BP's Deepwater oil spill - the Department of Energy papers - and Open Thread

This thread is being closed. Please comment on http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6630.

The revised estimates for the flow of oil from the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) well have continued to increase. The volume that is being captured daily has apparently stabilized, at close to the capacity available.

But the doubling of the flow estimates and further increases have caught everyone’s attention. Certainly looking at the amount captured on video seemed to show a significant reduction in the amount that was leaking out of the bottom of the cap, but if the vents remain open (and I have seen one that still was earlier) then the amount that is not being captured could still be a significant percentage of the flow.

The Department of Energy now has a website that shows a number of documents relating to the DWH site. They include this graphic that illustrates the relatively tight fit of the cap around the riser. In this post, I’ll talk about the BOP pressure measurements and Top Kill. Oh, and a little bit about money.

DOE illustration of the cap on the riser

The most recent reports of flow from the well are:

On June 19th, total oil recovered was approx. 21,040 barrels:
• approx. 11,050 barrels of oil were collected,
• approx. 9,990 barrels of oil were flared,
and approx. 43.4 million cubic feet of natural gas were flared.

Total oil recovered from both the LMRP Cap and Q4000 systems since they were implemented is approx. 249,500 barrels.

As previously reported, volumes were slightly lower on the 19th due to the Enterprise shutdown to clean a flame arrestor and passing of a lightning storm.

I had hoped that would give more of an illustration of the flow path through the BOP but it doesn’t show anything that hasn’t been posted here on that issue, at least as far as I can see. What it does have, however, is a table that shows the measured pressures at different heights within the BOP, as of 25th of May.

Pressures along the BOP on May 25th (DOE )

There are also more details of the steps in the Top Kill Operation.

Test 1 – Pumped 13,100 bbls of 16.4 ppg at 53 bpm. (May 26)

Test 2 – Pumped 6,800 bbls of 16.4 ppg, 25 bpm with 15 shots of bridging materials. (May 27)

Test 3 – Pumped 9,800 bbls of 16.4 ppg mud at greater than 70 bpm, with 2 shots of bridging materials. (May 28)

Which actually raises a couple of questions. A flow of 17,000 bbl/day is 12 bbl/minute. If I remember there were at least a couple of statements that implied that they had stopped the well flowing oil, and brought it into some sort of balance. One wonders if that were true, and for which, if any of these tests that was accurate.

The reason for the question, going back to the post I wrote on why Top Kill might have failed, is that the bottom of the drill pipe is 3,367 ft below the BOP. While injecting “junk” to seal the well might have had some impact on the annulus around the DP, unless they could first carry the sealing particles down to the bottom of the DP, and then have them be carried back up the pipe, they couldn’t seal the leak in the crimped BP. (And that depends in part on the specific gravities they got in the admixture going down the well). The effectiveness also depends on the size consist of the bridging materials.

The higher numbers now being quoted have led the Coastguard to demand a better plan for dealing with the spill.

The Coast Guard has told BP that its proposed plan for containing the runaway Deepwater Horizon well does not take into account new higher estimates of how much oil is gushing into the Gulf of Mexico. The Coast Guard demanded that the company provide a more aggressive plan within 48 hours.

And that time is about up.

(Should I wonder whatever happened to the team of experts who were coming up with an alternative?)

He (President Obama) said US Energy Secretary Steven Chu was leading a team of "the world's top scientists, engineers and experts" in devising a contingency plan should the "top kill" attempt fail.

The Administration plan, at the moment, seems to be to get as much cash out of BP as possible, as soon as possible.

In an effort to seize greater control of the gulf oil catastrophe, President Obama is prepared to compel BP executives to set up a multibillion-dollar escrow account to pay damage claims in the region, a senior White House official said Sunday. . . . . . . In a letter to BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward on Sunday, 54 senators, nearly the entire Democratic caucus, called on the company to set aside $20 billion for cleanup and damages, to be administered by an independent trustee.

But as far as BP coming up with a new plan . . .

Jon Pack, a BP spokesman, said Sunday that the company would respond in a "very timely manner" to the Coast Guard's demand to come up with a better plan to contain the oil, but he added that the company would not make the plan public.

BP's board of directors was scheduled to meet Monday, according to Pack, who would not divulge the agenda.

Given that BP has about $7 billion in available cash, with a number of other obligations (the fine for the spill for starters) there comes a point where even with the best will in the world, BP is going to run out of the cash that more and more folk are demanding. For example the Administration is now demanding that BP carry all the folk that have been put out of work by the drilling moratorium.

A ban on deep-water drilling is set to continue for six months. Salazar has said companies will be able to drill in water depths less than 500 feet once they comply with newly issued safeguards and other yet-to-be-unveiled rules for exploration plans and environmental studies. But it could take weeks — or months — for companies to make the changes and federal regulators to approve them.

You can’t comply with “yet-to-be-unveiled rules” until they are unveiled. The impact of this is going to extend well beyond just the drilling companies themselves, BP has drawn a line over paying that at the moment, but we’ll see what pressure the President can bring to bear this week, when he meets with them.

But I will close by re-iterating the concern that I expressed when I wrote about the Hurricane season approaching. The way that this is developing doesn’t bode well for the ability of the industry to be able to bounce back from any serious damage to Gulf rigs following a Hurricane, of the sort we saw in 2005. If the Gulf supply is compromised, and unable to recover because of regulation, this could be a very interesting election season.

And one last thing, for those who wondered what a suction pile is, since one has just been fielded. Here is a graphic, showing you how it is used.

It would also appear that the Loch Rannoch has made it to the site. This is one of the transfer tankers that will be used to collect oil from the more permanent risers as they get installed this week. (H/t LogPile)

Prof. Goose's comment:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Excerpt from Tropical Weather Discussion from Crown Weather

[Invest 92-L] is forecast to track west-northwest and reach the southeastern Gulf of Mexico by late Tuesday or early Wednesday. By Wednesday, environmental conditions may be favorable for development. ...

Even if Invest 92-L does not develop, surface pressures in the Caribbean will fall this week and the western Caribbean may be an area to really watch later this week. The European model has been very consistent in forecasting the development of a tropical cyclone in the western Caribbean as early as Thursday or Friday.

One trend that is a potential good sign is that the GFS and European models are trending towards a stronger ridge of high pressure across the northern Gulf coast this week into next weekend. This trend implies two things, one is for anything that does develop in the southern Gulf of Mexico would track westward towards northern Mexico and two it implies a much lower chance of an impact to the northern Gulf coast and to the oil spill.

As this is my first post here after reading for quite some time, I wanted to say thanks to all who are providing so much useful and on-target information on the Deepwater spill. It's helped me tremendously to understand the limitations and complexities of the situation.

Even with all the info that's been posted, I don't think I have a good understanding yet of whether it's possible to completely cap this beast off. I do understand that the seabed is largely silt that does not allow anything to sit on it, but somewhere there must be a "bottom" that would provide support. Would it be possible to simply use weight to plug this thing, or is that was the original cofferdam approach was supposed to do? It would seem that an enclosed structure that was heavy enough would be able to overcome the pressure of the oil. Is that possible given the conditions at the wellhead?

I believe it is possible to use the weight of the mud column in the kill wells to stop the flow.

I think the emphasis on politics is detrimental. The moratorium would be shorten if the industry would get on board. The Cheney/Bush era is over.

At the least, until there is a successful cessation to the spill, there can be little public faith in taking the risks present in the deep zone.

If Simmons is correct, the oceans will be flooded with oil for decades. This threat has to be removed. Let alone better procedures/monitoring.

The culpable oil companies are being asked to foot the bill for the layoffs. Right now the congress is refusing to extended benefits to laid off workers. Those voting against are the same ones opposed to the moratorium.

With new elections approaching, this may be the only opportunity to get a more constructive/safe energy program.

With new elections approaching, this may be the only opportunity to get a more constructive/safe energy program.

I very much doubt it. When watching the hearings most of the members haven't even tried to understand the problem and their questions sounded like they were plucked out of some media story that day.

They still don't get that the only reason the oil co's are going after riskier projects in the first place is that we are running out of oil. Ultimately the only way to prevent accidents on high risk oil projects, is to not need the oil in the first place.

Halfway through Obama's speech when he started talking about oil being a finite resource, I was hoping he was going to draw a line in the sand and announce a Manhattan-like project to get the US off fossil fuels. IMO the public opinion is so anti-oil at the moment that this would be an easy sell.

Three separate quotes from three articles regarding the best government that money can buy. Follow the money trail.

You can’t comply with “yet-to-be-unveiled rules” until they are unveiled. The impact of this is going to extend well beyond just the drilling companies themselves, BP has drawn a line over paying that at the moment, but we’ll see what pressure the President can bring to bear this week, when he meets with them.

"Employees describe being in Interior – not just MMS, but the other agencies – as the third Bush term," says Jeff Ruch, executive director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, which represents federal whistle-blowers. "They're working for the same managers who are implementing the same policies. Why would you expect a different result? (from Taibbi Stone article linked below)...

..."Most amazingly, even as BP continues to spew oil in unfathomable quantities into the Gulf, this all continues now: "The Obama administration waived environmental reviews for 26 new offshore drilling projects even as the BP oil disaster spewed hundreds of thousands of gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico." And just this week: MMS "approved a new drilling permit for an offshore well in the Gulf of Mexico."

In this episode one thus finds virtually every harmful dynamic of the Obama era. Indeed, this story is found in virtually every realm. Ken Salazar and Sylvia Vaca are to the Interior Department what the countless Goldman, Sachs officials are to Treasury and other financial regulatory arms of the Obama administration. The administration has taken some commendable steps to at least create the appearance of limiting lobbying influence, but the corporate ownership of the Federal Government is as strong as ever. Ken Salazar, the BP exemptions, and the very dubious excuses being offered to justify them illustrate that as much as anything." (from Greenwald (former DOI head) Salon article linked below)...

"Ken Salazer (sic) has repeatedly said his number one priority as Secretary of the Interior is energy independence. Virtual no rational observers believe that energy independence-because you're talking about independence from Canada, among other places-is a realistic goal, one. And two, for the Secretary of Interior-who's in charge of protecting nation parks and other lands-to say his number one priority is energy production is a little alarming. That rhetoric you didn't even hear out of the Bush Administration. Makes Bush's Secretary, Gail Norton sound like John Muir.

So you have this orientation where, basically that energy production on public lands is going to dominate things. Which is precisely what the Bush Administration tried to do. And the only difference is that we think we're going to see the same number of oil rigs both onshore and off, but they may have windmills on top of them." (from Ruchs interview linked below)

Including an excellent link to Cutler Cleveland's discussion regarding energy independence.

And back to dispersants:

So are we actually supposed to take that "dispersant article" seriously? It is full of inane babble and very little discussion of dispersants. Let's take the first two items for example:

1. In the weeks prior to the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe BP CEO Tony Hayward sold 1/3 of his BP shares, using the money to pay off his family mansion.
2. During those same few weeks Goldman Sachs shorted 44% of its BP holdings, while Wachovia and UBS sold 98% and 97% of their BP holdings.

So what exactly does this supposed to mean? That Hayward somehow knew in advance this spill was going to happen? It is very hard to imagine this to be true. Or is it that Tony's stock sale caused the spill?

And as far as banks selling or shorting stocks, this is something they do to thousands of equities on a daily basis. I'd bet on the same day you could find different banks buying these issues, or selling options to GS. In fact there would have be, as for every seller there is a buyer. Again it makes no sense.

Doesn't anyone know about basic rules of logic, i.e. Post Ergo Propter Hoc?


I guess that's not important when attacking BP. Just throw out any old thing related or not and hope it sticks.

And as far as former Nalco executives working for BP and vice-versa, give me a break. These are large companies and the pool of senior executive level talent is small. Just on a statistical basis it is very likely that in any industry there are such employees at any major company that have worked at most other major companies. How many users of TOD have stated that in their careers they have worked for several majors? Plenty.

Nice food for conspiracy theorists but useless for actual evidence.

I followed the link in item 11 because it referred to "Scientific Data"

Scientific data points to the long-term ineffectiveness and damage to overall ecosystem from use of dispersants, demonstrating cases where nature fared far better when oil was left untreated by chemical dispersants.

Unfortunately what I got was a sales pitch for bioremdiation and no data at all. Now I am all in favor of bioremedation, I think it is a great idea. But I also think if you are going to claim that it is more effective or should be used instead of dispersants and that you have scientific data showing it, it might be reasonable to present that data.

And as far as former Nalco executives working for BP and vice-versa, give me a break. These are large companies and the pool of senior executive level talent is small.

