The BP Deepwater Oil Spill - the Hurricane Season - and Open Thread

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Five years ago, shortly after Prof. Goose invited me to help him start The Oil Drum, Hurricane Dennis, a Category 4 hurricane, struck the Gulf of Mexico. It formed on July 4th, 2005 and dissipated on July 13th. This was the first hurricane that The Oil Drum covered, and the focus, naturally, was on the impact which it would have on oil production. This was significant, as the MMS reported.

Hurricane Dennis forced the evacuation of a total of 445 rigs and platforms, according to a Monday report from the U.S. Minerals Management Service, which was released a few minutes before the end of the regular trading session. The evacuations prompted the shut-in of 96.2% of daily oil production in the Gulf of Mexico, as well as 62.4% of daily natural-gas production, according to the MMS.

The update was the main reason for the rally, said Phil Flynn, a senior analyst at Alaron Trading. "People were surprised that Dennis shut in 1.4 million barrels of daily oil production [in the Gulf]," he said, emphasizing that that was a bigger loss of oil than many expected.

In that first post, the path of the Hurricane was simplified to:

Which, you may note covered the Eastern part of the Gulf, with the black spot being the location for the Thunder Horse platform.

Thunder Horse after Hurricane Dennis

Hurricane Katrina, a Category 5, formed on August 23rd (It appeared on The Oil Drum on the 24th, and daily thereafter) and dissipated on August 30th. Much of the damage that has been discussed related to the severe damage that the area around New Orleans, and all the way down the Delta, suffered. At the same time the MMS reported

These evacuations are equivalent to 78.75% of 819 manned platforms and 67.16% of 137 rigs currently operating in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM). Today’s shut-in oil production is 1,427,969 BOPD. This shut-in oil production is equivalent to 95.20% of the daily oil production in the GOM, which is currently approximately 1.5 million BOPD.

Today’s shut-in gas production is 8.798 BCFPD. This shut-in gas production is equivalent to 87.99% of the daily gas production in the GOM, which is currently approximately 10 BCFPD.

Hurricane Katrina not only knocked out rigs in the Gulf, it also had a severe impact on refineries on shore.

Path of Katrina through the onshore refineries.

The price of gasoline rose rapidly and transiently there were gas shortages. It was the first time The Oil Drum had problems with traffic swamping the server. As for the rigs in the Gulf

In terms of exploration, more than half of the 231 offshore rigs (excluding inland barges) currently working in the US Gulf of Mexico were in Katrina's path. A total of 48 rigs lay within the most adversely affected areas where winds were at hurricane force, blowing in excess of 74 MPH. Another 69 rigs were located in waters that experienced tropical storm force winds of 36 to 74 MPH. In total, 117 rigs, valued at a combined total of over $7 billion, had to weather the storm.

As of Monday afternoon at 3pm, the US Coast Guard has reported that at least one, possibly two, deepwater rigs have lost their moorings and are floating freely in the Gulf.

58 rigs were damaged or displaced of which 30 were lost. By Sept 2nd gas was, in places, at $4 a gallon.

Hurricane Rita, a Category 5, was formed on September 17th and dissipated on September 24th, 2005. The rigs in the Gulf had not recovered from Katrina, but Rita swung further west moving through the offshore rigs to come ashore at the Texas border.

The effect of Rita onshore hit more refineries.

The impact of any hurricane in the Gulf on Gulf oil production and thereby on the national oil supply can be visualized with this map showing the locations of the rigs along the coast, from back in 2001. It has not changed that much since, except that there are more rigs out in the Deepwater.

Rig density along the Gulf coast in 2001 (after National Geographic)

Now I mention all this because the gas shortages, and loss of production from the Gulf lasted through most of the fall of 2005. In order to help with supply the National Petroleum Reserve was opened and 11 million barrels of oil sold. It has since been replaced.

This year is already predicted to be a more than usually severe one for hurricanes, with 2 or 3 likely to make landfall in the United States. Which leaves me more than a little concerned, and while there are many different concerns (I was on a survey team that went to NOLA after the disaster, and then down the Delta, and have no wish to ever see such devastation again), two are becoming more pronounced.

The first is as much political as anything, and it relates to the growing creation of the petroleum industry as villain du jour by the Administration and the main stream press. This is not meant in any way to excuse BP or whoever is ultimately found to have caused this disaster, (and I won’t mention the different treatment of banking relative to the oil industry) but there are ongoing consequences both of current actions and attitudes and the potential increasing level of regulations and reviews that are being developed. They are all likely to negatively impact the resilience of the industry in bouncing back from hurricane damage, and in motivating, and even allowing, parts of that recovery to be as fast as it was last time. As a result, any significant hurricane in the Gulf this year may accelerate the return to $4 gas, and for a longer time than the last.

And in that regard, I do remain worried that the powers that be shut down the Top Kill as fast as they did. Yes there were some problems, and I noted some potential ones, but at least it might have ended with killing the well. That won’t now be possible until the relief wells get there sometime in August. And in the meanwhile the well remains vulnerable to storms in the Gulf.

Not that BP have not been making provisions for emergency disconnection of the vessels catching the oil from the leak, and potentially for storing some of the oil. As Kent Wells explained last week, "The current solution involves a new connection at the BOP, which won’t be put in place to the end of June."

This will include a new collection tool that is currently being fabricated, made from 10-inch thick steel.

In addition there will be a new floating riser, with a flotation can to hold it some 300 ft below the surface, down below the level of the waves. Unfortunately if it has to be disconnected, then for the time that the Hurricane keeps rigs away, the well will be spilling oil.

The flow of oil leaking from the bottom of the cap continues to diminish, indicating that more oil is being captured.

For the first 12 hours on June 9th (midnight to noon), approximately 7,920 barrels of oil were collected and 15.7 million cubic feet of natural gas were flared. On June 8th, a total of approximately 15,000 barrels of oil were collected and 29.4 million cubic feet of natural gas were flared.

Given that the Enterprise can only handle 15,000 bd the change to a shuttle tanker and WTSV, this is one of the reasons why the ports remain open and that the system to draw off additional oil through the choke and kill lines is being accelerated.

Prof. Goose's Comment:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A new collection tool could be instrumented to measure flow even during a hurricane. Don't spend too much time on it, get a collector/riser that works the best it can.

Some BP oil spill humor:

Very good. Have you heard the Raging Grannies on the spill

just wanted to say i've been lurking for a while now; excellent info, i've learned a lot

thanks for letting non-industry people in

In case anyone is still debating this, I meant to post this image yesterday but apparently the internet ate it ;^)

BigMoose on June 9, 2010 - 2:32pm said:

I recommend getting precise with your measurements. Blow up the picture, get a ruler and/or drafting dividers and scale it proportionately. We know the riser is 21 inch OD. perfectly flattened would be 32.9 inches flat. The wall I believe is 0.875 inches thick.

Here is the tubing that BP admitted is in the well in this range from their briefing materials:
5.5 in drill pipe crossing to 3.5 in drill pipe 2000 ft below the mudline
6 5/8 drill pipe 880 ft above the flex joint and in the riser.
9 7/8 production liner crossing to 7inch, so called tapered production liner.

9 7/8 casing
11 7/8 casing

Those pieces of pipe have to be one or more of the above strings.

Scaled pipes

I saw that live and can confirm that is the downstream end (furthest from the BOP) of the cut away section of riser.

If you look at this Hi def video of of the cut away at the BOP the riser appears far less crimped, probably because of closeness to the flange. There also appears to be two flow paths through the riser adapter.

More Hi Def videos here.

Last night on CNN there was discussion of using this crisis to pass a massive public works bill that would divert the Mississippi into the bayou channels to flush them out, as well as a lot of dirt moving etc. (Army Corps stuff). The oil and gas industry would pay for it all. Wonder when we'll get details on that. For now it's a political rumor but it sure made James Carville happy at the time. He said that Obama would be "beloved" if it came to pass.

Also notice the ROVs are very busy this morning, including one doing a 'Seabed Integrity Survey' which certainly sounds like a good idea....

Jim -- And should I assume CNN also included the loss of trilions and trillions of $'s in income with diverting the Miss. River? Or did they not consider that the Miss. River carries a huge percentage of our GDP? I won't bother read the CNN story so I'll leave it to you to clarify if I misreading the idea.

BTW --Billions of $'s have been spent by the gov't to prevent the Miss. River from diverting down the center of the state. In fact there are flood gates north of Baton Rouge designed to release flood waters during spring high river levels to prevent accidental diversion.

If the CNN story is a simple as you imply we may have a candidate to compete with the "nuke the blow out to fix it" idea.

That's why I mention it here, kind of an eyebrow-raiser. I would imagine some egghead in DC is analogizing to the big Everglades scheme (and how's that going by the way)....but given the 'never let a good crisis go to waste'/Shock Capitalism mantra, they must be looking for something commensurate in scale to the disaster itself--an impulse that is both inherently nonsensical (because things that are good ideas were before the disaster, and the disaster doesn't make bad ideas into good ones) and in this case pretty hard to come up with.

Intriguing. I wonder if flow diversion on a more limited basis provides some sort of jumpstart for the marshes while avoiding any of the negative impacts on shipping, etc? (I don't know the region well).

Also... If it is truly public works I am not sure that falls withing the concept of disaster capitalism?

Mimicking nature, the flow diverted is highest in the spring (when the Mississippi overflowed it's banks). Diverted volume is just a few % of total river volume.

The Mississippi River is *BIG*


Jim -- Normally wild cures don't bother except when they seem to offer folks some unrealistic hope. That bothers I woke up with a bad sinus headache so it didn' take much to set me off. LOL

These diversions are designed to offset the damage caused by diverting river water for a deeper navigation channel and canals dug by oil & gas companies for pipelines and to access very shallow water/marsh oil & gas wells.

First one was Caernarvon

The State of Louisiana has promised (via law) to devote all royalties from federal waters to coastal restoration and freshwater diversions are a major part of that.
Said royalties are $0.00 today, but will be 35% of the total federal take in 2017.


It'd be really hard to make it fly. As Rockman mentioned, the barge trade is big, and anything happening to disrupt it had better be important. The COE is obliged to keep the channel at 9 feet deep for barge traffic. The amount of water diverted would have to be such that the 9 feet is maintained.

Also, I'm not convinced that the bayou country in question can be hydraulically connected easily to the Mississippi. See how many small channels there are in Plaquemines Parish: . I expect you'd have to have many connection locations, not just one. It would take years to accomplish (all the while maintaining 9 feet of draft for barges), then each connection would have to be sealed.

Nominal is 12' for barges and 100' for ocean going ships (all the way to Baton Rouge).

At New Orleans three 300' wide, 100' deep shipping lanes, further upstream the # of lanes is reduced.


What you describe is different from what I imagined after reading the post about CNN. Your explanation sounds a lot better. :)

While controversial I have found Joe Bastardi of Accuweather to provide good data/forecast/observations on hurricanes ([this is not an ad] FYI they offer a 30 day free trial for their Accuweather pro service here is a link if you are interested )

Also posted in an earlier thread there is new raw footage of a fly over by Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office of the coastal areas

Also recommended: Jeff Master's Weather Underground and Blog:

Today's blog talks about the high probability of an unusually active hurricane season, very high sea surface temps, and a spill drift update.

I recommend Masters' article on hurricanes and oil spills as well. Informative and concise.

This comment prompted me to obtain an account here. I used to blog for Jeff Masters and my Katrina's Surge posts are here:

I recommend using NHC advisories and the local Emergency Management instead of information from Accuweather or any other private weather firm regards hurricanes.

Now that I have an account, I will try to be available during the season to answer questions on what is certain to be a busy hurricane season for the North Atlantic, but for certain I will be in touch with Jeff during the season.

Margie Kieper

I also monitor North African sandstorms, and El Nino/La Nino. So far, looks like less sandstorm activity in 2010, and growing likelihood of La Nina this summer.

Both are shaping up the wrong way for the Gulf.

I depend on Bob Breck, WVUE (Channel 8). Significantly better than any national weather person. A worthy successor to Nash Roberts#


# Famous for calling Betsy turning towards New Orleans 12 hours before the Hurricane center did. GUTS to make calls like that. Got Georges right too before anyone else. Onboard first "Hurricane Hunter".

Kieper says: "I recommend using NHC advisories and the local Emergency Management instead of information from Accuweather or any other private weather firm regards hurricanes."

why? (rhetorical) NHC does not exactly have a stellar record but more importantly why would you choose to limit or restrict data and expert opinion on such a serious matter as hurricanes. Consider the 'great' job local emergency management/their political masters e.g. Nagin did in advance of Katrina. I appreciate your past relationship with Wunderground and there is no question they are good but to recommend people not go to other sources strikes me as somewhat odd.

I assume you are basing that on a comparison of NHC verification statistics (published after every season) compared to another forecast verification, and can reply with a post to provide the statistics to explain what you mean by "not a stellar record?" NHC forecast verifications are online.

Nagin did a terrible job IMHO, but that is not a reason not to follow the guidance of local Emergency Management. The reason I say that is that NHC provides public advisories, and local NWS forecast offices and EM coordinate with NHC to provide local forecasts and guidance. You are not going to get any better information anywhere else.

As for the stellar comment I have only anecdotal evidence, think Ida.

but my point was why would you recommend that people not go to other sources? I would like to understand that. Perhaps you could remind folks when the mandatory was issued for Katrina. Of course most know the answer to that, way too late.

I remember well it was just 36 hours before landfall when Max from NHC decided to put in an urgent call to state and municipal officials and that a mandatory was issued less than 24 hours before landfall.

Katrina took an unexpected jog (reformed center of circulation) after crossing Florida. First reported at 10 PM Friday (about worst possible time). Prior to that odds for New Orleans were <10% per NHC.

First road closed out of New Orleans (bit vague memory) was 2 PM Sunday (I-10 East, the one I took, those on bridge were allowed to continue of course) and last was 4:30 PM Sunday.

So 40 to 42.5 hours was the time allowed to evacuate. One does not evacuate large cities on less than 10% probabilities.


Al - the mandatory came into effect 8am local time on Sunday Aug 28 less than 24 hours before landfall yet a state of emergency had been declared by Gov Blanco (to her credit) late Friday afternoon (60 hours before landfall)meanwhile NHC didn't issue a hurricane watch for the area until Saturday mid morning. Some of the private weather services had identified potential trouble a week in advance, unexpected jog notwithstanding.

The reason not to go to other sources for hurricane information is because emergency managment is talking directly to NHC and NWSFO via regular phone conference calls associated with each NHC advisory package. They have the best and newest information. The warning information then gets disseminated to local TV, cable and news networks from the NWSFO and EM. If you look elsewhere you are not going to get the correct and best information about what actions to take.

I remember Katrina like it was yesterday. I could not believe that it was Sunday morning and Nagin was not calling for a mandatory evacuation for NOLA when only hours were left before travel would become impossible. However what happened in NOLA was not really representative of how warnings were handled for the majority of the locations hit by Katrina. Look at the HLS from LIX and MOB. Mobile NWSFO did a fantastic job for Alabama and Florida coastlines. IMHO Slidell NWSFO did not do as good a job for coastal Mississippi and Louisiana, however local EM did issue the mandatory evacuations regardless.

Honestly what I was thinking of when I wrote my reply was Accuweather. There will probably be an opportunity or two this coming season to give an example...although I hope not.

for what it is worth accuweather was out in front of Katrina so I am not sure why you are down on them perhaps you have an example. The example I have is JB drawing an analogue to the 1947 New Oreleans storm 5 or 7 days in advance.

Hi Margie.

I would like to point out that for the Galveston surge that WU bloggers and Jeff urged evacs to be completed a full 24 hours before local news and official sources did. Had early warnings for Katrina, too, as you know.

For Galveston, it was like watching a slow-motion train wreck, with bloggers running surge models and presenting historical data of when the surge would hit, compared to down-playing by local politicians and emergency sources. Some people clearly did not get out, and others barely did, as roads that were needed for last-minute evacuees were inundated hours before the storm actually hit.

When it comes to hurricanes, near-misses can be pretty bad, and most damage is done by the storm surges. In the end, the surge at Galveston was nowhere near as bad as had been feared, rather like Ike and Houston, but that just goes to show how well things go if you plan for the worst and only get bad. What we're learning again here is if you plan only for bad, or maybe even only for barely poor, then when worst comes along you're completely screwed.

My thinking is that information is a good thing, so listen to multiple sources and plan accordingly. Run from water, hide from rain. And do both early.

Very well stated! Thanks.

I can't imagine how you came to have that impression. HGX did an excellent job with the surge forecasts.

The Hurricane Local Statements (HLS) issued by the Houston / Galveston NWSFO issued a voluntary evacuation at noon on Wednesday 10 September, for the Bolivar Peninsula and the western end of Galveston Island, among other locations in Galveston County, 42 hours prior to the period when the surge started coming ashore. It was hurricane season, it had been known Ike was forecast to landfall in that general area for some days, and people should have been prepared to evacuate immediately at that time.

HGX issued a mandatory evacuation for vulnerable areas of Galveston County, including the Bolivar Peninsula and Galveston Island to begin at 7am Thursday. This was a full 24 hours before the surge made evacuation from low-lying areas impossible, ample time to evacuate. People that were not prepared to evacuate earlier, were now required to evacuate at this time. Most people who ignored these warnings and stayed in areas that were hardest hit, like the Bolivar Peninsula, were drowned in the oncoming surge.

Not only did HGX do an excellent job issuing mandatory evacuations for surge, they used some of the strongest language ever seen in NWS HLS to try to convince people to evacuate -- this wording was first issued at noon on Thursday, following the earlier mandatory evacuation order, and repeated in every subsequent HLS up to landfall:



The surge on Bolivar started to rise enough to cut off escape access the day before landfall, early on the morning of Friday 12 September, two feet over MSL at 5am and four feet by 11am at the Rollover Pass gauge on the eastern part of the peninsula. It rose rapidly after that, overnight, just prior to the landfall. The mandatory evacuation was in place for a day before surge cut off escape routes.

At the same time HGX was issuing the voluntary evacutation, the morning of Wednesday, 10 September, Jeff first blogged regards the surge, "I urge Texas residents to take this storm very seriously and heed any evacuation orders given." Not earlier.


I was here for Ike...The Nat'l Weather Svc. was actually talking directly about dying in the storm surge. They got hell afterward. Galveston's mayor downplayed the whole thing till pretty much the day before the storm was due in when she finally got convinced and issued the mandatory evac.

This was generally a backlash from Rita, It looked like Rita was going to come right up Galveston Bay, and the evac wasn't coordinated - and after everybody watching Katrina EVERYBODY was getting out (didn't help that Dr. Frank was predicting people as far north as the Woodlands losing roofs). So LOTS of people got caught on the freeway (fortunately, that one 'missed' us...But anybody stuck on I45 still was in a nightmare). It took my Mom 12 hrs to get from north Houston to Dallas - and she missed the worst of the traffic. It was taking 12 hrs to get from Galveston to N. Houston.

