The BP Deepwater Oil Spill - the Dispersant Meeting Report - and Open Thread

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Concerns about the use of dispersant by the Rapid Response Teams (RRT) working on the Deepwater Horizon spill led to the ”Deepwater Horizon Dispersant Use Meeting” that was held on May 26 -27. A report of that meeting is now available (h/t NatResDr). After a brief review of the current status at the well, with inclinometer readings going on, nuts apparently removed, and the apparent tear of one of the seals in the cap, we’ll get back to that report. First the status:

For the first 12 hours on June 10th (midnight to noon), approximately 7,630 barrels of oil were collected and 15.3 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.

And here is the apparent seal that has torn, and slipped out of the cap.

View from the Skandi ROV 2 at 10 pm 10th June 2010.

And so on to what the report says.

The panel included experts from a variety of universities and agencies. To justify the use of dispersants, the report provides a background.

To prevent landfall of the oil, mechanical recovery techniques were used, including skimming and booming, as well as in situ burning. However, when poor weather conditions limited the effectiveness and suitability of mechanical recovery and burning, dispersants were applied to disperse surface oil and prevent landfall. In early May, responders began injecting dispersants at the source of the release in order to prevent oil from reaching the surface. These techniques have largely been successful, and have reduced the amount of oil reaching the nearshore.

The meeting was divided into four breakout groups that addressed

(1) Efficacy and effectiveness of surface and deep ocean use of dispersants;

(2) Physical transport and chemical behavior of dispersants and dispersed oil;

(3) Exposure pathways and biological effects resulting from deep ocean application of dispersants; and

(4) Exposure pathways and biological effects resulting from surface application of dispersants.

What follows are direct quotes from the report.

As background they were also told that:

1. Surface dispersant operations have only been conducted in pre-approved zones (> 3 miles offshore, >10 m water depth).

2. Most dispersants have been applied 20-50 miles offshore where the water is much greater than 100 ft deep;

3. The footprint of surface dispersant application is relatively small;

4. The body of water in which the dispersants are applied is constantly changing; and

5. This meeting focused on oil effects and dispersants in general.

Group One (Effectiveness of dispersants)

They stated that the current state of knowledge was:

 Oil emulsion (> 15 – 20% water) is non-dispersible
 Plume is between 1100 – 1300 m deep moving SW direction
 DWH oil high in alkanes, and has a PAH composition similar to South Louisiana reference crude
 Lighter PAHs (< C15) are likely volatilizing
 Viscosity of emulsified oil is between 5500-8500 centistoke
 Emulsion may be destabilizing (50-60%)
 Primary detection method, C3 (fluorometer), only gives relative trends – does not accurately measure concentration of total oil or degree of dispersion

Their conclusions included the following.

For surface applications

1. Surface application of dispersants has been demonstrated to be effective for the DWH incident and should continue to be used.

2. The use of chemical dispersants is needed to augment other response options because of a combination of factors for the DWH incident (i.e., continuous, large volume release).

3. Winds and currents may move any oil on the surface toward sensitive wetlands.

4. Limitations of mechanical containment and recovery, as well as in situ burning.

5. Weathered DWH oil may be dispersible. Further lab and field studies are needed to assess the efficacy and efficiency and optimal dispersant application (e.g., multiple dispersant applications).

6. Spotter airplanes are essential for good slick targeting for large scale aerial applications (e.g., C-130), so their use should be continued.

7. In order to most effectively use the assets available, the appropriate vessels or aircraft should be selected based on the size and location of the slick and condition of oil.

Dispersing the oil reduces surface slicks and shoreline oiling. The use of chemical dispersants enhances the natural dispersion process (e.g., the smaller droplet size enhances potential biodegradation). Dispersing the oil also reduces the amount of waste generated from mechanical containment and recovery, as well as shoreline cleanup.

For underwater applications

1. The subsurface dispersant dosage should be optimized to achieve a Dispersant to Oil Ratio (DOR) of 1:50. Because conditions are ideal (i.e., fresh, un- weathered oil) a lower ratio can be used, reducing the amount of dispersant required. The volume injected should be based on the minimum oil flowrate, however an accurate volumetric oil flowrate is required to ensure that the DOR is optimized.

2. If we assume a 15,000 bbls/day oil rate and a 1:50 DOR, then actual dispersant flowrate is roughly similar to the current application rate of 9 GPM.

3. To further optimize dispersant efficacy, the contact time between dispersant and oil should be maximized. Longer contact time ensures better mixing of oil and dispersant prior to being released into the water, and should result in better droplet formation.

4. Contact time can be increased by shifting the position of the application wand deeper into the riser, optimizing nozzle design on the application wand to increase fluid sheer, and increasing the temperature of the dispersant to lower viscosity.

5. Effectiveness should be validated by allowing for a short period of no dispersant application followed by a short time of dispersant usage to look for visual improvements in subsurface plume.

Dispersants are never 100% effective. The flow rate of oil out of the damaged riser is not constant, and significant amounts of methane gas are being released. Because the effective DOR is a function of oil flow rate, changes in the oil flow rate may significantly impact the actual DOR. If the DOR is too low, dispersion may not be maximized, while if it is too high, dispersant will be unnecessarily added to the environment. Assumptions are based on knowledge at standard temperatures and pressures (STP), while conditions at the riser are significantly different.

Group members suggested that the oil escaping the damaged riser may be in excess of 100°C, and it is unclear what effect this has on the dispersant, or the efficacy or effectiveness of droplet formation. These conditions may drastically alter fluid behavior. Finally, there is an opportunity cost of changes to application wand position and development and deployment of a new nozzle. When optimized, subsurface dispersant application may reduce or eliminate the need for surface dispersant application, and will reduce surfacing and resurfacing of oil.

Group 2 (Transport and behavior of dispersed oil)

The current state of knowledge is:

 Surface models are effective and continuously improving
 SMART protocols are improving
 Increase of sampling at depth
 Well researched region (oceanographic and ecological studies)
 Well established baseline data
 Airborne application protocols are established

Their conclusions included the following:

1. Create an on-scene environmental review committee to advise SSCs that will be responsible for providing immediate operational and scientific advice, and aid in dispersant decisions.

2. Clearly define geographic area/water volume of concern.

3. Establishment of a more comprehensive sampling and monitoring program to understand transport of oil on the surface and potential for long-term increases to TPH, TPAH, oxygen demand, or lowering of DO with continued dispersant application. This could be done by implementing off-shore water (first 10 m) monitoring stations (e.g., fixed stationary positions such as other drill rigs).

Continued dispersant use trades shoreline impacts for water column impacts. This increases the uncertainty of the fate of the oil, and potentially increases the oil sedimentation rate on the bottom.

Continued dispersant use reduces the threat distance, protects shorelines, likely increases the biodegradation rate of the oil, inhibits formation of emulsions, reduces waste management, and potentially reduces buildup of VOCs in the air.

Group 3 (Biological Effects of Dispersants)

The current state of knowledge is:

 Minerals Management Services, Gulf of Mexico deep water studies/reports:

 Natural hydrocarbon seepage in the Gulf of Mexico approximately 40 million gallons per year
 Some knowledge and past studies on deep water species in the Gulf of Mexico
 Preliminary modeling
 Preliminary monitoring data (Fluorometry data, Particle size analysis, Temperature, Salinity, D.O., Hydrocarbon, Acute toxicity, Acoustic data, sonar, Genomics)

Their conclusions included the following:

1. Dispersant risk assessment should consider volume of DWH incident relative to natural seepage

2. There is a net benefit to continued subsurface dispersant use and application should continue, these include:

 Surface water column and beach impacts vs. vertical water column impacts  Observed reduction in volatile organics at surface
 Enhances the interaction between oil and suspended particulate material
 Accelerated microbial degradation through increased bioavailability
 Rapid recovery of downward sulfate diffusion and upward methane diffusion related to shallow sediment geochemistry
 Based on current knowledge, subsurface dispersant use confines the aerial extent of impact
 Current impact zone is less than 50 km radius
 Reduction in emulsified oil at the surface
 Reduction of phototoxic impacts

Group 4 (Biological Effects of Dispersant on surface water species)

The current state of knowledge is:

 The oil is being dispersed in the top ten meters of the water column from surface dispersant application (fluorescence methods)

Their recommendations included:

1. Surface application of dispersants is acceptable. Transferring the risk from the surface to the top 10 m is the lesser of the many evils.

2. Additional monitoring is required to better model where dispersed oil is going. Long term (monthly) monitoring is required at a minimum, and should be conducted in a grid formation inshore to open ocean. Passive samplers (i.e., SPME) should be used in selected areas, while a active water sampling program should be implemented to measure dispersant and dispersed oil, dissolved oxygen, and standard CTD + chlorophyll concentrations, as well as selected bioassays.

The report has 26 references, some of which are web accessible, and several appendices, listing the agenda, those present, and those in each group.

If you have further questions the report is available.

Thanks - a lot of stuff to dig into.

The topic of dispersion needs some digging because I don't think the concept has been clarified enough.

I think everyone should understand that there are at least two mechanisms to dispersion. There is the chemical dispersion whereby the material gets an effectively higher surface-to-volume ratio so it becomes more chemically reactive and allows the material to mix better in the water, as in an emulsion. There is also the spatial concept of dispersion, whereby the material diffuses and drifts to achieve an effectively lower concentration within a larger volume. So the term disperant really has a double meaning that I am sure most people have not caught on to.

Prairie, dig into this one! Completely mind-boggling!

In April 2007, an environmental assessment covering the area where BP would drill concluded that blowouts were "low probability and low risk," even though a test funded by MMS had found that blowout preventers failed 28 percent of the time.

"This response plan is not worth the paper it is written on," said Rick Steiner, a retired professor of marine science at the University of Alaska who helped lead the scientific response to the Valdez disaster. "Incredibly, this voluminous document never once discusses how to stop a deepwater blowout."

BP is the last oil company on Earth that Salazar and MMS should have allowed to regulate itself. The firm is implicated in each of the worst oil disasters in American history, dating back to the Exxon Valdez in 1989. At the time, BP directed the industry consortium that bungled the cleanup response to Valdez during the fateful early hours of the spill, when the worst of the damage occurred. Vital equipment was buried under snow, no cleanup ship was standing by and no containment barge was available to collect skimmed oil. Exxon, quickly recognizing what still seems to elude the Obama administration, quickly shunted BP aside and took control of the spill.

BP knew lives were on the line: "If the wolf blows down the house, the piggy is gobbled." But the company determined it would be cheaper to simply pay off the families of dead pigs.

BP has received 760 citations for "egregious and willful" safety violations – those "committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health." The rest of the oil industry combined has received a total of one.

The following day, the Coast Guard – relying on assurances from BP – declared that the spill appeared to be limited to oil that was stored aboard the sunken rig.

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.

Lifted from a comment at Drillers Club:

At 9:20 into the video the inquirer states that there were four changes submitted to MMS. Mark [Hafle] goes on to explain that the original plan was to have 6 strings, but they had to use contingncy strings which weren't required to be permitted, and it landed up taking 8 strings.

At 14:55 Mark says the original intention was to run a 9 7/8" long string for production. Then plays dumb on economic questions relating to casing.

At 43:00 we hear that the changes submitted to MMS are as follows: March 26th the 9 7/8" liner; April 14th the 7" production casing; April 15th forget to tell you it was a 7" X 9 7/8" tapered string; then later the same day they submit the specifications for the 9 7/8" liner as requested earlier.

At 1:07:00 Mark is being questioned on casing design. The inquirer wanted to ask him questions on a copy of the drilling program that he had but since MMS didn't know where it came from they said they shouldn't talk about it but the guy got assurance that he could go through channels and cross examine one of the signateurs on the drilling program at a later date.

At 1:27:00 Mark is asked by a Drill Quip representative if he knows what a lock down sleeve was (yes), was there one in the drilling program (yes), was there one installed at the time accident (no). No further questions.

Seems like right from the start it was full consideration for future production capacity and no regard for well control.

"Incredibly, this voluminous document never once discusses how to stop a deepwater blowout."

That's because NO oil company, including BP, has a solution for deep water blowouts. I'm amazed at how many people still don't get this. Every regulatory agency from MMS up to the various congressional committees knew no solutions existed. It was the elephant in the living room that nobody wanted to talk about. Even now, nobody wants to admit it.

News flash number two. There is NO way to deal with oil spills of this magnitude. Again, the oil companies all knew it, MMS, Coast Guard, and other regulatory agencies knew it, and so did the various congressional committees. Instead of being honest about it, we go on and on blaming BP for not capturing all the oil. Historically, if you get 15% of the spilled oil you are doing a great job. That means the other 85% ends up staying in the water column, on the beaches, and in the marshes until it breaks down naturally.

The latest congressional hearing was a real hoot.


Other than Kevin Costner, all (and the jury is still out on his machine) years of research and hundreds of millions of dollars spent have not resulted in anything being built to actually clean up oil that is substantially better than what we have been using for decades. Lot's of studies have been done, and everyone wants more studies done, but the fact remains there is no way to effectively clean up huge amounts of oil once it gets into the ocean. Again, no one will admit this. It is easier to simply blame BP and the Coast Guard.

Did BP screw up? It sure looks that way. However, it could have been any other company drilling in the GOM who screwed up and we would still have the same problem. No way to stop the blowout and no way to clean up the oil. Who do you blame for this? Did you expect every oil company to say no thank you, we won't drill in the GOM because if we screw up there is no way we can fix it? Or would you expect our government to take that responsibility?

This is not rocket science. Anyone could have looked at the MMS website for all the proof you need that our government decided to play the odds in the GOM. The fact that we are blaming BP for not being able to do something that is physically impossible is hypocritical. In a perfect world the MSM would tell the truth instead of engaging in a feeding frenzy, politicians, and agency heads would be able to find their backbones and say what needs to be said. The good people of the GOM deserve better.

I'm not a BP apologist. BP has made plenty of mistakes. But other than the one that likely caused the blowout, they all pale in comparison to what our government did by pretending there was a feasible solution for this type of situation.

Excellent post; thank you for the balanced insight.


sent from my OilPhone

It's hard to argue with simple and basic facts, and the question is legitimate. How can BP be demonized when it was an un-resolved risk/danger that BP was not responsible for creating and that everyone was operating under too, with full govt. knowledge and approval of that risk?

Heck, it happened once before already in the Gulf.

I agree. Except there are a couple of questions that remain.

1. Was there something about BP corporate culture and practices that put it at much higher risk of being the operator whose on watch this happened? And if so, how do you effectively handle the increased risks that such an operator creates in an already very risky environment? (Recall the numerous accounts of the company man, such as: "Are you fucking happy? Are you fucking happy? The rig's on fire! I told you this was gonna happen." Also relevant is BP's well established history of disregard for safety regulations leading to many deaths and multiple criminal prosecutions in the past.)

2. Could MMS have done better and come up with something more to address the risk of a failed BOP than what we have today, 30 years after the last failed BOP blow-out in the Gulf? How do we fix that lapse going forward. Doing nothing about it is no longer an option.

3. What did MMS miss that it should not have missed on this well? What should it be trained to watch for more carefully in the future that might have helped this time. How do you fix MMS so it is up to the job of managing the risk out there as effectively as possible?

Once again, thank you for this article.
I saw the torn seal on the cap last evening.
Now what?
Do they try to repair it or go with the next containment process?

Please! Let's cut the reparte' and OT comments to shorten these threads.

I've been a TOD member for 4 years and 3 months so I'm not a newbie saying this. It is just about impossible to even skim these threads for information given their length.

Thanks - Todd

Nancy E. Kinner UNH Co-Director - Deepwater Horizon Dispersant Use Meeting

Nancy's comments in a May 5 New York Times article

"Perhaps the greatest focus on spill response technologies since the Exxon Valdez has been the development and use of chemical dispersants. To date (May 5), approximately 155,000 gallons of Corexit 9500 have been sprayed on Gulf waters ... The fate and toxicity of the dispersant and the dispersed oil in the water column is not well understood."

"In spite of the pressing questions identified by the N.R.C. reports, dispersants have been the subject of few peer-reviewed studies, supported by very limited funding.

The salt marshes and shallows of the Louisiana coastal zone are habitats that support economically important industries (crab, shrimp and oyster fisheries and recreation). They are already stressed by natural subsistence, erosion and non-point source pollutants, and are difficult environments for cleanup once fouled by oil. There has not been a lot of research and development of new cleanup technologies for these shoreline environments. "

"Plume is between 1100 – 1300 m deep moving SW direction"
So I wonder why the NOAA/University researchers focused on water northeast and southeast of the spill? I know there was surface oil from the BP spill detected to the Northeast, but this dispersant report suggests that the subsea-dispersed oil is headed in the opposite direction. Would it be more informative to take depth samples elsewhere to evaluate "plumes"?
Also, the NOAA weatherbird report shows sampling no deeper than 500 meters. There must be other boats out there to the southwest looking at the appropriate depth?

The lack of data gathering that is in progress regarding these plumes is a tragedy. Far too few samples are being taken, and the composition of the samples is only being cursorily evaluated. Aside from hydrocarbon content and dissolved oxygen, biological and nutrient assays are needed in order to build a comprehensive model of the system.

We can hope that there is actually more data in the pipe and that the 'cursory analysis' is due to the understandable pressure to show some progress, but will not affect the more through analysis I expect is ongoing. I expect the researchers need some feedback from preliminary results in order to guide further sampling and expose any shortcomings in their protocols that can be addressed as the studies move forward.

As I (and probably others) have noted, the lack of pre-blowout baseline data is a problem that the researchers will just have to accept and do their best to address. An unfortunate, but typical situation.

I think there is. I received and email from a USF researcher this morning indicating that they are going to be doing some of the things I mentioned in the previous post.

I agree totally. It's important for those with little science background to realize the extent of uncertainty here (HUGE!!), with regards to dispersant use.

Personally, I'd say on balance, dispersants are still the lesser of many evils, but that doesn't mean that it's a 'good' option. Dispersants by design change the characteristics of the released oil and in the process ALSO change the biological activity and/or availability of the mixtures of chemicals present. What exactly are the tradeoffs for using dispersants in depth? What do we gain, and what do we lose? By keeping more oil under the surface, are we increasing the overall toxicity of the mixture? Is bioaccumulation enhanced with dispersed vs crude oil? Which of the many chemicals and/or their metabolic/degradation products are more likely to bioaccumlate in the food chain (and thus eventually reach humans)? Are they the more toxic ones or more benign ones? I don't think anybody has much idea...

Almost no one knows the answers to these questions, so monitoring becomes extremely important. So far, efforts at monitoring has been dismally inadequate, in relation to the size of the task. I understand it takes time and $$$ to put together research efforts, I just hope that they can act both expeditiously and with transparency...

Thanks for posting this, I downloaded and have emailed the report; it's valuable.

As with most things in public health, the regulations will be written after the deaths occur and are counted. I'm skipping the sea food for a while, we're in unknown waters here.

I'm skipping the sea food for a while ...

And BP will Make It Right ! for the above economic loss ?



I'm sure that for a $10,000 retainer and 40% of any judgment you win for deprivation of quality of life. Everybody else is going to be suing, why not you. If you submit receipts for your restaurant meals at seafood places for documentation, BP might actually pay you a few thousand to get rid of a nuisance suit.

When everybody is suing everybody for everything a country comes apart. This happened in ancient Athens around the time of Socrates, and it happened near the end of the Roman republic.

Yes Alan, sounds like you may have a case. Of course BP may ask you to sign a form to cease posting negative comments about them in order for them to hand you your money...

Actually, Don, I am eating more seafood than ever right now. To help the fishermen fishing the more remote areas still open (and Lake Pontchartrain) whose demand has fallen as fast as their catch and to preserve memories of what it was once like.

My quote was copied from the prior post, a gentleman that is part of that reduced demand.

Best Hopes for a few more weeks of seafood,


Downloaded and read report, will follow contained links. Can anyone provide a resource for byproducts of oil-dispersant (specifically corexit) interaction. I've checked back to 1979, no joy.

The reason why you (and I and so many others) have little success in finding such information is because like almost every marketed chemical product, the exact composition is 'proprietary' and therefore secret. This is just one of the many loopholes contained in the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) that 'regulates' the use of chemicals. This act has not been changed for >30 years, but new legislation is being introduced as we speak.

See an excellent summary of the issues here.

Here's the part relevant to your question:

Enhance our right to know what’s in products. Another critical piece of TSCA reform is to ensure that the public, EPA, the states, downstream users of chemicals (and retailers who sell products containing chemicals) have more information about chemical substances in commerce, including information about their potential health and environmental effects as well as their uses, and likely sources of human exposure. This need is reflected in several parts of the TSCA reform bills, including the requirement that the chemical industry provide a minimum set of information (referred to as a “minimum data set”) with which to evaluate the safety of chemicals; and the new controls proposed on the ability of companies to claim information about their chemicals as “confidential business information” and therefore successfully shield it from public scrutiny. The bills need additional detail both to ensure the right information is included as part of the minimum data set, and that the information is made available for all chemicals within a reasonable period of time.

What's to stop someone from getting a mL of this stuff and running a GC/MS analysis on it? A couple hours' work. BP can't possibly keep all 1MM gallons securely under lock and key. Probably already been done.

I don't know the answer to that, technically. Others can weigh in. I do know that it isn't just a matter of finding out what's in it, but also studying the toxicity of the components individually AND in combination with all the other chemicals present. In yesterday's thread (I think, sorry don't have time to look right now) somebody posted a bunch of links on the toxicity of oil vs oil + dispersant. There aren't very many of such studies, not enough to get a sense of the overall toxicity. It's a bit like shining a penlight in a vast warehouse. You pick up bits here and there, but what about other things you haven't studied? Other species? Other endpoints?

And then as always there's the issue of funding. The number of chemicals that are not fully characterized for toxicity are in the order of 10-100,000s. Who is going to pay to study them? And what justifies one particular chemical being prioritized over others?

