIRAL ALLEN: Yes, with a couple of caveats. When we put the cap down, there are four vents on the cap to allow oil to escape that's not going up through pipe. What you want is, you want to keep oil in the containment cap and not let water in because when water gets in, you form a hydrate.

And so what they're slowing doing is—they're increasing production up the well bore, that's in a ship on top. They're flooding off the gas and they're actually producing oil that will be shifted to (inaudible) just like it would any other (inaudible) production capacity.

They want to raise that up in the maximum amount possible on a daily rate basis and then slowly start turning off those vents where the oil is coming out of right now and they're still going to have seawater coming in.

Ultimately, because we don't have a perfect cap on top of it, there is a rubber seal that connects the containment cap to the marine—the riser pipe, because we didn't get a smooth cut with the diamond wire cutter so we had to use (inaudible) more—less elegant seal with a little bit of (inaudible).

So what we're trying to do is minimize the amount of leakage, and ultimately go to full production. It comes out—it's forced down around those rubber seals because we can't accommodate all the pressure through the production line going up. And we're going to have to get to a full rate of production in that pipe before we know what the exact steady state is in the well for any kind of leakage we may see around that rubber gasket.

To combat that, we have installed equipment down there, where we can use undersea dispersant to try to disperse that oil at the source and (inaudible) much on the surface. In the meantime, we're going to continue mechanical skimming, controlled burning, and we're trying to limit, if at all possible, any dispersant application on the surface because we’ve used so much up there— more than was ever contemplated in a (inaudible) this size.

And as you know, we were—we've reached a million gallon threshold on dispersant. There's some public concern over the implications of dispersant. It's preferable to use a dispersant rather than have the oil because the toxicity is much less. But we are mindful that there is some toxic impact of the dispersant. We're trying to focus that on the subsea area where the oil's actually coming out the riser.

Thank you, Admiral Allen. At yesterday's hearing, you said that the hope was that those vents would start being closed during the day yesterday. Are all the vents still open and if they are still open, why?

ADMIRAL ALLEN: Well, if the vents remain open. We will get an update from British Petroleum. They will have that later on. They're going to remain open until they can stabilize the pressure and the rate of the production level. They're adjusting—making adjustments to the systems and making sure—they don't want to increase the production rate until it's safe to do so, but we will make (inaudible)

Apparently the hydrates stick to the inner surfaces.

I wonder if lining the collector with Teflon would help?

So why do you need a pump? Just use the control loop to modulate the valve at the top of the riser.

Maybe they are doing that now?

Just cut back on the pressure differential until you start getting water.

Two reasons. Maybe just one.

1. The weight of the column of oil and gas inside the riser has to be less than the pressure of the oil coming out of the BOP. If this is indeed the case, then fine, you only need to increase the pressure in the riser and you can do that with a valve.

2. By trying to use the control loop to modulate a valve at the top of the riser, one is then necessarily including the riser full of gas and oil in the control loop. This would complicate its design and one would also need to slow down the control loop enough so that the delay that this column adds to the loop doesn't result in an out-of-control loop.

Now that I think about it, put the valve (instead of a pump) at the bottom of the riser and modulate it with a control loop such that the differential pressure between the oil in the cap and the water outside the cap is zero (as before).

That does seem to be the simplest solution. But 1. above would have to be true for that to work. And if 1. is true then why is there so much oil gushing out from around the bottom of the cap? Are they restricting the flow at the top of the riser (at the ship)?

Yes - they are restricting the flow at the top of the riser. They NEED to put at least a little restriction on it in order to have enough pressure to vent the gas away to the flare boom.

You can be certain that they will be opening the valve on top of this riser
S-L-O-W-L-Y to be sure that they can handle what's coming out of that pipe. Failure to do this could VERY EASILY result in another explosion, fire, and/or sinking of the processing ship.


If a pump is better than a valve??, IMHO a VFD (variable frequency drive and thus variable speed) pump is quite feasible. The key to variable pressure output and flow is variable speed, and this tech. is common/well advanced - can be sorted in a day or so, if not hours. A few electrical issues with voltage/cable size/switchgear, transformers, etc.

I've engineered several of these for offshore production platforms for export pumping/compression, but not a problem to adapt for driving a large submersible pump. Flowrate is no problem for a an engineered submersible as these can handle the flowrates in question (over 5,000 cu.m/hr) as a standard design - used for lifting seawater topsides for process coolers. Note 1 cu.m ~ 1000 kg ~ 1 ton.

Of course this normally takes months to engineer & build, but probably there is one sitting inside BP's warehouse as a spare. They (Flowserve/Clyde Union aka Weir) make these units in corrosion resistant materials such as Super Duplex SS or Ni-Al-Brz designed to go for the long haul. I think you could knock one up from scratch in cast iron in a week or two if you were motivated.

The people I used to know in BP (North Sea) would get this done if it was considered viable.

Seems that a BAP would help should help reduce the pressure in the LMRP hat, which still seems to be floating and waving around from the pressure of oil and gas exiting the BOP. The rubber seal must be taking a beating. I would be building a collar to clamp and lock the LMRP firmly onto the BOP, which has already been suggested somewhere in the comments. Seems as though the fins on LMRP might have been designed with this in mind as they would provide an easy surface to lock around and provide downward force as the collar was tightened. And perhaps a collar could help seal the bottom of the LMRP.

don't be shy of going back and reading threads, esp shelburn, bb51, rockman, others

it's been repeatedly said that they want some leakage
1) to prevent seawater from entering, and
2) the casing below may be compromised and they don't want full pressure on the BOP in case something blows out worse, elsewhere

Is there a link to a condensed list of all the proposed ideas and the pros and cons of trying them? Also is there a link for a set of plans and rumored X-rays for the BOP? This would really be helpful for us out of the box idea people. There are many sharp minds on this site but grouping the solution ideas by category would help the discussions and problem solving. Getting full access to the ideas being floated by the crews at the site would be really great, even a live full time feed from their war room would be riveting TV. Like American Chopper on overdrive.

Hi brooksbot01,

Sorry, no is the answer to all your great questions.

Thanks PriorityX
I wish that would change but I know how fast these ideas are coming and going. I have added a few more follow up details to my direct power to rams idea. . After reading that there may be damage to the BOP making it not able to handle the full pressure, I added a few steps of reinforced concrete around the BOP to beef it up and weigh it down a bit. Now I read that there is concern that there is a casing leak about 1000 feet below the BOP. I mean geez, can this get much worse? I wonder if the rams were closed and the casing leaks would they be able to force enough cement down the mud hoses to fill it all the way down past the leaking casing to seal it?

My fellow Americans,

I was digging through some old LIFE magazines in the White House attic and discovered this ad, from 1972:

Sort of takes you back to a bygone era when anything seemed possible...

It is now simply too late according to the Export Land Model. I will probably be the last U.S. President, if I am re-elected. We had a pretty good run, and I hope you are one of the few who survive.

Signing off,

a repost for those who haven't seen this yet

The New York Times posted a link to The Oil Drum today in an article on peak oil:

In reponse to bucket and photon:

[-] bucket on June 5, 2010 - 3:59pm Permalink | Subthread | Comments top

photon --

If what you are suggesting is a verey big accumulator (container / collecting vessel / tank) down at the sea floor, and then pipe (prob quite a bit bigger than 6" -- but that can be worked out) running up to a manifold just below sea level (diver depth - forty feet under surface) that processing vessels could "plug into" with big hoses -- then I am with you.

It would be somewhat unfortunate that the riser has been cut off the BOP, because the bent over riser would have delivered the oil horizontally to an adjacent accumulator, while still giving chances to see and work around the well head with rov's. As things are now, there is a connect onto the BOP problem, and a work around the well head problem. But those aren't the end of the world. And getting the accumulator is mostly a question of finding something of things suitable along the GoM coast, dragging it out, sending it down the 5000 ft to the bottom.

Hurricane comes, processing ships gotta scoot, you end up opening a valve to dump instead of accumulate, pipe, process, and ship, but it would seem to me that's the exception rather than the rule, and in a couple of weeks tops, you are handling all the oil.


Better yet, get rid of the pipes and hoses.

What if you sent down very large tanks. Something with a bladder, so that you can have sea water on the outside of the bladder to use for ballast to send the tank down. When the tank is at the bottom, warm up the sea water to regulate the temp inside so you don't crack the tank with the warmer oil. Then has the oil flows in, it fills the bladder and displaces the sea water until the tank is full of oil. Hook some chains on it and wench it up to a barge.

This would also give you underwater storage that could stay in place in the event of a hurricane and you wouldn't have to keep spilling more oil.

What if you sent down very large tanks. .... Hook some chains on it and wench it up to a barge.

As I explained in this comment:
in response to:

there would be no need to winch it up with force
(though one might want to use a winch to back it up).
The oil is buoyant, and wants to go up.

n.b. the "permanent riser" thing is coming at the end of the month:
start at 9:20 in this video if you're pressed for time, otherwise it's only 13:10 and loaded with info.


you'll need a container 99'x100'x10' high, not a particularly big Mississippi barge. Also not a particularly big rubber bag nowadays.

Calculation as follows: There's eight gallons in a cubic foot, and 42 gallons in a barrel, or 5.25 cubic feet per barrel, so 19,000 barrels is 99,750 cubic feet. 10x99.75x100. A third of a football field, ten feet high.

Three bags would hold three days, probably long enough for a hurricane to pass through and the waves to calm down enough to allow access for pumping.

Don't tell me the US Government can't generate such a storage capacity. It probably has such bags in Iraq right now.


MPC is a prime supplier to the U.S. Armed Forces of flexible water storage tanks, ground cloths, fuel bladders and berm liners. We supply flexible fuel tanks in 3,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000 and

210,000 gallon capacities (4 bags a day)

including bladder tanks and berm liners to specifications ATPD 2262, ATPD 2264, ATPD 2265, ATPD 2266, and PD53048.

You'd need a way to separate out the gas first, or your bag would very quickly become a balloon and then pop.

Gee, I wonder how you could do that?

Too bad gas isn't lighter than oil, so we could vent it out at a predetermined pressure from the top of the bag...

I wish you'd put some thought into these putdowns.

Well, you didn't mention dealing with gas, so I did. Now would a pressure mechanism work -- it's not so much the pressure as the volume that is an issue.

How would you keep the hurricane from blowing the bags away? I doubt you're going to keep them underwater given the differential density.

"How would you keep the hurricane from blowing the bags away? I doubt you're going to keep them underwater given the differential density."

I'm patenting a concept called a mud anchor.

A fuel cell would float with 15% of its volume above the surface. If a ten-story rig can be controlled, so can a low-windage bag of oil.

Please remember we're talking about multi-layer milspec fuel storage cells here.

The gas pressure relief is set to less than the burst pressure of the fuel cell, psia.

This bag idea sounds good to me. I presume you'd best only fill them to no more than about 70% of their rated capacity so you need to have a few available.
I guess they would try to float as oil is lighter than water, so you'd need some pretty big anchors to hold them down. Big rocks with steel eyes in and plastic coated cables should do that. And no need to let them go to surface till you're good and ready. Could really be a winner for buying time this one. Has anything like it ever been tried in shallower waters?

Wouldn't your rocks sink? It's my understanding that the seabed at the site is unconsolidated highly organic muck with little to no bearing strength.

Ok, use longer cables.

If I may gently ask that people take the time to follow links when given, to reduce the noise on this fine site.


I show how (only) 5000 bbls of hydrate has 300 tonnes lift.
Oil would have even more lift.

It would take weeks to engineer and construct a system to safely deal with that, and it would present a risk to surface ships in the (crowed) area to have hundreds of tonnes of force suddenly hit from below if a bag suddenly broke loose.

Much safer to use a continuous flow, as the 3 systems (one in place, two more coming) that BP is/will use over the next month:

Some FAQs would be nice, but if/until such time as that happens, please try to use the search on the site. And, follow given links to previous answers.

The site is having growing pains due to the BP crisis, and duplicates just lengthen the threads unnecessarily.
It's getting tiresome answering the same question over and over.

Sorry. Still not convinced though that bags are totally out of the question. Sure there are big difficulties. Probably won't be solved this time round. But worth keeping in mind for next time.
And there's sure to be a next time.
PS:Thanks for the hint about the search box. I didn't realise it limited results to TOD.(dumb)

The demise of BP? I hope so! Another repost from the NYT:
"BP accounted for “97 percent of all flagrant violations found in the refining industry by government safety inspectors” — including 760 citations for “egregious, willful” violations (compared with only eight at the two oil companies that tied for second place)."

* Another newbie - yes I have read many of the old posts until my eyes became bleary. I sent the following idea for progressive containment/capping to the perhaps to clear my conscience and provide some other approach than what I see has been almost embarassing. So w/o bashing other engineers trying to tackle this monster - here is the proposal, since posted to Google Docs: I had intended to assemble this onto the top of the BOP but reading about the concern for complete pressurized failure of the entire assembly if it is summarily capped suggests (if there is room under the BOP) to add the split coupling. I was hopping up and down when I noted the wire saw had only cut 1/2 way thru the pipe above the BOP when it became stuck - this is an element of the proposal: could they have read the note I sent? Maybe/No - then the rest of the pipe was peeled off. I hope this spurs other thoughts. If not I tried..
* The Internet coverage and your website in particular help to educate, encourage and perhaps provide new ideas to expedite solutions. Thanks!


I don't think this one is going to make the book just another "Cap it Off"'er.

To all newbies:

Try to do something special with your Rube Goldbergs (RG's)! You want it to stand out or it is never going to get into the book; how is your RG going get noticed next to the "nuclear explosive rotated sinking battleship screw" or " giant chemical resistant extra heavy duty underwater condom with reservoir tip" if you don't at least decorate your contraption with some garland, mirrored disco ball, laser light show or somenthing? Show some enthusiasm for the damn thing!

Mine invention of the day would borrow the workings of the Dyson vacuum to separate gas and oil. The riser tube would suck out of the "dust bin" at the bottom, and any venting below the skirt would come from the "vortex exit". It would be self-driving by the flow of oil and gas out, perhaps with a bit of nitrogen jet from the surface to help it along.

IF it worked, you'd adjust flow to where you were always venting gas but not oil, and not sucking water. Basically using the expelled gas a buffer fluid.

A larger cap might even be able to have a float guage at the water/oil line that could control venting to manage pressure at the bottom, and signal the surface controller as well.

Vortex separation has been used for a long time in industrial plants to seperate gas/liquids.

Mines Better !

Run a big-assed pipe down there and pump down oxygen - then Burn Baby Burn.....


Tunaholic: Look. I've tried to get into his book. I've suggested quantum battleships created out of quarks and constructing a black hole in my backyard to suck all the oil out. I think it's personal. landrew just doesn't like me. Sob! On second thought, maybe he likes my ideas. :)

ever seen the movie "The Secret"?
think good thoughts

I think you should have put the pic on page one, not page six. I did my best to get the gist from the text, and I was thinking "pictures, pictures, give me pictures!"
Anyway, I have seen a few similar ideas posted here and I have to say whoever the guys are reading through the 20,000 ideas posted so far and trying to sort out which are viable have my sympathy. If they really are doing their jobs they must go home with a splitting headache at the end of the shift.
At least when they get to the two or three I've submitted they can assess each one in less than a minute, because I've expressed my idea in two or three sentences. If they like it and need more, they've got my number! And I won't charge them for the first half hour as a special introductory offer.
So, I'd suggest you re-submit with a neater drawing and put "see drawing attached" right at the beginning of your description.

Krewe of Dead Pelicans

A half mile from home, but I need to get other stuff done :-(

Surely not the last


Posted this on the other discussion board but it's worth putting here. If people don't care for the suffering of others, they usually care about themselves. Unless you grew up in this area (which I did) it's hard to understand how badly they felt when they had to post this advisory. Follow the link to the ADPH and then look at the CDC "handout". Consequences for everyone, equal opportunity suffering. "The Alabama Department of Public Health has issued a swimming advisory for waters off Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Fort Morgan. A swimming advisory means individuals are discouraged from swimming in gulf waters or in bay waters immediately adjacent to Fort Morgan. The beaches are OPEN and visitors are still welcome to sunbathe and walk the beach, but we suggest they swim in a pool or enjoy our many off-beach activities. To read advisory information and frequently asked questions, visit the Alabama Department of Public Health website."