Actually this is the specific fact that caught my eye at that link that was germane to thesis of my post, Speaker, which is Corporatism (or Fascism, if you need the traditional name). Some of the connections made there are valid, others aren't. But it looks like folks there are making initial attempts at some synthesis, which is rare in the media these days. I did not follow more than a few of the links. If you need logic and case-building, try this one, below. And while we're on the subject, can any biologist tell me whether the OEMs (oil-eating microbes) are primarily aerobic or anaerobic? Do they thrive at the surface in dispersed, aerobic conditions? Are there other OEMs that operate in denser, deeper, colder waters? How come I have seen NO discussion of this?


Dispersants in the GOM are similarly problematic. Think of them as chemotherapy to a 2000 mile coastline and to hundreds of square miles of sea.

Use them sparingly and on the surface and we have a pretty good idea what will happen – they seem to accelerate evaporation and natural processes that get rid of the oil.

Use them below the surface, however, and we have little experience and simply do not know what the longer-term effects will be. Oil on the sea floor is a naturally occurring phenomenon. There are natural processes that Mother Earth has to deal with it. Microbes eat it. And when it rises to the surface it is then broken down and evaporates. Yes, it’s toxic, and, yes, it does do damage.

Dispersants are manmade; no Mother Nature involved in this one. They are toxic chemicals that can do damage themselves.

When they are used in very cold water and a mile below the surface, we simply do not know what the outcome will be. And we do not know if the small droplets they create become an emulsion that travels for hundreds or thousands of miles. There is initial, but inconclusive, evidence that this is happening in the GOM. We will soon find out. I fear it will be the hard way.

Well I am no biologist, my primary education is based on physical chemistry. However I have spent some time working in the field of biotechnology so I do have some exposure to analogous systems. In particular I have had some contact with Prof. Ananda Chakrabarty who is a real expert in this area.

Generally aerobic systems have much faster metabolisms. Anaerobic processes are slow by comparison and may be less versatile. In any ecology both types of organisms will be present. The organisms will be either facilitative or obligate; that is they will either require aerobic or anaerobic conditions, or they will prefer one or the other. In the GOM I'd expect anaerobic organisms to be benthic and aerobic to be more towards the surface. Hydrocarbon degrading microorganisms will be present in both anaerobic and aerobic types. Aerobic degradation will be faster.

Also the article you quoted is incorrect in that dispersants are all man-made. Corexit is definitely a product of synthetic chemistry, however nature is a great exploiter of physical chemistry and micro-organisms often produce dispersants for their own needs. Including emulsifying oil.


So the idea that dispersion of oil in the GOM is a totally artificial phenomena is flat out wrong.

One of the things that I see routinely in popular texts that are trying to advance "natural" processes or products over synthetics is the statement that "x" does not occur in nature. In general this is false. Nature is far more diverse than most people imagine, and generally synthetic chemistry is just nibbling around the edges of what nature has already done. Another similar thesis is that "natural" is good and "synthetic" is bad. My experience is this is extremely naive. Most of the known human carcinogens are naturally occurring. Ditto the most virulent toxins.

As far as corporatism goes, I've spent time in large organizations. I think there are areas that do warrant concern - particularly the ability of large corporations to corrupt the process of government. It is reasonable for corporate - government partnerships to exist in some cases, particularly in the area of technology development, however there also needs to be careful separation of the two when regulatory issues or lawmaking is on the table. I do not think we are doing a good enough job in this area.

As far as people moving from one company to another being a sign of nefarious activity, that is going to be a very hard sell to me. People do this in order to develop skills and advance careers for no particular evil reason. And companies like to have varying viewpoints and experiences available. Occam's razor clearly applies here unless there is some hard evidence otherwise.

Another similar thesis is that "natural" is good and "synthetic" is bad. My experience is this is extremely naive. Most of the known human carcinogens are naturally occurring. Ditto the most virulent toxins.

It is reasonable for corporate - government partnerships to exist in some cases, particularly in the area of technology development, however there also needs to be careful separation of the two when regulatory issues or lawmaking is on the table.

Speaker To Animals
PhD Chemical Engineering, Masters in Applied Mathematics and Applied Physics. 20+ experience R&D in chemical industry, issued 12 patents with world-wide coverage.
Member for 3 weeks 3 days

Association Fallacy. Red Herring. And ad hominem.


Iaato. Bio: None.

Iaato: "...can any biologist tell me whether the OEMs (oil-eating microbes) are primarily aerobic or anaerobic?...How come I have seen NO discussion of this?"

Uh, I don't have a clue why you haven't seen it, there have been a lot of posts on it. Try entering "Joye" in the search box for a start.

You said:
"I think the emphasis on politics is detrimental. The moratorium would be shorten if the industry would get on board. The Cheney/Bush era is over."

And then you went 100% political. Why?

And then you went 100% political. Why?

That's different.

See sinking battle ship! Where have you been? Maybe you have an idea for a billion pound fishing sinker.

"syn -- Forgot about not circ BU (bottoms up). That's just plain stupid not to do that after running csg IMHO. I doubt it directly contributed to the blow out but it does say something about BP's ops. Getting BU is primarially an info gathering effort. Tells you something about bottom hole conditions."

This quote was pulled off of the retired thread and I finally found something to disagree with ROCKMAN about, well partially(if that counts). In my downhole view of the seqeunce of events, not pumping a bottoms up could have been a HUGE factor in this blow out. Having a gas entrained mud column above the cement job could have been what made POSSIBLE channels in the cement job much worse. Not circulating enough also cause poor mud removal and poor mud removal is a major factor in most bad cement jobs. If not circulating enough could cause there to be synthetic mud channels in the cement job and the hydrostatic pressure being exerted downward on the formation is than than needed for well control, due to that gas entrained mud then not circulating would be a very important factor in why they lost control.

So if you have proper circulation then you have good mud removal, you also get all of the gas out of the mud system and then you should have a much better cement job that's not compromised. If the flow path in on the annulus of the tapered production string, then circulation is a direct and very important as any other factor if not more.

wildman -- your point is valid but I was comparing the problems with gas-cut mud vs. replacing the mud with sea water. Mud cut from 14.5 ppg to 13 ppg isn't good. But compared to cutting it to 7 ppg it' a whole different class of stupidity IMHO.

Oh darn....well I guess I'll have to try again.

Maybe next time!

for what it is worth this headline from Business Insider

David Kotok: BP Oil Spill Will Cause 1 Million Permanent Lost Jobs


great link- thanks.

I enjoy watching AIS feeds, but there are others who want them encrypted or banned from the public.

Is this the current generation cap or one of the ones that are awaiting at the sea floor? The illustration appears to be notional rather than engineering.

My understanding is that the current cap has a seal that went around the cut riser pipe not around the flange. I seem to remember seeing the flange in some of the ROV footage after the cap installation. It appears to have been overtaken by the flow pattern after a while. Could be wrong.

The rubber seal appeared to have failed about a week ago, making no significant difference in the flow. I don't remember seeing any holes in the rubber flaps, but they may have been too small.

Sunday Times: BP to raise $50 billion for oil spill costs http://bit.ly/BP50bln

From the linked article:

(Reuters) - BP (BP.L) is planning to raise $50 billion to cover the cost of the largest oil spill in U.S. history, London's Sunday Times reported without citing sources. The paper said BP planned to raise $10 billion from a bond sale, $20 billion from banks and $20 billion from asset sales over the next two years.

$50 billion is about half of the current market cap; book value and market cap have recently been in the same general neighborhood.

BP's bonds are currently rated as junk.

That's gonna be some expensive borrowing, and those asset sales are going to have a distinct fire-sale odor.

BP is in trouble.

The bond sale is def. going to be at unfavorable terms.

Not so sure that the assets are going to go at a distressed price. Lots of people are looking to add to their reserves. And the time frame is 2 years.

Would someone please post a link for live video of BOP leak. The BP links do not work for me.



This link shows the twelve video links in one screen - caution may cause your browser problems if you have limited resources, well none of us have unlimited resources but you probably know what I mean:-) If you don't then you have some background reading to do!


The Link You Gave Is One Of TWO I Use..The Other Is http://bp.isevil.org/

Here's another one that fits better on my monitor - 4 x 3:

Thank you all of you. Right now the only one that works for me is the link by TonyW. I do not know what happened as I had no problems before.

Can anyone tell what the stuff in the water is, especially the stuff that look like strings?


Comfychair? Tinfoil? Want to touch this one?

It's a rare stringfish.


"Rarely seen and treasured, these are known for having voracious appetites." The Stringfish is endangered, it's population number has been dwindling and more than 50% of their species has died. :-)

According to some here, it's oil/dispersant glomming together and drifting in the currents. I've seen it referred to as "snot."

The GOM has perhaps caught a nasty cold?

It is quite interesting to watch these floating snot-strings. Could the hydrates be forming these structures (some are quite long and complex)? Perhaps, the plume chemistry has changed and coupled with a new mixture of glycol/dispersant they are forming these by-products floating around. Some are quite ghostly floating off the periphery of the ROV cameras.

I've read reports of "sea snot" before the DWH. Giant, Mucus-Like Sea Blobs on the Rise

Yikes, tabby, NatlGeo's text is way scarier than the nasty visuals. (Blobs of E. coli and dead critters that don't decompose? Hide the children's eyes!) But since the article describes a shallow-water problem, how likely is it that the same stuff occurs 5,000 feet down, where it's ice-cold? Hmm.

Totally agree pressure/temp/light conditions are different. I'm not a marine biologist, so any speculation on my part would be just that.

We do know the water contains oxygen & bacteria. Is this a sign the oil is degrading and the oil eating bacteria are forming clumps (aka snot)? Or is this a chemical reaction with the dispersant/oil/hydrates?

If the snot is a product of the spill, why are we seeing it at the BOP? wouldn't it form downwind of the BOP were the oil plumes are? Have the plumes doubled back due to currents? Why does the snot appear to have neutral buoyancy at ~1500m?

Tooo many questions, not enough data.

There is more than before.

It's not sand.


June 20 (Reuters) - An internal BP Plc (BP.L) (BP.N) document released on Sunday by a senior U.S. congressional Democrat shows that the company estimates that a worst-case scenario rate for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill could be about 100,000 barrels of oil per day.

The estimate of 100,000 barrels (4.2 million gallons/15.9 million liters) of oil per day is far higher than the current U.S. government estimate of up to 60,000 barrels (2.5 million gallons/9.5 million liters) per day gushing from the ruptured offshore well into the sea.

The document, which is undated, was released by U.S. Representative Ed Markey, chairman of the energy and environment subcommittee of the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee.

BP had no immediate comment on the document.


I think I may be excused for posting this twice.

Please read carefully, and refrain from cherry-picking for dramatic effect.

The document states, "If BOP (blowout preventer) and wellhead are removed and if we have incorrectly modeled the restrictions -- the rate could be as high as ~ 100,000 barrels per day up the casing or 55,000 barrels per day up the annulus (low probability worst cases)"

Lumps of heavy oil? The high shear conditions and cold temperatures in the water could result in an elongated tarry string being formed after the stuff exits the well. (think taffy).

I saw a reference to this about a week ago, but never did see the pic of the one ton tarball picked up off the Florida coast

smaller version

Any updates on the Overshot Tool?

R2 - It looks like a dead one of these;


is this tar like bunker fuel and could it be burn in steam ships?

Rockman: (from closed post): "I had originally guessed that BP might try to settle w/Anadarko on the side." The parties are still at the chest thumping and braying at the moon stage. Even when everyone files legal actions against everyone else (Yee Haa! brought to court in a parade of wheelbarrows), these filings are probably negotiating ploys by which they're trying to assess their "partners" and adversaries strengths and weaknesses.

The filing that all oil companies and subs are holding their breaths over is the consolidated class action on behalf of all the injured individual parties. It could be in an amount not to exceed US $1,000,000,000,000,000.52. BP is already forum shopping to have the class action cases heard before a Houston federal judge who they know (wink, nod) would be friendly to the Big Oil's defense.

How do I know?

June 17: "Judge favored by BP has financial ties to oil industry: The judge that BP wants to hear an estimated 200 lawsuits over the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster gets tens of thousands of dollars a year in oil royalties and is paid travel expenses to industry conferences, financial disclosure forms show." http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/06/17/bp.judge.oil.ties/index.html?eref=rss_l...

Those pesky financial disclosure statements. Just another crazy paperwork-sucking regulation. Hate 'em. How I long for the days of yesteryear when a good ole Texas judge could make a few quite extra bucks on the side for walking around money.

more on ROV feeds, one stop shopping, and other information from the IRC chat FAQ, which is an invaluable resource:


For those on dial-up, here's a link to BP Oil Spill Live Streams - At A Glance updated every minute.