According to the European Commission, little safety information exists for 99 percent of the tens of thousands of chemicals placed on the market before 1981.[4] There were 100,106 chemicals in use in the EU in 1981, when the last survey was performed. Of these only 3,000 have been tested and over 800 are known to be carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic to reproduction.,_Evaluation,_Authorisation_and...

The situation in the US is similar if not worse...

Although the formulation is secret, the government knows:

It can't be very complicated. It is surely a non-ionic surfactant. The hydrophile is alnost surely polyethylene oxide. They have said "not estrogenic" which rules out nonylphenol (a common hydrophobe). The butyl cellosolve that someone mentioned as a component is soluble in water, and not too toxic. It is in there to reduce viscosity & aid dispersion. Though I think there are better alternatives (I have mentioned ethoxylated castor oil), I really doubt if the toxicity of Corexit per se is an issue. A bigger issue is what does it do to the toxicity of the oil? Will coral & other filter feeders be wiped out? How about interaction with gills?

I think the biggest challenge about the toxicity of Corexit on its own probably has to do with human exposure, especially when inhaled either on its own or as part of a 'total burden' of exposures for individuals. Unlike the skin, there is only one single-celled layer of very permeable epithelium in the lungs separating what you breathe from your blood.

That said, I agree with your concerns about what it does to the toxicity of oil etc...

"I really doubt if the toxicity of Corexit per se is an issue. A bigger issue is what does it do to the toxicity of the oil? Will coral & other filter feeders be wiped out? How about interaction with gills?"

See some of the links below (reposted from yesterday's thread).


Here are a few links to other abstracts of studies that appear to suggest that exposure to "chemically dispersed crude" (as distinguished from plain old WAF or pure dispersant) may be detrimental to various aquatic organisms (I think I've eliminated studies focusing on Corexit 9527 from this part of the list):

1. "Acute effects of chemically dispersed crude oil on gill ion regulation, plasma ion levels and haematological parameters in tambaqui (Colossoma macropomum)."

2. "Biochemical changes in rockfish, Sebastes schlegeli, exposed to dispersed crude oil."

3. "Preliminary investigation of the effects of dispersed Prudhoe Bay Crude Oil on developing topsmelt embryos, Atherinops affinis."

4. "Influence of salinity and fish species on PAH uptake from dispersed crude oil."

5. "Effect of dispersant on the composition of the water-accommodated fraction of crude oil and its toxicity to larval marine fish."

6. "Oil dispersant increases PAH uptake by fish exposed to crude oil."

7. "Metabolic responses of fish following exposure to two different oil spill remediation techniques."

8. "Influence of Dispersants on the Bioavailability of Naphthalene from the Water-Accommodated Fraction Crude Oil to the Golden-Brown Algae, Isochrysis galbana"

This study compared acute toxicity of Corexit 9500, 9527 and 9554:

"Comparison of acute aquatic effects of the oil dispersant Corexit 9500 with those of other Corexit series dispersants."

This one examined the effects of surfactant mixtures on bacterial metabolism (interesting despite the 9527 focus):

"Effects of Surfactant Mixtures, Including Corexit 9527, on Bacterial Oxidation of Acetate and Alkanes in Crude Oil"
Full text:

Not surprisingly, none of the studies I found contemplate the conditions surrounding the direct injection of dispersants into the flow of a 5,000 ft bsl gusher.

N.B. Admission of obvious bias: The structure of my search almost certainly increased the likelihood of retrieving studies showing the results I expected/suspected. I won't be a bit surprised to find that there are as many or more studies out there convincingly refuting these.

I'm not making any claims or assertions here, simply suggesting that we might be wise (or might have been wiser) to consider these questions carefully. It certainly isn't clear to me that DW application of dispersants is an obviously better choice than not applying them at depth.

The MSDS of Corexit 9500 gives the detergent component as "organic sulfonic acid salt"; obviously an anionic detergent.

If you search patent applications or the chemical literature you will probably find the composition already published. Not a lot of need to fire up the GC/MS.

Thanks, Speaker To Animals. Actually I did research the chemical literature to which I had access, but not patents (which I will do and that is a fantastic suggestion). My focus in this particular area is the byproducts of dispersant/oil interaction rather than the primary components or toxicity issues. I was looking for oxygen molecules in the overall dispersant structure to begin with. Byproducts of interaction shouldn't be proprietary info unless Nalco fears some sort of high level reverse engineering. The EPA site is silent on the question.


When BP released their response14 to the EPA order on dispersants, the flaws of the U.S. chemical safety system became clear. BP refused to switch dispersants because, among other reasons, they say there’s not enough information about their safety.

Tables in the BP memo contain a row that is supposed to list: “Persistence, bioaccumulation, and chronic effects, and endocrine disruption” for the various dispersants, but the boxes in that section contain the words “Proprietary mixture” for almost all the products. That means that the public has no access to the full ingredients lists of these products, or any ability to independently verify their safety. Amazingly,neither, apparently, does BP.

In fact, the BP memo complains about the information gap and cites this as a reason for not switching to other dispersants. But the information gaps don’t stop there: Major portions of BP’s memo have been redacted, so the public can’t even review much of BP’s analysis of the alternatives.

These information gaps have their root in the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)’s broad protections for “confidential business information”. It is a continuous source of frustration to me as a physician and an environmental scientist – I need to know what the hidden ingredients are in products in order to protect my patients and the public. Right now we definitely need to know what's in these alternative dispersants in order to understand the risks and trade-offs. Now is the time to require chemical manufacturers to disclose their trade secrets. The dispersant debacle is proof enough that it’s time for change.

In other words, they don't tell you what's in their chemicals nor the results of toxicity studies, if any, that were ever done. By the same token, they can also state, quite truthfully, that they don't know if other alternatives (presumably from other companies) are safer since they don't know what's in those other chemicals either.

Get how that works?

One of the best books I've read on the subject of regulation of toxic chemicals (and occupational safety) is Doubt is Their Product: How Industry's Assault on Science Threatens Your Health by David Michaels, who now heads OSHA

After reading that book (written before he got into office, obviously), I have no doubt to his commitment to reform, but the wheels of government grind very slowly. I was much heartened with his appointment, but now it's time to see how much he change he can bring...

I'm not sure exactly what you mean by "byproducts." Did you see my posts in yesterday's second thread?

The densest list of links is in this one:

Excellent links which I added to my library of reference material. I need to clarify: I didn't mean effects, but actual substances produced as a result the interaction. If we did take a sample of dispersant treated oil at multiple levels,what would the spectrometer readings look like. Example: sulfur dioxide+hydrogen sulfide can yield elemental sulfur and water.

A spokesman for BP on the news now saying there's no proof there are undersea plumes of oil. If what they say is any indication of what they do, we are in far more serious trouble than we know. I understand they should run the (attempted) capping show, but they should not be in charge of the clean up, other than to pay for it.

360 acre feet spilled and counting.


Didn't hear the statement, but from the NOAA weatherbird report, it is true that there is no proof that the oil in the undersea sampling NOAA/USF did on 5/23-5/26 was from the BP well.

However, this dispersant report describes a "plume" originating from the riser stack and drifting to the southwest between 1100 and 1300 meters. The NOAA sampling was from NE and SE of the well and no deeper than 500 meters. So someone else needs to look deep and to the SW of the well, IMHO.

Riden -- that does seem to be the political problem for the president. You may know that the gov't can take over all the ops at anytime. And doing so would't have little affect on the day to day ops IMHO: the great majority of the work is being done by subcontractors working for BP. BP would still be liable for the costs including those mandated by the gov't...a big fear of all operators. OTOH it would then be the gov't and not BP issuing updates on the lack of progress. Not a job I suspect the White House really wants. From a mangement point of view I don't think BP has reacted as fast as the situation called for. But I think that was more the result of not having a clear picture of the event in a timely manner than just poor management. I think the White House also suffered from the same lack of foresight. Not so much incompetnace but lack of experience dealing with such a large scale event.

BTW -- Glad you hung around

But I think that was more the result of not having a clear picture of the event in a timely manner than just poor management

And the general time lag of lining up the equipment, workers and building up an organization that can respond to different clean up task that vary day to day.. In several briefing by Adm Allen, it is very clear that the scope of the clean up so far exceeded the initial repond plan several time over .. What that mean is that evey contractors, ships, and equipments that they were on stand by for offshore accident is already on the job. The logistic of adding more of anything and everything will take time. In the briefing today, Adm Allen talked about getting a list of all skimmers avaiable in the entire country and try to move them to the gulf.. It could/should be done 30 days ago.. But 30 days ago, the response tea was fighting hard to just deploy the resource in the response plan. It is clear that no one envision how bad a well accident in the gulf can be and hence, as a country, we are not ready for it. I am pretty sure we will handle much better the next time.. But for now all we can do is struggle to keep up and hope for the best.

I am now thinking that that initial estimate of oil spilling (5000 bpd) may have been about right on April 22 or so. There is a lot of evidence that the hole in the BOP has been getting bigger by the day. I recall that Pressure behind the BOP went from around 8500 psi on 5/12 or so to 4400 psi on 5/25. Rockman, do you think most of that change is due to sand erosion, or is a sizable bit due to depletion of the reservoir? If depletion is insignificant, one could do a swag on the change of orifice diameter.

The term "undersea oil plume" is highly misleading. An undersea oil plume, as many are using the term, is not, in fact, an undersea plume of oil, rather it is an undersea plume of water containing dissolved oil constituents or methane at concentrations that can only be detected with highly sensitive equipment -- concentrations below the permissible limit for drinking water.

According to this report,

NOAA found the concentration of oil constituents in the so-called oil plumes was less than 0.5 parts per million, i.e., equivalent to one liter of oil in 2000 tons of water, although the actual concentrations were generally very much lower than that.

Furthermore, chemical analysis indicates that some of the oil plumes at least did not originate from the Deep Horizon spill.

There is some safe level of oil concentration. Natural seeps cause them and there is some presumption that nature has adapted to cope with some small amount of dispersed oil.

So the question is how much dilution of the oil plumes (caused by BP) must take place before the concentrations of oil approach the safe level and how long will that take.

"Bolus of insight" from a great poet regarding the breach between an unsustainable civilization and a self-sustaining, "strong earth".

The Purse-seine, by Robinson Jeffers, 1937

.......I cannot tell you
How beautiful the scene is, and a little terrible,
then, when the crowded fish
Know they are caught, and wildly beat from one wall
to the other of their closing destiny the
Water to a pool of flame, each beautiful slender body
sheeted with flame, like a live rocket
A comet's tail wake of clear yellow flame; while outside
the narrowing
Floats and cordage of the net great sea-lions come up
to watch, sighing in the dark; the vast walls
of night
Stand erect to the stars.

Lately I was looking from a night mountain-top
On a wide city, the colored splendor, galaxies of light:
how could I help but recall the seine-net
Gathering the luminous fish? I cannot tell you how
beautiful the city appeared, and a little terrible.
I thought, We have geared the machines and locked all together
into inter-dependence; we have built the great cities; now
There is no escape. We have gathered vast populations incapable
of free survival, insulated
From the strong earth, each person in himself helpless, on all
dependent. The circle is closed, and the net
Is being hauled in.......

Steven Earl Salmony
AWAREness Campaign on The Human Population,
established 2001

"There is no escape. We have gathered vast populations incapable
of free survival, insulated
From the strong earth, each person in himself helpless, on all
dependent. The circle is closed, and the net
Is being hauled in......."

That pretty much sums up the predicament.

Are you aware of the Dark Mountain Project? Their name comes from a line of another Robinson Jeffers poem--"Rearmament"

These grand and fatal movements toward death: the grandeur of the mass
Makes pity a fool, the tearing pity
For the atoms of the mass, the persons, the victims, makes it seem monstrous
To admire the tragic beauty they build.
It is beautiful as a river flowing or a slowly gathering
Glacier on a high mountain rock-face,
Bound to plow down a forest, or as frost in November,
The gold and flaming death-dance for leaves,
Or a girl in the night of her spent maidenhood, bleeding and kissing.

I would burn my right hand in a slow fire
To change the future...I should do foolishly. The beauty of modern
Man is not in the persons but in the
Disastrous rhythm, the heavy and mobile masses, the dance of the
Dream-led masses down the dark mountain.

Seriously off-subject, but lest all accept the inference that the "dark mountain" is the only response to troubles ahead, see this bit of political philosophy:
The columnist's alternative: "Get down off that gloomy mountain and get to work."

Continuing OT...

"The columnist's alternative: 'Get down off that gloomy mountain and get to work.'"

Well, OK. Fine. But don't be too optimistic.

Optimism quite likely had survival value during most of our development as a species. When the gathering party went out to pick berries for the tribe, the belief that being eaten by a predator was unlikely probably helped produce more berries for lunch.

At some point, the developing belief that good berry-pickers would be rewarded by pie-in-the sky, after death, even *if* eaten by a big critter, no doubt helped even more.

And, of course, our more-recently evolved "faith" in the ability of science and technology to solve all problems has helped us to accomplish truly remarkable things.

Perhaps the most remarkable of those accomplishments, unfortunately, is the creation of a combination of population size and techno-industrial activity that has brought us into the neighborhood (at least) of irreversible depletion of net energy per-capita, along with looming shortages of other irreplaceable resources (water, arable land...).

Optimism may no longer be as adaptive as it once was.

kaliergo wrote:

"Optimism may no longer be as adaptive as it once was."

And I've read that a pessimist's view is statistically more accurate than an optimist's.

Fuel for thought.

Peter B.


I've read that too, and believe it may be correct, but think about this: Who is likely to have greater reproductive success?

"but think about this: Who is likely to have greater reproductive success?"

Uh-huh. Now, think about *this*: How's that reproductive success workin' out for ya, humans?

Running us right off the cliff I reckon.

What was beneficial during hunter-gatherer times becomes anathema when pursued to its conclusion. And I do mean conclusion.

Edit to add: Not sure if you understood my comment - I consider overpopulation to be the woolly mammoth in the living room that is the root cause of peak everything/AGW. I'm also thinking you are right about the role played by optimism.

I didn't understand it, on first reading. We are in substantial agreement.

kalliergo wrote:

"Uh-huh. Now, think about *this*: How's that reproductive success workin' out for ya, humans?"


Since you asked...

"Purty good, purty good."

"But until - as a species - we cover - shoulder to shoulder - the entire surface of the earth, I don't think we'll rest."


Not that it's relevant, but there's been a notable paucity in reporting on and/or efforts to rein in birth rates lately.

To my mind, the WHOLE problem.

I don't mind going first.

Peter B.


Optimism, I think if often misinterpreted. Is the optimist the one who doesn't want to think of the future or the one who thinks about the future? Personally, I think the optimist (in the truest sense, and where it is adaptive) is the one who thinks of the future, to see the dangers that lie ahead and tells himself: "Those are challenges, but I believe I can overcome them... and this is how I can do it." Denying global warming, denying peak oil, etc., to me is not optimism but extreme pessimism. Pessimism so strong, that only thinking of challenges ahead is tantamount to giving up, to admitting defeat. So one retreats into a fantasy world, because the real world is too scary.

Maybe I just misunderstand what optimism and pessimism really mean, but that is how I see it. There can be no optimism without full knowledge of the dangers ahead, and being convinced that they can be overcome. Refusing to acknowledge dangers and challenges is an implied surrender... no outcome can be seen other than defeat, so the pessimist refuses to even look.

Dear dohboi,

Thanks for responding. Fred Magyar, a person I do not know, sent me an email earlier today suggesting that I would find people here who would welcome my perspective. Hopefully that is the case. It pleases me to have found one person. That is a good beginning. Let us see what happens next.

At least to me, it appears that very few people are willing to see what Robinson Jeffers saw before many of us on Earth now were born. I am an elder in a not-so-great generation, I suppose, a generation led by greedmongers who have forsaken The Golden Rule in favor of the "rule of gold".

Perhaps you can assist me in two ways.

First, how is possible for so many sighted people not to see what Robinson Jeffers saw?

Second, would you mind taking a look at the research by David Pimentel, Ph.D., Cornell University and Russell Hopfenberg, Ph.D., Duke University on the subject of human population dynamics and the human overpopulation of Earth. Please click on the link, Peer-reviewed publications and a remarkable slideshow presentation can be scrutinized there.

dohboi, many too many people appear to be no more ready to examine the research of Hopfenberg and Pimentel than to see the world Robinson Jeffers elucidates. Hopfenberg's science and Jeffers' poetry make clear the global predicament in which the human species finds itself today is not only unsustainable but also a direct consequence of worldwide human overproduction, overconsumption and overpopulation activities that are now threatening to ravage the Earth and ruin the future for children everywhere.

Perhaps necessary change toward sustainability is in the offing.




I catch the drift, but frankly, I've long noted a huge blind spot, partly from lack of knowledge (of human cognition and evolutionary psychology) and partly from very effective compartmentalized blocking (eugenics).

Humans won't survive as we are, because, as is often mentioned, but never thought through, we are built to be hunter-gatherers, but our brains, expanded to handle a few score relationships, are thus susceptible to the emergent evils of mob rule, propaganda and manipulation by the tails of the psychological bell curve.

We can't think of changing humans by genetic manipulation because the happy science of the twenties was perverted by the Nazis and now its benefits are walled off by knee-jerk fears. I strongly advocate genetic change in humans because the minds we have, combined with the situation we're in, truly do look hopeless, to Jeffers and to poets before him.

We breed horses, don't we? And sled dogs, rat hunters, herd guardians. But we cannot think of ourselves as mutable because we've been strongly conditioned to think of ourselves as the crown of creation by generations of religious bigots.

So we think we'll design political systems that can work around the human design flaws.

Think of humanity as a deep well with a bad BOP, and politicos scurrying around the surface turning bolts with mechanical hands, while the black oil billows. Will all the birds die before this particular well runs dry?

The human mind is neither complete nor situationally functional. It constantly swerves society to the wrong compass points.

How say you?

I've read a bit of Camus and Heller (though I prefer Rand) and I have to say that TOD is a great technical resource. So as a physicist/engineer/welder/firmware guy, I want you to know this thread is boring the living hell outta me. Wasn't this the sort of stuff that killed off USENET?

Let's get back to things involving ksi ratings of steel, doppler flow rate measurement and the LD50 of Brawndo - er, I mean Corexit.


sent from my OilPhone




"Natural hydrocarbon seepage in the Gulf of Mexico approximately 40 million gallons per year"
I'm supposed to trust this estimate of natural seeps after nobody -- neither BP nor the government nor any other of various lurking genii -- could give me an accurate estimate of the amount of oil pouring from the CRAWed riser right in from of all of us? Right.
To connect the use of dispersants in the context of natural seeps seems a massive logical failure. Do we use dispersants on natural seeps? Newp.

Further: "1. Dispersant risk assessment should consider volume of DWH incident relative to natural seepage"
Why? How are the two related? The DWH was NOT a natural release of oil and is nothing like a natural seep.

I see all all of these increasingly failing non-responses to this catastrophe (the nobody-in-charge problems, the lack of command structure to meet the oil enemy that everybody has known would be coming for a MONTH (like Katrina, all you had to do was turn on the frigging weather channel to see the threat), the shitty booming, the keeping the press out of the cleanup areas, the "cleanup" contractors actually doing real work for only 2.5 hours per paid eight-hour day, etc., as symptoms of a failing state; a society that cannot respond to obvious threats in any coherent way because of the competeting greed interests that infest it. God help us.

"Oil in the Gulf of Mexico is nothing new. There's always oil in the Gulf, primarily due to the action of natural seeps.

These occur when there are geological fissures that allow oil to seep into the water, and such seeps can be near the shore or in deep water. The best estimates, says Larry McKinney, executive director of the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies, are that natural seeps release about 560,000 to 1.4 million barrels a year across the Gulf.

That breaks down to about 1,500 to 3,800 barrels a day, which is roughly one-fifth (now one tenth of the 12,000 and 19,000 (now 19,000 - 40,000) barrels per day being released by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The magnitude of the Deepwater spill is not so crucial as its concentration. Were it diffused like the natural seeps over the entire Gulf, there is a natural mechanism for coping with oil.

"The natural seeps are spread over a huge area," McKinney said. "Because they've been going on for thousands of years, there is a really well developed bacterial community that eats these things. You might say that the whole Gulf of Mexico has been inoculated."

natural seepage is common all over the world....both offshore and onshore....the thing is it seeps out slowly and oil eating microbes can eat away at this ....the problem with a spill is it releases a large concentration in a localized area relatively speaking these microbes eat away at the oil but use oxygen in the water during this process.....

with a high concentration of oil these microbes attack the oil in earnest....resulting in the oxygen levels in the water to drop dangerously low for the marine life..these zones are called dead zones which essentially resulting in asphyxiation for the marine life...this is the main threat to marine life here besides the obvious which is ingesting oil...

"Corexit Chemicals Revealed as Extremely Toxic"

And here's the wiki on it:

"Toxicity and alternatives

The safety data sheet states “The potential human hazard is: High.”
According to the Alaska Community Action on Toxics, the use of Corexit during the Exxon Valdez oil spill caused "respiratory, nervous system, liver, kidney and blood disorders" in people.[9] According to the EPA, Corexit is more toxic than dispersants made by several competitors and less effective in handling southern Louisiana crude.[14]
Reportedly Corexit is toxic to marine life and helps keep spilled oil submerged. The quantities used in the Gulf will create 'unprecedented underwater damage to organisms.'[15] 9527A is also hazardous for humans: 'May cause injury to red blood cells (hemolysis), kidney or the liver'.[16]
Alternative dispersants which are approved by the EPA are listed on the National Contingency Plan Product Schedule[4] and rated for their toxicity and effectiveness.[17]"

That's interesting - the Wiki states "The safety data sheet states “The potential human hazard is: High.”

However examine the Corexit 7500 MSDS itself and you find "The human risk is: Low".

I mean this is pretty basic stuff that is failing simple fact checking.

This article presents no data or references. How about something a little more substantial?

Lazy SOB arn't cha!

"The mysterious appearance on EPA's website of the specific chemical components in Corexit 9500 and 9527 "

Here is a link to the actual material safety data sheet for Corexit.