I liked the part about feel free to form your own "wing".

how many wings does a dead pelican have anyway?

(gallows humour - I've stared at ROV screen so long now, that when I look away, I feel vergio...)

Quote landrew from prev. thread:
"This will change how we do business in the oil business. I personally believe we will demand a relief well be drilled at the same time development/production wells are drilled as a safety factor."

Good. Hope it pushes the price up high enough so people have to think before they push that pedal.

"Good. Hope it pushes the price up high enough so people have to think before they push that pedal."


Then it would only be the government rulers and those they subsidize who will able to use energy. What a wonderful idea. Become a toady or live in the dark.

"What a wonderful idea. Become a toady or live in the dark."

Billions don't even have that choice. Otherwise we wouldn't be dolefully passing the hat for solar-powered hut lighting all over the Third World.

Sad commentary: When the kids bring home their OneLaptopPerChild, the family uses it for house lighting to save the candles and cooking/lighting oil.

The laptop cuts down on breathing problems by cutting down on burning candles, etc.

The solar cookers also cut down on breathing problems by reducing cooking with dung, charcoal or loose twigs.

Also cuts down on deforestation by charcoal production.

The solar cookers also cut down on breathing problems by reducing cooking with dung, charcoal or loose twigs.

Yeah but you miss out on the good flavor of dung smoked meat that way.

I hope it pushes gasoline prices at the pump to $7/gal--Diesel to $8/gal, and I hope they stay there for 2-3 years. The same people screaming for all offshore drilling to be shut down will once again be crying.

I hope it pushes gasoline prices at the pump to $7/gal--Diesel to $8/gal, and I hope they stay there for 2-3 years. The same people screaming for all offshore drilling to be shut down will once again be crying.

I was thinking something more in line with $10/gal would have more of an effect.

On the other hand I am hoping govt would also begin to see the folly of not allowing the growing of industrial hemp for the oil to make biodiesel, as well as other useful products from the hemp hurds and bast. They are too hung up on the similarity of appearance between it and marijuana/cannabis however. So we are denied the use of a very useful crop, that grown in the right locale can yield 3 to 4 crops per year without the use of fertilizer and needs very little in the way of rainfall to grow.

8/9 dollars a gallon already here in UK. Not too sure, not paid for any the last eight years. At least not directly.

some will, but it's going to happen either way that oil becomes unobtainium. Might as well get adjusted to higher oil prices instead of continuing to build our lives around the idea of cheap oil forever and then hit a brick wall when we can't afford excuse me hit the brick wall HARDER.

At $7/gal, people will be screaming for oil rendered from baby fur seals and panda livers.

A quote: "In the US, when oil reaches $19.99 a gallon, oil executives will render their children to sell the oil." I think George Carlin said it.

I feel like a petro engineer explaining downhole problems ...

Expensive fuel is already happening. It's been happening for ten years. It is causing businesses to fail and increasing unemployment. More expensive fuel causes the remaining business to slow to the point where even more more busiesses fail and more people lose jobs. The outcome is less money available ... to buy fuel and to maintain commerce. It adds up to a vicious cycle, an energy- debt deflation cycle.

As relative poverty expands the price level where fuel is too economically costly ... drops relative to it. In 2008 the price level where this took place and markets effected was $147 a barrel. Last month it was $87 s bsrrel. What will be the price level of demand destruction be next year?

Relatively expensive oil to date has made the world that much poorer. Prices drop but peoples' incomes drop faster. The process is accelerating.

The isn't a goddarned thing the money administrations can do about it, either. Fuel is more valuable than the work/business/commerce that can be done with it. The oil speculation dominates - at a relatively low nominal price level - because oil is now too valuable to use (waste). Instead of using, oil is hoarded: stored underground or in tank(er)s.

Or its proxy - the US dollar - is hoarded instead. Compared to other things dollars are valuable priced in oil.

Returns on the use of oil must be greater tham the cost of oil, regardless of the number price. This is not possible as the infrastructure for returns on expsnsive inputs has not been built. Our sprawling empire of waste cannot afford anything other than cheap inputs in order to be profitable.

Sorry, but we are already past the point of no return.

Since the price of dollars in crude makes dollars valuable, the outcome is the rejection of credit, non- dollar currencies and other derivatives in favor of US cash. We Yanks, Brits, French, Chinese, Mexicans, etc. are indeed Greece, in fact the whole world is.

Mark my words in the near future fifty cents will be real money!

The writing is indeed on the wall, and it ain't pretty.

Hello Deadman, In the Netherlands we pay $7,2/gal right now. I see no extra baby seals hunting going on right now ;-). And besides that, our whole country is one big traffic gridlock even with these prices. I think we have to go to $30/gal or even better: $50/gal to bring the relentless driving addiction to it's knees here ;-)

Roger from the Netherlands

What is the cause of your animosity towards people, so that you'd wish to destroy our economy, just to satisfy your blood lust to hurt people?

What's more damaging to the economy: regulations and restrictions, or turning the entire planet into Easter Island?

Depends. Are we talking about economic damage done during *this* election cycle, or further in the future than that?

Are we reaching the limits of the steel used for drill pipes, sheer rams, and other well components?

Granted, I am not a mechanical engineer; I am just a metal artist who loves to do tig welding for art is my artistic journal.

However, I am aware that mild steel (which is what I think most well components are made out of) is not as strong as stainless steel (I know that stainless is much harder than mild steel when it comes to cutting).

What if the rams in a BOP were made out of stainless steel or something like tungsten carbide, which are harder than mild steel. Would that make it easier for them to sheer through drill and casing pipe?

What if the sheers that they tried to use to cut the riser were stainless steel or tungsten carbide? Would they have been able to cut through the riser easier?

On the same note, are the cements they use for plugs at the end of their capability at the pressures involved in deep water drilling?

Should we be 'thinking out of the box' for the plugs, pipes, etc used for these depths and pressures? Like, for example, stainless steel plugs that are in quarters or sectons that can be pushed down the pipe in pieces and assembled at the bottom by robotic and then put into place. They would have to be machined so they fit precicely between the drill pipe and the casing.

As we go deeper and deeper to find oil, I can only guess that the pressures will get greater.

Will we have to re-think the materials and ditch mild steel and cement for something else that can withstand the pressures of greater depths?


Mark Allyn

The most stainless type ie marine type - 316?? is not very hard. Tool steel for drills etc is high carbon, heat treated I think. This rusts easily. Very high tensile is Maraging steel etc. I am also not a mech eng but I used to work in a steelworks!

Sc of lc steel is around 137mpa
316l is around 115mpa

mc > ss

duplex is a good steel and is well used in the industry.
Long term , ss is sucseptable to stress corrosion cracking frim clorides < 316 grades .

High chrome/nickel steels have the ultimate strengths...

Hi Mark - cool stuff you do. I just took a TIG class at The Crucible in Oakland, CA.

Anyway, I don't think the material limits are reached, and most of the steel in things like the BOP is alloyed for toughness and corrosion resistance. And one can buy thicker casings if one isn't so cheap.

As far as the BOP shear/blind rams in this case: many issues:
(1) low battery in a control pod
(2) hydraulic leaks down at the BOP
(3) failed application due to loss of power at the surface.
(4) inadaquate testing (search for Brazil rule here on TOD)
(5) what I consider a faulty design assumption.
(and more, see the BOP stuff in:

The faulty design assumption is that the blind/shear ram will only be used on pipe, not on pipe joints.
This presumes that during a blowout, one has time/presence of mind/rig power/... to controllably close a pipe ram, back it off a bit, run the drill pipe down (or up) to seat on this ram, close it, then activate the blind/shear ram.

There's a reason ejection seats in jet aircraft are as simple as grab and pull and eject - during an emergency, things are going wrong in ways that are not planned for or plan-able-for in all cases.

This issue is also one of ram power, so they would need larger cylinders/higher pressures in the blind/shear ram as well.
But it's all doable.

Just a matter of will and management attention and clear thinking. I'm reminded of the Titanic "we had as many lifeboats as the rules required" - sure, but the rules were written when "ships bigger than ..." were 1/4th the size of the Titanic. How about a simpler rule: enough lifeboat seats for everybody on board.
How about a simple BOP shear/blind ram rule: it can shear anything (above the Bottom Hole Assembly)?

There are other issues, e.g. some new drill pipe is bigger/stronger than old BOP's shear rams.

Some relevant reports from the MMS. Each TA&R report has one or more .pdfs associated with it.

Review of Shear Ram Capabilities

Evaluation of Sheer Ram Capabilities

Reliability of Subsea Blowout Preventer Systems for Deepwater Applications--Phase II

More info on a variety of subjects at the MMS tarprojects
(n.b. slow loaded due to less than optimal applet use)

Best solution I've seen to the pipe joint versus shear ram problem?

Have two shear rams farther apart than the longest joint. One or the other will hit bare pipe.

Have two shear rams farther apart than the longest joint. One or the other will hit bare pipe.

They already have that, only one set can be across a tool joint. That is why they already have two sets in the stack.

It is a big unknown at this point in time, as to why they were unable to shear the drill pipe and there is much speculation that the final casing may have been shot up into the BOP stack by the force of the blow out. That is a very real possibility. But will not be able to be analyzed until the well is dead and they are doing the final P&A operation on the top and the BOP stack will be removed. They will be able to analyze a lot of things at that time.

This leaves the integrity of the well casing in question and the reason why they are afraid to just try and cap it by force and then have a much bigger problem they they do now. At least now there is some containment through the stack, if they can just rig the riser to capture more of the output. Which so far they seem to have been unable to do that.


On the previous BOP test there was an exemption for not operation the casing shears. To me that means they were not operationial and every body knew about. The fact that BP hae not madw a noise about, means they had signed off on it.

If these were in operational order I am sure they would have cut anything required. Even if they did cut they do not seal. The cut pipe would need to be lift above the blind / shears before closing.

As I understand it, they gave up trying to close the shears very early on.
I know there are big risks of making things a whole lot worse in shutting off the flow but if it was possible to close those shears a little bit further ,preferably gradually, would you do that?
I saw somewhere a diagram of the shear ram which looked as though they could be operated by bolts.
If the drill pipe is stuck in the jaws keeping them apart, could they ease them off to let it drop out, then close them up gradually?
I suppose not, or they'd have done it long ago.


Yes they did give up early, the Blind shears did not close, that is where the discussion about tool joints in the rams came from. There has never been any comment about the casing shears to my knowledge, except on the BOP test sheet where they did not even funtion test them due to an "exemption"

If you look at the sheared riser section containing the cut dril pipe. It looks like two lengths of drill pipe side by side.Looking closer I believe it is the 9 7/8 casing doubled in a fig of eight and the left hand side containing the dril pipe. This is the reason the blind / shears did not shear.

Operating the shears by bolts is a surface rig BOP, not sub sea.

As has been discussed before, due the rupturing of the burst disc in the 16" casing they no longer want to close in the well as this will cause a sub sea blow out, ie blow out on the outside of the casing directly to the seabed.

The cause of action from here is to collect as much oil as possible and wait for the RW to do its trick.

They already have that, only one set can be across a tool joint. That is why they already have two sets in the stack.

Not true.
There is a casing/drill pipe shear that cannot seal and a drill pipe shear/blind ram that can seal,
per the presentation BP made to the House Energy & Commerce committee:

They are right next to each other in the stack.
see page 7 and/or page 40.

per these MMS reports, tool joints are often extra long to allow for re-working and there are no standards for joint length; and in any case, if an automatic shear and LMRP release sequence is activated, there is no opportunity to correctly position the tool joint.

Review of Shear Ram Capabilities:
covers the sorry state of testing, lack of requirement to shear a joint, etc. the short ("mini") version.

Evaluation of Sheer Ram Capabilities
the expanded, updated version.

The tensile strength of X80 grade drill pipe is ~500 -> 800 MPa.

Well cement can withstand pressures of 20,000 PSI and ~250C. To put that in context waterproof building concrete is around 4000 PSI.

Another seafloor survey, bubbling and quaking
Be patient, let your eyes adjust, tip your laptop screen a little

yes, and look at Q4000 ROV I - mud at the moment, but a bit ago it looked like dispersant being sprayed at a bubbly place ...

eh, i think its just a low resolution illusion

So why is an ROV staring at the bottom? Watch the venting.

well, let's just hope its not what it might be .... if you get my drift.

which ROV is that? - I cannot get the akamai stuff to display.

The Q4000 ROV1 looks like it's moving hoses in preparation for the Q4000 direct connection.
And doing so in a hydrate snow storm.

info on Q4000 direct connection at 08:05 in the May 31st tech video:

and avon is looking at poseidon ROV 1

Unless they can shift BOP valving to pull from above the shear/ram constriction, I'm not sure these lines will help much. If they're pulling from the high-pressure side of the BOP, which is where I understood is where the mud was intended to go, then this will get a LOT of oil but not help much for the leak.

Thanks a bunch for off topic

Off topic? How? The topic is the choke and kill lines, right? I'm trying to understand why they want to connect them?

avon's post that started this thread was his suspicion of ocean floor leaks, then I noted that the only ROV I saw on the floor was dragging hoses around, perhaps for the choke/kill line Q4000 direct connection.

From the top-kill graphic:

they can only pull from beneath or within the BOP.

But if any of the lower rams are closed, then they may be pulling from a lower pressure side.
n.b. the shear/blind ram is the top ram, under it is a casing shear that cannot seal, then there are pipe rams that can seal around various diameters of pipe.

I haven't heard if they know where exactly the pressure reduction in the BOP is though.

So - I guess they figure by getting a lot of oil, they'll reduce flow above the BOP, so they can:
(a) throttle that back and make it more controllable
(b) have something to suck up some oil if there are issues with the DE and when they do the switch to the new/heavy cap for the long term containment option.

If any of y'all are wondering where the ROVs are working, you can see the location and recent track of any of the ships involved by going to:

Click on the Gulf of Mexico block on the world map, zoom in to the spill site, then use the Go To Vessel menu in the bar on the left.

All anchored at the spill site at the moment (boring), but yesterday the VIKING POSEIDON took a trip about 12 miles SSW and stopped 4 miles south of the spill site for 4 hours.

Note: sometimes the vessels disappear even though they are still out there

This is the second time I've seen Poseidon ROV on seafloor

N: 10430530.17     depth: 4934 looking down ~45 degrees
E: 1202546.55

Screenshot of another ROV dive to seafloor 08:40 CDT today
assuming this display has depth in meters, not feet

heh, and look at enterprise rov 1 - that black bit is expanding/contracting

no location data, swam to the surface

How about some captures so that the rest of us can see this?

for reference,

12000bpd is roughly the size of one of the storage tanks (80m od x 20m high) at whiddy island.

Whilst it's a FUCKING BIG TANK ( I've stood in the middle of one !)
it's a drop in the ocean wrt the GOM.

But. Over 6 weeks, it's a lot of oil...

i just don't understand why people are using a number of 12,000-20,000bpd. by bp's own admission, the flow is 60,000 or higher (testimony in front of congress and numbers provided to the coast guard as reported here:)

Coast Guard officials grasped the potential threat of a catastrophic spill within hours of the explosion on board the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, estimating that 8,000 barrels a day of crude oil could possibly gush out of the well in the event of a complete blowout, according to Coast Guard logs.

Over the first three days of the crisis — long before the public heard of a leak — the minimum estimate for a total well blowout ballooned eight-fold and the president was warned by his top aides that a major spill larger than the 1989 Exxon Valdez might be coming, according to the documents and interviews.

“The second attempt of the ROV to shut-in the well has failed,” an entry at 11 a.m. CDT on April 21 read.