As far as the storm surge from Ike not being that bad....there are whole communities down there that were just gone. Had the storm tracked even a few miles to the West, the Baytown refinery would have been completely inundated (can you say MAJOR impact on fuel prices?).

I live about 30 miles west of the storm track, and close to 100 miles from the coast. We had close to cat 1 winds, and ended up w/o power for 2.5 weeks.

I KNOW Jeff made those statements, and though I don't recall HGX reports (maybe the local reports labeled those releases something different) the national reports were pretty clear if you bothered to read them -- "Certain Death". I do know that I definitely saw the Mayor and of Galveston downplaying the surge risk and damage expectations a day or two before, maybe the 10th?, though the Bolivar peninsula was clearly in their watch-radius. At the time time there were many reports of rescue requests from people who thought they had another day to evac, but didn't. I was watching on cable TV from a hospital room with a sick kid, and had little to do but flip channels and check WU updates, but it's a few years stale memory now of course.

Anyway, my point is that WU (Jeff and blog comments) provided more detailed and better explanations than any "official" outlet, and that at least some of the media coverage by "local officials" was absolutely wrong in tone and detail. I do NOT include the national warnings in that mis-information -- the only problems with their predictions is that they used to update too rarely and many people focused too closely on the center of the cone rather than the entire cone plus a little bit. But really, nobody searches out the national sources on-line -- they stick with local news and TWC. More people rely on friends for info than the internet, when it comes to hurricanes, it seems.

Sept 13: "Though 1 million people fled coastal communities near where the storm made landfall, authorities in four counties alone said roughly 140,000 ignored mandatory evacuation orders and stayed behind. Other counties were unable to provide numbers but officials said they were concerned that many decided to brave deadly conditions rather than flee.

As the front of the storm moved into Galveston, fire crews rescued nearly 300 people who changed their minds and fled at the last minute, wading through floodwaters carrying clothes and other possessions."

Sept 11: "Galveston residents are gathering belongings, boarding up their homes and heading out of town after the mandatory evacuation order Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas issued this morning, said Mary Jo Naschke, a spokeswoman for the city.

“We’ve already seen tides starting to rise and that sort of thing,” Naschke said by phone from Galveston. “Everybody’s concerned, but they’re moving along just fine. It’s pretty quiet here.”

"With Hurricane Ike looming, officials have just announced the mandatory evacuation for all residents of Galveston Island, starting at noon today."

After the fact:
"Also, the word to evacuate arrived late in the afternoon or early in the evening or much later at various places here on Galveston Bay, so most people didn't leave until the next day (Sept. 11). Weather reports contintued to waffle about the direction and the intensity of the storm. It was reported as looking like it was going to be lowered to a Category 1 by at least one Houston tv station that night, prompting some people to think they could return home. There was not a great sense of urgency and certainly no knowledge of an approaching killer-surge conveyed. So many were caught by surprise and trapped. The panic must have been horrible. After the storm, government spokemen acted like the victims had been fools to stay and used them 'to teach a lesson' to those who might consider 'ignoring an order to evacuate' the NEXT time. Also, everyone in charge suddenly seemed to know the storm surge was hindsight."

There are lots of comments like this out there, along with misunderstanding that a Cat 2 with a storm surge left over from a Cat 4 is a dangerous beast. About 135 people died or are missing, IIRC.

I keep up with this site during hurricane season -

Lots of great commentary and information from people who are obsessed with storms.

For June 8 the flow according to the flow spreadsheet released at averaged 16,820 bpd for the 24 hour period.

Thanks Shelburn...great stuff for DATA hounds:

I note with interest that closing the one valve on the cap did not, by itself, cause an immediate increase in bbd collection rate.

If the flow is 16,000 how can they collect 28,000?

SHAME on the editors of TOD for allowing the flagrant, abusive, ongoing discrimination against Simmons on this forum. I have found repeated instances of people claiming that what Matt Simmons's says is not valid because of his age. Some claim that he has Alzheimer's or is somehow "off his rockers", and do so with impunity.

If he were a woman and someone said that he is probably suffering from pre-menstrual tension, I am sure that would catch Gail's attention.

Simmons has consistently been a beacon of truth in the obscure oil world. Now corporate shills, flacks, and hacks working for the multiple PR agencies employed by BP come on this web site and repeatedly make claims that Simmons is not credible because of his age.

I guess that the only claims to be taken at face value are those coming from BP, that shining icon of transparency, which puts out that laughable state-of-the-industry analysis called "BP Statistical Review" of the oil industry - a review thoroughly debunked by Simmons in his "Twilight in the Desert".

Make no mistake - BP and its lackeys are 24/7 PRESENT ON THIS FORUM planting misinformation and libeling people like Matt Simmons, who are nothing short of heroes.

If the editors of TOD would just find time in-between BP's conference calls with bloggers, they might get to the bottom of what Simmons is saying. While they are at it, they could democratically block and/or ban the posters here who are, beyond a reasonable doubt, BP's PR handmaidens.

Please calm down. If Simmons' claims turn out to have any basis in reality--which I'm beginning to suspect they might--you'll hear it here.

I noticed that as well, the correct term is "ageism" and it is being used in the context of "ad hominem" argument. That's not to suggest I agree with Simmons just that his theory should be addressed using data etc.

Also I agree with you that there is no question that BP would be lurking and trolling this and other forums. They have certainly done a stellar job at co-opting the media (particularly during the first 5 weeks).

Having said that here is a good article from the NYT

Efforts to Limit the Flow of Spill News

Some of the things Simmons is saying are flat out wrong. One prime example of this is that the BOP and well head have blown off and are not at their original location. These locations are very precisely known thanks to GPS. They have not changed.

Until these basic factual issues are reconciled everything he is saying must be taken with a large grain of salt.

Honestly not trying to pick an argument with you - do we know now that's what he was saying? I'm still trying to figure out exactly what he's claiming, let alone assess if I believe it.

I will say I think in a general sense - maybe not on the scale that he claims - it seems very reasonable to me that there could be large amounts of oil however it got into the water in larger than parts per billion or million 'plume' concentrations trapped and sloshing around at depth, and these could (literally) pop up down the road at unexpected times and places.

But GPS doesn't operate down there.

The ROVs show a location but its not a GPS or lat/long. Does anyone know what they use, and has anyone compared the co-ordinates of the BOPs with the co-ordinates in the original well plan?

If they are the same then Simmons is wrong. If they differ then that needs to be explained.

Is that a kzinti scream of rage???

Actually, I *am* interested in knowing how to read (and understand) the various versions of positional info presented on the ROV feeds.

Anybody here know about those systems?


You wouldn't be posting if it was.

(Big Toothy Grin)

I believe many of the ROVs use Lambert projection UTM coordinates. The location of the BOP is the same as that listed for MC252 well B in the well permit - the correct location.

Apparently not far enough away from the grassy knoll.

google convert utm latitude longitude

Since BP is controlling the scene of the crime do we have any independent confirmation of anything they are telling the public. Does the US gov't have an ROV down there to confirm location etc.

That said, what Simmons says does seem unlikely. If the BOP is blown off the wellhead there is no way it can be leaking any oil. The only way there could be a leak at a BOP the distance away that Simmons says (6 to 7 miles) is if it is a DIFFERENT BOP on a DIFFERENT WELL. Perhaps he is hinting at that, but if he wants to be credible he needs to clarify.

I think it would be good if TOD could interview him. Someone suggested that earlier.

I would put Matt in the same class as Soros, Pickens, and Buffett. Older gentlemen that have made a bit of dough in their lifetime and can, on occasion, say what they want to b/c they are independently wealthy. But, lets remember one thing all those guys have in common. Their main motivation is to make money and use their power to sway people and markets.

I have respect for all the above-mentioned individuals, but I do not think in a heartbeat they would miss out on making more money.

I am also sure that Matt and Boone read TOD and they are always welcome to make personal comments if they choose.

Yeah, I agree that every single financial personality in the media talks their book, Simmons included. However, between believing BP/US Government and believing Simmons, I choose Simmons.

Simmons has been lionized here on TOD on several occasions for his past accomplishments - most notably, I believe, for his well-by-well analysis of the reserves situation in KSA (which BP claims has not changed since 1989 - it has magically held steady at about 280 billion barrels over the past decades. LOL).

Unfortunately, TOD editors seem to pay much more attention to what BP and the Coast Guard say regarding the situation. While I don't know what Simmons' motivations are, I sure as heck DO know what BP's and the US Govt's agendas are.

Why anyone would waste time listening to anything coming from BP and the US Gov't is hard to fathom. Why anyone would NOT look further into claims by Simmons, while dismissing him with ageist discrimination, is beyond me.

Matt has done some wonderful things, yes. And everyone who cares about the resource depletion message should hold his past work in high regard.

But what you are saying is ridiculous. We are looking into every viable lead that has empirical proof.

Further, your claims of ageism are growing old.

It is much more that, if he has proof of what he is saying, he should disclose said proof, end of story.

For him to just lay out an argument and not lay out the evidence is an assault on his own credibility. We need not do it for him.

Prof. Goose,

I don't see why Matt Simmons needs to present empirical proof when BP is clearly under no obligation to do so.

BP claimed the flow was 1,000 barrels per day. Then 5,000 barrels per day - ***in spite of absolutely no empirical proof*** backing those claims. Yet they were reproduced and extensively analyzed here. Some said the figures were too low, some, too high, some, just right. In any case, they were discussed and analyzed.

The US Govt - not Simmons and Co. - is the organization that can measure liquid composition and concentrations in places like Saturn's smaller moons, if the Discovery Channel is to be believed. So I don't see why it should be up to Simmons to present a detailed, up-to-date map of the GOM that would allow the public to understand precisely what is going on.

The fact that BP and the US Govt. haven't presented such a map, and are blocking attempts to scope out the situation, speaks volumes about the real issue: not that Simmons is talking too much, but that BP and the US Govt. are talking too little.

You do understand that we are all calling for more data, don't you? Sure, we should be pressuring the government and others for more information and data--and I don't think anyone here disagrees with that.

However, Simmons, in order to make these claims either a) has more data than we do (which should be released by him or someone else) or b) he is guessing.

You choose.

This is ridiculous on the face of it:

I don't see why Matt Simmons needs to present empirical proof when BP is clearly under no obligation to do so.

Well, then, I guess I don't need to pay much attention to either of them.

Natural seeps can easily generate plumes of parts per billion hydrocarbons. People forget the amazing sensitivity of current measurement. You have to notice that some of the plumes are NOT from the DPW leak.

AND I resent the implication that you advocate censorship on this site based on YOUR analysis of the situation and its commenters.

The rules are clear. The site works. Leave it alone. If you don't like the rules, start a blog with your own.

What is all this anti government stuff? Government has been bailing out the corporate sector left and right over the last year and a half, but suddenly its responsible for all of this too? C'mon now -- obviously some of the government response could be improved and MMM contributed to this horrible catastrophe, but to say that listening to government as a waste of time, as you characterize it is going way overbeard and is actually counterproductive in my view..

Hi casualcannibal,

Simmons is completely wrong. Period. End of story. He has absolutely no data to back up his insane claims. He continues to make them and no one has the balls to call him on it because of his reputation. He deserves to be discredited in the loudest possible way.

He is showing classic signs of mania (something I'm an expert about). That is my guess. There are plenty of others that may be just as valid, including drinking and other types of mental illness.

If anyone tried to float the insane ramblings of Simmons on TOD they would be run out of here tarred and feathered on a rail.

Your paranoia about PR hacks, corporate shills, and BP PR agencies on this site, is just that, unfounded paranoia. Do you really think that what is said about BP on this site is going to change anything? No, it will simply educate an extremely small minority of the population.

Saying the editors of TOD have a duty to get to the bottom of what Simmons is saying is incorrect. It is up to Simmons to get his ass over here and defend his statements. You can be sure he knows what is being said about him on TOD. I doubt you will see him show up though.

As for blocking anyone, I would be careful there. Someone might suggest you be on that list ;-)

PX, dismissing an opposing view by labeling it with a pejorative e.g paranoia is no different than the holder of the opposing view using a term like oblivious in describing their opponent, in both cases nothing is added to the debate.

"He is showing classic signs of mania (something I'm an expert about). That is my guess."

You're an "expert" who is making a "guess"? *scratches head*

"There are plenty of others that may be just as valid, including drinking and other types of mental illness."

Is this still an expert opinion or just another guess?

We have tried to catch all of the ad hominems and unfounded conjectures against Simmons and remove them. If there are any that remain, please send them to my attention at the eds box: theoildrum@gmail.

We can't catch 'em all, but we try. And for those of you who are engaging in that kind of behavior, you should know better. Tear him down on the facts--that's what we do here.

Careful there cannibal, if you say something negative about BP at this site, you run the risk of having your post deleted, as I learned today. (Also many posts by a mark k were also deleted.) So cannibal, try to stay positive, speak only tech speak and say only bland things about PB here.

There has been a lot of discussion here on flow rate ... and different ways to measure this. It's worth looking at the specific details of the "Summary Preliminary Report from the Flow Rate Technical Group Prepared by Team Leader Marcia McNutt, U.S. Geological Survey" (PDF). This is the document that puts forward the two different ranges: 12,000-19,000 bbl/day, and 12,000-25,000 bbl/day.

What hasn't been discussed in many accounts is that these are ranges for the LOWER BOUND of the estimated flow rate from riser pipe. The Flow Rate Technical Group has not yet put forward a range for the UPPER BOUND. Here's what they say in the document: "The experts concluded that the effect of the unknown unknowns made it more difficult to produce a reliable upper bound on the flow rate. Therefore, they chose to simply produce a range of lower bounds from their independent analyses, all of which they thought were defendable." Thad Allen needs to be much more clear about this, and the press also needs to be more careful in their statements on "what we know." Thad Allen's comments that 28,000 may soon be collected from "top cap" is not that remarkable, if you understand the Technical Group has not yet given a range for the upper bound of the flow rate.

After hearing the seesaw of leak estimates, I finally decided to do some thinking on my own regarding DWH's possible flow. BP (and perpetuated by the gov't) has lied to us from the beginning about how much oil has been leaking into the GOM. Early numbers from them were 1,000-5,0000 bbl per day. Since then, they've proved themselves undependable to get truthful figures, i.e., BP is now saying that since the top hat was placed that they have collected as much as 15,000 bbl per day and added that the figures were about 40 percent of flow. So, right away, we see that BP has lied and that flow rates are at least upwards of 30,000 bbl per day by their own recent admission.

Needless to say, none of that has set very well with me or many others. So, I set out on a path to understand more about the whole flow-rate scenario. There are many factors associated with determining flow rate such as formation pressure, gas/oil mix, density, etc - it's endless. Those calculations would be quite complex with too many unknown variables to draw any substantial, significant conclusions. So, therefore, I decided to attempt (albeit very unscientific) a simpler means to determine, let's just say a very rough, crude guess based on some "known" variables that can be identified within the industry itself.

Based on my very rough findings, I really believe that it is quite possible that as much as 3,750,000 to 4,000,000 bbl (not gallons) may have already spilled into the GOM - or leaking about 75,000 bbl per day.

Remember, too, that we need to consider that there's been at least as much corexit used as dispersant, and reported at similar volumes. It's alleged/reported that it's use is justified as it is said to help break down oil into smaller increments for bacterial consumption. But, I also believe this tactic is used to keep the true volume of oil from being accurately measured and disclosed.

So, I took some factual information that I could find available within the industry. In this case, I found a report and determined that an oil pump on board a VLCC (very large crude container) has a pump capacity of 5,000 cubic meters per hour. Yes, I know, but bare with me. I used the VLCC pump because it is likely a "similar" pipe capacity, rate and volume for transporting oil from production rigs to tankers to being offloaded. I then converted those numbers - first to gallons, and then to bbl per hour.

I'm not pretending this is perfect. Keep in mind there are gases in the DWH collection that have to be flared off, pressure and density differences between the sea floor (and below) which all change on the way to the surface. (And, I am working on additional configs as I learn more information - such as formation pressures of 12,600 psi, confirming like-sized pipe throughput, etc). But, this is at least a start, within used industry tools and basic considerations for similar means for moving and transporting oil.

The VLCC pumps are generally said to be low pressure, high-volume pumps. Granted. And, no doubts, the pressure from DWH is considerably high and I am not attempting to include those differences here at this time. But, let's just take the VLCC's capacity and pretend it's like the little spicket in your yard, and then, all but turn it off! Turn it 90 percent off. Or even 99 percent off. That way the VLCC pump is basically a "trickle." And, imo, indicate that DWH's flow is likely considerably greater than our almost turned off oil spicket with similar pipe throughput, etc.

Then, plug in the numbers for 10 percent, 1 percent and 1/10th of one percent. I think you get the idea. At one percent the spill is still very substantial, 1.5 times greater than Exxon-Valdez through 50 days; but, if we take the 10 percent figure as possible, we can discern that the GOM spill could be substantially more catastrophic.

For me, it confirms that BP is continuing to hide the truth and this is an unprecedented epic disaster, far greater than any we've seen and certainly more than we're being led to believe.

Another 4 Day Wonder heard from.
I miss the days when nobody knew who we were.

Wharf Rat, then you give us a "reasonable" estimate, plz.

We certainly haven't gotten anything credible from BP or the government. (Except, there is a government scientific panel now saying that the gusher may top 100,000 bbl per day).

Once wharfrat gives you a reasonable estimate, what then? How does having that inexpert guess (and that is all it could be since there are no instruments capable of producing real numbers at the wellhead) make any of the ongoing operations to collect escaping oil, cap the well and deal with the oil released more efficient or more effective?

As for the fines that will be levied against BP for the escaped oil it is not up to BP to provide the numbers for the amount of oil they lost in this incident, it will be up to investigators from the Department of Justice aided by the scientific and oil engineering community and a lot of subpoenas for raw data. This is going to happen but it won't occur for years, not until the well is capped and a lot of remedial work in the Gulf has been carried out. Until then you can pretty much ignore what BP and most other breathless ROV-peepers say about flow rates and releases. The numbers from the drillship on the oil and gas being captured seem to be valid and pretty solid though.

BTW I've seen an estimate of 4 MILLION bbd escaping the well on the Internet, although after someone pointed out just how way over-the-top that was to the idiot who came out with that one he did reconsider and reduced his numbers to a bit over a million bbd instead. He was basing his methodology on the Book of Revelations...

Good post. Thanks.

For us folks on the coastline there are, at the very least, 2 things we're very immediately concerned about:

1. How much oil has gushed?
2. When will it stop?

And really, all of the answers so far have been open-ended. No one really seems to know for sure.