Thank you for the MSDS link!

No butyl cellosove in Corexit that the grade they are using? (they use <5% propylene glycol) This product is made from "hydrotreated light petroleum distillates" that have been partially sulfonated with SO3. It is quite acidic, about like sulfuric acid. As a sulfonic acid, it could burn your skin. The ratio of sulfonic acid/oil is between 25/75 to 75/25. The MSDS says it is miscible with water and that it consists of a mixture of "hydrotreated light petroleum distillates" with petroleum-derived sulfonic acid. I doubt this mixture would be water-miscible at a 50/50 ratio, so my guess is that Corexit 9500 is ~70% sulfonic acid, with ~30% unreacted starting material (which has a flash point around 70-80C, I estimate) + a bit of doubly sulfonated petroleum molecules. This is essentially an acidic detergent.

This product is very inexpensive to manufacture compared to the particular alternative I have suggested (ethoxylated castor bean oil). Corexit is a sulfonated petroleum oil, a detergent precursor, less the counterion (normally sodium, potassion, or ammonium), mixed with petroleum in the volatility range around kerosene (Corexit 9500 flash point ~83C; this is after ~70% of the petroleum molecules are sulfonated, which reduces volatility. This implies the precursor has a lower flash point than 83C.

Without that counterion that would make it a neutral detergent, Corexit remains miscible with water (perhaps the propylene glycol is critical for making the system miscible). But it is also a strong acid, and will change the pH. As to whether this is significant, it depends on the buffering potential of the ocean. If someone knows a typical MW for hydrotreated light petroleum distillates with a flask point around 75C, I can calculate the acidity , which I'm guessing is around 3 moles of sulfonic acid groups/liter (to be refined).

Note that the Corexit MSDS failed to site the pH of an aqueous solution. This is by far the most dangerous thing about it, and it was not mentioned! Or, maybe a "proprietary ingredient" (like ammonia is pre-mixed with it to make it neutral? I'm guessing not. I think it is a strong acid.

Light hydrotreated petroleum distillate with a flash point of 75C or so it essentially a kerosene which has been hydrogenated.

The MSDS says Organic sulfonic acid salt so I don't think it's that acid. It could be a sodium sulfosuccinate.

If it were highly acidic the MSDS would have to say so as it affects shipping and eye hazard rating. Since it is not regulated for shipping I don't think so.

The toxicity of Corexit is usually attributed to 2-butoxyethanol. However, the formulation of Corexit currently being used by BP contains no 2-butoxyethanol.

But if you remain concerned about the toxicity of oil dispersants being used in the GOM, you might do well to check the cleaning products under your kitchen sink. According to this article in the Tree Hugger

.... over 2.2 million liters of the sprayed dispersant [Corexit] and over 300 thousand liters of the underwater dispersant had been released. Even assuming the sulfonic acid salts in these dispersants, probably the ingredients of most concern, are present at the higher end of the range Nalco discloses, one could project that a couple thousand tons of active chemical will be used by the end of this operation.

Compare that to the millions of tons of these chemicals that go into our wastestreams every year from the normal everyday products we use. Even if you assume, optimistically, that 100% of this chemical waste goes to waste treatment at 99.9% efficiency, our ordinary use of these chemicals rivals the BP oil spill treatment every year. Is it time to take the anger at the oil spill and turn it into energy for change?

The implication is that there is probably a greater quantity of toxins flowing into the Gulf from the Mississippi River than is being used by BP to disperse oil.

The implication is that there is probably a greater quantity of toxins flowing into the Gulf from the Mississippi River than is being used by BP to disperse oil.

Thanks for providing some perspective on the situation.

Authoritative info to work back to the total flow of the well.
9 gallons dipersant per minute at 50:1 = 450 gallons of oil/minute uncontained

(450 x 60 x 24) / 42 = 15,429 BPD uncontained

+ 15,000 BPD contained = 30K BPD total.


To your question I would answer "NO". I don't think the contained-uncontained split is appropiate for the ratio. The ratio applys to the total going thru and around the top hat. IMHO.

My bad, I didn't realize they were injecting dispersant into the containment cap as well!

No. The ~15,000 uncontained was their "low estimate" for flow rate at the time of the meeting 5/26-5/27. This was before the capping and collection started. However, because they are now collecting ~15000 bpd and there is still leak, it would be interesting to hear what their uncontained estimate is. If there was a site reporting how much undersea dispersant is being used NOW, you could estimate uncontained (as they use 50:1 ratio for treatment). But it may not be same ratio now that they have to treat the oil leaking all around the connection cap rather than directly in the riser like they did at the time of the report.

But one thing seems evident is that they wanted a good estimate of minimum flow rate so they could use "optimal" ratio of dispersant.

According to the notes alongside the ROV feeds on the BP website they have just reduced the amount of dispersant from 10 to 7 gal per minute not sure if that helps though

There you go. *IF* BP is still applying dispersant underwater at a ratio of 50 oil:1 dispersant, then
7gal/min*60min/hr*24hr/day*50oil:dispersant ratio divided by 42gal/barrel= 12,000 BPD

You can surmise that whomever is pumping dispersants thinks that there are 12,000 barrels of oil coming out into the ocean around the cap, plus whatever they capture.
So this is in the 25-30,000 BPD range...

In BP's update this morning, they report that they have reduced the dispersant usage to 7 gal/min:

Subsea operational update:

• For the last 12 hours on June 10th (noon to midnight), approximately 7,770 barrels of oil were collected and 15.4 million cubic feet of natural gas were flared.

• On June 10th, a total of approximately 15,400 barrels of oil were collected and 30.8 million cubic feet of natural gas were flared.

• Total oil collected since the LMRP Cap containment system was implemented is approximately 88,700 barrels.

• As more oil is collected, further transfers from the Enterprise to Massachusetts continue.

Dispersant use was reduced from 10 to 7 gal per minute as more oil is collected.

• Operations were stable.

• The next update will be provided at 6:00pm CDT / 12.00am BST on June 11, 2010.

Updated June 11 at 9:00am CDT / 3:00pm BST

With 7 GPM at 1:50 ratio, that would take the total down to 27K BPD.

I just peeked in on the live feeds after being away for a couple of days and wow, it sure looks like something bad has happened. Anybody know where we are at with regards to containment/slowing down the leak? Thanks to all. -Frank

Hey frankencat, I believe I probably witnessed what you did just within the last half hour or so. The feed went nuts, all orange and red and crazy and once that settled down the flow around the riser seemed much heavier.

It would appear the eruption came from somewhere below the riser and siphoning contraption. I believe the orange and red colors must have been a result of bottom flow combining with close proximity to the camera lights etc, but it made me ask a question.

Can oil well drillers tap into pyroclastic flows? The colors and eruption made me think of this question. And yes they can, an oil team drilling in Iceland had this happen recently and had to stop drilling...for obvious reasons. This also happened to a non-oil drilling unit in Hawaii that were over a mile down and hit 1000 deg flow. So, if professionals with geologists etc, can accidentally tap into a pyroclastic flow, why could something like that not happen here? The pressures and gases resulting from and event like this would explain alot. Could they have accidentally cut open or fractured some layer in the lower crust that exposed nearby magma veins etc, to changes in pressure? The pressure in these magma bodies can reach 30-40MPa. A lot of potential for problems and may be something that explains the unpredictability of this thing.

Just thinking out loud...

Could they have accidentally cut open or fractured some layer in the lower crust that exposed nearby magma veins etc, to changes in pressure?

Absolutely not. The well TD'd at the top of the Macondo pay Miocene sand, nowhere near the basement. No magma dykes or intrusions.

What is at the bottom or basement? If there is or could be pyroclastic activity below the basement could a change in pressure at or near the basement allow exposure?

You know like boiling water on a stove. The kettle transfers the heat to the water and creates pressures indirectly.

Pyroclastic refers to volcanic ash mixed with air. Not going to happen under a mile of water.

I suspect that SqueekyWheel is referring to magma and other hot rocks, which are not present in the area of the well. So that's not going to happen either. The well in Hawaii that reached magma was planned and sited for that purpose.

It's not going to show magma, but I'd like to see a diagram of the geology of that reservoir.

I sit corrected....but you know what I meant. One thing we can safely say is that if something like this event happens, there was either foreknowledge that this well and geographic area was unstable or conversely nobody could accurately ascertain it's stability. Either way it reveals ignorance or willful disregard for the risks.

It is proabably a combination of both.

I think what is ironic about this current recovery technique is that it allows the well itself to control the pressures within the siphoning pipe. If the pressure gets to hot, they just let the oil and gas blow out beneath the cap while they recover as much as possible in the process.

Voila! No pressure problems at the surface.

The well in Hawaii was not planned to reach magma, it was after hot rock to drive steam turbines. The geothermal company in question acknowledges that reaching magma flow was an accident(see link).

Ah well, I was thinking of another one. You weren't very specific.

Hi Cheryl,
I have been asking for the geology of the reservoir since day one. I can not find a thing about anything other than the projected crude/gas totals.
Some of these large reservoirs have heavy salt domes (which worries me), multiple gas caps, highly variable water aquifers, etc.
If you find something please write. It almost seems a top secret ha!

Landrew, I think I must have seen your request on another thread. There was a request for the geologic column (almost equivalent) by someone else in this thread.

Seems to me that this is part of what the government should be demanding from BP. I realize that seismic data is probably available, but there's no reason why BP shouldn't be required to provide what they know about the reservoir, including their 3D modeling.

I'll post if I find anything.

Thanks Cheryl, love to hear more of your thoughts on the topic:)

I was rereading MMS
stating that the "only sea floor feature was a low relief escarpment 1,000 feet to the south" of site A, sea floor expression of a "deeply-buried scarp, associated with mass wasting."

Would the escarpment have been affected by the loss of control in March 2010 and the later April blowout? Is that escarpment like the Gaviota formation?

Rubbish if you look at the feed from Ocean Intervention III ROV 2 you will see that they are using a propeller to move the oil and gas out of the way so they can inspect the top of the cap. There wasn't an eruption.

I respectfully dissagree blacka, it is obvious that there are temporary flows or leaks originating from somewhere below the cap. It would appear that is why they occasionally turn the camera down below the cap, to see what is going on. It wouldnt make sense to turn the camera towards that area and then purposely blow the effluent in the area you are focusing on.

It is pretty plain in the angles I am witnessing there are leaks or flow from some other areas.

If you aren't watching multiple feeds at the same time it's impossible to figure out what's going on down there. Even then, most of it is incomprehensible.

Fan OFF: everything looks normal

Fan ON: all the crap gets blown away, and 'away' happens to be where the other ROVs are

Interesting snap shot, the bottom one. Is that a sensor tapped into the cap?? Looks like lots of wires coming out of it. Could BP be measuring real flow and not reporting on it?? Just a touch of paranoia.

I believe there are two tubes connected to the cap to feed methanol and warm water to prevent the formation of methane hydrates. The only flow that can be measured is the flow through the pipe, but that is the collected oil, and that flow is reported daily.

The location on the cap where you see the tube would not be suitable to measure the flow. The flow is not constrained, so it cannot be measured outside the pipe. From that location, they could measure pressure in the cap, and temperature. Those could be used to *estimate* the flow. Depending on the model chosen and the assumptions made there would still be a range of possible flows, which is what we are being given.

I'll bet they installed at least temperature and pressure sensors when they attached those feed pipes.

I agree. It does seem like there is some clearer cable wrapped on the tube. And I know I would want pressure and temperature readings from the cap.

Gas moves faster than oil, just as C02 bubbles are moving faster in the alcohol your drinking. You will see gas expanding as it comes out of solution hitting lower temps at the bop. Silly science stuff.

It's far more likely that they reduced/stopped the flow up the riser, perhaps because they need to reposition the Enterprise for a change in the direction of the wind.

During one of his briefings a few days ago, Kent Wells said that this could happen from time-to-time if the direction of the wind changes and the wind's effect on the gas flaring operation makes the current ship heading unsafe.

Pyroclastic flows are airborne flows of superheated gasses and frothing andesitic lava (such as pumice) generated by subduction melting. In Hawaii and Iceland, its simply basalt derived from hot spot plumes and spreading ridges. Neither processes are located in this part of the Gulf.

Is there oil exploration going on in Iceland? Could you provide a bit more info on that?

I don't know of any oil exploration, but there geothermal drilling that presents the high pressure blow out dangers of oil drilling.

That would be my bad, I misspoke calling it an oil well, it was in fact a geothermal project.

The well you are referring to is probably from the
Iceland Deep Drilling Project
which is a basic research project aimed at studying the feasibility of extracting
supercritical liquids for use in geothermal and enhanced geothermal projects

See this for an explanation of how they hit magma before they hit any supercritical liquids.

The feed went nuts, all orange and red and crazy and once that settled down the flow around the riser seemed much heavier.

Were you watching a single feed? I ask because between 9:50 and 10:30 CDT the Ocean Intervention III ROV2 was blowing oil away from the 'top hat', and that blew oil clouds into both of the Skandia ROVs (and they did look reddish-orange).

The Ocean Intervention III ROV was looking at the bottom and the top of the 'top hat'.

Thanks. That's exactly what it looked like. Glad to hear there was nothing more to it. Carry on. :)

In EVERY SINGLE CASE when the intrepid public ROV cam watchers have started talking about having seem something massive happen (I think the BOP has blown up about 4 times, and the oil has caught fire underwater at least twice, plus at least two massive eruptions of oil from the sea surface) it has been nothing but the ROV repositioning itself, or the light changing, or the ROV surfacing, etc. etc. Please take these blurry degraded images from constantly moving cameras with a whole shaker full of salt. If you think you just saw the well blowout or the seafloor erupt, odds are really good you did not.

The real massive failure happened about 7 weeks ago; things are bad enough already without making up even more!

With all due respect, it would appear that with the level of incompetence or pure flippance that BP has demonstrated, people or the "public" including me have come to be quite jumpy and alarmed and non-trusting with the whole show.

It is like we fully expect things to get worse. We sure can't seem to trust Bp and their so-called experts.

And there are plenty of things seen and likely correctly interpreted, which we might otherwise not know about.

Failure of top-hat band.
Above estimate leak rates associated with riser cut.
Acceleration of kink leak.
Seabed monitoring survey.
Riser disassembly practice.
Dual plume characteristics in high-res video post shear. Producing black high hydrate, red low hydrate.
Two DP's in riser cut.
Large riser end leak during top-kill operation.

W/o even thinking too hard.

Yes, of course, but I'm not talking about those sorts of things that are arrived at calmly and with due deliberation and consideration of multiple views and changes over time. I'm talking about the repeated instances of "WOW did you see that the whole thing just blew!" as an immediate reaction to what is seen on a single cam feed, and always turns out to be something benign, as is easily discovered by looking for a bit more information and another cam angle.

Ah c'mon bb551, isn't that what we the public have been trained to do...we jump in our Hummer, drive two blocks to McDonald's, buy a Big Mac with supersized fries, maybe stopping on the way at Best Buy to pick up an IPad, throw the plastic packaging out the window, head back home and watch a good action movie where stuff blows up.

I am used to and programmed for instant gratification and zero critical thinking, stop raining on my parade.

P.S> Thre is nothing and I repeat nothing 'benign' about this disaster.

Calm deliberation is good.

One good thing about this place is it isn't such a closed culture that wild interpretations and far out conspiracy ideas don't get reduced fairly fast.

Many of the things that I listed there were pretty much improbable 'holy crap' moments for me the first time I saw them which turned out later to be true. For all I know they may have even surprised some experts. Such is the nature of this strange unscriptable tragedy.

Best hopes for reality based interpretations no matter how unexpected.

Of course, some people would characterize Peak Oil and TOD doomerism as wild interpretations and far out conspiracy ideas.


Their 'holy crap' moment is yet to come!

Thank you for giving this important information entailed in the dispersant report the attention it deserves. I hope it will be evaluated by the participants of this site based on the merits of the science rather than on the politics of the reader of the science.

Too often we see distortion of scientific information in the MSM, or attacks based on the source of science made from sources with a political agenda rather than evaluation of science on its own merit. AGW is the current poster child for this, however both sides of the political spectrum are equally guilty of evaluating science through a political lens. Perhaps the most infamous example of this comes from the old Soviet Union, Lysenkoism, in which a state policy becomes mandated scientific dogma.

The anti-AGW situation has reached the point where some politically motivated attorney generals are conducting criminal prosecutions of scientists for their AGW views. This has resulted in the following letter from the National Academy of Sciences, signed by 11 Nobel Laureates and 255 members of the academy.

I am very distressed by the attacks that I have received on this site for my attempts to present science based information on the dispersant question. These include being accused of being in the employ of BP, which I view as attacks on my personal integrity. I think these attitudes detract greatly from the value of this site.

I hope that people will re-evaluate how they respond to such postings in the future, and return to fact based analysis rather than evaluation by association.

This is a thread concerning dispersant use in the Gulf of Mexico as a response to the Deepwater Horizon deep drilling catastrophe.

[That said, and having checked the link, and having seen this: "There is compelling, comprehensive, and consistent objective evidence that humans are changing the climate in ways that threaten our societies and the ecosystems on which we depend."

I can only say that this is not news. Creatures have done this to the planet for hundreds of millions of years, probably beginning with the blue-green algae that reproduced so massively that they altered the Earth's atmosphere permanently.
Humans are not permanent.
Even if we are causing this, we will not stop using fossil fuels until they are gone simply because at this point we depend upon them for our survival. If people are asked to choose between dying slowly now or dying slowly later, I think they will chose later, thanks very much.]

The topic is the dispersant use meeting.

It is also an open thread.

If people are asked to choose between dying slowly now or dying slowly later, I think they will chose later, thanks very much.

Well, just to idly torch a strawman...

that isn't the choice. The choice is living more sustainably now vs dying later. It is about a small sacrifice now vs. massive hardships later.

Even the most extreme measures, like a renewable Manhattan project through a tax increase, mandating higher energy efficient residences and businesses, or even banning personal vehicles with less than 30mpg milage, aren't really that big of a sacrifice. Especially compared to, say, whole states worth of food producing land no longer producing enough food, or land where millions of people live becoming ocean.

It is about a small sacrifice now vs. massive hardships later.

It isn't a "small sacrifice" to force billions of humans to continue living in crushing poverty -- which is what will be required to stabilize CO2 emissions at current levels.

What's more, the various "cap and trade" schemes that have been proposed -- even the ones floated at the big climate change meeting in Copenhagen last winter -- are estimated even by their backers to have only a trivial effect on the warming that is alleged to be occurring. Which leads to the obvious question: what, then, is really the purpose of such programs, other than being an excuse to massively raise taxes on the wealthiest nations?

I don't believe that we will find a political situation regarding global warming. It will do what it will because humans are not evolved enough to control their breeding to fit their environment.

Barring a scientific breakthrough on the order of finding a loophole in the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics we are going to find out all about the effects of greenhouse gasses on a planetary scale.

The small sacrifice of poverty for 4 billions may turn out to not look so bad in hindsight.

Tell that to those 4 billion you just condemned. Ironically, the people in the worst shape are also the ones with the highest birth rate. It makes sense to them, but no one's willing to look at the bigger picture.

Tell that to those 4 billion you just condemned.

I think you have misunderstood Speaker's point. To do nothing is to condemn them to die from exposure, dehydration, and starvation, and from the mayhem and lawlessness that the lack of basic resources will bring.

To do nothing condemns them to death sooner.

To do nothing to control population will, in my opinion, increase the level of environmental degradation we manage to heap on the Earth before a Malthusian population collapse. (If you're going to have a collapse, I think that it's better to have one that doesn't feature massive oil spills, desertification on a continental scale, and nuclear contamination, than one that does. But that's just me.) We may not be able to get through the next few decades without billions of people dying. But a billion or two less lives ending in particularly horrible ways is something worth working towards.

"...humans are not evolved enough to control their breeding to fit their environment."

A partial statement I wholeheartedly agree with.

Ahh Michael, you say that like you care. Unfortunately the worlds leading economic powers have never truly cared about the worlds poor and hungry...that is utter BS. The actions and policies taken by the World Bank and IMF amoung others reveal insincere motives in this regard.

Judging by your last sentence it sounds more like the real opposition for these policies are monetary. It is of no point to worry too much about the worlds current population and how it lives if there is no future population and healthy planet for it to live on.

Money by Pink Floyd:

Money, get away
Get a good job with more pay
And your O.K.

Money, it's a gas
Grab that cash with both hands
And make a stash

New car, caviar, four star daydream
Think I'll buy me a football team

Money get back
I'm all right Jack
Keep your hands off my stack

Money, it's a hit
Don't give me that
Do goody good bullshit

I'm in the hi-fidelity
First class traveling set
And I think I need a Lear jet

Money, it's a crime
Share it fairly
But don't take a slice of my pie

Money, so they say
Is the root of all evil

But if you ask for a rise
It's no surprise that they're
Giving none away

Sqeeky wrote:

Judging by your last sentence it sounds more like the real opposition for these policies are monetary.

There is no question that a great deal of the opposition to cap and trade is financial in nature.

My point is that it appears that a great deal of the support for "cap and trade" schemes is financial in nature, as opposed to being motivated out of a desire to actually stop the alleged global warming. I can't think of any other reason why said supporters push for schemes which, by their own estimates, will have no significant effect on the amount of warming that occurs.

It isn't a "small sacrifice" to force billions of humans to continue living in crushing poverty -- which is what will be required to stabilize CO2 emissions at current levels.

It is a smaller sacrifice than to have them die from starvation, dehydration and exposure.

What's more, the various "cap and trade" schemes that have been proposed -- even the ones floated at the big climate change meeting in Copenhagen last winter -- are estimated even by their backers to have only a trivial effect on the warming that is alleged to be occurring.

So obviously, to have more than a "trivial" effect, on climate change, you drive a Yaris, take public transit, and are writing letters to your congressman and the papers saying you want straight carbon taxes, a doubling of the CAFE mileage ratings...oh, wait, I see now..."warming that is alleged to be occurring" you really don't give a crap because it's not real, and it's going to cost you money.

