BP Deepwater Oil Spill - Energy and Commerce Committee's Letter Outlining Risky Practices in Anticipation of Hayward's Thursday Testimony

Because of interest in this subject, we are keeping this thread open, as well as the analysis of BP's new plans shown in thread http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6603.

Congress wrote a letter to Tony Hayward outlining its concerns that BP took shortcuts and undertook risky practices, in an attempt to keep costs down. This letter was written in preparation for Tony Hayward's testimony on Thursday of this week. Below the fold is a scanned-in copy of that letter, excluding the footnotes. The letter can be accessed at this link.

Dear Mr. Hayward:

We are looking forward to your testimony before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations on Thursday, June 17, 2010, about the causes of the blowout of the Macondo well and the ongoing oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. As you prepare for this testimony, we want to share with you some of the results of the Committee's investigation and advise you of issues you should be prepared to address.

The Committee's investigation is raising serious questions about the decisions made by BP in the days and hours before the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon. On April 15, five days before the explosion, BP's drilling engineer called Macondo a "nightmare well." In spite of the well's difficulties, BP appears to have made multiple decisions for economic reasons that increased the danger of a catastrophic well failure. In several instances, these decisions appear to violate industry guidelines and were made despite warnings from BP's own personnel and its contractors. In effect, it appears that BP repeatedly chose risky procedures in order to reduce costs and save time and made minimal efforts to contain the added risk.

At the time of the blowout, the Macondo well was significantly behind schedule. This appears to have created pressure to take shortcuts to speed finishing the well. In particular, the Committee is focusing on five crucial decisions made by BP: (1) the decision to use a well design with few barriers to gas flow; (2) the failure to use a sufficient number of "centralizers" to prevent channeling during the cement process; (3) the failure to run a cement bond log to evaluate the effectiveness of the cement job; (4) the failure to circulate potentially gas-bearing drilling muds out of the well; and (5) the failure to secure the wellhead with a lockdown sleeve before allowing pressure on the seal from below. The common feature of these five decisions is that they posed a trade-off between cost and well safety.

Well Design. On April 19, one day before the blowout, BP installed the final section of steel tubing in the well. BP had a choice of two primary options: it could lower a full string of "casing" from the top of the wellhead to the bottom of the well, or it could hang a "liner" from the lower end of the casing already in the well and install a "tieback" on top of the liner. The liner-tieback option would have taken extra time and was more expensive, but it would have been safer because it provided more barriers to the flow of gas up the annular space surrounding these steel tubes. A BP plan review prepared in mid-April reconunended against the full string of casing because it would create "an open annulus to the wellhead" and make the seal assembly at the wellhead the "only barrier" to gas flow if the cement job failed. Despite this and other warnings, BP chose the more risky casing option, apparently because the liner option would have cost $7 to $10 million more and taken longer.

Centralizers. When the final string of casing was installed, one key challenge was making sure the casing ran down the center of the well bore. As the American Petroleum Institute's recommended practices explain, if the casing is not centered, "it is difficult, if not impossible, to displace mud effectively from the narrow side of the annulus," resulting in a failed cement job. Halliburton, the contractor hired by BP to cement the well, warned BP that the well could have a "SEVERE gas flow problem" if BP lowered the final string of casing with only six centralizers instead of the 21 recommended by Halliburton. BP rejected Halliburton's advice to use additional centralizers. In an e-mail on April 16, a BP official involved in the decision explained: "it will take 10 hours to install them . ... I do not like this." Later that day, another official recognized the risks of proceeding with insufficient centralizers but commented: "who cares, it's done, end of story, will probably be fine."

Cement Bond Log. BP's mid-April plan review predicted cement failure, stating "Cement simulations indicate it is unlikely to be a successful cement job due to formation breakdown." Despite this warning and Halliburton's prediction of severe gas flow problems, BP did not run a 9- to 12-hour procedure called a cement bond log to assess the integrity of the cement seal. BP had a crew from Schlumberger on the rig on the morning of April 20 for the purpose of running a cement bond log, but they departed after BP told them their services were not needed. An independent expert consulted by the Committee called this decision "horribly negligent. "

Mud Circulation. In exploratory operations like the Macondo well, wells are generally filled with weighted mud during the drilling process. The American Petroleum Institute (API) recommends that oil companies fully circulate the drilling mud in the well from the bottom to the top before commencing the cementing process. Circulating the mud in the Macondo well could have taken as long as 12 hours, but it would have allowed workers on the rig to test the mud for gas influxes, to safely remove any pockets of gas, and to eliminate debris and condition the mud so as to prevent contamination of the cement. BP decided to forego this safety step and conduct only a partial circulation of the drilling mud before the cement job.

Lockdown Sleeve. Because BP elected to use just a single string of casing, the Macondo well had just two barriers to gas flow up the annular space around the final string of casing: the cement at the bottom of the well and the seal at the wellhead on the sea floor. The decision to use insufficient centralizers created a significant risk that the cement job would channel and fail, while the decision not to run a cement bond log denied BP the opportunity to assess the status of the cement job. These decisions would appear to make it crucial to ensure the integrity of the seal assembly that was the remaining barrier against an influx of hydrocarbons. Yet, BP did not deploy the casing hanger lockdown sleeve that would have prevented the seal from being blown out from below.

These five questionable decisions by BP are described in more detail below. We ask that you come prepared on Thursday to address the concerns that these decisions raise about BP's actions.


BP started drilling the Macondo well on October 7, 2009, using the Marianas rig. This rig was damaged in Hurricane Ida on November 9, 2009. As a result, BP and the rig operator, Transocean, replaced the Marianas rig with the Deepwater Horizon. Drilling with the Deepwater Horizon started on February 6, 2010.

The Deepwater Horizon rig was expensive. Transocean charged BP approximately $500,000 per day to lease the rig, plus contractors' fees.] BP targeted drilling the well to take 51 days and cost approximately $96 million.

The Deepwater Horizon was supposed to be drilling at a new location as early as March 8, 2010. In fact, the Macondo well took considerably longer than plarmed to complete. By April 20, 2010, the day of the blowout, the rig was 43 days late for its next drilling location, which may have cost BP as much as $21 million in leasing fees alone. It also may have set the context for the series of decisions that BP made in the days and hours before the blowout.

Well Design

Deepwater wells are drilled in sections. The basic process involves drilling through rock, installing and cementing casing to secure the well bore, and then drilling deeper and repeating the process. On April 9, 2010, BP finished drilling the last section of the well. The final section of the well bore extended to a depth of 18,360 feet below sea level, which was 1,192 feet below the casing that had previously been inserted into the well.

At this point, BP had to make an important well design decision: how to secure the final 1,192 feet of the well. On June 3, Halliburton's Vice President of Cementing, Tommy Roth, briefed Committee staff about the two primary options available to BP. One option involved hanging a steel tube called a "liner" from a liner hanger on the bottom of the casing already in the well and then inserting another steel liner tube called a "tieback" on top of the liner hanger. The other option involved rurming a single string of steel casing from the seafloor all the way to the bottom of the well. Mr. Roth informed the Committee that "Liner/Tieback Casing provides advantage over full string casing with redundant barriers to annular flow." In the case of a single string of casing, there are just two barriers to the flow of gas up the arullliar space that surrounds the casing: the cement at the bottom of the well and the seal at the wellhead. Mr. Roth told the Committee that in contrast, "Liner/Tieback provides four barriers to annular flow." They are (I) the cement at the bottom of the well, (2) the hanger seal that attaches the liner to the existing casing in the well, (3) the cement that secures the tieback on top of the liner, and (4) the seal at the wellhead. The liner-tieback option also takes more time to install, requiring several additional days to complete.

Internal BP documents indicate that BP was aware of the risks of the single casing approach. An undated "Forward Plan Review" that appears to be from mid-April recommended against the single string of casing because of the risks. According to this document, "Long string of casing ... was the primary option" but a "Liner ... is now the recommended option."

The document gave four reasons against using a single string of casing, They were:

• "Cement simulations indicate it is unlikely to be a successful cement job due to formation breakdown, "
• "Unable to fulfill MMS regulations of 500' of cement above top HC zone,"
• "Open annulus to the wellhead, with", seal assembly as only barrier."
• "Potential need to verify with bond log, and perform remedial cement job(s)."

In contrast, according to the document, there were four advantages to the liner option:
• "Less issue with landing it shallow (we can also ream it down),"
• "Liner hanger acts as second barrier for HC in arlllulus,"
• "Primary cement job has slightly higher chance for successful cement lift,"
• "Remedial cement job, if required, easier to justify to be left for later."

Communications between employees ofBP confirm they were evaluating these approaches, On April 14, Brian Morel, a BP Drilling Engineer, e-mailed a colleague, Richard Miller, about the options. His e-mail notes: "this has been [aJ nightmare well which has everyone all over the place."

Despite the risks, BP chose to install the single string of casing instead of a liner and tieback, applying for an amended permit on April 15. The company's application stated that the full casing string would start at 9 7/8 inches diameter at the top of the well and narrow to 7 inches diameter at the bottom. This application was approved on the same day.

The decision to run a single string of casing appears to have been made to save time and reduce costs. On March 25, Mr. Morel e-mailed Allison Crane, the Materials Management Coordinator for BP's Gulf of Mexico Deepwater Exploration Unit, that the long casing string "saves a lot of time ... at least 3 days." On March 30, he e-mailed Sarah Dobbs, the BP Completions Engineer, and Mark Hafle, another BP Drilling Engineer, that "[n]ot running the tieback ... saves a good deal oftime/money." On April I5, BP estimated that using a liner instead of the single string of casing "will add an additional $7 -$10 MM to the completion cost." The same document calls the single string of casing the "[b]est economic case and well integrity case for future completion operations."

Around this time, BP prepared another undated version of its "Forward Plan Review." Notably, this version of the document reaches a different conclusion than the other version, calling the long string of casing "the primary option" and the liner "the contingency option." Like the other version of the plan review, this version acknowledges the risks of a single string of casing, but it now describes the option as the "Best economic case and well integrity case for future completion operations."


Centralizers are attachments that go around the casing as it being lowered into the well to keep the casing in the center of the borehole. If the well is not properly centered prior to the cementing process, there is increased risk that channels will form in the cement that allow gas to flow up the annular space around the casing. API Recommended Practice 65 explains: "If casing is not centralized, it may lay near or against the borehole wall. ... It is difficult, if not impossible, to displace mud effectively from the narrow side of the annulus if casing is poorly centralized. This results in bypassed mud channels and inability to achieve zonal isolation."

On April 15, BP informed Halliburton's Account Representative, Jesse Gagliano, that BP was planning to use six centralizers on the final casing string at the Macondo well. Mr. Gagliano spent that day running a computer analysis of a number of cement design scenarios to determine how many centralizers would be necessary to prevent channeling. With ten centralizers, the modeling resulted in a "MODERATE" gas flow problem. Mr. Gagliano's modeling showed that it would require 21 centralizers to achieve only a "MINOR" gas flow problem.

Mr. Gagliano informed BP of these results and recommended the use of 21 centralizers. After running a model with ten centralizers, Mr. Gagliano e-mailed Brian Morel, BP's drilling engineer, and other BP officials, stating that the model "now shows the cement channeling" and that ''I'm going to run a few scenarios to see if adding more centralizers will help us or not. Twenty-five minutes later, Mr. Morel e-mailed back:

We have 6 centralizers, we can run them in a row, spread out, or any combination of the two. It's a vertical hole, so hopefully the pipe stays centralized due to gravity. As far as changes, it's too late to get any more product on the rig, our only option is to rearrange placement of these centralizers.

The following day, April 16, the issue was elevated to John Guide, BP's Well Team Leader, by Gregory Walz, BP's Drilling Engineering Team Leader. Mr. Walz informed Mr. Guide: "We have located 15 Weatherford centralizers with stop collars ... in Houston and worked things out with the rig to be able to fly them out in the morning." The decision was made because "we need to honor the modeling to be consistent with our previous decisions to go with the long string." Mr. Walz explained: "I wanted to make sure that we did not have a repeat of the last Atlantis job with questionable centralizers going into the hole." Mr. Walz added: "I do not like or want to disrupt your operations . ... I know the planning has been lagging behind the operations and I have to turn that around."

In his response, Mr. Guide raised objections to the use of the additional centralizers, writing: "it will take 10 hrs to install them . ... I do not like this and ... I [am] very concerned about using them."

An e-mail from Brett Cocales, BP's Operations Drilling Engineer, indicates that Mr. Guide's perspective prevailed. On April 16, he e-mailed Mr. Morel:

Even if the hole is perfectly straight, a straight piece of pipe even in tension will not seek the perfect center of the hole unless it has something to centralize it.

But, who cares, it's done, end of story, will probably be fine and we' ll get a good cement job. I would rather have to squeeze than get stuck .... So Guide is right on the risk/reward equation.

On April 17, Mr. Gagliano, the Halliblllton account representative, was informed that BP had decided to use only six centralizers. He then ran a model using seven centralizers and found this would likely produce channeling and a failure of the cement job. His April 18 cementing design report states: "well is considered to have a SEVERE gas flow problem."

Mr. Gagliano said that BP was aware of the risks and proceeded with knowledge that his report indicated the well would have a severe gas flow problem.

Mr. Gagliano's findings should not have been a surprise to BP. As noted above, BP's mid-April plan review found that if BP used a single string of casing, as BP had decided to do, "Cement simulations indicate it is unlikely to be a successful cement job." Nonetheless, BP ran the last casing with only six centralizers.

Cement Bond Log

A cement bond log is an acoustic test that is conducted by running a tool inside the casing after the cementing is completed. The cement bond log determines whether the cement has bonded to the casing and surrounding formations. If a channel that would allow gas flow is found, the casing can be perforated and additional cement injected into the annular space to repair the cement job.

Mr. Roth, the Halliburton Vice President of Cementing, informed the Committee staff that BP should have conducted a cement bond log. According to Mr. Roth, "If the cement is to be relied upon as an effective barrier, the well owner must perform a cement evaluation as part of a comprehensive systems integrity test. Minerals Management Service (MMS) regulations also appear to direct a cement bond log or equivalent test at the Macondo well. According to the regulations, if there is an indication of an inadequate cement job, the oil company must "(1) Pressure test the casing shoe; (2) Run a temperature survey; (3) Run a cement bond log; or (4) Use a combination of these techniques."

In the case of the Macondo well, the Halliburton and internal BP warnings should have served as an indication of a potentially inadequate cement job.

On April 18, BP flew a crew from Schlumberger to the rig. As described in a Schlumberger timeline, "BP contracted with Schlumberger to be available to perform a cement bond log ... should BP request those services. But at about 7:00 a.m. on the morning of April 20, BP told the Schlumberger crew that their services would not be required for a cement bond log test. As a result, the Schlumberger crew departed the Deepwater Horizon at approximately 11:15 a.m. on a regularly scheduled BP helicopter flight. The Schlumberger crew was scheduled for departure before pressure testing of the well had been completed, indicating that the results of those tests were not a factor in BP's decision to send the crew away without conducting a cement bond log.

BP's decision not to conduct the cement bond log test may have been driven by concerns about expense and time. The cement bond log would have cost the company over $128,000 to complete. In comparison, the cost of canceling the service was just $10,000.45 Moreover, Mr. Roth of Halliburton estimated that conducting the test would have taken an additional 9 to 12 hours. Remediating any problems found with the cementing job would have taken still more time.

The Committee staff asked an independent engineer with expertise in the analysis of well failure about BP's decision not to conduct a cement bond log. The engineer, Gordon Aaker, Jr., P.E., a Failure Analysis Consultant with the firm Engineering Services, LLP, said that it was "unheard of" not to perform a cement bond log on a well using a single casing approach, and he described BP's decision not to conduct a cement bond log as "horribly negligent." Another independent expert consulted by the Committee, Jolm Martinez, P.E., told the committee that "cement bond or cement evaluation logs should always be used on the production string."

Mud Circulation

Another questionable decision by BP appears to have been the failure to circulate fully the drilling mud in the well before cementing. This procedure, known as "bottoms up," involves circulating drilling mud from the bottom of the well all the way to the surface. Bottoms up has several purposes: it allows workers on the rig to test the mud for influxes of gas; it permits a controlled release of gas pockets that may have entered the mud; and it ensures the removal of well cuttings and other debris from the bottom of the well, preventing contamination of the cement.

API's guidelines recommend a full bottoms up circulation between running the casing and beginning a cementing job. The recommended practice states that "when the casing is on bottom and before cementing, circulating the drilling fluid will break its gel strength, decrease its viscosity and increase its mobility. The drilling fluid should be conditioned until equilibrium is achieved .... At a minimum, the hole should be conditioned for cementing by circulating 1.5 annular volumes or one casing volume, whichever is greater."

BP's April 15 operations plan called for a full bottoms up procedure to "circulate at least one (I) casing and drill pipe capacity, if hole conditions allow." Halliburton Account Representative Jesse Gagliano said it was also "Halliburton's recommendation and best practice to at least circulate one bottoms up on the well before doing a cement job. " According to Mr. Gagliano, a Halliburton engineer on the rig raised the bottoms up issue with BP.

Despite the BP operations plan and the Halliburton recommendation, BP did not fully circulate the mud, Instead, it chose a procedure "written on the rig" which Mr. Gagliano "did not get input in. " BP's final procedure called for circulating just 261 barrels of mud, just a small fraction of the mud in the Macondo well. Mr. Roth of Halliburton told the Committee that one reason for the decision not to circulate the mud could have been a desire for speed, as fully circulating the mud could have added as much as 12 hours to the operation. Mr. Gagliano expressed a similar view, saying, "the well probably would not have handled too high of a rate, so it would take a little bit . . . longer than usual to circulate bottoms up in this case."

Lockdown Sleeve

A final question relates to BP's decision not to install a critical apparatus to lock the wellhead and the casing in the seal assembly at the seafloor. When the casing is placed in the wellhead and cemented in place, it is held in place by gravity. Under certain pressure conditions, however, the casing can become buoyant, rising up in the wellhead and potentially creating an opportunity for hydrocarbons to break through the wellhead seal and enter the riser to the surface. To prevent this, a casing hanger lockdown sleeve is installed. On June 8, 2010, Transocean briefed Committee staff on its investigation into the potential causes of the explosion on board the Deepwater Horizon. In the presentation, Transocean listed the lack of a lockdown sleeve as one of its "areas of investigation." Slide seven of Transocean's presentation asks: "Were Operator procedures appropriate?" A subpoint details: "Operator did not run lock down sleeve prior to negative test or displacement." Mr. Roth of Halliburton raised a similar concern in his June 3 briefing for Committee staff.

In BP's planned procedure for the well, BP describes two options involving the lockdown sleeve. BP was seeking permission from MMS to install the final cement plug on the well at a lower depth than previously approved. If permission was granted, BP's plan was to displace the drilling mud in the riser with seawater and install the cement plug prior to installation of the casing hanger lockdown sleeve. BP's alternative plan, if MMS did not approve the proposed depth of the final cement plug, was to run the lockdown sleeve first, before installing the cement plug at a shallower depth. On April 16, Brian Morel, BP's drilling engineer, e-mailed BP staff that: "We are still waiting for approval of the departure to set our surface plug . ... If we do not get this approved, the displacement plug will be completed shallower after running the LDS." The LDS stands for the lockdown sleeve.


The Committee's investigation into the causes of the blowout and explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig is continuing. As our investigation proceeds, our understanding of what happened and the mistakes that were made will undoubtedly evolve and change. At this point in the investigation, however, the evidence before the Committee calls into question multiple decisions made by BP. Time after time, it appears that BP made decisions that increased the risk of a blowout to save the company time or expense. If this is what happened, BP's carelessness and complacency have inflicted a heavy toll on the Gulf, its inhabitants, and the workers on the rig.

During your testimony before the Committee, you will be asked about the issues raised in this letter. This will provide you an opportunity to respond to these concerns and clarify the record. We appreciate your willingness to appear and your cooperation in the Committee's investigation.


Henry A. Waxman

Bart Stupak
Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations

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Lots of other related materials from the Energy and Commerce Committee (many with other companies, etc., involved...)


Lots of stuff here to digest. We have much reading to do.

You are right . . . there is some great reading material at the site you suggested. I found the Transocean Internal Investigation Interim Report (dated June 8th) especially interesting. It may be seen at


Slide 8 contains a high-level root cause tree which is worthy of study. So many people focus on the BOP failure as cause, but there was much more involved.

Considering that eleven rig hands DIED in this cluster f**k, Tony Hayward and a couple dozen of his minions need to be prosecuted and imprisoned for criminal negligence and manslaughter.

Considering that eleven rig hands DIED in this cluster f**k, Tony Hayward and a couple dozen of his minions need to be prosecuted and imprisoned for criminal negligence and manslaughter.

Any chance we can make sure they actually did something wrong before we string them up?

You are absolutely correct RG. BP deserves a full complete investigation, a fair and unbiased trial. And then hanged.

You are absolutely correct RG. BP deserves a full complete investigation, a fair and unbiased trial. And then hanged.

Well...but....I was being serious......

How much is BP paying you?

(j/k, but the witch hunts have started from the folks who fell headfirst down the rabbit hole, and witch hunts tend to be highly contagious. Fair warning to anyone who tries to be rational.)

How much is BP paying you?

Nothing. And full financial divestiture of all stocks and bonds is a requirement of my position. I'm not even permitted to let anyone take me out to lunch. Now THAT sucks.

I'm not even permitted to let anyone take me out to lunch. Now THAT sucks.

You will admit that is very suspcious, just like your serious demand for a fair trial. We're on to you and your gang. I suggest you make your time.

All your assets

"I'm not even permitted to let anyone take me out to lunch. Now THAT sucks."