The lingering doubt and lack of any substantial proof is troublesome. :(

He took mushrooms too?

I tend to think that bignerd's (?) estimates are probably closest...He seems to be using either a reservoir simulator and/or nodal analysis.

Don't remember if he has been able to model multi-phase flow or not...but a decent reservoir simulator or nodal analysis package is going to have WAY more 'smarts' than what any of us can do w/ anything else because they take reservoir, pipe, and fluid characteristics in behavior.

I believe that his max range was about 50,000 unconstrained. Which fits reasonably well w/ BP's earlier congressional testimony that they thot that max unconstrained flow was in the neighborhood of 60,000.

Would you like it on Day 1, Day 3, Day 4, Day 10, B4 the riser tube, B4 the Top Kill, after the Top Kill, after cutting the riser, or now? You seem to think there is a magic number in a dynamic situation. Guess the magic number, the leak stops, you win $50.

I don't play guessing games.
I stand corrected. Peak Oil was 2005, Peak Total Liquids was 2008. I stand uncorrected. Somebody else said that.

Whart Rat, you just don't get it. LOL.

Any of us that live around the GOM are quite concerned about the leak volume and, obviously, when it it may end. We want to know. It's too bad we don't have corporations or government credible and integral enough to be more forthcoming with objective, truthful answers.

If this were at your backstep, you too, would have similar concerns. If your mission is to antagonize, please, let me suggest a few other places where your sarcasm might be well-received - like maybe "Comedy Central." There's nothing "funny" about this disaster - 4 days a member or 40 years. This is an environmental and economic disaster of epic scale and should be treated and considered no less.


If you had been around longer you would know the role that our friendly rat plays and not take umbrage.

Few are more upset than I with BP and the situation at hand {understatement ?}, but Wharf Rat is filling his useful role here at TOD.

Best Hopes for rats,


Are you saying that you think there has been as much dispersant used as oil leaked? 75,000 bbl per day of dispersant? That seems rather unlikely. I would be surprised if it were even possible for Nalco to make that much.

Anyway isn't there a new FRTG report due today? I betcha whatever range they come up with will be centered on 30,000 bpd.

No, but certainly a considerable sum of it has been used. The FRTG report, I thought, was supposed to be out tomorrow, but this link by Obama's scientific commission is being reported today and possibly indicating the leak may be 100,000 bbl per day.


(excerpt): BP’s oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico may be up to four times the scale estimated by a government scientific panel, pumping out 100,000 barrels a day in what equates to the company’s “worst case scenario” and prompting new accusations that executives are stonewalling the truth.

The news — revealed by one of the members of President Obama’s Flow Rate Technical Group, a panel that previously estimated that the flow was in the region of 12,000 to 25,000 barrels a day — counter to BP’s claims that it is now capturing “the majority” of the oil and channeling it into a tanker.

Dr Ira Leifer , a researcher in the Marine Science Institute at the University of California who is a member of the technical group, said that the oil company’s operation to cut the leaking pipe and cap it with a new containment device last week may have increased the surge of oil not by 20 per cent, as BP and the White House had warned may happen, but several times over.

“How much larger I don’t know, but let’s just quote BP,” he said, referring to the 100,000 barrel rate that BP executives indicated weeks ago would be their “worst case scenario.

According to this:

we are looking at total dispersant use "more than 1.16 million gallons" since the start of the spill.

Compared to an oil leak rate of 75,000 to 100,000 barrels, 3-4 million gallons per day according to your proposal, it is no more than 1% of the oil leakage. Considerable is a rather nebulous phrase so it is hard to argue here, but my take on it would be that the amount of dispersant being used is a very minor part of what is going on here in terms of total volume.

I will be very interested to see the FRTG report. I am very sceptical of Dr. Leifer's idea that cutting the riser increased the flow 'several fold'.

Agreed, on the dispersant part at least. Thanks.

I'm disappointed by the lack of focus on the dispersants by TOD, where perhaps the focus could make a difference. Instead the focus is on closing the barn door after the cows have left the barn.

Perhaps a starting point would be the expert panel report:

BTW, the expert panel seems to think that crude is more toxic than the dispersant rather than the commonly reported (and erroneous) other way around.

Is this the same NOAA who said they didn't see any plumes of oil underwater? The same NOAA who knew on April 22nd that the real size of the spill was 60-110K BPD?

But rather than applying such skepticism to BP's math, the Obama administration has instead attacked scientists who released independent estimates of the spill. When one scientist funded by NOAA released a figure much higher than the government's estimate, he found himself being pressured to retract it by officials at the agency. "Are you sure you want to keep saying this?" they badgered him. Lubchenco, the head of NOAA, even denounced as "misleading" and "premature" reports that scientists aboard the research vessel Pelican had discovered a massive subsea oil plume. Speaking to PBS, she offered a bizarre denial of the obvious. "It's clear that there is something at depth," she said, "but we don't even know that it's oil yet."

Scientists were stunned that NOAA, an agency widely respected for its scientific integrity, appeared to have been co-opted by the White House spin machine. "NOAA has actively pushed back on every fact that has ever come out," says one ocean scientist who works with the agency. "They're denying until the facts are so overwhelming, they finally come out and issue an admittance." Others are furious at the agency for criticizing the work of scientists studying the oil plumes rather than leading them. "Why they didn't have vessels there right then and start to gather the scientific data on oil and what the impacts are to different organisms is inexcusable," says a former government marine biologist. "They should have been right on top of that." Only six weeks into the disaster did the agency finally deploy its own research vessel to investigate the plumes.

That NOAA?

Technocratic optimism is creating a toxic soup in the GOM of unknown chemistry from which there may be no ecosystem recovery.

..And the purpose for the Obama administration to refute hard facts and dispute these unknown scientists' "proof" (that I assume you can vouch for), is what exactly (conspiracy, conspiracy, whisper whisper)?

Do you think that there might be overwhelming volumes of information, opinions, data coming from all kinds of self proclaimed as well as bonafide "scientists" , and that if you are a responsible federal agency, you might want to be able to make sure that the data from these sources is valid, reliable, that the sources don't have other agendas? How many people do you think that takes and how long and what would you say about the findings of all these unknown "scientists" until you had validated what they were presenting? Would you just report all these disparate results without any filtering or review, knowing all that is at stake?(I doubt it)

You have an anti government axe to grind. Just how you lay out your argument, you have either never worked with research or other data and certainly have never had to manage a big screw up where facts are hard to verify AND have incredible financial, legal and social implications, so need to be managed carefully. I you had, you would have more respect for all the parties in this sorry mess -- especially those trying to manage it in a responsible way. It takes no particular skill to push the panic button and scream "Fire!" in a crowded theater.

Since when is the politics section of the Rolling Stone web site an authoritative source of environmental science? Did you even evaluate the report?

In any case the panel is not NOAA. It is a group of outside experts asked by both the EPA and NOAA to evaluate the situation. The meeting report happens to be hosted on a University of New Hampshire Coastal Response Research Center web site. This center is an academic institute cooperation between NOAA and the UNH. I am sure UNH would be very annoyed at any imprecations that their academic integrity were under question, especially by such an august body as the Rolling Stone.

If you were in any way informed on the issues here you would know that there have been several significant studies of this dispersant and it's interaction with oil. The chemistry is only unknown to those ignorant of the subject matter.

You really need to get a grip.

I was going to reply to these two posts, until I realized that the posters had been members here for 5 days and 2 weeks, respectively. You never know who you're going to be talking to on these internets. TOD is a victim of its own success. Never mind.


I admit that I am new here. Does that mean I don't have a valid question or comment? You made a rather unsubstantiated accusation about the performance of a government agency and this administration. While I get that I might seem like an Obot shill to you, the questions that I asked you about the treatment of research and data from multiple and possibly unverified sources and the management of that information, is absolutely valid and relevant to the topic at hand.

You of course do not have to reply to me because of some arbitrary decision around my length of time commenting on this site. And that is a proxy for what exactly?

You of course do not have to reply to me because of some arbitrary decision around my length of time commenting on this site. And that is a proxy for what exactly?

It's just TOD snobbery. I'm surprised you haven't noticed it before now. It oozes out of certain commenters' posts.

Unfortunate, it reminds me of the sort of immature social behavior that you see in junior high schools.

Otherwise this is an excellent site. I am learning a lot here from some quite astute individuals. Proud to say I'm a contributing member now.

Agreed. It's the kind of thing that you happen to discover when looking for information about the topical, news-of-the-day crisis, but then end up following after the crisis is over because it's a worthwhile discovery.

Which is why all the old-hats of TOD should be thankful that the site is generating more traffic, rather than huffy about all the newcomers.

Unfortunate, it reminds me of the sort of immature social behavior that you see in junior high schools.

Come on this is the Internet and it's nothing like that bad. But emotion levels are higher than normal. What would you expect? For a bunch of "Peak Oilers" I still think we're one of the more rational sites on the net.

But we do miss a certain totoneila.

Are humans smarter than yeast?

At the risk of actually furthering the (necessary/exigent) conversation: the chemical composition of the two Corexit's:

I am wondering if any of the professional 24-7 blog commentators here have a link handy to that points to a non-industry study of this composition? Has any kind of consensus taken place around these parts on these chemical compounds? (I mean, in addition to all we know about the health hazards thanks to Exxon, or studies about carcinogens I've already referenced, etc). Thanks!

You were responded to quite equably, and now have chosen to strike a pose with a strawman. Like they say, get a grip, read back from the start of the site (THAT'S some info you obviously missed) and then put together a post with links to authoritative sources (Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, peer-reviewed journals, etc) and wow us with your resilience and understanding of how responsible science works.

Me, I'm just a newbie, interested in data. But after a year or two, it's possible to spot the "hair on fire" posters. Rest assured, you're not alone, and you'll be respected as you gain respect with science, not politics.

Or the EPA (I hear they're really quite "on it"). Apologies if I missed the discussion of the two Corexits' chemical composition (just recently released), but if anyone wishes to actually say something scientific (rather than gossiping about Matt Simmons, whoever he is, or BP's latest "plan") I'm all ears, and I imagine the world should be too.

Yes. It seems useless to not have an upper bound. See:

After Salazar's testimony yesterday, I'll bet one is coming soon.

This was supposed to be a post in response to a claim in the last thread that the Jones Act had interfered with obtaining foreign flagged vessels to assist with the spill cleanup.


First - I don't believe the Jones Act is holding up any needed vessels for this spill. The USCG and the administration could get the required waivers much faster than the vessels could get here. There are other reasons why they aren't using the vessels.

OTOH the Jones Act is a great impediment to US shipping and trade. Before the Jones Act the US had one of the largest Merchant Marine fleets in the world. Today there are only a handful of (maybe none) US flag vessels in international commerce because the crewing restrictions and expense and the cost of building a vessel in the US is 50% to 100% higher than building it overseas.

There are other problems with the Jones Act. During the Reagan administration I had to submit written testimony to a House Subcommittee which, at the request of a Louisiana representative, was considering amending or repealing the Jones Act. My required testimony was to explain why the company I worked for at that time - a listed NYSE American company, headquartered in the US, whose entire upper management were Americans, whose Board were all Americans, except one Brit - had a written policy not to hire American citizens or legal residents, especially divers, to work offshore in foreign waters without written approval from the Corporate office.

The entire reason for that extraordinary policy was due to the liability provisions of the Jones Act. My testimony estimated that in our company alone we had NOT hired about 700 Americans due to the Jones Act.

When I see the name Reagan mentioned, my skepticism meter pegs. Therefore I may miss the finer points that shelburn may be trying to make.

If it weren't for the Jones Act, there would be no US Merchant Marine. If there are any US owned and operated shipyards left that build merchant ships, it is because of the Jones Act. The Jones Act keeps the US Great Lakes fleet in operation, thereby maintaining at least a minimum force of competent US merchant seaman and the commerce on the Lakes that is controlled by US companies.

The Jones Act is not a "great impediment to US Shipping and Trade." It is the only reason that the US Merchant Marine still exists. If we had a larger fleet before the Jones Act, that does not mean that the Act decimated it. It just means that we didn't need the Act then.

Repealing of the Jones Act is just another item on the neocon agenda, much of which has already been achieved. (I am a veteran of the Vietnam war, and I can see the Iraq War for what it is. What did we learn in Vietnam? Say no to bullshit. But not enough of us have learned it.) It would only increase the offshoring of US jobs and manufacturing. It would benefit only those who are already rich and powerful, including the multinational corporations - those with no loyalty to anything but profit, such as BP. It would be just a further outrage perpetrated by the "Reagan Revolution", which should be called devolution because it is surely destroying this country.

shelburn, why don't we outsource your job to China? It would save some money for those who don't need it.

I love it. Watch the reaganite neo-cons start hollering when some brilliant corp exec figures out that it'll be cheaper to outsource political lobbying and spinwriting to a company in China or India....

Image of March to June concentrations of Atlantic Bluefin Tuna in Gulf of Maxico

slide from paper (Powerpoint)

Adult bluefin tuna are seasonal visitors to the Gulf, they come to breed. They have been a protected species in the GoM for over 20 years. After the adults depart the Gulf, they leave behind their floating eggs that become spawn and fry.

There is a very disturbing overlap between the spill and their two apparent breeding grounds. The oil that was entrained earlier into the Loop Current was "cut off" from the Loop Current and became an eddy heading right towards the other tuna hotspot south of Texas.

Eggs, spawn and fry do not have the ability of adults to avoid oil that adults do. And they are much more susceptible to the effects of oil.

One paper yesterday noted that another species of fish showed changes in behavior as adults if exposed as eggs and larvae to one part per trillion of one component of oil, PAH (Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons).


CNN yesterday morning (Jun 9) had a guy on who manufactured an oil absorbing material that had oil eating microbes (his claim) in it. He apparently has large quantities on hand, though nowhere near enough to do the entire spill.

He contacted BP right after the leak started but they never returned his call. He was on CNN (the first time - May 1??) soon after that and BP called and said they were "studying" his proposal.

The small demo he did on CNN showed the stuff was remarkable. Looks like sawbust. It immediately absorbed the oil (both light seen and heavy crude) and then was easily scooped up, leaving no traces of oil on/in the water.

The stuff was expensive (something like 70cents per gallon of oil absorbed) but geez. Shouldn't BP (or government) be at least giving this stuff a try? Even if only on a small area where the oil is impinging on marshland.

If it doesn't work, just from a BP PR pov it oughtta be worth a million bucks try. "See we're truly trying everything we can to clean this up." Worth a lot more than a $50m ad campaign showing Tony saying "We're sorry."

And what's the status on the Dutch skimming ships? Does anyone really know? Seems like they should have been here by now.

not to be confrontational, have you given any thought to how all these magic silver bullets will be transported to specific sites on the water, how it will be collected after absorbing the oil, how it will be stored onboard and then transported back to shore, how it will be disposed of, all in compliance with EPA and a half dozen other federal agencies? Granted, there are ways to collect oil on water, on a minor scale, with oil on water in an ice chest, but not practical in a real world situation. IMHO.

I'm pretty sure that Zamboni is hankering to field test the GLFURL 3000. They're American right? More fodder for the book.

ABCNews showed this stuff being spread around last night as well. It did look like it worked to solidify the oil and make it easy to scoop off the surface, but they also said it was very expensive and would cost billions to cover the entire oil slick.

It might be useful in limited, high threat areas but the entire Gulf? No way. As ABC pointed out last night, the reason why skimmers and other old techniques are still being used is because they are effective and work.

(unless someone uses dispersants on the oil so it won't come up to the surface, that is)

Alan, do you know of any universities or research groups that will be tracking the Bluefin this season? I wonder if they could capture and tag some adults and sample some eggs and larvae in the spill area to give us an indication of how they are doing as time goes on. Surely, with a commercial value to this fish, there is some company willing to foot the bill on all this.

No real ties. EVERYBODY is chomping at the bit I know, but what area of hundreds to concentrate oceanography on ?

Best Hopes,


NOAA and several Gulf academic institutions (notably the University of Southern Mississippi) are all working on the pelagic fish larvae question, with bluefin one of their top priorities. Unfortunately, and despite the international value of bluefin product, the expense of such larval monitoring or satellite tagging is beyond that of almost all fisheries companies, so we're dependent on federal/state agencies for funding. Despite the initial promises by BP of $500m for marine research and monitoring from this spill, it's my understanding that none of it has yet been delivered.

I posted this link on a previous thread, but you may want to check it out:

It gives a detailed explanation of a recently published paper Atlantic bluefin tuna. You could probably find more information or further research by digging around the websites of the scientists involved in the study?

I would be very skeptical of any result that attempted to assign behavior changes as a result of exposures of part per trillion. I expect it is impossible to have control on the other environmental factors so that those factors will not vary by more than that one part per trillion. I believe that would be about 10 gallons in a cubic mile of water.

The volume of the Mediterranian Sea is about 1,000,000 cubic miles. Estimates of oil spilled into it each year ar in the range of 140,000 tons. That is 280,000,000 lbs or about 46 million gallons at 6 ppg. That makes the pollution rate nearly five times the rate claimed to kill the spawn. How do the fish live in those waters to migrate to the GOM? Do you suspect that they have they undergone some genetic change?

Perhaps I've missed something in adding and subtracting all of those zeroes?

I was hoping early hurricanes would catch paths far away from the oil spill but in the infamous year 2005 already the early storms and hurricanes crossed that area. And 2010 is said to have similar patterns.
Tropical Cyclone Tracker

The NOAA forecast does not mention analog years. The Colorado State forecast mentions 2005 as one of four analog years, but only in terms of total activity, not with regards to track.

Seasonal forecasts are not very skillful, and there is really no skill in forecasting landfall or what areas of the basin or coast are most at risk at this point in time, outside of climatology:

CSU does take a stab at forecasting landfalling probabilities. I would take all this with a grain of salt.

I also just noticed that the NOAA has trained one of the 'floater' satellites on the spill area so anyone who's interested or working in the area can see general conditions, incoming storms (even a bad thunderstorm can be disruptive) and whatnot.

A peak oil question that has been niggling at me me: I've read occasional posts here going back some years but never felt I had an understanding of the characteristics of the group. It seemed to come from quite a range of the political spectrum.

My question is about those who both believe that climate change and ocean acidification and happening and are concerned about peak oil.

My first iteration expectation would have been that they would have thought either

a) "Thank god, we'll stop producing atmospheric carbon, like it or not, because we're running out of the stuff."


b) "Who cares, if we don't leave much of it unburned we're toast anyway."

What explains those who are concerned about both?

There are some people who predict peak oil means a profound economic collapse, even a population crisis, but I don't think those people form the majority on TOD. Climate change/ocean acidification and peak oil aren't mutually exclusive worries because some predict that the response to peak oil is likely to be a greater dependance on coal and not an economic collapse.