You are the problem, you know. The reason we get watered-down International agreements. If the right wing politicians couldn't depend on you and your fellow travelers (and I do mean travelers, in SUV's, planes and the overpowered recreational transport equipment that litters North America), then we might have a chance to deal with AGW and Peak Oil. So come clean! Argue from the position of AGW being a sham. Don't hide behind weasel words and claim that what's being done is inadequate when you really don't want to do anything.


Slight oversight --

Even if we are causing this, we will not stop using fossil fuels until they are gone simply because at this point we depend upon them for our survival in our present form.

There, I fixed that for you.

I apologize if I have been perceived as one of the offenders in this regard. The nature of the event/crisis and the volume of emotionally charged posts leads to some perhaps less than well considered responses at times - internet disease.

Dispersant Working Group (DWG)

among its 26 members
BP (British Petroleum)
ExxonMobil Institute
Shell Global Solutions
API (American Petroleum Institute)

and here is the response to the report from NALCO (the producer of Corexit 9500)

and here NALCO highlights comments from a wide ranging group of government, industry and academics including a quote from CRCC co director Nancy Kinner:

“It is the consensus of the group that up to this point, use of dispersants and the effects of dispersing oil into the water column has generally been less environmentally harmful than allowing the oil to migrate on the surface into the sensitive wetlands and near shore coastal habitats,”

Rather than using dispersants has anyone considered using
a coagulant instead to encourage/facilitate surface
collection and removal of the crude oil ??

A quick search turned up this product ..

Triff ..

Triffin - Coagulant?

Great question! I was wondering the same thing for some time. I can envision the result being great globs of an oil-coagulant mix, (maybe along the lines of "silly putty") floating on the surface and being collected with nets instead of booms. Seems that a coagulated mix might be more easily avoided by birds, marine mammals, fish, etc. and less likely to be ingested by smaller organisms.

I am guessing that this idea will be quickly "dispersed," however it will be interesting to read the responses from those with the chemical knowledge to explain/debate it.

Triffin - Coagulant? (Follow Up)

Well after catching up on my TOD readings I went back and took a look at the website you posted. This HCA-10 product produced by the WinTec Group looks really amazing. Forget my "silly putty" comment, the consistency of this stuff after it has been deployed looks far easier to manage. I thought it was interesting that the oil-coagulant mixture once collected can still be burned, thereby recouping some of its energy value. I have relisted your posting of their website and included links for some of their documentation as well.

WinTec USA
HCA-10: The Future of Environmental Oil-Spill Recovery

HCA-10 Brochure

HCA-10 Component information

WinTec Coagulant MSDS information

I too an very impressed! This is not the sort of coagulant I'm familiar with for latex rubber, though the final results look similar. I believe they claimed a 5:1 ratio of oil:polymer; pretty good. they said it is a block copolymer; it must contain both hydrophilic and hydrophobic segments. Looks great for beach clean-up potentially. perhaps for use behind the booms initially.

Yikes 5:1 oil to polymer would mean 20 times more of this than the amount of surfactant being used.

Also among the members:

Coastal Response Research Center at the Univ. of New Hampshire
Cook Inlet Regional Citizen's Advisory Council
NOAA Office of Response and Restoration
Canada Fisheries and Ocean

Looks like they may have tried to put experts from a variety of perspectives on the team.

Thanks for the links.

Holy crap.

“It is the consensus of the group that up to this point, use of dispersants and the effects of dispersing oil into the water column has generally been less environmentally harmful than allowing the oil to migrate on the surface into the sensitive wetlands and near shore coastal habitats,”

That would only be a valid argument if there was no oil on the damn beaches and wetlands. If that were the case, if the dispersants were able to keep a fatal dose of oil confined to one ecosystem (subsurface) while protecting another (wetlands), then I'd accept that it's the best of two bad alternatives. However, it damn well looks to me as if the oil is dispersed into a massive volume of water, AND still enough floating oil washing up to kill everything just as dead as if ALL the oil were still on the surface. And that doesn't even touch the issue of how harmful the dispersant is/isn't on its own.

It is impossible to do cost-benefit analysis when you cannot quantify (in dollar terms) the costs and the benefits. I do not think there is any way to know whether the environment will be better off or worse off from the use of dispersants.

Like others have said, we won't really know until after this leak is stopped and the damages can be determined, both from the dispersant use and the oil on the shore. If the bluefin tuna, for example, lose a breeding ground due to the dispersed oil in the water, how can a cost for such a disaster be determined? The true costs of this dispersant use may not be calculable for years.

I don't think the true costs will ever be known. But don't forget about the large benefits going to lawyers on both sides over the next ten years.

I wonder about species like bluefin. They are epipelagic; that is they spend a large percentage of their time near the surface. Sea turtles are another case - they have to surface to breathe. Dispersant could be beneficial. It isn't just a matter of the shore, it is the entire surface of the Gulf.

Time will tell. Or time might show that there is so much oil in this environment that there is no escape from the consequences.

From what I've read, it's the eggs of the bluefin that are most at risk from the dispersed oil; they are free floating and would be subjected to the oil as it (and they) drift around the Gulf. Even small amounts of oil are toxic to their eggs.

Sea turtles are at risk in two locations; the fish they eat (long term) and the surface, where they have to go to breathe. The dispersed oil helps on the latter issue, but may make the former issue more of a concern. They also eat jellyfish, which could be wiped out by this spill. The Ridleys Kemp turtle nests on Mexican and Texas coasts, and will have to pass through the spill location as an adult and once the young hatch. If there's nothing for them to eat (jellyfish), what will happen to them?

Bluefin release their eggs in the top 15 meters. After fertilization they float to the surface where they sit until hatching.

comfychair wrote:

That would only be a valid argument if there was no oil on the damn beaches and wetlands.

So if ANY oil makes it to the beaches and wetlands, this proves the dispersant is of no value -- even if the dispersant has reduced the amount of oil reaching the beaches and wetlands, by, say, 50%?

If the theoretical 50% reaching shore is enough to do the same damage as 100%, then hell yes that's what I'm saying. You are assuming that a 50% reduction in volume necessarily will result in 50% less death. As usual, you're wrong. It's like finding out your drinking water is contaminated, and saying "hey I know, maybe we can use our FOOD to clean the water!!"

True, we won't know until it's too late, but that's hardly acceptable for an allegedly civilized and self-aware species. This should have been figured out 30 years ago. Letting a spill escape from the point of release is NOT ACCEPTABLE. There has to be a way for us to keep any release isolated from the water at the source, confined, contained within a controllable area, and then get the shit out of the water.

In yesterday's thread I posted a forecast of a difficult kill of this well becuause of no viable way, at the present, to bullhead from the top to assist the relief well No 1 which would be pumping from the bottom. A question was asked why a dynamic kill from the top was not viable. The answer is that when that type kill was initially attempted, the riser was bent over the stack and provided a certain amount of backpressure or containment of the pumped fluids. That section of riser has now been removed and there is no pressure containment on the well other than the restrictions in the stack. With the top of the stack wide open there is little chance of generating enough backpressure to make the kill fluid go down rather than up and out thru the open top. If some other device is installed on top of the stack, this could all change but future plans to install some device on top have not been announced.

I asked that question. I agree they have lost restriction, but I don't think it would be that difficult to create a system to restrict it again.

In the scenario of losing too much bottom-kill mud out a casing rupture and into the underground formation, my real question is whether it would be of any benefit to have both both bottom kill and top kill working together?

John Wright Corporation apparently developed some very sophisticated computer modeling capacities, so I assume they are way ahead of all of this speculation. For instance, they would have all of the data gathered during Top Kill. To your point, maybe they dropped BOP on BOP and got the 2nd RW fired back up so quickly because their modeling indicated a real need for the 2nd RW during the kill operation.

There is quite a bit of speculation that the casing below the BOP is cracked and leaking when too much back pressure is applied. If true then the best they can do is grab what they can after it has left the BOP and pray the relief well succeeds.

"Sen. Bill Nelson: Reports of oil seeping up from seabed, well casing may be pierced."


""We discovered things that were broken in the sub-surface," said a BP official who spoke on the condition of anonymity. He said that mud was making it "out to the side, into the formation." The official said he could not describe what was damaged in the well."

I have doubts about that. At least some of the BP/engineer advisors apparently wanted to continue Top Kill. I don't think they would have wanted to do that if they thought the casing was damaged just below the wellhead.

Chu, and perhaps some BP/engineer advisors, did not want to continue Top Kill. It sounds to me like they perhaps feared continuing might rupture the casing, and may have been looking forward to Bottom Kill in terms of not doing additional damage to the well that would jeopardize Bottom Kill's likelihood of success.

Noobie here, although I've spent too much time the last 2 weeks here and watching video feeds. Briefly, 35 years ago fresh out of college with a mechanical engineering degree I took a job with the chemical division of a major oil company. Somehow, within a year, I had been tapped as the 'company man' to workover salt dome storage wells and a waste water disposal well and to drill water and storage wells. All on terra firma, not in 5000' of water. Therefore, I know just enough about the situation to be dangerous.

Ex, here's my guess. They want to get a solid connection to the BOP. 2 choices a) the quick connect, b) the flange. I'm guessing they'll go with the flange. Tempting as the quick connect might be, even if they could release the riser stub and anything prevented reconnecting, they'd have no fall back. So the new top cap will bolt up to the old riser flange. Will it have a valve on top they can leave open until they can 'stab' the top cap on? (I'm thinking a single ram BOP with blinds and oversized kill/choke connections. DW/remote controls, does it exist?) Anyway, the new top cap will be pre-connected to a new valve manifold running to the new floating riser. I'm thinking this manifold will have vent valve(s) so any flow that can't be handled top-side can be released here. This takes care of the 'recovery' mode. But it also regains control of the top of the stack so that some choking (or even top kill, but probably not) could be done during kill operations.

We'll see

Just FYI, the former CEO of Shell is taking questions now at the Washington Post.

He took my question first

Arlington, Va.: I heard you basically say on a news show that the reason we are drilling in deep and ultradeep water is because we don't allow drilling on the beaches and some federal lands. Do you believe this? That we could ban forever all deep and ultra deepwater drilling and supply all our needs (20+ million barrels/day) with unrestricted drilling on beaches and Federal lands?

John Hofmeister: It is critical to drill where it is safe, reasonable risk and where there is oil and gas to drill. This could include shallow water off both coasts and Alaska, onshore Federal lands in addition to the private land drilling we do now. However we use more oil per day that the US can reasonably produce, so we'll be importers of oil until we can change technology to lower demand. We could import half as much oil however according to my calculations than we do today by opening up more domestic drilling, making use of biofuels and higher mileage autos.

It sounds as if he has some pretty optimistic calculations on the eroei of biofuels, though it is a bit stunning to see even a former head of a major oil company advocating higher-mileage autos. The oil and auto lobbies have been very effective in the last few decades at destroying any attempt to increase auto mpg. (And of course they haven't been any great friends of biofuels, generally, though there are good reasons to be skeptical in this case.)

What no one wants to talk about is that fairly modest (in the grand scheme of things, and given the stakes) changes in behavior could significantly and rapidly reduce our dependence on oil at essentially no cost. If all (or even most) of the cars that now carry just the driver or the driver and one passenger were to start carrying four or more occupants, we could immediately cut use from this sector (which I believe is 40%) to a quarter of current use. There are other cases of low, and some slightly higher, hanging fruit in this and other sectors that could effect dramatic decreases while still performing essentially the same function.

Anyone who is not bringing these approaches up is not being serious about the situation, IMVHO.

Lee Raymond often said the American consumer had an option called conservation.

dohboi wrote:

The oil and auto lobbies have been very effective in the last few decades at destroying any attempt to increase auto mpg.

That's a strange thing to say since those standards just got raised in 2007 and have built-in increases for 2010 and 2011.

That's a strange thing to say since those standards just got raised in 2007 and have built-in increases for 2010 and 2011.

The "last few decades" dahboi speaks of- that would be the '80's and '90's and early '00's, which, if I'm not mistaken, featured the rise of the SUV (a vehicle class which was considered a commercial vehicle and exempt from CAFE ratings) as passenger vehicle, in a shallow and successful effort to get around the CAFE.

If we had European standards for fuel efficiency in North America, then you could say the auto companies had been unsuccessful. But we don't, do we?

and the standard for passenger vehicles even remained at 27.5 mpg from 1990 through 2010 (CAFE) while the buying public flocked to the SUVs, with their high mileage and, often, generous tax advanages.

Another interesting comment (is he talking about the nuke option? :0)

Yuma, Ariz.: What are the chances that the well casing below the sea floor has been compromised, and that gas and oil are coming up the outside of the well casing, eroding the surrounding soft rock. Could this lead to a catastrophic geological failure, unstoppable even by the relief wells?

John Hofmeister: This is what some people fear has occurred. It is also why the "top kill" process was halted. If the casing is compromised the well is that much more difficult to shut down, including the risk that the relief wells may not be enough. If the relief wells do not result in stopping the flow, the next and drastic step is to implode the well on top of itself, which carries other risks as well.

We really need to find out what went wrong from the beginning so that we don't have this happen again.

Is it really useful to know the exact amount this thing is leaking? It's not like BP has a 30k bpd riser cap with matching production all ready to go. Does knowing this amount help fine tune relief well efforts? Is someone going to deploy more skimmers because CNN is reporting new numbers?

On June 9th, a total of approximately 15,800 barrels of oil were collected and 31 million cubic feet of natural gas were flared.

If this # is true (cough) then the total amount of Oil flowing must be immense, also I think I mentioned the lean on the BOP issue 2 days ago.

Maybe those are shareholder/marketing numbers...

Is it really useful to know the exact amount this thing is leaking?

Yes it is. How are scientists supposed to evaluate the various effects of this spill eg on deepwater ecology, if they don't have numbers to work on?


This report confirms my thought that the DWH response "gatekeepers" have effectively limited the discussion to options involving the use of dispersant in relatively large application ratios.

With respect to the option of using little or no dispersant, they have been, and are still saying--"we're not going there--nothing to see there--move along, please".

This attitude is wholly consistent with their decision to "double-down" initially by using dispersant, hoping they could hide the extent of damage while devising a capture scheme, which they apparently thought could be done in a week or two.

With the intent of establishing a "true" base case (without dispersant), which, even if no longer applicable to this "spill" in particular, might be used as as a basis to develop "first-aid" schemes for future spills, I'd like to know what what the learned people here think would happen (and did happen, initially) to the buoyant column of gas and oil if it were simply allowed to reach the surface from which point collection attempts could be made.

How far (what horizontal distance) would the stream of hydrocarbons rising from the sea floor travel from the center before breaching the surface? Would there be a single (Ixtac) or multiple emergence zones? Would essentially all the oil "follow" the buoyant gas stream up to the surface, or is it conceivable that it could take a different pathway? How much time would the oil spend in the water column before reaching the surface? How much would still remain as liquid? Would the water temperature at the emergence zone be cooler than the surrounding sea surface temperature, due to both expansion cooling and "dragging-up" of cooler water from depths? Would it be feasible to build a large circular "floating roof" with a skirt to trap the HC layer, having a central "escape hole or chimney" for the gas (methane) to escape?

Somehow, I get the feeling that it would have been better if these questions had been asked about six weeks ago--maybe some did ask them.

Maybe it's just me who has these questions and concerns. By the way, for this spill, do photos exist of the turbulent zones where large volumes of gas are breaking the surface?

do photos exist of the turbulent zones where large volumes of gas are breaking the surface?

We need a whistlebower with a camera on one of the service boats.

"With respect to the option of using little or no dispersant, they have been, and are still saying--'we're not going there--nothing to see there--move along, please'."

Yes, while the most cursory review of the relevant biology literature suggests that there's quite a lot to see. Of course, nothing that suggests that possibility ended up in the bibliography of the above-referenced report.

Is the fix in? Is it just a matter of the "Upton Sinclair Paycheck Principle" at work? Something else?

Something else?

Perhaps you are missing that there is a 30-year world wide history of the application of dispersants in oil spill control efforts? And that this has found to be of benefit over this period of time?

"Perhaps you are missing that there is a 30-year world wide history of the application of dispersants in oil spill control efforts? And that this has found to be of benefit over this period of time?"

If you really think that's likely, you're probably skip-reading the posts.

Quick follow-up on my post on the previous thread about UK press coverage -- since I posted that, I've seen the front pages of today's tabloids. They usually fill me with despair and loathing at the best of times, but the Daily Mail's is particularly revolting. ("Cameron" is our new Conservative PM.)

How ironic this revolting idea of "Britain is the real victim" is being promulgated as World Cup fever grips the country, and the Cross of St George flags fly on cars, windows, t-shirts everywhere. Stuff like that makes me ashamed of my country, really.

'Course we did open up an industrial size can of Whupass on y'all at Yorktown...

With more than a little help from the French there.

OTOH, The Battle of New Orleans on January 8th was the most extreme defeat in British Army history. A combination of US Army, a US Navy cannon with crew, US Marines, militia, pirates and basically anyone with a gun was invited but the Americans were still outnumbered two to one.

Best Hopes for no repeat,


I was once at a conference in Cairns, Australia that my company was conducting. The sales folks liked to bring some of the Sr. technical folks along to give seminars and such. It should have been a nice perk.

One night's activity was designated as karaoke, my least favorite thing in the world. After a number of liquid refreshments and some cajoling from some of the female staff of the Singapore office I agreed to sing, but only on condition that the karaoke machine was equipped with Johnny Horton's "Battle of New Orleans". I felt confident that there was no way this Asian karaoke guy in Australia had that song in his kit. I was wrong.

The worst part was that the Chairman of my company's British parent company was attending. He especially liked the part about the British running "so fast the hounds couldn't catch 'em!".

Talk about your career limiting moves.

But at least you have a wonderful story to tell. Thanks for sharing.

And, as Alan knows, one of the most outstanding PEACETIME military battles in history. The war had officially ended before the battle but word did not reach the Brits in time. Guess they could have used the Internet back then.

.......... we managed a much bigger defeat than that. Singapore, 80,000 allied troops captured. My Uncle Jack was there, after which he was invited to help build a railway through Burma for four years. He was one of the few that made it.

Continuing thanks for the informed updates to all; I'm voting Rockman and Shelburn for technical advisors for the movie. This stuff needs a wider audience.

I drive 55.....I am passed for hours on the highway from Orange Beach Alabama to New Orleans, sometimes but autos going 75 mop. Why can't American's slow down?

Makes more sense to get a more efficient car than to slow down, cost-benefit wise.

So what's the cost of driving your SUV to work year in, year out? Two pelicans? A bottlenose dolphin? See you a royal tern and raise it a laughing gull? If you drive a Prius, are you only partially addicted to oil?

Anyone here slinging mud at BP had better be walking the walk with mass transit, bikes, or walking. We're all BP. Are we mad enough yet to not drive our cars?

Not that it is important, but no, I don't drive a car. If I wanted to there is a service to rent a car by the hour. I take mass transit and walk to work, and walk and bike whereever else I need to go. And I live in the 'burbs, too. I just realized about five years ago that it made little sense for me to own one because the majority of trips were within five miles, and I wanted to see if I could get along without. I've had to make some lifestyle changes but I think it is worth it compared to before. Car loan, car insurance, maintenance, gas prices, plus I was tied to the mentality that I had to use the car. It's a lot less expensive to live without a car.

I disagree with this "put up or shut up" attitude some have used here to defend BP. Other companies have successfully drilled in deepwater without this kind of disaster, only BP. Saying "well they are there because we demand the oil" ignores the common sense and safety violations they are guilty of on this particular well, as well as the lax regulations and inspections.

BTW, I live 6 miles from work and 90% of my vehicular trips are shorter than 10 miles, and we've reinsulated our home and added more energy efficient appliances. My wife telecommutes 3-4 days a week as well. Does that give me, in your eyes, the "right" to "sling mud" at BP, or is more needed before it's OK with you?

I guess we need to see what specific safety violations have occured here. As far as I'm aware the report has not yet been published....

Seems a bit now like a few days after a big aircrash. On the Net, speculation runs fairly wild - usually it takes months to get to the bottom of what really happened - and even then there is debate on how 'Blame' should be apportioned.

Iaato, are you saying that the blowout was not preventable? Are you saying that deepwater drilling without the ability/plan/resources to deal with an accident is the consumers fault?

I grew up in Great Britain where mass transit was/is firmly established. To get from point A to point B take a bus, or a train. When I moved to the U.S. in the late 70's I was astonished at how reliable Americans are on personal transportation. In fact if If You didn't own a Car You had problems. Even today I'm amazed at the sight of huge S.U.V's. after S.U.V. lined up on the highways one after another all carrying one occupant. I don't think the non U.S. citizen posters here quite understand, the U.S. has no countrywide mass transit system as found in Europe and bigger is better in this narcissistic society.

"I was astonished at how reliable Americans are on personal transportation."

2005 per capita consumption of motor fuel:

Units: Liters per person


Europe: 257.6

North America: 1577.6


Albania: 73.1
Austria: 307.5
Belarus: 68.1
Belgium: 216
Bosnia & Herz: 85.8
Bulgaria: 89.6
Canada: 1196.6
Croatia: 194.3
Czech Rep: 257.1
Denmark: 432.4
Estonia: 273.5
Finland: 456
France: 223.8
Germany: 353.9
Gibraltar: 962
Greece: 446.5
Hungary: 187.3
Iceland: 643.4
Ireland: 526.7
Italy: 292.4
Latvia: 185.5
Lithuania: 124.3
Luxembourg: 1353.7
Macedonia: 73.4
Malta: 213.7
Moldova: 23.8
Netherlands: 319.9
Norway: 428.6
Poland: 131.6
Portugal: 218.9
Romania: 90.7
Russia: 232.5
Slovakia: 150.9
Slovenia: 415.1
Spain: 213.3
Sweden: 544.8
Switzerland: 617.3
Ukraine: 129.2
United Kingdom: 396.3
United States: 1618.6

Apologies for not taking time to format more attractively.