You will admit that is very suspcious, just like your serious demand for a fair trial.

Why is it suspicious? There cannot ever be doubt that my technical opinion might be influenced by a financial motive. Of any size. Ever. Its a fair rule for the working environment I receive in exchange.

And I'm an American, I firmly believe in the right to a fair trial, even for, say, vigilantes.

"I'm not even permitted to let anyone take me out to lunch."

This means you probably don't work for the MMS.

Maybe punishment for top BP officials (after a speedy trial) should include tarring and feathering, with the tar being their own Gulf weathered crude, and the feathers from oil killed birds.

I prefer walking the plank in the middle of the slick instead of hanging. Hanging is much too quick of a punishment for these pirates.

RGR, I'm sure that operational mistakes were made on that rig and possibly in the system design too .....
but that probably applies to almost every oil installation out there.

However BP are in the cross-hairs for this particular event, and being British and cash rich ... hooray, someone to loot guys!

Sure, this is an ecological horror ... BUT ... it's not a Life Extinction Event as some bloggers make out.

It WILL be capped at some point in the next few months, and then nature will get to work clearing up the mess.

Look around the world - how many countries can you see which have been permanently zapped by such an incident?

Even the Ukraine is running fairly normally after Chernobyl.

S**t happens, people die ... and then the armchair warriors & the media get all worked up and in the background the lawyers get rich.

In this case vested interests might even manage to destroy BP and fight over the remnants.

However in five years time we will look back on this as a truly nasty event - but there are lots of such events to look back on : WW1, WW2, 9/11, the Iraqi War, the current Afghanistan war, Bhopal (no US anguish in that case ..) ... the list is endless.

Ukraine is not 'running normally' and the type of behavior that led to the accident and PARTICULARLY the institutional response to the accident has not been reformed. I am intimately familiar with this and I can assure you you have no idea what you are talking about. What we are witnessing here, now, is a symptom of a systemic disease - as was Chernobyl and its aftermath.

Wow. I wish i could brush all of that off so easily. WWI WWII , 9/11.

In 5 years, people will still be picking up the pieces of their lives from this spill. Those are the folks on the coast, of course, who depend on fishing and tourism for a living. Many will be wiped out.

Wow. I wish i could brush all of that off so easily. WWI WWII , 9/11.

In 5 years, people will still be picking up the pieces of their lives from this spill. Those are the folks on the coast, of course, who depend on fishing and tourism for a living. Many will be wiped out.

Of course you are correct.

However the main point is that this blowout is NOT the end of the world - and it WILL be fixed at some point.

In contrast:

40,000+ people in the US die each year from motor accidents.

28,000+ people in the US die each year from firearms.

And as for cardiovascular and diabetes related deaths, the numbers are mind numbing.

Do we see Obama jumping up and down about these?

Do we see zillions of blogs demanding the arrest of the CEOs of gun or car or burger firms?

It seems to me that we have a feeding frenzy here concerning BP, oil drilling etc.

It will all blow over in due course, and the media will focus on something else to take the populace's mind off foreign wars etc.

It is actually the end of the world for the families of those dead, for people whose businesses will go under, possibly for particular species. And what's led to this has been an apparent corporate culture of corner-cutting, which may well be criminal negligence. That's rather different than a whole lot of car accidents, or selling fatty food. Out of morbid curiosity, what would BP have to have done to have you say "Yknow, maybe a prosecutor should look into this..."?

Oh my gawd. How callous and cruel can you be?

Have you spent any time in SE Louisiana? Met anyone who makes their living there? It must be comforting to be able to write off entire sections of the country with an electronic wave of the hand because their utter destruction doesn't touch you personally and immediately.

Perhaps you'll care when the wetlands getting despoiled by BP's ignorance are destroyed within a couple of years and refineries which normally would be pretected by hurricanes get swamped during a minor hurricane passing over Plaquemines, St Bernard, and St Charles Parishes (location of 3 major refineries right off the top of my head). We'll see how much handwaiving you do when your gas is at six or seven bucks a gallon.

I know some folks want to publicize their heartlessness. I just wish they would take a step back from the keyboard once in a while and think for a moment before bloviating.

We'll see how much handwaiving you do when your gas is at six or seven bucks a gallon.

Here in the UK it already is $6 per US gallon. It's painful - but I suspect most people would just about survive say $10 per US gallon.

Oh my gawd. How callous and cruel can you be?

Not callous or cruel. Just taking a coldly dispassionate view. There are plenty here to present the emotional side of the case so a bit of balance can't go amiss.

and it WILL be fixed at some point.


Especially if we depend on BP to "Make It Right"tm


Last night my wife was standing over me grinning when I looked up; I'm spitting expletives at a reporter (MSN clip) who states "it has been said that the Blue Fin Tuna *may* spawn in this area of the GOM. Then on to Gloucester, Ma. to see how the fishermen their feel. On day one I walked thru the door stating this is really bad and since then I have been on a rant only I have to try and keep it away from home.

I posted this link on the BP plans topic; http://www.spegcs.org/attachments/contentmanagers/1054/drilling_power_pt...

They can't say it wasn't planned.

MetaMeme wrote:

In contrast:

40,000+ people in the US die each year from motor accidents.

28,000+ people in the US die each year from firearms.

And as for cardiovascular and diabetes related deaths, the numbers are mind numbing.

Do we see Obama jumping up and down about these?

Do we see zillions of blogs demanding the arrest of the CEOs of gun or car or burger firms?

You are correct -- a more rational perspective is badly needed in these comments.

But there are many haters here -- people simply foaming at the mouth with glee over the possibility of seeing a capitalist enterprise destroyed and its employees punished, even when such destruction and punishment won't help in making the Gulf and its residents whole again.

The haters are impervious to reason, so don't expect any let-up.

As to why Obama isn't going after other industries -- "cap and trade" and his other insane schemes are attacks on virtually ALL productive enterprises.

For almost 40 years I have defended capitalism and private enterprise. I still think that government is inherently inept. The evidence is abundant. Obama will use Macondo as an excuse to push cap and trade, which we knew was coming sooner or later, another insane scheme to expand bureaucracy and cripple investment.

So we agree, except as to the punishment of BP, most of which has been exacted (so far) by the capital markets. I suppose you could say that debt downgrades and share value reflect the risk of government penalties and civil damages awarded by angry judges and juries.

Worse: the Macondo disaster shut in deepwater drilling worldwide, some by proclamation in the Gulf of Mexico, in Norway, and elsewhere by dint of rising insurance rates and uncertainty. Maybe that's good. Deepwater oil isn't a slam dunk. Too many projects were launched on flimsy science and cheap money. Thunder Horse is an example of blue sky reserves that can't be produced cheaply or easily. The pre-salt story is Brazil is preposterous, when you consider risk, capex, cronyism, and political control.

Penalizing BP is appropriate in view of shoddy engineering and "drilling from the beach." I've argued that BP should be thrown off the lease and remediation put out to bid, perhaps a consortium of big deepwater operators like Exxon and Shell. BP's American assets should be seized.

Will that kill the company? - probably not. But it will end the charade of safe offshore operation by low IQ "oilfield trash" who learned their trade by following orders, no matter how dangerous. What needs to be regulated is an entire industry onshore and offshore, to end the lopsided bargain of nonunion roughnecks and Wall Street hucksters.

Cap and trade is dumb...it's only being suggested because politicians don't have the balls to tax pollution. Businesses need reliability. With taxes, the exact rates can be set in advance, and can kick in slowly...and no Wall street traders get to extract more money from the economy. The trick politically is to link new pollution taxes to tax relief in other areas: redirect the tax burden. I ran for office as a "Green Republican" in 1992, and got 20% of the statewide vote running against a sitting senator in the Republican primary...pretty good for an unknown candidate. This concept "has legs" politically.

"It seems to me that we have a feeding frenzy here concerning BP, oil drilling etc."

Actually it's a feeding frenzy re: BP oil spilling.

In time the oil will reach jolly on England. With a risk factor of 2 billion barrels, most deniers will change their minds when it affects them.

In time the oil will reach jolly on England.

Ha ha.

Anyway, we've had our fair share of oil and nuclear pollution and we're still here.

Nature and humans are resilient.

Humans are also ingenious so this oil blowout - and its effects - will be sorted out one way or another.

Admittedly it's fun to have a hyped up panic now & then, so make the most of it!

Admittedly it's fun to have a hyped up panic now & then, so make the most of it!

Now that's the truth, I was worried they might get this thing fixed before the hurricane show starts.

Admittedly it's fun to have a hyped up panic now & then

Oh good. I can now skip reading your posts, since you're so obviously a troll.

Of course it will reach England. But after being diluted how much?

We need to keep the analysis on these topics going because no one else will.

Ocean currents are measured in Sverdrups, where 1 Sverdrup = 10^6 cubic meters per second or about 264 million gallons per second. The Gulf Stream flow rate is around 30 Sverdrups in the Florida Straits, growing to around 150 Sverdrups past Labrador.

10,000 barrels/day = 0.0184 cubic meters/second.

1 Sverdrup = 54,343,965,053 barrels per day.

Well I for one would like to see the oil companies held to a higher standard than what they've been held to the last few years, especially when it comes to these deepwater drills. It shouldn't take a disaster of this magnitude to cause a shakeup in regulatory agencies and company safety policies and procedures. Lack of regulation and enforcement is at least partly responsible for three disasters lately; bank failures, the coal mine disaster earlier this year, and now this. The other responsible parties are the corporations that deliberately cut corners and/or ignored their own warnings to make more money, whether it was banks with CDS/CDO's, mines with no safety concerns, or BP.

Claiming everything will go back to normal eventually flies in the face of history. Go look at SE Tennessee around Ducktown, for example, and look at what years of acidic water runoff from mine waste has done to the region. The Exxon Valdese area is still recovering; the Ukraine is a depopulated region.

This oil disaster has the potential to ruin an entire region both environmentally and economically, perhaps for decades. I see no reason not to hold BP accountable for that.

Sure, this is an ecological horror ... BUT ... it's not a Life Extinction Event as some bloggers make out.

It WILL be capped at some point in the next few months, and then nature will get to work clearing up the mess.

One does not quite know if one categorizes such comments as: extreme hubris and arrogance, profound denial or just plain monumental ignorance?

Nature, however, has occasionally been known to have her own plans...she will certainly play the cards she has been dealt in the Gulf and life will continue, though, whether or not we like the final results of her clean up efforts remains to be seen.

To naively assume that every thing will go back to normal just underscores how very profoundly ignorant people who make such comments really are...

There are such things as tipping points in complex dynamic systems, ecosystems, being one example of such systems. When these points are pushed into new states, there can be multiple long term cascading interactions that are set in motion, resulting in new and sometimes completely unforeseen and occasionally unwelcome consequences.

But you are right, this is most definitely not a complete life extinction moment in the Gulf.

Though it might be prudent to consider the precautionary principle when pulling multiple threads from the already fraying rope on which we are now precariously swinging to and fro above the precipice.

The Gulf of Mexico has been under a persistent chemical waste attack for more than a century by the nations that border it. The Mississippi River?

The Louisiana marshes are mostly doomed. We are going to spend billions of dollars saving marshlands that are going to go permanently underwater by 2100 to 2150. And people along the Gulf, if Texas is any indication, don't give a flying flip. They're too busy telling their "Al Gore 'invented' the internet" jokes.

Any single lobe of the Mississippi Delta is "doomed". If the river were free to move an old lobe with its marshes would sink into the Gulf while a new one were built at the new river mouth. Because the river is now constrained to a "permanent" channel this isn't happening. The sediment that comes down the river bypasses the Delta and is carried out into deep water. Without the hand of the Army Corps of Engineers the Mississippi might well have taken over the bed of the Atchafalaya River and now be building a new delta lobe south of Morgan City.

And when people (or companies) cause massive amounts of harm through negligence or whatever reason, we hold them accountable. This is true of auto accidents (from the comment below), and it will hopefully be true in this case.

No need for a Life Extinction Event in order to set the law in motion.

"Sure, this is an ecological horror ... BUT ... it's not a Life Extinction Event as some bloggers make out."

I would save a statement like this until the well is capped. It's not over yet.

MM says: "Move along, folks. Nothing to see here since the Battle of the Somme."

not a Life Extinction Event

Yeah tell that to the birds and fish killed in oil.

and being British and cash rich

This Brit-bashing really isn't funny any more.

I have friends and family on both sides of the Atlantic. BP is a multinational company, but beyond that, whatever they have done, be it incompetence or criminal negligence, does not bear the hallmark of Britishness. I can find similar corporate culture from people of all nationalities. Think Enron, Wall Street, Icelandic banks, whatever.

I'm all for holding them accountable, for everything, including criminal prosecution and jail time if it ever comes to that, but can we please quit the unjustified and counter-productive nationalist talk?

btw, the part of Alaska that was devastated by the Exxon spill is still not running normally. There's plenty of lingering oil, decreasing at a rate of 0-4% per year, long term effects to wildlife, and a devastated fishing industry, 20 years after the spill.

There are lots of devastated fishing areas - including in places that have never had a direct oil spill. Any time you want to compare damage to fisheries by oil companies versus damage to fisheries by fish eaters, let's talk.

Right, another BP apologist. Note what scientist from Yale (not a nobody like me) says about the damage The BP Spill’s Growing Toll On the Sea Life of the Gulf

I am sick of all the whining about how hard we are on BP because they are British. If Exxon-Mobile, Conoco-Phiilips or Chevron-Texaco had been responsible, we would be all over them too!

Agree. The anti-Brit thing was mostly made up by British media.

Maybe it is time they rediscover that "stiff upper lip" that the Brits used to be so famous for :-).

RGR, I'm sure that operational mistakes were made on that rig and possibly in the system design too .....
but that probably applies to almost every oil installation out there.

A reasonable assumption.

In an actual criminal court of law, they are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

In the court of public opinion, the jury's verdict is already in.

Any chance we can make sure they actually did something wrong before we string them up?

Reservegrowthrulz2, from yesterday so you don't have to use the time machine.
I think I understand your points. And I'm not trying to pick a fight with you. You're not responsible, right?
But you seem to be too forgiving in the following:

I'm not denying that there may have been plenty of clues that things weren't right on this well, only that I haven't seen a real "anomaly" yet, just lots of the usual crap which individually is just another problem to be handled....but line them all up over a new discovery, in deep water where any fix it solution can be a longterm thing, and presto....

Fine, you're brighter than me but someone or several people should have done more than recognize your 1,2,3 because, it seems you did!
But to start:
1.) "...plenty of clues that things weren't right on this well"
2.) "...individually is just another problem to be handled"
3.) "...any fix it solution can be a longterm thing"
Yeah, "...line them all up over a new discovery." should probably be a job with a title, "Chief of 1 + 2+ 3". The add them up department?
You've convinced me you would have picked up the clues, perceived them as problems to be handled (you've been there, done that). But that means the the "line them all up" person(s) failed.

Context should have been obvious with a look out or down. They were in deep water, for the long term and someone wasn't screaming to someone who placed them in the context of deep water-long term?

To digress, in the BP war room there was candor that each fix was untested and the confidence level of success was not high. When the oil hit the fan, those folks knew they were screwed. You could see they were stricken, engineer or scientist was stuck with a problem they were only prepared to prevent.
So, "line them all up" (the "thing weren't right clues") because that was the only time to solve them. Till proved otherwise, that is.
Not, *if* it blows, because *when* it blows they can't pick up the phone for Twenty Four Hour Repair Service.
For me, the better your explanation the less able I am to excuse. I'm pretty sure that was room had more than a few BP people who knew they were there because "did something wrong" put them there.

Perhaps. BUT you shouldnt forget that BP offers substantial benefits and contractual payouts in recognition of the risks associated with working the rigs. You can't just say that they owe more simply because of the deaths. That said, it seems pretty certain the firm cut too many corners and chose to avoid QC "costs." I just wanted to point out there are risks and handsome payouts built into the jobs, and death does not automatically mean the firm owes more. If that is not the case, if all deaths carry with them legal disputes, then why should such contracts be drawn up in the first place?

At this point in the investigation, however, the evidence before the Committee calls into question multiple decisions made by BP. Time after time, it appears that BP made decisions that increased the risk of a blowout to save the company time or expense. If this is what happened, BP's carelessness and complacency have inflicted a heavy toll on the Gulf, its inhabitants, and the workers on the rig.

Is it what happened?

They had suffered about $20+ million in delays, not including the prior rig getting taken out by a hurricane. It looks like their cost-cutting decisions would have saved maybe $10-12 million. Does some of that come back as bonuses at the end of the year for the managers?

That document dump is really something. Haven't seen the well geology yet, but I bet someone with experience can get a pretty good idea from the well data in the Haliburton simulations.

Someone in the last thread said "They [BP] are sooo busted!" and I would have to agree - now we know exactly why the OIM was yelling on the satellite phone from the bridge of the mud boat.

There has been a lot of murmuring about the Transocean crew the past few days, but it wouldn't surprise me if they were told to finish it up that night in no uncertain terms.

Ah, yes. Three choices: Fast, Cheap, and Good. But you can only pick two. Hmmm....

i have a sneaking suspicion the 11 departed souls are about to take the brunt of the blame for the happenin's .....be an interesting testimony.....

aliiaali, have you had a look at the well data in those documents that were posted? I think pretty much everything is there - hole dimensions, frac gradients, pore pressure, mud weights for the cement job in the haliburton simulations. How do you think BP can get away with blaming the dead? They designed a killer well and insisted that the crew implement their cost cutting design. The BP guy took the 5th - I bet because BP ordered the crew to take unsafe shortcuts to finish up the well.

"They designed a killer well and insisted that the crew implement their cost cutting design."

Yep. I don't think they're going to get away with blaming the hands. Smoking guns don't get much more obvious than this.

Rockman, aliiaali, Alan, all of you—take a look at this stuff, please. It sure looks like there's enough to reach working conclusions, at least.

And, unless there's some *very* impressive contradictory evidence out there somewhere, I don't think defense counsel is going to look forward to actually trying this case (these cases).

Sure he is. So long as he's paid up front.

"Sure he is. So long as he's paid up front."

I don't think so. S/he'll be happy to take the case, of course, but I expect loooong trial preparation, endless discovery, interminable settlement conferences... and avoidance of exposure to a jury as if it were the very plague itself. Unless they can get a change of venue. What court is nearest to St. James's Square?

Well, kidding aside, and with all due respect to E L whose posts I enjoy, there are many lawyers / firms that will be very glad for this work.

You're right. But I was only partly kidding. I'm sure there will be no shortage of lawyers wanting the case. I just suspect that they won't want it in front of a jury, if that can be avoided.

MrFish: I don't want to quibble with you but "glad" is not quite correct. I would say "accept." The lawyers at BIG firms may have a long standing relation with BP and have developed personal friendships with individuals who work for BP. You don't desert them in their hour of need. The BIG firms who will deal with this also have incredible overhead. And numerous employees who have families. Ad infinitum. It all gets very messy. But I understand where you are coming from.

Not true, lawyers will desert their own mothers in need if there is bucks to be made. I would trust a carnival barker to come to my aid before a lawyer.

E L Yeah, I understand. My wife worked in law offices at one time.

What court is nearest to St. James's Square?

Texas Southern District Court?

Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's, London v. BP plc et al

I wonder what this could be about?

Don't know, but we can find out.

Attention, EL: My PACER access is screwed up (have my password but can't find ID). Could you look at the filing in this case, please?

On another site, a poster said:

As to the Lloyd's suit it appears the plaintiffs are looking for a declaratory judgment upholding the limitation of liability provided for in the contract between "BP" and their insured (Transocean) and setting forth their dollar obligation.

Meanwhile in Pensacola this weekend, up jumped a RICO suit accusing BP of "manipulating government agencies during the Bush administration to relax regulatory oversight of offshore drilling and oil operations in the United States" (whether under Browne or Hayward, the story doesn't specify).


k: Sorry, as retired trial court judge and now very small time, very part time part lawyer, I don't have PACER access. The benefits of being old and lazy are great. You'll get to try it someday, I hope.

Ah, well. Merrill's post suggests that this is fairly routine stuff.

As for old and lazy, I'm getting *very* close. And I've already reached "forgetful and confused."

Smoking guns don't get much more obvious than this.


Now what we need is sustained political will and attention. Litigation will drag on, and when things have calmed down and moved under the radar, it is when important things will happen, such as a drastic reduction of any penalty. Like what happened with Exxon. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exxon_Valdez_oil_spill#Litigation_and_clean...

ali: Me, too. And from the first day. It will be interesting to see who also "disappears."

agreed, they are already blaming em

Blaming them isn't going to work. Grab a pile of documents over at the Waxman Library and read some of them. This stuff is really ugly.

Recently posted on the NY Times website for publication tomorrow:

Efforts to Repel Gulf Oil Spill Are Described as Chaotic (available at http://nyti.ms/bqTq70)

"As a result, officials and experts say, the damage to the coastline and wildlife has been worse than it might have been if the response had been faster and orchestrated more effectively."

You think?!?

Posted some of this as the last commment in "What Price Pelican" and it probably got lost.Try, Try again. First let me thank TOD all for an incredible amount of information. This site is INVALUABLE.

When DWH leakage started, Ixtoc 1 was the first thing I reviewed to get some perspective. That incident has been totally ignored by the press (imagine that), politicians (who "should" know better) and environmental sensationalists (imagine that).

Earlier comments in TOD threads stated there had been "no definitive studies of the Ixtoc spill"... Hmmmmm. Try Googling "Ixtoc 1" and be sure to look beyond the first page of search results.