Thanks, that makes sense.

If humanity burns all available coal, we are, at a minimum, facing a massive dieoff due to Climate Change (ocean acidification and a spike in mercury in the food chain are added benefits).

Humanity will burn (or turn into plastics) all available conventional oil, I think that is a given.

If we burn the available oil S L O W E R, and use less coal as well, we will slow the rate of climate change and this will give humanity more time to adapt. And if we leave a good fraction of the coal in the ground (or at least wait 500 years), this will lower the maximum change in the climate (after 500 years, some atmospheric CO2 will be captured back into rocks).

I see a better path forward post-Peak Oil, if we will but take that path. For the USA, a happier, healthier culture with a productive, low unemployment, stable economy.

A paper of mine that models a subset of what I advocate

In twenty years, compared to a market based reaction

GDP +13%
CO2 -38%
Oil Use -22%
Employment +4%

Something for everyone !

Best Hopes,


Superb paper, thanks.

I read the paper, too. Nice work. If only rational arguments could actually sway policy . . .

I doubt very much that I am a typical person in the category you define but I do fall into it. My opinion is that we will burn all the oil we can get out at prices under $200-300/bbl which is a lot, for all practical purposes all of it. Global climate change is really about leaving some coal in the ground (zoom in to a US-China faceoff on R&D and regulatory limits). Oil is a lost cause as the technology and economics simply can't give us a cheap enough substitute. But if all the coal AND oil go into the atmosphere we're probably looking at a 5-6X preindustrial GHG concentration scenario. Most of the IPCC, Kyoto etc. was based on old 2X modeling, now 3X is just about baked in. 5-6X = Toast.

So peak oil is just part of the overall cycle and from a policy perspective, the correct approach is to decarbonize electricity and then wait for the transportation sector battle over post-conventional technology to play out. I would like it if cellulosic biodiesel/PHEV tech won, but it's a crapshoot at this point with a dozen contenders battling for probably another 20 years.

In sum, most transportation policy is a waste of time. Massive electric sector R&D is and always has been the key and the world is doing a lousy job on that.

I guess peak oil would be good news if there were a 'way out' technologically speaking but I think the social collapse would outstrip the technological adaptation. I guess I don't believe in peak oil in the strict sense anyway, more of a move to increasingly expensive resources instead of an abrupt end. Better environmental and safety regulation included, God willing.

c.) as it becomes clear that we are running out of the lifeblood of industrial civilization the decision will be to abandon controls (emission and extraction) in order to try to stave off the inevitable. And when they are gone we will burn the trees and the furniture. Therefore Peak Oil and Peak Coal will mean more hydrocarbons in the atmosphere so we are toast any way you look at it.

Could this wake people up and allow them to let industrial civilization die an early death by leaving oil and coal unextracted and unburned so that we accept the toast of industrial civilization instead of the toast of the planet? I expect not. To bad for us and the planet.

This was a good question posed by Flanker just before the last thread was closed:

The daily update on the BP website says that, "first relief well, which started May 2, continues and has currently reached a depth of 13,978 feet. The second relief well, which started May 16, is at 8,576 feet, and preparing to drill ahead."

Given water depth of just under 5,000 feet this suggests they've drilled through 9,000 feet of mud and rock with 4,000 feet left to drill. Since the last update three days ago the depth has increased by 1,000 feet.

Does this indicate therefore, that they will achieve the target depth well ahead of schedule, maybe even by month end or is there a dramatic slow down in progress at greater depths and when drilling at an angle? Or, might they be maintaining the August date for "bottom kill," in case they miss the target first time round?

deep: I do not want to misquote Rockman but, as I understand him, he has said that when the relief well begins to pump mud into the blow out well for the kill, that's when the real fun will begin. I suggest you search Rockman's prior posts and related posts for the complete explanation. I'm just giving you a rough summary of his opinion, a dangerous thing to do.

[Let me have it, Rockman.]

EL - MISQUOTE!!!! Actually you may be right...I can't remember half the crap I throw out here. So many unknowns about the condition of the csg, the other cmt jobs, frac gradients, etc, all I can do is maintain a pessimistic attitude which may prove to be unfounded. I suspect BP's biggest problem is that these factors may be as uncertain for them as they are to me.

Thanks. And ALL CAPS at that.

Could be either, I would think. Progress on the RW will necessarily slow as they approach the target, so don't look for the drilling rate to be linear.

There are some experienced drillers here that can provide a lot more detail.

When the first RW reached 12,000' it was characterized as being slightly ahead of schedule, but the difficult part of the grind was still in front of them - where delays could eat up a lot of time.

sunnv(?) posted some information about the man who is the experienced brain running the RWs. His name is John Wright. He has a very impressive resume on underground blowouts, and I believe that includes experience with DW RWs. On his last 8 RWs (I think they picked that stat because all were drilled after Boots and Coots purchased John Wright Company {he's drilled 40 RWs}), he's hit the target on the first try. Past performance is no assurance of future success, but this guy appears to be pretty good at what he does.

I know we're all rooting for Mr. Wright and crew

Mr. Wright has a great resource on his site re relief well technology


I am especially heartened to read about "Specialty kill fluids".

Yes, I noted that. You must be the reason those pages were loading so slow!

I've never worked with Mr. Wright or any of his hands but I have worked with some of the best directional drillers around and what they do at the end of 3 miles of 5.5" drill pipe can truly look like black magic. ("black magic": inside joke for the oil field trash here. BM is a drilling mud additive that makes the DP slide easier)

Is an oil slick likely to raise the surface temperature of the GoM? It seems that it should, because it slows evaporative cooling. Are the slicks widespread enough to boost the strength of a hurricane?

Dr. Jeff Masters over at wxundergound speaks about Hurricanes and the impact the oil will have on them here:

I like reading Masters but in this case take issue with his comment on Ixtoc 1 where he quotes a government source as follows: "During the Ixtoc spill, prevailing currents circulating clockwise from the blowout carried a 60-mile by 70-mile patch of sheen containing a 300 foot by 500 foot patch of heavy crude 900 miles "

Ixtoc 1 was light crude

I think you are picking apart semantics. He is a weather man, after all, not an oil man! I don't think he was referring to the technical classification of the oil coming out of the well. He is just describing what we saw on our beaches.

The oil that washed up on Texas shores was thick and black and nasty. I know, I cleaned a lot of it off my feet for years after. As it weathered a little more it was in the form of massive 1 and 2 foot thick tar mats. "Heavy" was a good way to describe it in non technical terms.


June 8 (Bloomberg) -- Hornbeck Offshore Services Inc. sued the U.S. Interior Department to lift the six-month ban on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico triggered by the deadly explosion of a drilling rig and subsequent oil spill.

Hornbeck, whose supply boats serve almost all 33 drilling rigs that were operating in the deepwater gulf, said one customer has already said it will cancel a contract as a result of the moratorium. President Barack Obama announced the ban May 27, after receiving a report by government officials in charge of exploration on the nation’s outer continental shelf, or OCS.

“There is nothing in the report that suggests OCS drilling is more dangerous today than it was on the day immediately preceding the tragic incident involving the Deepwater Horizon,” Carl Rosenblum, an attorney for the company said in a complaint filed in New Orleans federal court. Hornbeck is seeking an injunction stopping the moratorium.

Salazar failed to include in his report that the Minerals Management Service has re-inspected 29 of the 33 active deepwater rigs since the April 20 explosion, Hornbeck said. No violations were found at 27 and only 2 had minor violations, according to an inspection report cited in the Hornbeck filing.

Rockman: "Let a thousand flowers bloom." — Mao

[I know this is a misquote, but it's as it has evolved.]

Edit for typo.

This is idiotic:

“There is nothing in the report that suggests OCS drilling is more dangerous today than it was on the day immediately preceding the tragic incident involving the Deepwater Horizon,” Carl Rosenblum, an attorney for the company said

The point is not that it isn't "more dangerous", the point is that it obviously must be LESS dangerous before proceeding.

could it be that the operation would be much less dangerous if more competent supervision was on board the rig and competent management was in charge at the HQ?

I think the key is to promote normal safe practices above expediency from the management end and for rig managers and drillers to recall that it's not over till it's over, and a well is not safe till its properly sealed or producing in a controlled manner. You don't turn your back on the lion just because you think she is asleep. I am sure these thoughts are dominating the minds of all interested parties at the moment.

Two issues at minimum must be understood and rectified before resumption of deep water drilling:

1) BOPs must be equipped with redundant shear rams spaced so that at least one will not contact a joint.

2) The rig disconnect fault must be understood and rectified.

Other changes such as BOP testing at depth or redundant BOP stacks such as Statoil employs may need to be adopted. Other procedural changes may need to be adopted as well as a complete legal review and update. Corporate officers may need to be held accountable by law.

Republican leadership and the American Chamber of Commerce are arguing that the American taxpayer should help foot the bill for the clean-up. I strongly disagree with this form of corporate socialism. If BP or any company cannot cover the risk of their business activities, then they need to get out of the business. The fact that this is being discussed indicates the inadequacy of current law.

Totally agree with you... this is completely unacceptable to consider that the taxpayer should foot this and we must fight it tooth and nail

valv -- can't prove it of course but I would bet lunch that drilling in the DW GOM is much safer now as a result of the BP blow out. Think any operator would take a chance on a cmt job if they haven't thoroughly tested it? Never be risk free of course. But I bet the next operator who displaces a riser has half a dozen hands watching the mud returns.

Try to get a subprime loan today.

As ROCKMAN points out, the risk has surely decreased after the accident. The attorney's argument is still wrong and misleading. Even though the accident didn't increase the actual risk, it has sharply increased rational estimates of the actual risk. What to do in response is a separate question.

Eric -- Good point about the change in perception of risks. Perhaps if the public had a clearer picture of the risks involved they MIGHT have influenced the gov't to be more diligent. Granted, that's a big if. Seems like society often doesn’t want to hear about potential problems. Sorta like many folks attitude towards Peak Oil.

Sorta like many folks attitude towards Peak Oil.

YEP !!!

The mother of all social disasters, arriving at an economy near you soon !

Best Hopes for Preparing, even during the last "hours" before,


I'm reposting this question, because the thread got retired right after i posted.
I have a question for the experts around here. I've been reading for a while that there are some restrictions in the BOP that are preventing some flow. I've also read that some of these restrictions are getting bigger as the flow is eroding them. Would it be possible to attempt to operate the BOP again to "take up the slack" so to speak compensating for the erosion?

No one here knows for sure except to deduce logically from the actions taken so far. BP tried to operate the rams with ROVs early in the game. They have not tried since despite re-working the hydraulic controls to enable the top kill attempt. If it were possible and they thought it would help I am sure they would have tried it - especially during the kill attempt when they might have benefited from restricting the leak as much as possible.

some seemingly-sensible people on TOD have mused that they are worried that the well casing below the BOP could be very fragile, even more fragile than it was earlier. If they closed it up, the worry is that oil could possibly burst out & come up through the seafloor.

No-one knows how big a risk this is, it is only conjecture. BP isn't saying, but they probably have a good idea.


don't forget the radioactive imaging that was done on the BOP stack which, as far as I know, the details of which have yet to be released. BP and the Gov't know a heck of a lot more about the condition of the BOP stack and what's inside of it than we do. Probably has something to do with the lack of additional attempts to close the rams etc.

First off, thanks for the great site and outstanding contributions of all! This is hands down the best source of information on the Gulf situation.
I was looking at the feeds and it appears to me the flow under the cap has increased since yesterday. SKANDI ROV 2 is looking at what appears to be two flapping pieces of thick wide material. Is that a rubber skirt that has come apart at the bottom of the cap?

I've been watching this intermittently since the cap was placed, and I don't think you can tell much by looking. Too many variables. One might be able to make better judgments about the image if he knew what the vents were doing, what was currently being collected up top, and what was currently being pumped in at the bottom (e.g. methanol), the strength and direction of deep currents, etc. Otherwise a futile excercise, IMHO.

Good catch! It blew a gasket.

Understood this was a loose exclusion seal designed for some positive pressure and keep out the sea water. Likely to be tougher? Think this may be related to the extra 'cap-dance' we saw last night. Increased 'chatter' at higher delivery rates. (Allen)

h/t houhpc for making these real handy

Comment to the article....
It is about time, that the price at the pump starts to reflect the REAL cost of oil / fossil fuels including improved safety, costs to reduce pollution, costs to clean up after drilling etc.

Maybee you americans was shocked of gasprices of 4 USD / gallons, but we here in Europe at the moment pay 2 dollars per LITER!

So get used to higher oil prices, and adapt to them, as we have had to adapt to them since 1973, where the arabs closed the olitaps to europe, and we faced severe energy shortages.
You have, generally speaking, been spoiled by way to cheap energyprices so far. So cheap, that it in my opinion has generally clouded the desitionmaking towards energy for the awarege american.

So lets jump up energyprices in the US to what we pay in Europe, which as of today in my country are 7.2 US dollar per gallon at the pump !!!!

Tax the oilindustry heavyly and use the money for a fund to develop and manage clean-up equipment, and spills.

With gasprices of 7.2 usd/gallon you will quickly learn the benefits of a good isolated house, a small energieffecient car, and how to preserve energy in general, as the europeans have had to do for the past 37 years.

You will soon come to the conclution, that with prices on fussil fuel in the region of 7 - 10 USD/gallon renewables become a competetive alternative to oil - and it dosen't pollute the environment, så your children will also have a future.

So seen from the other side of the pond, we couldn't care less, if a hurrycane or 3, brings the gasprices in the US to 4 gallons or more, due to shortages.

In my view, it could only be an incentive for the US to finally reduce oilconsumption and start new incentives to become less dependent of fossil fuels.

Now - make the oilcompanies world wide pay heavely for their pollution, proper safety, and cleanup equipments and celeanup effords, snd lets then see what the REAL price of fossil fuels are....

As of now, its far, far to cheap.

According to a CNN story at, "The main factor in price disparities between countries is government policy, according to AirInc, a company that tracks the cost of living in various places around the world. Many European nations tax gasoline heavily, with taxes making up as much as 75 percent of the cost of a gallon of gasoline, said a spokesperson for AirInc."

And according to the Wikipedia entry for "Fuel Tax" (documented in more detail on the Wikipedia page) at

- Germany: "That adds up to prices of €1.03 per litre for ultra-low sulphur Diesel and €1.22 per litre (approximately USD 6.28 per US gallon) for unleaded petrol (March 2009)."

- Netherlands: "In total, taxes account for 68,84% of the total price of petrol and 56,55% of the total price of diesel."

- Norway: "The fuel tax for regular fuel pumps (gas stations) in Norway contributed to 63% of the fuel price in 2007 (The tax was USD 1.42 per litre 95 RON petrol)."

- United Kingdom: "Thus without tax, the retail price would be 27.91p per litre, making a combined tax rate of 222%."

Whether that has to do with governments exploiting transportation for tax revenue or out of environmental concern may be debated.

What is factually supported? The expense of fuel in European countries is by and large dramatically increased due to heavy government taxation.

Put differently, fuel is MUCH more expensive in Europe than America due to very heavy fuel taxes imposed in Europe.

P.S. - In response to: "You have (Americans), generally speaking, been spoiled by way to cheap energyprices so far." Perhaps your perception has been slanted or made bitter by "way" too high fuel tax policies.

P.P.S. - In response to: "So seen from the other side of the pond, we couldn't care less, if a hurrycane or 3, brings the gasprices in the US to 4 gallons or more, due to shortages."

That would jeopardize countless jobs in the midst of an already fragile economy. It would be nice if you cared about them.

It would also be preferable to focus your frustrations on reducing the fuel tax rates in your country rather than advocating the fuel prices in another country be raised.

If we do that, why stop at $4? Why not $8? Or $10? What's the "correct" point to stop at that balances "an incentive for the US to finally reduce oilconsumption" vs. genuine demand for fuel? And when will that "incentive" be deemed to have "worked" and be removed? Or would that be a permanent "incentive"? And if Europe raises their fuel tax rates, should we be expected to match their every move? Where does it end?

US fuel prices are going up regardless post-Peak Oil. Why not give people a LITTLE warning and keep some % of the money in country ?

(BTW, one reason for high gas taxes world wide is that it is imported. Money leaves the nation. Except for oil exporters like Venezuela (11 cents/gallon) Saudi Arabia 37 cents/gallon, etc.)

I would advocate a 6 month delay (to allow a head start on adjusting), then gas taxes increase 3 cents/gallon/month for 20 years (with quarterly inflation adjustments). Minimal immediate pain but lots of warning of what is to come.


Alan: The problem with your idea is that it makes sense. And you can't put it on a bumper sticker. Therefore, it needs some work.

@positive flow - nobody here thinks bad of the awarege american, and I for one feel with those out of job etc. both here and in the US during the current finansial crisis, as well as the BP made oildisater that has hit the Gulf.

Anyway - you've been "spoiled" be cheap energy, and thus overuse energy to an extend that severly hurts your economy. A big part of the US defecit comes from importing energy.

Generaly speeking, your cars only get halv the milage compared to the european ones, and your homes are generaly insuficient insulated, so energi are wasted on heating / cooling, compared to whats really nessesary. So even your energy are still cheap, many end up paying too much, simply because they use way to much energy, due to too little energyconservation.

In Europe lots of the tax on fossil fuels go in to supporting the shift to windpower, solarpower, developing new renewabl technologies etc, so that the taxes are given to the renewables as subsidies to kickstart them to a level where the can sustain themselves.

So when I pau 8 dollor for a gallon of gas at the pump, I support new development of for instance windenergy or solar energy.

And that makes sence.

From the archives

Operation Sombrero (sound familiar?)

"Operation Sombrero was an innovative solution was an innovative solution from Brown & Root to capture oil from the (Ixtoc 1) blowout."

Wow, Ocean Intervention III ROV 1 just landed on the bottom and is checking it out...some sea life passing by...some ramblin' ROVs going on this AM.

The Viking Poseidon ROVs are playing a game of 'try to put the socket on the riser bolt' again too. It is painful to watch, like somebody is playing a cruel joke on a rookie ROV pilot. ROV 1 is just returning from a trip topside to get something... I wasn't watching to see what the round trip was about.

There is a seriously large riser unbolting tool being hoisted down to the Viking Poseidon ROVs.

At risk of mentioning something, that may have been discussed earlier, ...when I have had time to peruse the threads, I notice that mention of removing the bolt and nuts is near impossible.. I wonder if anyone has thought about a nut cracker... on steroids. It is a common tool used by mechanics in the field, on smaller nuts of course.. and it might have to be built for this job, but it might provide a way to remove the nuts or make them removeable.... removing the bolts might be another story...