What gives with the micro-state of Luxembourg? Do they sell nearly all their fuel to border-crossers? Ditto for Kuwait (in the original data), where there's no place to drive to...

The Vatican is MUCH worse. INCREDIBLY high per capita rates of gasoline sold !

Of course, their prices are about $1 cheaper/gallon than those of Italy.

Best Hopes for Roman Catholic finances,


Now there's an argument for the efficacy of higher gas prices at the pump.

"Makes more sense to get a more efficient car than to slow down, cost-benefit wise."

Yeah, as long as you externalize the cost of fatalities, injuries, property damage, law enforcement, etc. associated with speeding.

Check the statistics for the percentage of crashes in which speed is a major factor.

I drive that stretch of road at 75mph, and I am the slow guy. The old Twin Spans (knock out by Katrina) used to host 75+mph traffic at 1 or 2 car length spacing. The huge new bridge will really let people wind up.

My normal daily commute is 17 miles. It can't get much shorter because of a huge govt reserve. I have a 94 Mercury Marquis 21mpg, but even doubling the mileage would not save me enough to pay for getting a newer car ($100/month @ $3/gal). Economics count, morality and ethics lectures are only good for >1% of the population. The govt won't increase taxes on fuel without support of 51% and polls put it significantly less.

Deadman, the huge government reserve that you begrudgingly? have to drive by is part of your resource base. If it goes, you will feel the impact, as the people lining the GOM are currently finding out. When you drive by those people standing at the bus stop or riding their bikes in the rain while you splash them with your car, what do you think? Be honest now. Losers? Darwinian bottom of the food chain? That is evidence of the maximum power principle described at the link below. It's not really about the money so much as maximizing energy throughputs in the system and genetic fitness. Are you really only sexy and reproduce-able if you drive your phallic symbol as fast as you can? Kudos to you, Sky. You may be the new sexy in the world we are evolving to. A teachable moment, perhaps.

Bendal, did I say that I was defending BP? Why does your argument need to personalize things? Stay conceptual, please? We are drilling at our technological limits. We are at the limits to growth here. Was this bound to happen, if not now, soon, if not BP, some other unlucky driller. Take a look at David Murphy's picture of the change in size and complexity of drilling rigs over the past 100 years.

Why do you think we've had to do that? Is it just preference, so that drillers had air-conditioned lunchrooms? Eventually all that complexity comes back to bite you in the *ss. Yes, it is appearing that BP screwed up big time. But flinging blame is a very human reaction when people can't see the big picture. Reduce the problem and focus on a culprit rather than looking at the system. So yes, Onlooker, this or another blowout was completely predictable. This is what happens when diminishing returns and increasing risk of oil drilling collide.

"So yes, Onlooker, this or another blowout was completely predictable. This is what happens when diminishing returns and increasing risk of oil drilling collide."

Yes, absolutely. Ever-increasing population chasing ever-increasing consumption creates higher demand for a finite resource already in depletion phase. Set the foregoing in a politico-economic framework that is based upon (requires/demands/worships) endless growth of markets, production, consumption and profits.

Without doubt, now and then, something's gonna blow. Sometimes, a really big something.

None of which is to suggest that the likelihood of any particular "blowout" (in a broad, conceptual sense) can't be reduced, sometimes very significantly, by carefully-developed and applied best practices. There seems little doubt that such is the case with the DWH disaster.

Sadly, though, with 6.8 billion (and counting) humans all relentlessly pursuing "more"... sh*t's gonna happen.

"Are you really only sexy and reproduce-able if you drive your phallic symbol as fast as you can?"

Uh, a weathered '94 mercury is not going to get any girls even with a V8.

No mass transit here and certainly no one stupid enough to ride a bike on roads with no shoulders and deep ditches on either side. You nailed the rain, 5 feet a year and still have to listen to people yap about wasting water - getting rid of it is the bigger problem.

Not that I suppose it matters, but I'm wondering if the size of the DWH formation / reservoir has been (or can be) estimated in terms of total barrels of oil?


Peter B.


100 million barrels URR with development and secondary recovery. Perhaps ~2 million from this open flowing well if it's at the crest of the turbidite, which sort of makes sense because it was an exploration well with good 3D seismic to pick the location. MMS permit application called for two wells. It's typical of the formation to be braided and seldom 'filled to spill' despite good porosities. Another limit is sand being pushed toward the hole. Rockman knows more about flow assurance than I do.

Peter -- I beleive BP estimated 100 - 150 million bbls recoverable but no confirmation since then.

Let's all sing (we're on round 2 already now, so join in): 98mbbl of oil in the well, 99mbbl of oil; leak one out, float it around, 97mbbl of oil in the well........

What is the exponential pressure cure that goes with this (it is possibly to know it, without empirical data)? Are we likely to see a significant reservoir pressure drop over the coming few months?

Intuitively, water drive, gas drive, or oil drive reservoir would all react differently?

avon & Rockman:

Thanks. I'm afraid my question was only academic, but I thank you both for taking the time to answer.


Off Topic:

My curiosity about the DWH 'event' is boundless, but for the most part, I've tried to stay out of the way of the useful conversation here.

As further aside, I've actually visited coastal Louisiana (including Grand Isle), have lived near two major estuarine systems in past (Chesapeake Bay and south coastal Georgia)... and have an appreciation for their value.

This is almost literally breaking my heart.

Peter B.


One more question if I may...

It's not clear to me whether the DWH/Macondo formation is radically out of the ordinary for deepwater Gulf of Mexico fields.

I think I've gleaned that the size is large, but I'm wondering if the geology and formation pressures are unusual (in an extreme sort of way)?

Again, an academic question only, but answers would aid my understanding.

Thank You.

Peter B.


Peter -- Glad I saw this last question before I started to beat you up verbally. TOD does not care for shy folks who hang around without satisfying their curiosities. A big part of the reason TOD exists is to educate. That and it allows some of us smarty-pants to show off sometimes. Ask all you want (this is actually addressed to all the newbies out there). If it's a dumb question most of us will answer nicely. If it's a really dumb question we'll just ignore you and save you from the embarrassment.

To your question. Sadly this was not a difficult well to drill. While the water depth offers great challenges to fighting the blow out the drilling effort could almost be called standard. Not necessarily easy but thousands wells like this have been drilled this deep into the earth for more than 50 years. And the pressure in the reservoir (13,000 psi)is much lower than many encountered in the DW GOM. My personal record is just shy of 20,000 psi. Though BP ran into problems while drilling they were not unusual. In fact, such bumps in the road were expected on this well as with every hole drilled in the GOM. In fact, the relatively normal nature of the reservoir might have contributed to the apparent complacency that could have led to the blow out IMHO.


Again, thank you... (and your admonition about NOT satisfying my curiosity has been noted).

I'm (also) wondering if the depth of the (presumed?) casing failure is known?

Is it likely to be/have been a single breach or is the best guess that the casing is in tatters throughout its length?

Peter B.


Peter -- Depths and degrees of csg failure as well as other cement failures seems rather speculative at this point IMHO. Not that such problems don't just hard to pinpoint. I've had difficulty making such determinination in onshore wells that weren't blowing out at the time. That's where the experiences of the RW team is so critical: they've seen situations that few of us have seen within the conventional world of drilling/production.


Is it known where (at what depth) the RW intends to 'intercept' the blowout well casing?

The mud layer is said to be 'hundreds' of feet deep... and the total well depth some 18K feet below the seabed (including mud).

What is the actual well penetration depth into rock?

Normally, is the casing cemented (sequentially?) throughout its length through rock? If so, did only individual cementings fail in this instance? Only at the top (at wellhead)?

I've read that the formation entry area may be fractured and/or may be further damaged by too heavy mud. This is (well) beyond my grasp... any illumination would be welcome.

I've also read opinions on whether a mud column (even augmented with 'magic' added constituents) can form an adequate column in the blowout well to shut it in.

Is the wellhead 'anchor pile' stable? If so, is there anything at all potentially useful with respect?

Yes, I know replies may be only (or mostly) speculative, but...

Thanks for your time - whoever chooses to answer.

Curiosity kills both cats and dogs.

Peter B.


Dang Peter…you’re getting close to that dumb question envelope. Actually not…just teasing. But you’re way behind the curve here but so are the other newbies. I would slap your wrists and tell you to search old threads. But since there are thousands of posts to dig thru we’ll ask the indulgence of the editors to cover old news.

The well was drilled to just below 18,000’ below sea level. Water depth 5,000’ so they drilled about 13,000’ of rock below the sea floor. I will make you go find the gov’t website in the message up above. See well configuration for an excellent view of the hole/casing. The first few thousand feet below the sea floor in the GOM is pretty much soft mud. Gets harder as you go deeper.

The RW well will have to intersect the blow out almost as deep (18,000’) as the producing reservoir because they need to keep both wells in the same rock pressure profile. Above you’ll find a website of the team drilling the RW. They are the experts and you’ll see all you need about killing a wild well. There will still be question so come back then.

Good hunting grasshopper

Rockman sez:
TOD does not care for shy folks who hang around without satisfying their curiosities. A big part of the reason TOD exists is to educate. That and it allows some of us smarty-pants to show off sometimes. Ask all you want (this is actually addressed to all the newbies out there). If it's a dumb question most of us will answer nicely. If it's a really dumb question we'll just ignore you and save you from the embarrassment.

OK Smarty-Pants I'll accept the invitation to post a dumb question, although I'm not quite a newby (been reading here for 3 years, registered a couple ago);

Ever since I saw the "double pipe" exposed when the CRAW sheared off the riser, and which several folks have speculated was a single pipe mashed into a figure eight I've wondered if there is any possible chain of events whereby the DP could actually have been sheared initially and then some malfunction in the BOP caused it to be released allowing the lower segment to shoot up into the riser alongside the upper segment.

This may fall under the category of Really Dumb Question, so if you ignore it I'll understand.

Rockman get club. Rockman beat sense into lowtech. Actually that’s not a bad question. And even though I don’t have an answer it won’t stop me. I haven’t watched those videos..any of them. As I’ve said before most of my world exists below the wellhead. But it’s difficult to imagine the shear rams cutting DP in two and then releasing to allow more DP up. I can envision a long section of DP stuck above the BOP that snaps and thus could have two sections side by side inside the riser. But that would take a lot of force exerted inside of a somewhat fragile 21” riser. I’ll just have to leave a more detailed guess to a real engineer. I occasional pretend to be an engineer on TOD but I’m actually a geologist.

About a week's supply for the US, maybe ten days.

On the Spillcam, the amount of gas in relation to the darker oil seems to wax and wane a lot. Is it supposed to do that?

yes..its called slug flow ...a common phenomenon in wellflow...what happens is gas entrenched in oil expands coming up the wellbore is a significant expansion that results in a essentially a column of gas followed by a column of oil but coming out the top it is coming out so fast that we cant really see this ...but essentially this is what happens..

Things sure are different/chaotic/interesting all of a sudden on the feeds.

Some rare views of the top of the cap.

these feeds make my computer crash I have suggested before as a stable alternative

I would like to see BP—
1. set up a swimming pool size saltwater tank
2. put a couple dozen fish in it
3. add oil to the surface
4. apply dispersants
5. watch the fish for a couple of days and see if any die--?

just a suggestion

Already been done!

Go to Google Scholar -

type in Corexit

You'll be surprised by the number of hits you get.

Though we are past the Matt Simmons thread, I do have a concern about something he said about BP being bankrupt within a month since all the money in the world can't clean up the GOM.

That puts a BP swim with the fishes long before the completion of a relief well or two...

1- Who is actually doing the emergency hat...relief will, etc, BP or one of their subcontractors?

2- What happens if BP USA declares bankruptcy? Do all those trying to cap and clean up the leak go home?

3- If BP goes home, what recourse does the U.S. gov have to get the well and geologic info needed to have someone else try to stop it?

If BP goes home, what recourse does the U.S. gov have to get the well and geologic info needed to have someone else try to stop it?

MMS and Anadarko have everything.

What I have heard is that the US government is requiring BP to set up a trust fund that will disperse the money needed to clean up this mess and compensate commercial loses to the fishing industry.

Since BP makes billions of dollars in profits on a monthly base this should not be a huge drag in their cash flow. BP is not going to go belly up because the cash drain will occur over an extended period of time.

If BP declares bankruptcy, it wouldn't surprise me if the US seized their physical assets in country and sold them to competitors to help pay for damages/cleanup costs.

I joked with a friend about BP asset sales, as in "Here, have a refinery we haven't maintained very well, can't expand and typically loses money. Oh, and take this platform that only produces about a quarter of what we thought it would."

What Simmons is saying makes no apparent sense.

If the spill were many times as large as suggested by data released by BP, the US Government would know of it, which means either that Simmons is a liar or an incompetent, or that the U.S. Government is complicit in concealing the magnitude of the spill.

Is that likely?

I don't think so.

On the contrary, the Administration seems intent on turning a manageable accident into a perceived national disaster. Yet apart for the loss of life on the day of the accident, no one has died, no one has been forced to leave their home, and all those suffering economically as a direct consequence of the spill are being compensated.

So what is going on here? Is there a deliberate attempt being made to destroy BP for the benefit of vultures and shorts or even the US Government? The company is said to have a breakup value of $180 billion versus its present market cap of less than half that. If Obama keeps kicking ass and the MSM keep echoing Simmons, BP may yet be forced under.

L -- I seldom have cause to don my tinfoil hat but this is too good to miss. The conspirators: the US and Chinese gov'ts. The plot: the US gov't helps drive BP stock into the ground as far as possible. The Chinese gov't swoops in and buys BP cheap. Liabilities and all. And then the US and Chinese gov't come to a "reasonable settlement" over the blow out fines. Like maybe the Chinese knock a point or two off the #trillion debt we owe them?

Dog...that felt good. Guess that's why the nut jobs walk around with a smiles on their faces.

R - Don't take my word for it. It is the British pension fund managers who have said that Obama has done more damage to BP's market cap than the cost of the spill.

As for the Chinese, that's you're idea, not mine. My comment was in reference to the suggestion above that the US might take BP's assets.

Further to the question of conspiracy, manipulation has always been a feature of markets, and this week statements by both Obama and Simmons have undoubtedly had a major impact on BP's market cap, to the point that many are openly speculating about a takeover, or breakup and bankruptcy of the US operation. Both Obama and Simmons must have known the consequences of their statements, although whether an effect on the market was a motivating factor is impossible to know.

What is bizarre, however, is that BP has seemed almost to connive at its own downfall, with both Haywood and Suttles making unnecessary promises on which the company has failed to deliver. This amounts to incompetence if nothing else, and perhaps justifies Obama's damaging public expression of contempt for Haywood. For the good of the company, Haywood should probably quit now, assuming that BP can find a qualified replacement with a much surer grasp of the elements of public relations.

I see no reason to think that BP is going to go bust anytime soon what is the evidence for that?

Poor Matt, he's gone way out on a limb on this one. Maybe he's been out in the sun too long, but for the record, let's try to put his claims out on the table and sort of reconstruct his train of thought:

His basis for the expectation that BP might go bankrupt is the possibility that their liabilities would suddenly be seen to be much larger than is now supposed. This could happen, he says, if a hurricane were to push a very large volume of heavy oil onshore and "paint the Gulf Coast black." Presumably, this would cause the liabilities to loom so large that the company would file for bankruptcy protection to assure an orderly disposition of the claims against them. This part of the argument can be found here:

He thinks this is possible because of his belief that there is a very large underwater plume of heavy oil that has not been thoroughly surveyed. The existence of this plume also is, at least in part, the basis of his belief that the BOP is not the main source of the material leaking into the gulf.

So why does he think there is such a large plume? As far as I can tell, this is mostly based on the statements of James H. Cowan Jr., whose remarks were reported May 28th in the Washington Post:

Cowan, an oceanographer from LSU, stated that their ROV found heavy oil globules, thumbnail to golf ball in size, that extended down to the sea floor and "turned the submarine entirely black." The plume extended for miles; they could not find the end of it.

Simmons interpreted this report (and possibly others) to mean that there exists "a lake at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico that's over 100 miles wide and at least 400 to 500 feet deep of black oil."

I have not seen any other reports that confirm Cowan's finding or Simmons interpretation of the results.

Simmons' claims have not found much support, but given the facts of his career, we ought to at least keep track of his remarks.

BP stock went up today and recovered the previous day's losses. If there were a genuine threat of bankruptcy, the stock would fall to a few pence per share.

If worse comes to worst, the UK government will bail out BP. It is too large to fail.

The government bailed out AIG. Common shares dropped to 45 cents. On the way down, there were moments of recovery.

Remember, the bankruptcy decision is not entirely BPs to make.

At least BP canceled its dividend payment. First smart thing they've done from a PR standpoint.

Maybe Don, as long as folks don't think about the Brit pensioners who might miss a meal or two when their monthly checks show up a little short. The pension fund managers made the BP pick and got paid for it...and still are getting their fees. Haven't heard anything about any of BP's management taking a paycut. Kinda hard to punish the guilty when the guilty are still making the rules.

Maybe it's just me but the dividend cut doesn't make me think better of BP.

Wouldn't you think even worse of BP if they did not cancel the dividend? I would. On the other hand, BP may be so low in your estimation and westexas's and others that it can't go any lower.

Suppose, as a thought experiment that BP spends more on litigation to defend itself from claims than it spends on the cleanup. Wouldn't surprise me a bit. See how this works out over the next ten or fifteen years.

I wouldn't Don. Canceling the dividends punishes the shareholders whose only mistake was buying BP stock. They didn't develop an unsafe culture at BP (if that really is true), they didn't push the rig personnel to chose expediency over safety (if that's true). They aren't the ones who gave BP permission to drill in water depths where no one has even developed a plan to deal with a failed BOP activation. Like I said: have we heard of one BP employee, including managers and board members, missing a paycheck? OTOH the drilling contractors and service companies who weren't involved in the blow out will lose at least $5 billion in cash flow as a result of the moratorium. And the 5,000 to 10,000 workers who will lose their paychecks from these companies. And the thousands of fisherman, etc. along the Gulf Coast who will lose most of their income for who knows how long. And what will this long list of victims benefit from the dividend suspension? Maybe a brief sense of revenge. Until they realize the suspension doesn't effect the folks who ran the show.

Like I said: maybe it's just my twisted way of looking at culpability.

Good points Rock, I'm there for most. The moratorium, however, is a government imposition. As previously discused, the grounds for this are weak, so seems unreasonable to ask/demand that BP pay the wages os the idled people in this.

The politics are in the ascendancy - maybe thats how it will always be.


There is no way to escape the politics, though. It's one of the forces at play and is just as "real" as all of the other ones. Politics will have big impact on how all of this plays out.

BP represents a genuine challenge for the obama administration. This disaster has the potential to badly injure or destroy both of them, and many of their interests are in direct conflict. BP is also not an opponent to take lightly, even if you are the president.

The dividend is a vulnerability for BP. It's a powerful symbol for obama, too, especially with the chairman coming to DC, presumably to negotiate how BP will handle paying for everything. Is there going to be a big fight and lots of nickle and diming, or are they going to step up to the plate and take responsibility? That will dictate how obama treats BP and handles the fines/legal strategies/rhetoric going forward.

Maybe obama wants to deliver the message loud and clear. He's not playing games and he's not a pushover. He's a fighter. And be careful about picking a fight with someone who's words alone can put billions on the line. obama displayed similar resolve in his negotiations with the russians over the nuclear treaty. He appears to be a tough negotiator when he wants/needs to be.

Like you say, just another wacky theory.

You could email Cowan and and ask. jhcowan at lsu (dot) edu why there hasn't been any followup with his story.

I've sent him a general inquiry, asking for the latest news. I'll post if he replies.

Professor Cowan was kind enough to send me this brief reply:

"I am at sea now. Will have more info this weekend."

Stay tuned.

Re: "a lake at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico that's over 100 miles wide and at least 400 to 500 feet deep of black oil."

Assume that the "lake of oil" is in the form of a cylinder, 500 feet in diameter, then the total volume would be 3.126 cubic km, or 19,000,000 barrels.

Is it likely that NOAA would have missed it, in their survey of oil plumes, which they say are in fact 99.99995% water?

Cowan's location was not clear. The article says "75 miles Northwest of the source."

Elsewhere, Simmons said that he expected the current mission of the NOAA research vessel Thomas Jefferson to yield important data, but the values reported from that mission so far have been extremely low concentrations, as you say.

If there is a really big "lake" out there, someone ought to be able to find it pretty soon.

I would like the next reputable, credible source to report this be prepared to take BP execs by the hand and say; see, it's right here.

"turned the submarine entirely black."

which is pretty amazing considering that the ROVs continuously around the wellhead and the BOP itself are remarkable clean of oil.

That's one of the reasons why they using disbursants directly on the well head. So they can see what they're doing. Plus they try to get under the gusher.

Just a comment on TOD itself...relative to those made in the previous thread.

I would be encouraged to know how many MSM journalists are reading TOD? I watched the Admiral hold forth at this morning's press conference, and a few (a very few) of the questions gave me some hope that there might be a few MSMJ's on here.

The point is that the discussion here IS The Real Story. I have watched the TV news devolve this into Is Obama Mad Enough?, Oh, Look. He Said Ass, Should We Save The Birds?, innumerable Political Pontifications, etc., none of which compare to recent comments here about the toxicity of Corexit, compromise of the casing, possibilties of RW failure, and the actual composition of the reservoir (salt dome fragility and natural seeps).

In the absence of the MSM coming getting a grasp on the technical aspects, the many moving parts, and the massive potential for long term damage by The Solution, let alone The Problem, the political discussion may drive the storyline and the decisions.

I am so thankful that TOD and the knowledgeable folks here are bringing these issues into the light of day.

This site is increasingly read by many in the MSM. Our expert posters should know that indirectly, they are beginning to reach a very large, worldwide audience.

The NY Times Green Blog and Dot Earth blogrolls list TOD.