From this little gem: http://invertebrates.si.edu/mms/reports/IXTOC_exec.pdf , we find:

5.1 IXTOC I Assessment:
“…In spite of a massive intrusion of petroleum hydrocarbon pollutants from the Ixtoc I event into the study region of the South Texas Outer Continental Shelf during 1979-1980, no definitive damage can be associated with this or other known spillage events (e .g ., Burmah Agate ) on either the epibenthic commercial shrimp population (based on chemical evidence) or the benthic infaunal community. …”

“… The biological analyses conducted on the 1979 (mid-spill) and 1980 (post-spill) samples documented areawide changes in the benthic community compared with pre-spill (STOCS) data, decreases which most likely fell into the range of natural variability . No causal mechanisms for these changes are apparent from any of the data, but several possible environmental scenarios, including changes in bottom water characteristics (e .g . dissolved oxygen, salinity, or temperature) due to storm-induced changes or hypoxic conditions associated with elevated organic matter inputs from the Mississippi River, might serve as contributing factors. …”

And if you'd like to read the economic impact report:

http://www.gomr.mms.gov/PI/PDFImages/ESPIS/3/3929.pdf EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

There's more info out there on Ixtoc 1, but you get the idea.

I'm not saying we treat this situation in any manner like Mexico or the US responded to the Ixtoc incident - but we could certainly gain some perspective on the resiliency of the ecosystem and the impact of human perception.

Ok can't buy a thrill -

Exactly how comparable are these two events with regard to the studies you cite? I would think that studies of the impact to the Mexican coast along the peninsula near the blowout would be most appropriate for comparison to the impact of DWH oil on Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi - wouldn't you?

Economic findings - small impact on Texas tourism in the study area, relatively short lived, from a well blowout 300mi across the gulf and an offshore tanker spill.

Biological effects on benthic organisms - despite the fact that oil was readily detected in the water column and the number of species and organisms detected was far below any of the pre-spill measurements the study was unable to detect any oil (attributable to the spills) in the sediment samples they took so they concluded that the spill had no effect (and the drop in populations and diversity must be due to natural causes). Yet they state that they have virtually no information on the biology and ecology of the species they were sampling, and they could only guess at why the decline had occurred. They suggest the possibility of low O2 levels due to nutrient-rich runoff (dead zones), but this is speculative and no evidence is offered to support it. Low levels of oil in shrimp was assumed to be the normal background level for the gulf.

I have actually heard the Ixtoc blowout referred to repeatedly in the press of late - including a story today from Mexico saying that the area was still suffering from the effects of the blowout - even after 30 years...

Just sayin...

In some ways that's reassuring. In other ways, it's disconcerting. Some of the more recent sources available tend to counter the findings of those 28 year old reports, while others praise the resiliency of nature and support that original analysis.

For example:

1.) Business Insider has an interesting piece titled "Eight Ways the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill is Going to be Felt for Decades" at http://bit.ly/dyXpsc. It touches on a few things those reports didn't. The 8 categories addressed:
- "The Fishing, Shrimping And Oyster Industries In The Gulf Are Being Destroyed"... It addresses the fact "Seafood is a 2.4 billion dollar industry in the state of Louisiana." and that millions of dollars are being lost due to NOAA fishing area closures.
It concludes: "In fact, some local shrimpers in Louisiana are already predicting that it will be seven years before they can set to sea again.
So are they being overly dramatic?
No, especially when you consider the fact that fishermen in Cordova, Alaska are stillstruggling 21 years after the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill devastated the fishing industry in that region."
- "The Damage To The Environment And Wildlife In the Gulf Is Going To Be Unprecedented"
- "The Natural Beauty Of The Gulf Coast Region Will Never Be The Same"
- "Tourism Along The Gulf Coast Is Now Dead"
- "The Gulf Of Mexico Oil Spill Is Going To Greatly Contribute To The Ongoing Poisoning Of The
World's Water Supply"
- "This Oil Spill Is Going To Have A Dramatic Chilling Effect On Oil Exploration"
- "Oil Prices Around The Globe Are Going To Rise"
- "The Economy Of The Gulf Coast Region Is Going To Be Devastated"

2.) BBC Video Report on Local Fishermen Still Impacted by Ixtoc I: http://bit.ly/caOTyV

It seems myriad other factors come into play on this spill that weren't so prominent during Ixtoc. Certain fundamental consequences are already being felt. Nonetheless, I'm glad you posted those reports as it provides some semblance of hope that perhaps the consequences of this spill may not be as bad as many fear.

On a separate note, the current NY Times piece posted stands alone. We may explore the impact and ramifications of this spill, but the crux of that piece, embodied the quote provided, is beyond reproach.

We can debate a lot of things. The fact remains, "As a result, officials and experts say, the damage to the coastline and wildlife has been worse than it might have been if the response had been faster and orchestrated more effectively."

A "faster" response "orchestrated more effectively" results in less oil coming ashore than a slower, less effective response. I think less oil coating our shoreline and spilling in our waters is something everything wants and wishes had happened in this instance.

As such, I think nearly every human being would prefer a "faster" response "orchestrated more effectively" than a slower, less effective response (which the NY Times profiles).

Nonetheless, I remain hopeful.

Have a great night, everyone!

From this little gem: http://invertebrates.si.edu/mms/reports/IXTOC_exec.pdf , we find:

5.1 IXTOC I Assessment:
“…In spite of a massive intrusion of petroleum hydrocarbon pollutants from the Ixtoc I event into the study region of the South Texas Outer Continental Shelf during 1979-1980, no definitive damage can be associated with this or other known spillage events (e .g ., Burmah Agate ) on either the epibenthic commercial shrimp population (based on chemical evidence) or the benthic infaunal community. …”

Forgetting for a moment that IXTOC spill happened in 50 meters of water so it is plausible that it is a very different animal from this spill.

We have, LOL! A completely impartial scientific study done by marine biologists funded by dollars allocated to their research lab by... Oh, wait, that's right, the very fox that was guarding the hen house all along.

Prepared for :
Bureau of Land Management
Contract No. AA851-CTO-71
Submitted by :
ERCO/Energy Resources Co . Inc .
Environmental Sciences Division
One Alewife Place
Cambridge, MA 02138
March 19,

That having been said in their Evaluation of Damage Assessment program they have this concluding remark:

" The value of a strong link between chemical and biological observation in assessing ecological damage due to a chemical spill (e .g .", oil) has been unequivocally demonstrated ."

Well, Duh!

Oh, and this might surprise you as well, if you Google "Oil Spill" You might notice that BP is happy to tell you how hard they are working to make this right! They also said they were sorry...

NPR had a good story on Ixtop. PEMEX tried everything that is now being done and the beachs down there are still oil soaked after 30 years. It took PEMEX nearly 10 months before the blowout was shut off. The lesson from Ixtop and from Exxon Valdez is nothing can clean up the damage. Once the oil gets soaked in it is there for decades if not forever. The Alberta oil sands could be the result of oil seeps millions of years ago being soaked up by ancient beaches.

The Alberta oil sands could be the result of oil seeps millions of years ago being soaked up by ancient beaches.

I'm not a geologist but this seems bloody unlikely given that the size of the tar sands deposits easily exceeds the size of all known oil deposits.


It wuz a really big ol beach.

Point 1: The Ixtoc I well was 43 miles from the coast of Ciudad del Carmen, Mexico, more than 600 miles from the southern Texas coast, so the MMS report on economic impacts to the Texas coast are not comparable to the effects of the BP Macondo Well on southern Louisiana, 48 miles away.

Point 2: the MMS study evaluated economic effects on coastal counties in southern Texas but does not assess biological or resource-harvest impacts.

Here’s a much more useful report on impacts of the Ixtoc I blowout: Jernelov and Linden. 1981. Ixtoc I: A case study of the world's largest oil spill. Ambio 10(6):299-306. My copy is from behind my institutional paywall, so I can’t provide a public-domain link. Here's a summary of the study.

PEMEX estimated that 475,000 metric tons of oil spilled before the well was capped, 290 days after the blowout. This was light oil, which formed a surface slick 1-4 cm thick and 0.7-5 km wide and 60 km long in the early phase of the spill. Oil saturated with gas rose from the 51-m-deep wellhead as a three-phase emulsion of oil, gas, and small water droplets (initially about 50% water). Microorganisms attached to the emulsion droplets and zooplanktonic filter-feeders consumed both the droplets and microorganisms, incorporating the oil into their fecal pellets, which increased the sinking rate of the oil. [I vaguely recall being awake in geology class when zooplankton fecal deposition was identified as the initial process in oil formation.] Whether the fecal pellets stayed suspended in various water strata or settled to the bottom depended on salinity gradients, influx of fresher water from rivers and estuaries, and storm/wind conditions.

PEMEX estimated that 50% of the oil was burned at the site, whereas the report authors estimated that less than 1% was burned. About 10,000 metric tons of oil was physically removed from the site, or about 4-5%. The authors judged that 45-70% of the oil could have been removed by evaporation, most likely in the low end of that range. The authors judged that biological degradation, together with photochemical and chemical breakdown during the acute phase of the spill, accounted for 10-15% of the oil. Overall, the authors estimated that about 30,000 metric tons of oil landed on Mexican beaches, 4,000 metric tons landed on Texas beaches, and 120,000 metric tons sank to the sea floor.

The cleanup included booms and skimmers, whose application proved problematic. Around 9,000 metric tons of dispersant (roughly 70% Corexit products) were spread by aircraft and boat over several months. Large stretches of Mexican beaches were given no cleanup treatment at all, but in some areas bulldozers dug trenches in the beach, scraped the contaminated surface, and buried the oily sand in the trenches under clean sand.

The report states that spilled oil resulted in substantial acute damage to species and ecosystems through its chemical toxicity and its physical stickiness, but studies of long-term biological and resource-harvest effects in Mexican waters either were not carried out or were not available at the time this report was written. The report makes some general observations of acute effects. Based on known toxicity to shrimp, and of estimated distribution and concentration of the suspended oil, the poisoning of shrimps, plankton, and other pelagic organisms was estimated to extend over 15,000 km2, or 2.5% of the Mexican part of the Gulf. The average concentration of oil settling on the bottom was not considered high enough to poison the benthic ecosystem. Very little oil entered coastal lagoons, and they did not exhibit damage that had been expected, but littoral crabs and mollusk communities were severely damaged along the beaches and coral islands. Beach clam populations, however, did not show drastic mortality. Large and frequent plankton blooms occurred after the blowout, both offshore and near the beaches. These indicated damage to the base of the marine food chain, affecting the zooplankton and the fish and shellfish that consume zooplankton. Effects on fish were not measured, but catches of fish and octopus reportedly dropped 50-70% off Port Mansfield and Port Isabel, Texas, and off the Mexican coast from the US border south to La Pesca.

Noob comment from someone whose experience is in remediating hydrocarbons in non-marine environments - but if dispersants and wave action are breaking the oil up into mousse and dispersed droplets in large areas - why aren't bioremediation agents added to help speed up breakdown?

On land, in non-marine surface water and under aerobic groundwater conditions fairly innocuous things like molasses and manure can be used to accomplish this. Depletion of dissolved oxygen could be a problem but are there other reasons this isn't done?

Or is it done and just not sexy enough to be publicized?

Good heavens. Has anyone ever seen a job like this? Was this a normal course of events, or did they cross multiple bright red lines?


I can't help think of Don McLean's (no direct relation) lyrics

"When the barriers are down
and the signals are flashing
and the whistle is blowing in vane
but you stay on the tracks
ignoring the facts
then you can't blame the wreck on the train"

Mother Nature can be a real B

Very true.

Reminded me in turn of the Becker & Fagen ditty of 1972 "Do It Again". If the corporate culture is wrong, human nature will always be tempted to roll the dice against "unnecessary and inconvenient regulation". I'm sure that's what they had in mind.

"Now you swear and kick and beg us
That you're not a gamblin' man
Then you find you're back in Vegas
With a handle in your hand
Your black cards can make you money
So you hide them when you're able
In the land of milk and honey
You must put them on the table

You go back Jack do it again
Wheel turnin' 'round and 'round
You go back Jack do it again...."

Then there is Rudyard Kipling

The Gods of the Copybook Headings

AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "Stick to the Devil you know."

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "The Wages of Sin is Death."

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't work you die."

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

ah - just heard this in the ad for the new Glenn (you-can't-satirize-me-I'm-THAT-insane) Beck "movie"

And they think it will make their lives easier
For God knows up till now it's been hard
But the game never ends when your whole world depends
On the turn of a friendly card

They were testing Murphy's Law.

Not possible. Any attempt to test Murphy's law would result in failure.


Murphy was an optimist.

One thing I've been wondering:

At what cost in these initial exploration phase would the cost<>return equation have gone negative for the well over its entire life?

I just wonder if they were close to exceeding the viable cost level for these activities, putting the well on the 'other side' of a cut-off line?

I'm seeing a lot of 'guidelines' and 'best practice' in the letter, but not a lot of 'was required to'. Were they shaving everything they didn't have to do to meet some break even line?

I will admit I'm not the most knowledgeable person on this forum, but my guess would be that if the well had operated as expected, all the oil currently spewing out of the well would have been recoverable over the lifetime of the well. At 60K barrels a day, for 50+ days that's over 3 million barrels, worth $75/barrel, or $225M from the oil lost to date, not to mention the remainder recoverable.

It appears that, using an expensive-to-rent drilling platform (the Deepwater Horizon) BP budgeted about $1.9M/day for drilling operations, which lasted about 70 days ($130M). The previous, presumably less expensive, rig drilled for less than 30 days, for no more than an additional $56M, or about $185M total.

I don't think the cost/return equation would have made the well a net loss, even if they had done everything according to guidelines and best practices.

Is this Macondo? From an old USA today money article.


"British energy producer BP on Wednesday reported a "giant" oil discovery in the Gulf of Mexico that's likely to spur more excitement about the region's potential."

The well, 250 miles southeast of Houston, was discovered after BP drilled one of the world's deepest exploration wells. It went down 35,000 feet, a distance on par with the cruising altitude of many domestic flights.

BP hasn't released specifics on the size of the field. But if it turns out to be truly "giant," it'll contain more than 500 million barrels of recoverable oil, according to definitions by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The last giant discovered in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico was Thunder Horse in 1999. It's also operated by BP..."

The reason I'm asking is a while ago, before I started really studying what's posted on TOD, I read the Marsden report on the blowout at Oil Price, picked copy up tonight at http://tiny.cc/u9nxl (Buillon Bulls), I know that this report was pretty much discounted on TOD at the time it appeared. But things get curiouser and curiouser-and some of those early internet rumors have proven to be firmly rooted in fact.

BTW, that ERMA site is great. I downloaded IDV for my windows and linux machines a couple of weeks ago, so now I have greatly expanded data resources for NOAA thanks to TOD's excellent resources.

250 miles SW of Houston is a long way from Mississippi Canyon.

Is Art Bell back on the airwaves?

Hold on, Gentlemen, that's why I asked! The direction was SE, not SW, which would place the location congruent with Macondo, but "Macondo" is not specified.

However, "There is also evidence that BP, Halliburton, and Transocean sank a drill to a depth of 35,000 feet at the Deep Horizon site some six months ago without the required permits from the federal government. WMR has learned from U.S. government sources that the drilling at 35,000 feet caused a major catastrophic event that required the firms' oil rig personnel to quickly pull up the drill and close the drill hole..."and.."250 miles southeast of Houston, was discovered after BP drilled one of the world's deepest exploration wells. It went down 35,000 feet..." are related.

It is suggested that *if* indeed the well referred to is Macondo, and *if* indeed earlier activity had produced a "catastrophic event", that further issues of liability for MMS and BP are raised. And it would add a new dimension to speculation on the primary cause of failure.

And to close, before I begin my work day, "conspiracy" is derived from the Latin, conspirare (to join or act together). In *criminal* law, the act is designated as wrongful. Let's leave criminal law aside for the time being.

If you agree that even TOD has been misled at times by data presented by official and private entities that *appears* to be deliberately skewed for whatever purpose, then it would be logical to admit that it would seem that concerned parties may have acted together for some purpose other than offering the public "just the facts". And I follow you guys like a fundamentalist follows his Bible, so I know you've backed up a few times when new contradictory data is presented that causes previous hypotheses to be reworked.

Sometimes l'Emporeur is buck ass naked.

"250 miles southeast of Houston"

Is over 270 miles from Macondo, not even 1/2 way. Check on Google Earth please.


As far as I can tell Wayne Madsen invokes a conspiracy to explain everything he examines. He's not a credible source of information.

Waxman/Stupak have asked BP some hard questions to be answered in two days at hearing. Surprised questions on watching mud returns, high standpipe pressure, contractor responsability, gas in returns, and many other items were not addressed. Those folks who know a lot about drilling operations (I do not), and know what questions to ask,should get meanful questions to Waxman/Stupak.

Will be interesting to see if BP comes prepared to answer as requested. BP was asked to come prepared to explain details in past hearings, they were not, and got away with it. BP has a lot of information on April 20 rig floor operations that needs to be made public.

When and where was displaced riser oil based mud going (pits, supply boat, GOM)? DH rig has many mud pits so pit gain reading might not tell real picture. The truthful picture of blowout cause needs many many unknowns to be resolved.

Is the white stuff shown on seabed with ROV videos methane hydrate?

just a random thought. What are the odds that Hayward would plead the 5th? Or is it not available as an option to a Brit?

Generally speaking, all Constitutional protections apply to individuals who have legally entered the country.

More relevant is that Hayward will probably not be asked any questions which he could legitimately refuse to answer on grounds of self-incrimination. The fifth amendment allows you to refuse to answer if doing so would provide evidence that you personally committed a crime (and, under certain circumstances, if it would provide evidence that your spouse committed a crime). It does not allow you to refuse to answer if it would provide evidence that a subordinate or a colleague committed a crime.

If I have to bet in advance, Hayward will answer lots of questions in ways that set up BP Exploration and the people "on the ground" at the site as the bad guys. Chances are good that the kinds of corner-cutting that have been described will be violations of internal company procedures. Once that's established, then prosecutors trying to fix blame higher up will have to prove that upper management took direct actions that led to the corner-cutting. Assuming that upper management took the well-known precautions -- issue instructions verbally without witnesses -- proving their involvement becomes very difficult. Look at any of the corporate scandals in the US over the last 15 or 20 years to see just how difficult it is to convict the top people.

I'm not a lawyer, but...

The fifth amendment allows you to refuse to answer if doing so would provide evidence that you personally committed a crime

FWIW, "taking the Fifth" should not automatically be taken as an indication that one is guilty of a crime. "Could" or "might" is more appropriate than "would" in the above formulation (and is usually the wording used: "I respectfully decline to answer on the grounds that it might tend to incriminate me"). The Miranda warning, the "right to remain silent," is also based on the Fifth Amendment.

The relevant text of the Amendment reads, "...nor shall [any person] be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself...."

The Supreme Court has held:

...A witness may have a reasonable fear of prosecution and yet be innocent of any wrongdoing. The [Fifth Amendment] privilege serves to protect the innocent who otherwise might be ensnared by ambiguous circumstances.

U.S. Supreme Court, Slochower v. Board of Education, 350 U.S. 551 (1956)


Thanks for your explanation.

So what's the consensus number here for daily flow from the location where the riser was cut?

with the velocity of oil at 3 feet/sec...
16 1/2 gallons per sq foot per second is exiting through the opening...
since the inside diameter of the pipe is 20 inches...or 2.2 feet squared...

then 49.5 gallons/sec is flowing.

With 86400 seconds in a day...

That's over 4 1/4 million gallons/day...or over 100,000 barrels.

So BP's claim that they are capturing 40% is false since 630000 gals (or 15,000 barrels----gee what a nice round number) is not quite 15%.

They're still lying about the rate of the flow and they're most likely lying about the amount they're capturing.

The Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations should ask about THAT too.

AND if oil is also emanating from other places.......(which would explain the prolific amounts seen in the open gulf and along a huge stretch of the Gulf coast).

I've been reading these posts off and on, and there's always one trying to estimate the flow rate. There's just so many factors to consider, and personally I don't think it's anywhere close to 100,000bpd. I think it's closer to 25,000-30,000bpd from what I've seen, JMHO

A few things to consider in your calculations: The inner diameter is 19-19.5", riser pipe has a 21" outer diameter with .75"-1" thick walls. It may not seem like much, but 19" vs 20" inner diameter is a 10% decrease in area. Also you have to consider that there's a drill pipe in there which further reduces the area from which the oil is coming out. The pipe probably isn't a perfect circle either due to the shears squishing the pipe as it cut so the area is further decreased, how much is hard to say. Also where do you get 3ft/s do you have a source? What factor of oil/natural gas did you use?

I don't think minor tightening of the numbers I used makes a significant difference in the scope of the overall problem.
My 3 ft/sec comes from an inside source and is actually the low number. 4 ft/sec is the high number and is said to have the same confidence as the 3 ft/sec.

Here's a snippet from an article I just came across that backs up the 100,000+.

“It is difficult to estimate how big this leakage is. There is no objective information available.” But taking into consideration information about the last BP ‘giant’ discovery in the Gulf of Mexico, the Tiber field, some six miles deep, Kutcherov agrees with Ira Leifer a researcher in the Marine Science Institute at the University of California, Santa Barbara who says the oil may be gushing out at a rate of more than 100,000 barrels a day.5

What the enormoity of the oil spill does is to also further discredit clearly the oil companies’ myth of “peak oil” which claims that the world is at or near the “peak” of economical oil extraction. That myth, which has been propagated in recent years by circles close to former oilman and Bush Vice President, Dick Cheney, has been effectively used by the giant oil majors to justify far higher oil prices than would be politically possible otherwise, by claiming a non-existent petroleum scarcity crisis.


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.

Hardly an authoritative reference. The Russian professor is an authority of abiotic origin of oil? The myth of "peak oil"? An editorial on a financial website? C'mon, man...