They have the tool that is designed to install and remove them down there now and they are trying it. It is a very large hydraulic torque wrench.

They finally seem serious about it - hope they succeed.

I could be wrong, but they seem to be moving the hydraulic arm to make a clockwise rotation (looking from the nut side), which would indicate that the bolts are reverse thread? Or are they practicing tightening?

This just in: "BP noted the fall in its share price in US trading. The company is not aware of any reason which justifies this share price movement."

BP fails at failing.

Back up 8% today. Lots of volatility amongst rumors? Having the US Chamber of Commerce say the gov't should cover much of the costs probably helped a lot.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce.....A seething pit of Socialists vipers.

I wonder how their "Bail Out BP!" bumperstickers are selling?

"Now, I ain't one to go 'round spreadin' rumors,
Why, really I'm just not the gossipy kind,
No, you'll never hear me repeating gossip,
So you'd better be sure and listen close the first time!"

Heard they have a small, ongoing profit eating monster in the Gulf of Mexico.

On Tuesday, Nate Hagens posted a link to video of the Actinia blowout (1993, Vietnam). As a point of comparison, this blowout was estimated to be releasing 500mmcf/d of gas, which can be seen visibly boiling the surface. I'm estimating the platform to be around 100' square in surface, with the boil visibly about the same size. Seen from the side it appears to be boiling 10-15' above the surface.

Compare this to the numbers we are getting from MC252B: 30mmcf/d, around 1/16th the volume of the Actinia blowout, and that's what's actually being captured and burned off. 1/16th the volume of Actinia, one would expect to disturb the surface at 1/16th the surface, or around 25' diameter boil, which is nothing like (as Simmons says) the "little 4 foot" thing we're seeing on the video.

Please, technically inclined TODers, shoot this down so I can sleep at night.

No expert here, but:
1) The gas amount is estimated -- no meaningful measurement could ever be made of shallow-gas blowout.
2) Depths may be considerably different
3) The Actinia blew and self-sealed quickly, IIRC. Some reports say a sub-sea seam ruptured, vented, and collapsed. Likely there was a short period of heavy venting?
4) Unlike jack-ups, semi-subs are pretty resilient to a gas eruption.

Apparently gas blowouts happen pretty often, just nobody much cares if there isn't a big fire and a lot of oil and death involved.

This is a quickie YouTube of the Dutch Koseq system, 6 units of which, I believe, have arrived in the Gulf region for deployment (pending CG approval).

Oh no. Looks like the GOP and Chamber of Commerce are going socialist on us. They want the taxpayer to foot the bill for cleaning up BPs mess. Look for more of this twisted logic as poor little BP seeks to avoid responsibility for its reckless corporate conduct.

Congressional Democrats and the White House are toying with different ways to force BP to cover the costs of damages from the Gulf oil spill. But they face stiff opposition from industry...and it seems leading Republicans. In response to a question from TPMDC, House Minority Leader John Boehner backed Tom Donohue, President of the Chamber of Commerce, in saying taxpayers should help pick up the tab.

"I think the people responsible in the oil spill--BP and the federal government--should take full responsibility for what's happening there."

On Friday, Donohue made clear that he opposes efforts to stick BP, a member of the Chamber, with the bill. "It is generally not the practice of this country to change the laws after the game," he said. "Everybody is going to contribute to this clean up. We are all going to have to do it. We are going to have to get the money from the government and from the companies and we will figure out a way to do that."

The Chamber is extremely influential in Republican politics, so on that level it's not particularly surprising that Boehner has Donohue's back on this one. But the politics of asking the federal government (i.e. taxpayers) to help cover the multi-billion dollar cleanup and rescue efforts are deadly. Look for Democrats to jump all over this one.

Rather outrageous. Externalities seriously need to be brought back to their source in order for an economy to work properly. Fortunately this one has very little chance of going anywhere.

The Federal Government did contribute to this - clearly they failed big time to properly regulate the industry, but ultimately the liability lies with BP.

Is there no refuge from partisan blogs e.g. TPM? The politicians left right and center for the most part have exhibited poor leadership and poor crisis management in the handling of the BP oil spill. Within in the ranks of Democrats and Republicans alike, there has been no shortage of hipocracy, dishonesty and corruption.

TPM is one of the most credible and respected news blogs in existence. It has won numerous main-stream journalism awards. It has been around since 2000 and is run by professional and highly reputable journalists. Yes, it leans left, but it is open about that and draws a clear line between its reporting and editorializing. It is not like fox news or the drudge report.

More importantly, they often get scoops the traditional media miss. They have actual reporters in D.C. covering the WH and congress. It's not just a blog with opinions. They are real journalists.

Tom Donohue, President of the Chamber of Commerce: "It is generally not the practice of this country to change the laws after the game,"

That would still be a good model to follow, despite the current mayhem in the gulf. The US needs to encourage investment to pull itself out of the recession, so changing the laws would add an element of political risk to many business decisions affecting current and future projects.
For example, check out Australia's new proposed "super tax" on mining projects, which has the potential to curtail investment in new developments.

Here's more detail on the Chamber of Commerce position from ABC news (yes, I know they lean right, but we'll let it pass).

The head of the United States Chamber of Commerce said Friday that his group is not yet lobbying against legislative efforts to raise BP’s liability cap, viewing the issue as not yet "ripe."

He signaled, however, that his group would figure out a way to get the government to share in the cost of cleaning up the Gulf Coast.

“It is generally not the practice of this country to change the laws after the game,” said Tom Donohue, the president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “. . . Everybody is going to contribute to this clean up. We are all going to have to do it. We are going to have to get the money from the government and from the companies and we will figure out a way to do that.”

Donohue made his remarks during a roundtable with reporters sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor in Washington, D.C.

The event came at a time when the BP liability cap is coming under increasing scrutiny.

At present, BP’s liability bill is capped at $75 million.
BP has pledged to pay economic damages in excess of the $75-million liability cap.

Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., believes that pledge does not go far enough and has introduced legislation which would raise the liability cap from $75 million to $10 billion.

ABC News’ Alexander Pepper contributed to this report.

And to those who protest that this is not a partisan issue, unfortunately it is. Democrats in Congress are seeking to lift (or eliminate entirely) the cap on liabilities that BP has for cleaning up after its spill. Republicans have blocked every effort to do so. Unfortunately, politics is a big piece this mess. There's no way around it.

UPDATE: Boehner is apparently walking back his comments and taking the position the BP should pay for clean up:

When I read that, my jaw dropped. Even John Boehner couldn't be that crazy, could he? So I contacted his office and asked for clarification. Boehner's spokesman, Michael Steel, said Boehner hadn't heard Beutler's question and that he believes that BP should be exclusively responsible for the costs of the spill. Quoting from Steel's e-mail to me:

"The numbnut from TPM mumbled and Boehner didn’t understand what he was asking."

"Boehner made a general statement about who is responsible for the spill, and the federal government oversight was clearly lacking, but he has said repeatedly that BP is responsible for the cost of the cleanup."

I then turned to Beutler and asked him whether it was possible Boehner had misheard him and what the question was that he'd posed to Boehner. Beutler's response:

Not at all. I was front row, and the question was: "do you agree with Tom Donohue of the Chamber that the government and taxpayers should pitch in to clean up the oil spill?"

It's hard to imagine Boehner answering the question if he he didn't hear it, but I wasn't there. Video would help, and it shouldn't take long to find out whether there are any recordings of this, but I suspect Boehner himself is going to need to address this in his own voice rather than that of a spokesperson -- even if it does mean walking back his apparent support for Donohue.

Apologies for the multiple posts on this side issue, but threre were updates. I realize this is not a political forum, but it is an important side issue.

Democrats and Republicans are engaged in rhetorical games now, as they always are, and especially in this Congressional election year. The political rhetoric should all be taken with the proverbial grain of salt. No matter what any politician says, U.S. taxpayers will ultimately get stuck with a large cleanup bill, because people will demand the mess be cleaned up, and neither party can ignore that.

Further Update:

It appears that Boehner's position is somewhat equivocal. He appears to take the position that BP pays all oil clean-up costs, but only up to the $75 million liability cap on damages to fishermen, property owners, municipalities, etc.

That would be consistent with the Chamber's position, and with the GOP efforts to block repeal of the $75 million cap. That means the taxpayer would likely end up footing disaster relief for those folks of some sort. How would some of them survive otherwwise?

It may be a moot issue as noted below.


No one disagrees that BP is on the line for the clean up. And the numbers tossed around for that job are in the billion or two billion range. The question is whether they have the liability for the damage. Under current law, their liability for the damages are capped at $75 million, in other words, virtually nothing compared to the true scale of the liability. That cap could be thrown out if BP is found to have acted with gross negligence or violation or certain federal regulations. But let's set that aside for the moment. The question is who's going to pick up the tab for everything else? BP or the federal government with some sort of massive rescue bill?

There's a move afoot to raise or get rid of the cap altogether. BP and the Chamber of Commerce is fighting tooth and nail to prevent that. That's what Tom Donohue was talking about last week. And that's what our reporter asked Boehner about today. Boehner's office is now saying he misunderstood the question and they're sending quotes around to reporters with Boehner saying he thinks the government shouldn't pay for the clean up. But no one ever said the government would pay for the clean up. It's who pays the really big money -- the damages.

So we've asked repeatedly whether Boehner agrees or disagrees with Donohue about BP having to pay damages. They refuse to answer the question. And there's your answer.

Ok, so let me get this straight a Republican by the name of Boehner, wants to shaft the American tax payer? Yet he opposes sticking BP with the bill. Wow! I bet every stand up comic from here to Timbuktu will get a rise out of that one.
Makes perfect sense to me!

It seems to me that the current BP claims of 15 kbd+ seem inconsistent with either the original 12-19 kbd "estimate" (plus 20% increase due to removal of the riser obstruction) or the current, very energetic outlfow from the cap.

Are they still making the claim that their are capturing the "great majority" of the flow, or was this always an aspirational statement?

Their statements of their topside processing ability seem suspect as well, given they have been nominally exceeding it for a couple of days now, according to their tally of the take.

The issue has further become confused with the "flow group" saying their published range was "minimum". Their "maximum" was unpublished, seemingly for political reasons (it was too high for comofort). So the group's work also seem compromised to a large extent.

Do we need an actual independent set of scientists here, a group that is not beholdent to either BP or the government?

I posted this earlier, but only seconds before the thread closed... Story of my life...

As Shelburn mentioned in an earlier post, Wereley (see his flow analysis before cutting the riser) was assuming that only oil is flowing out of the riser. Using the BP data from the LMRP collection system, we see a GOR of about 2,100 (maybe a bit lower now). From the Flow Group report, we also know that the mouth of the 19.5" ID riser was bent reducing its opening to about 70% of its original area.

With a GOR of 2,100, the oil fraction is 38% vol/vol. Using the previous values, the oil flow would be 18,400 bopd from the riser. With another 9,200 bopd coming from the kink at the top of the BOP, this brings the total flow to 27,600 bopd before the removal of the riser. With a GOR of 3,000, this flow would go down to 23,700 bopd.

When the riser was removed, the pressure drop decreased and the flow from the top of the BOP increased. If we use the max 20% increase bounced around, the flow may have gone up to 28,500 bopd. Of course, there is significant uncertainty in all these calculations. The Flow Group report estimates it to +-40%.

I have not seen any PIV measurement data from the HD videos recorded after cutting the riser.

I have a question on the blog post concerning the new riser. I remember reading somewhere that BP was planning on building some sort of underwater storage tank for use during hurricanes. Is this a 'real' idea or just another one of the dumb ideas?

BP is as informative as ever, but there appears to be a "Super Rush" job for BP that may be for just that purpose. Rumor grade info.


The following analysis was first (?) brought to light by tvhawaii on June 4th.

The original source is from elsewhere on the web.

The original author felt the need to preserve his anonymity.... and judging by his familiarity with the event, he may have had very good reason to wish for same.

(I am NOT the author, and do not have any related information. I just thought bringing the article back to light would be of use.)

Peter B.


(Anonymous Source)

"The following is my theory on what happened on April 20th. I have listed factual information to the best of my knowledge, and base this theory on 33 years of experience working on these rigs, with 16 years working as a consultant worldwide. The contractor (Transocean in this case) typically does not do anything without direction and approval from the operator (BP in this case). I believe that there was nothing wrong with the BOP, or the conduct of the crews prior to the catastrophic failure. If any operator drills a similar well using the same flawed casing and cement program, the same results will be very possible.

The well was drilled to 18,360 ft and final mud weight was 14.0 ppg. The last casing long string was 16 inch and there were 3 drilling liners (13 5/8", 11 7/8" and 9 7/8") with 3 liner tops. A 9-7/8" X 7" tapered casing long string was run to TD. The bottom section of casing was cemented with only 51 barrels of light weight cement containing nitrogen, a tricky procedure, especially in these conditions.

The casing seal assembly was set in wellhead and pressure tested from above to 10,000 psi. Reportedly, a lock down ring was not run on the casing hanger. The casing string was pressure tested against the Shear rams, only 16.5 hours after primary cement job. A negative test on the wellhead packoff was performed.

The rig crew was likely lead to believe that the well was successfully cemented, capped and secured. Normally a responsible operator will not remove the primary source of well control (14.0 ppg drilling mud) until such conditions were met. However, the crews were given the order to displace heavy mud from riser with seawater, prior to setting the final cement plugs. They were pumping seawater down the drill string and sending returns overboard to workboat, so there was limited ability to directly detect influx via pit level. This is the fastest way to perform the displacement operation, and the method was likely directed and certainly approved by operator. There was a sudden casing failure during this displacement procedure that allowed the well to unload, with ignition of gas and oil. Evidently, the crew was able to get the diverter closed based on initial photographs, showing flames coming out of diverter lines.

It is likely that pressure built up between the 9 7/8" and 16" casing under the casing hanger, due to gas migration from the pay zone. Based on reported mud weight, the reservoir formation pressure is in excess of 13,000 psi. The pressure building in the cross sectional area below the casing hanger would have increased casing tension and caused casing to collapse and part (rapidly separate) at a connection, probably a joint or two (50' or 90') below wellhead. The collapse pressure for 62.8 ppf 9-7/8" casing is +/- 10,300 psi. However, the collapse resistance of casing is considerably reduced in presence of axial stress (i.e. tension). Engineers - see formula from API bulletin 5C3, section 2.1.5 and run the math. The well then came in violently through parted casing and caused the blowout. Without lockdown ring on hanger, the casing hanger and joint(s) were slingshot up into BOP. That would explain why all components of the BOP are unable to seal or shear. The parted casing section remains across all BOP ram cavities and probably all the way up into the riser.

Shortcut #1: Running a tapered long string rather than a liner with 9-7/8" liner top packer, followed by tieback string and pumping heavy cement all the way to seabed. Perhaps the original permits for this casing program were based on a planned appraisal well, and changed midstream to a producer well, then hastily approved by the complacent or under-staffed MMS. This tragic shortcut may have saved about 1.5 rig days.

Shortcut #2: Insufficient time was used to cure the mud losses prior to cementing the open hole reservoir section, depending instead on using lightweight cement to prevent losses to the formation.

Shortcut #3: The nitrified primary cement job. This is difficult to pull off, even under ideal conditions.

Shortcut #4: Hanger without lock ring may have used due to the previously unplanned long string, and to avoid waiting for hanger with lock ring to be fabricated or prepared.

Shortcut #5: No cement evaluation logs were performed after a job with known high calculated risk (mud losses to formation). This shortcut may have saved 8 hours of rig time.

Shortcut #6: Pressure testing casing less than 24 hours after cement in place can expand the casing before the cement is fully set. This shortcut can "crack" the cement and create a micro annulus which will allow gas migration.

Shortcut #7: Displacing 14 ppg mud from 8000 ft MDRT with 8.7 ppg seawater, less than 20 hours after primary cement is in place. How many tested and proven barriers can you count? I count zero satisfactory barriers. Industry standards dictate that at least two tested (to maximum anticipated pressure) barriers are in place prior to removing the primary source of well control (weighted mud or brine)."


it is a good analysis but then again hindsight is 20-20 .....but most of these points can be argued both ways.....

shortcut#1 - there is really nothing wrong with running a tapered string long as cement is pumped all the way down....similar approaches have been used all over the GOM ...a cheaper approach YES ...but not wrong from an engineering perspective

SC # 2 -- this is correct

SC # 3 - there is nothing wrong with using nitrified is used all over again ....what has not come to light is what excess was used...cmt calculations need to account for nitrified cmt delivery ....simply put 30-40% excess is used....but this is a tested approach and not cause for concern in itself..infact in highly deviated holes it is the preferred option...why it was used in a vertical hole is a pause for thought but then nothing that is wrong here..

SC # 5 -- again this has been has focused on the CBL a CBL log only proves zonal isolation for a completion job....NOT to check for cmt integrity and if used the results are always ambigious .....because here a nirtified cmt delivery was used...the problem with this process is a higher than normal chance of micro-annuls forming...a CBL log DOES NOT check for micro-annulus how a CBL log would have helped here I dont understand....a leak-off test is the only correct option here....would have been a good practice to run a CBL here but not a requirement...

SC # 6 -- this is correct and the major cause for concern....nitrifed cmt delivery requires a longer WOC time (waiting on cmt) than the normal cmt approach ....the small WOC time is what started a hain reaction of problems IMHO

SC # 7 - correct but again ties into WOC times...the displacement of the mud without good WOC times again was not the best idea but the returns should have been monitored ...especially since the company man knew he was cutting it close ...the company man should have been HIMSELF watching returns ...anything bubbling downhole could have been countered if needed

most of the things are bad judgment calls with nothing to do with bad processes being employed ...just my 2 cents ....once a well blows and leaks like this one...looking back every decision seems like the worst possible decision ...


Good post. People seem to forget that this well was under control all the way down. Finally trip out with tools and ren pipe string, still under control. I'd think that there would have been many opportunities from that to observe a loss of mud or circulation it it was occuring. Something was miscalculated on that last cement job in the cement volume or the cure time or both.

SC # 6 -- this is correct and the major cause for concern....nitrifed cmt delivery requires a longer WOC time (waiting on cmt) than the normal cmt approach ....the small WOC time is what started a hain reaction of problems IMHO

Didn't the Halliburton CEO testify that the wait before pressure testing was the time Halliburton recommended? Will have to go back and check.

C # 7 - correct but again ties into WOC times...the displacement of the mud without good WOC times again was not the best idea but the returns should have been monitored ...especially since the company man knew he was cutting it close ...the company man should have been HIMSELF watching returns ...anything bubbling downhole could have been countered if needed

Senior Toolpusher Miles Ezell named the person he said was specifically tasked to monitor mud returns at the time of the incident. The person he named was scheduled to give evidence to the Hearing (on the same day) but did not appear.