I was contacted by Justin Gillis of the NY Times a few weeks back when I was talking about how depressurization through the BOP orifice could result in fractionation of the oil (similar to the Kerr-McGee de-asphalting process, US patent 4290880). I led him to more respected experts in the area of supercritical separations, who backed me up. (That whore state of affairs is past, now the flow up the wellbore is definitely a two-phase flow, I think mainly due to erosion of the hole through the BOP). So some MSM are reading.

Interview with Dr. Ira Leifer, "researcher in the Marine Science Institute at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a member of the government’s Flow Rate Technical Group" (June 09, 2010).

He indicates the upper bound for flow may be around 100,000 bbl/day (and is increasing in volume over time) . He talks about concerns about "weak formation" in geological strata, and also that independent scientists do not have continuous access to spill (and the problems this presents for "lessons learned" and understanding from a scientific vantage point the dynamic situation of oil spills at this depth). He indicates it's a massive reservoir of oil and gas at the bottom of the well, and could flow into the gulf for 20-30 years if it is not mitigated by current efforts.

30 years is more than 10,000 days, or 1B bbl of oil. If the reservoir is that big, it'll be heavily drilled and sucked dry long before then. If it's not, it'll run out long before then.

In reality, there is no way it will lead 100K bbl ever, nor leak at a high rate for decades.

Isn't it amazing how the experts quote the high volumes then follow with a statement that's their own undoing. Not to under estimate the well but the scare tactics are getting old.

To be honest Dr. Ira Leifer's comments have often seemed to be more than a bit over the top to me.

At this moment, I am watching Skandi, ROV2, and there is something leaking, rising up the BOP, rising to the flange and cap... like a small oil leak from below, but it's rising just like oil and it "distorts" the view through it. Anyone know the origin or cause of this?

via mcclatchey's oil spill news subsite, i find:
"A tiny Lincoln company that says its product could help mop up oil from the Gulf of Mexico has embarked on a political and media campaign to get BP's attention.

The company, Mobius Technologies, grinds foam from desk chairs and car seats into a powder. Applied to oil, the powder – called micronized polyurethane powder – quickly absorbs the oil and forms a cake that floats on water indefinitely.

"We're just the best sorbent solution that hasn't been applied," said Mobius manager Brian Hennessy.

The company submitted its idea to BP online several weeks ago but hasn't received a response. BP spokesman Mark Proegler said it received 80,000 such suggestions from the public. He said he hadn't heard of Mobius.

Now the company has enlisted the help of Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Sacramento, who is backing its push to get its powder tested by BP for possible use in the gulf. Matsui wrote a letter to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson on Monday urging Jackson to look into BP's lack of response.

Matsui, a member of the House Energy and Environment Subcommittee, has also reached out to high levels of the Coast Guard, scientists and local senators and representatives in the gulf region about the powder, said Matsui's legislative aide Mara Lee."

and perusing the company's site, i find a possible ray of hope:

i've watched their front page vids, read the EPA letter, looked at their "champions" soc-net posting here to elicit comment/feedback/eval etc.
reminds me of chinchilla bath or corn starch...but piqued my interest enough to open a TOD account! and to take what comes, after posting it.

Well, since coagulents have been mentioned a couple of times in this thread, I will mention my previous post, which I had hoped would gain some comment, either from those experienced with oil spill remediation or from geologists.

This concerns spreading pumice, the floating gas and air entrained rock that lays in abundance around volcanoes, upon the water in critical areas and ahead of the shoreline booms. If you check out the link in the previous post, you will see pumice floating near Tonga in the South Seas.
Pretty cool-looking, if nothing else...

It appears to me that this would both calm the waters and capture oil in the porosities of the stone, making collection and perhaps evaporation easier.

I don't mean to clutter the thread with a re-post, but the possibility of using a simple and fairly "organic" substance to deal with the oil is interesting (to me, and hopefully some of you).

it is nice, but their test says nothing about whether it will work if the PU foam gets wet before it sees oil. This is the flaw with all the clean-up videos: Everyone throws their product right on the oil. I was more impressed with Win-Tec's "coagulant:"

They show clearly that after sequestration their stuff prevents the oil staining the hands. I'm not passing judgment, but I'd like to see side-by side testing, where the pick-up agent gets wet as well as it landing right on top of the oil... I'm planning to do dome such testing comparing biochar samples and kenaf.

Thanks for the BP belly-up info.

Here is another tidbit that I haven't seen here though I've seen a number of comments about doing this.

The basics are that cleaning oil-soaked birds is a waste of time--the average survival time of a cleaned bird is 1 week, and less than 1% actually survive. Better to put them down.,1518,693359,00.html

Though it is not the article I originally read, it's part of it.


We had an interesting post from a gentleman from Holland a week ago; mostly he was talking about the sweeping arm skimmer system they use in the North Sea - which had the unique feature that it worked even in rough seas.

In the same discussion he mentioned that hand cleaning birds was very inefficient, and that they had a bird washing machine that gave something like an 85% survival rate.

If anyone knows people working bird rescue it might be worth following up on.

I am a newbie and no expert in ornithology (though I am a nurse), but I would expect a "bird washing machine" would probably have to be customized to the species since Pelicans are many times bigger than terns, for example or seagulls...Look forward to if you can find more out about it. You never know when it might be needed again and maybe its something that we can rig up relatively easy (I live on Puget Sound, right around the corner from BP's Cherry Point refinery where the tankers pull up every few days or so)

That said, the discussion here today remains excellent and the complex and conflicting impacts on humans, animals, the political and social systems is profound. Winners losers parse out in unpredictable ways.

Thank the Lord for this site and the ability to read and think and comment as informed people (and some uninformed but earnest ones like me), try to communicate, learn and get some understanding about this huge event.

Good tip. Here's yesterday's AP story to the same effect
This negative outcome is well known among wildlife biologists, but the feel-good story seems to appeal to people. Similarly, only about 25% of oil-soaked sea turtles survive.

I looked at some original articles to get a feel for the literature. Found this website arguing that the negative literature is out of date, relies on inferior methods, and that newer studies are positive.
But it turns out that some of the literature cited as supportive is negative and some is equivocal of rehabilitation.
says oiled common murres were 4 times more likely to die that non-oiled control birds, but recent rehabilitation techniques lead to better survival than in previous decades.
Not in the public domain: Anderson et al. 1996 Survival and dispersal of oiled brown pelicans...Marine Pollution Bulletin 32:711-718. "We conclude that oil and/or rescue and treatment result in long-term injury to brown pelicans, and that current efforts do not restore them to breeding condition or normal survivability."

Here's hoping curent methods are more successful, and that we eventually get data to learn from the experience.

Better to try and learn to improve the survival rate than not trying. Some of these species are endangered and every single one saved to breed is worth far more than the effort.

Unless there is a dollar value for a bird species I don't know about.

I don't think we have a good handle on what the short- or long-term effects of dispersant usage may be, especially when used at depth and in large volumes. It's a crap shoot. We know that oil in the marshlands is catastrophic, so we're gambling on the unknown.

The best study I could find was "Oil Dispersants: Efficacy and Effects". (
Here's a link to a summary of the key findings.(

Just to be clear, I agree that it's probably prudent to be using dispersants. What I have a problem with are continued statements in the media that dispersant usage just breaks oil down into small non-toxic globules that will be harmlessly digested by bacteria. We just don't know that. I'm concerned with unintended consequences, especially when it will be almost impossible to isolate and monitor those consequences.

Totally agree with you on unintended consequences and how they are almost impossible to monitor. ;(

I posted at the top of this thread comments that the the co-director of the CRRC and the DWG (Nancy Kinner) made back on May 5 in the New York Times. Her comments are puzzling given the conclusions of the Deepwater Horizon Dispersant Use Meeting that she led, and quotes attributed to her by the producer of CorExit on their website .

What specifically do you find puzzling? I'm not getting your drift here.

On May 5th, Kinner said we need more research to understand the effects of dispersants but there's not enough funding. Now she says that the consensus of the study group is that dispersants are the least harmful alternative. Isn't it difficult to reach that conclusion without understanding the effects of dispersants?

I realize that they're making decisions based on the available evidence. It's just that we're missing some really important evidence.

We're somewhere between knowing what we're doing and sacrificing a goat. (At least if we sacrifice a goat and it works, we'll know what to do next time.)

Thanks for your clarification. Personally, I don't think the 2 issues are mutually exclusive: there's not enough data for us to know the effects of these dispersants with confidence, but the balance of data would suggest that it's better to keep the oil from getting to shallow waters and shorelines given the immense ecological damage that can happen and the fragility of much of the Gulf coast habitat. The biggest unknown is using those dispersants at depth.

Note also the wording of that statement, again:

“It is the consensus of the group that up to this point, use of dispersants and the effects of dispersing oil into the water column has generally been less environmentally harmful than allowing the oil to migrate on the surface into the sensitive wetlands and near shore coastal habitats,”

What I take from that is:
1. it's a consensus statement - don't know what that actually means, but it's likely to resemble the lowest common denominator
2. up to this point - it's very cleverly stated, because obviously up to this point it's not possible to determine the negatives, whereas reducing the migration of oil to the coast is an obviously observable benefit
3. As for Kinner, she is both entitled to her own opinion (as posted on her blog) as well as obligated by participation in that meeting, to align with the 'official' position, in that context.

Just my little 2C. I don't know Nancy Kinner, nor anyone in that meeting, nor anyone involved in the dispersant decision making process, etc etc.

Hiver says "it's a consensus statement - don't know what that actually means, but it's likely to resemble the lowest common denominator"

and that is why I posted that the oil companies make up one fifth of the Dispersant Working Group and I suspect that significant funding for academic institutes such as CRRC comes directly and indirectly from the oil industry e.g. CIAP

also when I read all of what Dr. Kinner wrote May 5 in the NYT and compare it to the conclusions of the June 3 report I personally have difficulty reconciling the apparent contradiction/compromise.

NYT "The fate and toxicity of the dispersant and the dispersed oil in the water column is not well understood. In fact, this has been the focus of National Research Council studies published in 1989 and 2005. In spite of the pressing questions identified by the N.R.C. reports, dispersants have been the subject of few peer-reviewed studies, supported by very limited funding."

and now she says

“It is the consensus of the group that up to this point, use of dispersants and the effects of dispersing oil into the water column has generally been less environmentally harmful than allowing the oil to migrate on the surface into the sensitive wetlands and near shore coastal habitats,”

Oops, I think I mistook you for Onlooker in my reply! Sorry.

I've read that sacrificing a goat only works about half the time, on anything.

Depends on the colour of the goat.

You must not be doing it right. If we sacrifice a goat, I guarantee that the oil flow will eventually stop. (It will take some time though. This has never been done at these depths.)

I found this really useful, an overview of the effect of oil spills in the marine environment, biodegradaton and factors affecting it eg effect of temperature, pros and cons of various remediation methods, etc.

As an aside, I was amazed at the extremely high level of hydrocarbon contamination in the sediment in the US compared to other countries!!!

Thanks for posting that. I was particularly interested in the comment that oxygen is usually not the limiting factor in biodegradation of oil.

I suspect it's a matter of degree. I don't think there's much real data on the kind of situation we are facing right now. A lot of what I've come across are extrapolations from laboratory studies, which are useful, but at the depth we are talking about, it really is uncharted territory.

We can look at this as a glass half-full half-empty situation. This is a catastrophic disaster, but if the will is there, this is also the opportunity to put $$$ into researching many of the questions being raised now. Bad as it is, this likely won't be the last deep water oil spill, so I'd really like to see scientists in all sorts of fields all over the Gulf gathering data.

Whether searching the Oil Drum internally or searching 'at large' on the web, individual Oil Drum posts DO NOT appear in the results... only the parent thread 'nodes'.

Is there not some way the Oil Drum can disable the 'Do not follow' restriction on individual posts?

Again, I don't think there's a lot of question that the Oil Drum is currently the best available resource for information regarding DWH. It needs to be more accessible. Casual 'stumblers on' are not likely to wade through the lengthy threads here... and while the experts and patient lurkers benefit from the knowledge available, I think a lot of other interested folk are effectively locked out.

Two cents and counting.

Peter B.


This is a whole new ball game here! Have a little patience with the TOD team. Two months ago comments would be hundreds max now thousands per post. Growing pains that will be short lived. What is the best thing you can do? Donate, because when the spill is contained traffic will fall off like a rock and the site will be left holding the bag of expansion. Sorry, this spill has my temper a bit short:)

landrew wrote:

"What is the best thing you can do? Donate"

Believe it or not, the check is in the mail.

Hope others follow.

Peter B.



We, the People, owe TOD a huge debt. Please don't count on the traffic stopping anytime soon.

Even if the spill is contained, people will be coming here for answers on the aftermath.

Don't you guys feel like Moses leading the Israelites through the desert? Or maybe Frodo on Mount Doom is more accurate.

The WashPost has a story raising the issue of competency of MMS to effectively regulate deep water drilling, given its complexities and the rising number of operations in the Gulf. Interestingly, the low salaries offered by MMS are mentioned. That problem was raised here in comments yesterday by a knowledgeable industry insider posting from Alaska.
The shortage -- and quality -- of manpower at the MMS is coming under scrutiny as Congress looks at the causes of the oil spill that started in the gulf with the April 20 blowout on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig.
Those applying for MMS inspection jobs, or petroleum engineering technicians, are only required to have a high school degree and some experience in the oil and gas industry. [...]

Rahall, ... sent a letter Tuesday to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar asking him for details on MMS inspectors' training, educational qualifications and ties to the oil and gas industry. Americans, Rahall said, "want to see professional, highly trained inspectors that are not just pushing paper."
But the MMS can't compete with salaries in private industry. The agency's job ad says that inspectors can make $38,790 to $84,139 a year. Seahawk and Hercules, another shallow-water drilling rig operator, typically pay more than $100,000 a year.
The Deepwater Horizon disaster has only intensified questions about MMS inspectors' rigor and judgment.

A review of internal BP documents submitted to the MMS before the explosion suggest that agency officials gave the company's plans only a cursory review as it moved to close the Macondo well. On April 15, five days before the blowout, BP submitted an "Application for Revised Bypass" outlining a well design that omitted a metal pipe 9.875 inches in diameter that had been in the plans up until that point; MMS officials approved the change seven minutes later. Later that day, according to documents obtained by congressional investigators, BP told the agency that it had "inadvertently removed the 9 7/8 inch" liner from the well design information. Have reincorporated it."

There were other discrepancies. On April 16, BP submitted its "Temporary Abandonment Procedure" plan, in which it indicated that the well liner would go down to 17,157 feet, rather than the 17,500 feet it had indicated in permit applications earlier in the week. Although this change showed that BP had not revealed the gap between its lining and cement job -- a gap that could potentially give oil and gas an opening to rush up through the pipe -- the company did not acknowledge the error, nor did the MMS.

BP spokesman Andrew Gowers said in an e-mail that there were "no significance to the changes" in the permit applications. "They resulted from a simple clerical error, and there was no material change in the casing plans."

Interior Department spokesman Kendra Barkoff said she could not comment on BP's permit applications to the MMS because of "the ongoing investigation" of the spill.

I have seen the same thing with the EPA's chemical plant permitting process. The engineers doing the technical assessment are generally young, inexperienced, at best moderately talented and underpaid.

Most of the time you end up teaching them the technical knowledge needed to understand the process. It is very easy to manipulate the permitting process under those circumstances.

From Reuters

BP to nearly double siphoning in July-Coast Guard

They keep pushing the date back. The Q4000 direct connect was supposed to be in place today or tomorrow. The overshot connector and floating riser was supposed to be in place July 1, not mid-July.

I could not believe how casually that was presented either. Just a couple days ago Doug Suttles of BP (notice we haven't been hearing from Tony Hayward after the Obama comment) said that by Monday the flow of the leak would be "down to a trickle" and containment would be up to 28,000 bd. But now they talk about 38,000 bd in three more weeks (or more?) and there is no mention of what happened to the plan from a couple days ago.

During his 6/10 briefing, Kent Wells said of the refitted Q4000, "This weekend, we’ll start doing testing of it in hopes that early next week we’ll actually start collecting more oil and gas through this system as well." When the Q4000 is up, it will add 10,000bd capacity. Add that to the Discover Enterprise's 18,000 bd to get the 28,000 bd.

During Adm Allen's briefing this morning, he mentioned additional ships being brought in for a combination of additional capacity and redundancy. The first is Clear Leader, an unidentified vessel type, 10,000 bd capacity to supplement the Q4000. End of June - 38,000 bd.

Later they will be replaced by the Loch Rannoch and Toisa Pisces combo, which is due in later, along with the Helix Producer and a yet to be identified tanker. Both pairs handle 20-25,000 bd ... so the mid-July target is 40,000 -50,000bd.

The next two ships will be getting oil from the choke and kill lines - seems the cap can't handle any more production.

Given all the false and misleading information from the companies involved and the media plus the known intent to minimize the extent or gravity of the situation, occasionally something slips out that "the powers that be" would rather not have leaked out or be forgotten about entirely.

Remember this from early May? It was the very first "containment chamber" that they deployed a few days later. "100-ton, 40-foot-tall rust brown device."

This is the "top hat / cap" that was attached to the top of the containment chamber to "funnel the flow" up to a ship for storage. You can see that it was mostly finished and ready to be attached. You can see the blue riser pipe coming off the top. It looks to be roughly 6 inches or greater in diameter and maybe 16 feet long.

Below is a view inside the "cap." You can see that the area where there should be a hole, of size commensurate (6 inch or greater) to the riser pipe and leading into the riser, is completely enclosed except for 2 small holes that appear to be about 1 inch in diameter.

Watch the video in the following:
BP to try unprecedented engineering feat to stop oil spill -

Most people seeing this cap would just naturally assume that the pathway to the riser is full flow, unrestricted and that BP is doing everything they can do about the torrential leak, in a responsible way. I submit, the following:

The center hole appears to be the only one that provides a path to the blue riser pipe. The lower hole appears to run to a threaded connector on the top of the cap as you can see at 1:56 into the CNN video. Those 2 holes combined, could only flow about one thirtieth, likewise the center hole could only flow about one sixtieth of what an unobstructed path would flow. Is it any wonder that nearly immediately after placing this container on the ocean floor they announced that it was clogged by "frozen methane hydrates," gave up on it and continued on with the charade.

"Officials discovered that gas hydrates, ice-like crystals lighter than water, had built up inside the 100-ton metal container. The hydrates threatened to make the dome buoyant, and they also plugged up the top of the dome, preventing it from being effective."

The "frozen hydrates" were clearly not clogging up the small cracks in the bent over riser, you could see the leaks all the way to the edges of the cracks where they were very narrow. A 6 inch or greater pathway could not clog up however 1 inch holes possibly could, as they say they had. What they did was tantamount to trying to put out a house fire with a fire hose connected to a straw. It was bound to fail. The reporter in the video even says "almost like a straw going to the surface, to a ship." It is too bad the reported did not have enough common sense to ask them why the pathway was so small.

Indeed, everything they have done in the subsequent month has been predicated on their "discovery" of frozen hydrates when it was all a created problem, made to order. In essence, the containment domes that they had originally planned to place over the three leaking locations, actually could have worked and allowed them to suction up the vast majority of the oil for the past 30 plus days. These images are proof positive that was not their true intent. A congressional inquiry should be able to get to the bottom of their actual intent and this apparent planned and designed dysfunction.

This image is a lightened version showing that the inner portion of the cap is indeed blocked off.

It was designed and built this way. Logically, if they intended that there be a full size hole there, it would be more proper to cut the hole, from the outside, prior to attaching the riser. Likewise, from the inside, it would be very difficult to make the needed four cuts between the spans not only because it is inset and it would be very awkward getting a torch in there but be very hard to mark the radius and also not over cut into the riser on the other side. Therefore, I do not see anyone rationalizing that they cut it out afterward.

Prove to me that the top cap above and others subsequent have not been artificially restricted in their flow otherwise this appears to be a big expose'. What we need now, are some whistle blowers in the industry to verify the above information.

I am not an Oil/gas engineer, however I am a former Journeyman Pipefitter/Welder , now a degreed engineer and for the past 30+ years, I have built a successful career in electronics engineering / programming.

What exactly would BP's motivation be for deliberately and willfully designing containment structures to fail? They want higher fines? More public anger? Everyone to perceive them as incompetent? I don't see where your "they were designed to fail" theory makes any sense.

BP has made it abundantly clear since the beginning that their "solution" is to let it leak until August when the relief well is supposed to be finished. (Or September, or December, or whenever.)

These so called 'containment attempts' they way they are going about them have the appearance of a dog and pony show to string along the public until that time.

The restriction is there because they obviously do not want to deal with a very large quantity of this stuff topside.

Which calls into question the recovered oil figures we have been getting... Has anyone seen footage of the gas being flared off lately? I saw a short glimpse of it while an ROV was being lowered, and it looked very anemic for supposedly flaring off 30 million cubic feet of NG a day. It looked similar to the soda straw operation.

Can any of you oilfield guys tell me what flaring off 30,000,000 cu feet of gas a day should look like?

James --I sat on a platform off the African coast watching 25 million cf flared continously for months. Some of the flare pics I've seen are similar...some smaller. But the flare volumes weren't tagged to those pics.

So if I understand your position BP let oil leak the could have captured and sold but chose to be assessed a greater spill fine. Hmmm...we all have opinions. But I would agree that the top kill effort might have been more of a PR stunt them an effort BP really had much confidence in. I know my expectations were minimal.

Thank you ROCKMAN. I wasn't actually promoting any conspiracy theories here. I was just wondering if the size of the flare looked about right for the amount of gas to someone who has the experience to make that judgment. If it does then that more or less verifies the numbers they are giving us.

I don't know if that restricting orifice shown is in the exact top cap they are now using or another version, but if they are truly getting 15,000 bopd topside then it is delivering all they can handle. It is an engineered restriction if it is indeed still in the finished cap.

It just looked like an awfully small hole and begged for a little verification of the recovery numbers they are reporting. If the size of the fire looks more or less right to you then my curiosity of the matter is satisfied.