Update to Rockman about my comment above in response to Rockman's comment on closed thread:

BP has a "messaging" problem about suing:

BP: No Decision To Sue Anadarko Over Oil Spill Costs:

Remember the "Is Tony in charge or not?" garble Friday. Well, now lawsuit garble.

[Edited for comment thread clarity.]

"...these filings are probably negotiating ploys by which they're trying to assess their "partners" and adversaries strengths and weaknesses."

Usually the case. However, as you've noted before, EL, we have mean and hungry prosecutors in this case, and criminal, as well as civil, proceedings in the offing.

If Anadarko has anything significant that the US Attorney wants, I doubt that it is going to have very much room in its negotiations with BP.

"BP is already forum shopping..."

Yeah. Too bad for BP that recusal is probably unavoidable.

Plaintiffs, of course, will want the class action heard in the Southern District of Mississippi—preferably with John Grisham presiding, pursuant to a special, temporary appointment.

As you may remember, Grisham's pal Dickie Scruggs hails from Pascagoula. But luckily for his neighbors, he's sitting disbarred in the federal cooler, so he can't screw this up for them.

kal: "It's too soon to tell." Zhou Enlai/Chou En-Lai, referring to the French Revolution (1789) in conversation with Kissinger.

El -- Opinions will vary but IMHO the second to last place BP should want a trial is Houston (the first, of course, being Baton Rouge). Any Houston judge that goes light on BP can kiss off any future support of the oil patch. I haven't heard one person on my side of the fence that doesn't want to see BP crucified. And pick a jury pool here? Good luck with getting a fair trial from their peers. These peers want BP blood in the worse way. If they were smart they would go for a Minnesota venue.

Rockman: Either BP knows something you and I don't or they're receiving very poor legal advice from a top tier Houston law firm. They ran immediately to this judge. A judge can manipulate the final outcome at the opaque pretrial stages.

Hmmm...going to try to stay opaque in Hoston where most lawyers drink in the same bars as the oil patch? Good luck with that plan. LOL

I was not clear. "Opaque" to the press and public. Lawyers' bar chat is too "inside baseball" for any sane person. Did you read "Plaintiff's Motion to Exclude Section 17(b) on page 41 of the Third Memorandum of Understanding between Conglomerated United Machine Thingys, Inc....."?

Edit Addendum: The oil patch may want BP publicly flayed alive with a steel tipped quirt, but they don't want the same quirt turned on then at a later date if they screw up. Legal precedent can be a ... can't think of the word. It should be a delicate waltz to watch.

EL -- I don't hear much worries about precedent. Perhaps I'm no hanging with enough legal eagles. OTOH there seems to be enough precedent to hang BP right now. Unless they can come up with a clever plan to stick the blame on God they're going to be crucified IMHO. What they drilled into wasn't at all unique: the circumstance were no worse than been handled successfully thousands on times by other operator. Time will tell but I haven't seen anything about abnormal equipment failure from anyone including BP. It seems clear to many that the procedure was flawed either by design or implimentation. Either aspect was the sole responsibility of BP. But, as they say, that's why we have horse races: to settle differences of opinion. My guess is BP's horse is going to be put down before it even sees the finish line. LOL.

Rockman: Let me give you an example: Plaintiffs will sue all three joint venturers (and everyone else they can think of). If Judge dismisses Anadarko and Mitsui out of suit, where might that leave other oil patchers in their joint ventures? The Doctrine of Unanticipated Consequences.

Edit: Or reverse: If Judge leaves Anadarko and Mutsui in as defendants, and if there is judgment v. all defendants, then Sanadarko would pay 25% of damages and Mitsui 10%. Could mean survival for BP.

Basic question: BP wants this judge in this jurisdiction. Why?

EL -- I'll take a chance and speak for the rest of the oil patch: if the judge DOESN'T give Anadarko and Mitsui a pass card based upon the negligence clause in the JOA the rest of the oil patch will roll up in a fetal position and pee on themselves. When it comes to operations the JOA essentially makes the operator king. The partners have almost no control over ops. Would you sign on to a BP partnership (or any other operator) if you'll be on the hook no matter how stupidly the operator acts? IOW who would you be willing to trust with your corporate life? My owner is adament about being the operator in our joint ventures even when we trust the other partners. If someone is going to cut our corporate throat via poor ops decisions it's going to be me wielding the knife. Then he can at least nail my b*lls to his door.

Just my dark view of the matter: if the judge doesn't rule in Anadarko's favor regarding the JOA provisions he is a marked man in Texas. And we're deadly serious about such feelings. And that would be true even if such a ruling did honor the law. The oil patch is desparite to see protection via the JOA. It's more important than insurance in some ways. Just consider if an operator's ins. coverage is voided based upon negligence. Then the only protection left would be the JOA.

Rockman: The "negligence clause" in most contracts is for "gross negligence" (read: reckless) or willful (knowingly and/or on purpose). That's why Anadarko used those very words. The reckless standard? Maybe this judge has already defined "reckless" in one of his opinions and his definition of reckless fits BP's needs. You can start researching this topic now. "If we knew what we were doing, it wouldn't be called Research." — A. Einstein.

Remember that words such as 'reckless' taken on specific legal meanings that may not match what people understand. There will be a lot more legal jargon so be careful how it is interpreted. It is like a noob trying to understand oil field jargon such as a worm looking for a V-door key.


not: And different judges and appeals court interpret it differently. That's why I asked Rockman to research the definitions of "reckless" and "willful" by this judge and by this jurisdiction. I'm anxiously awaiting his answer.

I'll ask you the question: Why did BP's lawyers rush to this judge in this jurisdiction? ali, in effect, asked the same question (below).

"And different judges and appeals court interpret it differently"
Exactly, that is why people need to be careful about using their own interpretation. As to the judge, don't dismiss the thought of family trees lightly, it does happen. Starting points would be what is the judge's record in previous cases, any connections between lawyers, judge, politicians etc. What about company registration, bankruptcy laws in Texas, times to trials etc, lots of factors. Mind you, I have been wondering if BP's legal team have been on the ball, too. Shrugs, don't know.


Yep -- Anadarko's words. Be great if they ever make the JOA public. I'll pull one of ours out tomorrow. Won't know how close it comes to thiers, of course. But would be interesting to see how much they try to tie down those definitions. Also be interesting if the BP JOA requires binding arbitration to settle such definitions. I know some JOA's have this provision.

Rockman: Thank you. That would be great. It would give us some general sense of what the stock content is. But I always want the actual document between the parties. Anadarko (would you believe a leak?) might or the US might release the Agreement between the parties. It will out eventually, maybe in my life time.

Edit: Typo.

I would guess that the required "gross negligence" or "recklessness" will have to be causally related to the loss, such that "but for" the gross negligence, there would have been no loss.

If none of BP's gross negligence can be attributed as being a (possibly substantial) cause of the blowout, and it instead was the crew's fault, possibly BP would escape the clause and the others would be on the hook, at least under that contract even if not elsewhere (under other laws or agreements). Even if no, they might then have an indemnity clam against rig owner. Of course, BP is gunning for the BP manufacturer also, probably under products liability, breach of warranty and indemnity claims.

That's what happens when you cut corners, I guess.

Then the only protection left would be the JOA.

but wouldn't a separate trial is necessary to detemine if BP violate the JOA and hence has to pay for the damage on it's own? How can a judge release APC and Mitsui liability without a trial?? May be a possible outcome is that all liability trial get deferred until APC/BP/Mitsui can sort out who are the responsible party first? If I were the trial lawyers representing anyone seeking blood from BP, I would want to wait and see what dirt APC and Mitsui has on BP first.. They probably has more evidence than anyone else can dig up...And APC and Mitsui can try out their legal theories that may or may not be able to pin the same "gross negligency" label on BP. Once they can pin that lable on BP then BP will have to decide if they want to put BP USA into bk and give themselves time to deal with all the lawsuit..

The minority partners can sit on their hands i.e. pay nothing until BP sues them for breach of contract. Then BP has to prove that the contract was breached because they (BP), were not negligent or whatever duty of care is spelled out by the JOA. Not a road BP will be too happy to go down.

The minority partners have lost their "passive" investment. They may be tempted to sue BP to recover this, but need to bide their time, so as not to look like corporate opportunist.

Then BP has to prove that the contract was breached because they (BP), were not negligent or whatever duty of care is spelled out by the JOA. Not a road BP will be too happy to go down.

Why would BP need to prove that it is not negligence?.. All it needs to prove is that APC/Mistui are liable.. APC and Mitsui then need to prove that BP is negligence hence they don't have to pay.. If I sue my neighbor for damage my property, all I need to do is proving that he did the damage and I suffer loss. I don't need to prove that I don't have flood, fire.... in my property hence I can collect from him.. If you want negative proof of nothing wrong happen, when do you stop?

When I first started watching the ROV cams I saw one of the strings that looked like a squid come into view, it got right in front of the lens and disintegrated into a thousand pieces. I thought maybe it was a methane hydrate formation and came apart from the warmth of the spot light.

Corexit 9500 is the dispersant they are using and one of the main ingredients of it is an emulsifier which is used to mix oil and water. Using an emulsifier you would think some of the oil would be suspended in the whole water column.


"A fourth ingredient is found extensively in cosmetics and is also used as a surface-active agent and emulsifier for agents used in food contact."

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/ybenjamin/detail?blogid=150&entry_id...


Am I correct that Hayward didn't budge in his testimony that a BOP is the best preventative (fail safe?) device? But he also hedged when confronting the failure rate. "We will participate in industry-wide efforts to improve the safety and reliability of subsea blowout preventers and deep water drilling practices.".
So, 1.) Does a suspension of the moratorium demand either a new generation of BOP or a significant redesign and neither will have people in the Gulf back to works as soon as wish, and 2.) In lieu of replacing the units in use, isn't the industry and regulators conceding they'll be answering the same questions after a failure? ("Was money-speed more important than safety?")
That is, can the parties involved in signing off and certifying a BOP satisfy critics who want a quicker solution so operations can commence and also provide sufficient confidence for those who won't compromise safety for a return to operating the rigs?

I'm not certain, but after looking at everything I can about the BOP stack, I have some serious reservations that they are ever really tested under operating conditions. Just the notation that the lower rams in this BP MC252 diagram are labeled "Test Rams" leads me to believe none of the other rams in the stack are operated except in an emergency. I've seen notes that MMS stipulated some type of testing when installed, and then periodically thereafter, but no info on the correct procedures. Can anyone point me to that info?

I worked in large mainframe computer systems, and always tested the Emergency Power Off at install and during the (usually) annual preventative maintenance, where the main power was cut at the main breakers in case of a fire or other emergency. Just like the BOP, you don't want the EPO to fail when you need it most.

If I am not mistaken both the blind shear ram and the variable rams are used from time to time during normal operations to close the annulus either with or without the drill pipe (blind shear w/o variable w) and of course the annular preventers in the LMRP portion are used throughout. This is not necessarily a reasonable indicator of their performance during an emergency. The very large casing shear would not be used except in an emergency as it cannot close the annulus against pressure - it is just supposed to shear whatever pipe is in the BOP at the time and the blind shear would have to be closed to hold pressure.

In normal practice, BOP testing is preceded by insertion of a plug at the wellhead designed to seal against pressure from below and serve as the bottom of the test chamber. In the Deepwater Horizon BOP, a test ram pair was installed with sealing reversed, to hold pressure from above. The test rams closed to form the bottom of the test chamber instead of the usual plug, but each ram pair and the annular preventers supposedly were tested as usual.

This is something the I remember Shell either does or used to do. Count's exactly correct about the test ram. From what I understand the test ram is EXTRA it didn't take away from the function of the BOP's and was within MMS regs.

Where the test ram may have been an issue was that BP folks didn't realize that the test ram was not a blind shear ram and they attempted to close it on the drill pipe via ROV, which was obviously a fruiless endeavor.

The use of a test ram simply makes the BOP testing process much faster and may actually be a safer practice than having to trip all the way out of the hole to pick up a test tool in order to test BOP's, then trip back in to set it and trip out the hole again to take it off after testing. If you use a test ram you can just pull your drilling assembly above the test ram and start pressure testing BOP's. When you open the well to trip back in your in position to deal with any well control issues directly without having to make extra trips in and out of the well.

Basically you have less risk being caught with your pants down.

The problem that BP had with the ROV activation was that the activation circuitry had been modified and they had the incorrect plan of its functions. Apparently it took a while for them to figure this out.