Didn't the Halliburton CEO testify that the wait before pressure testing was the time Halliburton recommended?

I'm pretty sure the same thing was said in testimony by one of the rig crew at the time, in the Kenner, LA-based investigation. I haven't paid much attention to what the bigwigs have said, though, so maybe a CEO said it too.

I also seem to recall some mention of centering devices, used to center casing in the borehole. Probably something I read here on theoildrum. I have no expertise in this area, I just go by what I read. It seem that the contractor recommended 30 centering devices, but BP management agreed to 7. It also seems, if I recall correctly, that 30 was considered "best practice," but 7 was "acceptable." For those who know, how important is good centering of the casing? And, could misaligned casing have contributed to the loss of well control?

Centering is intuitively important when tighter than normal clearances for the cement are used.

I vaguely remember questioning @ Coast Guard inquest in Kenner about tight clearances (between 9 /34" and 7" ??) for cement.


good centering is important because it minimizes axial loading on the casing ....this was a vertical hole and I am not surprised BP did not agree to 30 ....10-15 is what most operators would agree to in vertical holes .....also it makes sense since nitrified cmt delivery takes care of tighter clearances .....the way nitrified cmt delivery works is ...nitrogen is added to fluff out the slurry ....this make the slurry more mobile and can move well through tight spots and find its way along ziggy zag flow paths ......

I would bet my 5 bucks ...if the caliper log is released will show a crappy hole ...combine that with the 7 centralizers ....nitrified cmt would really make sense here then ...

just ran a quick calculation .....out of 1,192' of open hole drilled with @ 8 3/4", running a 7" csg, volumetircs come to 0.0268 bbls/ft so running up a total of 1,192' the volume of cmt needed is or a total of 31.9456 bbls (32 bbl) of cement required to fill "newest hole dug" annulus.

so 32 bbl of cmt required and 51 bbl of cmt were pumped in ....equates of excess of 19 bbl or 59% this is plenty of excess cmt by any standards ....atleast on paper things seem right......
in real life drilling ---- the caliper log is needed here to see what the actual avg dia of the open hole was ....this calculation assumes a good consistent caliper log which is hard to imagine given the well history in march and april if the caliper log is not available more than likely this whole calculation is not worth putting any comfort in ......same caulcuations need to be run with using the avg hole dia from the caliper log to work out if enough cmt with enough excess was pumped in .....

My apologies if this has been asked and answered a dozen (or a hundred) times before, but...

What physically supports the wellhead and BOP? What keeps them from sinking into the mud which (so I understand) is many feet deep at the seabed in the vicinity?

Is it only (or mostly) the strength of the (remaining) well casing? If so, with gaps or compromises in the casing, how is it that the BOP is still relatively stable?


Peter B.


Step One is pile driving a 24' to 36' casing down into the mud a few hundred feet. Drilling work inside that.


What Alan states is true for bottom supported rigs like jackups or barges. In floating operations in the GOM the 36" is jetted in and once the prescribed depth is reached then the casing is held in tension until the formation can develop a skin friction large enough to support the weight of the casing. You have such a large surface area that it does not require alot of friction to hold the casing in place. Once the casing is self-supporting the next hole section is drilled and the next string of casing is run and cemented to the sea floor. In effect, you are creating a very large pile.

The wellbore profile can be found here.

Halliburton apparently documented their disagreement w/ BP on this point saying that 'they could (would?) have SEVERE gas flow issues' w/ the fewer number of centralizers.

Media reports of the hearings said that:

a) yes - very small clearance between hole and casing (something like 3/8 - 3/4").

b) HBT recommended 21 centralizers. There were only 6 of the right configuration on the ship - so they went w/ 6. So HBT covered it's hind assets w/ the above documented statement.

TTwin --

3/8 - 3/4" seems like a little exaggerated ...and i dont really see how anyone can come up with this number or even this tight range without looking at the caliper log ......

given halliburton advised 21 centralizers .....again points to a high chance that the caliper log showed a hole in bad shape the only way for a csg to run in hole is a hole that is wider than what is expected and not narrower :) IMHO i can say with a high degree of confidence that 3/8" - 3/4 sounds unreasonable and probably something CNN would report given their outstanding job of pulling information out of their ass interms of this whole incident ....

a disagreement on centralizers between operators and contractors is very common really.......if I was the drill engg and halliburton wanted 21 on a vertical hole....i would need some convincing too.... not to say its not happened...I ran 38 centralizers as recent as 4 months ago on a less deeper hole but i needed to be convinced by schlumberger ...took not their field techs but a senior engineer to convince me ...point being such instances are common and in itself nothing thats not part of routine work...thats why there are techs , engineers and senior engineers to provide many heads and levels of knowledge to counter such problems at different levels just like any other industry


The wellbore is a little different then what we were led to believe. There is only a couple of hundred feet of 8-1/2" hole at the very bottom. Most of it is 9-7/8". This will effect your cement volume calculations and you will find the top of the cement well short of the previous 9-7/8" casing shoe. My initial calculations were the same as yours.

Obviously BP ran some sort of under reamer above the rotary steerable. If you notice, they did it in every section which makes sense given the tight clearances.

As I understand it, by design, posts here at the Oil Drum can not be 'followed' by web search engines. There may or may not be good reason for this, but whatever that reason, it seems to me the information available here is probably the _best_ available on the web, and ought to be more accessible.

Is there a way for the Oil Drum mods to open the Deepwater Horizon threads (at least) to the search engines?


Alternatively, I would suggest that a daily 'best available knowledge' post be placed immediately below Prof Goose's introductory post that would explain in brief (and cite the sources that explain in detail) the situation and problems at hand... especially with respect to the probable cause(s) of the blowout; the known (and likely) mechanical consequences of the blowout with respect to the casing, wellhead and BOP; the reasons for the current containment method (and the likely consequences of trying to shut in the well from above the BOP).

As well, in the same daily post, give a report on the progress of the relief wells and some cautionary language about the likelihood of their immediate (and/or eventual) success.


Towards the 'top post' end, I will cite the posts I'm aware of that provide the best analyses of...

... the cause(s) for the blowout:

... and the whys and wherefores for the current containment method:


People new to the Oil Drum or unable to spend the time required to follow the threads in full would be well served by either suggestion... (or so I flatter myself to believe).

In any event, many thanks to the Oil Drum and the contributors here for their time and trouble in keeping (at least some of) us better informed than any other source on the web.

Peter B.



As a non-tech noob, I was about to post a similar, but not exactly similar, suggestion/request/wish upon a star.

Now that the subsea activity observable on the ROV feeds is less frenzied, a "best available knowledge" post might also include a rundown of the previous day's ROV activity.

Yesterday, it looked like they added some new brace or structure around the circumfrence of the Flex Joint, I presume in preparation for the new cap to be installed in two or three weeks. I presume but what do I know? Also, last night, the Boa ROV appeared to be running around with a sensor in it's "hand," a yellow rectangular box. It didn't appear to be a flow meaurement because they didn't, you know, put it in the flow, but again, what do I know?

The comments do get indexed, if that's what you mean by followed. However, any hyperlinks within the comments are automatically marked with "nofollow" so that search engines don't follow that link, giving it extra credence. In that way, spammers aren't rewarded with Google points, so to speak.

This adds some interesting information that adds some credence to Matt Simmons claim. An news story on MSNBC:

It includes a quote from an anonymous BP official that "We discovered things that were broken sub-surface...". It is reported that mud that was being pushed into the well was making it "out to the side" and "into the formation".

The interviewer reports that he has heard that BP experienced some type of failure during the top kill procedure that caused them quickly to shut it down Memorial Day weekend.

I'm not sure how Simmons' is concluding a leak 7 miles away, but it sure sounds like there is circumstantial evidence of a casing failure.

This adds little credence to Simmons.

for what it is worth the latest from Rolling Stone

The Spill, The Scandal and the President
The inside story of how Obama failed to crack down on the corruption of the Bush years – and let the world's most dangerous oil company get away with murder

That's a very damning account of how the regulatory agencies have become married to the industry they are supposed to oversee, and even changing administrations doesn't do anything to affect them. Salazar made noise about cleaning up MMS, but ultimately did nothing. Then, when the blowout took place, the administration again did its best to control the data (the whiteboard in the crisis command center saying "64k-110k estimated flow" on Day 1 for example) and lowball the concerns for their own purposes.

It looks like the old Who song is terribly accurate. "Meet the new Boss, same as the old Boss". I'm disappointed that in this situation at least, it is true.

“In the beginning there was an almost-complete deepwater well in the Gulf of Mexico”.

Some thoughts on safety and a safety culture:

I’ve seen some discussion here about shortcuts and violations of standard procedures and all the subsequent consequences. I have seen firsthand and participated in the development of what might be called a safety culture inside a large company. I know other companies do it too because we shared information with them. We spent considerable sums of money on training, classes, consultants, purchasing tons of safety items and the list goes on. The law requires that you provide a safe workplace. Some people here that don’t “turn wrenches” for a living might not realize the extent of these safety programs. A general observation: the larger the company, the larger and more extensive the safety program.

Where does resistance to the safety program come from? It comes from all levels. It won’t work unless all levels from upper management to the workers are signed on and participating. Examples of resistance; the supervisor instructs or allows a shortcut in a procedure to get the job done faster; upper management pushes to get the job completed (sound familiar?); or, the worker doesn’t take the time to put on the required PPE and gets injured.

Accidents and incidents have root causes. Mechanics are required to properly lift and secure a car before crawling under it. Why? Because someone got killed when a spindly jack fell and dropped the car on them. Most if not all injury and death can be traced back to an unsafe action.

At my work the workers and supervision observed others working. We paid people to watch each other working. What were they watching for? Unsafe behaviors. A few come to mind such as hurrying and rushing, path of travel, pinch points, center of balance, lockout/tagout, improper or no permit and improper tool use. The list goes on but you can visualize an accident from each of these short phrases.

I have seen jobs stopped in their tracks by any number of people. Yes the hourly workers had the right to stop a job that they didn’t feel was safe. Just as an example, I saw a safety inspector stop a lift because the chokers were frayed. He removed them from the work area and had them rendered unusable. It was a delay and it caused complaints but NOBODY questioned the decision (at least audibly). The odds the job could have continued safely were probably 99.99%. But this action removed that very small chance for failure and probable injury or death and equipment damage.

The long term injury/incident rate is used as a measure of the success of the safety program. If it is declining, the program is successful. Dramatic results have been shown. But the results came as a result of considerable expense and lots of hard work by everyone. "Considerable expense" is a relative thing. “This safety program cost us ten million bucks this year”. However if it prevented one major incident (explosion, fire, well blowout, loss of life, etc.) the return on investment was manifold. How do you know an incident was prevented? You don’t, but again the long-term record is what you look at.
I’m confident that drilling and completion procedures are being reviewed and revised by all companies involved. If not, they should be. The same principles apply here as everywhere else; hurrying and rushing, improper tools, not following procedure, shortcuts and so on. It has been pointed out that drilling is a dangerous business and it obviously is. Several questionable actions or non-actions regarding this incident have already been pointed out. How many drillers have thought, “I did something very similar to this, but we were lucky”.

BP’s luck ran out.

Well, they are turning their massive hydraulic tool. Not sure yet if the nut is moving.

I was watching it and I think they had it loose. (It moves very slowly.) Did they get it out, or was the object of the exercise just to see if they could get one loose. I was doing something else, and when I looked again they were done.

Haven't been watching the ROVs for a while. Sorry if this has been discussed.

What's with the two rectangular black rubber flaps that look like they've blown out the side of the cap? They're just flapping in the oilstream . .


I think the rubber gasket under the cap failed and blew out. I don't think it was doing any good anyway.

Agree with James. Suspect this tore very early on and just finally worked its way out.

This brings up an interesting bit of semi verifiable data. And underscores the need for good total flow rates. (How much is still going into the Gulf and how much of their processing capacity are they able to catch)

Today the flow appears greater. Do the side by side from all the angles I'll wait...
I'll give you one from yesterday if you promise not to accuse me of saying it was on fire :)

Ok if this is a larger leak, remember they will soon report the capture rate for this flow which you can read out in 15 min increments by subtracting each previous total from US Dept of Energy linked above by Shelburn. Currently they are up to a 24 hr. cumulative of 17096k bpd.

If the capture goes down then the rubber flap (which I take to be more of a hatband from the inside of the TH) may have been doing some good and it failed recently. If the capture stays the same or goes up. Then the leak is definitely getting worse.

unless the oil has eaten into the thickness as well,
I'm not sure it's one of (main) gaskets from the LMRP cap.

From the drawings on

The gaskets are 1" thick rubber.

Maybe it is another layer not shown on the drawings, like from up inside?

There are no bolt holes in it.
pic at:

I was thinking perhaps it was the thing that was on top of the flex joint, but it's too far from the LMRP cap.
(see video #4 on the DOE oilspildata.htm page).

p.s. new video showed at BP:

Discoverer Enterprise views, ROVs, BOP on deck, Nitrogen and methanol tanks, etc.

pps. (edit) new Kent Wells slides:

That's one big strong flame coming out of the DE's flare now

anybody got a new multi cam site mxl.bpfeeds has been crashing on my desktop

Are you using Firefox? I found I had to run that site with IE or it would crash.

thats exactly what i just tried working now thanks anyway must be a plugin issue or gremlin.... works perfectly well for me with Firefox

I have been using it allows you to turn the various feeds on and off

Thanks to the efforts of a couple of posters here, I've been using

The images refresh every 60 seconds, the images are clickable, and the links to the BP feeds on the bottom map to the matrix of images above.

and it's got a great domain name.

Why is BP burning the oil? Seems to me to be an economic decision. It is cheaper to burn it than recover it. Is this because of the methanol contamination? Why in the heck don't they use ethanol? My 'gas' is 10% ethanol. It is what I have been using on myself for this crisis. It is a hell of a lot less toxic. I am sure if I had been using methanol, this comment would never have been written. I guess a little more pollution does not matter. I guess it just means more ethanol for me.

Not sure why they should decide to burn oil, except of course for the burning of the oil on the surface, but you are way off the mark thinking the problem is methanol. Oil is a hugely complex mixture of hydrocarbons. It is difficult to use the word contamination when dealing with such a messy mixture. Oil has to be refined in a very complex process to obtain the pure petroleum you put into your car. I would guess the presence of a little methanol would be neither here nor there when you think what they have to do to the stuff in the refineries. Your suggestion that they should be using ethanol on toxicity grounds is really not wise. The toxicity of methanol is nothing compared to the toxicity of the crude oil, swapping to ethanol would have no impact at all on toxicity. However, it may be much poorer as antifreeze to stop the hydrate formation. The 10% ethanol in you petroleum is added to petrol after the refinement procedure. This is a bio fuel from agricultural fermentation. Hope this helps.

What about the dispersant? It is mostly Propylene Glycol; it is an excellent anti-freeze. It is less toxic than methanol and it needs to be introduced anyways.

Propylene glycol only on one end (the hydrophilic end). Other end is hydrophobic.


My understanding is the burner is to be installed on the Q4000 simply as a means of increasing the rig's processing capabilities. It can process 5000 BPD plus gas and they are increasing that to 10,000 BPD plus more gas.

I don't know why they are retrofitting the Q4000 rather than bringing in an FPSO. Of course I don't know why there isn't at least one FPSO there now collecting whatever this LMRP cap can collect.

Allen clarified that at this morning's press briefing - all the O&G going to the Q4000 will be flared.

Q: Yes, Admiral, I'm sorry, you may have answered this from the room, but BP said this morning that they plan to flare all the oil from the Q4000. You had said yesterday, I think, that you expected them to take half of it. Is that a significant change, and did you approve that change?

ADMIRAL ALLEN: No, I don't think it was a change. What I—I think I might have been talking about the capacity. We originally listed it at 5,000. We think it could go to 10,000. But I think the intent always was to flare the gas and flare the oil. If I described it where it was confusing, that would be my mistake.

Transcript of briefing:


Thanks for all the work you have been doing. Quite helpful.

You're welcome... I'm just reflecting back a small bit of the generosity of spirit that you TOD veterans have been exhibiting in the face of a sudden onslaught of newcomers.

In particular, Rockman's good-humored patience has, more than once, served as a reminder to lift my fingers away from some snarky remark - well, except for that one time.

rainey -- snarky works for me...bring it on bud! I've noticed a strong civil tone developing. That makes me uncomfortable. Come on all you AGW lovers/haters...stir it up some. And tinfoil hats are always welcome. Kinda like taking a tour of the nut house...makes me feel almost normal.


You've never struck me as a S##t disturber.

Will wonders never cease! :-0


BP and the Coast Guard may still be doing surface burns where there is enough floating oil and ocean surface conditions are ideal for surface burns as one means of remediation (in fact a very good remediation technique). If you are referring to the flare on the collection vessel, that is not oil but natural gases. There is no safe way to store the 15MM+ cf of gas produce daily so it is flared.

According to Adm. Allen at yesterday's briefing, the Q4000 will be burning gas AND oil when it is placed in service next week.

The additional 10,000bpd oil collection ability will come from flaring oil, not from capturing and later offloading it via tanker.

(yesterday's briefing is available at and is, probably, still on

Yes. I got the impression that they just want to do something with the extra oil for which they do not yet have the capacity to capture. Better to burn it off than to just let it escape into the sea. When the extra ships with extra processing / transport capability arrive, then they can begin to capture that extra 10,000 BBL/D rather than burn it off. So, like much of this, burning the oil is a stop-gap, temporary solution. I'd rather see 10,000 bbl/d burned off at the surface than see it continue to spew out 5,000 feet below the surface.

Which leads back to the question of why has BP been so slow in bringing on adequate capacity? I understand that there is a necessary ramp-up time, but that could have had an earlier starting point. The low-balling of the flow - by NOAA, the coast guard or whoever - has had unpleasant consequences. Did BP truly believe those figures internally?

. During a joint hearing to investigate the explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon, Hung Nguyen, a captain in the Coast Guard, was surprised to learn from the US Interior Department’s Mineral Management Service – the unit responsible for overseeing offshore exploitation – that ‘there is no enforcement.’ Each operator ‘self-certifies and establishes what they think is adequate’.

‘Designed to industry standard, manufactured by industry, installed by industry, with no government oversight of construction or installation, is that correct?’ Nguyen asked the MMS regional supervisor Mike Saucier.

‘That would be correct,’ Saucier replied.

Standards for blow-out preventers, for instance, are set by the American Petroleum Institute, which is made up of 400 corporate members from the oil and gas industry, and checked by the MMS during rig tests only.