A book published this year called "Oil Panic and the Global Crisis: Predictions and Myths" by Stephen Gorelick, a former USGS staffer and Stanford prof, said there may be "1 trillion barrels of oil and gas in just a portion of the gulf oil sediments". He was just referring to this area

So there are a lot of sources filled with exaggerated claims to lift from.

And Cheney being associated with peak oil is also quite weird.

"And Cheney being associated with peak oil is also quite weird."

Yeah. I think that idea comes from the fact that Matt Simmons was considered a Bush-Cheney "insider."

Just to dissect the claim (which I do NOT believe).

there may be "1 trillion barrels of oil and gas

Usually, the upper bound has a 5% probability, but lets "feel lucky",

Natural gas is converted to oil equivalents on a 6 mcf = 1 barrel ratio. Lets assume a relatively gas rich province (typical for GoM) and 2/3rd gas, 1 /3rd oil.

So oil in place is 333 billion barrels.

1/10th of that is in reservoirs too small to economically produce, even at $200/barrel (DW is a high cost and going higher). So -33 billion barrels.

300 billion barrels of oil in future producing reserviors.

Ultimate production half that, 150 billion barrels.

4.8 years of total world production.

It definitely kicks the can down the road, but all it does is give us a chance to adapt to a low oil future world (something we have miserably failed to do so far !).

Ghawar had "just" 162 billion barrels of oil in place originally. Ghawar is roughly 110 miles long, 10 to 20 miles wide and 1,000' thick. Kind of hard to hide !

A group of closely related reservoirs with multiples of Ghawar in total would, quite frankly, have trouble fitting inside the highlighted area !

And if ANY major oil company seriously thought that area was shoulder to shoulder with 1,000'+ thick oil fields, so tight that they could hardly fit, a second Persian Gulf compressed into a small area, the drilling rush would be beyond belief !

Not much hope for the professor's guess,


IMO there should be a twenty-year moratorium on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, because we are going to need that oil much MUCH more in twenty years than we need it now. For now, let's see if Saudi really does have all the excess capacity it claims. Let's drain America last.

For the past seventy years (at least) we have had a "Drain America First" policy to stimulate oil production and generate jobs in the U.S. I say we should import more of our oil, not less. Dollars are in great demand now, and we can always print more dollars to pay for more foreign oil. American oilworkers can work overseas and make probably about the same amount of money that they make in the U.S.

Research done from a financial perspective does not mean it's not valid. Actually, most research is done from a financial perspective.
And the key points of the article are from

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.

Which I see you conveniently fail to mention.

As for peak oil being a hoax...it may very well be. I have followed TOD for going on 5 years now...due mainly to my research into financial topics.
I've watched the numbers consistently morph here in such a way as to keep everyone on the string while never actually playing out. It's a very common game among those being observed by researchers of financial topics. The peak oil crowd plays the game admirably. Those who are in charge of morphing the oil flow rate at the accident site for BP and the US govt are not doing as good a job at it as would, say...saudi aramco.

I would not use Engdahl, and this article in particular, to back up anything. He's quoting one of the Russian group that is pushing the idea of abiotic oil. It will be interesting to see if the geology, when and if BP releases it, is anything like what Kutcherov claims (and how does he know?). I would bet money that it's not.

Engdahl also thought the Swine Flu was a hoax cooked up by the pharmaceutical industry to sell lots of vaccine. I think he's gone a bit off the deep end in recent years.

At what point do you think we will ever see the other leak if there is one. What has me suspicious is the news black outs, the no fly zones, the teams working have to sign a document saying they won't talk about what they see. I don't know about all the science behind the spill, But its the Blackouts that make me feel like there is something rotten in Denmark..

News blackouts? No-fly zones? [ Citation needed ]

You don't know about the news blackout and no-fly zone???? Google dude.

"No pilots may operate an aircraft in the areas covered by this NOTAM (except as described)"

"Many reporters from many news organizations over many weeks have been blocked and stiff-armed and given the silent treatment or told flat- out, BP said we would lose our jobs if we talked.

And this isn't just one news organization. This has been going on for weeks. As for the "will" not part, that they're not going to prevent anyone from cooperating with the media, well, maybe not everyone has gotten the memo."

"What the enormoity of the oil spill does is to also further discredit clearly the oil companies’ myth of “peak oil” which claims that the world is at or near the “peak” of economical oil extraction."

Honestly, dougr, this is just way too goofy, in too many ways, to take seriously.

Let's say the gusher really is 100K bbl/day. World consumption is on the order of 85 *million* barrels per day.

If you could *produce* the whole 100K, for 850 consecutive days, you'd have the equivalent of one day's consumption. But, don't forget to subtract the energy expended to find, drill, complete, produce, transport, refine... you get the idea.

The Macondo blowout is one big mess, but the whole reservoir is a drop in the bucket of world consumption.

The notion that the oil companies cooked up the "myth" of peak oil is pretty funny, too. Do some Googling and see what the big guys had to say about Hubbert's work or, for more recent responses to the concept, see the reaction to Campbell's and Laherrere's "End of Cheap Oil" in 1998. (Hint: Everyone thought they were crazy as bedbugs.)

Doug, it's not a "minor tightening of the numbers". what anon3808 was pointing out is a reduction by half of your estimated square footage. Riser inside circumference difference is 10%, deformation about 15%, and the drill pipe at about 10 in diameter knocks off another 25%, total reduction around 50%.

Is this 3 to 4 ft/sec flow being measured right in the riser or at another point in the BOP?

edit to add: plug this into your calculations and you get about 50,000 barrels a day, and BP isn't such a big fat liar, right?

If it was 50,000/day then I suppose stated plans to, by mid-July, capture from 60,000 to 80,000/day make no sense?

"In a letter dated Sunday, BP Vice President Doug Suttles said the new scheme that would have three ships in place by the end of June capable of processing as much as 53,000 barrels a day of crude from the well and would have four ships in place by mid July collecting between 60,000 and 80,000 barrels a day."

This is a situation in which it's very difficult to morph the numbers without getting caught in earlier lies. No-fly zone and media blackout and internet scrubbing notwithstanding, there's too much hard evidence sloshing around.

Exactly. BP is already talking about capturing 80K barrels per day, so we know that the whole 20k - 40k thing is another lie from BP, supported by the gov't.

When the whole substructure collapses, and we have an wide-open blowout, will these ships still have the ability to capture thousands of barrels of oil?

Also, exactly how much of those 80K will be collected, and how much flared? Burning so much oil is just 'spreading' the pollution into the air. May still be better than leaving so much in the Gulf, but it isn't a harmless method either.

One small break for BP.

Larger total processing capacity top-side may be needed for a leak smaller than the sum of the parts.

Example: Q4000 may be rigged to burn off 10,500 b/day, but it's connection to the choke valve might only deliver 6,000 b/day. 4,500 b/day "wasted" capacity.

Q4000 cannot be rigged to accept 4,000 b/day from another ship (WAY TOO DANGEROUS). And replacing Q4000 with a ship designed to capture oil rather than flare (Q4000 got some quickie upgrades in last weeks) can only improve safety and reliability of operations.

The best/safest choice may be to place the largest ship in the world (by processing capacity#, and capable of dynamically maintaining position) where the Discover Enterprise is today and grab as much as can be gotten from tophat and spill what cannot be captured (I do NOT know if series or parallel processing from tophat is reasonable and safe).

And then place the DE to process whatever can be gathered from the kill valve (say another 6,000 b/day even though it can handle 15,000+ b/day).

IMO, an excess of processing capacity top-side is prudent and safe. Just wish it had been in place a couple of weeks ago.

# Mention was made a week or so ago of another FSPO ship like DE with a nominal 20,000 b/day capacity vs. a nominal 15,000 b/day for DE. Another 5k capture, GOOD ! If a 22K ship exists, it should be steaming towards the GoM.

Also few wells can produce @ 40,000 b/day or more for long. Maybe BP is "lucky" and got one of the few, but a reduction in flow over time seems probable (but NOT certain) to me.

So 20K + 6K + 6K may dramatically reduce the pollution going into the Gulf if coupled with modest declines in production.

The seal on "tophat" appears to require oil leaks out to prevent captured seawater (which can form methane hydrates) from going into the captured oil. So 100% capture is not possible until another scheme goes under water.


I still think the flow is in the ~30,000 BPD range and they are currently getting about half of that.

With the Q4000 reverse choke line they should be getting nearly all of it.

But this is if everything is working smoothly at at full production. The USCG wants redundancy and spare capacity built in, so they are continuing to add capacity and options to allow full containment from the BOP.

See the Kent Wells Technology Update

This is linked on the right side of the BP GoM Response site under Response in detail / Latest technical update

It gets updated about weekly.

"If it was 50,000/day then I suppose stated plans to, by mid-July, capture from 60,000 to 80,000/day make no sense?"

That 50,000/day number comes from your calculations, Doug. Personally, I don't know how much oil is coming out of the well.

Still, if there is a 50k flow, having the capacity to capture more seems prudent.

In any of your posts, have you ever thanked someone for catching one of your errors?

Ira Leifer is the guy we saw saying that if the relief wells don't work the leak will continue for 20 years.

Please quote somebody who has at least half a clue.

I don't think he said "will"...just "could". When you change the words like that it actually moves your position into that of creating a strawman.
Why couldn't it leak for 20 years if the relief wells don't work?

I wonder how many PR damage control folks monitor this very popular website?

1. 1000 days = 3 years = 50 million bbls assuming it is leaking at 50,000 bbl/day.

2, The reservoir will be drilled and produced out long before 20 years are up.

These facts should be obvious.

BTW, you are not the first to try to slander me on this site because of the factual information I present here that doesn't agree with people's pre-conceived ideas.. Ad hominem attacks are NOT appreciated.

Looks like Leifer was misquoted, not " gushing out at a rate of more than 100,000 barrels a day" but this on June 9:

"AMY GOODMAN: So, the lower-bound range, 12,000 to 25,000 barrels of oil a day, the higher range, 100,000 barrels a day, that’s more than four million gallons a day, Ira Leifer?
IRA LEIFER: It is in that range."

Details and nuance in the video and transcript of an interview on this site:


There seems to be a lot of misquoting going on. It makes a very big difference to the story.


Does anybody knows if there is a document available which provide the weights and grade of all the casings and liners in the MC252 well ?
I mean the :
1) casing 16" to 11,585'
2) liner 13-5/8" to 13,133'
3) liner 11-7/8" to 15,092'
4) liner 9-7/8" to 17,157'
5) casing 7" x 9-7/8" to 18,114' (crossover at 12,487')

I was looking at the video feeds that BP has and noticed the containment update that went with it. It currently says: "Subsea operations for the long term containment option continue to progress; one of the air cans was deployed today." I'm just curious what "air cans" they're referring to. Is this part of the next containment system?

Also does anyone know when the Q4000 system is supposed to come online? We seem to get so many fewer status updates now that Thad Allen is giving them instead of Mr. Suttles. I understand Mr. Suttles is a BP guy, and I take what he says with a grain of salt, but at least he provided almost daily updates. I just hope to see this stopped and soon.

Also does anyone know when the Q4000 system is supposed to come online?

Suttles' 6/13 letter in response to Watson's 6/12 letter demanding accelerated deployment of containment capacity gives 6/15 as the target date for full ramp up of the Q4000. Given how busy the ROVs have been this evening installing connections and moving manifolds, that seems optimistic.

I imagine BP would like to be able to report progress when they meet with Obama on Wednesday.

The air can is part of one of the floating riser systems they'll employ as part of the permanent containment systems. Take a look at Kent Wells 6/12 Technical Briefing . Some of the details have already changed, but it is a good overview and contains a photo of one of the two air cans.

Thank you for the great answers! :)

"(3) the failure to run a cement bond log to evaluate the effectiveness of the cement job"

This would concern the Schlumberger team who were sent home without completing an evaluation of the cement job?

Q: how long would that have taken?

I watched the BP guy testify a couple of weeks ago, and he seemed miffed by the concern about the cement log. He seemed to be saying the log could be run before shutting in Macondo so the exploration rig could be removed, or it could be run once the production people came on the scene to begin work on the making Macondo into a producing well - which he would have no part of doing. He seemed to be indicating this test was commonly left to the production people to run.

Did anybody else get that from his testimony? I believe it was Hafle.

Yes, the part i saw he was denying it was an essential test and said it would not have shown channeling or whatever the term was for channels or tunnels or voids in the concrete that could allow passage of pressure/hydrocarbons from the reservoir.

I believe MMS allow regs allow other means for ruing out what the cement log is supposed to address. Some combo of three possible procedures. Did they do any of them? How do the regs square with the BP guy's take?

He did say that - as has Rockman. The reason it is important in this case is because the well design had essentially no safety factor and any cement defect would lead to gas flow. Protocol when using BP's risky well design - a design Haliburton's analysis deemed defective and their own people had recommended against - was to run a CBL and additional tests to ensure the cement job was good. I am sure Hafle was aware of all this and had reviewed all the relevant documents so his testimony was extremely disingenuous.

There's a real art to testifying before congress. The top DC attorneys have it down. As the goldman witnesses they prepped demonstrated. It's a game of filibustering, avoiding and over-generalizing, with a heavy dose of contempt thrown in.

It will be interesting to see how Haywood handles this. I suspect he might decline to answer some or even all of the key technical questions. Or he will have very generic meaningless answers all ready to go. Too much at stake for him to provide substantive answers in this forum, where he can get away with murder compared to a court room.

Nevertheless, I am so glad Waxman will be conducting the hearing! He pushes hard and exposes BS for what it is.

He is a Brit and one thing Brits are good at, is arguing and pushing hard in negotiation. Remember George Galloway vs. US Senate (5/17/05), http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HrdFFCnYtbk . Haywood even said "words cannot break my bones". Oh boy, gonna be shootout at the OK-Corral.

tim73: Hayward said: "words cannot break my bones". But stock markets listen to words. In fact, rumors and fears sometimes drive markets. And top executives live in fear of share prices falling. If BP's share price craters, Goldman and Blackstone might eat their own client. Burp!

[Update Edit: Fitch just crushed BP's bond ratings. From "AA" to "BBB." Negotiate that. http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=a0.m9_1YyMK8&pos=6]

9-12 hours according to the letter at the top of this page.

Sorry about that, for some reason the rest of the letter didn't display at first (no doubt the fault of my Microslop).

How common is it to call specialists out for this purpose and then send them home without doing their job?

Wouldn't the presence of the Schlumberger team on the rig that day indicate that BP knew there was likely a problem with the cement? [Halliburton claim they made this clear to BP reps] If so, on what basis did BP determine that the teams' services would not be needed?

The Halliburton rep told the committee it would have taken about 9-12 hours.

Basically I think the Obama adminstration is using BP as a scapegoat to divert attention from its own failure to regulate the drilling in the gulf properly. When one knows about the cosy relationship between the major oil companies and the government/political class, two greasy hands rubbing together - for mutual aide and profit, it's absurd to put all the blame on BP.

If BP is so bad, why has the government allowed them to continue for so long? How long does it take Obama to make a decision? Either BP is up to the job or it isn't, so take over responsibility and do better, if you can? Obama can't have it both ways, surely?

And what happens if this leak cannot be contained? What happens when a hurricane wipes through a sea of oil? What happens to agriculture, the environment, and not least the towns and people along the coast when the hurricane deposits a layer of oil and toxic chemicals over a vast area?

In a nutshell, the government should never have allowed drilling in the gulf in the first place, precisely because of the dire potential consequences of a catastrophe like this.

It appears that the rock around the well have been fractured below the oceanbed, meaning there are multiple leaks, not just one. This is very problematic.

Obama and his administration are working with BP to control how this disaster is perceived, the news about the true scale of the disaster and the horrendous environmental implications are being hidden from the public, because the truth is too controversial.

No doubt there is a CYA quality to some of the Obama administration's statements, but why go so far as to call BP a scapegoat?
Regulation was surely lax, but BP were making reckless choices that put the company, the environment and their employees lives at risk.

BP's behavior wrt this well has had me thinking about their other operations. Has BP had any problems with other countries when it came to following drilling and safety regulations? While the US' regulations are lax, I wouldn't think we're the worst of all the nations where BP is drilling.

So, how have they behaved in, say, the West African oilfields, or the Middle East? Is their safety record bad in those areas too?

Funny thing about politics, if you play your cards right you usually can have it both ways ;).

Reading the letter at the top, I found myself moving from a fence sitter, wanting to wait for the findings of the investigation, to a little in the direction of the lynch mob. The replies will be interesting.

But the question I would like answered if anyone can help is: "At what level are decisions on those matters covered by the letter made? How are the possible options that can take place on a rig defined by the company? More specifically will something like the number of centralizers used before cementing be defined in a BP manual or is that something that a manager can decide on from his own experience?

I have read a lot about how BP should be lynched and brought down in these threads, and would like to just put a bit of balance out there.

That BP should be held to its promises to make good all damage is not in question. There is one thing though that people should remember - We need BP to survive to make good on those promises, not just now, but in the years ahead.

So whatever solutions are arrived at, whatever bills they are required to pay, and whatever penalties are issued it will only make the situation worse if the company does not survive... who will pay the bills then? You will.

BP employs lots of people in the US, there are a lot of pension funds the world over tied to BP - so what is needed is a BP that survives and continues making enough money to keep people in jobs, pay restitutions, and do a GOOD clean up job not just now but possibly for the next couple of decades.

Any solution that involves driving it to the wall will be a double whammy for the US populations have been affected.

It earns enough that with sensible solutions, it can keep on paying for the clean up for years, if that is what is needed. Take it to the wall now, or force it to cut loose from US operations, then the bill after the immediate aftermath gets paid by all the people who most need financial help.

Just thought this needed saying.

I should add however, that from the sound of things, certain individuals responsible for these decisions should be indicted and sent to jail for criminal negligence - BP can make money to keep paying restitutions without the people responsible, however high up they may be.

Do you really believe that the well design, as outlined in the documentation, is SOP for off-shore operators (or on-shore for that matter)? If so then I would say we have been extremely lucky that there have not been dozens of similar incidents in the past 10 years.

I personally don't have any particular desire to see BP go under as a company. That said, I absolutely do want to see the BP management - the people above the level of Mr. Hafle, the on-shore people who overrode both their own guidelines, the recommendations of the subcontractors, and MMS guidelines, to approve a well design that had a high probability of failure - suffer legal consequences (preferably prison time) for their irresponsible decisions that led to the deaths of 11 people on the rig and the fouling of the GOM ecosystem. This is how the justice system is supposed to work - in order to deter such behavior. It is not supposed to allow, as we saw in the Abu Ghraib prosecutions for example, those at the bottom to take the fall for those setting policy and making critical decisions.

Justice?! No, more like lynch mob revenge, so so typical for Americans. Give one guy 150 years and everything will be fine, right?! We got him! Oh yeah! And still nothing changes. No systemic approach to actually solving the problems, just grandstanding and blame game with media whores willing to do anything to get their 15 minutes...

You are entirely missing the point. Having the responsible parties suffer the consequences of their actions is part of the systemic approach that is needed. Some at MMS should probably be hauled on the mat at well. I am not sure where you hail from, but is your homeland some paragon of human virtue?

The discussion was about the actions leading up to the accident - there is plenty of room criticism of the response after the fact as well.

Since you are invoking systemic approaches what exactly would you recommend?

Learn maybe from Norway oil rigs. Or from nuclear industry regulations. Or from airplane industry. Or from chemical industry, especially Germans are good at it. There are a lot of other engineers than oil ones, you know. Where are the "show me" tests? There should not be some "company man" and whatever "rig supervisor" there arguing which way is the cheapest and fastest (and maybe also safe hopefully).

Maybe 99 guys can do that kind of stuff safely but then comes the hotshot 100th guy. That is way too dangerous systemic problem right there. Those tasks should be approved beforehand or independent 3rd party (government employee) there keeping on eye on safety issues. If there are no competent government worker available, the industry should be obligated to teach enough of them and thus, create industry wide safety standards. Random checks should be also done regularly.

Engineering is not also an art project with "up to you" attitude. Especially if you deal with dangerous pressures, temperatures and/or energies. Engineering art projects costs always money and might get you killed. Or then you'd better become a scientist. This mess sounds like "make it up as you go", they seemed to design that well, like it was an art project!

"No, more like lynch mob revenge, so so typical for Americans."

How is it that a huge multi national corporation worth over $400 billion (including reserves), a convicted criminal in the US twice over for killing workers needlessly, and on probation, how is it that this entity deserves such sympathy when there are 11 people dead and close to $50 billion in damage, when all is said and done, not to mention the environmental damage that will take decades to repair?

It does not compute. It' about holding people accountable.

Still, you've got a point. Did they ever cut us any slack at the pump? Or did they ream us at every opportunity? Maybe they do deserve revenge. They sure as hell do not deserve pity or special treatment like a spoiled child.

Those here saying they don't want BP punished to oblivion are basically saying BP is "too big to punish", and I don't agree with that. BP broke the rules, they knew what the consequences were, and now they should suffer those consequences. I'm not at all bothered by pensioners losing money in this situation, either.

I want BP to pay for what has been done, and if that means they become a minor player in oil drilling circles, or are banned from operating in US territory again, or even if they go bankrupt and assets are sold to cover these costs, I'll be satisfied if the other companies end up with a safer operation as a result.

We don't need a 2nd disaster like this, ever. If BP being punished severely means that 2nd disaster is prevented, then IMO it's worth it.

No-one is saying they should not be punished - but if they are pushed into oblivion and there needs to be further clean up work carried out or further compensation for those affected in 3, 5 or even 10 years from now, who pays if they no longer exist? The US taxpayer, if they are lucky. If BP is still there, making profits, not only can they afford to keep on paying, they will still be there to do so.