Thanks Interested_Public, wildbourgman, and count - That helps clarify the purpose of the test rams, which were to enhance the safety characteristics of the BOP. The failure to update the documentation of the BOP changes is inexcusable considering it's been down there for more than two months prior to the blowout. Any time we had upgrades to equipment, getting the corrected documentation added was a paramount endeavor; without it you'd be shooting in the dark, literally. Several folks should lose their jobs on that score.

BP is looking like a real collection of misfits.

Transocean had the documentation (the people whose BOP it was), BP didn't, at least that is how I understood it. As to why there wasn't better coordination from the beginning...

Why? Because they were in full on freak out mode!

What is the function of the various rams in the BOP? The drawing above shows four types:

Blind/shear rams
Casing shear rams
Pipe rams
Test rams

As far as I can tell, a shear ram cuts but does not seal, while a blind ram seals but cannot cut. The way I see it working is, first the shear ram closes and severs anything in the BOP; then the severed item falls into the well; then the blind rams close and seal the BOP. In other words, a cascade operation. Is this how things work? But then, what is a pipe ram? This is so confusing.

Blind/shear rams - designed for shearing and sealing, that doesn't always work.
Casing shear rams -the same as above except they are design for casing tubulars.
Pipe rams- designed to seal on various or specific sizes of drill pipe or tubing.
Test rams-blind rams with no shears built in turned up side down for BOP testing.

"Blind/shear rams - designed for shearing and sealing, that doesn't always work."

They work great on test... But it depends on what's in the wellbore as to whether they'll really work.

One large mf site I worked on 20 yrs ago had 2 separate power supplies (one shared exclusively with a major hospital), state of the art UPS, and generators. Every test worked....

The main supply was taken down for maintenance. The backup supply (and hospital main supply) cables had been laid at the bottom of a local canal. Unknown to anyone the council were dredging the canals at the time. They took out a 3m chunk of the cable. Our UPS/generators kicked in, the hospital went dark.

This all happened on one of the hottest days of the year. The A/C was working that hard, that the data centre had a brown out. They shut down all non-essential equipment, sent the development staff home, and powered back up.

No-one thought we would ever run out of fuel for the generators, but the time to get either power supply back was much longer than planned (~36hrs). It took too long to get re-fuelled and the data centre went dark for a second time.

When the backup supply came back there was a glitch switching and we had a third shut-down. A test had never been performed switching from the generators to the backup supply, while the main supply was off.

These sorts of scenarios are not at all unusual. Been there, seen that, sat around twiddling my thumbs several times.


Back in the 70's I was at a site when they decided to test their center's UPS/Generator system they'd just installed, to show it off for the CEO and members of the Board. The generator caught fire, and dumped the building. Seems they had added a bunch of equipment without updating the specs of the unit.

We saw several managers leave that week. ;^)

It has been noted in another thread, that mechanism is a Blow Out "PREVENTER" not a Bolw Out "ARRESTOR". If it had been activated at the first indication of issues with the well, other remedial techniques would have been available to get things into balance. When prudent drilling practices are ignored, the BOP is at risk of encountering conditions for which it was never engineered. However, poor maintenance and testing practices for the BOP augment the likelyhood of a malfunction at any point. As far as I can imagine, the only option in the event that a BOP function test were negative would be to cement the well in preparation for abandonment, recover the assembly and move on to the next drilling operation; which is what I belive they were doing when the disaster occurred.

Well, Hayward provided a short list (3) of when, how failure occurred, in a single answer: Hayward:  We believed that the blowout preventer was the ultimate fail‐safe mechanism.
It failed on three separate indications:  
It failed when it was activated on the drilling rig at the time of the incident.  
It failed to operate when the drilling rig separated from the blowout preventer, as it should have done.  
And it failed to activate when we had submersible robots at the blowout preventer within 24 hours of the incident."
As an ironic if not sarcastic reminder he added, "That was the fail‐safe mechanism."

And yes, it will become more complicated rather then less as the investigation proceeds.
I expect there will be greater debate regarding the cause and I don't see how the moratorium can be lifted soon enough to satisfy those who are currently demanding people go back to work.
Yes, the very region that is suffering from the failure is also impatient regarding the elimination of the probable weak link.
They want to start again, soon. But they aren't clear what they consider to be a satisfactory fix?

The dynamic remains: How little can be done so an industry can operate versus how much needs be done so regulators and the industry aren't on the hot seat again?


Out of curiosity, are accidents of this magnitude in the oil industry investigated by a federal agency like the NTSB as happens with transportation accidents?

I have a pretty favorable opinion of the NTSB from some things I've read in the past. The news media seem to hate them because they take a long time to reach a conclusion.

Hayward: We believed that the blowout preventer was the ultimate fail‐safe mechanism.
It failed on three separate indications:
It failed when it was activated on the drilling rig at the time of the incident.
It failed to operate when the drilling rig separated from the blowout preventer, as it should have done.
And it failed to activate when we had submersible robots at the blowout preventer within 24 hours of the incident."

When the BOP autopsy is completed we will probably find it performed as designed. I suspect that the shears were activated from the DWH but a joint was in the shears when it happened and it is not designed to cut joints. The second and third activations did nothing as the shears and rams had already functioned as far as they could.

I suspect that the shears were activated from the DWH but a joint was in the shears when it happened and it is not designed to cut joints.

Testimony of Subsea Supervisor Chris Pleasant who hit the EDS from the bridge was that the electronic sequence ran through correctly but pressure gauges showed that nothing physically happened at the BOP. Plus there was a delay of five minutes or so where the Captain could have activated the EDS but did not. In fact he tried to prevent Pleasant from pushing the button. In the end the EDS was only hit after BP Company Man Donald Vidrine confirmed with Pleasant that he should push the button. Testimony was that they both then watched and Pleasant again confirmed with Vidrine that the disconnect hadn't worked. This was all done behind the Captain's back - literally.

Did Pleasant actually say that flowmeters showed no movement of hydraulic fluid in the control system? Vocabulary difference might be a tiny quibble. Maybe by the time Pleasant tried to activate EDS hydraulic fluid had leaked out, or there was no pump/power to create pressure to move hydraulic fluid.

I'm new... still trying to get the hang of how to reply to threads. I had originally wanted to reply to this thread by saying that Hayward was simply equivocating. Federal oversight is lax, if not non-existent, calling into question the definition of "industry standards." Case in point, a glaring neglect of "industry standards" is being ignored with another BP oil well/platform, Atlantis.

(reposted text) When I wrote my Congressman Michael Honda, I learned that The BP platform Deepwater Horizon was not even on the radar of possible catastrophic failure.... HOWEVER, another BP platform was. Congress was well aware of the potential catastrophic failure of the BP platform Atlantis, which is still very much a possibility. Here is what Congressman Honda wrote, followed by an article I found with more detail about the potential of failure with the Atlantis. This is scary stuff.... I think the Atlantis also deserves mention and attention ASAP.

From Congressman Michael Honda:
"I have also joined with my a number of my colleagues, led by Representative Raul Grijalva of Arizona, in asking Interior Secretary Salazar to direct the Minerals Management Service to promptly and thoroughly investigate whether another BP platform in the Gulf, the BP Atlantis, is currently operating safely and adhering to the law. In March 2009, a whistleblower notified MMS that he believed BP lacked a large percentage of engineer-approved, up-to-date drawings for Atlantis's subsea components. A review of a BP database shows that of the more than 7,176 documents and drawings for Atlantis's subsea components, a total of 6,393 of them - over 90% - had not been approved by a professional engineer, as required by industry minimum standards and MMS regulations. A 2008 email from BP's own management indicated that using these incomplete or inaccurate documents "could lead to catastrophic Operator errors due to their assuming the drawing is correct." A thorough investigation of BP Atlantis must include interviewing the whistleblower and other BP employees, including the ombudsman, as well as examining whether the company properly responded to the whistleblower's concerns. Lessons learned will help shed light on how the company views safety requirements for very complex platforms operating in challenging deep water environments. It could even shed light on the cause of the Deepwater Horizon accident."

Also... here is a more detailed story about BP Atlantis and whistle-blower information mentioned above by Congressman Honda:

I have some questions on setting casing.

 DDIII - MC 252 #3
 Spudded well - May 2nd
 Set 36" casing at 5,494' - May 2nd
 Set 28" casing at 6,730' - May 5th
 Set 22" casing at 8,762' - May 8th
 Set 18" casing at 9,945' - May 24th
 Set 16" casing at 12,057' - June 2nd
 Set 13 5/8" casing at 13,869' - June 9th
 Drilled to 15,938'
 Currently setting 11 7/8" casing - June 18th


Above is the progress report from RW 3 on June 18.

When say, the 18" casing was set at 9945', how much cement was involved? What is the flow path for the cement? Does the cement cover the entire string or just part way up to the 22"? In other words are parts of the casing string just hanging in the drill hole or is the entire hole cemented?

Thanks to all of you experts for your patience. My apologies if this has already been addressed. It's been a great education so far.

Here is something for you to chew on:


Thank you. I now understand what "bumping the plug" means. Also what the float shoe and float collar are for. The cement in the diagram did not cover the entire lenght of the casing. Several warnings about centering the pipe too.

"Cement Head" sounds like something my dad might have said, about selected individuals.



Can anyone explain why Relief Well #2 appears to have made so little progress since May 24th (8,576') now at 10,000' - whilst RW #1 went from 9,945' on May24th and is now at 15,938'.

Do they need both RWs to intersect with the main bore before they can stop the flow?

Why are they suggesting this will take until August? Are they being extra cautions - can I hope to wake up one morning soon and find that the #1 team have stopped it?

any insights would be appreciated


They do not need both wells to intersect the wellbore to stop the flow. My take on the August date for completion is that they are going with the very worst case senario.

The drilling will slow down significantly once they get closer to the intervention point. That all depends on how they plan on killing the well too. If they plan on milling into the well I don't think they need to slow down quite as much. I wouldn't mill into the target well.

pug, work on RW2 was interrupted for ?? days so that its drillship DD2 could be moved closer to the wild well to be in position to lower the spare BOP it had carried out from port for possible placement on top of or in place of the existing BOP.

I don't recall if the new BOP was actually ever lowered to the seafloor, but that particular solution path to closing the flow was discarded somewhere along the way, perhaps after concern over possible existing damage to the well casings, leading to the apparent decision not to do anything that would increase pressure down the well.

HO, thanks for a good article, not that your other articles have been any less good. When I first saw the suction pile, I thought that they were going to place it over the BOP. Then I realized what it was.

Maybe that concept, call it a suction cap, would have been easier than trying to attach anything to the BOP. They would have had to clear the debris around the wellhead first, but is that an insurmountable problem?

Suppose they got a suction cap over the BOP. It would have to withstand the differential pressure (dp) between the sea and the inside. If the pressure inside is always greater, not hard, but I am prepared to be proven wrong about that.

If the dp goes negative, the worst case would be about 400 psi at the 5000 foot depth, if we consider only the imaginary static condition. That is, the difference between the higher seawater pressure outside and the lower pressure inside from a fully developed flowing column of oil and gas in the riser, but with the imaginary requirement of no flow in the column, therefore no pressure effects due to flow losses. This imaginary situation provides a starting point for design.

I have just begun to speculate on how this might work to capture all of the oil and gas, but will wait to see whether anyone can shoot down even this much of it.

There remains the problem of surface capacity. What are they going to do if they bring all of the oil and gas to the surface? As Roger has said most effectively, that is the best way to deal with it, but BP apparently does not want that to happen, as I speculated earlier. They would rather keep the oil they can’t lighter under the water, using dispersants to ensure that, without regard to the long term consequences. It looks better on TV , at least for now. It also prevents a decent measurement of the amount of oil and gas that is escaping from the blown well, all the better for inducing doubt in court.

BP has apparently said there is a hole in the casing(s) at 1000 ft and that top kill mud vented into the sediments (wsj and washington post)

Current pressure at base of BOP is 4400 psi meaning it is at least 4750 psi at 1000 ft

lith pus hydrostatic column outside casing is no more than 3500 psi

sediments at 1000 ft have little or no strength especially after being subjected to high pressure top kill.

ergo, the well is currently venting oil and gas from the 1000 ft leak.

As usual another case of the MSM (WSJ and Washington Post in this case) editing what BP and/or USCG say - I guess because that's what they do; edit things - and in the process, because they don't understand what they are editing, manage to change the actual meaning of what BP/USCG said.

As I remember it BP said that they were not able to push the mud much past 1,000 feet and indicated that the casing might be compromised at that level or below. That doesn't necessarily mean the well is leaking into the mud. The casing could be collapsed but still intact or they could be referring to a problem involving the liner or a leak in an annular into another layer of casing or it could be leaking into a formation below the mud.