This system of self-regulation was formulated by Dick Cheney’s Energy Task Force. According to a document released by the Department of Energy to the National Resources Defense Council under court order in 2002,

Big energy companies all but held the pencil for the White House task force as government officials wrote a plan calling for billions of dollars in corporate subsidies, and the wholesale elimination of key health and environmental safeguards.

New draft regulations on offshore drilling, submitted to Washington in 2001 after an ‘accidental disconnect’ in 2000, have yet to be approved. ‘’As far as I know, they’re still up in headquarters,’ Saucier said.

Meanwhile, Transocean, the Swiss company that leased the Deepwater Horizon (just one of its 138 mobile offshore drilling units) to BP for $1m a day, recently agreed at a closed-door meeting with shareholders to distribute $1 billion in dividends. It has also claimed its liability is limited to $27 million, while at the same time collecting more than $400m in insurance. Trying to regulate a firm like Transocean, with 34 rigs registered in the Marshall Islands alone, is like trying to grab a bar of soap in a bathtub filled with oil.

m -- Regulating Transocean or any othr drilling contractor would be very easy. No vessel, regadless of its flag, may drill in the OCS without approval of the US gov't. No company has the "right" to drill in federal waters. It is an option they have if they fully comply with all regulations. The gov't is free to modify those regs as they chose. Transocean may then chose to comply with those new regs or they are equally free to leave US waters.

It really is that simple. Just like getting a drivers license: it's a priveledge...not a right.

Government regulation requires both independence of the regulator, and knowledge of the industrial practices/technologies. Regulation won't be effective if the regulators don't know what they're doing, or if the agency is only a rubber stamp - or if the regulator is corrupt, as in some of the allegations against the MMS. In theory regulation is simple, in practice, who's policing the regulators, to insure they're doing what they're supposed to?

We still have the same problem Juvenal wrote of, 2000 years ago, quis custodiet ipsos custodes? -- who will guard the guards?

So sad Jeff and so true. It all goes back to accountability. And that seems to becoming more rare as society advances.


Except it seems the little guy is still held accountable for the most part, including for other people's screw ups. It's the so called elites who decide our destiny who have no accountability. Big corporations, governments, politicians, the super wealthy. Did any one in govt. or the banking industry even get fired over the financial meltdown?

Transocean is insured. They aren't on the hook for any of this beyond a small amount of liability so there is no issue with dividends affecting their ability to pay.

Disingenuous reporting if you ask me.

The seal on the cap appears to be in the process of active failure or has failed (Skandi 2 side).

It lasted longer than I would have expected in this turbulent flow.

This would be a good opportunity to swap out this cap for a more evolved designs they have stashed on the bottom.

Or press the new unbolting tool into service!

"The seal on the cap appears to be in the process of active failure or has failed (Skandi 2 side)."

I've been watching fairly carefully since this was first pointed out above (or below, depending upon how you view threads).

I was skeptical at first, but Dimitry's suggestion looks more reasonable all the time. Experts, take a long look, please.

Around 11:00 this morning it was VERY obvious because the "flaps" were much closer to the cap. Now that the "flaps" are nearly vertical it is more difficult to see. I wish I had captured a shot of it this morning but I didn't.
ENTERPRISE ROV 2 has a shot that earlier had what I thought was one of the "flaps" flapping around under the pointy flange on the left of the screen. That one isn't flapping at all now but is nearly vertical also. No doubt the amount of oil coming out from under the cap is greater than yesterday when we could catch brief images of the cap through the oil.
I just checked SKANDI ROV 2 again and now the "flap" is real visible. It looks like it will break off soon. How do you grab an image like this and post it?

Here you go ... flapping in the flow

I'm on a Mac and use Capture to, well, capture the image. I then upload them to a photo-hosting site.

you dont need a mac you could just press the PrtSc button on a keyboard and then paste in paint or the gimp.


Great image! I work with PCs or I'd have bought a mac when I got my son one. Very nice. Thanks

If they are harvesting all they can process, what does it matter?

I guess this can be though of as academic. It seems to me that all day today they have been dumping A LOT of oil into the Gulf. If they are harvesting all they can, perhaps the well is flowing more today.

IMO, the next big test for BP will be matching their 2nd generation riser design to production capacity. 1st gen seems to have exceeded their expectations production-wise, but they lose points for not being ready to capitalize on that success.

Agreed, the seal would appear to be disintegrating. Time for the cap with the improved instrumentation/hyraulic controls to take center stage.

Expect a different image by tomorrow morning.

Well, I see the president is meeting with Gates, the head of Xerox, Cummins and GE, among others, to talk about energy policy. I am happy he chose to meet with all the unbiased folks who do not care about profits and who donate all their salaries to charity. So nice to have companies like this that are not a special interest and do not donate to politicians or have any lobbyists on their payrolls. So nice to have some altruistic people and organizations, unlike those evil oil guys.I wish he would include some university and union presidents who also care little about money or power.
Fortunately, he also met with bankers,drug companies, heads of the AMA and AARP. We are so lucky to have so many like this who put other interests ahead of their own.

I trust the video and transcripts of everything said in the meeting will be posted immediately.
(I love politics. Never changes.)



Returning to an earlier point, and I may not bother responding again in the future, but mark k, if you're trying to suggest that climate change science is merely a matter of politics, then your ignorance is so glaring as to be shameful. Please bear in mind that this is a forum some pretty sophisticated professionals in both applied and theoretical science. Rather than toss accusations of polemic around, it's better to evaluate and, when holes in your own knowledge are exposed (as any sincere student of science or anything else should be willing to admit), do some research and learn.

I'm not going to waste space on this forum justifying the basis of climate change science and current theory. If it's something you're genuinely curious about, send me an e-mail and I'd be happy to give you a brief intro with some pertinent links. For now, I'll just point out that those people--pretty much 100%--who deny that climate change is even occurring, or that humanity could possibly have any significant involvement, must engage in very selective reading of what evidence they'll even consider. NOAA and NASA data, good enough for most maritime weather applications, are suddenly suspect in the face of the Senate Republicans' slapdash book report--I mean, 2008 Report on Climate Change (and many scientists quoted in the report have explicitly disavowed the report itself as deceptive).

There is unambiguous evidence, from many streams, on many long-term rising trends on planet earth: air temperature; ocean surface temperature; sea level; atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide (all greenhouse gases). These trends have accelerated markedly in the last 150 years. This is not politics, this is not polemic, this is not theory: this is hard, settled, scientific data. I can give you links to those specific data sets, if you'd like. The earth is obviously too big and complex to subject to controlled experiments, so much current climate change theory--specifically, determining our role--is based on computer modeling. "All models are biased!" shout the deniers. True, models are only as good as their assumptions. But those models have been refined over the last 30+ years to reflect quite accurately the historical change up to now, so it's once again an admission of ignorance and unwillingness to learn anything at all, to dismiss them out of hand.

This post is somewhat wide of the specific thread topic (and I'm learning an immense amount from the specialists here), but I did think some sort of rebuttal was in order. My apologies to the regulars.

the climate models of today do indeed fit available meteorological data from the past several decades.

And you can do it at home !!

Go to BIONC and download Climate Prediction. Every few days you do 200 years of climate modeling, which they compare to actual. Good to hone in on the second, and third digits of some factors. And then they can compare near future results as well.


there is a real one trick pony in here singing the same song over and over again...can you guess his name? well the good thing about the format of this page is when I auto-scroll i see comment posters names .....and I can ignore him...well to an extent....

i think its something in the water, makes people crazy.

oh is oil.

im sure he is just as mad as the rest of us.


RT @mlavelles New info coming from USGS at 4:45 p.m. EDT on their study of the #oilspill flow rate.

news article from the gummit:

Plume Modeling Team
... the best estimate for the average flow rate for the leakage prior to the insertion of the RITT is between 25,000 to 30,000 barrels per day, but could be as low as 20,000 barrels per day or as high as 40,000 barrels per day.

The Mass Balance Team
... initial estimate from the Mass Balance Team that was announced on May 27 was in the range of 12,000 to 19,000 barrels of oil per day. The team continued to refine its estimate and has concluded that the best estimate for the average flow rate was in the range of 12,600 to 21,500 barrels of oil per day.

DOE pressure readings, reservoir modeling, nodal analysis teams still working on their estimates.

Woods Hole team (using sonar) has a statement:

Estimated flow rates:
Riser: 0.076m3/s to 0.15m3/s
BOP kink: 0.040m3/s to 0.079m3/s
Total flow rate: 0.12m3/s to 0.23m3/s

n.b. these flows are oil/water/gas/etc, but converted to units most Americans understand:
0.12 m^3/sec is 31.7 US gal/sec, 65K bbls/day
0.23 m^3/sec is 60.8 US gal/sec, 125K bbls/day

Someone else can use the GOR + pressure to get methane volume to see if they can translate to oil.

Nobody's saying anything nearly as low at 1K or 5K bpd.

and all of these new or revised estimates are for the flow at various point before the riser was cut.

More yet to come ..

When Adm Allen was asked at this morning's briefing when the latest flow rate estimates would be released, he replied

ADM. ALLEN: Well, we were hoping to be able to make it available today, but they're—it's kind of the proverbial, they're in the room, we're shoving pizzas under the door and saying, "Don't come out until you get it done." No, we want this to—because it relates to ultimately what kind of production capacity we need.

And this gets back to the letter we sent to BP regarding redundant systems and having the capacity to keep production going if one system shuts down, which is what we asked them to provide us.

With a GOR of about 2,000, the estimated oil flow rate is between 25,700 bopd and 49,300 bopd.

That's before the removal of the riser.

anxiety i have fingers crossed .

Franz Gayl's in on "blow it all to hell!" act now, weapon of choice being a GBU-43 MOAB that he calls “proven, safe and ‘green’”. Complete with diagrams,

Oh High there no problem you can't solve?

Speaking of explosives, I can't get squared up between Simmons essentially saying the GoM is broken and then recommending blowing it further to hell with a massive blast.

I just searched through all of June and I found no mention of the "Heavy Duty Inflatable Packer" mentioned on Mish's blog. I dont know if it would work or not, but it sure seems like it would. But it is disappointing that it is not being discussed here.

I think the problems with such a solutions are :

1. How could you physically stuff a "Heavy Duty Inflatable" into an HP O&G stream emanating from the BOP orifice?

2. Once stuffed into place, how could a "Heavy Duty Inflatable" packer wrap around the stranded drill pipe and or casing to form a perfect seal?

3. They would still have flow out of the DP, even if they managed to form a perfect annular seal?

4. Could the well casing hold the resulting shut-in pressure?

If the well could somehow be shut-in they would have tried it by now e.g. stab a second BOP on top of the disabled one.

All good questions.

I believe that there is valid concern regarding the structural integrity of the BOP, the casing or both. The risk of exposing them to full well pressure appears to be just too risky.

It is unclear what sections have been breached in the well so shutting it in could cause other horrible problems. The last thing I would want to see is the BOP coming off like a champagne cork, followed by drill pipe and liner(s).

I think the best we can hope for is a proper seal on the LRA flange (I believe they are trying to unbolt the top flange now), so that 100% of the leak is sent to the surface, little storm activity and some fast RW drilling.

Until the RW delivers the mud kill and cement job, I think will be all about collecting, not stopping.

Icon - I've used many inflatable packers... a great tool. All you need is an open csg to run them into. Not as easy to running into a flowing well but can be done sometimes. Just need some open csg to run it into.

Technicalities & politics aside : surely this extremely heavy and punitive attack by Obama on BP & the oil industry in general will tend to scare off companies and their top experts?

Next year would you as CEO or techie of ACME Oil accept a drilling contract in the USA ... or in Saudi?

This possibly heavy handed response by the USA has the potential of increasing it's fuel import bills and might even bring the down-slope of Peak Oil nearer.

Note: My UK business is already banned by my insurers from supplying US companies and nationals due to - err - over enthusiastic US lawyers. Maybe in the future similar bans will apply to non-US oil companies and staff who will be insured to work anywhere except in the USA.

lose the politics, stay on point

A member for 1 week 6 days and a moderator already?

OK, I can live with that.

:-), cheeky, eh?

Sounds like a potential growth industry in the US to me! Like someone several threads earlier who was saying similar things about not punishing BP "too" badly, I commented that those statements mean corporations are now "too big to punish" as they represent too much of whatever industry they're a part of.

Yes, fine BP heavily, in accordance with US law (which BP was well aware of prior to this blowout), and institute more stringent regulations and inspections to make sure this doesn't happen again. I feel that oil companies will continue working in US territory simply because that's where the oil is; do companies avoid Norway because their regulations are too stringent?


A little of the political opera beginning in earnest. Perhaps we can take it as a distraction from the ugly events going on in the GOM right now. Not much discussion regarding the presidential order for the 6 months moratorium for DW drilling in the GOM at the time it was issued. At the least it appeared to be a natural political decision. The group of expert engineers who the White House claimed recommended the moratorium has issued a statement that they did, in fact, make no such recommendation. No link yet but supposedly should be coming from the Wall Street journal shortly if this afternoons news story is correct. These experts claim that the recommendation was added to their report, with neither their knowledge nor consent, after it was submitted to the WH staff.

I’m not making a case for or against the moratorium. Most have already firmly cemented (sick pun intended) their opinions on this matter. If the administration wanted to shut down drilling…fine. Misrepresenting support from a panel of THEIR experts…not so fine. We’ll have to wait for confirmation of this tale.

wow .....this gets interesting by the moment.....someone put that recommendation at a later stage and tired to pass it off as a recommendation by the did the WH expect not be be caught on this kinda stuff....someone at the WH must have his/her panties in a twist

another goof that surprised me

seems like Ken Salazar suggested the govt was going to make BP pay the wages for every person associated with drilling effected by this moratorium .....this is a ridiculous expectation....whats next ....BP be held liable for the increase in gas rices that will result form this moratorium and compensate every American for the jump in prices at the pump.....

BP has been playing ball and agreeing to every expectation by the govt but they too have to give the WH a reality check at some point

ali -- That's what I find difficult to beleive about this report. Why would the WH think they need tech support to call for a moritorium? Even if the WH said they were calling for the moritorium for purely political CYA who would have started throwing serious stones at them. If true it sorta reminds of the stories where the cover up was a worse mistake than the original sin.

Just have to wait to see what's true and what's a new urban legend.

whats next ....BP be held liable for the increase in gas rices that will result form this moratorium and compensate every American for the jump in prices at the pump.....

Yes. It seems comletely reasonable to me.

Experts Disavow Salazar’s Drilling Moratorium
At a hearing Wednesday of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Salazar said he “appreciated” the advice from the experts but that “it was not their decision on the moratorium — it was my decision and the president’s decision.”

A Salazar spokeswoman acknowledged the experts “were not asked to review or comment on the proposed moratorium and that they peer-reviewed the report on a technical basis.” She added the moratorium was based on “the need for a comprehensive review of safety in deepwater operations in light of the BP oil spill.”

Obama met with families of the deceased on Thursday afternoon in the Red Room and State Dining Room at the White House, seven weeks after an explosion on a rig off the coast of Louisiana killed 11 workers.

The president reiterated the need for a pause on new drilling, in the face of some pressure to lift his moratorium on new offshore drilling.

Obama "said that while offshore drilling is a part of our nation’s overall energy strategy, he simply could not go forward with new deepwater drilling until we have the proper safety measures in place to ensure that a tragedy like this never happens again," according to a White House readout of the meeting.

Those remarks came as a member of Obama's own party, Sen. Mary Landrieu, ramped up pressure on the president to lift his moratorium. The ban on drilling, the Louisiana senator said, was having an adverse effect on many of the state's oil workers.

Obama met with families of the deceased on Thursday afternoon in the Red Room and State Dining Room at the White House, seven weeks after an explosion on a rig off the coast of Louisiana killed 11 workers.

Is it correct that the ban is limited to only new deep-water rigs?

There are what, 75 deep water rigs now? A small fraction of total rigs in the GOM.

How many new rigs would have gone up during the 6 months?

syn -- yes...drilling ban in 500' water depth or deeper. I believe there were 33 rigs drilling in that depth or greater. I estimated the 6 month moritorium would result in a $5 billion loss of cash flow for the drilling contractors and other service industries. Direct job loss is more difficult to estmate so a WAG would be 5,000 to 10,000.

$5 billion and 5k to 10k jobs for all existing and future rigs at 500'+, or just for new rigs that would have gone up during the 6 month moratorium?

I looked at a Haliburton map that I recall identified about 64 deep water rigs. But it was a few years old if i recall correctly. Given that number and your estimate of 33, it would seem you might get only a small handful of new deep water rigs during the next 6 months without the moratorium. Maybe 5 or 6? It's still another blow to the area's economy, for sure. If this has already been discussed, sorry.

syn -- My numbers assumed the same 33 rigs would continue working the 6 months. Might have been a few more or less. The moritorium isn't just for new rig additions. Once rigs now drilling reach a safe temporary abandonment point they are to cease drilling. Essentially all drilling is the DW GOM is terminated FOR AT LEAST 6 MONTHS. Some specualtion that some rigs will go overseas and not be available when the ban is lifetd.

Oil spills escalated in this decade

By Alan Levin, USA TODAY

The number of spills from offshore oil rigs and pipelines in U.S. waters more than quadrupled this decade, a trend that could have served as a warning for the massive leak in the Gulf of Mexico, according to government data and safety experts.

Can anyone comment on this, quote taken from Mish's Blog???

Idea from a Friend - Heavy Duty Inflatable Packers

A friend of mine "GT" writes ...

I see that you are writing on the oil leak. I used to work for Schlumberger at one time. I suggested a solution of using a modified packer to a oil tool company I know in Alberta. Below is their response. Feel free to post this or send it on. I will try again to send this Horizon, BP and CNN, but no one seems to be responding to emails.

"GT" Received this reply for his idea from Dennis Makar, P. Eng., President & CEO World Oil Tools Inc.

During the crisis in Kuwait, Heavy Duty Inflatable Packers were used to kill many of the wells. It should be possible to use the kill method in the Gulf.

The current BP well has 9 5/8" casing to the ocean floor. Due to possible erosion or crimping near the top of the casing string, it is highly recommended that inflatable packers be used for this application. World Oil Tools manufactures and supplies 7.50" O.D. Heavy Duty Inflatable Packer Assemblies with 4 1/2" I.F. thread connections. Packer mandrels are also manufactured from high strength alloy steel.

The job procedure would be summarized as follows:

1) Run the packer into the 9 5/8" casing string, as suggested. The packer would have a re-set dart or pumpout assembly installed on bottom.
2) Apply 2400 PSI to set the packer and hold pressure for 3 to 5 minutes. Flow from the well would stop immediately.
3) Apply 3000 PSI to shear the re-set dart.
4) Begin Pumping heavy weight mud into the well immediately. Follow with cement, if required. A full 3" bore would be provided through the tool assembly, for high volume pumping.