By April 23, the Coast Guard logs include a new estimate that a full blowout could result in a spill of 64,000 to 110,000 barrels per day, the logs show.

this is bp's own estimate, finally made public.

let's deal with the actual crisis, instead of the pretend crisis that all of you bp apologistas have adopted.

is there 60,000bpd coming out of that riser? or is there a leak below? choose your horse wisely.

Probably because this is not an unconstrained blowout. It is in fact heavy constrained (with at least one large pressure drop at the BOP, and possibly another obstruction in the well), just not very well contained.

It's bad enough, but it could be considerably worse.

Around 19:10 CST, the flow from underneath the cap looks like the most I have ever seen. If BP is recovering anything, the amount going into the water column is still huge :(

Are the gates at the top of the cap corked by now? I don't see a top-of-the-hat rover pic anymore?

It's still a lot underneath, but I'm not sure it's more than yesterday. The hat isn't bumping around, so maybe it's fitted a bit tighter and the oil is squirting out a bit?

not an unconstrained blowout

However, it is evolving towards that. Continued sand erosion of the BOP is (high probability) reducing the pressure reduction there. And the post-BOP restriction has been sawed off recently (only 400 psi though).

The down hole well restrictions ? God, the Devil and perhaps BP only knows.


As demonstrated above, it's really necessary for TheOilDrum to put the current numbers in consistent terms. I think people are dragging up hypothetical numbers from weeks ago, despite the current estimates. Endless noise results.


kimyo: We don't know how much is coming out of the riser, and we don't know if there's a leak below. The 4/23 estimate of production from a "full blowout" was obviously based upon early calculations derived from projections about the reservoir and the well design. Further, whatever this horrendous gusher is, it doesn't seem to be anything like a "full blowout." Thank Mother for small favors.

The only remotely reliable (emphasis on "remotely") estimates I've heard were from the gov-sponsored independent panel that set a range of 12-19kbpd for the lower bound, before the riser was cut.

Take the middle of that range, add the 25% that gov/BP optimistically estimated cutting the riser would add to the flow, subtract the 30% or so that they are now (optimistically, again, IMHO) estimating as the percentage being captured by the cap. Where are we? 14-15kbpd still flowing? At least? Maybe. But we just don't know.

Starting flame wars and beating up on the oil patch guys won't shed any light on this situation. Everyone here is perfectly capable of playing that game, as I tried to illustrate in a post responding to one of the flames from the *other* side in the last thread. We all know how to do it, but it's a waste of bandwidth, on the net and in our heads.

Please, people, couldn't we put the politico-religious wars in their own threads?

They are using 12-19k because that's what they have from a panel of experts brought in by the government.

But you knew that, right?

i know that the 12,000-19,000 number is the low range of the estimate as reported here:

Last week's much-ballyhooed new federal estimate of how much oil is spewing into the Gulf of Mexico -- 12,000 to 19,000 barrels a day, or two to four times as much as the original estimate -- remains a low-ball figure.

The numbers released by the government last week and quickly adopted by the mass media actually represent the lower range of "lower bounds" generated by using conservative assumptions and flawed measures, according to documents released on Thursday.

The newly-released summary of the report from the Department of Interior's "Flow Rate Technical Group" doesn't disclose the higher bounds, however, declaring that a reliable upper figure was incalculable due to -- get this -- "known unknowns" and "unknown unknowns."

attack the huff post if you like , but 'unknown unknowns' is a quote from that panel of experts.

attack the wsj as well, cause they report a casing breach at 1,000'.

you really think they have this well under control? there's no mud circulating, right?

"Casing breach at 1000ft"

That would explain a lot, and is not at all to be unexpected. I would not be surprised at all to find out there were several casing failure points.
Anyone know offhand what the geology is at 1000' below the wellhead?

Mud dominated system. Maybe a little shale, a little sand.

Thank you sir.

Here is one picture out there"


Can you translate? This means, perhaps, that high pressure oil+gas has a conduit to 1000' below the sea floor, with the possibility of venting directly into the ocean?

Yes, unquestionably. The blowout is in the raw hole (annulus). Upthread I documented seafloor venting again.

"you really think they have this well under control? there's no mud circulating, right?"

I don't think anyone here thinks this well is under control. Very few think it will be/can be until a kill well is successful.

There is a massive amount of oil spewing into the Gulf, causing very grave damage to the environment and the economy—both, perhaps, on a scale most have yet to imagine. As Alan suggests, it seems entirely possible that it could get much worse before it gets better.

But, tossing around old, speculative and unsupported numbers does *not* help make the case I think you want to make. It makes it easy for people who *want* to disagree with you to discredit your arguments and annoys those who already feel attacked or presumed guilty by association with the industry. Bad strategy.

Most of the oil guys here would likely agree with your assessment of BP's lame public relations campaign and their (probably not entirely intentional) misinformation flow. Very few of them are even close to "apologistas" for BP's fatally-flawed practices. They want this gusher stopped and the mess cleaned up, too. For some of them, their jobs depend on that. And they *really* don't want to see this happen again, ever.

Finally, they know *way* more about what's actually going on and what might be done to fix it than the rest of us. Working together, if we even hope to understand, seems essential.

Is there a link for that WSJ story? I can't find it.

Those are the only numbers from a remotely authoritative source available. Huffpo and the other various sources on the internet can whine about them all they want, parse the language of the reports, etc. but they aren't exactly supplying any qualified alternative estimates. All they are doing is presenting sensationalism for their own benefit.

So unless you have some basis for an alternative numerical estimate that is as fact based as the Flowrate Team's work, you are not adding anything to this discussion.

Until then 12,000-19,000 is what we've got.

As far as the wsj and the breach at 1000', that has already been discussed here by people with far more experience in this area than you, me or the wsj.

let's deal with the actual crisis, instead of the pretend crisis that all of you bp apologistas have adopted.

heh heh, I think one of us does not want to read the release before jumping to conclusion:

a full blowout could result in a spill of 64,000 to 110,000 barrels per day

This is the estimate for a full blow out.. right now we have the BOP sitting in the middle restricting oil/gas flow. So we don't have full blow out (yet)..

If you "wisely" believe the current amount of oil leaking is 60,000 bpd,
I've got a horse that I would like to show you.

It is amazing how quickly BP was able to get that Stephen Chu on the coverup team. Do you know how much they had to pay him to keep the 60,000 bpd number a secret? Probably a pittance compared to BP earnings. That must be why it has gone unreported as everyone will believe the Nobel Prize winner expert that Obama put in charge. BP solution - just buy him off and Obama too.

"If you "wisely" believe the current amount of oil leaking is 60,000 bpd, I've got a horse that I would like to show you."


You didn't respond to his well-chosen technical points about obstructions. Please do so.

My post was response to kimyo at 8:00 pm. tdhere is no mention of obstruction in that post that I see.

The point is that all of the numbers reported have always been estimates. BP has always stated that the only real solution is the Relief Well. No one knows what the leak number is, not BP, certainly not the Coast Guard as they have no experience in this field, and the reporters seem to find the "noted scientist" of the day who wants some publicity. In the end it will not matter how accurate the estimates are or were. It is what it is and will need to be cleaned up.

Maybe because we can read and you can't. Careful who you are calling "bp apologistas" Mr. Running Around With His Head on Fire.

As you will see from your own link, it says "a full blowout."
Which is precisely the case we would be dealing with if that BOP wasn't restraining flow.
We know there is quite a pressure differential between the wellhead and pressure at the top of the riser mount - and let's hope it stays that way. (8.300psi at wellhead, 400psi at the riser mount.)

Using the oil leak counter at this site:

I have no idea if the counter is correct.

Using that number, roughly 6,500,000 cubic feet or 150 acre feet of oil has gushed out since the start.

Way to go, BP. Heck of a job. And this is just a downpayment!

Did anybody else listen to the BP investor briefing? While not a lot of technical info, there was some. (Other prospects, etc.) Anybody chose to comment on the tech aspects of this call?

rellio: From The Spokesman Review via Google: "[Hayward] telling them BP would have money left over for a dividend after covering the spill costs." Make of that what you may in the context of some of Hayward's other pronouncements.

It seems allot of folks are introducing ideas that misses the fact that this drill pipe is also prone to leaking at the subsurface below the BOP. That's why they've nixed the idea of any type of cap that completely cuts off the flow pressure. When they tried increasing a resisting down pressure with the top kill they saw gas pluming through the sea bed around the drill pipe.

Something went wrong with the drill pipe casing below the sea floor.

There is supposed to be a cement plug at the bottom of this set up and I don't see how there could be one.

If the flow can't be plugged at a good distance below the sea bed then at this point all they can do is redirect the flow.

In reguards to the narrative and image @ the head of the page:

'Oil was also leaking out of the bottom of the cap'

Not to sound rude but I'd hardly call what's depicted in the image a 'leak'.

This has been the pattern here for a while now. Every mickey mouse "fix" by BP is presented as a serious engineering solution. First it was the 4" pipe inserted at the end of the (now gone) riser pipe that was to "suck up the flow" and now it is the 6" pipe in the LMRP cap combo with an exposed leakage area 50% or more of the 6" pipe cross section. Somehow the high pressure turbulent flow will shove itself into the 6" pipe instead of the path of least resistance. That they mangled the riser removal and chose not to attach a new riser-valve assembly to the top of the BOP says it all. Supposedly it is "impossible" to remove some bolts at 5000 feet even though run of the mill circular saws can cut through the piping without issues. They could have drilled the bolts off if they wanted but clearly they did not.

I suspect that they know that the there is damage below the BOP that renders any attempt to divert the flow pointless since this is Ixtoc part II. Note that they were careful not to repeat the mistake in that case of junk plugging the BOP. I hope that one of the relief wells hits its target by the end of August. But in the real world we'll be lucky if they manage to plug this disaster by the end of September.

Have you ever tried to do a field engineering fix? You are limited by resources on hand, you can send out for more, but can't be used until in hand. I suspect that they have some very good engineers on the problem and their choices would be self-evident giving the information they have at each point in time. I've been there multiple times and learned not to be hasty in my criticism.

The bolts are probably very high-alloy steel as opposed to the riser. The cuts in the riser made with the "run of the mill" diamond circular saw are not dimensionally critical. The bolts will have to be cut nearly simultaneously right at the flange. If one sticks, the pressure could bend and tear the flange - back to where you started.

If it was possible, unlatching the existing LMRP would be easier. There must be a good reason for not doing so, as that is what was supposed to happen during the emergency disconnect procedure.

If we are to believe yesterday's figures, 6.15 gallons/sec are escaping. Agreed, that's not a leak, but our perception is distorted by the billowing gas.

(Based upon the statement that they are capturing about 1/3. 19.000 barrels used as basis for calculation, which is the figure they have given.)

Yes there is supposed to be a cement plug at the bottom of the well and it is supposed to extend up the outside of the final casing string. It is the failure of that plug that caused the blowout. The cause of the failure is not exactly determined and may not ever be known, but there are a lot of good explanations in the previous threads.

TOD on casing and drill pipe and casing and cement

BP doesn't think the flow is coming up the production casing which means it is coming in around the top at the wellhead seals then back around through the drill pipe which is 3000' below the BOP. It's possible that pressure has forced the casing strings up against the bottom of the BOP.

The rupture disk is at the liner hanger seal, is set to burst before the casing bursts, because even if you don't have a pressure seal you still have the casing integrity to support all the strings that are hanging off the end. Looking at the casing schematic I don't see a liner at 1000' below BOP, but that's about where the base of the 28". Or maybe they meant the liner hanger for the 16" which could be 100' below BOP judging from the picture.

The BOP is already choking back the flow by 6 K psi, and the formations could be taking the rest. Downhole who knows what kind of flow paths are outside the casing.

I sure hope they have a better casing design for the relief well seeing as how it's probability of hitting these high pressures is pret near 100%.

What if the bottom 7" casing, plug and all telescoped up to the BOP.

Do you think the 9-7/8" is still where it should be?

If there is no casing at the bottom how will they guide the RW. Can they aim at an empty shaft?


I think that is a possibility. There wasn't much for cement down there, 50 bbls I heard, and with mud contamination from the two diameter wiper plug how much of that was good. There are two 9 7/8" strings, one that is the top half of the production string (with 7" to TD), and the other that is the intermediate casing liner at 17,168' but which is hung into the uphole strings the 13 5/8 having a burst of 8 K psi. I think this string is still intact but that it is blowing out at one of the weak spots further uphole.

I'd like to ask if the (current, perceived) greater risk (or fear) of introducing back pressure above the BOP is that the BOP itself might 'blow' (out of the wellhead)... or whether a blowout might (or is more likely to) occur from the casing breach below the BOP.

Could there be any hope that 'entombing' most of the height of the BOP in cement (to hold it in position) might allow a wider range of options 'above BOP'?

Thanks for your time.

Peter B.


Unfortunately, any such 'entombing' would quickly run into trouble. The seabed around the wellsite is soft squishy mud. You couldn't make it support the weight of any significant concrete structure, so the weight would have to be held by the well casing and the structure that currently holds up the BOP.

This foundation is NOT overly robust! It has already been subjected to loads it was NEVER designed to withstand. We're lucky it has held up as long and as well as it has.

Adding any more loading to this structure would not go down in history as a brilliant engineering maneuver!

I recently read a post by Activated05b on the closed thread about relief to New Orleans after Katrina that is just about 180 degrees contrary to the facts.

I will dilute any further claims by him on any subject 50:50 with NaCl.


Were you on the relief convoy, too? That would be a very big co-inky-dink.
If you wern't with that convoy to know how they were chosen and prepared, perhaps some NaCl would help you too. Don't overdose.

I was not part of a convoy - I was in the Operations section for a TF HQ.

Yeah, I agree Activated went a little over the top. There were enough roads open into the city that the police and Guard had trouble keeping people out. Maybe his commander over-reacted and ordered that selection policy, but it surprised the heck out of me. I've never heard or read a similar story from others in the Guard.

ahahaha...5 yrs down the line FEMA still won't admit that FEMA just squatted over new orleans and just took a giant dump on the Big Easy.....

It was a systematic failure of an organization if there ever was one

I would say his was a little over the top, my 81 y.o. mother and her 80 y.o. boyfriend, who is a semi-retired project manager for BOH Bros., made it from Folsom (north of Lake Pontchartrain)to the levee break two days after the breach. He was called in and she went to help relieve the drive back.

Ah - so you were in a tent on the tarmac on NAS New Orleans?

Care to tell me which TF you were part of?

OK, Activated, this is making more sense now. Your first post sounded like a general statement on the whole city.

Thanks much for your service at the NAS, y'all did amazing work in primitive conditions.

The refugee traffic was the result of a police blockade; one of my best buds had an M-16 shoved in his face, while holding a baby, just for trying to walk a few blocks more to his house. I hadn't known that the Gretna and Jefferson Parish cops were also blocking aid from getting in to NO.

As for the "unmarried volunteers", I believe you --the rumor mill was WAY over the top about the violence; stressed out a lot of rescuers and residents for no good reason.

From the video, I've noticed that they have not yet reached the critical stage on the chimney effect plan where seawater was going to be sucked into the LMRP cap assembly, or created so much differential pressure at the bottom that the riser might implode. Taking it nice and slow I guess, no hurry to get those images of roiling crude off the air.

This looks like their steady state solution to me. They stated quite clearly they DONT'T want the seawater in there at all. The only way they can have it without a seal is with a significant amount of oil continuously pushing it out. They have to run it with a positive cavity pressure, not negative one.

Success is in the eye of the beholder. BP says that they are very happy with the result.

Since BP has committed itself to a siphon system from the beginning, they have been improving the result, with the third attempt maybe breaking the old record of 25% they achieved with the horizontal straw. Maybe 30% this time, maybe 40%.

Lets just get used to it. This is what a "successful" oil recovery looks like. Most people really are not looking at the underwater video, so the headlines that say things are pretty good is what they see.