I doubt that it is actually leaking out of the casing into the mud at 1,000 feet. Typically any leak like that would follow the casing string up as the path of least resistance and it is clear there is no seabed leakage close to the well head. If there was it would be obvious in the ROV video. Think about how the oil and gas leaking from the cap rises up and is quite visible. Any oil and gas emanating from the seabed would have a similar appearance - pretty dark and rising straight up with some velocity - and would be a constant feature in the ROV videos if it was close to the wellhead.

Also - the pressure of 4,400 psi was a reading before the riser kink was removed and it almost certainly less now. BP estimated the flow would increase about 20% but due to the portion coming out the drill pipe it seems to have increased much more than that. I estimated (from no decent data) it could have increased by as much as 50%. That would probably drop the internal pressure a lot.

It is interesting that the USCG has not seen fit to tell us the new pressure below the BOP although they undoubtedly have that information. Maybe they were worried that people on TOD might be able to make a rough estimate as to the increase in flow.

shelburn, I had some thougts earlier


My posts begins "Does the casing works like a concrete vibrator while drilling a well?" pretty near the end of that thread. If I´m right there may be a leak out of the casing downhole without any signs of it at the wellhead. I hope I´m wrong but yet nobody have explained to me why.

Kind regards from Sweden.

I have seen a ROV video on youtube posted of *small* amounts of what appears to be oil coming from the sea floor. News accounts that say there is a leak. I ask when is a leak a leak? Answer: it depends on the circumstances. I have been in discussions of motor and turbine shaft seals where the discussion is how much oil constitutes a leak. A small weapage is a leak to some, but normal to others. Take a look at oil field pumps and compressors, paying attention to all the threaded lube system connections. Also, pump jack sucker rod seals. They will be coated with oil - but the leakage is acceptable - they don't leak.

IMHO, there may be a small leak that is not worth worrying about.

There has been no effort to search for a leak in the seafloor and so we really do not know if one exists.

It's clear from past behaviour that BP will not want to see any leak (like they didn't want to measure flow - for legal reasons) - in fact, they will do anything to avoid seeing it.

Wait, what? What about all the people claiming that certain ROVs have spent hours 'staring' (I love the idea of an ROV staring at something, LOL) at vast oil plumes/hydrate flakes erupting from the seafloor? They claim there are mountains of video evidence showing the ruptures.

Also, that when a feed shows a blank screen, or a test pattern, or a static shot of the service bay at the surface, this is BP tampering with the video to hide the really bad stuff.

So when the mission title says onscreen "Seabed Integrity Survey", that's proof they don't want to ... what? Explain it to me. I can't find any way to tie all these theories together, they all contradict each other. I guess that's proof they are all true?

I haven't been watching the ROVs - it's just too much for me to stare at that stuff.

But I have not heard of any seabed integrity study, To do that, you need to study a grid, not just some selected points. You do not know in advance where the leak might be.

And yes, I am suspicious of BP's dedication to truth after the whole leak rate stories.

edit: BTW _ have not personally seen any convincing evidence for a leak from the ROVs. But I do think that the pressure evidence is more convincing. That's the whole freakin idea of posting it on TOD. I don't mind being debunked but please let the debuking be "about something".

comfy is convinced that any seabed leakage has to be in the field of operations of the ROVs. This is just his opinion. If the leakage is 1000 feet below the surface or deeper then it could be coming out thousands of feet from the well head. It depends on the density of the silt layers that cover the seafloor for well over 1000 feet of depth. The silt is not some loose sand and gravel it can be as impermeable as clay. Given the massive pressure exerted by 1000 feet of this "pudding" it would not be surprising that the gas-oil could be following the path of least resistance *sideways* through a relatively sandier layer.

It is clear by now that the well below the BOP is badly damaged and any attempt to plug the leak at the seabed is pointless. This is why they gave up on the junk shot and never bothered to properly remove the bent riser at the BOP flange and capture the leaking gas-oil mixture in a sealed fashion.

What I saw was really small, perhaps a few gallons of stuff coming out of the mud. Could have been natural, or something other than oil such as gas or stirred up mud.

The direct link is actually this one http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6623#comment-655337

To expand a bit, what we are suggesting is that the escaping gas/oil mixture is going to set up fairly high frequency vertical vibrations along the length of the casing and this will have a "puddling" effect on the silt/mud around the initial six hundred feet of well-bore causing the silt/mud it to settle and compact.

This settling would create the unexplained crater at the well-head and the compacting would create a seal around casing forcing any oil or gas leaking from down the well to find escape routes in accordance with what people are claiming to have observed.

Anybody that has ever played around in quicksand can tell you how effective this seal can be. What kills you is that the suction seal makes it very difficult to free your legs so, in an effort to escape, you jiggle your feet up and down, which makes the suction worse and then the tide comes in and you drown.(Contrary to popular opinion, modern teenagers are very tame.)

I work with concrete a fair bit so I'll address this vibrator idea from a concrete placement perspective. Vibration removes air bubbles from freshly placed concrete by liquifying the slurry so the bubbles can float up quickly.

Moving on over to the BP wellhead, if the casing is vibrating enough to create a "puddling" effect, then any leaking oil and/or gas would travel right up through the puddle, right along the casing, and avoid the more solid mud farther away.

If you think, "well, it was vibrating, but it stopped and the mud is now compacted close to the casing", then you forgot to consider exactly how a vibrator works, and how little effect is can have on semi-consolidated mud. A "high frequency vertical vibration" won't do anything. Frequency is important, but without lateral amplitude and sufficient outward ("centifugal") force, it's just a harmless but pleasant buzzing.

You would have to get the whole string of casing jumping a few millimeters side to side with a few tons of force per foot, a couple hundred times a second to have the kind of effect you are describing.

Here is an easy to understand overview of vibration in concrete (and mud is much like concrete without the aggregate):


If all that doesn't convince you, think of the tilted 45 ton BOP sitting on top of hundreds of feet of pipe. If the mud is being liquified around the casing, why didn't it all just slowly tip over weeks ago?


Thanks for taking the time...

Here is the post article:

And here is a fragment:
Sources at two companies involved with the well said that BP also discovered new damage inside the well below the seafloor and that, as a result, some of the drilling mud that was successfully forced into the well was going off to the side into rock formations.

"We discovered things that were broken in the sub-surface," said a BP official who spoke on the condition of anonymity. He said that mud was making it "out to the side, into the formation."

That is not interpreted but is quoted. It states that there is a connection to surrounding sediments. Double-sourced apparently.

On the whole, I agree that MSM is mostly ridiculous though. But maybe not in this instance.

I agree it is quite possible that there is a leak into another "rock" formation (an underground blowout) but to be in a rock formation it must be well below the mud layer, which I believe extends well below 1,000 feet.

I still am confident that no oil is leaking out of the mud near the wellhead as it would be obvious on the ROV videos.

I have also seen some of the videos many are claiming are oil leaks from the bottom. I have spend over 20 years reviewing ROV videos and I have seen nothing here that looks like an oil leak. Most is turbidity kicked up by the ROV's thrusters and a few show what appears to be small threads of mud as if a drill pipe (from the sinking rig) or something below the surface had been disturbed. Oil and gas will move upwards through the water column with much higher velocity than the mud shown in these videos; as an example see the oil coming out from under the cap.

In the same article you referenced there was this paragraph.

"Tadeusz W. Patzek, chairman of petroleum and geosystems engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, said it was the "equivalent of six or seven fire hoses blasting oil and gas up, while two fire hoses were used to blast the drilling mud down. They never stood much of a chance."

Due to his position I won't call Patzek an "instant expert" because he actually should be an expert, but when he makes this statement as BP is pumping in over 70 bbl per minute (over 100,000 bpd) then he is essentially saying the well is putting out over 300,000 bpd which is physically impossible. But none of the media are interested in double checking their facts.

I agree about the ROV evidence. Partly because I wouldn't know how to interpret it but also because all the videos I've seen look like disturbance caused by the ROV (but see first qualification).

I didn't link the article for Patzek's take, either. The quotes in the article were specific, though, and came from three sources. So I do not discount them out of hand. I do not know the truth so I'm trying to assume as little as possible.

I agree that we will be dealing with unlithified mud at that depth.

If oil leaks into the mud 1000 ft down, are you sure that it must travel absolutely vertically? It couldn't stray laterally by a few hundred feet and be missed by the cameras? Does the vertical movement come from the assumption that mud will act as a fluid? Surely the mud will not be homogeneous, though - the path upwards might be torturous.

I don't disagree there may well be an underground blow out but I doubt is is coming to the seabed.

Although the normal path for a casing blowout is up the outside of the well bore it certainly could travel laterally, especially if there is a fault or other discontinuity. But that is unlikely in sedimentary mud.

The ROVs all carry sector scan sonar. Sector scan sonar can pick up even small oil leaks (they stand out like fireworks) at distances of up to or in excess of 300 meters. It is unlikely that oil leaking from 1,000 feet below the seabed would be displaced by over 45 degrees on its trip up. I expect that

If you were into conspiracy theories (I trust you are not from your posts) you could speculate that the USCG, the MMS, BP, the ROV operators and ROV contractors are conspiring to hide the fact there are subsea leaks. There are probably several hundred people who have access to the original ROV data, including sector scan, and its doubtful in the extreme they would all be silent if there really were seabed leaks. And the MMS, USCG and BP all have the authority to send the ROVs looking for leaks if they are concerned. And some of the side trips by ROVs could easily be such searches.

I brought up Patzek as an example of the media's irresponsibility in checking their facts, not to try to discredit your three sources. Unfortunately, none of the "official" pronouncements translate to a leak outside the casing at 1,000 feet below the seabed.

My experience with the media in the past couple months has made me extremely cynical about everything I see or read. I have tried to watch numerous outlets and some are certainly better than others but even media like the NYT, WSJ, CNN, etc consistently provide false information and almost never correct it later.

I am amazed by the one reporter, actually a commentator, who actually seems to really try to get the facts right and apologies for her mistakes. Rachel Maddow - who certainly has an agenda - does seem to work at being factual.

It is possible that a small leak is charging up the mud at 1000 feet or so. If the leak is not too large, I suspect the oil/gas may remain trapped in the mud for some time before eventually making it's way to the surface.

Years ago, in 1983 or so, I was involved with a blowout off Sable Island on the Canadian east coast. If memory serves, the BOP functioned correctly but it was decided to drill a relief well as going back through the BOP was not practical. The target was high pressure gas ( 18000 psi ). During the intervention process, we ran high resolution seismic surveys around the drill site every week or so to look for signs of gas coming up through formation.

So, it is entirely possible that you will get a leak ( seep ) at some point in the future. You should be able to check for this with seismic, but not until the fleet at the surface has left. I don't think you would be able to get any reasonable data with all those vessels in the way and making noise.

That's fascinating about the seismic and how they were conservative enough to shoot seismic. Actually, I think they should be doing that here, just to be sure. What if a leak intersected the relief well? (sorry to all for such a tin suggestion).
I wonder if there is not some undershoot configuration that would allow coverage even though they can't approach within, say, 2000 ft of the BOP. After all, the depth of the water favours undershoot.

Also, the 4400 psi reading will not change much - the riser kink only had a small drop and that small drop will be largely compensated by increased frictional effects in the BOP due to the somewhat increased flow.

For purposes of full disclosure, I was "merged" with BP via Amoco and subsequently spun off to an IT service provider. In the process, my 401K was converted to BP shares, and since being laid off 3 weeks ago by the IT provider, I am now not worth much. In my now-defunct career, have also worked for Helmerich & Payne, Oxy and others. Not much time on a rig floor except in IT/accounting roles, t auditing drill pipe inventories and such..enough to know better than to ask for keys to the V-door.

I very much appreciate the wealth of info and sentiments here, have followed but not dipped my dainty toes in the deeper waters of discussions. Possibly I have missed somewhere any pictures and/or discussion of the DWH "remains" after it crumpled and sank to the sea floor? Also how far away such wreckage may be from the riser current kill operations?

Color me curious, and I may be totally in love with one or more of the ROV's

"In the process, my 401K was converted to BP shares"

Ouch! We were taught years ago to NEVER invest a large percentage of the 401k in company stock. No matter how solid it looks at the moment.

Diversify the 401k.

Still have IBM, plus pensions in IBM, PwC, and H&P....not a blonde :-)..
but you couldn't beat BP for the dividend and matching funds. Until recently, that is.

The DWH was surveyed by the ROVs very soon after it sank. It was reportedly a little over a quarter mile (1,400 feet) away and pretty much upside down.

There has been almost zero news about it since but I know they have been making plans to try to recover the fuel onboard (700,000 gal) after the well is secured.