Yeah, thanks to all those people executed by the states, USA is now homicide and crime free country and world's safest place to live, right? Right? Punishments are not the same as adequate safety rules and enforcing those rules.

Oh I am in full agreement for stronger regulations and a more robust inspection/approval process. Fines exist, though, because even the strongest regulations and inspections sometimes get circumvented, and there needs to be a way to punish those who do that. BP knew what the fines could amount to in the event of a blowout; the Clean Water Act specifically mentions oil spills, after all.

I don't to see what happened with Exxon after the Valdese spill, though. Lots of litigation over the years, resulting in a fine that was so reduced it was a joke. BP doesn't deserve to have their fines reduced by one penny IMO.

We need BP to survive to make good on those promises, not just now, but in the years ahead.

Good point. I suspect that is one of the reasons for the escrow account...

It is very damning evidence. The thing that sealed it for me, though, was the report that as soon as the explosion happened and the inferno was raging, one of the workers at the rig grabbed the radio and started calling "Mayday!" - and were then cussed out by one of the BP corporate booh-bahs who said "Who gave YOU permission to do that?"

I'm just about ready to look for a length of rope and a nice sturdy lamp-post.

It came from congress. Nobody really defends themselves in a congressional hearing. It's a waste of good ammunition. So congressional findings are often amazingly one-sided farces.

Yes, but there are no "congressional findings" here. What is damning (some of us suggest) is the evidence provided to the committee by people from BP, Halliburton, Schlumberger, etc.

You're right that a committee hearing is not a trial, and that witnesses there generally do not present their best defenses (nor should they—those who may anticipate being defendants).

However, the purpose of Congressional hearings is not to determine guilt; the purpose is to gather data and evidence to inform the legislative process (well, along with providing a stage for political farce, of course). In other words, it's all about crafting public policy, and we don't apply the "beyond a reasonable doubt" burden to that process.

I submit that the documents and testimony produced by and for the committee, together with 60-days-and-counting of The Gusher in the Gulf, is one, great big smoking gun, telling us that we need to make fundamental changes in the way we regulate offshore production, enforce the regulations, and prepare for things blowing up.

Look at the cement bond log. People are ready to hang Hafle for his testimony. Carefully read what Rockman has said about the cement bond log.

My hunch is BP can easily demonstrate many exploratory wells are plugged without doing a cement bond log, which is not the gold standard in the first place. If they can't demonstrate that, they would be in trouble, but Hafle is implying doing that falls within standard practice.

The pressure tests are a different issue.

one of the workers at the rig grabbed the radio and started calling "Mayday!" - and were then cussed out by one of the BP corporate booh-bahs who said "Who gave YOU permission to do that?"

For the record, it was Captain Kuchta who cussed her out, according to the Wall Street Journal:

Andrea Fleytas, a 23-year-old worker who helped operate the rig's sophisticated navigation machinery, suddenly noticed a glaring oversight: No one had issued a distress signal to the outside world, she recalls in an interview. Ms. Fleytas grabbed the radio and began calling over a signal monitored by the Coast Guard and other vessels.

"Mayday, Mayday. This is Deepwater Horizon. We have an uncontrollable fire."

When Capt. Kuchta realized what she had done, he reprimanded her, she says.

"I didn't give you authority to do that," he said, according to Ms. Fleytas, who says she responded: "I'm sorry."


No matter. To me, that was symbolic of the whole, systematic dis-empowerment of all the employees on that rig. I understand the importance of the chain of command, but when the chain of command has failed in such an obvious and catastrophic manner, it is past time to pitch it overboard and for people to start taking initiative to do what they have to do to save the team.

At that point in time, when Capt. Kuchta reprimanded her, Ms. Fleytas should have pulled her gun and shot that idiot Capt. in the head....

There will be much hand wringing, media BS, idiot Congress testimony, and nothing will be done. No one will pay for this crime against Nature, save for the taxpayers of the US.

The spineless Obama, will try to talk a good game, but will do nothing. Michelle would do better than this momma's boy.

It is very damning evidence. The thing that sealed it for me, though, was the report that as soon as the explosion happened and the inferno was raging, one of the workers at the rig grabbed the radio and started calling "Mayday!" - and were then cussed out by one of the BP corporate booh-bahs who said "Who gave YOU permission to do that?"

I'm just about ready to look for a length of rope and a nice sturdy lamp-post.

It was Transocean's Captain Kuchta who reprimanded Andrea Fleytas for issuing the Mayday. Not a "BP corporate booh-bah".


Andrea Fleytas, a 23-year-old worker who helped operate the rig's sophisticated navigation machinery, suddenly noticed a glaring oversight: No one had issued a distress signal to the outside world, she recalls in an interview. Ms. Fleytas grabbed the radio and began calling over a signal monitored by the Coast Guard and other vessels.

"Mayday, Mayday. This is Deepwater Horizon. We have an uncontrollable fire."

When Capt. Kuchta realized what she had done, he reprimanded her, she says.

"I didn't give you authority to do that," he said, according to Ms. Fleytas, who says she responded: "I'm sorry."

The same Captain failed to operate the BOP when he had authority to do so and then tried to prevent the BOP EDS being initiated by Subsea Supervisor Chris Pleasant. Only after BP Company Man Donald Vidrine confirmed with Pleasant to push the button did he do so against the Captain's wishes and without his knowledge. However when the EDS was eventually pushed nothing happened. Might it have worked if initiated by the Captain earlier?

Well, my recollection was wrong and I was mistaken to implicate the BP man in that particular incident. However, I continue to feel that the incident symbolized all that was wrong with the way things were being done on that rig. Transocean and BP both have a lot to answer for.

statistics is that way too ...

USA is firmly in the 3rd world already. Three strikes now, starting from 9/11. All met with foolish and chaotic responses, never producing any long lasting results. Plans (if there were any) were inadequate beforehand and the response was either grandstanding or militarization. Typical 3rd world stuff, when something fails that should not fail in a normal society, send in the military. And the military will make it even worse...

Ongoing financial crisis combined with heavy debt load is the fourth and will bring USA down like USSR sooner or later, the real headshot. This oil spill is like 1986 Chernobyl was for USSR, showing apparent structural political, economical and many other weaknesses in the society. Few years before the collapse, things kinda ok on the surface in the society but really not ok underneath.

writerman: Just because there's no cop around doesn't mean it's a smart idea to run the red light.


Sorry, you'll have to run that past me again, as I'm not sure what you're getting at. On the other hand, if you mean that the essence of corporate-state-capitalism is a massive and arguably criminal enterprise, gambling with the future of our planet, and hoping that one can 'run the red light' for ever, then I suppose I do kind of get what you mean.

Basically I think the Obama adminstration is using BP as a scapegoat to divert attention from its own failure to regulate the drilling in the gulf properly.

It is fairly clear that Interior and the MMS have failed to properly regulate drilling in the Gulf for a long time. One of the most difficult jobs someone in government can undertake is the reform of a large agency, most of whose employees are part of the civil service system: bureaucracies have enormous inertia. The Clinton administration turned FEMA around in less than two years, but FEMA is unusual in that a larger than normal share of its upper managers are appointed, hence can be easily replaced. In getting things changed, the new FEMA director had the added advantage that the President was taking a personal interest in turning the agency around (under Clinton, the FEMA director was part of the cabinet).

I'm not trying to make excuses for MMS failing to do its job properly. I'm suggesting that blaming the current administration for failing to recognize the extent of the problems at MMS and correct them all very quickly is at least somewhat unrealistic. Especially in light of the fact that the administration was simultaneously having to cope with the same type of problem at a variety of other agencies. Disasters tend to focus attention on one problem to the exclusion of others; the near-crash of the financial system focused attention on the SEC, which had the same sort of problems with regulators not doing their jobs.


But what characterises the Obama approach, to almost everything, isn't change at all, no break with the past, but continuity. A change of rhetoric and tone, but nothing substantively different.

The Obama adminstration, because it's got the liberals onside, is able to get away with stuff they would have crucified Bush for. Like expanding offshore drilling without the necessary environmental safeguards in place.

I find a lot of this partisan excuse making for an incompetent and mediocre president rather irritating. Why treat the guy so differently to Bush, who liberals loved thrashing at every opportunity?

"But what characterises the Obama approach, to almost everything, isn't change at all, no break with the past, but continuity. A change of rhetoric and tone, but nothing substantively different."

If this is true how do you explain the passionate opposition to Obama from the right? Are the Repubs and Tea Partiers passionately opposing continuity?

Or are they just pissed that he can beat them at Horse?

I don't think that you and millions of others would be so intent on trashing Pres. Obama if he wasn't implementing changes that y'all don't like.

Dear Brat,

I wouldn't personally have voted for Obama in a million years. I think he's a talented public speaker, not a politician. Because he has no politics worth mentioning. He's rather like Clinton or Blair, a political opportunist who saw a fantastic career opportunity and grabbed it with both hands. Politics is dead, and it's been replaced with the cult of personalities. I also believe 'democracy' is dead too, replaced by 'market democracy' with the corporations fully in control of almost the entire economy. The giant corporations and the state... have merged, and it's this colossal leviathan that really rules and weilds power in society. The citizen has merely become a passive observer.

The 'passionate' oppostion to Obama is misplaced. Too much passion and too little dispassionate analysis of reality. Too much belief in propaganda. Too little observation. The American people, great as they are, are probably the most easily manipulated people in the world, and that's because the corporate propaganda system is the most powerful in the world. It's totalitarian, but dressed up as democracy.

Obama is a useful and willing tool of the corporate aristocracy who run the United States.

Writerman, you're post is full of heartfelt opinions, for sure, but I couldn't find an argument or analysis substantial enough to respond to. (That's not meant to be as snarky as it sounds, believe me)

That last line though, "Obama is a useful and willing tool of the corporate aristocracy who run the United States", wow! Just misspell a few words and it would make a great poster at the next Tea Party rally, wouldn't it?

Good to see you again. But BP a SCAPEGOAT? Surely you jest. BP is primarily to blame for the ecocatastrophe because they failed to follow standard operating procedures. It really is that simple.


Dear Don,

If only the world was simple as, Obama good, Bush bad. Black and white. Of course BP is primarily to blame, in the first place, for the accident in the gulf, but spills are part of what the oil industry is. The point is that they should never have been allowed to drill in the gulf at those depths in the first place, because the consequences, as we can all see with our own eyes, of an accident like this, are so far off the scale that the risks involved far outweigh the benefits.

And it isn't just oil. Obama is relaxing the regulatory system surrounding the contruciton of... nuclear power plants and giving the industry a massive 16 billion subsidy from the taxpayer.

Obama doesn't believe in control of the excesses of the corporate, state, capitalist system, on the contrary. He only wants it to be more subtle and efficient.

I agree with westexas that BP is a cancer on the oil industry. Among the majors, only BP has the corporate culture of increasing risks by failing to follow standard operating procedures. The problem is not the whole oil industry but specifically BP.

I agree with your bashing of Obama, but he had nothing to do with creating BP's self-destructive corporate culture.


The corporations, like BP, which isn't 'British', it's a multi-national corporation, with 'loyalty' to no single state, the very idea is both archaic and aburd; the corporations 'own' the political system and the politicians, after all they pay for it!

The politicians are essentially the 'political wing' of the giant corporations. The political class are like a subsidiary, they are subordinate to the interests of the corporations. This applies to both the twin party factions, the Democrats and the Republicans. Twin factions of what's effectively a one-party state. Both of them primarilly representing business interests. The people have no one on their side, no parties, and really no voice. The people have a kind of 'influence' but no real power.

Seems a lot like someone blaming the cops for a bank robbery, because they didn't send a car around often enough. Sure there are problems that need to be fixed and should have been fixed a long time ago at MMS, just like in a lot of local PDs. But BP robbed the proverbial bank here.

Seems a lot like someone blaming the cops for a bank robbery

Well said.

Perhaps a better analogy would be a cop guarding workers picking up trash alone the highway. The cop cuts out to get lunch and one of the prisoners escapes and kills someone. Obviously the cop didn't kill someone. The prisoner did the killing. But who enabled the killing? The prisoner is charged with murder. The cop could be charged with negligence if his lack of supervision wasn't warrented.

Taking your analogy a bit further, I guess it depends on the cop's job description. For example, if there are no provisions to have someone else keep watch while the cop is to get lunch, is he still negligent? The guy has to eat, you know.

I'd say it looks to me the system is negligent or at least deficient, and it isn't just one particular cop but the whole police department or even the whole government is responsible.

This from TOD email list. aeberman noted:

BP's Hayward Faces Five Tough Questions Thursday
by Tim VandenBerg -- BP (BP-$31) CEO Tony Hayward will be on the hot seat this Thursday when he is scheduled to testify at a hearing before the House Energy and Commerce’s Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee. At this hearing, full Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) will seek to put BP in the worst possible light by highlighting five decisions the firm made where it appeared to put profits over prudence and helped precipitate the accident. In the attached letter, the Committee has presented Hayward these questions, as follows.

“In particular, the Committee is focusing on five crucial decisions made by BP:

1. The decision to use a well design with few barriers to gas flow;

2. The failure to use a sufficient number of "centralizers" to prevent channeling during the cement process;

3. The failure to run a cement bond log to evaluate the effectiveness of the cement job;

4. The failure to circulate potentially gas-bearing drilling muds out of the well; and

5. The failure to secure the wellhead with a lockdown sleeve before allowing pressure on the seal from below.”

These five decisions are summarized in our attached note. The committee's letter to Hayward, also attached, goes on to more fully detail these five decisions and their imprudence.

To which I replied:

Hayward is a geologist. I hope he is allowed to take along his chief engineer.

These 5 key questions need to be compared against standard working practice. If other companies are more rigorous, then BP deserves to get thrown to the dogs. But if this is standard practice and BP just got unlucky then it is the regulator that should be thrown to the dogs - IMHO.

Actually upon reading this in more detail, many poor decisions seem to have been made leading directly to the accident. I think failure to run the cement bond log is perhaps the most damming. They had a Schlumberger crew out there for that sole purpose and didn't use them and at that time it must have been clear that this well had problems.

Good point(s).

I know people may well think I'm some sort of mouthpiece for BP for what I'm about to write, but what really worries me is that this could be an industry, rather than a company-specific problem.

I work for another major, as a geo. 90% of my experience has been deepwater. All for major operators. I'm the fella who says "drill there". I'm not a driller, but privately, the drillers I currently deal with have said things along the line of " phew, that could have been us", "dodged a bullet there" etc., etc. In total there are a lot of poor decisions, sure, but many of the drillers have seen examples of each of them. Yup, BP didn't follow best practice. But hardly anyone does. Best practice does not equal SOP. Not all the time.

And whilst it's making big headlines, some of the items people are fixating on (CBL for instance) are commonly not run, or not trusted. Likewise with the spacers. I just checked the last well I worked on for instance... Let's be clear, I'm not exonerating BP, they may well have some serious management issues. Particularly in downstream and the stuff coming out about Alaska worries me greatly. But from where I sit it could have been nearly any of the deepwater operators. The drillers I'm talking to would practically cr*p to go on the record when the CEO is saying "it couldn't be us, no way", and that sort of thing. In the Witch Hunt, and with the (understandable) emotions running so high it really does seem like it, we run the risk of missing the bigger picture here. Could it have been XOM, or CVX, or RDS? What would have happened if it was one of the smaller deepwater players, most of whom are US based but relatively small cap?

*(oh, and could PEOPLE please calm down about the size of the field. BP haven't said anything, but it is not a multi billion barrel field stretching to the coast that could have impacted our imports. The sad fact is that the amount of oil ruining the gulf is an incredibly small portion of our DAILY consumption. That's what we should sort).

I'm not a driller, but privately, the drillers I currently deal with have said things along the line of " phew, that could have been us", "dodged a bullet there" etc., etc. In total there are a lot of poor decisions, sure, but many of the drillers have seen examples of each of them. Yup, BP didn't follow best practice. But hardly anyone does. Best practice does not equal SOP. Not all the time.

So here's your wake up call, and if some onshore people do a little time for it that will help drive the message home.

Sure, this type of behavior is not unique to this incident or BP - and it needs to stop. All those times you ran the stop sign and no one got killed, but now someone did. Maybe BP was drinking when they ran it, but that doesn't excuse the rest of the industry for their own reckless behavior. That's why there is a drilling moratorium.

It's unfortunate if these practices are typical of industry SOP, but the silver lining is that there should be no shortage of good ideas on ways to improve industry safety.

There is a kind of Gresham's Law ("bad money drives out the good") at work here: the company that takes the most risks by cutting the most costs can afford to bid highest for the leases. The financial incentive is to do the absolute minimum that the regulator requires.

Thank you - that was a welcome and honest breath of fresh air after some of the nonsense we've been hearing since the weekend like the ocean floor imploding and the oceans being sucked into the earths core with tsunami's sweeping across three states.

Frankly, I put the prsidents increasingly touchy behaviour down to his recent attempt to stop smoking. We've all been there. Just when the world and your countrymen are waiting for a calm, measured and deliberate response to a major crisis to instill them with confidence and optimisim, your body starts screaming for a fix of nicotine and the words end up coming out all wrong. I know just how he feels.

I wonder if this was the same reason that the last administration failed to get people on buses three days before Katrina; perhaps it's best to leave oil guys to fix an oil problem and not the government. As the Economist points out,

"Where once the ill-fated Deepwater Horizon drilling rig floated in solitary splendour, there are now two similar rigs, along with the Discoverer Enterprise, a drilling ship; the Viking Poseidon, which knows how to install things on the sea floor; four mother ships for remotely operated underwater vehicles; various barges and supply vessels; and the Q4000, a rig that specialises in repairing and closing wells. If the well that the Deepwater Horizon was in the process of closing off four weeks ago continues to spray oil into the sea for months to come, it won’t be for a lack of expensive, sophisticated and improbable-looking hardware a mile up above it."

Yet the president will speak to the nation tonight and if you're in the off shore oil business expecting to potentially profit from BP's demise you may be disappointed. He is likely to lurch leftward, taking an anti business, anti oil company line because that's how he's always secured his highest ratings in the past. Hopefully, there have been enough conversations in the back channels to persuade him to lay off the British thing but if he pursues that line it will come back to bite him with British support over other pressing issues, not least of which are Afghanistan, Iran and virtually every other flashpoint East of the Hudson.

On another note, does anyone with off shore experiance in the US and Europe have any comment on how the two compare in regard to safety? I've picked up a few comments on veterans sites which suggest something of a gung ho attitude in the GOM. Obviously, it may just be flag waving nonesense and is completely at odds with everything I've read here from industry experts. Here are some examples,(and I promise, I'm not trying to be inflammatory);

"The Deepwater Horizon , the crew and all the defective equipment was run and owned by Transocean an American company, BP hired them for the job so as I see it its all down to Transocean for the cock up and having worked on American crewed drilling rigs before I'm not surprised it has'nt happened more often.
Bad safety and badly kept equipment which would not be accepted in European waters."

"Agreed..having been directly involved with the training in the use of Safe Systems of Work of these redneck clowns post Texas City I am also amazed not more disasters have happened. BP in the UK have struggled to get the guys in GOM to comply, being met with a "If you aint main enough for the job..." attitude at every turn."

"It seems there are major managment problems with BP's american arm. This is the 2nd major incident in 5 years with catastrophic loss of life. A month before the Texas City refinery incident, a crisis management training team were sent to deliver some integration training as part of BP International's global crisis managment oversight. They were refused entry to the site and alarm bells went off, eventually requiring some diplomatic manoeuvring at geomarket level. This raises the question of what was remedied post 2005 and what relationship exists between BP International and BP America. One can imagine a certain amount of internal politicking in a company that size and any residual flaws still unresolved under Hayward's aegis should be addressed.That Obama is choosing to target the global entity rather than the US arm stinks."

So what?

Well, in line with the last post; is the view, "it could have been any one of us," a commonly held one or not, and is there a safety issue accross the GOM or is it just BP centric problem?

When not the billions of barrels fantasy we get the anti-British fantasy

The "cowboys in the Gulf" dodge isn't going to work to shift the blame away from BP. There's too much eyewitness and documentary evidence that the crucial shortcuts were taken under orders from BP employees.

The flaw in the "blame the contractor (Transocean)" line is that there were several BP corporate pooh-bahs on board the rig, and it is clearly evident that they were mostly calling the shots. The Transocean rig workers were not empowered to do what they felt had to be done for their own safety and that of the rig, they were repeatedly vetoed and over-ridden by BP people whose eyes were firmly on the corporate bottom line.

If nobody from BP had been on board, that argument might just possibly had sprouted wings. As it is, pigs have a much better chance of getting airborne.

I tend to agree; I've read the same reports that you obviously have. I'm simply asking though, is there an endemic problem with safety in the Gulf or is it, as we're currently being encouraged to believe, the fault of a few BP execs? Moreover, are standards very different internationally?

He is likely to lurch leftward, taking an anti business, anti oil company line because that's how he's always secured his highest ratings in the past.

Yes, because things have been just swell and getting ever better over the last 30 years thanks to moving things farther and farther rightward. Today's 'Radical Leftists' would have been thought of as moderate centrists a generation ago.

Thanks for the candid comments. I think this underlines the fact that it is necessary to clearly enforce upon the companies doing this deepwater drilling that there is something else besides just their precious profit line that is at risk here. I'm not advocating no deepwater drilling ever again, but the calculus has to be changed so that anything less than best practice will be seen as too risky and too costly from the get-go.

It is the optimist who gets promoted. The guy who sees how things could go wrong and points that out too often gets fired since he is not a "team player".

There are two rules in business.

#1 The boss is always right.

#2 If the boss is wrong refer to rule #1.