I now think that BP has decided early on that coupling directly to a wild well is simply too dangerous and they will not do it. Since BP is really in charge, the country has to live with that decision.

the country has to live with that decision because at the given point IT IS the best put back pressure on the BOP stack and f*ck it up then you really have an uncontrolled gusher spewing out who knows what volume of HC's.

armchair quarter-backing is easy ....

the engineers have to take their time adjusting the flow....too quick and either you get hydrates or you get fireworks top side.....

it may escape most peoples notice but they have to flare an enormous quantity of NG topside in an environment where the whole bloody place is covered with OIL .....the poor guys at the wellsite are sitting on a sheet of oil with naked flames flaring the NG get the picture....they are having to water down the oil continuously which is about the best they can do ...a slight letup and you have the perfect conditions for the bigest 4th of July fireworks anyone has ever seen..

give the guys their due...most people would wet their pants if they were taken to the wellsite right now ...I don't understand how every joe schmuck thinks they have this thing figured out...

anybody who knows anything about this operation and is not involved at the wellsite is thanking their lucky stars that they are not there including myself

I don't understand how every joe schmuck thinks they have this thing figured out...

Because we are joe schmuck and we watch a lot of movie and TV that everything resolve neatly in 1 hour with a half baked solution.. So we think that the blow out problem has a simple solution. I am a layman and have been reading through most of the thread in the last few weeks. It is a full display of why US competitiveness is down the drain. Most of the posts are pretty arragont. It is one thing not to know the problem, it is quite another thing to not even bother to research the issue and just pretend that they know the answer... How can we compete with other countries if we refuse to learn ...

XO -- no i didnt mean it in that point was the engineers know what they are doing and they need to work very carefully with the choke because of what the downside risks are if they hurry this....

we have a group of incredibly brave workers out there working their asses off ....personally I was of the thought that LMRP would never work and I've said so plenty of times even on TOD even before they got the operation underway .....but to criticize what is being done out there as a lot of ppl have done the past day or two on TOD without understanding what is going on is not necessarily a good thing...

I have read plenty of posts the past two days ridiculing the current operations from folks who don't understand half of what is going on and I don't appreciate that .....

ridicule BP or the govt ..thats fine....but for ppl to sit online and ridicule the guys running operations at the wellsite is beyond ridiculous ....those folks are taking a very high risk in the current wellsite environment and deserve nothing but respect and admiration....

anyways I apologize if my post came out condescending was not my intent

anyways I apologize if my post came out condescending was not my intent

No don't be. I think you hit the problem right on the head.. I have the same feeling as you. I read all the post trying to learn more about the problem. But instead get a bunch of half baked solution proposed by novice that don't even try to understand the problem. Regardless of what is the root cause of the blowout, I think the response so far are the best that we can hope for. And I believe BP, their engineers, and all the subcontractors are doing the best job they can. They are limited by the state of the well, equipment availability, logistics and schedule pressure.. I wish all the arm chair quarter can put themselves in one of these guy position before they start to criticise their effort.. They deserve a round of appluad

aliilaali, your comments are sane and useful. Thank you for them.

If the engineering was so brilliant this never would never have gone on so long. Redundancies would have been built into the design, and contingencies developed before any accident of this type occurred. If that is cost-cutting on the oil industry's part, then they should pay. If a profession doesn't want to be criticized then it should demonstrate competency in action, not theory.

aliilaali is asking that we distinguish between criticism of the people and organizations responsible for failures leading to the original blowout, the possibly-poor choices in attempting fixes, the inadequate cleanup effort—and criticism of the guys and gals working under insane pressure, in a literally explosive environment and with obviously remarkable skill and dedication, trying to execute the various tasks associated with addressing this catastrophe, which he believes is unfair and unwarranted.

Seems reasonable to me.

If the engineering was so brilliant this never would never have gone on so long.

Qaz_j, you probably believe every problem has a simple solution. The trouble is that it is not a movie or TV series, we really don't know the ending yet. The engineer and worker working on the problem now inherit the problem cuased by the blow out and they are limited by the phsical condition of the well and a bunch of other factors. Don't criticize their work until you know what condition they have to work under...

Anyone who believes that brilliance always leads to success has never tried to solve problems in the real world.

The general public seems to believe that scientists and engineers are always either omnipotent gods with the universe at their fingertips, or bumbling incompetents with less common sense than a 3-year-old. Dr. Manhattan or Dr. Bunsen Honeydew. Take your pick.

Re the flare - Dr Joye, who is on the R/V Walton Smith sampling the plume, mentions that in the latest entry in Gulf Oil Blog.

The flare was visible from several miles away and when we were up close, about 0.75 miles away, the roar of the flame was audible. Several fire control boats were dousing the flare pipe and the area around it with water to keep it as cool as possible. The sound of the burning flame was mesmerizing and we spent some time taking in the sight.

Captioned Drill ship with flare through the rain

Thanks for the pic/reminder.
The other pic, contrasted with the one in HO's header above, shows they are burning much more gas now, thus getting much more oil.

New flare by Dr. Joye - - side view:

Old flare with Riser Insertion Tool:

edit - add Dr Joye's blog url

Awesome picture! thanks for posting.

Say, isn't there some way to make steam or distill water or something with all that energy? The flares always seem such a waste to me.

hey - good post! i pretty much that engineering this on the fly has got to be a b*tch, but had never thot of the 'flaring sitting on an oil slick' part.


TTwins -- yup , that's what i'm saying .....

the poor guys are working in horrible horrible conditions with little leeway for mistakes.....they are flaring an incredible amount of NG .....the margin for error at the wellsite is minimum right now....

combine all that with the fact there are around 250 boats within about 25 sq miles of the wellsite ...each one doing its own thing....moving ....spraying water on the oil ... i can say with no shame if I were out there I would be scared ...but then anybody would be crazy not to be scared.....doesn't mean there isnt a job to be done ....scared or not ....but these are the things that escape most peoples notice ......

I can tell you form experience....the flare they have going on, it is a cracker will he able to not only see this spark but hear it miles away is that serious of a spark

I think it is highly questionable if these really were best decisions. You think it is. I think differently - three attempts at well control, three dismal functional failures.

You statement on BP reluctance to try high pressure BOP solutions is factually flawed - they put terrific pressure on the BOP with their "top kill" attempt.

Your arguments along the line "don't criticize" because these guys are really brave and you are not - is just a throwaway line.

I would argue that there are several companies who would immediately take a contract to replace BP.

I say give them a chance.

I would argue that there are several companies who would immediately take a contract to replace BP.

ha ha, like who? CVX, XOM or one of those specialty well control firm.. Who want to touch this hot potatoes now? There is unlimited liability if the well blow up from here because of any actions taken.

they put terrific pressure on the BOP with their "top kill" attempt.

Because if they believe their analysis, the casing is basically broken.. It can be caused by the topkill effort or there as part of the initial blow out. But either way, they will be a fool if they try to put more pressure in the well now.

Your arguments along the line "don't criticize" because these guys are really brave and you are not - is just a throwaway line.

He is too polite. I will say it differently. You are not in a position to take responsibility of what you said or proposed, after all it is internet. So it is easy for you to criticize the reponse.. But if what you proposed cause a uncontrolled blowout, all you will say is s**t and then you will disappear from posting. But all the real engineer and worker will have to suffer real consequence for their actions and some may have to pay with their live. Can you hanlde that?

My point is status quo is unsustainable here.

If there is a company who can get the job done, but needs to have liability limited, that can be done.

I am a professional in my own field and I don take responsibility for my decisions, and had done so for nearly 25 years.

In my line of work - military missiles, large naval radars - three failures in a row is not an option. If that is the result, in many fields it means you are done for now, lets bring in another team.

I am sorry if the BP engineers and managers feel hurt and under appreciated. Frankly, they are big boys and girls and they will get over it. Their individuals feelings is really not the most important thing here, nor is the BP corporate survival.

"In my line of work - military missiles, large naval radars - three failures in a row is not an option."

Apparently you don't work on Star Wars.

I think the arguments for BP continuing are sound.

Mere frustration isn't evidence.

=Apparently you don't work on Star Wars==

Well, I do, though we don't really call that anymore :)

Did hit that satellite recently, one shot.

Not too shabby for a "way out", "never done before" kind of thing.

Dimitry --

If you go back more than a week and read my posts...I have said top kill , junk shot and KMRP will not work here even before any was tired and so did a lot of ppl on TOD....doesn't mean its not worth a try .....

BP DIDNOT put terrific pressure on the BOP ....because the pressure was leaking 5 ft from where they were pumping the mud can pressure develop when you the leaks are acting as pressure relief points...........and in context of what it takes to run a successful top kill BP ran a feeble attempt based on what they thought the BOP could safely withstand....

my point of not criticizing the guy at the wellsite is based on experince with similar situations....just the crackle of the flame would be so loud at the wellsite that you would not be able to sleep without stuffing your ears...thats is a fact ....and you might be very brave i dont doubt that.....but havign been there doen that I feel for those guys ....I know what they are having to do and in what takes courage to work in 5000 ft waters with thousands of gallons of oil on the water surface and and naked roaring flame, hundreds of boats in the immediate vicinity knowing more than 1000 ppl are involved and just 1 has to fuck up to kill a significant number of ppl ..

and you argue absolutely company in the world will touch this situation with a 10 ft pole right now one

give the folks out at the wellsite their one involved right now at the wellsite had anything to do with this fuck up .....infact I know for a fact there are people out there who are related to the 11 that died currently working on the RW's ....

I am not after the "folks at the wellsite" - I am sure they are doing a good job and are true professionals and are very brave and obviously we don't want harm to come to anyone.

You have go to get to a place when something gets big enough where it is not about the individual anymore.

My point is that status quo - a BP controlled site, BP controlled solutions and BP controlled execution is a wrong decision. It is a political decision.

BP is severely compromised in their decisions by the massive amount of liability, loss of stock prices and criminal investigation to be the one "in charge" of this situation.

If another company can be brought in with limited liability, it would offer a different set or priorities, risk assessments and directions. BP is currently focuses on their corporate survival.

This is best handled by someone who is not.

If another company can be brought in with limited liability, it would offer a different set or priorities,

I don't think you have thought through what you are proposing (like I said, it is only internet so proposing anything we want). You are saying that taxpayer will assume the liability.. Look, if you kick BP out now. There will be litigation en mass to determine what BP would have to pay if they were in charge. How would the court determine the damage that the gulf would have substained if they get to implement their plan? What evidence can anyone rely on to make that determination? And how do you limited the liability of the next operator? If their action cause an uncontrolled blow out beneath the seabed, would BP has to pay for it? Good luck in trying to make BP pay if they are never involved in the decision. If someone hit my car, they need to pay for my damage. But if my mechanic scratch my paint while fixing my car, the mechanic will have to pay for the paint job. But if I idenmitify my mechanic, I will have to pay for the paint job myself. I know for sure I want to hold BP pay for all the clean up. Why would I let them off the hook? BP ultimate bill depend on how fast they can fix the problem. The sooner they fix the problem, the less they will have to pay.. Isn't that all the incentive a greedy company need to do their best?

Well, you just have a different paradigm, as evidenced by your examples, that's all.

You are thinking of this as an auto accident and are trying to figure out how to file the insurance claim for maximum benefit. Fair enough.

I see it as a seminal national disaster, that is being "handled" by a company under siege, quickly going out of business. The decisions they are making are focused on their own survival.

I want the decisions made focused on OUR survival. I will accept the responsibility for nationalizing the site in a heartbeat and I think most Americans will as well.

This thing can't be about hurt feelings or money or BP's survival.

I see it as a seminal national disaster, that is being "handled" by a company under siege, quickly going out of business. The decisions they are making are focused on their own survival.

heh heh, o.k. I think we are really thinking very differently.. BP made about 9B before tax in 1Q10, so far they spent 1B since the blow out.. They also has little debt in their balance sheet and has access to debt market. They can easily raise 100B or so in stock and debt market. Care to speculate what would cause BP to go out of business? Time is on BP side. Exxon Valdez lawsuit lasted about 20 years. As long as the payout is stretch out, BP can pay out from their operating cash flow. And they are a British company, what can our lawmaker do to them other than making some noise? Most of the estimate center around 25B for clean up and damage if they can cap the well by Aug or Sept.. Their survival depending on cleaning up this mess asap and not making the situation worse than they are now preferrably before Sept . And that is exactly the same goal that we want. What BP spend on fixing the well is peanut compare to the penalty and clean up effort which both proportional to the amount of oil spilled. How is BP interest not align with ours?

I think most Americans will as well

No, I won't. Why should we let BP off the hook. I want them to pay for the 25B or more for all the problem they cause everyone on the gulf state. Why would I want to pay more tax because of BP screw up.

Something to consider: in my experience, total transfer of responsibility for any large project takes at *least* two weeks for the new crew to get started, at least a month before they're able to accomplish anything significant, even if the new "owners" are very motivated. I've seen this time window apply for buying a new home, investigating major accidents, inauguration of new presidents, you name it.

So the question is not whether someone could do a better job than BP. The question is whether someone could do *such* a better job than BP that it's worth losing a month in which nothing gets done.

Also, I question the motivation of the new "owners". If another oil company takes over repairing the well, and accepts limited or no liability for their actions, and understands that every barrel of oil lost will cost their competition (BP) thousands of dollars in damages... what's the rush?

i learned a long time ago not to criticize work I don't understand but since we are going down that line....

I would argue ....going by the number of dud missiles that fail to explode and the number that hit off target that in your line of work .....more than 3 failures happen routinely fact if someone were to quickly Google the number of duds and lost tomahawks cruise missiles in Iraq and Afghanistan, you will be in a embarrassing position considering you just posted 3 strikes are not even an option in your line of work ....but I wont because I am sure missles is a complicated thing and I cannot even begin to scratch the number of possibilities that can go wrong from the point a missile is launched to the point it hits a target....

truth be told if you are a practicing engg for 25 odd yrs like you say ...i am even more surprised that you wont let professionals who dedicate their life's to drilling handle this but instead insist on criticizing their decisions based on your knowledge of radars and missiles ....not trying to be flippant here but I call it like it is

I don't think it would be considered at all routine in my line of business, to have three live fire tests to fail at White Sands in a row. Or three shuttle launches to end in disaster, one after the other. Or three successive $1.5m underwater explosion tests to fail the same ship radar. When it really counts you have ONE chance to get results. I would get fired if I delivered one failure after another.

BP has now failed three times in a row and is severely floundering on the fourth attempt. I am sorry if it is hurtful to hear, but they are done. Or should be.

It doesn't really matter what I or anyone thinks about their engineering. I happen to think most of the decisions BP is making is out of the corporate offices, which is perfectly normal for a corporation fighting for its survival.

At the end of the day, you get judged by results. BP has failed to control this spill for well over a month. It is time for them to lose their license to the site, be thanked for their efforts and bring in another team.


buddy thats the don't make missiles for the test firing make missiles for actual combat and you know it better than I do ....missiles turn out to be duds sometimes and sometimes they don't hit the target ......

like wise all BP has tried looks good on paper and during trials even something as stupid as the RITT looks a winner but when it comes to working under real life conditions RITT ends up looking like a stupid straw they stuck in the riser pipe.........

anyways ....i'm done 2 cents were aimed at giving folks a more wholesome picture of what this complex situation entails....until now most ppl have seen the impossible task of using ROV's underwater but most have not been thinking what the top side environment is like ...and i think thats important because just like ROV's put limitations on what is possible underwater....there are significant constraints and hardships on the surface for this operation...

and i do feel your point has a lot of merit ...BP is fighting for survival as an entity and BP for sure has an interest in fudging up the BOPD leaking everyday and controlling media access and all...and there is a lot of gray areas where BP is concerned with this situation....but i also feel BP has no interest in not attempting to fix up this fuckup (and it is a fuckup) to the best of their ability.....folks might disagree with me but BP has some incredible DW engineers and some incredible work crews who are really amongst the best in the business when it comes to DW operations ....its really a shitty situation with no good answers .....there are few who would like to see a few ppl at BP hanged more than me penny pinch on DW ops is inexcusable ...if you want to penny pinch we stay onshore and dig holes put 120 ppl at risk (out of which 11 dont make it home to their families) to save a few millions is criminal and no two ways about it ....heads dont need to roll...heads need to be behind bars or worse

I feel strongly for the 11 departed souls and also for the crews on site right now ...and sometimes I speak my mind more than i should...