I expect they will be working on various aspects of the drilling rig and surrounding seabed well into next year even if the well is killed in August.

The serendipitous fact that the DWH sank so far from the BOP and wellhead is something I think has been kind of overlooked on this site. Just think how much worse things would have been if the DWH had crashed right down on (or over) the BOP.

At the very least, the BOP would have been rendered inaccessible to ROVs. At worst, the BOP, wellhead, and first couple of hundred feet of casing could have been obliterated. This would either have caused a massive leak from the well, or (in spectacularly serendipitous fashion) have sealed it in.

A sunken rig that crashes into and possibly seals its own well would have pretty much amounted to the "battleship" solution kicked around on this site a few weeks ago.

It's still a mystery to me how and why the wreck of the DWH ended up so far from the wellhead. Gee, that was lucky. Can we count on that next time?

I know, huh. I shudder to think what a mess we would have on our hands!

When a large object descends through 5,000' of water it doesn't 'fall' straight down but has some 'aerodynamic' quality to it's descent. Depending on currents and the shape of the rig one would expect it to head off in one direction or another. Additionally, the attached riser no doubt had some role it its path to the bottom - until it broke away. In fact I would think that the chances it would land on the well were rather small.

Excellent point. The rig at the Ixtoc blowout landed on the wellhead, perhaps because the wellhead was in only 160 feet of water, and that definitely complicated things.

So remind me again, why are we continuing to allow drilling in shallow water, because it's so much safer?

I think your argument would make more sense regarding the "battleship" -- it truly does have a streamlined shape and might "glide" for some distance after being scuttled. "Guiding" the sinking battleship accurately to the bottom would have hugely complicated the plan for sealing the DWH well, in the scheme that was discussed earlier on this site. Just one more reason why it would have been a bad idea.

But the DWH seems to me unlikely to "glide" nearly as well, even though it had two hulls, because the rig decks would have had tremendous "drag" and might have functioned like a giant sea anchor.

Be that as it may, this is something that could profit with a little study. Yes, we can drop "scale model" objects in the ocean and see where they go. Or we could use computer simulations to do the same sort of thing (if validated occasionally by a "real world" test in the ocean). The net result would be a 2D plot of the likely resting point of an object falling to the seabed, under various conditions (size, depth, current, etc). The we'd know what the odds really were. This is the sort of thing we should have studied beforehand -- that, and whether 10-year-old blind shear rams can actually cut modern drill pipe used in DW wells.

Fortunately Sod's Law did not come into play. It does make me wonder if there should be a shaped charge available to sever the riser should everything go wrong. It might not even be in a disaster. If a hurricane is coming and the disconnect does not work, what happens? In a case like we have, it would remove the strain on the riser, allow the rig to be towed and the lack of fuel would help fire fighting. As far as spillage goes, if the BOP had closed of the well it be little different to a planned disconnect and if the BOP had failed we would be in a no different situation to what we have now. The advantage being less risk of damage to well/riser and more chance of extinguishing the blaze and not having a sunken rig. Just thoughts.


Two oil containers from DWH have apparently washed up on shore.

A second container suspected as part of the Deepwater Horizon rig is now on its way to the coast guard station after washing up on south Walton’s beaches.

It’s one of the first pieces of evidence from the spill Walton County has seen.

It washed up the same day the container washed up on bay county beaches and just hours ago BP had the container removed from the shoreline. Vacationers say it was a long process.

Swimmers and sunbathers enjoy the sun and surf on Miramar beach, but many are perplexed by a metal object protruding from the water’s surface

“…of course we saw the big square on the beach and we were curious at what it was…Shane Bates is on a family vacation from Evansville, Indiana.

He says the strange tank looking object was already on the beach when he arrived on Saturday “First thing we did when we came down here is go to the beach. We got here at about 2:30, came down here at about 3, and we saw it immediately. I didn’t expect it to be something from the oil, because it hasn’t gotten here yet.”

It wasn’t until he saw that a similar object had been removed from Panama City Beach that Bates realized what it could possibly be “…we didn’t really freak out because we hadn’t been affected by it at all. The only thing we were really worried about was the seaweed and algae.”

Few beachgoers, in fact, seemed bothered by the object. But observers say the device has been here for two whole days.

As you can see this tank looks a lot like the one picked up on Panama City Beach. Observers say it was here a long time before anyone actually did anything about it.

It wasn’t until about noon on Monday that coast guard and BP had the device removed from the beach.

BP representative Nicolas Morlino says it’s unclear whether or not the tank is from the explosion “…it’s a 5,000 pound container that washed up on the beach. It’s a liquid container. We’ve not confirmed yet that it’s from the Transocean rig. We’re going to look at the serial number.”

Morlino says there is liquid inside, but the type is unknown. He suspects it could be engine oil or hydraulic fluid.

The container will be stored at the coast guard station on the navy base for a few days before leaving for the evidence locker in Louisiana.

Read more: http://www.panhandleparade.com/index.php/mbb/article/oil_tank_washes_ont...

Can those fuel tanks on the DWH take the pressure at 5000'?

The picture of the first tank I saw was definitely not a pressure vessel. It was something that looked like what I used to call a Liquibin. Basically a portable utility tank.

The fuel tanks are certainly vented - USCG regs - and would not have to withstand any differential pressure because of the sinking.

Edit: if the Deepwater Horizon was flagged foreign, other regs would obviously apply, including those of the classification society for the vessel. I would be surprised if any regulator omits a requirement that fuel tanks be vented. If they are not, they can rupture or collapse during normal service.

Yes, that sounds right to me. The tanks like this I've used were all vented. It doesn't matter if they contained fuel or something else, the issue of collapse while drawing off the contents still applies.

Composite of ROV images showing DWH site, or debris that fell away before the sinking - I don't know which.



BP is beginning to resort to desperate measures to raise cash --- by suing its partners:


"Oil spill: BP to sue partner in Gulf oil well
Legal action aims to share clean-up costs as Anadarko is accused of 'shirking' responsibilities over spill"


"The Sunday Times said BP is working on a plan to raise 50 billion dollars to cover the cost of the oil spill, which would start next week with a bond sale to raise 10 billion dollars.

A further 20 billion dollars would come from bank loans, while the final slice is expected to come from asset sales over the next two years, the broadsheet said."

Everyone --- watch how well the $10b bond sales goes for BP next week --- here is my bet --- the sale will be a flop.


The only circumstance under which BP can raise $10 billion, let alone $20 billion:

Almost all of BP's creditors are now unsecured (someone verify this).

Therefore, in any new bond / debt issue, BP will have to tie specific assets to the loans and thus, giving the new lenders in effect, senior status and an absolute claim on a specific asset.

Fresh on the minds of new lenders is the GM and Chrysler bankruptcy, where the US government set a precedent that Union and other politically connected claims have priority over precedent and law.

It is flatly clear that a similar precedent is now being set that claims for damages to BP have absolute precedence over law (which insanely, limits liability to $75 million for oil spills). Clearly, any fines have similar precedence.

Therefore, BP now have a liability structure where damage claims are at the top, followed by government fines, followed by any secured lines of credit, followed by existing debt, then finally, shareholders.

Against this, BP have assets that include sizable reserves which is only worth money to another operating company that have the wherewithal to exploit it -- an Exxon, perhaps. That makes its market thin.

BP's cash flow is nearly completely consumed by capital expenditures.

Work it out --- this may not be a Chapter 11, but it is a slow motion Chapter 11 that will be triggered if and when BP concludes that the 2 relief wells do not work.

If it does work BP will recover, but it will be a much smaller company.

Update or something (with BP you never know):

BP: No Decision To Sue Anadarko Over Oil Spill Costs


You figure it out. I think Anadarko's press release stunned them. It was an early and vicious preemptive strike between the eyes. http://www.anadarko.com/Investor/Pages/NewsReleases/NewsReleases.aspx?re...

As I vaguely recall, federal fines and liens are either "outside" bankruptcy or top priority... depending. Chpt. 11 settlement between creditors? What would satisfy class action plaintiffs?

As to BP's bond offering: If BP sets interest high enough, bonds will sell. I haven't seen the terms of the bonds yet. Terms will be a good reflection of BP's desperation and Mr. Market's response. Also, watch CDSs on bonds. The plot thickens.

"If BP sets interest high enough, bonds will sell."

Let me see, interest rate of 30% a month....

Sure... but...

I would like to have an explanation of your statement that "unions and other politically connected claims have priority over precedent and law". I would like to know whether you are a lawyer. I am a mechanical engineer.

Could someone explain what a manifold is?

The 3" choke line goes from the BOP to a manifold on the sea bed, then to the Q4000 for flaring off.

I understood a manifold to be a big pipe branching into several smaller pipes, like an exhaust manifold.

I see no reason why the 3" line couldn't go direct to the Q4000.

Choke and kill lines were connected to a seafloor manifold for the top kill effort. Purely speculation: perhaps that same manifold is being used now merely becaused it already was in place?

See BP / Kent Wells presentation - Technical_Update_Post_Top_Kill_v2.pdf. I can't find the link. It shows the manifold connecting to the choke and kill lines on the BOP. It shows the same manifold being used to connect to Q4000 and continuing to be used for the permanent top cap.

Not sure if this is the one you were looking for, but diagrams of the manifold connecting to the BOP and Q4000 now - and later to the Helix Producer and Toisa Pisces are in the slides (pdf) for the 6/18 Kent Wells briefing.

The flow to the Helix Producer is shown also going through a second manifold, labeled 'CDP Manifold.' Anybody know what the 'CDP' stands for?

Incidentally, links to that and other videos, audios, and pdf's are currently found in the response in video section of the 'Gulf of Mexico response' area of www.BP.com.

It is difficult to connect directly to the choke/kill lines on the BOP as they are somewhat inaccessible. During the top kill operations, these lines were connected to a heavy manifold which facilitated connecting to these from the surface. The manifold is some distance from the BOP so there is less chance of fouling any of the lines to surface and the connections are easier to make.

The manifold just makes life easy all around.

Are they pumping oil out of those choke and kill lines or is it just allowed to flow out. Can or could one suck more on these lines to relieve pressure out the to of the BOP?

Seems one of the next steps is to remove the flange below the LMRP. They would like that connection during the kill process. The less pressure at that flange the better success rate.

Perhaps the manifold allows some control on volume and pressure sent to the surface. Perhaps also a shut-off if the line needs to be diconnected from the surface vessel?

(Should I wonder whatever happened to the team of experts who were coming up with an alternative?)

I was involved in an effort like this at a national laboratory to come up with ideas for putting out the oilfield fires after the first Iraq war. My field of expertise and potential contribution had to do with flame chemistry. A certain number of our group were physicists who knew little or nothing about petroleum or engineering. (I had worked with a geology group and had done some things relevant to the chemistry of petroleum, so I knew a bit about that.) I would like to say that we spent some time getting up to speed on the situation, but the solutions came pouring out from the first. They were of the quality of most of the uninformed solutions being offered up for this current problem. So I guess we did do some getting up to speed, but it wasn't in the most effective way possible.

Calculations by our group showed that it would take many years to put out all the fires, and some of them were expected to be unquenchable.

Of course, Red Adair's firm, Boots & Coots, and others managed to put out all the fires long before the time our guys calculated. So I fully expect the solution to be the relief wells that are being drilled. Experience frequently trumps bright ideas.

Was wondering if any well-control people were involved with your group at the time?


I should also point out that the group I was in was at a lower level than the big names (Richard Garwin, and others I've forgotten) announced a few weeks back. I wouldn't be surprised to hear that all of the national labs have informal groups like this going.

They should get The Rockman to come and bring them up to speed! A little Blue Bell should do the trick, I should think!

I'd like to see that: Rockman meets Richard Garwin. Maybe the Blue Bell would soothe the shock on both sides!

I don't know Cheryl. You might have noticed I can get a little opinionated and pissy in my messages at times. I'm much worse in person. Your basic mouth shifting into gear before the mind engages.

"On the Development Driller II, one of two rigs working on the effort, BP wellsite leader Mickey Fruge said the well has reached a depth of roughly 5,000 feet below the seafloor. There's still another 8,000 feet to go."

I copied this from a news report. What I want to say is that I'm glad that Mickey Fruge is one of the wellsite leaders for BP. He's a top notch professional. I remember when he was a worm(greenhorn) in the mid 1990's working for Vastar at South pass 60, he learned what to do from the best and what not to do from the worst.

Unless he's changed, he's the kind of guy that will let the experts do their job and stay out of the way when he should. Good hunting Mickey!

It's always frustrating, at the time, learning from the worst. seems you look back and say Geez! I learned a few things from those goof-balls! Hats off to you folks on the relief well rigs.