You're welcome James. The big reason I haven't watched one minute of the capture effort (I really haven't)is that it's just too far from my area of knowledge to try to make sense of the pictures. I even get the idea that the more mechanically minded folks have had a difficult time following the process.

Has anyone seen footage of the gas being flared off lately?

Coast Guard has two videos with helicopter footage of the flare.

The first one is quite spectacular, almost IMAX-ish, with fairly closeup views of the flare; it was shot on June 8 and is about a minute long:

"Offshore Offensive"

(At the end there's foootage of some controlled burns; reminds me faintly of the hellish scenes from Iraq.)

The second video was shot a day later, June 9; it's about two minutes long. The first minute has footage of the flare at more of a distance. Looks like it's bigger than in the first video:

"Overflight of Deepwater Horizon Drill Site"

Time and exposure, an early press op to show they are taking the bull by the horn. In reality they know not much can be done to appease the public until the relief wells are completed and hopefully successful!


They could do alot more. They aren't really trying to succeed at stopping the spillage prior to the relief well. It isn't their beaches after all.

BP's motivation? I'm not sure but as posted it seems they have thrown together some contraptions to appease the public and media. I don't think it's intentional or wrongfull engineering but a pacifier to the media and general public. Unfortunately the media and public assert their right and neeed to know everything but when the truth is explained it's either unacceptable or they don't have the eduaction or capacity to comprehend the information given. If they don't understand then it must be a lie or bring on Matt Simmons etc. etc.

That said, I think BP has a good idea what they can handle being delivered topside and I don't think the current Top Hat contraption was designed to have hydrate problems so if a 3-4" hole is all that's needed and serves as a restrictor then I would say good job. I don't think what's sitting on the BOP was the unit designed for install after the riser clip/mangle.

If you wanted to hide the extent of the spill, the gig would be up once you started successfully capturing the oil. That is easily quantifiable. So to minimize the potential fines, you minimize the amount of oil you capture and hide the rest.

Let me put my tin foil hat on before I speculate any further.

The plan would have to be grand and something like to minimize the quantity of oil captured while boasting you are capturing most of it, use dispersants to eventually hide the excess over-flow from the capture device so it becomes hidden from view deep underwater (they insist on using their diepersant because it makes the underwater oil invisible) and so it does not cause damage on shore, keep the media away from oiled shoreline damage while launching a massive PR campaign on tv showing cleanup workers in white shoes with white overalls and white hats on sparkling clean white beaches. (Which they did do when obama visited. Quite funny actually.) Have BP CEO telling the public only 1000 bpd are leaking, maybe 5000, appear with the coast guard on TV to enhance credibility then say afterward on interviews that any damage will be "very, very modest." Schmooze with Admrl. Allen and Obama if possible, buddy buddy, partners all the way.

Mission: cut fine potential and damage claim potential by $10 billion.

One thing that would seem to blow this out of the water, though, is wasn't the original containment structure meant to capture 100% of the flow. The design did not seem to anticipate over-flow out the bottom or sides.

I do think there has been concerted effort by BP to minimize the spill and to hide as best they can the amount of oil being spilled. That seems like entirely predictable if not normal human behavior under the circumstances, to be expected. I'm not sure they have broken any laws in doing so. But I do find the very small restrictions to be curious. How could they ever hope to capture much with those? What was the thinking behind that decision?

"One thing that would seem to blow this out of the water, though, is wasn't the original containment structure meant to capture 100% of the flow. The design did not seem to anticipate over-flow out the bottom or sides."

The bottom was in the mud, the leg slit was for the riser and the remaining lines had been cut to clear the path. There was plenty of talk about hydrate formation and the fear that it would happen but they made no prep in the containment device to allow for hydrate/water escape. We know now what they probable knew then; they didn't have the capacity to recover the oil top side.

I personally don't like the continuous conspiracy comments I read here and it doesn't focus on the topic that need to be addressed. At the same time the public isn't willing to wait or BP thinks they are not willing to wait 3-4 weeks for the proper containment device to be engineered and plans given to the contractors to fabricate.

No one has responded but I still think the Top Hat on the BOP today was set aside before the failed straw insertion attempt. It probably doesn't really make a difference. It only goes to show the public; Heah we're getting better at this. The only way BP can hide the daily well output will be to stall untill the RW(ss) kills the main well. If near full capture is made before then all that's left is do the math.

"The only way BP can hide the daily well output will be to stall untill the RW(ss) kills the main well. If near full capture is made before then all that's left is do the math."

I agree that conspiracy theories are a waste of resources, to put it gently, and lead away from 'enlightenment.' On the other hand, BP has tremendous exposure and natural motivation to limit that exposure. It is not unreasonable to scrutinize their conduct and be on the lookout for efforts to hide the size of the spill.

The ingredients for an efffective cover-up appear to have been within reach earlier, but they seem to be slipping away rapidly now. Those ingredients would have been stalling accurate and independent flow rate calculation, dragging out quantifiable recovery effots until the RWs were done, using the horse and pony show to distract everyone in the meantime. Little oil had hit shore. Most of the spill is hidden underwater. If everything went right, perhaps they could have hidden and obscured the true extent of the spill, if that was their intent. I think you're right that it's probably too late for that now, though.

I merely point out the facts. If you wanted to maximize the retrieval of a disastrous outflow of oil from a 21" pipe, funneled into a 6" riser to the surface, would you throttle that flow with a 1" restriction? Of course not. It is clear that they designed and built it this way.

As for "their" motivation, I started out the post with "occasionally something slips out that "the powers that be" would rather not have leaked out or be forgotten about entirely."

Clearly, they did not intend that anyone in the public notice this dysfunction. All employees have been gagged from speaking to any reporters or the public as noted on CNN recently.

Everything that BP has done and said in the past 50+ days has been obfuscation, cover-up and lies. They started out saying that it was only 1000 bbl/day, then after a week it was raised to 5k and since to higher amounts. Several days ago it came out that BP, the Coast guard and the Government knew the true flow since day 2 and it was, I believe, 60-100,000 bbl per day. All the workers have been forced to sign nondisclosure statements and keep their mouth shut, early on the media had been threatened to not film and report on the extent of the spill etc..

The stakes are very big here, in many ways. They are now using this tragedy to help push the Cap and Tax/Cap and Trade bill, based on the completely debunked global warming scams, in addition to other new taxes, through congress. This will also help in the implementation of LOST (Law of the Sea Treaty) which is an U.N. Agenda 21 program. Look it up, learn something.

This is all right out of Marxist Saul Alinsky's book, Rules For Radicals. Saul was a close friend and mentor to Obama. From the book and Rahm Emmanuel are the words "Never let a good crisis go to waste." It had to be a BIG crisis, and it is getting much bigger thanks to all the cover-ups and delays, in order to make it an International incident.

Dispersant is merely a substance used to enact cover-up of the massive amounts of oil that has been gushing. Where are the tankers and super-tankers, some up to 1300 feet long, that should of been there sucking up the oil since day 2. It never happened, instead they chose to simply cover it up with the dispersant driving an estimated 90% below the surface and into huge plumes.

If they did not throttle the flow then they would probably be having success with the containment domes and the crisis would be a no show.

It is all pretty simple, you just have realize that governments and corporations (that are valued greater than most third world countries) have steered crisis into legislation through history for their own long term benefit. In this case, BP just may turn out to be the patsy.

At this point, I recommend that they pull that first dome up off the ocean floor, open up the pathway to the riser and start getting busy sucking up the secondary flows that are popping up from the strata because of the well casing ruptures. If they require 10" or even 16" risers to the surface, so be it. Just get it done and NOW!

Moreover, get the tankers in and get after the vacuuming operations of the plumes and for god sakes stop using the toxic nerve agent corexit.

source for corexit being a nerve agent?

you realize Alinski died when Obama was like 11.....being mentored for a radical take over of america through afordable health care and a marxist plot to cause an oil spill partway connected to Dick Cheney,and the Chamber of Commerce?

touche. change that to "an inspiration to Obama." I could care less about his history, leave that to his faithful flock.

Realize that Cheney and his secret energy meetings do have much to do with the greatly relaxed regulations and lack of protections against exactly this type of scenario but that Obama is just a continuation of the previous administration in many and the most important ways. They are in essence just two sides of the same coin, two feet marching in the same direction. That being for the corporations and not "Of, By and For the People."

"This is all right out of Marxist Saul Alinsky's book, Rules For Radicals. Saul was a close friend and mentor to Obama. From the book and Rahm Emmanuel are the words "Never let a good crisis go to waste." It had to be a BIG crisis, and it is getting much bigger thanks to all the cover-ups and delays, in order to make it an International incident."

This parallels the Bush connection conspiracy to the 9/11 terorist attack and is completely inappropriate. I'll follow with likewise.

On some topics I'm so liberal an leanin' over so far you would think you were being mooned but actually I'm thinking something totally different.

One of the particularly interesting features of TOD is the number of really well informed, obviously intelligent people who will go from making totally logical, rational statements in one breath to absolutely making bizarre allusions, conclusions and tin foil belief erupitions in the next. A little bit like watching the gas come out of the blow out --- smooth oil flows and then you see a belch of brown and light fluffy stuff... In the case of the well, there is a device that burns off the gas uptop.

Here, not so much sometimes -- unless you consider the expression of noxious and volatile ideas as somehow "blowing off gas"... hmmmmmm


Perhaps that transition is the point where they pass the limits of your experience, or perhaps just the limits of your willingness to consider. Some of the people on this site have been discussing these issues for a long time, and many topics have been beaten to death long ago that are not repeated in detail here on these somewhat atypical oil gusher threads. Some of what appear to be bizarre allusions are the result of those conversations you missed. And some are just whacked.

A mile long 16" pipe, what is that 200 tons? A month to weld it, if you could find it. People say these things like snap a mile long welded pipe rolls off the boat and there you go, getter done. Have people ever asked what it takes to weld one large pipe on land on a bench. Weld hanging from a basket on a ship bouncing in the ocean. Do that in less time then it takes to drill a relief well? Yeah, your right no one wants to shut in the spill really. Really? No ONE wants to stop this spill really? Shame on you. These people risk their lives for you and they get this.

Ah, you realize the picture you're basing your size estimate from was taken with a wide-angle lens, yes? You can't estimate scale without knowing the lens angle. Given how wide the base seems to be in the photo (the actual size is 4 feet) I see no reason to conclude the aperture at the top is less than 4-6 inches in diameter.

I concur

Retracting my "I concur" based on scaling the pic which is never a good approach but that's all we have. It scales to about 3". I prefer to scale off of accurate drawings and my first choice would be NTS drawings with stated dimensions. I'm guessing BP had a good idea how much would push through the orifice based on pressure. It increased pressure and velocity for a short distance unless you think the ID goes all the way to the top.

Did you see the video? Do you see the guys finger? He reached right into the cap very near the hole. A one inch hole is a pretty damn good approximation of its size. That was a standard high end camera lens (about $25,000).

As stated in my first post from last Saturday, that was immediately snuffed and thread closed, I mentioned that they did not then and still did not have the capacity to accept the entire flow from the gusher. Where are the tankers, only just recently being discussed as an addition to the current op.

If his finger is near the hole then I must say his arm is six feet long.

how do you know that is the cap on the well there are plenty of those things on the bottom ive seen them on the feeds, which one are we using now? the one in the cnn video has a number 3 scratched on one of the fins if that means anything.

The images and the video are from the 4th of last month, over 30 days ago. There are 2 caps in the video, one in the background. They are likely identical to each other. The second cap was for the other smaller containment dome that was mentioned and shown in the video.

These were the very first caps made for this blowout operation. All the LMRP caps, 7 at last count, were not even built until sometime afterward.

Further note, that the 4 rib spars in the top of the cap are 1/2" steel and their thickness looks to be about half the diameter of the hole. Also notice that as they get farther away from the camera, they only have a normal perspective, change in thickness.

It looks like they could have just dangled a garden hose into the oil plume and done as well or better than with this piece of ironmongery. But if they're just playing games, the Administration must be complicit. So, is Obama's kick-ass aggression intended to deflect suspicion?

I wonder if that unit pictured above is a mockup. From video feeds this afternoon, it appeared that the one attached to the BOP has the base of the fins extending well past the skirt.

Lenses, distortion, perspective my butt. Whatever that thing is, at the time those pictures were taken that was a damn small hole. Maybe it's not the one they used, maybe they enlarged the hole afterward (which would seem a very strange way to make it), but I think you've got a valid point. In that form it can't work. Just picture the flow you saw when the riser was cut off blasting at that.

at 2:00 pm, viking poseidon II, at N 0432651.24, E 203067.61 found this
and is currently looking around the area

any ideas as to where that might be in relation to the BOP?

2:13 after slowing scanning the area for about 15 minutes, appears to be heading away rapidly ...

And now at N 0432371.18, E 202953.03 (might be .08)

it finds:

boy, a little later looks an awful lot like oil seeping, but really hard to tell.

Ocean Intervention III - ROV2 now active, appears to be working on the sea floor but don't know where...

there is a live tracking map here but it seems that BP has not only shut down the AIS on their vessels but also deleted the itinerary histories, which were extensive and visible as recently as yesterday even though they all had stopped broadcasting the first week of June.

Just checked the site and it is functioning properly so BP or someone had the info on all of the BP vessels pulled. I checked Yahoo to see if there was a cache but nothing

I've been checking that site periodically this week, and at one time or another, have seen just about all of the Deepwater ships, including the Enterprise, Q4000, Skandi, Poseidon, DDII, etc. Sometimes several appear, others most of them, at other times, none has been visible.

I have no idea why they appear and disappear, but they have most definitely been there some of the time. Next time I catch some of them, I'll capture an image.

Well, that didn't take long .. here are three displaying now (8:57 CDT) None visible when I began entering this comment.

1/ Which zone is the well in? I make it 16R, confirmation please.

2/ I have tried to find an online calculator for distance and bearing using UTM but have not found one. The calculators I have found need conversion to lat/lon first. Anyone know of a UTM one?


the BOP is 16R, I suspect this is too.

There was a link to conversion chart (utm:lat/lo) posted yesterday, but ya gonna hafta look. It's in the Hurricane thread..I think

Interesting, tried a couple of calculators that put them about 1km apart but in the pacific! Both agree the co-ordinates. Ho hum.


Oh this is interesting. I converted the utm to lat/long using, and then calc'd the distance using

I made the assumption that it was still in zone 16R, and came out 8000 km away. Then I noticed the very different utm points, changed N 0432651.24, E 203067.61 to N 10432651.24, E 1203067.61, and came out ~33.3 km away, bearing 258d ....NW. is it possible that they've obfuscated the points? Or is that standard for some ROVs?
The bearing when I first noticed was 26 or so, but could have turned.

If its 15R instead, the utm points shown on the screen are still waaaaay far away. Either ROV has been air freighted elsewhere, or ... and my amended points are 160 km away, bearing 94

I don't go looking for conspiracy, but what the ? Prob my mistake somewhere.

oh well, i can compare when it gets back to the BOP

The well permit mentions 'Lamber coordinates' and these (numbers on the permit) jive with (at least some of) the ROV displays. I believe this refers to a Lambert conic projection - see here for some variants:

You will see that some crucial information is lacking to he able to translate these numbers directly. Someone who has worked in the area with coordinate systems could probably shed some light.

I just used CORPSCON - on the US Corp of Engineers web site - to convert coordinates read off a ROV N10431625 E1202293.85. I assumed UTM zone 16, feet; converted to lat / lon and got close to the well.

Has anyone seen photos of Discoverer Enterprise flaring gas at the reported rate of 30,000,000 cu ft per day?

From the slides accompanying Kent Wells' 6/10 technical press briefing ...

Lightering - transferring oil from the Enterprise to the Massachusetts earlier this week

From Response in Pictures

Both photos were supplied by BP

I have not researched all the threads due to their lengths, but I wonder if anyone has offered a suggestion as follows:
To capture all the spill captures now and future as well as development of this field, we need a pipeline to shore. So why not on an emergency basis built that pipeline? If large diameter pipe is not available quickly enough then a smaller high pressure line could handle the gas alone.
Its 'greener' and safer than flaring the gas around all that oil stored in vessels and on the surface. Could not a large diameter line handle both the gas and oil with pigs preventing accumulation?

Time. It's faster to drill the relief wells and kill the well to stop the flow. As slow as the process seems, it is much faster than building a pipeline to shore.

This is probably a nit, but it is bugging me. Every time I hear a USCG official speak on TV at a press conference, they answer reporters questions about the spill using the term "We", as in "We are collecting X thousand barrels a day" or "We are doing everything possible..."

Is this some kind of Stockholm Syndrome effect from CG officials spending too much time schmoozing with BP Execs? I'm sure everyone in BP boardrooms and lawyer's offices smiles each time some Admiral says "We.." - just that much more evidence that they were just following Gov't. orders, that's why it took so long to stop the leak, clean up the oil, (insert expensive operation here) we can't possibly be blamed for the damage...

There's an obvious game going on, as many previous posters here have clearly explained. Our officials may not have the resources to win it, but it would be nice if they ate least gave the impression that they knew they were playing.

Thank you for this site and for letting me get this off my chest.


Bothers me too.

The CG has been terrible at the public perception thing.

"We" as in; We are a team is much easier to say than naming every agency involved in the cleanup.

There should be a distinction between government and BP, don't you think? I don't think it's nitpicking because the kind of language you adopt absolutely affects how you think. I'd hate for officials to blur the boundaries between public interest and the interest of BP, subconsciously or otherwise...

I would like to go into every meeting knowing everyone in the room is a friend and has my best interest at heart but sometimes you have to rub shoulders with those who aren't or those you have problems with and to single these people out in a meeting in order to assuage every individuals (how many million)specific feelings isn't going to happen.

In time you will get the info you desire.

The crowd cheered
The matador turned his back to the bull
The bull charged

Need I interpret, BP had a blow out.

I would like to go into meetings being able to distinguish those who have the same interests as myself, and those who don't.

In time you will get the info you desire.

I don't have a problem getting the info. I have a problem being convinced that the public officials are representing public interest. I have a problem believing that they are wearing ONE hat and ONLY one hat, at all times.

Listening is a good communication tool. It seems the information you are recieving is what you are hearing. Listening and hearing are completely different. You are hearing, adding hyperbole and the outcome is difficult to swallow. If you listen and heard the truth what would you do with it? The admiral is doing what he has been trained to do and he isn't in control and really doesn't care if you interepret his use of the word *we* to mean that you will be responsible for paying part of the clean-up tab. Something you do have control over is researching the number of contractors involved in the clean-up efforts or what ever topic is the discussion of the day. When he says *we* connect it to the topic and you will have an idea who he's addressing. Based on everything you have heard to date what do you believe is the truth? What do you know about dispersants?

There's a million people who may also have requests regarding this incident and they are all different than yours. I'm guessing you do not reside in one of the states currently affected i.e. the coast. Ultimately we are all affected. We as in *the world*.

There's got to be a better middle ground between using "we" to mean "everyone" and having to explicitly name each party in the collective recovery and cleanup effort, when discussing this issue.

How about if the Admiral:
- used "We" to mean "US Coast Guard",
- used "BP" to mean "BP and all its subcontractors"
- used "Interior" to mean Ken Salazar, DOI, MMS, EPA, etc.
- used "DOE" to mean Dr. Chu, the Energy Dept, and associated scientific or academic advisors", and
- used "Federal government" to mean President Obama on down, in the most inclusive sense.

Most people ought to be able to keep that straight.

Why? I will leave you to sort it out.

So when I say I think BP is responsible to pick up the tab for this disaster does it mean just BP or BP and all their contractors?

It certainly doesn't mean "We" as in "US taxpayers".

I suspect it's just a bureaucratic inclination.

You may be right, but I've had some dealings with senior federal officials (in another context) and my observation is they are very precise in their language. Which it why this bothers me, and not just minimally. The choice of the word 'we' is unusual and unlikely to be just from force of habit or whatever. At least that would be my experience, FWIW.

Press Release: DOE Makes Public Detailed Information on the BP Oil Spill

June 8, 2010, WASHINGTON – As part of the Obama Administration’s ongoing commitment to transparency surrounding the response to the BP oil spill, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced today that Department is providing online access to schematics, pressure tests, diagnostic results and other data about the malfunctioning blowout preventer.

Secretary Chu insisted on making the data widely available to ensure the public is as informed as possible, and to ensure that outside experts making recommendations have access to the same information that BP and the government have. The site will be updated with additional data soon.
“Transparency is not only in the public interest, it is part of the scientific process,” said Secretary Chu. “We want to make sure that independent scientists, engineers and other experts have every opportunity to review this information and make their own conclusions.”

Information posted includes detailed raw data on the pressure readings within the blowout preventer, as well as rates and amounts of hydrocarbons captured by the top hat and by the riser insertion tube. There is also a timeline of key events and detailed summaries of the Deepwater well configuration, the blowout preventer stack tubes, and the containment system.

Transparency, eh? The good news: an excellent graphic of the casing and cement parameters. The bad news: absolutely nothing about the conditions leading up to the blow out. Nada. Zip. Nothing. The time line presented starts with the well kick and explosion. Apparently nothing of significance before the fire occured according to Dr. Chu's view of "transparency". There were details of the stand pipe pressure readings and mud volumes posted on TOD within days of the blow out. Perhaps the editors would like to post that info if it's stil available. Maybe the gov't would appreciate TOD adding a little more transparency.

Well... it looks like he's trying to inject transparency into the fix effort, the one in which he's involved.

The blame/liability effort is more likely to the province of the DOJ and will become transparent via filings with the courts.

I really liked the imagery of a science-oriented, Ph.D. cabinet secretary deciding to make the info available to advance the goals of openness and scientific scrutiny/understanding/advancement. That was a good move and a good thing.

I am disappointed to hear the execution is flawed. Maybe they would fix the flaws, though, if someone brought them to their attention.

syn -- I've got a feeling it was intentional. And perhaps for a valid reason. The bits and pieces of this data back then looked like it could be a serious condemnation of BP's operations. Perhaps at a criminal level as well as civil liability. Given that this info will likly be used in what ever prosecution that may develop then it might be a valid tactic for the gov't not make it available to the public. Prejudicing the jury pool, etc.