"I feel strongly for the 11 departed souls and also for the crews on site right now ...and sometimes I speak my mind more than i should..."

I surely don't think so - keep it up.

Your missile/shuttle analogy is both ahistorical and logically flawed. The great missile shots you now deliver are the result of decades of repeated trial and error i.e. frequent consistent failures. After all the painful learning it may have rightfully become 'engineering'.

Must be nice to work in the 'cookbook' missile industry. Others are struggling with 'new' challenges.

The idea that this is such a 'new' and novel challenge is a bit of a stretch. Just how much petroleum engineering has been done over the past 100+ years?

There is a single point of leakage from a defined opening. The logistics and pressure gradients from the well to the sea surface present some challenges for sure, but if it really proves impossible for the engineering team to work out a way to capture 98% of the flow in the next few weeks then something is seriously amiss in this crazy industry. The problem is just not that intractable given the knowledge and technology available. How much oil is currently being produced from deep water rigs right now?

If the industry experts cannot find a way to solve this then that is an even more damming indictment than the fact they never considered how to effectively deal with a blowout in deep water. This is a production problem - isn't that what the petroleum industry is all about?

On August 1, 2007 the I-35W Mississippi River bridge collapsed. A replacement bridge was completed on September 18, 2008. Despite long experience with bridges it took almost 14 months to complete. This oil blowout is much more challenging. Most unfortunately, the experience base for dealing with blowouts at these depths is wholly unprecedented, regardless of how much the President or Nobel prize winners, or me complain.

All thoughtful persons should realize that unlimited technical and material resources are bearing on the solution. How do I know? Because the incentive of the almighty dollar is in align.

"This oil blowout is much more challenging. Most unfortunately, the experience base for dealing with blowouts at these depths is wholly unprecedented,"

If so, then explain to me exactly what business these companies had drilling in deepwater in the first place. Depending on "accidents will never happen because we're being very careful" doesn't cut it.

The situation is making the industry look like greedy, incompetent fools. This is not an indictment of the hardworking people within the industry but of corporate policy. Make all the excuses you want - the reality is confronting us all.

"Depending on "accidents will never happen because we're being very careful" doesn't cut it."

It's the human condition. Reality and history indicates that "it will have to cut it." Then we clean up, learn and 'try' to do better.

It would seem that there is much to hand-wring about.

IP -- you are right here

sub-sea response capability or lack thereof is something the industry always knew was a glaring question mark ....and the operational guidelines and best practices that are in place currently were specifically designed to put in place multiple fail safes to prevent things form getting to that point....lot of talk has centered around what went wrong with the BOP ..and its unbelievable that a few glitches with the BOP were known yet ignored or fix was delayed ro what have you ....a BOP is a last ditch attempt ....kinda like when you have 5 sec to score a touch down and run a hail mary play in football.....a BOP under best practices is never a line of defense ....becuase if you need a BOP you have already fu*ked up ....the primary line of defense is drilling mud and that is where I beelive when the investigation will focus come time .....that is where things went wrong

but sub-sea response capabilities are lacking ...we have always known that as an industry and i suppose the industry has always skirted around this "little" should have gone into this area a long time ago ....and in this regard the O&G industry has been caught with its pants down no question

If the industry experts cannot find a way to solve this then that is an even more damming indictment than the fact they never considered how to effectively deal with a blowout in deep water.

This gets at the core principle that should guide U.S. deepwater oil policy. I don't believe offshore drilling should be banned: push comes to shove, we're going to *need* to drill out there. But deepwater drilling must be halted until the people doing it know what the hell they're doing.

Now, there's lots of good folks here who will say that the oil cos *do* know what they're doing, they've drilled hundreds of deepwater wells successfully, and this disaster is one-in-a-million. But the BP spill absolutely demonstrates some key shortcomings in deepwater technology that *must* be solved before deepwater drilling can be allowed routinely:

1) Interaction of methane hydrates with equipment poorly understood.
2) ROV technology too clumsy to enable timely emergency work.
3) Envirochemistry of deepwater oil plumes and dispersants not known.
4) Unreliability of emergency systems (BOP, etc) in situations where humans are out of the loop.

So. Here's my proposal. Anyone who wants to drill in deep water must first spend a billion dollars or so on one of these problems. Build an absolutely reliable autonomous BOP with more brains than a "company man". Study methane clathrates until you can build undersea hotels out of them. Build an ROV with stereo vision and robot arms that can knit a sweater out of titanium wire. Release your findings to the goverment, who will share them with your competitors, and *then* we'll let you drill.

Wouldn't it be safer and better to collectively decide that we are going to do without expensive risky oil? How about work on policies to ease our way to a safer less energy intense existence? Think that our dysfunctional economic and political system could be willed to go in that direction?
Or do you think the need for hard to get oil is worth it at the cost of a few billion needed to address your short list?

"You statement on BP reluctance to try high pressure BOP solutions is factually flawed - they put terrific pressure on the BOP with their "top kill" attempt."

The top kill attempt was a good try. It was the failure of this attempt that resulted in the knowledge that the well is damaged below the BOP. If they had known then about the damage, they would not have taken the chance of making bad worse. But they did not know then, and they do know now. Lesson learned, got away safely, but don't do it again!

I have not and will not criticise BP because, as I said before, we're ALL as responsible as one another.
Having said that, I think the initials BP may henceforth revert to one of their earlier meanings:

Be Prepared.

aliilaali: "it may escape most peoples notice but they have to flare an enormous quantity of NG topside in an environment where the whole bloody place is covered with OIL .....the poor guys at the wellsite are sitting on a sheet of oil with naked flames flaring the NG"

Thank you for reminding us all of the real personal dangers the workers are exposed to. I hope you post this quote everyday.

And please remind us all that there is more to this tragedy than Hayward assuring shareholders that there will be plenty of profits left for a shareholders' dividend after paying all "legitimate" claims for damages. In other word, I deserve to keep my job, folks.

"Since BP has committed itself to a siphon system from the beginning.."

Maybe you should read the bit in the article above regarding the jet pump. Although I can't find a reference to such a pump except in the article, this would convert the system from a siphon, as you inaccurately characterize it. If active pumping from the LMRP is in place, the suction at the cavity may be selected to capture most of the oil, while ensuring that there is no water ingress. The principle is sound engineering. Now let them tune it up.

Or maybe Dimitry is right and turbulence/multiphase flow is going to prevent much more of the gusher from leaving the cap via the new riser. Are we getting close to 48 hours, now?

Edit: Wrote this before seeing Dimitry's reply. But I'll leave it.

I understand their system for getting some oil out to the surface in the safest possible way to their topside crew.

It does get some oil out of the water and gives them at least some good press.

I also think it is not the best approach for the nation.

BP methods have been very cautious from the beginning. While I understand their motives, I think that the leak site should have been nationalized, their license revoked and another company, perhaps not an oil company brought in to deal with the leak. All of these things are controlled by political, not technical decisions.

The topside risk should be weighed against the massive pollution risk and a national disaster which is unfolding.

Leaving things in a legal status quo has been a mistake as evidenced by the gigantic amount of oil that has leaked into our waters so far.

If the problem was nationalized, the solutions would be 90%political (ex Katrina). No other company would touch this well without an iron clad civil and criminal immunity agreement signed with Obama's blood.

So give it to them.

If you continue to argue corporate liability, this thing is going to liably go on for a very long time to come.

Someday you just got to get out of the "business as usual" paradigm. I argue this time is now.


Yeah, you're right, "Someday you just got to get out of the "business as usual" paradigm". But that happened weeks ago.

The other oil companies immediately contributed personnel and equipment, subcontractors who are normally competitors have been working side by side, the government brought in people from outside the business for a fresh perspective, Obama and Thad Allen have taken over command. None of that is business as usual.

Maybe you have been so involved in technical stuff you hadn't noticed, but BP isn't running the whole show. (They do seem to be running chunks of it: beach patrol, bird cleanup and late night carcass disposal, protecting delicate oiled marshes from paparazzi, insuring the shrimp boat navy is unencumbered by respirators).

But the reality for awhile has been that the team wrestling with this well is much bigger than BP. Even if BP gets the boot, most of the people actually making the decisions you don't like and doing the work you don't approve of will still be there, right?

goodnight Dimitry, I'll catch your reply tomorrow

Easy gang, I believe they have taken the best approach out there, I also believe that by now enough data has been collected to zero in on the engineering a bit as well. If they radically underestimated the volume of the wells production and this is all the current fix can manage then thats where we are today. Based on the most recent regulations I think there are more semisubs with production capability immediately availabe if the topside is the limiting factor. Pontooning a line to a temporary flare moored away from the recover vessel area would not be that big of a deal either, It's a long time until the end of August.


Pull the LMRP and

latch a connector/valve assembly on top of the BOP.

Same diameter than the original raiser 20 in

This should be a Remotely Shut kind automatic valve

let the flow valve open then

lower the biggest longest and widest corrugated steel pipe

avaliable on the Planet to the sea floor around and over the BOP exeding

the Top of the BOP as at least the diameter of the corrugated steel pipe


Here is a Sample ....

Fill the pipe with the BEST Cement with additive to 3 feet to the flow valve.

Let the cement cure enough time like 48 hours..

Remotely Shut this automatic valve

Fill the remain of the exeding corrugated pipe with Cement to the Brim.

As much feet as half the diameter minimum.

Continue to pour cement to reinforce the


That would give a perfect seal and 100% no recovery.

Ebb Tide

Absolutely correct, there would be zero recovery. The well would flow 100% out of the seafloor mud vents, probably drop the stack and your concrete into an eroded borehole.

"probably drop the stack and your concrete into an eroded borehole."

I saw that happen on land--Tuscaloosa Trend back in the 80s north of Baton Rouge. It was not pretty to see an entire location including the standing derrick, crews qtrs, logging truck, and everything else dissappear beneath the surface. No fire--bridged over quickly--all the action was underground.

Good material for the landrews book.

What's the frequency Danny?

Short of a nuclear explosion, a concrete dome is about the last option left. Other than, of course,letting it drain off until a relief well gets there.

Using massive concrete structures on the ocean floor is nothing new. They even use them for oil drilling. Its called concrete gravity based structures, CGS. Also, Great Britain has proposed using concrete containment for nuclear waste disposal on the sea floor.

There's no technical reason a concrete dome cannot be used, except for the NIH issue. Not Invented Here.

When I say CEMENT I mean CONCRETE gravel Epoxy

how the heck do you build a concrete dome, sealed to loose mud... Loose mud that goes a long way down?

Nobody yet has shown any geological evidence of what the density of the sea bed actually is. There are a whole lot of heavy pipes, the manifold, the BOP, sitting on the floor. they could send down a 200 ton piece of junk and see what happens. Remember, when they sent down the containment outhouse it was supported by a few sq. feet of plywood coming out of the sides. How come that didn't sink out of sight into the mud?

The containment dome that didn't work - those projections sticking out were like snowshoes,to enable it float on the mud. You could possibly have a floating foundation for your concrete dome, but I'd worry that gas would find a pathway underneath it.

Snowshoes are a good analogy: they support a lot of weight over a relatively small area. A dome could do the same thing. You may have to have a 2-3 square mile area supported by light rebar. Gas and oil have already found a pathway to the entire GOM.

Also, the idea is not to have a hollow dome, but a completely solid dome.

Wait. If it's solid ... aren't domes, by defenition, hollow? O.o

Also, you'd have to have a cutoff wall and substructure (floating ring foundation?). You couldn't have just a big "musroom cap" looking chunk of concrete sitting there, the gas would ooze out from under it.

"Nobody yet has shown any geological evidence of what the density of the sea bed actually is"

And despite the disaster, I believe BP continues to keep the survey under wraps citing proprietary rights. So, is it river sediment (mud), salt beds, ancient bedrock?

Mud. Period. Just soft mud. At least 500 ft of it.

You could drive down a casing that is wide ( looks like at least 8 to 12 feet in diameter) enough to go around the entire BOP-LMRP package - a couple of 100 feet into the seabed, and cement it to the existing casing. Thread the outside of the casing that surrounds the BP-LMRP package, and screw on a threaded battleship-like cap.

And then wait for the oil and gas to bubble up around the outside.

If it was 100,000 BPD and it could be capped in the next week that would be better than a 20,000 BPD that might be stopped in 2 months as the soonest.

I read these post to find out the latest update on each attempt to stop the flow. I'm more concerned about the wild life, marine life and inhabitants of the inflicted areas. BP and any rational person realizes this has been a catastrophic failure of the oil industry and our government to take the same basic precautions that the rest of the world is afforded.

Yes, I drive a car, but went to the expense to have every quart of motor oil recycled for the past 20 years.

You obviously do have a limited idea of what the rest of the world is or what they do.

Yes it is a catastrophe. Most peopele knew that the day the drill ship blew up.

I see. 700,000 barrels in a week plus millions of barrels after a capped blowout is better than 600,000 barrels for 2 months and no more spew.
I want a permanent solution not a permanedt oilcano.


Somewhere up in the string of posts, you asked me, I assume in some seriousness (maybe just to pull my chain -- but it doesn't matter), basically whether if I were working for BP I would have done the same things. More or less, that was the question.

I would be the first to admit that I have made big mistakes, and big mistakes when the circumstances called for quick decisions made having limited information.

That said, I think I would have done things differently than BP.

a) BP has done quite a bit of lying. They said there was no leak when they know there had been a blowout and it was leaking. They claimed the loss rate from the wellhead and riser was much less than they reasonably knew it to have been. Etc. etc. Lying of that sort in situations such as this doesn't get anybody anywhere. They have done way too much falsifying, suppression of information, etc.

b) Even now, I would release a lot of information that BP/ the government is not providing. For some examples... I would release the x-rays of the blowout preventer. I would describe my reasoning, such as it may be, for not further trying to get any of the rams to operate in the BOP, including acknowledging it to be the case if I were worried the whole well would come apart if it is closed at top. I would state as facts the actual amount of mud pumped during the top kill; I would release the pressure readings taken during the top kill procedure.

c) I would be much more up front about how good I thought my logging data is for this well, logging data for the relief wells, and what I was thinking regarding some of the reasonable issues getting the relief well(s) to work.

d) I don't think in fact I would have been in as much hurry to cut the riser pipe at the wellhead, as I would have been to couple to the riser pipe. (It is sorta like cutting a piece of wire when doing ordinary electric work -- after you've done this kind of stuff for a while, you will cut the wire several times, successively shorter, rather than cutting it once -- then realizing it is too short, and having a hard time then "cutting it longer....") So I think I might have tried to shear the riser out from the BOP, then couple to it with something that fitted over a length of it and could be clamped around it, maybe tried to manage the bend on top of the BOP (lines from the surface, etc.) Maybe tried to put a big rubber do-nut inside a metal ring over it and around the bend, etc. But, given that going after anything below the BOP is sure disaster (you gotta be kidding, explosives to crush the pipe below -- you'll blow it out the hole...) I think I would have tried to give myself a series of chances heading in toward it from the top side.

e) I think I would, and still would now, be looking more "widely" not at wacko, duct tape bungee cord ideas, but at management strategies I could use when the management strategies I had went poorly. There is quite a bit to be said for the accumulator idea. There is something to be said for the notion that you might help yourself by doing some separating at the sea floor. Obviously, I have an enthusiasm for a full-on containment. If some of what we may have seen today re apparent black seeps coming from the ocean floor in the viking Poseidon camera are what they might be -- then that approach, agreed, is not to be favored. But then somebody should be working hard on a lot of handling of the petroleum -- and NOT just by BP, by anybody who can responsibly handle the work at the surface......

e) I think I might have put the engineering "command central" closer to the site than Huston, TX. So that there is more chance for engineers and some of the people doing the fabricating (of the several top hats, etc) to eye- to -eye, to draw on the same whiteboard, etc. Talk to some of the ROV drivers when they come ashore, etc.