Like most people, I learned more from my mistakes than my successes. Not that it helps much! ;^)

In the oilfield especially deepwater and HPHT wells you don't always have the luxury of learning from your mistakes. That's why more and more we have teams of guys working on problems and projects.

The days of a "King" or "Royalty" mentality running the show is almost over hopefully!

You can get a look at Fruge getting interviewed briefly onboard DD2 in the video linked at the top of the article Life aboard the drilling rig .... (h/t Lotus in yesterday's open thread.)

And thanks for the definition of 'worm'. I couldn't tell from its use in yesterday's thread whether it meant young, incompetent, annoying or some combination of all three. All the faces in the video referenced above appear to have been around for more than thirty years. The article mentions 27 and 29 years of experience.

Thanks so much for this, rainyday. When I spotted it, they hadn't added the video yet, so without your help, I'd have missed it.

what kind of flow sensors are available to use. for example does the oil industry use gamma densitometry?

I assumed they used gamma ray sources to make radiography photos of the BOP. Seems the DOE said it was their idea. Do they have available "real time" radiography that would work at this dept? If not should they have it developed for future use?

I'm not up to speed on flow sensors. I'd be happy to hear from anyone who knows.

I'm recalling something about gamma-ray radiography from a few weeks back; I think Steven Chu announced it, IIRC. All the radiography I'm aware of would have to be pretty thoroughly packaged to operate under water. It would be interesting to be able to see the internals of the BOP, wouldn't it? But I suspect that if we haven't heard anything, it didn't work.

Film would only need to be laminated inside a plastic envelope, pressure would just flatten it. Maybe use a vacuum seal to avoid air bubbles. The irradiation source could be a isotope, strong gamma emitter. Again not hard to package.


I suspect that if we haven't heard anything, it didn't work.

"Exclusive: How Steven Chu Used Gamma Rays to Save the Planet," The Atlantic, May 15


Headline's sadly out of date, and the interview doesn't say anything specific about what they discovered, but Chu certainly seemed to think it worked.

Thanks for the link. I dismissed it quickly enough at the time that I didn't store much of it in my brain.

The interview doesn't even say they did anything except talk. And, as nwaelder and notanoilman point out, this isn't rocket science or even particularly new. Calibration wouldn't be particularly important if you were trying to image the inside of the BOP because you're not trying to measure thicknesses, as for piping.

But to image the inside of the BOP, you'd need some lensing equipment in addition to notanoilman's setup, and you might need something stronger than cobalt-60. The DOE has such accelerators, which they use to image nuclear weapons in the act of imploding, but they're not quite portable yet. There's a new idea of using protons for imaging, but that requires an accelerator too, and I suspect it won't work for metals, but I could be wrong on that.

Ah yes, the folks who were sent down there to nuke the well :) The true explanation is always a lot simpler.


Yes, gamma ray densitometry is routinely used to measure the wall thickness and eccentricity of oilfield tubulars. For wells of this investment, the tubulars (casing/drillpipe) may be inspected a number of times between mfg. and use in the well.

A gamma source (CS-137) produces a beam of about 1/2" or so. About 3 ft away, a crystal of a scintillation material (sodium iodide) emits photons as a function of gamma collision events. This photon emitter is in turn coupled to a photomultiplier or PIN diode circuitry that converts the photons to electrons for evaluation. Automatic pipe inspection equipment will transport each tubular through this gamma system, whereby the gamma beam traces a helical path along the whole length. The system ensures complete coverage and the ability to detect specific defect locations.

In applying the gamma densitometer principle to this flow measurement challenge, there are considerable difficulties that would make the feasibility doubtful. I'll mention a major one:
Being a relative measurement, gamma densitometry requires calibration with standards, i.e. known minimum and maximum densities. The variation in the instantaneous density of the oil/gas flow could be
be measured, but what does it tell you in terms of absolute units? Without a means to calibrate, this is not very useful.

I have read that the plan is to instrument the new cap (10" thick walls) with pressure transducers. This appears to be the most viable strategy to get a handle on the flow. Of course, if the apparatus is able to capture all the flow, it can be precisely measured topside. I think by instrumenting the collection vessel, it may help in guiding the collection operation toward maximum. The ability to indirectly measure flow with pressure sensors is a secondary motivation.

Wow. "Eccentricity" and "scintillation" obviously have specialized definitions I never dreamed of. Thank you, nwaelder, on behalf of all resident lit-geeks.

Yes, specialized jargon is often an exhibition of scintillating eccentricity...

I did work with Gama densitometer in the early 1980's to measure flow on a nuclear reactor called loss of fluid test(LOFT). I think in this case the best it would do is measure the ratio of gas to oil. In our case you had a cobalt 60, 7 curie source with 4 scintillation tubes. The wave form is very complex.

The "real time" radiography I worked with had a x-ray source and would x-ray 55 gal. drums of nuclear waste. the resolution was hardest in things like sand an process sludge. The x-rays after having gone through the barrel would hit a rare earth screen that would glow enough to have a low light camera pick it up. now-a-days the screen could be replaced with electric elements(the last time my hand way x-rayed they used no film).The x-ray source can be replaced with an gamma source.

The advantage of real-time as opposed to still radiography is the resolution is not that great between flowing oil and gas and metal and you can wait for the bubbles to go by to get some idea of the contents you looking at.

The revised estimates for the flow of oil from the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) well have continued to increase.

It's worth reviewing how the oil flow has increased since the leak started nearly 60 days ago.

1. The obstruction(s) in the BOP and well bore have been steadily abraded by sand from the formation entrained in the high-pressure oil/gas flow (note the oil might have been passing through a hole as small as 1/4 sq inch in size).

2. As sand gets flushed out of the formation it leaves "wormholes" behind which provide easier passage for the oil/gas out of the formation.

3. There was an increase in the rate of abrasion during the three days of "top kill" tests when mud was forced through the BOP under high pressure.

4. There was a one-off increase when the obstruction caused by the kink in the riser was cut off.

5. There was a one-off increase when cutting the kink allowed the drill pipe to flow again (previously it had been capped with a valve placed on the end by ROVs).


6. There has been a steady decrease in the GOR (Gas Oil Ratio) from 3000 to 2000 scf/bbl meaning there is more oil and less gas in the escaping fluid.

7. The LMRP cap has allowed more oil to flow because it provides an easier path to the surface for a portion of the leaking oil.

How much do you suppose was flowing when the rig was still afloat and burning like a giant torch? The only real change from before and after the rig sank was the folding over of the riser at the BOP. There was a lot of discussion early on about how much of a flow restriction that kink provided, but in hindsight I would guess it was fairly substantial.

Agree with what you say except 7. I don't think the LMRP cap has any affect on flow from the BOP. As the oil/gas is coming out the bottom of the cap there clearly not a net suction at the cap. It is possible that there might be a couple psi of positive pressure in the cap which would tend to slow the flow in the BOP but not by any amount that would be significant, maybe a barrel a day?

On 5 I think the drill pipe might have been kinked in the riser kink and the flow that was previously capped off seemed much less than the flow after they cut the riser.

It's worth reviewing how the oil flow has increased since the leak started nearly 60 days ago.

In an uncompleted well which has blown, what are the odds the flow rate would not fluctuate over sixty days?
Further, a cycle of flow-erosion-increased flow is probably more than theoretical, increased flow would be a consequence of doing nothing. (At least until its depleted.)

I'm not claiming hands off for sixty days would give us a lower rate than we have. With no interaction, I've seen reasons to support why the flow would increase before it slowed and doing nothing would also prohibit capturing anything.
It's easy with the severed femoral artery, do nothing for a few minutes and the problem is solved. Well, at least the messy part.

c- span's Washington journal this morning starting at the one hour point focuses on the partisan mudslinging over the Jone's act


JAMES WEAKLEY Lake Carriers' Association President Topic: Guest will discuss the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 -- also known as the Jones Act -- and its application to the gulf oil spill

An older c-span interview of interest. Legal implications of gulf of Mexico oil spill (June 3) with Mr. O'Neill, an attorney for 32,000 Alaskan fishermen and natives who brought a civil suit against Exxon after the Exxon Valdez aground in Alaska's Prince William Sound in 1989


Mr. O'Neill on CNN June 18th. Exxon Valdez lawyer still fighting for clients


Another perspective on the Jones Act do-si-do from Stephanie Mencimer at MoJo:


... There's one big reason the Jones Act, this union-friendly protectionist measure, has managed to survive a frontal assault by big corporations: national security. The act's requirements that domestic vessels be owned, registered, and built in America—and largely operated by US crews—ensures that there are sufficient working shipyards and skilled labor to supply the military's needs. The Navy, for its part, relies heavily on commercial vessels to supply the fleet in war zones; in the Iraq fighting, merchant mariners moved 90 percent of the American combat cargo. That's hardly a job the Pentagon wants to turn over to a bunch of leaky Liberian-flagged boats staffed with Somali teenagers earning slave wages.

In fact, given the GOP's concerns about terrorism and the party's historic love of all things military, it's hard to imagine folks like Armey and members of Congress really wanting to open domestic shipping to foreign ships. Yet, in effect, that's what they're arguing for. Of course, had Obama waived the Jones Act on day one, as Armey suggests he should have, the same crowd likely would have accused him of sacrificing national security for the environment and a chance to export jobs to his European socialist friends.

Nope, Obama really can't win on this one.

What do you folks out there think about WEAKLEY's statement " who cares more about the united states than united states citizens why don't we just extend the Jones act and all the USA regulations and inspection laws, to the USA outer continental shelf ".

How would this impact the chances of another accident ?

Anyone know what is going on here? The view changes just a little bit and it looks like something on the left under a rock ledge?


BOP sure looks like its got a bad lean. 450 tons out of plumb is a scary thought. I wonder what the engineers have planned to keep this BOP from toppling over. Looks like they need a bunch 100 ton anchors and alot of rigging or a miracle from god

There are clinometers on the wellhead just below the BOP and on top of the BOP above the flexible coupling.

They have been checking them regularly as well as occasionally using what appears to be an electronic clinometer held against the plumbing by an ROV.

There is a little tilt but there is no indication that it is getting worse. In fact, the clinometer above the flexible coupling seems to be showing less tilt since they cut off the riser.

They have an clinometer on the BOP and the last time I saw it the bb was clear over on the edge but that was before they cut the riser.

Yes, the clinometer above the flexible coupling was full scale for a long time and when they checked it (I think it was last week) it was at 2 and one-half divisions , if I recall correctly. The one on the wellhead below the BOP remained at, or near full scale.

The Endeavor and its AUV (Sentry) have been dispatched to photograph the oil plumes in 3D by circling them.

Does that mean that one can postulate the location of the Oil Plumes by tracking the Endeavor?

This map is showing the track of Endeavor, which might suggest that Sentry is near by and therefore the approximate plume locations.

Not sure of which ship this is on, but they're sampling water at various depths near the blowout for sure.

I'm sure they want to monitor how much of the dispersant is at depth away from the oil floating up. If x gallons of dispersant is supposed to go in and combine with the oil from the BOP, but they can detect y gallons diluted away from the oil, then the dispersant isn't going where it should. Also, how much oil is where. After all, if there's giant plumes of oil away from the blowout at 3000ft, then that had to start somewhere.

It's not photography. The Sentry is sampling using GC-MS to develop a 3D map of the plume.

Subsea 7's "Seven Oceans" DW pipelaying vessel just showed up - overnight I think - at the spoolbase here in Port Isabel. http://www.siteselection.com/features/2009/jul/US-Mexico/ first time I've seen it here since last winter. Wouldn't surprise me if it shows up later at the accident site. http://www.marinetraffic.com/ais/default.aspx?centerx=-97.21&centery=26....

Seems to me that the BOP is getting destroyed below Top Hat, as it appears to leak impressively on the videos, well below the Top Hat.

It isn't the BOP leaking. The leak is at the base of the LMRP and it keeps seawater from going up the riser.
You can read TOD articles about the placement of the LMRP.

I understand the idea of leaking deliberatedly oil to prevent hydrate formation in the Top Hat, and I have read many articles. I was talking about new small leaking cracks below the leaking seal, that I had not seen before. I do not know the scale of things, though, I admit.

Off topic, but since BP will be trying to sell those bonds to raise cash, will that hurt there stock price or help it ? I'm trying to remember what the Banks stocks did after the Banks started doing this, but so much as happened I don't remember.

Hard to say, on the one hand it increases overall debt and and given BP's current credit status the interest payments are going to seriously crimp dividend payments making the stock less attractive to value investors.