Just one more wild theory.

They should not pronounce a grand vision for a useful science portal and total transparency if they can't deliver. Although I prefer to give the benefit of the doubt of poor execution or lack of access before jumping to the more cynical conclusion.

Lots of the relevant documents have been released to congress and some have been leaked to the press. If it's because of the criminal and civil charges, that would be understandable, and they should say so. BP may also own that info and the gov. may have no authority to force its public release without a subpoena and hearing.

A reporter or blog should contact them and get an answer as to why they do not include the relevant documents if they are serious and this is it's not just a PR stunt.

That was my first thought too...

i spent half an hour on this link trying to find out what exactly is it that they've posted that's new .....zilch ...i don't understand why the WH insists on shooting it self in the foot everyday ....its especially disappointing that this comes from Sec. Chu who being an elite scientist probably knows the biggest piece missing here is what happened the last 72 hrs before the rig blew about posting that if the WH feels like today is the day to be transparent

Hmm, let me think. How about releasing

LWD log suite
narrative of lost tools and bypass
seismic line showing both holes
pressure tests before blowout
stratigraphic column

Won't ask for BP e-drill data, of course it doesn't exist no mo.

While we're on the subject of "transparency", has anyone actually been able to verify BP's claims of oil recovered by the RIT and CAP systems? Every day there are new numbers, which now have amounted to a lot of oil supposedly being recovered. But where is that oil now? Has any of it been off-loaded to shore as yet? Has anyone on shore taken delivery of recovered oil for disposal? Has the volume of oil recovered been measured by anyone other than BP? If not yet, when will that happen? If not ever, why not?

Rockman has posted on at least one occasion but he's probably tired of students coming to class late. Check the threads for the last couple of days.

Actually if you gased up today you probably have some in your car.

One of the things I discovered on this site about 5-6 weeks ago is there are people here who have lots of experience on this topic.

PS Yeah I'm a bit grumpy today. There's a difference between being uninformed and lazy. The info is here if you look/read.

I don't believe that answers to the questions I've asked are obvious, widely known, or easily determined by consulting the archive of this site or the Internet in general. That's why I asked the questions.

But you seem bugged by the very impertinence of my asking. Being awfully sensitive, aren't you? One might have thought that was *your* oil out there in the Gulf. Is it? Are you...BP?

JW -- I don't know my so I can only guess the feeling wasn't so much impertenance but frustration. Either way here's my answer from a few days ago.

steve -- Believe it or not crude oil has a title just like a car or piece of real estate. The crude buyer, typically the refinery, actually has the legal requiremnt to verify ownership. This is a legal document (the division order) which documents the ownership and exact amount of oil involved in the transaction. Not sure about OCS oil but all other crude purchases require the buyer to deliver the royalty directly to the lessor. Crude buyers are subject to huge financial penalties if they don't get this paper work correct. No refiner is going to play footsie with BP IMHO.

In other words JW there's a very well documented paper trail.

If you want to independently estimate maximum total volume collected to date, best way is to follow the tanker traffic.
"Lightering - the transfer of crude oil from one vessel to another - from storage on the Discoverer Enterprise to the barge Massachussetts began on the morning of June 9 and continues. When the process is complete, the barge will transport the oil for discharge at an onshore terminal."

Update this PM: "The Massachusetts departed at approximately 1pm, June 11."

Research on the Massachusetts shows it as a 145,000 b/d tanker -- so a very good estimate of total liquids collected to date is ~145k bbl. That likely includes a fair bit of methanol, and unknown amount of bs&w (typically refiners require <1% bs&w, but this is far from "typical" operations).

Independent parties requiring accurate measurement in this process: MMS requires royalty payment based on accurate volumes, barge owner required to file accurate cargo manifest shipped & delivered, receiving terminal required to have custody transfer measurement & accurate reporting of delivery, other lease minority interest owners contractually require accurate reporting.

There is a very extensive paper trail, but to feed the conspiracy trolls, should note that the most likely refiner to take the oil is BP's own refinery. On the flip side to counter that, would still require at least 2 independent parties on the chain to be signing off on fradulent federally-filed paperwork (at a minimum Transocean as owner/operater of Enterprise drillship doing original collection & measurement & offloading, as well as the Masachusetts barge owner required to sign off on shipping manifest & delivery).

David, good points.

I think what got this going was the photos of the containment cap with restrictive orifice in the pipe. I have been comparing photos, and I am pretty sure that one is not the one they installed.

The one in the photos does not have the vents, just one small pipe for (I presume) methanol. I think the version in the photos had the restriction to control the amount going topside so that it would not be more than they can handle. The rest was to just billow out the bottom as there was no provision for a seal.

The one they installed has four ADJUSTABLE vents to control the flow, and at least an attempt at a seal even if an ineffective one. I would speculate that it does not have the restriction orifice we see in the above photos, and the adjustable vents would take the place of its function. They chose this one because they thought it was better.

Of course it looks like it is in the process of coming off now... hopefully they have something better to replace it.

Thank you for that information and the link.

My interest in the Gulf oil spill revolves largely around "flow rates" from the leaking well and the related quantities of oil recovered, etc, plus the techniques and equipment used to measure those important variables.

I'm a software engineer, and in my area of interest (network data management), an accurate understanding of the "flow of data" from one network node to another is a matter of huge importance to solving operational problems and improving the technology in general. Which of course is why no-one today has any problems in those areas, right?

Thanks also to ROCKMAN and many others who have provided much useful info to this interested party in the past month and a half or so. I'm staying tuned...

Here is a very helpful website with the latest news, status and updates on the continuing 2010 Gulf oil spill.

Experts: BP's plan to protect spill workers inadequate

WASHINGTON — BP's plan to protect workers fighting the massive oil spill in the Gulf, which the Coast Guard approved on May 25, exposes them to higher levels of toxic chemicals than generally accepted practices permit.

Moreover, BP isn't required to give workers respirators, to evacuate them from danger zones, or to take other precautions until conditions are more dangerous. The looser standards are due in part to federal regulations that don't specify safety thresholds for volatile organic compounds, or VOCs — the principal toxins that threaten the health of spill response workers, experts said.

BP's plan also fails to address the use of more than 1 million gallons of dispersants so far in the cleanup.

"This plan is not workable and offers a false sense of security," said Eileen Senn, a former state and federal health and safety official for more than 40 years. "It gives the impression that you can write a procedure to dodge chemical bullets that are coming at you constantly."

The BP plan, known as the Offshore Air Monitoring Plan for Source Control, allows workers to stay in an area when vapors are at a level that's four times higher than accepted practice to prevent an explosion.

The Marine Spill Response Corp., an oil and gas industry organization, recommended lower levels in the mid-1990s, according to a document posted on OSHA's website. Even the accepted level "is a very high exposure from a health point of view," Mirer said. "At that point, workers should be leaving the site," he said, rather than just monitoring the situation as the plan requires.

Experts also said that the plan permits levels of VOCs in living quarters that are too high and don't take into account that the fact many workers are working more than eight hours a day and therefore could be exposed to potentially higher cumulative levels of toxins.

also found this pertinent

I don't see how this can be true:

"Continued dispersant use reduces the threat distance, protects shorelines, likely increases the biodegradation rate of the oil, inhibits formation of emulsions, reduces waste management, and potentially reduces buildup of VOCs in the air."

Do emulsions mean something different in the oil patch than in polymer science? Does this term imply water-in-oil emulsions in the oil patch? I would expect dispersants to increase emulsification, which in this case means formation of small droplets, I think.

Dispersants ARE emulsifiers, and Corexit products DO cause emulsions to form between oil/water phases. So, small drops, sometimes VERY small drops of oil are in suspension in an oil-water mixed fluid state.

"I don't see how this can be true: '...inhibits formation of emulsions..."

It's not true. And it takes about a high school level of scientific knowledge and a few minutes on Google Scholar to check.

My understanding is the dispersants would increase emulsification. However, I've also come across the term 'emulsion' being used for 'chocolate mousse', a churned-up mixture of oil and seawater which is a water-in-oil emulsion but which is more resistant to degradation or evaporation.

At least that's how I understand it. Experts feel free to correct here. ;-)

for what its worth a politician cites scientists refereeing to emulsion as chocolate mousse froth
other pages refer to the formation of chocolate mousse emulsion so it may have other properties but is still called this. part of oil spill jargon?

"However, I've also come across the term 'emulsion' being used for 'chocolate mousse'"

Leaving aside the possible confusion or multiple meanings of the term: If the images we've seen of the marshes and the near-surface concentrations of oil can be taken as representative empirical evidence, the Corexit doesn't seem to be doing a very good job on the "mousse," either.

You don't know how much more of such 'mousse' would have come ashore without the dispersants. So, no, I don't think you can use those images as empirical evidence, given especially since the amount of oil being spilled is still a hot topic of debate..

"So, no, I don't think you can use those images as empirical evidence..."

Of course they are empirical evidence. What else could they be?

The questions are whether they are *representative*—which they may or may not be—and whether they are adequate to reach a solid conclusion, which they quite likely are not.

I think my speculation that Corexit isn't doing a very good job on the mousse is more likely than the alternative (that it is), although that might be true for a variety of reasons.

In any event, the sheer volume of the mousse we can see (and some here can smell, touch, etc.) makes it pretty clear that the sum of all efforts—containment at the source, capture at the surface, dispersion, etc. is inadequate.

Yeah you're right on the empirical part LOL.

As to 'inadequate', I don't think there's any method, or combination of methods, that will be 'adequate' in preventing shoreline contamination. It's a matter of how much, how bad, and for how long. Which is why the whole point about such a disaster (I've become somewhat averse to using the word 'accident' for this spill, but that's just me..) is that the consequences of such a spill is catastrophic, and THEREFORE the primary line of 'defense' should be on prevention.

Like as some experts have said, at least 2 verified secure barriers (eg casing + mud) against a blowout at all times, just for instance.

"...and THEREFORE the primary line of 'defense' should be on prevention.

"Like as some experts have said, at least 2 verified secure barriers (eg casing + mud) against a blowout at all times, just for instance."

Agreed. And two tested BOP's (batteries included). And, for now, toss in another RW or two. Alan has me sold.

Chocolate mousse is just slang terminology. That jellified junk IS an emulsion. Sometimes emulsions form without a dispersant, due to turbulent mixing and breaking down of the oil into smaller and smaller drops. In my opinion, BP purposefully uses Corexit to keep as much oil as possible "out of sight" and not easily measured as to volume (think in relation to fines to yet be calculated). I'm sure BP hopes the bacteria biodegrade the oil as quickly as possible -- we all hope for that, because it would lessen the amount yet to arrive on shore. But the dispersed oil waste is toxic to marine organisms that can/will never be counted, because they are so far down the food chain. The toxins will accumulate/concentrate in organisms that feed in those waters, up up up the food chain. Oil is toxic. Corexit is toxic. Oil-Corexit emulsions are toxic. And millions of organisms, both wee and large, will perish of suffocation in oxygen-deficient habitats and when their bodies are encased in uncleanable goo. It is estimated that the dead and dying are witnessed at about the level of 10% or less, so for every oiled pelican you see, there are likely 9 more already dead or dying. Where this will end is anybody's guess.

The LMRP cap is looking a little tilted this afternoon. The side with the broken flap has almost lifted above the upper flange plate.

I was just scanning through the feeds, and saw Ocean Intervention's ROV 1 mucking about on the bed, and what looked like small oil drops/globules lifting out where the ROV's arm had disturbed the silt.

If anyone has a file, the clock was around 18:50EDT.

Edit for time zone!

Hey, you might be correct. The ROV is looking at a crack in the mud from which there are occasional bursts of what could be mud or oil. Hope not.

I see distortion in the water emerging from the bottom - the water is either warm, or it is fresh. I suppose there could be fresh water seeps that far from shore.

Ocean Intervention ROV 1 was showing an almost "white sand" seabed (I'm guessing about 50 feet from BOP?)

When it zoomed to the dispersing unit the seabed appeared silty. (No sign of underground plumes though)

About 30 mins ago the ROV was passively sitting on the bottom looking a thin jagged crack in the mud that extended some way from the ROV (no idea how far). There were occasional bursts of what was probably water and silt from the crack - maybe every 10 secs or so. I don't know what they've got the ROV doing now - just wandering around. Maybe inspecting the sea floor.

Edit: At this moment the ROV is looking at the bottom near a float. The ROV was grasping the line for a float while they were observing the crack. Perhaps they dropped the float there for a reason.

BTW, I'm not sure which Oceaneering ROV feed I was watching. Perhaps we weren't watching the same one.

There was a black hose buried in that crack.

Ah, that would probably explain it. Thanks.

I've been in and out looking, and haven't seen anything similar to that which I timestamped earlier. The ROV has a little trencher (?) tool sticking out the left side, that it uses to bounce the weight (?) against prior to dropping it in the silt. Thanks for the info, all. :^)

I feel like I pick up lots of information on this site, but I don't really have the background to integrate it all. There are some things that worry me, and they come back to risk management. It seems like there is an assumption: the relief wells will work. What if they don't? What if the riser (I think that is the term) is broken, and the strata around the wellshaft is fractured? Isn't that one of the things that could have caused the top kill to fail? It seems like that could affect killing the well from below. Pump as much as you want, if it's going out into the formation around the well (or if the shaft outside of the riser is a partial conduit) it won't do much good. I'd love to know what the contingency plan is in that situation. Implode the well? Don't like that one. Deplete the formation? How long would that take? Off topic, I know--this is an open thread?

bb -- the RW will work. Might take two of them...might take 5. Might get done this August. Might be next January. The RW will be the solution for one simple reason IMHO: there's no other option I can envision. The situation could be as bad as you describe ...or worse.

Someone else who thinks that by inducing rotation at the surface, the efficiency of oil skimming can be enhanced--


It seems like a very interesting idea... but it still only in the lab stage of experiments unfortunately :(. I can see that it may have promise in the future, but not deployable at the moment. The way I see it, there is a lot of R & D to go from a confined water volume to the open ocean. Creating a vortex in a closed volume is fairly easy, particularly with cylindrical walls. In the field, you are going to have to figure out, how many jets of water and in what configuration gives the optimum results... also, in the field you have lots of ships in the area of the blowout trying to contain it. Those ships are going to mess up the vortex big time. There may be ways around that playing with depth, etc... but again, that is a lot of R & D. In the end it's all about time. Sadly we've wasted a lot of it in the development of the safety net in the event of a blowout. Researching this as well as other ideas for containing a deepwater spill (and doing a serious study on the effectiveness and impact of different types of dispersants) should have been on the same level of priority as developing techniques to reach the more difficult oil.

I suppose believing that BOPs can never fail is a comforting thought, just like believing that in a finite planet oil and other natural resources are unlimited and exponential growth can be sustained forever. Unfortunately, those comforting thoughts have prevented us from building the safety net that would be needed in case it was a false belief (which should have been obvious to anyone who stopped to think about it).

I disagree with your assessment that this is "rocket science" that would take a long R&D program to develop. See

I've given an idea for a single vortex at the Yahoo Group above.

I bet if the Coast Guard gathered a dozen or so small boats together with some fishing boats in a bay, using towlines they'd figure out how to make effective vortices (using a small amount of oil as a tracer) in a couple of days...have ye no faith??


I have a question for some of you guys in the know, Since BP has a 125 Billion market cap, How many billions of losses would it take for this company to go BK. I really don't think they will go BK, to many people depend on them, But if any of you guys want to take a educated guess at this have had it. Also does Hal or trans have any liability in this disaster ???

Had a $125 billion market cap; it's now around $106. Enterprise value is estimated at around $141 billion. So, breaking up the company would be *profitable*. Companies seek BK protection when they can't meet their operating expenses and/or debt service.

Neither is an immediate threat in BP's case, though we shall see what their tithe becomes. One thing: the company is 40% owned by UK entities and 39% owned by US entities. Many of the big owners are pension funds. Pension funds are in bad shape. We don't need any more people on public assistance right now.

Add to that the BP/Pentagon connection, the UK/US "special relationship" and the overall importance of the company to our main allies, the British. You would not be crazy to conclude that there isn't a snowball's chance in Hades of this company being fed like chum to the Icahn's of the world or devoured by rabid lawyers any time soon. Anything can happen, though.

BP is protected by a regiment of the finest and some of the highest-paid lawyers in the world. Victims may and will go bankrupt. BP is in no danger even if the Macondo gusher goes for six months. If worse comes to worst, the UK government will bail out BP, because it is too big to fail.

I wonder how this impacts the attempts to address the leak/spill/blowout if indeed it happens. There must have been a compelling reason to bring this to the forefront of public awareness in view of the flaring tempers on the Coast. From HouChron

"BATON ROUGE, La. — State Treasurer John Kennedy is urging Louisiana officials to prepare for the possibility oil giant BP could file for bankruptcy because of the massive spill in the Gulf of Mexico..."

Given that these are politicians I think it likely that the compelling reason is $$. As in, "the money the oil and gas industry gives me to shape public opinion in favor of not being too hard on BP."

Or, "the money I stand to make if we get to take "drastic measures" like building huge sand islands that will have the effect of starving the wetlands and thus opening up huge tracts of waterfront property for development."

Just a couple of guesses.

There is *NO* "waterfront property for development" behind the restored barrier islands. You just do not understand Louisiana coastal topology.

Much, almost all, of the restored barrier islands are where maps show barrier islands once were.

If they did not starve marshes in 1850 or 1950, they are unlikely to do so in 2011. But if they do, BP can pay to remove them.


Image just taken of the top of the BOP plus ROV's. Don't see this view often.

It doesn't show as clearly in that picture, but the cap is really tipped badly right now, like it could even come off. Look at Skandi ROV2. It is completely above the flange on the high side.

For what it's worth, the flat seal that was at one point attached to the "cap" lower throat is now mostly out and is hanging, in layers, below the cap.

Can you help a noob out here, please?

As near as I can determine, there are several distinct constructs to the top of the well-head, which is the top of the pipe on the ocean floor in this case. Next up is the BOP cage, which contains the rams to close in the pipes, and if necessary shear off the string. Next up is the LMRP, which has the annular bushings that guide and direct the drill casing/pipe and close off the down-well pressures. Above that cage is the Flex joint and Riser Adapter, which connects to the drilling rigs topside.

In the event of an emergency breakaway, besides closing off the well, does the Riser Adapter detach from the Flex Joint, or does the Flex Joint separate? Or am I totally misreading this?

I think the hydraulic coupling that separates is below the flex joint, so the riser (also called LMRP) and flex joint come off together. (You oil guys can correct me if I am wrong.)

In the picture above the thinner section that sits above the fat little "barrel" with lots of bolts under a flat top plate - the thinner part comes out. It's a clever design, where the hydraulic parts and the supply come from above and are supplied by the ship, but most of the mechanics of the joint is in the fat "barrel" below. I am not sure how involved an operation is the attachment/separation at this interface, but there are many here that do. I think the fat part is called an "H-4" head and it seems to be a standard design for this application.

There has been some discusion regarding the hydraulic coupling at the BOP flex joint/riser connection.
Why decoupling the entire assembly has not been attempted seems to be up in the air?
1) Concern for placing any more stress on the BOP/well casing?
2) No seperate external hydraulic line capacity to connect and attempt operation of the coupling?
3) Couldnt handle the flow top side if successfully connected to new full size riser?
4) Concerned there is a stress on the coupling/connector and it would not re-seal properly over a new riser package?
Any one else have a better understanding why activating this coupling has not been attempted/might be/might not be a good idea?
I am very frustrated over the fact that we are all waiting on BP to get additional processing to the area at this time. I am having a hard time looking at the live feeds any more. I am grateful to have found TOD as a resource to help get real info and thoughtful discussion on this disaster.

In all the formulas, science, conjecture, and politics that is discussed here I learn much. I hope I can positively participate. We got bombed here in Gulf Shores again and this photo from an oiled beach sums up how I feel. I saw some teenager write it.

Notice the oil on the top. From today's collection.
News report from the air of our direct hit today.

I have pictures of my oil spill or 4/20 t-shirt. I want to use the slogans, 'BP is a Green Devil', 'Remember the Macondo 11', and 'Remember 4/20'.

Now that congress is considering lifting that crazy $75 mil cap on oil spill damages, maybe they'll also reconsider the limited liability nuclear power plants enjoy in case of an accident.

Speaking of disgraced corporations such as BP, in one regard we are fortunate that they and not some mom and pop drilling operation (if such a thing exists) did the bad deed. BP has such deep pockets, the Gulf is lucky beyond measure in this regard. BP can be slowly bleed dry over time to pay for the awful mess they've created. Then what's left of that shattered, once proud organization can be quietly drown in a bath tub, or better yet, in the environmentally dead Gulf. I'll bet their CEO, Tony "I Want My Life Back" Hayward, is kicking himself for not springing for a slightly better BOP, or higher quality casing, or cement job. But this is what happens when you're cheap and in a rush.

Speaking of cheap, what kind of organization does not have the capacity on hand to collect and offload the limited amount of oil they can gather up with their little cap? Where are the supertankers? What's wrong with this picture?

Sincerely, your Troll

First time to join the fray. Long time lurker. Been following the blowout closely on TOD. RM and others have convinced me this will last much longer than any of us had hoped, so I've decided to join the discussion.

I'm former ARCO and Baker Hughes on the chemicals side servicing pipelines and production wells. No drilling knowledge, but over 20 years petrochemical production experience as a mechanical engineer/ops mgr.

2 questions for starters ... first, the idea of removing bolts to access the top flange on the BOP seems to make sense in order to make a good seal with a mating flange. I gather the fear of casing damage precludes closing off the blowout by installing a valve. My question is the rating of the top BOP flange. From BOP drawing, it appears this is not a high pressure flange. It must be rated for riser system and not pressures at bottom of BOP. Am I correct? Second, when wells are completed and left for future production, is the practice to always replace the mud with water or is mud sometimes left in the well?