So, my short answer to your question, however you meant it: yuh, I think do it a little differently than these guys.

Considerations for next time, which is coming up in a few weeks with the relief well, is the casing design. The 9 7/8" intermediate string prior to penetrating the reservoir should have went all the way to the wellhead, and been strong enough to maintain shut in pressure of 14 K psi at the BOP, and it should have been cement squeezed all the way to the top before even thinking of penetrating the pressure. I can't understand how they even got approval to use a liner to string it into all the strings uphole which were only designed for lost circulation and not for well control of the reservoir.

I'd like to see what they have for casing and cement in the relief wells that are being drilled right now.

I think I might have put the engineering "command central" closer to the site than Huston, TX. So that there is more chance for engineers and some of the people doing the fabricating (of the several top hats, etc) to eye- to -eye, to draw on the same whiteboard, etc. Talk to some of the ROV drivers when they come ashore, etc.

There's this invention called a 'telephone' that you might want to learn about, along with another one called a 'webcam' .... /s

Houston is a major city; it has two airports and a port. It's also the center of the US petroleum industry, and has a lot of engineers and scientists living in or near it. There's nothing wrong with putting the command post there. It may be the best possible place, given all the stuff involved.

Hi gang. I posted the following on the "Pelican" campfire post which is up now in addition to this thread. I'm looking for industry experts to poke holes in my statements, so any help doing that is appreciated:

I see multiple RWs as adding more risk. I thought 3 was a good number.

The only opposition to adding relief wells seems to be stressing added risk. If it were truly a disproportionate risk, obviously it shouldn't be done. I'd love to see more discussion of this by oil-industry folks.

Having read most of the recent strings, seems like Rockman says he'd do 3 if it were under his control, and notes that the main reason not to do 4 or 5 wells is expense. (rock, correct me if I'm misquoting, thanks).

- seems like the logging of strata, pressures, etc from the blowout well would tend to make drilling less risky than would be the case for an exploration well going down the first time.

- seems that relief wells will not attempt to penetrate the reservoir, and thus run a lot lower chance of causing a separate blowout.

- seems that having "backup rigs" in place and drilling down does not pose a high danger of additional blowout until they gets near the bottom, other than the usual risks associated with any well.

- seems that additional wells will eventually probably be drilled anyhow for production, right?

- seems that the risk to the workers is significant, but standard for the industry and they'd know what they were getting into.

- seems that, indeed, if bottom-killing the well DOESN'T work, that per Euan Mearns' comment the other day it would be good to drill a bunch of production wells to help deplete pressures and do water injection or some such thing. So having rigs onsite may not be a bad idea, and wells will presumably be drilled here anyhow in the future for less-compelling reasons even if the gusher is killed.

In other words, it seems as though the probability of a blowout from additional relief wells would not be any higher than for business-as-usual wells at this depth, and possibly less due to the good log data available and the fact that it isn't necessary to enter the reservoir. And that this is balanced against an existing large leak which will take months to stop. We also may be racing hurricanes, the well's flow expanding itself and becoming harder to stop, etc. So it seems to me that more wells - say four, and certainly three minimum - are a good idea.

Experts, please shoot holes in my statements, that's why I've posted them here.

many thanks.

Look out, ladies and gents, Slashdot incoming. Hope Prof. Goose shelled out for the deluxe server upgrade last week...

I'll give a reason for why having lots of relief wells might not be such a good idea.

With one relief well you can tell that any metal detected is from the LW. Two relief wells at opposite sides probably wouldn't cause too much problem except perhaps at the intersection point. But if you get too many different casing strings down there it will play havoc with both directional surveys and metal detection. I think the prudent course of action if one relief well with another standing by in case the first one encounters problems.

I'm not an expert and did not sleep at the Holiday Inn.
However I can offer some considerations that you might have overlooked.

When drilling the well the DWH encountered a number of downhole problems that they dealt with in a normal way. There is nothing unusual about that but it indicates that there are risky situations in drilling those relief wells. We can expect that the crews on the rigs doing the relief well drilling will be on their toes checking everything so that nothing gets out of control, but it is still a human making decisions and evaluating some unknowns.

Remember that this well was UNDER CONTROL when it drilled into the pay and they were able to set pipe into the zone without a blowout. It is not the formation in particular that is causing the problem. Under Control simply means that is was in a hydraulic balance that prevented flow out of the pay. Evidently this well drilled through several other oil and gas bearing zones on the way to bottom which generated the kicks. There is nothing unusual about that either, but it is concieveable that a relief well might encounter different pressures and not be so successful at controlling those. There were a number of occasions on this well when the rig crew had to respond to dangerous conditions and they did it. That is why they won those awards and you can be certain that they were all top hands.

Cementing to the surface - mudline - creates another set of hydraulic problems. I would take several jobs to do it as the cement weight from the bottom would break down the formation and it would simply be lost. Putting in enough to shut off the bottom correctly - maybe 2000' - gets the job done, IF it checked and verifeid that it is there and not lost to the hole. Adding more cement does nothing and actually can compromise the casing in the hole as the thermal expansions contraction will weaken any metal.

The idea that surface -mudline - casing should be able to withstand BHP is not an option. There is no 20" casing that will not rupture at 15,000 psia.

If you are drilling where a hurricane would require a disconnect of the rig then you either have to be able to shut the well in, or have remote control on the choke and vent to ocean to keep within casing specs.

The intermediate casing should have been isolated from the 20". If they don't have the wellhead that can do that then they don't have the technology to drill these wells.

As for the cementing I know that it would have to be done in stages because the formation limits the height of the cement column. Perhaps it wouldn't need to be cemented to surface. Might be a good idea to do the areas around the 13 5/8 since that seems to be the week spot.

There is a problem that the relief wells will encounter more than the original well, and that is differential sticking since the hole angle forces the DC against one side of the hole. It's always a problem but the 30 degree angle compounds it. It looks from all the casing strings run that there are lots of lost circulation zones which goes hand in hand with differential sticking. They will ride a fine line between stuck or take a kick.

"It looks from all the casing strings run that there are lots of lost circulation zones which goes hand in hand with differential sticking. They will ride a fine line between stuck or take a kick."


That is the way all deviated wells are drilled. Mud weight controlls them. This well was under control when drilling as the rig crew recognized the events and Controlled them. They safely set pipe in the pay. The cenment job failed to isolate the pay from the other formations. It was a poor evalautions - lack of evaluation - of the final cement job that caused the problem.

Look, they encountered other pay zones above this one on the way down. The decision was to case them off and isolate them with casing and cement. It works.

When they get to the target pay they failed to check the isolation capability of what BP instructed to be pumped down the hole.

"It looks from all the casing strings run that there are lots of lost circulation zones "

I understand this is a subsalt well. There tend to be severe lost circulation zones at the salt-sediment interfaces - I would guess two of those short liner sections were related to entering and exiting the salt.

Both relief wells have already drilled through the likely potential shallow underground blowout zones and should have them cemented behind a couple of strings of pipe. I would guess the lead well is in or close to entering the salt - getting that transition drilled & cased would be the next critical point. Then comes the trick of maintaining circulation and getting casing across the base of salt. Then probably somewhere near that they'll get into 14 ppg mud weight territory. Once they have a good casing shoe there (with cement back to surface, maybe?) the rest should mainly be an exercise in precision directional drilling, as there did not seem to be any major pressure changes below that.

Of course I could be entirely wrong with these SWAGs - BP has not been real generous about spreading geologic information around.

In some earlier discussions someone said that this area around the well did not have the salt cap that exists in some areas of the Gulf. I will try to find the reference and post it.

" if bottom-killing the well DOESN'T work, that per Euan Mearns' comment the other day it would be good to drill a bunch of production wells to help deplete pressures"

Yep. Could be a big task if this reservoir is as big as they seem to think, but if you can't get the blowout under control, then produacing the oil some other way, before it can go up the wild well, is the only remaining option.

Here is my idea:

The formation of hydrates are the primary problem with the current setup and capping the well is considered too dangerous to attempt. The reasoning for both have been addressed numerous times. But I wonder if capping the well, indirectly, could be accomplished

The principle is utilizing the formation of hydrates as a means to "freezing" the oil and thus stopping or greatly reducing the flow.

The initial cap is made from metal, and has refrigeration coils around it on the inside surfaces. I do not know what gas or liquid you would use for cooling, but here is the point.

Knowing that the NG coming from the well forms hydrates , when exposed the the Gulf cold at depth. the cooling of the cap should cause an increase in formation of the hydrates and as such might start filling up the open space internally, even with the oil and gas being at 180F (I think I saw that figure in one of the posts 4-5 days ago).

Now the initial cap has to be of significant weight ( as do all the caps). So, on top of the steel dome, is a "preformed" high density concrete shell (imagine a igloo, without the door). On top of this will be 2 connectors for the supplemental cooling agent. On this you stack another high density concrete shell with the connectors, etc. Now you could refrigerate the concrete shells, or use steel/concrete combination again. But you want to maintain as cold an environment as needed to keep the oil/NG at the desired temp, whatever that may be.

As you add the shells, you will start sinking in the mud, which I understand is deep. So to prevent the oil and gas from escaping from under the concrete cap, you attach a metal skirting to the cap, with the skirting becoming longer with each corresponding shell. The weight of the shell would have to correspond to the penetrating ability of the skirting into mud. You want each shell to be in contact with the previous shell, so you have the accumulated weight necessary to block the flow both from the well head and surround mud as best as possible. You might also add cooling coils to the skirts, to help the NG form hydrates in the mud.

Because of the weight (100-1000's of tons?) the ROVs would not be able to handle any movements, unless attached to surface ship. And because the intervals between the cap(s) placement must be minimal, all of the (metal/concrete) caps would have buoyancy tubes attached so the the ROVs could manage the weight.

I appreciate the opportunity to voice my idea, for whatever it may be worth. And thank all of you for giving the laymen an inside view.

I give this as food for thought and want very much to thank you for giving us a TRUE INSIDERS KNOWLEDGE of a very complex industry.

I've been pondering a way to measure the [real] spill rate of the oil geyser. So not knowing the pressure/ flow rate I decided to use my eyes and some basic math. 19K bbl/day = .22 bbl/second or about 10 gallons. But my 10 gallon fish tank I had as a kid was the size of a large breadbox. Looking at the oil geyser, and knowing the riser pipe is 21" I would have to guess that the gallons/second is closer to 100-500 range, or 20-100 bbl. There are 86,400 seconds in a day, so even 1 bbl/sec would be 400% greater than the 19K bbl/day BP/BS estimate. But it's NOT 1 bbl/'s more like 100, so that's more like 8M bbl/day. That's a damn supertanker per day for 40+ days. I admit that this is a fairly loose model, but after getting low-balled by BP every few days (we're now 1900% past the original BP estimate of 1K bbl/day), I'm trying to get a handle on the true scale. I asked a number of folks who've seen the geyser footage how many gallons per second they [thought] they were seeing...the answer ranges from hundreds to thousands - NOT 10. Somebody smarter than me on this board, PLEASE tell me that I'm totally wrong so I can sleep. TIA

hbnickcarter --

I have been playing with numbers with the same pictures. I do not know what the right answer is, but I do not think you are crazy to suggest that the official number may still be quite a bit too low. One way that I have tried to do it is to try to estimate the total volume of petroleum we see moving in the footage, (take a discount for the turbulent flow and the fact that the volume isn't wholly occupied by oil molecules) estimate its speed, come up with a number. If the riser pipe was 20 inches, is there five inches on each side - making a 30 inch area (both inside and outside the pipe)??? r squared is 225, pi is 3. Is 750 sq. in. Take a 50 percent discount??? is 350 - ish??? And does it move, on average something like 10 inches in a second??? 3500 cu in / second? Is two cubic feet per second. 42 gals in a barrel is 6 cu ft. Is 1/3 bbl/sec. 90,000 seconds in a day is at least 30,000 barrels per day.... I don't know.

One would say it is pretty hard to get much below the 30,000 unless the oil inside is moving a lot more slowly -- but then that's only in a 6 inch pipe... The ratio between the 6 in and the 30 in is pretty basic to the phenomenon as we observe it.....

How many gallons of gas were in your breadbox sized fish tank?
The disolved gas in the oil explodes the same way as the CO2 does in the shaken softdrink.
You are seeing the fizz and trying to decide how many ounces of coke were in it, with a pressure differential of several thousand pounds, not ounces.
Maybe it can be done.

So you're saying the fizz starts before the mix comes out of the pipe, plus the volume of hydrates also appears ex nihilo?

Gee, that could seriously mislead someone who thinks everything visible is solid oil.

The roiling brown volume we see might be as low as 30% actual oil. The rest might be tiny brown bubbles and hydrate flakes and crystals.

Hmmmm... if this is true, many of the alarmists jacking up the flow figures might want to take a deep breath ... and ... recalculate...

I would not want to try to evaluate what is comming out of the well. My post was only trying to explain the problem. However, if the people who proclaim themselves "scientists" can present a clear anc concise formula for the calculations I'm willing to look at it it.

There are methods of measuring gas flows to the atmosphere that are pretty acurate.
There are methods of measuring oil flows at surface that are pretty accurate.
There are NO methods of measuring observed plumes at the wellhead under 5000 ft of water with an unknown gas content that will accurately derive the number of barrels of oil per minute discharged. Current media reports seem to give more credence to those with the largest estimates.

No, it does not. At 673 psi, natural gas goes supercritical so that it begins to act more like a liquid than a gas. At the pressures at the wellhead, the natural gas is well past supercritical meaning that it is more like a liquid than a gas. You don't have bubbling like you think. There is some expansion of the natural "gas," though, because the natural "gas" (or liquid) does expand more so than a liquid.

The gas to oil ratio at the wellhead is about 3 to 1 (or 25% oil), per the previous data collected by BP when it had it insertion tube.


Well, you could do it that way. I've been looking at the amount of oil captured at the surface (over a specified period of time). Taking that into account as well as the size of the pipe and its length up to the surface, the volume, calculating the velocity of the oil to actually get thru the pipe from the source to the surface (in a specified time-frame). Then I calculated the pressure (force) that would result in that calculated velocity. As well considering an alternative point-of-view an individual point in a vacum being operated on by external forces and recalculating the entire thing and then comparing the two final results.

What I'm describing is the method that a physicist might use in looking at this (I do have a degree in physics). At least, I think they'd generally use this approach.

I've been pondering a way to measure the [real] spill rate of the oil geyser. So not knowing the pressure/ flow rate I decided to use my eyes and some basic math. 19K bbl/day = .22 bbl/second or about 10 gallons. But my 10 gallon fish tank I had as a kid was the size of a large breadbox. Looking at the oil geyser, and knowing the riser pipe is 21" I would have to guess that the gallons/second is closer to 100-500 range, or 20-100 bbl. There are 86,400 seconds in a day, so even 1 bbl/sec would be 400% greater than the 19K bbl/day BP/BS estimate. But it's NOT 1 bbl/'s more like 100, so that's more like 8M bbl/day. That's a damn supertanker per day for 40+ days. I admit that this is a fairly loose model, but after getting low-balled by BP every few days (we're now 1900% past the original BP estimate of 1K bbl/day), I'm trying to get a handle on the true scale. I asked a number of folks who've seen the geyser footage how many gallons per second they [thought] they were seeing...the answer ranges from hundreds to thousands - NOT 10. Somebody smarter than me on this board, PLEASE tell me that I'm totally wrong so I can sleep. TIA

Sorry for the double post...please delete admin, thanks!

You might want to read up on the actual quotes regarding the 1000 and 5000 numbers, the calculations of speed by the Purdue prof, the effective diameter of the pipe, the gas oil ratio, the task force calculations and ranges, and the many posts on here and unified command-------then go to sleep(if you do not do so while trying to read them all).