#3 Once the boss has been wrong once too often and drives the company into bankruptcy, start looking for a new boss.

I think that BP is to US oil & gas industry as a malignant cancer is to a human body, and I think that the industry needs to see BP "killed" (in the sense that they are banned from operating in US waters), before BP kills the US oil & gas industry.

Three strikes--Alaska, Refinery Explosion, GOM Blowout--and you are out.

You sound upset Jeffrey. I agree with you about prior safety record severely compounding current situation - and not dealing with these past failures needs to be placed on the shoulders of senior management. Don't forget about the near sinking of Thunderhorse that was another design failure.

At the heart of the Macondo problem is the extreme high rig rate combined with a series of time / cost over runs resulting in the ops guys losing site of the dangers they (and the whole GOM) faced when they decided to cut several corners. Deep water / deep reservoirs is living on the edge.

BTW, I assume you recall our conversations at ASPO about my industry source that told me about the decline in production at Thunder Horse. I assume you saw the recent Oil Drum article that documented the crash in production from the main structure.

IMO, BP's plan as ("Web Hubble Telescope" put it) to "Hide the decline" is that if they fail to disclose the production crash from the main structure, other than the required MMS reports, then the trade journals and MSM will not notice the decline. So far, this is (mostly) what has happened. The only MSM report that I am aware of was in the Houston Chronicle.

I would think that a production crash from the structure in the poster child for deepwater GOM exploration would be a material event that BP should have publicly disclosed (beyond the required MMS reports). They were certainly quite talkative when the main producing structure was showing increasing production.

A couple of questions/observations:
Assuming what has been written about BP having a far worse record than any other company is correct, then what the heck were the US regulators doing?? They should have had inspectors overseeing every stage on every BP installation. I have read comments about BP using methods of operation that no one approved of. Did the US authorities never see any wrong doings on their regular inspections of the rig? If not why not - it looks to me that negligence should be shared. If the US government thought BP was the only company with a problem they would have let the others continue drilling. Sounds to me like the regulators are about as good as those in finance.

Where are Haliburton and Transocean in this? Aren't Haliburton about to pay a large dividend?

You have politicians questioning/grilling a foreign company a few months before some elections, does this make for the Best Hopes outcome? and I don't mean the best outcome for the politicians?

So far BP has paid $1.6 billion, almost 3,600 vessels are now involved in the response effort, there are 25 claims offices plus 24/7 phone lines and on-line claims.

Yes, all the parties screwed up and now BP is trying to fix the problems but it is not helped by e.g. litigious shareholders suing their own company, do you think that encourage them to be open and reveal information? Has there ever been a better response? Certainly not by Union Carbide for Bhopal where thousands died and the site is still poisoning local people today and the CEO refused to go back to India for trial. Piper Alpha 1988 Occidental 166 dead. Shell and Chevron in the Niger delta? Chevron in Ecuador. How about Cambodia where US land mines and unexploded cluster bomblets are still all over the country from when it was carpet bombed. A million Iraqis might have some complaints if they weren't dead, similarly with Afghanistan and not to mention the pollution being left behind there. How about Katrina where the authorities prevented the "wrong type" of people from escaping.

The US CO2 emissions, climate catastrophe, worldwide environmental problems, governments overthrown, wars, Monsanto, JP Morgan Chase/Goldman Sachs/Lehmans/Morgan Stanley/Bear Stearns ...

Is lynch mob mentality our Best Hopes?
Think if the future of all human civilisation depended on me, what would I do, how would I be?

Sounds very fair Euan, pity you are not sitting on the committee.

According to the document above, there were lots of hastily made decisions leading up to the explosion, all which appear to give priority to the bottom line over good engineering practices. One decision in particular, to not use the recommended number of centralisers, seemed to doom those 11 rig workers, the rig, the Gulf, and BP itself.

I wonder if there's a criminal indictment in John Guide's, BP's Well Team Leader, future? He might want to go lawyer shopping, if he hasn't already.

Rock and ali...

Pore pressure gradient chart and open hole logs on pages 5 - 9 of this doc (and probably a few other docs as well...)..I'd post screen shots if I had a clue as to how.


More info - hole conditions - from Halliburton report.

9-7/8” liner set 17,168 ft.
Hole section drilled with 8-1/2” bit to 18,360 ft.
Caliper hole size range to 11.6”
14.0 ppg mud weight
Sand #1: 17,821 ft.
13.0 ppg pore pressure
Pay Zone: 18083 ft to 18,136 ft.
12.6 ppg pore pressure
Loss Circulation events below casing shoe
210° F. Bottom Hole Static Temperature
Concerns of Annular Pressure Buildup
during production

Good work toll. I just don't have the time right now to dig thru all the new data release so it's great that you have. Mucho thanks. The pore pressure plot reveals much. This is the type of data I generated when I was in DW GOM. It shows they did drill the producing zone w/14.0 ppg mud. The more important info is the "Most likely shale frac". This curve approximates how high a mud weight the RW can use without breaking their hole down. Even more interesting: "12.5 - 12.6 ppg MDT pressures". The MDT is a tool run in hole on wire line and can give a very good estimate of reservoir pressure. Using the 14.0 ppg MW used to drill gave a MAX reservoir pressure of 13,213 psi. But using the MDT 12.6 ppg yields a 11,890 psi. Not a critical difference but does gives us a solid footing.

Even more interesting is that their model indicated a poor chance of getting a good cmt job and the likely need for "remedial cement job(s)". Which leads me to address the focus on CBL above. Opinions will vary but the CBL is not how you determine if your cmt is going to hold when you displace the mud. It primary purpose is to determine if the zone is adequately isolated prior to producing it. If they had run the CBL it may well have said they had a good bond. But that would not be proof that the cmt wouldn't fail when the displaced. The CBL is not the measure of competent cmt. The pressure test (LOT: leak off test) is how you determine if your good or not. And if the LOT tells you your cmt is insufficient the you do as the doc says: squeeze it again and retest. I've run hundreds of CBL and have never given thought to them proving I have a cmt job that will hold. Every time a csg string is cmtd you do a LOT to determine if it's adequate. look again at the pore pressure plot. It shows the LOT. The LOT also determines how accurate your frac gradient model might be. If the cmt job is good you can raise your LOT till it actually begin to frac the rock. Remember too a high a MW and you can lose the hole or at least lose a lot of mud and damage your reservoir.

And that takes us back to the problem many of us have: there seems to have been data indicating the well was flowing almost an hour before the explosion. And yet they keep displacing which would have made the problem much worse. And there's been various rumors as to how confident the company man et al were with the pressure tests on the cmt. Even the BP doc says there was expectations of remedial cmt work. So let's assume the rig people did express concern over the cmt integrity but the BP office over ruled them. I've seen that happen first hand many times. But this is what baffles me: the rig personnel have doubts about the cmt but they follow orders (if that's what really happened) but then they don't pay attention the THE primary data (mud returns) that would tell them the cmt was failing. You can't have it both ways: if you're concerned about the cmt breaking down you watch the turns like a hawk. And, following my own safe drilling practices, even if you're not at all worried about the cmt you watch the mud returns like a hawk. BP management may have a horrible attitude towards safety. But the bottom line and a big problem for the rig personnel trying to dodge blame: if you were concerned about the cmt but were "following orders" why weren't you monitoring for the problem? Like I said: can't have it both ways. Either the company man thought he had a good cmt job (he would have been wrong, of course) or he was just following what he considered were dangerous orders but then wasn't concerned enough to closely monitor the situation.

Posted this yesterday from the Transocean report....it sounded like there might have been something 'masking' the mud returns? But given the Halliburton guy saying that they had to suspend testing on the one pressure test because the pits were full, it seems that everybody would have been more suspicious.


Transoceans notes re: negative test (excuse the formatting -I cant cut/paste directly):

Negative pressure testing
Negative pressure testing
-Set up for negative pressure test began approximately 17:00
-~17:15, 60 barrels of spacer moved below annular
-Increased annular activating pressure from 1200 to 1900 psi
-Set up fluids through crew handover at 18:00
-Under-displaced 16 ppgspacer
-Spacer was not in MMS permit
-Position under annular led to confusing pressure readings
-Float equipment under tested by 285 psi
-Discussion 18:00-19:00
-About fluid volumes due to movement below annular and line up for monitoring –either from drill pipe (normal procedure used by rig) or kill line (MMS permit)
-Either line up is appropriate and will correctly monitor well
•Area of Investigation
-Typically negative test to ~500 ft below well head with sea water
-~3300 ft below –stated on MMS permit in order to prevent well head seal area contamination
-Imposed additional 1000 psi differential on float equipment/casing/cement
-Where did ~60 bblsfrom riser go below annular
-U-tube up kill line or up drill pipe?
-Impacts final negative test pressure applied to well

Notes on mud returns in the final hour:

Flow Show at 20:58
-Trip tank being discharged to pits through flow line (normal procedures ahead of change from oil to water mud in active system)
-At same point pumps ramp down for stop at static sheen test
-Increased flow out due to discharge of trip tank
-Driller expected to see flow increase
-Flow returned near pre-tank discharge level when trip tank pump stopped, THEN increased
-Potentially masked the gain
•Area of Investigation
-Complete review of all volumes and real time data (received 5/24)
-Use of trip tank in operation
-Sperry Sun sensors failure to record a flow out after 21:1021:

People who have read that the CBL is "the gold standard" test really need to read what Rockman is saying here. It is also said its results are subjective. The CBL is like a poem. It has to be interpreted. On the other hand, pressure gauges don't tend to speak in riddles...

Rockman, I agree with your observation that a CBL can't tell you definitively that you've got a good cement job that won't fail under pressure. However it can give you a strong indication that you've got a bad one.

If the decision makers on the rig already had the mindset that they were very close to wrapping up this well and were developing tunnel vision, perhaps (subconsciously or otherwise) they didn't want to ask a question with the CBL run when the answer it gave could only be neutral at best. The bond log couldn't confirm a good cement job but it could make it glaringly obvious that one or more squeeze jobs were needed.

jammer - I agree. The point I was trying to get across to the non-oil patch folks that if I had gotten a good CBL I would not have trusted the cmt anymore than if the CBL looked bad. The pressure test is THE rule as far as I go. And then I don't even trust it 100%

Interesting reading that letter and certainly full of the "ooh-aah" factor. Which is what makes me wonder if it's really, at least in part, a bit of a distracting side-show. BP supplied the emails and I'm sure they already pretty much know what's going to be asked even without the letter. Hayward I'm sure will have answers and the Subcommittee probably already has a pretty good idea of what these will be.

Whether the answers stand up however is a different matter. Will be interesting to watch to say the least.

I did find myself wondering something similar about 48 hour deadlines and the like. Did the joint "team" come up with a new draft plan and then send letters back and forth before publishing the details?

I'm thinking 'new guy not being mentored well' from the emails...E.g. Hafle in his testimony mentioned O'dell when asked 'who else was involved in the design of the well'. And the investigator said 'but you're senior, correct?'

RE: the centralizers being available but not run...it IS possible to infer from the emails that what was available wasn't what they actually thot they were going to get. E.g. 'no stop-collars' and 'not what I envisioned either'. Not waiting to get some that would work is another issue.

Also guessing that there's going to be conversation about the engineering vs. ops department.

Some of the other stuff - like no bottoms up, no CBL is something else again.

Good. Keep in mind that most of this is theater and maneuvering for position by people of great ambition. Some want the public stirred up to sell more media/advertising or maintain the spotlight on themselves, some want the public calm to buy time to spin the story. Does anyone really think that having the truth come out is high on the agenda?

I've been reading some of these threads thinking that a very big dose of skepticism is needed. So many here are so damn confident they know what is happening because they watch hours and hours of grainy, compressed video and scour the press releases and listen to what is said in hearings (much of which has already been shown to be false and was obviously so when it was told to us). It seems not to occur to people that the channels of information are very limited and pretty easily controlled, and that both the government and BP have and interest in controlling it. And that those video streams are tailor made for a people addicted to TV and reality shows.

We don't really "know" much, and I'm not confident we ever will. What we know may not support the wilder theories, but it doesn't support any measure of confidence that this is under control or that we know what is happening.

-- continuing legal speculation from previous thread --

BP, the largest oil and gas producer in the Gulf of Mexico, may put all or part of the company into Chapter 11 bankruptcy, said Lynn Lopucki, a law professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. That would immediately halt spill litigation against it and place all claims under the control of the bankruptcy judge, he said.
“All claims could be liquidated expeditiously using the bankruptcy code’s magical estimation power, and the company could set aside an amount of stock or cash flow to pay off the estimated claims over a period of years,” Bienenstock, the New York bankruptcy lawyer, said.
The alternative to seeking court protection might be a “nightmare” lasting five or 10 years as BP dealt with claims while its stock remained under a cloud, he said.

Reorganisation under bankruptcy is the process to create a "fund" and expedite payment of claims. No need for politicians to grandstand extra-legal processes, when we have "magical estimation power" going for us.

I have difficulty seeing that...I would think that the shareholders would vote the board out at the next opportunity for doing something like that.

BP = "Bankrupt Petroleum"

Oh, I do so hope I am first with that one - what a riot!!

Either that or (give it a year) Beijing Petroleum. Will save a lot of money on changing the logo, new stationery, business cards etc....

Tony Buzbee, the lawyer whose client told the Jimmy Harrell "Are you f---ing happy?" story, also represents a Halliburton services supervisor named Christopher Haire. Mother Jones has a new story from him:

... BP has acknowledged that two negative pressure tests on the day of the accident were unsuccessful. A company official told congressional investigators last month that the tests' results may have indicated that an influx of gas was causing pressure to mount inside the wellbore. According to a briefing (PDF) given to congressional staff by Halliburton, a negative pressure test is considered successful if no material such as drilling mud, a lubricant injected into unfinished wells, comes up to the surface. However, the first negative pressure test aboard the Deepwater Horizon returned 23 barrels of drilling mud to the surface of the rig and the second test returned 15 barrels, according to public statements by an attorney for Halliburton.

Haire, who performed the two tests with the help of another rig worker, discontinued the second test at around 7 pm because the tank that held the drilling mud was full, Buzbee says. He was then told to shut a valve on the well and stand by. After about 45 minutes, Haire and a coworker began to wonder what was going on and went down to the rig floor, where the platform's drilling equipment was set up. There they found four employees of rig owner Transocean—the driller, tool pusher, and two assistant drillers. "At that point, I was instructed by the driller and the tool pusher that they had achieved a successful negative test on the rig floor," Haire told investigators from the Coast Guard and Minerals Management Service last month. (All four of the Transocean employees died in the blast.)

Yet Buzbee now tells Mother Jones that Haire (pictured below) saw no evidence that this third and final negative pressure test actually took place. As Haire had been waiting above the rig floor, his pressure gauges did not show any changes in the well—as they should have if another test had been performed. "That's why I've always said from the beginning that there never was a 'third test,'" Buzbee says. "The only information that we have about any so-called 'third test' is the word of BP." BP did not respond to a call and email seeking comment. ...

More there.

Eh? Nobody is claiming there was a third negative pressure test. The testimony is that the second negative pressure test was considered "good" by those on the rig at the time.

Yeah, I don't recall any previous reference to one either. What "word of BP" would he be talking about?

tow -- Still confusing. By definition the first two neg pressure tests failed: they had mud flow. But the tool pusher et al consider the neg tests good. That begs a question: how do these folks define "good"? Both times the record shows the well flowed mud when they did the neg test.

Per my limited understanding, oil based mud has some compressibility. It compresses A LITTLE with the mud pumps on and then expands a tad with them off.

Could they have explained away the mud returns observed as just "elastic rebound" ? Or are the volumes too high ?


Alan -- It's called "ballooning" and could have been a factor. I don't have a good sense of the scale but I think the volumes are too high to write off to ballooning. But that's more guess than anything. But the hands on the rig understood ballooning very well and know it can make analysis more difficult. But they also know it's even more critical to get it right. Knowing a well might balloon isn't an acceptable reason for accepting a questionable tests. It's a reason to check even closer. IOW they know ballooning can mask well flow.

More from the Mother Jones article:

On May 10, James Dupree, the company's senior vice president for the Gulf of Mexico, told comittee investigators that he believed the well blew out moments after the second pressure test. A day after his testimony, lawyers for BP contacted the committee and "provided a different account," wrote chairman Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) in an opening statement (PDF) delivered before a hearing on May 12. "According to BP's counsel," continued Waxman, "further investigation has revealed that additional pressure tests were taken, and at 8:00 pm, company officials determined that the additional results justified ending the tests and proceeding with well operations."

This is the end of what I can get from the article; the author's understanding of the discussion runs out right here. Having key information filtered through lawyers on both sides doesn't help.

densley: Everyone is prepping the jury pool.

Already well and properly done in New Orleans.

Even Shell employees can be induced to use a rope.


Christopher Haire, Service Supervisor of Haliburton, describes two failed negative tests, then a 45 minute pause, and then being told by the driller and tool pusher et al that they had achieved a successful test (3rd test) on the rig floor.

See this video clip: http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/293776-4

This is a long clip, but the testimony comes about 3 minutes into the video. I think it's worth watching.

Haire said that the driller told him that there had been a successful test. He did not say that this was a third test. By his own observation of the pressure guages Haire knew that there had not been a third test. The driller apparently provided an optimistic interpretation of the results of the first two tests.

He says that he was "shut in from the well again," and after 45 minutes he proceeded to the rig floor, and "was instructed by the driller and tool pusher that they had achieved a successful negative test on the rig floor and to go ahead and get our job procedure ready for the service plug."

Now it's interesting. Does he mean he was told on the rig floor, or that he was told that the test was done somehow on the rig floor? From the emphasis in his voice, it sounds like he was told about a third test, but I can't be sure.

Is there any way to do a test "on the rig floor?"

It's the first time I've seen names named. Up until now, the press reports have been pretty careful not to say anything other than "BP Official".

I wonder if the mentioned parties are sequestered somewhere in safe custody. It must be a very bad feeling to be any one of the "key decisionmakers" mentioned, particularly the "who cares" guy.

As someone I know said : "nobody can be punishing the people as much as they are punishing themselves, right about now".

Unless they are complete sociopaths.

As someone I know said : "nobody can be punishing the people as much as they are punishing themselves, right about now".

Oh, I don't know about that. There are probably more than a few people who would like to put that hypothesis to a test. . .


It sounds as though this well sent two signals and the wrong one was heard.

1) This is a "nightmare well"

(increase caution, go slow)

2) (Because this is a nightmare well) This well is behind schedule

(decrease caution, go faster)

2) This well is behind schedule

(decrease caution, go faster)

It is a lot farther behind schedule, now.

There is a clear pattern here. The cascade of bad choices leading to engineering failure ALWAYS starts with senior managers telling the guys who are nominally responsible for engineering decisions: No excuses for not bringing this project in on time, on budget, etc..... When it's one's job, house payment, and future employability on the line, one finally says: F**k-it. Orders from headquarters, I hope it'll probably be OK.

This pattern is obvious, and is the reason we must have truly independent, well paid, professional regulators approving EVERY design and decision. BP (and no doubt other operators) have gotten used to a senior management driven smoke and mirrors act. Unfortunately we are dealing with physical reality here, not some kind of magic trick.

Shortsightedness + Corporate Personhood = Disaster in the Making.

This is not just about BP. This is an example of what happens in lots of corporations because individuals are pressured to seek short-sighted solutions - once the "bottom line" becomes everything and any thoughts of moral obligation are out the window.

I personally think we need to learn many lessons here. And the lessons do not just pertain to the oil industry or to BP in particular. What we see here cuts across corporations - entities which have organized themselves (partly) to protect individuals from liability. And it cuts across our governmental system, which has accorded "personhood" under the Constitution to corporate entities, thus acting as if corporate rights were equal to human rights.

We have created monstrous institutional lapses and loopholes, which must be rectified. We as citizens must assume some responsibility - both for what has occurred on our watch (as citizens - irregardless of whether we assented to that) and for seeing that the short-sightedness and catering to corporations' needs and wants and expectations (as if they were gods needing to be fed) are firmly limited, monitored, and dealt with harshly if those limits are crossed.

TOD is well positioned to exercise leadership in addressing these issues. And it I hope and trust it will continue to seize any and all opportunities to educate and advocate. I hope as well that many of us will pledge to keep these issues alive and do all in our power to right the terrible wrongs and the horrendous effects of what has occurred on our watch.

It is little wonder that the same short-sightedness which led to this disaster has been on display following it. That too must change!

As a career auditor of fortune 100 companies, I spend a lot of time working with the people you accuse of short sightedness. My experience has not indicated that the leaders of corporations are evil, or that lower level people typically crumble under pressure when they know they are being told to do things that are wrong. In fact, many times just the opposite is true and its the middle and lower level people who continue to ask questions and put up resistance when things dont smell right. However, this can only work where the corporate culture allows for such questioning without retribution. Rather than evil, I see BP as having a culture where one is not allowed to question their boss or slow down the process. And the bosses motivations are tied to maximizing profit and shareholder value, as indicated by a majority of bonus being share-based and tied to profits rather than safety or environmental record. Have a look at the executive compensation packages:


The Board will certainly change their leadership, starting with Hayward and working its way down, but more importantly the BOARD needs to put safety as their highest priority and better align the corporations goals with that of its employees and ultimately end consumers. I emphasize the Boards role because that is the lesson we have already learned through Enron and Wolrdcom. Indeed, Board of Directors is the focus of modern Corporate Governance a la Sarbanes Oxley.

"We have created monstrous institutional lapses and loopholes"

"And it cuts across our governmental system, which has accorded "personhood" under the Constitution to corporate entities, thus acting as if corporate rights were equal to human rights."