Please present this method to your contacts. We are available to meet on very short notice to refine the well kill procedure, and would be available to work 24/7 in order to prepare all required equipment.

Best Regards,
Dennis Makar, P. Eng., President & CEO
World Oil Tools Inc.
# 6, 3504 - 72 Avenue SE
Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2C 1J9



gop -- 1) Run the packer into the 9 5/8" casing string.

My comment: the 9 5/8" csg has drill pipe stuck in and the shear rams partially closed around the drill pipe.

The proposal is fine except Step 1 should be Step 2. Step 1 would be open the shear rams and remove the drill pipe from the 9 5/8' csg. I'm sure anyone who can figure a way to make Step 1 happen will be handsomely rewarded by BP.

It also would seem to me that if the flow is strong enough to jack the drill string up the hole,
It is going to be impossible to get some packer string down the hole.

Now, whats going on w/ Poseidan ROV I is MUCH more interesting. Let's stay on point.

Why are they so persistent in getting those nuts of that flange? you want them taking this long when they try the new cap?

What do you think they are trying to do with the ROV 1?

Prove that the "impossible" is possible. They just proved that you can remove riser bolts with an ROV.

US govt Flow Rate Technical Group: BP oil disaster flow "maybe a little bit more than 40,000 barrels/day", before increase by sawing off riser
Scientists say BP well may have spilled 40,000 bpd

Scientists studying the BP oil spill estimate the well could have been spewing as much as 40,000 barrels of crude a day into the Gulf of Mexico. Dr. Marcia McNutt, Director of the U.S. Geological Survey, told reporters Thursday that preliminary analysis of the spill by several independent federal and university teams using a variety of methods put the well's flow rate in a range of 20,000 to 40,000 barrels per day before BP cut and capped the well's riser. "Our scientific analysis is still a work in progress. In coming days we'll be refining our estimates further," McNutt said.

Then BP should be scrambling to get 60,000+ bpd processing capacity in place just in case.

Might be of interest:

FT says that GOM produced more new oil than any other region of the world per BP report.

No link because: "Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2010. You may share using our article tools. Please don't cut articles from and redistribute by email or post to the web."

You will have to dig it off the site yourself.

Hi All,

This is my first post here. By way of introduction, I'm a petroleum geologist by trade, and have spent most of my career in Alaska. I've workde for major oil companies, service companies, and as a consultant. I've been lurking on TOD for some time, and one of the ideas I see repeated often is the failure of the MMS to adequately supervise offshore drilling, the danger of "self regulation" by the industry, and the need for independent rule setting by the government.

I have some experience dealing with BP, and have friends who work there. I also have dealt with MMS, BLM, USGS, and various state regulatory agencies. One reason the agencies often default to the industry for writing regulations and "best practices" is the simple fact that there is a huge lack of technical expertise in the governmental agencies. And the reason for that lack of expertise is the HUGE salary differential between working for industry and working for the public sector. Quite simply, most of the best people go to work for industry because the pay and benefits are vastly better than at MMS, BLM, DOE, USGS...etc.

Most of the really well qualified individuals I know at the agencies (there are some) ended up there during one of the periodic downturns in the industry when oil company jobs were scarce. A very few others are there because they are idealistic and believe in the mission of those agencies. The bottom line however, is that there isn't nearly enough engineering and scientific horse power in the MMS to develop the kind of complex technical regulations needed for deepwater BOP, well control, spill response, etc.

The current political climate appears to make it impossible to bring the government salary system even close to that of industry. Until and unless that happens, MMS and other agencies will never attract enough top talent to match industry. And without that kind of talent, the agencies will have to fall back on standards developed by industry.

Thanks for the great post. It is noteworthy that the financial regulators face the same dilemma. They did institute higher pay schedules for SEC regulators I believe or they would not have been able to regulate wall street...even to the extent they do.

Because of that, the issue might actually get a fair consideration now when the congressional committees start investigating. If the pay differential is stark and the shortage of talent clearly demonstrated, there is at least prescedent for congress having done something in the past to close that gap in order to effectively protect the public and the country.

"The current political climate appears to make it impossible to bring the government salary system even close to that of industry."

Are you saying that the current "internalize profits--externalize costs" model (we allow) the corporations to use in conducting their business is generating enough cash flow for them to "siphon-off" intellectual talent from the "government sector"--which depends on tax revenues (paid only in small part by oil companies) to compensate their employees????

I guess that's what they mean by "starving the beast".


This is absolutely true, but it's not just limited to technical regulatory agencies like MMS. It's a government-wide phenomenon. My goal in law school was to graduate and get a job as a government lawyer, because I believe that government service is a noble thing. (And yes, I'm well aware of all the gory faults and failings of government. I grew up in a family of all government servants.) People looked (and still look) at me like I have four heads. It's just insane to many people, not least because of the massive salary differential. As in, with my grades and whatnot, I could've gotten a job right out of law school making in the $150,000/yr range, whereas I was aiming at getting a job that would pay me $50,000/yr. I'm not the only one, of course, but there is a large proportion of the population that just doesn't see anything particularly special about doing government work. Which means that unless salaries are competitive, people won't consider government service (barring an economic downturn, of course, in which case government work suddenly becomes very attractive--a phenomenon that has been the bane of my existence recently, as people who have no long-term interest in remaining in government work fill positions that would otherwise have been available to new entrants like me).

UK governent minister has just said on prime time telly poltical debate on BBC 1 that leak is 200,000 bpd.

sigh grimace

euan whats you take on the reliability of that figure?

He's not an idiot but very ignorant on this matter. This is latest from BP,

Subsea operational update:
• For the last 12 hours on June 9th (noon to midnight), approximately 7,890 barrels of oil were collected and 15.4 million cubic feet of natural gas were flared.
• On June 9th, a total of approximately 15,800 barrels of oil were collected and 31 million cubic feet of natural gas were flared.
• Total oil collected since the LMRP Cap containment system was implemented is approximately 73,300 barrels.
• Lightering has been successful. As more oil is collected, further transfers will occur.
• Operations were stable.
• The next update will be provided at 6:00pm CDT on June 10, 2010.
Updated June 10 at 9:00am CDT / 3:00pm BST

For a while I've thought 17,000 bpd was a good estimate. Fact that BP are now increasing surface collection facilities to 24,000 suggests it may be over 17,000. Giant oilfields with 10 production wells struggle to do 200,000 bpd.

This is not a giant and its only 1 well. The media and politians are ignorant (not stupid).

Now the choke has been removed.

Production wells are NOT produced like this.

Best Hopes for severe well problems *SOON* !


So how severe are the shore polution problems Alan? Its easy to call this the worst oil spill, but how bad is the actual beach damage so far. They are now collecting a lot of the oil.

Production wells in new fields are normally produced at max rate possible whilst keeping reservoir above bubble point pressure.

Best hopes -- but disasters come in threes:-((


What if a/the primary cause of the drop in pressure below the BOP (8-9K to 4.4K) is *not* downhole obstruction and/or a lack of seal/casing integrity, allowing O/G to flow... somewhere else?

What if, instead, pressure is dropping primarily because of reduced restriction in the BOP/LMRP and the resulting increased flow.

Where might this be headed?

Note: I understand we don't have a binary choice here. I'm deliberately oversimplifying, in hope of getting a response simple enough to grasp.

Not likely... Unless, there is another leak point we do not see.


Betting on the Bad Guys


When I heard that BP was destroying a big portion of Earth, with no serious discussion of cutting their dividend, I had two thoughts: 1) I hate them, and 2) This would be an excellent time to buy their stock. And so I did. Although I should have waited a week.

People ask me how it feels to take the side of moral bankruptcy. Answer: Pretty good! Thanks for asking. How's it feel to be a disgruntled victim?

I have a theory that you should invest in the companies that you hate the most.

Outstanding tow. Need more yucks in these bad times. It occurs to me that if you stand FL on end the Keys would seem to fit that Giant Screw solution we heard a while back. Hmmmm? All those in favor of "screwing" FL raise your hands.

Can't do that -- the tortugas are dry.

The Tortugas should be well lubed any day now.

fish -- A well lubed tortuga! Please more straight lines like that...hard for me to resist. Leanan does not tolerate potty mouths.

Outstanding tow. Need more yucks in these bad times. It occurs to me that if you stand FL on end the Keys would seem to fit that Giant Screw solution we heard a while back. Hmmmm? All those in favor of "screwing" FL raise your hands.

Apparently BP suggested using Cuba to plug the hole at first but it turned out there are loads of innocent civilians there, held captive by a totalitarian government.

Not to mention the people governed by Castro.


And today's Doonesbury..

In keeping with lightening things up a bit...

What Happens When BP Spills Coffee

Note: no British accents so it must be BP USA ;-)


That ROV crew just got themselves a riser bolt as a souvenir. :-)

Can Self-Insurance make a Black Swan ?

One good possibility involves failed insurance models...specifically, Self-Insurance.

Before Taleb gave it a name, there were studies that tried to spot such events by predicting systemic failures [spotting weaknesses in a system].

Systems of insurance nearly always include a right-to-inspect and transparency of the insured item. E.g, industrial goods [as opposed to services] are subject to periodic outside inspection and review of terms, along with right to cancel if fraud is uncovered. There is real transparency.

As long as the insurance provider has "some skin in the game", it monitors all operations affecting risk and has motivation to spot and mitigate future damage and risk.

Insurance providers have a long history of regulating client behavior. E.g., fire insurance, electrical codes, piping standards, etc.

Insurance without its own "skin in the game", lacks that motivation ... e.g. scandals where insurance employees profited with fees, "favors", etc while bankrupting the insurance company.

Self-insurance avoids 3rd-party right-to-inspect and need for transparency.

BP claims to Self-Insure its operations. Thus no outsider had right-to-inspect and right-to-transparency and right-to-monitor operations. MMS does not count...none of their own "skin in the game"...its all taxpayers' money.

Did that contribute to BP failures? Ya think?.

Might Self-Insurance be a BlackSwan-maker?

edit reply flag as junk (0)

Can one of chem/bio people please look at the USF report on the NOAA site (Note they have changed the data tables. So should we accuse them of lying, incompetence or being pressured by their superiors to post too quickly?)
Then look at the sample studies also by NOAA/EPA supervised cruises (I believe run through LSU) that include sites as near as 1 km from the well. This data in at the BP site.

The latter ones all show the flouroscopy data for total hydrocarbons on a scale that is in mg/m^3(PPB) giving numbers mostly at all locations and cruises 6 PPB with a a couple of spikes up to 40 an 70; so pretty low. The USF cruise does not show the same chart style but originally did have number total hydrocarbons in ug/liter with is the same(PPB) as that on the other cruises. They then changed it to mg/liter (PPM). However the PAH's stayed in the ng/liter units. So, is there a chance that someone still has the units wrong as I would not think that anywhere with in 10 miles of the well would be 40 times less concentration than at 40 or 120 miles away. Also, the number would indicate that the PAH are only .0025% of the Total Hydrocarbon. Does that make sense? (I knew there was a reason I avoided much Organic Chem)....
or am I just old and unable to read this stuff correctly.

From the sidelines:-

I don't know how many of you will be interested, but *at last* the disaster is getting the attention it deserves here in the UK. Both Sky News and the BBC had the GOM disaster as their headline item this evening, and many of tomorrow's newspapers are leading with the story.

The news is divided into two camps: those who think the Obama administration is being too hard on BP with the implication that it is being anti-British; and those who applaud the fact that our Prime Minister seems finally to be understanding the seriousness of the situation, and is planning to discuss it with President Obama at the weekend.

My personal opinion is that BP should be strung up and hung out to dry over this, but I'm just a little guy with no financial interest in BP's stock nor its effect upon pension funds here in the UK. I'm not being anti-patriotic or anything, I just think they should pay a very heavy price.

By the bye, this event is starting to get the commentators talking about Peak Oil (which headlined on our flagship news programme last night). So perhaps there's a *very* small glimmer on the lining of this big, black and ugly cloud.

Over policised.. Obama destroying BP is an indication of the lack of thoughtfulness in this and previous administrations. The issues at the heart of this matter are poor regulation of the industry and a misguided energy policy that is led more by approval ratings than the long term energy security of the USA. Industrial incidents are nearly always an indication of negligence on the part of the regulators and law makers. Special interest groups and lobbyists have always had too much say in how best to govern an industry, it is a testament to the arrogance of our lawmakers that elected officials should castigate a company that suffers an accident, accepts the blame and offers to pay clean up costs, whilst at the same time making no effort to determine what is truly at fault. Sorry its a bit of a rant. I've been thoroughly impressed by the engineering involved with this clean up and would like to tip my hat to all the engineers who are working hard to get this sorted out. My advice to the politicians, behave like statesmen, get this well blocked and get the clearup in full swing, then have your witch hunts if you must. But most of all look within and remedy the failings from within, proper regulation and an acceptance of the inherent risks of constantly searching for new fossil fuels is a base requirement. If you cant stomach the risks then get busy coming up with a solution.

"Otheirony" I completely agree with every word you write. I would add that although the political leadership has been terrible, Admiral Thad Allen has been just fantastic. He shows the sort of leadership I would love to see from Obama. He is completely focused on the problems of stopping the leak and cleaning up the mess and he shows no concerned for his image or personal approval ratings. Unlike Obama he even picks up the phone to Tony Hayward whenever he wants fast action from BP. I just cannot see why Obama thinks destroying BP will speed up the operation to stop the leak and clean up the mess.

Hey bloggeriain, Admiral Allen works for Obama, and reports to him.

Aren't you at least glad Obama stays mostly out of his way and lets him do his job!

Looks like it is about to get still more politicized.

After defending for days President Obama's decision not to speak directly with BP chief executive Tony Hayward, the White House has now invited -- or rather summoned -- senior executives from the oil giant to Washington.

In a letter to Carl-Henric Svanberg, the chairman of BP's board, Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen requested the presence of "you and any appropriate officials" from the company at the White House next Wednesday. Allen is overseeing the Obama administration's response to the oil spill in the Gulf.

"As a responsible party, BP is financially responsible for all costs associated with the response to the spill, including efforts to stop the leak at its source, reduce the spread of oil, protect the shoreline and mitigate damages, as well as support long term recovery efforts to ensure that all individuals and communities impacted by the spill are made whole," Allen wrote. He added that Obama would attend "a portion of this meeting."

Full WaPo article at Obama administration summons BP executives to White House for meeting

I'm puzzled by the tone the WH is emitting - it doesn't seem productive. We just had one president who held hands with a Saudi prince, now we have one who seems to be kicking sand around.

Obama wants BP assurances on the money and what they are willing to do to back up those assurances. He needs to size up what he needs to do to make sure the taxpayer does not foot this bill and the clean-up is adequately funded. To what extent are they willing to cooperate? It would be nice to know that so focus and resources can be appropriately directed.

I beg to differ, ohtheirony. Industrial incidents are not "nearly always a indication of negligence on the part of the regulators and law makers" though perhaps I should add the caveat that I'm speaking as a European. Over here, we have here some of the most stringent industrial safety laws in the world and I've seen so many cases of people killed and maimed in industrial accidents that I've lost count of them. Always, always, the employer's safety rules and operational systems were found to be at fault, never the regulations and laws.
It's not so different in the U.S., as far as I can see. I think the attached video illustrates the point I'm trying to make. It's about a fatal industrial explosion and is worth watching, imho.

PT -- Interesting point. I've heard from other expats that N Sea standards were much tighter then ours (at least for the last 20 years or so.)

With regards to human error we have a saying on thi side of the pond: you can't fix stupid. Ever hear of the Darwin Awards? Search it...very funny in a sad way. Not an intentionally sought prize: you have to die to qualify for the competition.

msnbc's front page is saying 25 to 30000 barrels a day. what are some of the records of highest volume from other gushers?

also i understand the sea floor is a mud that everything will slowly sink in. is the weight of the bop only supported by the pipe below it?

It looks like the flow is increasing judging from how much is blowing out the bottom of that cap today. :-(

Boa Deep C – ROV 2 now active

It has been taking inclinometer readings all day. Checking what is tilted and how much. I think they are concerned about the stability of the well.

WaPo: 2 teams say much more oil (>25k bbl/day perhaps 50k bbl/day) may have flowed from well; 1 dissent #oilspill

Isn't the dissent - the one with a lower estimate - from the team that used satellite imaging?

Another team, called the Mass Balance Team, analyzed satellite images and tried to correct for oil that had evaporated or been skimmed, burned and dispersed. Having earlier estimated the flow at 12,000 to 19,000 barrels a day, the team nudged its new estimate slightly upward, to 12,600 to 21,500 barrels a day.

Seems as if they were bound to be lower and even they are nudging their numbers higher.

Of the three 'teams', the one one who came up with the low number is "the Mass Balance Team, [they] analyzed satellite images and tried to correct for oil that had evaporated or been skimmed, burned and dispersed".
Their corrections notwithstanding, can that group account for oil which can't be seen from a satellite?
Even those who identify 'samples' drawn from beneath the surface don't report quantity and at the current dilutions I doubt it's possible to quantify the subsurface oil in bbl/day.
The MBT numbers can't account for that they can't see...and I'd bet they're missing a lot from a satellite.

This is becomming a very tetchy political issue in UK. BP biggest UK company (was), cornerstone of pensions for many.

My feeling is that debate needs to move on from a fixed penalty for volume of spill to one that looks at actual damage done - environmental and economic.

I still recall Sam's email about Amoco Cadiz ...

Obama uses taxpayer money to shore up the Service Industries International Union and then plunders the pensions of Brits by taking down BP. Some strange things going on this side of the pond...

Watching BBC UK just now - they are reporting in the context of the USGS new 40k bd estimate and in a matter of fact way that BP is now capturing most of the oil and expect to have it down to a trickle in the next few days. The politics of this has gotten very thick indeed.

Open thread ... Read the Rolling Stone piece about the spill crisis and the government not getting a handle soon enough. BTW I've seen evidence and time lines that the latter did plenty of things, but they trusted BP too much. Obama did put out early orders to treat the event seriously but there was so much trash left in the MMS, the USCG were such worshipful dupes of BP, and so on:

After viewing the pic of cut off riser with
two drill pipes I thought of two DP going through annular BOP-- that wouldn't work, would it?
Also remember reading that BOP shears had been replaced with test fixtures.
That would leave you with an inoperable BOP
from the start, it would seem.

TPTB of TOD: I would like to compliment you on exercising your authority to keep this site from descending into a snake pit, but, also, for allowing commenters to express a wide variety of opinions on a range of pertinent subjects and make pointed, argumentative comments. It is one helluva tough job to balance the competing priorities—freedom of speech v. destructive anarchy. No “scientific” formula exists... just mature judgment. Thank you.