I just checked your napkin calcs and I come up with the same .22bbl/sec. Remembering that the diameter of the riser is 21". PiR2 for area of a circle X 1 foot is about 2.4gallons/lineal ft. How many feet of oil/gas do I think is spewing out/second?? Maybe 5-10 lineal feet/sec so 10gal/sec is low ball. 20+ is probably closer..

What percentage of that is gas; oil? I wouldn't hazard a guess. The 19,000 BBL/DAY doesn't seem out of the ball park.

Admitted we are just playing with numbers here -- but it is an amusing way to pass the time while watching Q400 rov 2 go over the side. 20 gallons per second is sorta like 3 cubic feet per second, or like 1/2 barrel per second. That is a bit more (more than twice, actually) the .22 barrel per second. 19,000, as you say, isn't ridiculous. But it has a kind of low feel to it as one works with it..... 30,000 rather than 20,000 has a way of settling in as one plays. But... what may look fast in the video may be slower than it looks, etc.

Initial estimates were 3000 cu ft of gas at STP per bbl of oil.

Someone posted that on 4 June they captured 6077 bbls of oil and flared off 15.7 M cu ft of gas. This gives 2580 cu ft of gas per bbl of oil.

one more idea from an incrementalist. Since the pipes get clogged due to water, what if short tubes are used and each next tube gets stacked on after last one is all oil, no water. So every two minutes another stack comes on, all the way up. The first stack must be secure and not leak. After 3 stack are put up succesfully a exterior liner could be placed over to give strenght and insulation. Sections should be 4 ft long , not long enough for hydrates to builup before the next section gets on.

How much oil could leak from open rupture disks? Assuming that was the problem with the top kill, which BP claimed it was.

Or, is that unkown/unknown ?

An engineer posted on another site that they have a 1/4" diameter vent. There could be other sizes.

I found a drawing of a well which showed multiple rupture disk installation points.

They can also be set to different pressure settings. I'd be curious to know what these were set to....

I don't see how they could lose enough mud through a 1/4" hole at 1,000 feet below the wellhead to make a difference on Top Kill, or how such a small "leak" could compromise well integrity.

What is a failed rupture disk? One that did not actuate at all? One that actuated at the wrong point? One that, either by not actuating at all or actuating far above specification, failed to prevent the casing from bursting? One that failed to reseal?

I still have not found anything that says they reseal, but one would think they have to be made that way.


This is all I have been able to find on the web.

1/4" @ 10000psi flow could be quite a bit, I am sure someone can calculate

It is designed to rupture at near casing burst pressure to relieve pressure build up in the annulus due to heat expansion. Not a lose of well control.

Reseal, I don't think so, rupture disc sounds like a one way street to me. Made from ceramics.

I have not found any mention on the Dril-quip web site, but it must be there gear.

If anybody has any better info, please fell free to comment.

I've been reluctant to bring this in, because this company may not have made the rupture disks in question, but this is a link to well casing rupture disks that has a lot of information:

I don't think they reseal.

I worked at an oil refinery as a piping /unit designer, and we used rupture disks to keep muck (piping designer technical term) out of pressure relief valves on some vessels (one such use). They are a one-time-only device and do not reseal. The ones we used were dome shaped and had two scored lines in the face of them forming an "X". When they ruptured, at the designed pressure, they ruptured along those scored lines. There could be other designs, and I've been out of the piping and unit design field since 1999, but they aren't, nor were they ever designed to be reused. In fact, when a unit was taken down for maintenance, all of the rupture disks were always replaced, and the pressure relief valve cleaned and re-calibrated or replaced.

Also, would that really be enough of a hole to stop the top kill? Seems unlikely if it was one alone.

But if it was 13 (1 per thousand feet?)

Question for the oil experts:

If, as of 9AM CDT this morning, they had captured about 6100 barrels of oil and flared-off 15.7M standard cubic feet of gas, what would this translate to with respect to the what we're seeing coming out of the well?

At the end of the riser, is the Methane in a highly compressed state, or liquid transitioning to gas?

In either case, given the numbers BP presented this morning, how much (by percentage) of the volume we're seeing in the plume gas, and how much is crude?

I guess what I'm trying to determine is whether or not the various estimates of, say, 12K - 19K barrels/day include the volume of gas at that depth, or exclude it.

12K-19K estimates are for crude at the surface. The volume at depth is greater than that because of the gas.

The estimates for the amount of crude oil leaking excludes the natural gas. The ratio of natural gas to crude oil at depth at the time that the insertion tube was being used was 3 to 1, or 25% of the leaking liquid (at that depth, natural gas is really a liquid, not a gas), is crude oil while 75% is natural gas.

However, I calculate now that the ratio is more like 2 to 1.


In order to capture the oil not currently under control at the sea bed I suggest:
A large diameter tube comprised of Dutch weave stainless steel cloth, floatation assistance comprised of low specific gravity materials and poly fiber Geotube plastic filter cloth anchored with 3 or more radially placed anchor cables attached to a surface barge all of which could be combined with a jet pump to direct fluids of oil/gas and seawater into a gravitational separation tube to collect the oil leaking from the sea floor. The tube would be similar in nature to a pipe and would be situated at an angle in such a manner that fluids move slowly through the pipe and separate gravitationally due to the slow movement of the fluid and due to the volume of the tube in relation to the volume of the leaking oil. The pipe could be in excess of 20' in diameter and neutral in buoyancy and possibly greater than one mile in length.
The process is as follows.
1 Three or more anchors are set radially about 20' apart around the leak connected to cables set at an angle 45 degrees or greater relative to the horizontal and are connected to a barge on the surface.
2 A fabricated tube sock with access ports made of geofiber and dutch weave stainless steel is slipped over the anchor cables to a position near the leak to within 300 feet of the surface of the sea.
3 The tube is held open near the leak by the radial placement of the anchor cables and pressure from the jet pump.
4 A jet pump is situated near the leak in such a manner that the force of the jet will suck in and discharge the leaking oil and a monitored portion of the gas into the tube.
5 The volume of the pumped liquid is considerably less than the capacity of the tube sock.
6 Most gas is allowed to bypass the sock -- oil and some gas is allowed to enter the sock.
7 The gravitational acceleration of the oil relative to the seawater and the force required for the oil to pass through the sock are adjusted by changing the angle of the sock relative to the horizontal such that the oil does not leave the sock.
8 The pump is activated sucking and forcing the oil / water and a small amount of the gas into the sock.
9 The length of the sock is possibly as long as one mile and the velocity of the solution is such that the oil is allowed to separate from the water slowly and the trapped gas is allowed to "air lift pump" the fluid up the sock toward the surface. The tube is held open by the movement of the fluid from the pump, the airlift of the gas, and the position of the anchor cables.
10 Located along the sock and transverse to the center-line of the sock are outlet ports that are controlled from the surface with simple ropes. The ports are connected to the sock with vertical collection tubes of the same material as the sock but situated in a vertical plane.
11 As oil is collected in the sock it is allowed to bypass outlets until it is gravitationally separated from the water and gas. Then ports are opened and the oil is allowed to progress to pumps located withing the outlets. Gas is allowed to exit the sock in predetermined places to maintain the angle of the sock relative to the sea floor and to support the weight of the sock and anchor cables.
12 The movement of the oil relative to the gas is slow and whatever gas that enters moves through the system and passes out of the open weave and at any place it collects and is unwanted. Particles of sand, shell and rock trapped in the flow settle gravitationally and slide down the tube and discharge naturally out the lower end of the tube due to the undulating motion of the sock.
13 Gas that enters the tube is within a relatively closed system and lowers the average specific gravity of the water within the tube to be lower than the specific gravity outside the tube. This will cause the tube to pump and squeeze the fluids within the tube helping to digest or move the fluids mixture slowly up the tube and keep the insides clear and in motion.
14 Oil is allowed to separate and be removed by pumps, gas is both bypassed and separated due to the velocity of the gas relative to the oil, water is discharged through the fabric and out the end of the tube. Soil and debris is allowed to fall back to the sea floor either through the entrance or through outlet ports in the bottom of the sock.

Items taken into consideration: Temp of oil at leak, temp of sea water at ocean floor, water pressure and effect on cloth and geo fabric, specific gravity, properties of crude oil, effect of changes in volume of gas relative to pressure, effect of angle of tube and pore pressure of oil relative to pressure exerted by vertical movement of oil, movement of water and oil through filter cloth, pumping effect of gas, life of system relative to time needed to drill wells number of socks used, currents of ocean, effect of surface winds, location of existing damaged drill rig, ability to work around sock with other tools to try other repairs, change in location of barge, storage capacity of sock if barge must be moved, alternate methods of anchoring sock, rainbow type anchor on both ends rather than barge, large storage socks next to separation sock for storm use, strength of materials and weights of materials.

Comments please.

Is Enterprise ROV 1 now descending alongside the riser to the second LMRP, checking the connections between each section?

Bedtime Thought:

“They were careless people, Tom and Daisy—they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made….” —Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby (1925)

[Laissez les bon temps roulez!]

I calculated the gas as being about 6.7 lbs per cubic foot under seafloor pressures. Not much over 1/10th of water density. It will expand to about 150 times that volume at top of ocean. i.e., end of flare line. I used this

You are assuming that methane behaves as an ideal gas, which does simplify the calculations, even if it isn't true.
Let's also pretend that methane is insoluble in oil to simplify things.

At seafloor pressures, that gives me 3 barrels of gas for 1 barrel of oil.

That isn't accurate, but you get the idea that a lot of what is coming out of the pipe is gas.
Perhaps a petroleum engineer would like to do better?

( Based on 15.7 million cubic feet of gas for 6100 bbl of oil)

Being rude, I would have fired BP long ago and brought in the Norwegians-Stat&PetroMena

Other Important Decisions

I'm certainly not qualified to design, or even suggest, the "best" method for achieving whatever well control may be possible at this point. It sounds like the cap has been chosen more for safety—not killing more crew and losing more topside assets *and* limiting the chances of popping the cork on the whole thing and *really* ending up with 100kbpd gushing until September—than for maximum possible recovery of product. It sure seems likely that a *lot* of O/G is going to continue flowing into the Gulf for the foreseeable future.

I can understand making this choice. And I can understand why Dimitry thinks there are better ones.

Given that this is the road we are on, there are other serious matters that need to be considered, as well. Two that seem most pressing are the decision to use dispersant at the wellhead and and the organization, focus and size of the cleanup/remediation effort.

Taking the latter first, it's hard for me to understand why this isn't a near-perfect case for nationalization. It seems clear that the federal government and the military have the most resources and the most appropriate organizational structures to take over this part of the operation. And what happened to FEMA, anyway? (I mean that as a serious question, but I know I'm gonna love some of the sarcasm it will elicit.)

As for the former: Are we sure that dispersing the oil before it reaches the surface is the best choice for then environment? Who says and how did they decide? Where's the data? Whether it is optimal or not, how much would be retained, at various levels in the water column, if dispersants were *not* being used? How would the emulsion plumes be different (if at all) without the dispersant? And so on. Surely these are decisions for accountable public officials to make, and surely they should be made in the open, with full public participation.


Nationalize the industry or the emergency? If Al Qaida were to set off a mini bomb in NY, DOD would go to DefCon1. Wreck 30% of GDP with an oil spill and we hire 20,000 folks to clean beaches.

They would probably hire 50,000.
Except that "Our people don't do that kind of work" IF they have to pass a drug test.
How much will it cost to get some Chinese or Mexican people in here to do the clean up? Has Obama (pbuh) got that on his new agenda for stimulus?

nationalization of what-and-who?
A foreign registered corporation?
The entire industry?

Confict of interests. The govt already owns a big chunk of the auto industry--they would then own both the car industry and the industry that fuels them. That probably won't play well in court.

I'm replying to my own post here, with the intention of responding to all who have responded to it in the short time since it was posted: You people either have a serious reading comprehension problem or you just spew to see yourselves in electronic print.

I thought this was a serious site, for serious people but, if it was, it is no longer. I'm going to go hang out with adults. Keep my little donation and apply it to hiring a moderator.

This is a great site. Considering that we are facing one of the greatest single self-destructive events in the billion year life span of this planet, TOD's little quote machine in the UR is a must read:

George Carlin: “Where ideas are concerned, America can be counted on to do one of two things: take a good idea and run it completely into the ground, or take a bad idea and run it completely into the ground.”

I think the asteroid that impacted off Yucatan outranks this debacle by a large margin.

The Ixtoc well in the late 70s was a larger spill, but the long term environmental impact from that was minor. Due to the warm waters and the sunlight, oil breaks down in the Gulf rapidly (unlike Alaska). The shrimp industry recovered after 2 years. 160 miles of beaches in South Texas were fouled, but they were all cleaned up and today people barely remember the spill.

There is reason to hope that the Gulf Coast will recover quickly fron this spill. Of course, there are no guarantees.

It’s going to get far worse before it gets better, two more months at least of raw crude spewing into our gulf. Soon it will be in the Gulf Stream, which travels 100 miles per day and will destroy the coral reefs, then up the East coast and out into the Atlantic. When Miami big money is affected all hell will break loose.

IXTOC happened so far south and with the natural current north they had 2 months to prepare for the slick in Texas from what I have read. IXTOC also was a light oil that degraded easier than this stuff will.

A study I have read estimated that 1% was burned off at the well site with the gas (the oil there bubbled to the surface mixed with water and gas), 5% was mechanically removed, 50% evaporated, 12% degraded, 6% landed on Mexican beaches, <1% landed on Texas beaches and 25% sank to the bottom. The Mexicans dug trenches on their beaches and just buried the oil.

PEMEX cut the output by 60% also by injecting steal and lead balls into the BOP. They tried a cap also after slowing the output which they termed a sombrero - rough seas damaged the device and it was removed. Coming up on Hurricane season one would have to wonder what effect rough seas would have on this cap and whether the cap could further damage the BOP in such weather.

On Snake oil salesmen…

The results of an MMS study a decade ago do not shed light on why certain ideologically sympathetic politicians and media personalities in recent weeks have been repeating the talking point, “Oil? What oil? I don’t see no steeenkin’ oil.” Nope. Absolutely not.

Famous moments in leadership and forthrightness:

“The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa .”

“We know where they [Iraq's WMD] are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south, and north somewhat”

“We do not torture”

“There are no oil plumes.”

Corexit is not an ace up Tony Hayward’s sleeve.
In fact, Tony prefers to wear short-sleeves in the summer.

Oil companies do not spill oil. God spills oil.
As for the gas, it depends on what God’s had for dinner.

To hide business in politics, spread a lot of money.
To hide oil in water, spread a lot of Corexit.

Corexit is not the official beverage of the oil extraction biz.
Not yet, anyway.
But I hear BP is working on a naming rights deal with the manufacturer (Nalco).

Corexit is merely a harmless magic panacea, not unlike the credit default swaps used by our brethren in that other oil business, the financial industry. It’s proven quite effective at hiding the toxic stuff.

Whenever Corexit is the mix, I always think to myself, “Well, I guess I won’t have to worry about THAT silly ol’ oil spill anymore.”

The Ixtoc-1 oil spill was just a run-of-the-mill, 140-million gallon, piss ant, drop-in-the-bucket eco-disaster nobody remembers. Nobody that speaks English, anyway. And besides, Corexit disappeared the evidence real good.

Don’t go thinkin’ that just because there was no internet back in 1979 -- when that tiny pinprick, Ixtoc-1, went out of control for 10 months off the coast of Mexico -- that these coincidences somehow explain why there’s no documentation proving any harm to the Gulf. There was no harm to the Gulf because there was no documentation! Except one thing: for years following, many dolphins reported their skin felt more supple after bathing.

Everyone knows Corexit is the best dispersant, a great floor wax, and a desert topping. But did you know it’s also a fine skin lotion? Way better than that cheap crap, “Oil of Olay.”

I heard somewhere that Corexit is now sprayed into baby milk formula to disperse fat molecules. Perhaps this explains why we now find less gas hydrate formation in loaded baby diapers.

Oh, would you quit yer whining, and read the damn presser from Nalco Then you’ll see for yerself how those fine folks are the real deal. Not only do they make that great product, Corexit, but they’re also a piece of Goldman Sachs.