I find the above two statements to be unconvincing- perhaps you have an example? I'd rather say that Corporations have a different set of interests than private citizens (including that of their employees at times) which naturally creates tension between the end consumer of their products and their "bottom line". Consumers can retaliate by not purchasing the products of corporations that don't align themselves with their own values. I dont shop at wal-mart regardless of low prices. No excuse for not being informed in the internet age.

Maybe capitalism is broken by greed? Jack Welch proposed that the solution was to tie corporate management's motivations to the goal of maximizing shareholder value. Welch's idea has obviously proven to be flawed given the recent decade of corporate excess and risk taking paired with the flawed compensation system we've seen in banks and brokerages. I won't deny that I have seen evidence of some of the problems you suggest but the idea that our government has EVER put corporate rights above human rights is unfounded. Where in the Constitution do you see that? What specific judicial review supports such a claim?

FYI- I also work on the gulf coast (Gulfport Mississippi) and the media is definitely over blowing the "current" impacts of this spill. Not talking potential long term impact, but currently life there is not much different than usual. Then again, we are talking about a city that still has more than 1,000 homeless left over from Katrina (total population is around 75,000). Its not exactly Palm Beach down there. The beaches were never the main attraction, it has been the casinos- mostly patronized by retirees who could care less about the beach. Just saying, I've been there for years and was there last week- nothing much is different. Their economy is in a CONSTANT state of struggle, no to mention local corruption syphons off money that should be circulated around the population. New Orleans is no different.

New Orleans is no different.

I differ with you. A major effort is being made to get the homeless into apartments.

Arnie Fielkow could have taken a job for an honest $1.5 million/year in Miami or Seattle after Katrina, but chose to run for City Council instead. He spearheaded an Inspector General with some unique safeguards.

The City Charter was amended by plebiscite (and can only be altered by another vote) to give the IG a fixed % of the general budget for the City of New Orleans (he or she can return any unused fraction, but no one can threaten to cut their budget). And the power to hire and fire the IG is vested in a board of the six local college presidents (or their representatives). Again, hard to manipulate.

The old tolerance for corruption is gone, except in the suburbs.


"The old tolerance for corruption is gone, except in the suburbs."

I'll second that, Alan. Besides the new city Inspector General, we are blessed with US Attorney Jim Letten and his team kicking corrupt butts right and left, and our new mayor Landrieu actually invited the US Dept of Justice to come in and help clean up the police force. Not business as usual anymore in NOLA.

My sympathies to the folks on the Gulf Coast, though. They deserve better.

"Maybe capitalism is broken by greed?"

Maybe, just maybe.

More to the point, capitalism as it is now practiced is fundamentally incompatible with sustainability and the survival of human civilization.

That's because it's capitalism mixed with a fundamentally broken and useless and destructive idea called "socialism".

Socialism, with capitalism controlled, seems to work extraordinarily well in Sweden.

Their handling of the banking crisis a decade ago was also exemplary.


Technically, Sweden is not a socialist country at all. The great majority of the means of production (farms, factories, forests, fishing boats) are privately owned. The correct term for Sweden is that it is an instance of welfare capitalism, where they have essentially eliminated poverty (with few exceptions) through high tax rates and sensible redistribution of income.

Magnus Redin, a highly intelligent Swede who comments on TOD, thinks Sweden has gone too far in its welfare programs; I respectfully disagree with Magnus. I think Sweden, which is now a rich country but was quite poor in 1800 and almost as poor in 1900, has done economic and political and social actions just about right.


What I find amusing, is that if one talks to Swedes who actually profess to be 'socialists' they would laugh at the idea that Sweden is some sort of model socialist state. The dream, the social democratic ideal of creating a benevolent state that garanteed a reasonable, minimum standard of living for everyone, is dead and buried. The Swedish alternative model of a benign capitalism, capitalism with a human face, is dead.


We will have to agree to disagree on this topic. In fact there is little or no poverty in Sweden. In fact Sweden has cradle to grave medical coverage. In fact, higher education in Sweden is much more heavily subsidized by the state than is the case for the U.S. or most other countries. In fact, Sweden has good environmental laws that are enforced. And finally, Sweden has perhaps the most enlightened energy policies of any country in the world.

In answer to Alan's post: the system comes with tax rates that would be hard to implement in the US. Total tax take of GDP over 50%.

In general, I am not saying there aren't aspects that do work very well, but I am saying that there are also aspects that don't work as well. Before copying take a careful look.

It seems there is general consensus on this level of tax and benefits and those who do not agree end up leaving the country - I'll admit to generalizing from Denmark though, which is similar (DK and Sweden take turns being the top taxed country in the world).

Supposedly problems in healthcare (capacity of hospitals etc) and education (standards.. how many European universities are world class?), but generally I hear good things about primary & secondary schooling as well as child care (again about DK, but Sweden should be similar).

In my opinion, several European countries achieve outcomes that are not so much worse with tax takes 5-10 percentage points lower (although that'll change now!), but the Scandies do have more labour flexibility. Let's see though whether that holds in the aftermath of the current crisis too.

As usual, thanks to all for interesting thoughts.

The hard nosed response of the Swedes towards their own banking crisis and that Sweden declined to bail out Saab (a division of GM) while the USA & Canada did a joint deal, shows a reluctance to "socialize losses" and intertwine state funds with private profits.

Or however one interprets their policies.


Clearly the BP executives and managers are doing a terrible job for their shareholders; just look at the recent decline in share prices. Instead of doing what most economists claim is the goal of the corporation--the maximization of long-term profits, BP focused on the short-run to boost quarterly profits by using unsafe shortcuts and especially by failing to follow standard operating procedures in order to drill faster and cheaper.

Among the major oil companies, it seems that only BP has this ultimately self-destructing corporate culture of focusing so intensely on the short-term that they become unsafe. Westexas is right about BP; it is a cancer on the oil industry. For the benefit of all, let us hope that BP will be broken up and the parts bought by more responsible oil companies.

The constitution-as-person cannot be punished with jail time. The "death penalty" - shut down, liquidation, and termination of its existence as a going concern - is just about the only judicial action possible for systemic corporate criminality. IMHO, when systemic corporate conduct leads to homicide and ecocide, then it is fully appropriate and just that this "death penalty" be on the table.

Corporate apologists cheered when the Supreme Court affirmed corporation-as-person first amendment rights. This is the flip side. Corporations-as-persons cannot be allowed to be totally exempt from criminal law. If found guilty, they have to take their punishment, just like any real live person. Unfortunately, there isn't any lesser punishment like jail time available, so in their case it can only be the simple binary innocent=stay in business/guilty=be put out of business. Sorry, but they are the ones who want the constitutional benefits of "personhood", and this is the necessary flip side of that.

You could, of course, 'jail' a Corporation by placing it in 'Government care' (nationalisation), either for the duration of its' 'sentence' or permanently. While 'in jail' the Government can deal with it as it pleases, including 'death by vivisection' to recover losses.

Corporations are not some disembodied evil force in the universe. They are organizations of people who have bonded together for the purpose of sharing resources in order to provide an economic gain. The people associated with a corporation have the same rights to make a living, the part ownership of the corporation they may have, and the financial commitments that have been made as any people have to any other possessions.

The idea that corporations have some rights as people is justified by the fact that if they did not the people that constitute the corporation would be deprived of their natural rights as people.

Along with legal personhood goes some very important responsibilities. Corporations can be convicted of crimes, human rights violations, required to pay taxes and legally held to contracts. The primary reason for corporate personhood lies in the need to hold a limited liability company responsible for it's actions - as with limited liability one cannot collect debts from the stockholders of the company one must have a way to bring a legal action against the corporation.

The idea of corporate personhood is not unique or new to the United States. The origins lie in the industrial revolution in England when industry begins to require capital to invest in larger scale means of production. It is now common to almost all legal systems. It is part of the European Convention on Human Rights, and the General Principles of Civil Law of the People's Republic of China.

If we were to remove personhood and limited liability in the US, it would destroy our economy as investors would simply move their money to other nations that provided these legal mechanisms.

Speaker to Animals-

Couldn't have said it better myself.

WNC Observer, I cant even address your comments without patronizing you... Should we electrocute the BP Emblem? Who is it you would sentence to death.a death sentence would require the state to prove intent and first degree murder- the standard of proof is pretty high for those cases (ie a direct link between the accused and the crime proven by hard evidence).

Dont you remember Jeff Skilling and Ken Lay being put in prison for their role in Enron? What about Arthur Andersen being completely destroyed and all the partners of that firm who were wiped out financially for simply being associated with Enron (supreme court subsiquently ruled that they were not at fault). Corporations, LLCs, and any other forms of business face the same criminal justice system as you and I and indeed are often the targets of far more expensive civil actions (see Arthur Andersen). I personally know and work with people who were completely bankrupted by Enron that had nothing to do with it other than they were a partner of the audit firm who signed Enron's opinion- not that they themselves had ever touched any work related to Enron.

I know the "big evil corporation stole my lunch" argument is popular right now, but please get a grip.

The key word in my post was "systemic". There is a fundamental difference between the wrongdoing of an individual - regardless of where he fits in the chain of command - and wrongdoing that is institutionalized and becomes essentially "SOP". We do see the occasional perp walks for individuals who have crossed the line into criminality, as your examples of Skilling and Lay demonstrate. We could probably do a little better, but it is generally the case that the mere fact that one is doing a job for a corporation does not confer blanket immunity from prosecution.

To my way of thinking, there is an easy test to determine whether or not the wrongdoing has become systemic: Notice where the fingers are being pointed. If they are all being pointed to one person, then very likely it is that one person who is guilty. On the other hand, if everyone is pointing fingers at each other, then that would seem to be a very strong indication of a more systemic problem. We're seeing a lot of multi-directional finger-pointing in BP's case.

As I also explained in my post, the only way to really punish a corporation more seriously than just fining it, and the only thing that is really even remotely equivalent to the types of criminal penalties handed out to real people, is what I am calling a corporate "death penalty". You put a corporation to "death" by putting it out of business. There isn't an exact paralell with capital punishment for real live persons, of course. As I also explained, there is nothing else possible for punishing corporations, other than either just fining them or shutting them down entirely and distributing their net assets. We give those guilty of criminal negligence and reckless homicide jail time, but that's not an option for corporations. Letting them off with just a fine doesn't seem quite just, at least to me. As for intent, it would appear to me that the same tests that apply in cases of criminal negligence would be very relevant in BP's case.

I am not saying that all - or even many - corporations are evil and deserve this. However, neither are they guaranteed immortality. Corporations come and go, some do "die", and most of those that do go usually deserve to do so for one reason or another. The question is: if a corporation's level of negligence is so severe and widespread as to be both systemic and criminal, then why should that corporation be allowed to continue in operation? At that point, it isn't just a matter of punishing the guilty, it is also a matter of protecting potential future victims.

Too bad about the Arthur Andersen employees and those at other firms who end up out of a job through no fault of their own. I might point out, though, that when a real live person commits a crime, it is often the case that not just they, but also their innocent spouse and children, suffer as a consequence of their punishment. That does not deter our system from prosecuting criminals and putting them behind bars. People need to understand that there is no such thing as a risk-free career; life is unfair and things can happen to them through no fault of their own. I'm not in favor of twisting our justice system up in knots in a vain attempt to protect the favored few from the common trials of life that the rest of us have to face every day.

WNC -- Your "systemic" comment kept playing in my mind like an old song you just can't clear from your thoughts once it creeps in. Working in the oil patch for 35 years I've seen the "systemic" problems hundreds of times. And often monetary motivated. Then I reversed the thought and began looking for those areas of society/business that didn't have systemic problems. Drunk drivers...systemic problem; bribed politicians....systemic problem; pedophile priests...systemic problem; MMS not monitoring offshore operators closely enough...systemic problem. I'm still trying to imagine any major aspect of life where we don't have obvious systemic problems. All boils down to the obvious: human failings. Be it greed, power hunger, ego, etc. Even the systems we have in place to prevent such abuses are subject to the same weakness. It can even allow a misplaced sense of safety. An immediate obvious example: the MMS is watching closely so operators will always be forced to make the right choices. Hmmm...not so much. So now the solution may be to have another set of watchers keeping an eye on the watchers of the oil business. An extra level of scrutiny can't hurt, of course. But will it be less susceptible to corruption, especially when PO conditions worsen. Will $8/gallon fuel make the watcher's watchers less diligent?

No real end to this wondering thought. Guess human nature is just difficult to eliminate from society. Unless, of course, you eliminate the humans from the process.

Rokman: "Guess human nature is just difficult to eliminate from society." It can be improved a tad however. And we've done it, cf. Europe in the Eighth Century AD.

Comment edited.

I have attempted (however imprefectly) to address the "systemic" part in a post at the "Belief Systems" thread.

This may be the long comment (of his) which Dimitry references above:


Worth the read. Along with the thread below it.

To me one of the chief arguments against the death penalty is that it is irreversible. If some error in the finding of guilt were to occur, the punishment cannot be reversed.

For this reason it is interesting that you bring up the Arthur Anderson case, because it is exactly an example of this. The legal finding of guilt that led to the death of Arthur Anderson was reversed by the Supreme Court. Too late though for the employees and investors in the company because the company was already essentially dead.


"You put a corporation to "death" by putting it out of business...The question is: if a corporation's level of negligence is so severe and widespread as to be both systemic and criminal, then why should that corporation be allowed to continue in operation?"

Hello?! Corporations are made up of thousands of employees, managers, directors, and SHAREHOLDERS. Would it be fair to essentially fire all the 10,000s of BP rig workers who have excellent safety records because of this one accident? How about the ones who have never set foot in the GOM? What do you plan on doing with the millions of us who hold shares of the Company's stock either as direct investments or through our pension plans (estimates are that 15% of Great Britains' pension plans are tied up in BP stock). What are you thinking when you say shut them down and liquidate their assets? To who- to the shareholders? Why do this when its far more valuable to the shareholders if the corporation continues to operate and pay dividends etc.

You have imagined this abstract concept of Corporation as a person (with no support in fact)and are now trying to say that this figment of your imagination should be treated like a single individual in the criminal system. You apparently dont understand the concept of nexus? The OVERWHELMING majority of employees, directors and shareholders of BP have nothing to do with this accident- absolutely nothing.

If there is a systemic problem in today's times I would say its thinking like yours. How is it that you are so alienated as a citizen and voter that you would say things like "shut down BP and distribute its assets". What is that, a lynch mob? By what authority would the government do this? Again, BP (or any corporation) is by and large made up of decent, moral people who have nothing to do with this spill (wrong doings). Common trials of life? Please! These corporations and employees face far more intense scrutiny from regulators and plaintiffs attorneys than you ever will! Sure they also reap the benefits of their profitable industry. Who are the "favored few"- the entire corporation of BP surely cannot be considered a favored few when they number into the 100,000s. It seems to me like you just want to punish the wealthy executives of BP (fair enough- the buck stops there anyways) but your populist nonsense onligates you to take on the "big evil corporation' and dream up ways to dismantle them.

Why, again, have you and your ilk become so disenchanted and alienated? Unless you ride around on a bike and dont use electricity you should be advocating a way to punish ONLY those directly responsible (a couple dozen at most) and spare the rest of the corporation because of the immense contribution that they make to life as you know it. Maybe you know where we can find some oil that is easier to get? Oh, thats right, you are likely against near shore drilling because it ruins the views... Why are you out for blood?

Oh and nobody at Andersen was found to have committed ANY crime related to Enron. None, check the supreme court decision.

Who is being populist here?

And doesn't BP have a terrible safety record?

What do you do if a corporation continuously breaks the law? Should there not be a "corprate death", which in many cases would practically mean a takeover by a newer, and hopefully better management team? Happens often enough in a bankrupcy.

Doesn't corporation, as a legal and quite real entity have real responsibility for its actions?

According to you, it should be literally impossible to dissolve the corporation, no matter what it does.

I think the founding fathers had a very mistrustful attitude toward corporations, as evidenced by their writing at the time and the low esteem companies like East India were held at the time.

The people on the Gulf Coast didn't have anything to do with it either. Yet, they are suffering real and painful losses.

So you are saying that for the sake of keeping BP employees on the job and their investors financially intact, a firm that has a track record of cutting corners for the sake of enriching those investors has to be kept in business, no matter what the risk may be to others?

It seems to me that we've got a case here where there are and will be innocent victims no matter what is or isn't done. How to best sort that all out? I suggest Hippocrates: "First, do no harm."

Corporations should not be allowed to operate in a way that risks doing real harm to innocent people, period. I don't care what type of profits are at stake or who has a stake in them. Corporations that establish a track record of causing harm, and provide evidence that the harmfulness is the result of a systemic corporate culture, simply need to be removed from the scene so that the risk of their doing more harm is minimized. Yes, some innocent people - employees, investors - will no doubt suffer for that. However, employees are not slaves, nobody forced them to work for that company. Investors had choices as to where they put their money, and if they had bothered to do their due dilligence and read the fine print on the prospectus they would have seen that their investment was not risk-free. Just because they made what in hindsight turned out to be a bad decision doesn't mean that they are entitled to be protected from the consequences of that bad decision at the cost of other innocent victims who didn't have the opportunity to make any choices at all.

Screw the investors. They are taking a financial risk in order to profit financially. The risk in this context is the the crimes of the company they are investing in are eggarious enough to eliminate their holdings.

Win some, lose some.

FWIW, I hold shares too.

A corporate death sentence involves dismembering the corporation and selling off its parts. A lighter sentence would be to debar BP from access to oil and gas leases in the US. In response to multiple felony convictions over the way they've run their oil and gas operations for the last decade BP has promised to reform their corporate culture and give higher priority to safety. They're literally on probation; their sentencing for felony convictions is contingent on continued good behavior.

Excellent points. I hadn't thought about "exile" as a potential corporate criminal penalty, because it has not been part of the US criminal justice system. However, exile has a long history in other systems of jurisprudence. Socrates, for example, was given the alternative of exile to drinking the hemlock - apparently a standard practice in ancient Greek jurisprudence. Socrates, at least, considered leaving his polis forever to be a fate worse than death, and this was probably a commonly-held attitude. I could also mention the example of Australia, which in its early history was substantially populated by convicts who elected transportation as an alternative to imprisonment.

Since jail cannot be a criminal punishment option for corporations, prohibiting them from operating in the US (or in certain markets or activities in the US) effectively sends them into exile, and could be an appropriate sanction.

Since the dismembering and selling would be of BP America and not the whole of BP, I don't think there is any significant difference between these options. The net effect of either is that BP America assets (and debts) are sold to other operators at fire sale prices. I'm sure some others would be happy to pick up some of BP's DW GoM production, especially if they can get it on sale.

The idea of corporate personhood is not unique or new to the United States. The origins lie in the industrial revolution in England when industry begins to require capital to invest in larger scale means of production.

Not too long ago Brad DeLong made a very nice presentation on the history of corporate personhood. The origins began in the medieval period, when it was necessary to fit churches and cities into the system of personal fealty that existed at that time. Eg, the inhabitants of the City of London had to, somehow, swear the appropriate oaths to the king, despite the constant turnover of the population. Incorporation (literally, creating a body) was the response. The same concept worked well with certain business entities such as joint-stock companies, which also had a constant turnover of the humans involved, and date back to at least 1250. The authority to charter a corporation has always been a jealously-guarded prerogative. Limited-liability is a much more recent addition, from about 1850.

The biggest problem, in my own opinion, is not corporate personhood per se, but the multi-layered principal-agent problem that has been created. Hayward is the chief executive, he is presumably constrained by the board of directors, but many boards are relatively inactive. It is noteworthy that Hayward the employee is speaking for the company, not the chairman of the board who represents the shareholders. Add that a large part of the shares are held, not by individuals, but by other corporate entities: companies, pension funds, mutual funds, etc. It has become far too easy for the staffs hired to operate the corporation to extract enormous amounts of money from the company in the short term without risking consequences.

mc: I'm not sure of his, but, as I recall, the idea of corporations was similar to and adopted from the concept of the Roman Catholic Church. The individual members died but the Church went on forever. The corpus (body) of the Church was immortal. Theoretically, at least, corporations can also be immortal.

But we digress.

I'm not going to get caught up in a big debate about corporations-as-persons per se. My point was just that there was an inherent and unjust assymetry in a system where corporations are awarded the same rights (first amendment rights, for example) as real live persons, yet are essentially exempted from types of legal santions to which real live persons are at peril. The system has been allowed to develop in an unbalanced way that is overly favorable to corporations and their owners. That is no surprise, because money is power, or at least can buy it. That doesn't change the fact that it is wrong and should legitimately be criticized.

Corporations ..... are organizations of people who have bonded together for the purpose of sharing resources in order to provide an economic gain.

What a lot of silly rose colored nonsense. Honestly, the fawning corporatist crap being spewed all over this site is getting truely disgusting.

Corporations do not serve their employees, they serve their owners, and giving their employees less than the employees give them is part of how that works. Exploitation is what it's about, and passing the liability from the people who benefit to the un-punishable corporation makes it work. Does none of you corporatists have any concept of history at all? No one knows that places like Texas were hotbeds of socialism in the beginning of the 20th century, nor has any recollection of why? Not the first clue about working 16hr days in dangerous conditions for company script, having the US military called out to massacre those who dared to strike? It's been maybe 80 or 90 years, and the memory has been completely erased.

Corporations are tools of their owners, which means those who own enough to control them. The grandmother who owns a couple of shares doesn't mean squat, any more than the grandmother who gave $20 to Obama's campaign did in comparison to the Wall St. banks that gave millions. Individual employees may indeed be conscientious and caring, but that is not the attitude that gets you to the top of a large corporation like BP. "Corporate persons" are sociopaths by definition.

There is absolutely nothing surprising about the disaster in the Gulf - it is exactly the kind thing that happens when corporations are allowed to operate without strong and effective regulation, as there is no mechanism for a corporation or an industry to control itself.

No one knows that places like Texas were hotbeds of socialism in the beginning of the 20th century

Ah yes Texas Socialism. Victor Considerant, etc. How did that work out? Hint: Everywhere it was tried there was economic collapse in short order.

Not a good idea to try to build a society on a model that hasn't worked anywhere.

But some people seem to forget history and want to try again.

Socialism in the US never succeeded in breaking the hold of the existing system. The entire US socialist and labor movement ended with WWII. The riches of empire and the age of oil meant that there was enough wealth to spread around, and allowed the creation of a middle class - people with enough investment in the system to serve as a buffer and defend it. And in a fairly short period, everyone forgot what things had been like before. But the conditions that created that middle class buffer are ending, and the middle class with it. I doubt the anger will lead to socialism this time.

EDIT: I was discussing the 20th century, not the mid 19th.

Not a good idea to try to build a society on a model that hasn't worked anywhere.

Seems to have worked quite well in Sweden.


Short sighted solutions are the norm, not the exception in most industries (medical, aviation, food, semiconductor processing etc). However, the vast majority of said solutions are not visible by design, typically by compartmentalization of knowledge.

The average Joe has no idea that a solution which saves big $ and gives him a bonus has the potential to create incredible risk for someone far removed from the situation. In other cases, things have always been done this or that way for years... and the moon has not been in the right place, and nothing bad happens, at least not yet.

As far as limits go... thats tricky. Case in pt... if an airline pilot lands with extra minutes of fuel, the company is going to be all over them for wasting money. (Fuel is weight, and excess has a substantial impact on the bottom line for airline ops). By the same token, if the pilot lands with less than the minimum required fuel (short of an actual emergency or diversion), his/her career is likely over. On the other hand, excess fuel does provide for more options, should their be a real emergency. The pilot is depending upon the minimum required fuel figures to encompass any and all contingencies... but what if the moon is in a different spot as someone decided to implement yet another short sighted cost cutting measure in response to the customers demand to maintain a $100 airfare?

Regulation of the aviation industry is a good model for how all high risk industries should be regulated. The first rule is landings are mandatory but take-off is optional. The pilot in command is responsible for the safety of the flight and nature can impose the death penalty if wrong decisions are made. All flights must carry extra fuel in case it is too risky to land at the first planned airport. A normally scheduled landing with extra fuel on board is required by law. The strict safety rules for the operation and maintenance of airliners is why fatal accidents in the US are so rare in spite of thousands of flights every day. Most crashes are the result of several things going wrong the absence of any of these mistakes in the chain would have prevented the crash. The same is true about the BP blowout. The blowout happened because the rig sank. The rig sank because of the fire. The fire happened because of leaking gas. While so many questions are about what happened down in the well I would ask why was there a gas leak on the rig? Was it due to a design flaw or shortcuts made during construction? How far back in the life of the rig did the penny pinching go? Is there anyone outside the construction company who makes safety inspections during construction and what kind of records of inspections are made during construction?

Most crashes are the result of several things going wrong the absence of any of these mistakes in the chain would have prevented the crash.

The de Havilland Comet was the world's first commercial jet airliner to reach production in 1949.
It was pulled, in '54, after it was concluded catastrophic metal fatigue caused a string of well-publicized accidents.
Five years and "mistakes in the chain" weren't diagnosed?

That's a lot of time and flights for a single aircraft model. Maybe pilots were gutsier in the 50's but five years of oil platforms going down (ships, submarines, spacecraft, reactors failing) would have someone saying "Hold on!" before five years flew by.

Looks like I touched a nerve here. Further discussion is obviously warranted. Please note the qualifications in my first paragraph, as I am pointing to behaviors, which run amok, lead to disaster - when it comes to the public good:

This is not just about BP. This is an example of what happens in lots of corporations because individuals are pressured to seek short-sighted solutions - once the "bottom line" becomes everything and any thoughts of moral obligation are out the window.

I still maintain my point - but please note that the initial statement is predicated upon the the two factors in the second clause.

Obviously if a corporation takes into account a sense of moral obligation (to the public good) and can elevate that above the "bottom line" - then that corporation is not exercising a short-sighted strategy for decision-making. Unfortunately this seems not to have been the case in the financial industries, and I certainly see it in managed care (particularly in mental health carve-outs) and across a wide spectrum of our society, as some have pointed out. And lawmakers have aided and abetted these problems via deregulation.

You can stick your head in the sand and be defensive or you can recognize that our nation and our world would be better off if a sense of moral responsibility and other public goods were to take precedence over an exclusive emphasis on short-term profit-seeking. It's possible to make a profit and be a good corporate citizen, taking into account the good of society, not just the good of the corporation, I'm sure.

My point is that what we see in BP is not simply an aberration, confined to one corporation only. In my view we ignore these systemic problems at our own peril.

What I think you are saying is that it is not just a matter of a systemic problem within one corporation, but that the way that we have organized and run our entire economy (or the private sector of it, anyway) has a systemic problem. I'd tend to agree with you on that.

We've set things up in such a way where corporations are strongly incentivized to maximize short-term profits. It should thus not surprise us that the systemic corporate culture we see in firms like BP is strongly oriented toward short-term profit maximization, everything else be damned.

Since this is something that is economy-wide and deeply systemic, it can't just be corrected with a simple Band-Aid fix. Nor, however, do I believe that it necessarily requires the wholesale dismantling of all corporations and the creation of a socialist system.

I don't have all of the answers, but I do have a few.

First, we need to get serious about punishing corporate wrongdoing. The penalties need to be severe, and not just "a cost of doing business". My comments above about imposing a corporate "death penalty" or "exile" for cases of serious criminal wrongdoing are relevant here.

Second, we need to assure that best practices to protect workers, the environment, and the general public are in fact adopted and followed as SOP by all corporations. This means government regulation, but maybe done a different way than it has usually been done. Government shouldn't be regulating just for the sake of regulating, and it shouldn't be regulating things just because they are easy to regulate. Regulation should be focused on those things that really matter, and done in a way that really makes a difference. Risks need to be carefully and objectively assessed and ranked. Best practices to minimize the most serious risks need to be developed through a collaborative effort of industry, government, and academia. Businesses need to be required to set up monitoring and assessment systems to document their own compliance with these best practices. Their compliance performance needs to be reported to both the government and the general public (assuring open accountability), and checked by outside, objective, and (as much as can be made possible) incorruptable inspectors and auditors.

Third, the entire economic calculus needs to change so that corporations are incentivized to maximize their long-term value and return to their owners. The way that we tax dividends and capital gains is probably the principal tool we have available for this. The present tax structure is far too rewarding for short-term capital gains. It is thus little wonder that the average share of stock is held for less than a year, and that the focus of corporate managements and shareholders is thus on quarterly profits. I would only give tax preference to very long-term capital gains, by which I mean on assets that are held several years. Dividends are taxed twice, unless held in a tax-sheltered investment, which is why they have become progressively smaller and less important. I would suggest eliminating the corporate income tax, and instead impose a 25% withholding tax that would pass through to shareholders along with their proportional share of corporate income. (In other words, everyone would get the equivalent of the K-1 that Sub S corporate owners get.) This would put pressure on corporations to pay out decent dividends, so that shareholders would actually see some of that income on which they are being taxed.

More PR disaster: Expert suggests BP is hiding oiled animal carcasses

"While at first glance, Ott's claims might seem conspiratorial, myriad reports have fingered BP's role in attempting to silence coverage of the spill's effects. Over the weekend, reports signaled that BP had hired private security contractors to guard some Gulf coast beaches."


BP oil spill: Fitch downgrades BP to near-junk rating

International ratings agency Fitch has slashed BP's credit rating six notches from "AA" to "BBB", on concerns over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster.

Fitch cited higher estimates for the size of the oil spill and US calls for the group to place funds in an escrow account to fund any potential liability claims.

BP's shares fell 0.5pc to 353p in afternoon trading in London after what was the first multi-notch downgrade of BP by any of the three major rating agencies and the first that left it below double A.

The 'BBB' rating is just two notches above junk status.

So, if I have it right, BP will be the scapegoat, and will be branded as the black sheep of the oil ‘industry.’

Tony Wayward, sorry, Hayward, will be fired and will go back to whatever his usual demeusne is, a country house in Cheshire, a super London flat wherever, whatever, I know nothing about this man and have no desire to learn more, it is all too horribly predictable.

It will be the most spectacular bad-apples-tale ever.

BP will then be broken up, bits and pieces sold here and there, and the ‘industry’ will sort of re-compose, under different hats, oops, sombreros, and the same matériel, ppl, infrastructure, and so on, will just be slotted into new rubrics in function of financial /corp. /gvmt / demands, ruling, bullying, or constraints.

Which is to be expected, natural, and even a good thing; as I grasp it (?), the oil industry has only so many competent ppl to work in it, and none (except as symbols, mistah Wayward perhaps) will be sacrificed. The consequent tools also can’t, or shouldn’t be, junked (eg oil rigs...etc.) So some form of novel respectable BAU has to be set up.

That would be, new structures : ex-BP being now super-new ABC or bust and dead with XYZ Co being at the top ...Extra controls, new supervision, innovative this and that, guarantees and safety procedures all over the board, Yes Sir.

A new PR gloss, a new public face, on all the existing, ongoing, challenging and difficult work, which will continue (?) as before, as no one wants it stopped, and no deep (sic) changes can be made.

Hayward will have no problem in getting a job. In most of the world, he's going to be the anti-cowboy hero.

Let's hope it's not that simple, and that all the stakeholders learn from this tragedy and re-examine regulatory practices, safety procedures and equipment etc. industry-wide.

But of course the "bad apples" argument usually follows once the "unforseeable tragedy" one fails. Witness today's testimony. From the NY Times:


Oil Executives Tell Committee That BP Spill Is an Aberration

"Rex W. Tillerson, chairman of Exxon Mobil, testified that if companies follow proper well design, drilling, maintenance and training procedures accidents like Deepwater Horizon explosion on April 20 “should not occur,” implying that BP had failed to do so.

John S. Watson, chief executive of Chevron, also pointed an implicit finger at BP, saying that every Chevron employee and contractor has the authority to stop work immediately if they see anything unsafe. Congressional investigators charge that BP went ahead with risky procedures even after repeated warnings from company workers and contract employees on the ill-fated rig.

“Our internal review confirmed what our regular audits have told us,” Mr. Watson testified. “Chevron’s deepwater drilling and well control practices are safe and environmentally sound.”

I love that Watson quote: "every Chevron employee and contractor has the authority to stop work immediately if they see anything unsafe.". He also recently said (paraphrased) "it could never happen here, we have MOC procedures". As if BP didn't have both of those things. In spades. Jeez - they have to cover their coffee cups in case of coffee spills and hold hand-rails on stairs, or be reprimanded/have a safety discussion. I worked briefly on a rig, operated by BP, that had a GRAD stop work for two days. A GRADUATE. A million dollars and no one battered an eyelid. Clearly it didn't happen this time, but corporations are very big these days. I don't know what to make of the different cultures, but the hubris of the other companies astounds me. We all need to look to ourselves. All of us. I don't want to be reading about another oilfield disaster in a decade or two, and watching the artic or antartic be devastated because we all thought it could only happen to someone else. Have a look and see how many risers have been dropped, how many wellheads bashed, how many BOP tests failed, how many emergency disconnects occur. What worries me most isn't that BP is having the book thrown at it (at least partly due to politics) but that this gives everyone else the excuse to look the other way and just say "it couldn't happen here"...

Why not get all DW operators to invest 3% of earnings into an oilfield disaster university, so we can have some updated oilfield spill tech.

BP: Fire On Ship Halts Containment Of Oil In Gulf

Lightning hit the Enterprise -- no injuries (except to nerves?), quickly extinguished.

Hadn't ever thought about this before, but rigs probably get struck all the time, eh? Anybody got yarns to spin?

Email from Deepwater Horizon Response External Affairs:

GULF OF MEXICO -- At approximately 9:30 am CDT, a small fire was observed at the top of the derrick on the Discoverer Enterprise. The fire was quickly extinguished. The preliminary review indicates the fire was caused by a lightning strike.

There were no injuries. All procedures were followed and, as a precaution, the LMRP containment operation was shut-down. All safety systems operated as designed.

Final safety and operational assurance inspections are underway and operations are expected to recommence this afternoon.

AP says operations have now resumed. From the AP story:

The company said it would use robotic submarines to survey the entire containment system, including the cap over the well, for possible damage from the fire. The fire occurred in a vent pipe leading from a tank on the Enterprise where processed oil is stored, [BP spokesman Robert] Wine said.


Good thing that could never happen twice........

Apologies if this is old news, but it's new to me. Via a Mother Jones comment, you can find on page 6 of a Transocean pdf published by House Energy & Commerce:

Did the operator give the cement enough time to cure? (from Halliburton lab test reports) ...

Test on 4/12 of 7”casing slurry : 0 psi compressive strength after 24 hours; needed 48 hours to reach compressive strength of 1590 psi
– Negative test started ~18 hours after pumped
– Do not have any sample test results from rig samples; requested

Is that as bad as it sounds to this civilian?

It looks very bad to this civilian. Ditto the negative pressure test (page 10)

There's the smoking gun.

That's friggin stupid. A bond log wouldn't have shown Jack**** because there was no compressive strength anyway.



One question is did Halliburton personnel at the time give information to rig crew at variance to the Halliburton quoted standard. I seem to recall that in earlier testimony it was said that the wait time before the test was the time recommended by Halliburton.

That is a very good question.



From what I read, it seems that THE key issue with the BP disaster is WHY the order to REMOVE THE PROTECTIVE MUD layer was given. Of course, the BP company man/men (Donald Vidrine, or Robert Kaluza) relayed the order -- and happened to be no-shows at "key" hearings. I read that the order came from a call from BP in Houston. It doesn't seem to be a simple matter of cutting corners. It seems to be a HUGE deviation from standard practice? Deliberate? See excerpts below from several articles.

Hearings: Rig's blowout preventer last inspected in 2005

"...The chief mechanic on the Deepwater Horizon testified Wednesday that he was at a planning meeting 11 hours before the rig exploded at which the BP company man overruled drillers from rig owner Transocean and INSISTED ON DISPLACING PROTECTIVE DRILLING MUD from the riser that connected the rig to the oil well.

"..."I recall a skirmish between the company man, the OIM (offshore installation manager), the tool-pusher and the driller," said Doug Brown, one of 115 rig workers who survived the April 20 disaster. "The driller was outlining what would be taking place, whereupon the company man stood up and said, 'NO, WE'LL BE HAVING SOME CHANGES TO THAT.' It had to do with displacing the riser for later on. The OIM, tool-pusher and driller disagreed with that, but the company man said, 'Well, this is how it's gonna be,' and the tool-pusher, driller and OIM reluctantly agreed.

"...The implication was that the Transocean employees expected they might have to take emergency action because of BP's PUSH TO REMOVE THE DRILLING MUD.

"..Before Brown came to the witness stand at the hearings in Kenner, a ship captain with 15 years of drilling experience told the joint investigative panel that he doesn't know why a rig would DISPLACE THE PROTECTIVE COLUMN OF HEAVY MUD with light seawater before closing off a well.

Another one.
What Caused The Explosion On The Deepwater Horizon?

"...A worker told the Wall Street Journal that the crew was in fact preparing to drop the cement plug down the riser—STANDARD PROCEDURE—WHEN THE ORDER CAME TO INSTEAD PUMP OUT THE MUD. “Usually we set the cement plug at that point and let it set for six hours, then displace the well,” he said. The worker told the Journal that this dangerous step was first cleared with the MMS. The MMS refused comment."

And here:
Oil Spill Hearings In Congress: Companies Blame Each Other, Refuse Responsibility

"..Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama grew frustrated grilling the executives on WHY ENGINEERS REPLACED A HEAVY "MUD" COMPOUND IN THE WELL WITH MUCH LIGHTER SEA WATER – thereby reducing downward pressure on the oil – when they were temporarily capping the site for future exploitation. He quoted an oil rig worker saying, "That's when the well came at us, basically."

".."I'm not familiar with the individual procedure on that well," BP's McKay said.

"..Steven Newman, Transocean's president and CEO, and Halliburton executive Tim Probert repeatedly told Sessions THEY DID NOT KNOW HOW OFTEN SEA WATER INSTEAD OF THE COMPOUND WAS USED to seal Gulf wells.

".."Well, you do this business, do you not?" the senator demanded. "You're under oath. I'm just asking you a simple question."

[One question I have is: IS SEA WATER EVER USED?]

Here's more from: http://www.congress.org/congressorg/bio/userletter/?letter_id=5186329156

"..After reading the following article: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424... that covers testimony from Transocean Ltd., Halliburton and BP, regarding the Deepwater Horizon Exploratory Rig Disaster, fault and responsibility is placed upon the DECISION OF BP AND MMS to DEVIATE FROM ESTABLISHED, PROVEN, CEMENTING, CURING and PLUGGING PROCEDURES.

"...According to this worker, BP ASKED PERMISSION from the federal Minerals Management Service TO DISPLACE THE MUD before the final plugging operation had begun. The mud in the well weighed 14.3 pounds per gallon; it was displaced by seawater that weighed nearly 50% less. Like BP, the MMS declined to comment on this account.

[I read somewhere that they did not get permission from MMS to remove the mud.]

BP's Top Two Officials On Rig Are No-Shows At Crucial Hearing

“Donald Vidrine, BP’s “company man,” overruled the rig’s chief mechanic and driller and pushed to speed up the process BY REMOVE THE DRILLING MUD FASTER to save BP money on the day of the tragic explosion, according to testimony from rig owner Transocean’s Doug Brown on Wednesday.

“Vidrine did not testify as scheduled on Wednesday, citing an unspecified medical condition.

“The other top BP official on the rig, Robert Kaluza, also declined to testify, invoking his 5th Amendment right not to incriminate himself.

[Note the highlighted text above. It is an obvious grammatically incorrect edit -- a hurried typo to spin the "to save time" mantra? I question the current media mantra that removing the mud was done "to save time." From what I can gather, I believe that removing the mud was extremely non-standard.]

Auntie -- A very good summary of the displacement issue...thanks. For the newbies I'll repeat an earlier offering. The oil based drilling mud (OBM) could have been displaced when they did it or could have been done later when the returned to produce the well. So why now? Last January I re-entered a well in the La swamps that had been temp abandoned a couple of years earlier with OBM left in the csg. I had anticipated one day and $12,000 to clean the OBM out. Two weeks later and $500,000 I finally got the csg cleaned out. The OBM set up like an epoxy and made it difficult to even go in hole with drill pipe. Eventually had to drill it out as though it were rock. Had this been a DW GOM the bill would have been around $9 million. I will NEVER leave OBM in a well I plan to re-enter. Never. I would have displaced the well just like BP. But I also would have made very sure I had a good cmt job before doing so. I could also chosen to take one more safety step and set a wire line drillable packer in the csg. Might not have stopped the well from coming in if the cmt failed but it would have slowed the process up considerably.

I worked for nearly 40 years for The Dia-Log Company. AS you know our specialty was pipe recovery stuck pipe etc.I have been on job where OBM was left in hole in annulus between tubing and casing. 10000' of tubing might be "mudstuck" to 3000' or higher. Saw one job where they were drilling below 9&5/8 set at 10000' with OBM The mud flashed and the drill pipe was mud stuck inside casing to 8000' Small DP had to be washed and drilled dlown the inside of the DP before a wireline could even be run in DP. My company loved workover jobs with OB left behind packer.Ill wind etc

I was watching the inquistion of BP CEO by Congress especially By Henry Waxman this morn. The supposition was that a"long string" of casing was run instead of a liner because it was cheaper. I have been retired for several years but that just doesnot compute to me. What am I missing? It is more expensive to run a shorter X number of feet liner than it is to run 3X feet of long string. Semms as if a long string would be safer. Less places to leak. Ran 2 centralizers instead of Halliburton recomend 18. Halliburton sells those thing Casing centralizer used to be considered something that just listened good by most Pet Engineers
Cement bond log? I have actually seen CBL interpeted as "Possible partial bond" HUH?

Questioning the CEO of one of the largest companies in the world as if a copy of the morning drilling report was read by him every day.

And it should always be remember that Sec Browner said "At the end of the day WE tell BP what to do.
"Good job Browner"

I worked for nearly 40 years for The Dia-Log Company. AS you know our specialty was pipe recovery stuck pipe etc.I have been on job where OBM was left in hole in annulus between tubing and casing. 10000' of tubing might be "mudstuck" to 3000' or higher. Saw one job where they were drilling below 9&5/8 set at 10000' with OBM The mud flashed and the drill pipe was mud stuck inside casing to 8000' Small DP had to be washed and drilled dlown the inside of the DP before a wireline could even be run in DP. My company loved workover jobs with OB left behind packer.Ill wind etc

I was watching the inquistion of BP CEO by Congress especially By Henry Waxman this morn. The supposition was that a"long string" of casing was run instead of a liner because it was cheaper. I have been retired for several years but that just doesnot compute to me. What am I missing? It is more expensive to run a shorter X number of feet liner than it is to run 3X feet of long string. Semms as if a long string would be safer. Less places to leak. Ran 2 centralizers instead of Halliburton recomend 18. Halliburton sells those thing Casing centralizer used to be considered something that just listened good by most Pet Engineers
Cement bond log? I have actually seen CBL interpeted as "Possible partial bond" HUH?

Questioning the CEO of one of the largest companies in the world as if a copy of the morning drilling report was read by him every day.

And it should always be remember that Sec Browner said "At the end of the day WE tell BP what to do.
"Good job Browner"