Oh for gosh sakes, there are not inconsistencies between Nalco’s Corexit presser and their Safety Data Sheets ( and Any discrepancies are merely a figment of your imagination.

Slanderous statements about Corexit being “approximately 10,000 times more lethal to biota than crude oil itself” ( are just unfortunate typos. That nice Dr. Cleveland clearly meant to say “less,” not “more.”

As for critics who blame dispersants for causing underwater oil plumes -- those people have "no information" to stand on. “There are no plumes, only ‘anomalies’.”

Once again, folks – Nothin’ to see here. Move along. Move along. Oh look, a shiny object!

Now that we’ve got THAT cleared up, can we please get back to “Drill, baby, drill”, Barry?

Remember, the next time there’s a “Spill, baby, spill,” all you need to do is “set it and forget it” and “spray, baby, spray.”

P.S. – Disregard any government presentations you may come across by a certain Robert LaBelle, of the US Minerals Management Service -- especially regarding “deep water issues” and plume formation. His work only describes an imaginary scenario. MMS never conducted such research. Nope. Never. Honest. No, really. I swear.

P.P.S. – “For any of you sad sacks who feel you’re getting screwed by a little prick over some spilled milk, well, get over it.”

– Signed, Not Tony Hayward

Humor as science argument leaves me cold.

But thanks for the Safety Sheet on Corexit.

Maybe THEY have some numbers. You don't.

One thing bothers me more than others, with this LMRP approach. The basic principle seems good, given the limited options, but it appears extremely difficult to control the pressure conditions at the leaky interface at the cap with the high flow velocities present. (I am an ME with some flow experience). Would this cap not work better with a two piece design, using a diffuser of some sort between the BOP and the cap? Tight seal at the BOP, leaky seal between diffuser and cap.

First post, great site.

Maybe a nice mixing manifold on top, right?

Minimize the oil outlfow to a minimum.

In the last three years, according to the Center for Public Integrity, BP accounted for “97 percent of all flagrant violations found in the refining industry by government safety inspectors” — including 760 citations for “egregious, willful” violations (compared with only eight at the two oil companies that tied for second place). Hayward’s predecessor at BP, ousted in a sex-and-blackmail scandal in 2007, had placed cost-cutting (and ever more obscene profits) over safety, culminating in the BP Texas City refinery explosion that killed 15 and injured 170 in 2005. Last October The Times uncovered documents revealing that BP had still failed to address hundreds of safety hazards at that refinery in the four years after the explosion, prompting the largest fine in the history of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (The fine, $87 million, was no doubt regarded as petty cash by a company whose profit reached nearly $17 billion last year.)

Renegade Refiner: OSHA Says BP Has “Systemic Safety Problem”
97% of Worst Industry Violations Found at BP Refineries
By Jim Morris and M.B. Pell | May 16, 2010

I don't think anyone would take this on willingly even WITH an ironclad liability exclusion clause. Much to lose and little to gain by doing so.
Let's say company X takes over. Even tho they may be held legally unaccountable if things go even more south than currently is the case, they would be crucified in the court of public opinion--just as we see BP being done here (and much of this criticism rightfully deserved IMO)

Why, would any entity put themselves in that position?

I just can't see an Exxon or Chevron touching this at all.

I DO see a lot of room for using outside resources for cleanup/remediation efforts, many of which have been offered and turned down by "whoever" is in charge of said cleanup according to foreign news sources. I read a news article a couple of days ago about a company from Holland who said they had the expertise, equipment and manpower to collect a very large % of the surface spill, but their services were declined.

BP has a video (June 5th) showing the actual installation of the LMRP cap
for those that missed the live action:

wondering if the bubbles coming from the open valves are nitrogen and/or methanol.

n.b. on the May 16 tech briefing:

the hot water is 120 degrees - so they must be heating it before sending it down the riser.

Oil & gas flows continue to look as powerful (and bad) as ever. I see no significant improvement over the past two days.

If I recall correctly, didn't BP state "24-48 hours" to tweak settings for this LMRP cap? By my admittedly crude estimation, 80% of the flows still appear to be venting directly into the GOM.

Does anyone know if BP has started to close (or has fully closed) one or more of the four pressure-relief valves atop the cap? With all the ROV cams they've got running around, (and with two cams locked off just to monitor cap bottom flows), one might think they'd allocate at least one camera to monitor upper cap valves (flows). Perhaps they don't need that view, and I bet it's an ugly sight: four powerful jets of crude blasting continuously into the Gulf; but I'd like to see it anyway. d:^\

Based on what I've read these past 46 days, the genesis of this catastrophe appears to be more negligence than accident, IMHO. And last time I checked, the affected coastline, waters, and marine life are still the territory of the United States of America, not the exclusive property of BP PLC.


I agree with Dimitri: it's time for BP to be relieved of command duty. It's time to bring in another leadership team, with some fresh ideas and approaches, and especially some key personnel with far less conflict of interest. (But realistically, it's unlikely that changeover will happen.)

I agree with James Cameron: an independent underwater cam crew should be brought on-scene to document items of public interest, especially things BP seems uninterested in letting the public see (if such exists). The American people are major stakeholders in the outcome of this situation and therefore have a right to know what is going on. And although BP is making a decent show of providing information, there needs to be a primary source of information independent of the very corporation that got us into this mess (the folks with the most egregious safety record, by far, of any of the majors).

I can't help but think that if OSB were still alive, he'd be laughing his @$$ off at our current predicament. Crises everywhere you turn. As if our president and nation did not already have enough to deal with before this preventable and unnecessary situation blew onto our shores.

I fully agree!

I cannot see an improvement over the past 2 days either, when looking at the live streams.

The site states:
"Subsea operational update:
There are no technical developments to report at this time.
We will provide an updated flow rate and any new technical information at 9am Sunday morning "
= Wait and see strategy?

Furthermore, they should have been able to achieve this result in the first week, but it took them 46 days to collect now not even half of the spill!

James Cameron was right...

Another newly posted video:

All about drilling the relief well.

nb some of the people are from Boots & Coots (wild well control company)
and Vector Magnetics (well locating company)

There are constraints on the surface location, distance to other ships and to the oil slick.

John Wright, the Boots & Coots guy:
"Out of 40 reliefs wells that I've drilled, we've never missed yet, so I've got high confidence that we can take care of this problem as soon as we can get there."

since they cant "seal" the cap to the flange, why not just repeat and rinse-a second top hat contraption around this one....also open at the bottom they could bring it down in two halves and snap it together around the current caps riser...
there would be some leakage still but imagine how much less...
Stupid but simple

For anyone interested in UK, Tony Hayward CEO of BP is giving his first television interview on Andrew Marr's show on BBC1 beginning at 9am. Don't know how many US people can watch BBC1 on satellite, but programme starts 8am GMT / 4am ET.

8.40AM GMT / 4.40AM ET. Tony Hayward CEO of BP said:-

10,000bbl / day which is the "vast majority" of the oil is now being taken to the surface.

Further measures will be in place by next weekend. By the end of the month a more permanent system will be in place ahead of the relief wells. It will be hurricane proof.

They're bringing in equipment from the UK and Mexico.

Hayward says they are now lifting 10,000 bpd. Says the event was a 1:100,000 to 1:1,000,000 event with 7 levels of protection breached. Also says safety standards must now be taken to a completely new level. Makes unequivocal commitment to clean up the Gulf. Says claims are being paid within 48 hours and all claims to date have been paid. Highlights that BP is part of the Gulf Coast community with thousands of employees and retirees in the area. Says hasn't spoken directly with Obama but the working relationship with Federal agencies is exemplary. Suggests the brains trust of industry experts and scientists working on the problem in Houston is working well.

The print media here however, is altogether more aggressive.

"Says the event was a 1:100,000 to 1:1,000,000 event..."

Really? I didn't know there had been that many of these deep water projects to date.

What still disturbs me is why MSM media still isn't asking, "Why are we drilling at such high risk and cost for barely a day's supply of crude?" (we globally use around 80 million barrels a day, about what's in this field).

Honestly, we can't approach our energy concerns this way indefinitely!

Concerned dad of three great kids

They should have devised a fullproof seal from the collector to the riser. Something that constricted on it and was tensioned to the BOP. Operable vents in the bottom of the collector/cap to flush out water? More than one collection port? Collection ports at different levels within the chamber?

Is the pipe from the ship big enough to handle it? Maybe they need two catch pipes to safely deal with the flow.

I saw this CNN video and shots of the inside of the cap for their very first chamber on May 4th and just sat on this info not knowing who to notify considering that that bp, coast guard and the gov are all corrupt in this whole operation. As time progressed and this thing just became so big, I have been increasingly pissed off and several days ago I dug up the article from my history. Luckily I found this website in which to safely get this info out. The world should know this, the methane hydrates thing is a complete fraud and is just a scapegoat as you will see. There is just no way they could ever plug up a pipe the size of the current LMRP riser. The so-called hydrates would have plugged up the smaller cracks in the bent riser if they meant anything.

BP to try unprecedented engineering feat to stop oil spill -

This image is from the construction of the very first building of a chamber to cap the torrent of oil. (see the CNN page and the video) You can plainly see that apex leading to the riser from the cap is completely enclosed except for two approximately 1 inch holes. It was designed and built that way. Several days after that article came out, they deployed the cap and 40 foot tall chamber. Immediately, it was announced that frozen methane hydrates plugged up the flow and that it was "not going to work." Their fix was to delay and try again with another cap with hot water and methanol injectors to keep the hydrates liquid. Since I have not seen any images of the inside of any of the several subsequent caps, I cannot attest to there being a true through path for the flow, or not. However since this is still the current MO with the latest LMRP top cap installed June 3rd and there is no true justification for it, I suggest that a congressional inquiry should be made.

I can guarantee that the non-restricted flow of a 6-8 inch riser pipe to the surface, under vacuum, would easily take in the flow that I see in even the latest video, which is roughly double to the earlier flow.

It is very clear the reason the thing plugged up is because they are directing the flow from a 21 inch pipe into what appears to be a 8 or 10 inch riser thru a couple of holes that are about 1 inch in diameter. That is tantamount to running a fire hose into a straw and trying to put out a house fire.

For the purposes of this paper, an approximation of relative flow is appropriate. Exact flow calculations would not differ appreciably regarding flow reduction ratios.

The area of a circle is Pi r sq and relative flow is almost directly proportional to the area of pipe diameters, actually it would be a factor less as it became smaller because the surface tension of the pipe wall increases relative to the flow area.

21 inch I.D. pipe area = 346.36 sq in.
10 inch I.D. pipe area = 78.54 sq in.
8 inch I.D. pipe area = 50.27 sq in.
1 inch I.D. pipe area = .785 sq in.

Giving the benefit of the doubt, that both 1 inch holes provide flow into the larger riser, that would give 2 x .785 or 1.57 sq in area.
If the riser was the lesser size of 8 inch then the restriction is therefore greater than a 32 to 1 reduction in flow. Likewise the flow is reduced by greater than 50 to 1 if the riser is 10 inch diameter.

The image you see is real and below is a blowup enhancement showing that it is indeed completely blocked off except for those small holes. Clearly, they did this on purpose. I can only speculate, as you, what that purpose is but I would guess that they just needed a way to buy time and further delay any possible repairs.

One big reason is that they would need to fabricate the new nearly one mile long riser to the surface which they have not done as yet, now a month later. Also they would need to be able to accept that flow via a few tankers or super tankers. Those ships are huge and are 5 and 10 times larger than any ships in the area of the blowout. Indeed, the very first thing that BP should of done was to bring in large tankers and start vacuuming/suctioning up the massive flow of oil. That never happened. That is one of the first of their criminal acts.

Instead of doing the right thing and coming clean with how massive the leak was, what they did and still are doing, is to apply hundreds of thousands of gallons of a very toxic "Dispersant" (Corexit EC9527A with a whopping 30 - 60% by weight of your favorite mutagen and hepatotoxic insecticide 2-butoxyethanol - banned from use in the U.K. over a decade ago), now well over a million gallons. This dispersant breaks up the oil into smaller fragments and also changes the specific gravity of the oil, thus making it heavier instead of lighter than water and allowing the majority of it to sink below the surface. What this did was to help hide and cover up the magnitude of the massive torrential leak and only worsen the extremely toxic long term effects. This was the exact wrong thing to do for oil naturally tends to clump together and it would of been much easier to suck it up with the tankers that never came. Reports by other than bp are that there are very large dead zones of oil that are upwards of 7 by 23 miles by several thousand feet thick just a few miles away from the blowout.

This entire episode appears to have been a comedy of errors however, this paper and the images included prove that it was not just a series of simple human errors but rather malice of the highest form. Additionally, these things were decided upon by more than just one person therefore it is a conspiracy, by definition. Furthermore, those that designed and fabricated the top cap are probably not totally stupid and should have realized there would be nearly zero flow through the tiny holes and when it was announced that it "plugged up," they did not spill the beans therefore that is misprision of justice.

According to several high level officials, there is a push in government circles to keep any new supplies of oil in the ground for later generations of the elite to use (see the capping of huge discoveries in Prudhoe Bay, north slope - Lindsey Williams) and it also keeps the supply down in order to keep the prices up, which the elite profit very nicely from. Immediately after the blowout, Governors and federal officials spoke of instituting bans on offshore drilling, which are now in place. Furthermore, I hear that congress is working of a new bill to increase gas taxes by up to 400%, the timing is impeccable or is it. They could not have this opportunity if there were no crisis. This is the order out of chaos - see Problem, Reaction, Solution or as Rahm Emanuel's rule No. 1, and that is to "let no crisis go unused."

Maybe I missed it but one other thing they could of been doing since the "top kill" of several days ago is when they ran two 4 inch lines into the BOP to pump mud and junk into the riser to plug it up, they could of been using those same 2 lines to vacuum/suction the oil from it. That would pretty much take most all of the oil coming out including some water. Then they would just have to centrifugally separate the water out.


there are so many factual errors in your post that it doesn't deserve an answer by the experts here. So I will do it.

Please go back and read prior posts and educate yourself on what you are trying to write about. Please start by not believing everything your hear on TV.

I recommend that you read the top of the threads and the daily articles for the last 2 weeks as a start.


Thanks for this thread!

I had 3 extremely good ideas that would definitely have ended this nightmare. Silly of BP not to have thought of them. But before I began trumpeting them, I checked these threads just to be sure no one else had a similar idea.....and imagine my surprise when I realized that not only did I know virtually nothing of what the situation really was, but I had no knowledge of the behavior of any of the materials at that pressure and temperature, or of how those behaviors might change under different conditions. I wondered how the rocks would handle the different solutions before realizing that we are talking about mud.

My ideas would have worked great...on a different well, in less water, with less pressure...and if drilling was a lot simpler than it is.

So people, do as they say, read the threads. The solution may indeed come from someone not involved with BP or the govt...but I will guarantee it's going to come from someone with a lot of experience in fluid dynamics and oil geology.

Slam BP all you want, but don't slam those guys trying to fix it, even if they work for BP...they want this fixed waaaay worse than you do, believe me.

BBC report BP now catching 10000 barrels/day worth of oil

And now have a look at the livestream:
Pretty obvious that 10,000 barrels/day is not a significant part of the total outflow, isn't it?

The BBC piece also quotes the BP CEO implying that the majority of oil is now being captured:

"...[Asked what amount of the estimate that represented, the BP chief executive said it was "probably the vast majority"...]"

In order for Hayward's implication to be credible, the total "outflow" would have to be a known quantity.

and after stating that the "vast majority is being captured" with the current fix he describes further measures to be implemented in the coming week, "which will be in place by next weekend so when those two are in place, we would very much hope to be containing the vast majority of the oil."

sounds like double talk to me but this report is getting widespread play

Perhaps Hayward mispoke, but his statements in the BBC piece tend to tarnish his credibility. I would like to see him backwalk this a bit and explain further what he actually meant. Maybe he's just exhausted.

link not working try this alternate livestream

What is Enterprise ROV 2 looking at?