However a successful bond sale is much like a vote of confidence and when you factor in the other efforts that BP is making to balance its books which raise cash but do not have a significant effect on the medium to long term growth, (for example the North Sea asset sales,) then at current prices the stock is a bargain for growth investors.

At the end of the day, the two questions that decide on how good an investment opportunity this is are:

1) Is Uncle Sam likely to kill the golden goose?

2) Can BP get the well under control quickly without anymore screw-ups?

In view of this, I would strongly advise that if you feel the urge to test the waters, do not use any money that you cannot afford to lose.

IH: another factor: Can Anadarko and Mitsui successfully dump their damages (35%) on BP by showing, let's say, "willful misconduct"? Anadarko has fired the first, really ugly shot. BP gave a confused answer today.

See Anadarko press release: http://www.anadarko.com/Investor/Pages/NewsReleases/NewsReleases.aspx?re...

BP's been reported to be a confused company. In panic mode. Yesterday they fired a hard shot at Anadarko and didn't try to hide it from the press. Today it's a different story. They're scrambling and a bit confused, which is understandable.

sh: "They're scrambling and a bit confused, which is understandable." Mister Market may not be as "understanding" as you are about scrambling and confusion....

Mister Market doesn't have time to take any information into account at all except for trading activity. He's got HFT computers blazing away.

While I completely agree that Anadarko/Mitsui's actions, [and also the investigations by the justice department,] are significant factors that should considered when making an investment decision, previous disasters have shown that legal shenanigans and accounting tricks will prevent these particular effects from being fully factored into the balance sheets for many years. As a result, from the point of view of making a short term growth investment, they are of less importance than common sense would indicate.

Again though, I must emphasize that the uncertainty surrounding how tight Uncle Sam intends to squeeze and how quickly BP can bring the well under control make any investment a highly risky undertaking and should only be done with with money that you planned to use for a holiday in Las Vegas. If you don't have a holiday in Las Vegas planned for the end of August that you are prepared to cancel, then don't by BP stock in the expectation of a quick buck.

poc: My answer: Stay tuned. We don't know the terms of the bonds and how Mr. Market reacts to them. Very expensive bonds; few takers would mean the bond market is very negative on BP. Bad sign about the perception on BP's future. And in any meltdown, bond holders paid before common. If you think petroleum engineering is complex, try figuring out BP's future. You might try applying the Gaussian copula. (But I wouldn't.) What you hear is the orchestra tuning up for the Resource Wars.

Does anyone know what is the estimated current rate of flow now that it has increased?

How much oil does the US use in 3 days? I am trying to find that comment.

In three days about 60 million bbls or so.

Looks like the Manifold is leaking. No that is just a different angle of the well head, sorry.


Please don't link to a live feed and ask 'what's this?', as there will be people reading your comment hours after it's switched to something else. Take a screen capture or record the video if it's important enough to ask about.

Based on Kenneth Deffeyes' estimate that global total conventional recoverable crude oil reserves are on the order of 2,000 Gb (billon barrels), then to put global consumption in perspective, during George Bush's first four year term the world used about 10% of all crude oil ever consumed, and in his second term the world consumed about 10% of remaining conventional crude oil reserves. And then the math gets really scary when one looks at global net oil exports, especially since developing countries have shown a pattern of increasing consumption, as oil prices have risen.

Hi everyone. First time posting on TOD.

I'm trying to understand something about the intricacies of stopping the GOM spill situation. I don't know whether this is the appropriate place on TOD to ask it. (The layout of the site has me kinda confused.) I'm sorry if it's not.


So we think the well has been damaged "down hole". We don't know the details but it seems far enough down and severe enough to make it a central issue in stopping the ultimate flow. I get that much.

What I don't understand is this - is it now in our best interests to let this sucker flow for all it's worth at the surface (seabed) or not? Is the downhole leakage a real risk of trouble if the flow on the surface gets reduced/stopped, or not?

It seems clear to me that they could cap this thing at the seafloor right now if they really wanted to. If they can undo fittings on the pipe then they can cap it. Just stick a new valve assy on top and then gradually reduce the flow rate in a controlled manner until it's stopped (or at least radically reduced). Yer done.

Therefore - if they're eventually going to kill this whole thing deep below the point of casing damage with relief wells anyway, then why not cap this thing off at the BOP right now? I'm sure more will leak out around the casing and seafloor from that move, but wouldn't our net-total current situation be much improved? (Just the public image & legal consequences of announcing "we've capped the well!" are enough to make the case very compelling for BP, even if 2/3rds of the total earlier flow rate is still escaping in other ways.)

The fact that they're not capping the flow right now suggests to me that the danger of the well's flow rate increasing (further casing failure below the seafloor) must be real. And if it's real when the well is capped then it's probably still real (albeit reduced) when the well is open.

Therefore - doesn't that mean their safest near/medium term option might very well be to INCREASE the flow a the seafloor/BOP, to take some pressure off the downhole casing damage?

Runaway wells often increase their flow over time. It has noting to do with a hypothetical failed casing. It is largely due to erosion downhole.

Capping the well at the top would cause pressure to increase in the BOP and in the well near the surface. You could easily rupture a casing near the surface which would lead to a blowout outside the casing and into the surrounding mud.

If you cap the well at the top , what you are likely to end up with is many oil/gas "volcanoes" sprouting up on the sea floor leaking oil uncontrollably. There would then be no chance of capturing leaking oil to reduce the size of the spill and the only hope then would be the relief wells which will shut off the runaway well from the bottom up.

As it is now, at least some of the oil is getting captured and soon , most of it will be getting captured and once the relief wells are complete the runaway well can be shut off safely from the bottom up.

Helllo Spectator, you make some good points and ask some good questions. I'm of the mind that the well components are possibly very damamaged and yes this can make the "bottom kill" hard to do.

I also think that due to the poor well constuction techniques and engineering that BP employed on this well the entire surface structure of this well could be devoured by the sea floor. We could have a major underground blowout on our hands and that would also make the "bottom kill" extremely difficult.

That's why when I tongue in cheek brought up the point that Obama should dictate that BP contract all capable drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico(a few threads ago) that were currently shut down due to the drilling Moratorium and make them drill production wells in this Macando field to deplete the entire reservoir. They should keep drilling new wells in this formation until the formation was depleted and/or the Feds was satisfied that there was no possibility of an underground blowout.

BP would get the production in order to pay their liabilities and in order to recoup the funds needed to continue drilling more "depletion wells".

Yes that's right, we have had exploration wells, developement wells, disposal wells and now I think I just coined the new term depletion wells. The Macondo field would be full of "DEPLETION WELLS".

Wasn't the well, in effect, 'capped' at the top when they sent down the first ROVs? They reported no leaks. The BOP internals or attached riser components after the BOP were the only methods to stop the well from flowing. Are there good reasons to suspect the downhole structure was damaged by something between then and now? Or was the flow venting 'somewhere else' before the riser leaks ramped up?

The well was never capped. Why BP initially announced that there were no leaks, when in fact there were multiple leaks is beyond me.

There were initially 3 leaks discovered, one small leak was eventually shut down by installing a valve and valving it off. The riser was torn in half some distance from the BOP, and leaking there. The riser was kinked and leaking near the top of the BOP. The top kill effort seemed to worsen the leak at the kink near the BOP. At no time was the well capped.

When BP suspended the top kill effort they announced that they had concerns that a casing might be compromised....so yes there are some concerns with regard to well integrity. At one point BP had plans to install a BOP on top of the existing BOP, but that plan was cancelled, apparently it was deemed as too risky. The fed ordered BP to focus on containing the spill and to abandon efforts to kill the well at the top. The consenus here on TOD seems to be thatclosing the well at the top is likely too risky as the exact condition of the casing downhole and the well itself are likely to be unanswerable questions.

That all sounds right.

But I don't see why the choice of capping the well at the surface or concentrating on drilling the relief well has to be an either/or thing. And they shouldn't need an entire second BOP structure just to get some kind of control over the existing well flow. I don't see why putting full effort into the relief well drilling has to be at the expense of bringing down the daily spill rate.

So IMHO it still begs the question of why they haven't valved down the ongoing flow rate somehow. (Or, at the very least, remained focused on that task.) IMHO the only explanation that really holds is if they genuinely fear a reduction in the surface flow could make things worse down below. I don't think a mere "uncertainty about the condition" of the subsurface pipe/casing would be enough to make them hold back like this. BP has been living with a gun to its head for the last two months straight over the ongoing spillage.

If they really didn't have evidence to suggest major trouble under the surface then IMHO they would probably have started reducing the flow very gradually. Just watch the seabed area like a hawk and see what happens.

I mean, so what if some oil leaks out from the casing instead of from the wellhead? EVERYTHING is still gonna be killed by the deeper relief wells later in the year anyway, right? Wouldn't any net-total reduction of flow right now be a good thing, no matter if it causes some extra venting through the rock/seabed or around the pipe? 10 gallons straight out of the pipe is still worse than 5 gallons from the pipe and another extra 3 gallons from new leakage.

I mean, so what if some oil leaks out from the casing instead of from the wellhead?

For starters, there would be little or no way to capture oil flowing up through potentially multiple places around the wellhead. By the time any leaks were visible, who knows how many paths might have been opened up.

The risk is just too great, particularly when they are moving towards collecting a larger percentage of the oil coming from the one source, and will, with luck, be capturing close to 100% of it by next month.

Initial reports of 'no leak' came from USCG, I got the strong impression this was information gathered by USCG themselves and not simply regurgitating press releases from BP. I have seen ROV video shot when the rig was still floating, but not during the time they said 'no leaks'. I'm not trying to push it one way or the other, just trying to sort things out.

IF there were no leaks in the hours after the rig sank, wouldn't that mean the well was shut in at the top, a condition we are now told isn't possible because of the downhole integrity? Or does that mean it's impossible there was ever a time after the rig breakaway when it wasn't leaking?

This makes me wonder, if the BOP had functioned correctly, wouldn't it have created the same downhole pressure we now hear we must avoid? Obviously, the rig wouldn't have collapsed and torqued the well, but the pressure would still be building beneath the BOP, if I'm close to grasping the concept.

mutt -- There could have been a shallow underground blow out if the BOP had shut the well in. Given most of the mud had blown out the SIP (shut in pressure) would have been equal to 11,900 psi less the differential of the oil/NG column. Thus the SIP would have been working against multiple shallow cmt jobs IF the well flowed up between the production csg and the other liners. Those cmt jobs were pressure tested but not with the anticipation of getting hit with this high SIP. Just on of the many WHAT IFS with the current situation.

The reason BP said there were no leaks at first is because the ROV survey for the first 12 or 24 hours did not detect any leaks.

The section of riser that went from the BOP to the broken end was capable of holding about 2,000 bbl of oil and it was about a day or more before the oil started to show at the broken end. The oil leak in the end of the drill pipe was actually the first leak to appear. Remember the first time video of the leak were shown by the MSM (about April 24 & 25) there was a small amount of oil leaking out of the end of the drill pipe.

The early pictures of the riser kink (terrible quality) show no leaks. Then there was one leak at the kink, then 2, then 3, then multiple always increasing in size.

The leakage through the BOP and the kink started slow - maybe 1,000 to 2,000 bpd and as the restriction areas eroded the leaks increased. It was very apparent at the kink and I expect engineering schools will be using that kink as a training video (similar to the Tacoma Narrows bridge) for many years after the BP oil spill fades from the public consciousness.


Document shows BP estimates spill up to 100,000 bpd


Please read carefully, and refrain from cherry-picking for dramatic effect.

The document states, "If BOP (blowout preventer) and wellhead are removed and if we have incorrectly modeled the restrictions -- the rate could be as high as ~ 100,000 barrels per day up the casing or 55,000 barrels per day up the annulus (low probability worst cases)"

... "I don't think there's been any underestimating," BP spokesman Toby Odone told Reuters after Markey released a document that the congressman said shows BP has been deceptive. ...

The undated document states, "If BOP (blowout preventer) and wellhead are removed and if we have incorrectly modeled the restrictions -- the rate could be as high as ~ 100,000 barrels per day up the casing or 55,000 barrels per day up the annulus (low probability worst cases)."

Odone said the document appeared to be genuine but the 100,000 barrels of oil per day estimate applied only in a situation where the well's blowout preventer was removed.

"Since there are no plans to remove the blowout preventer, the number is irrelevant," he said. ...


Seems BP keeps its "fire station" up-and-running on weekends these days. (And grateful that Tony and Carl-Henric shuddup today.)

... "I don't think there's been any underestimating," BP spokesman Toby Odone told Reuters after Markey released a document that the congressman said shows BP has been deceptive. ...

Emphasis added.

lotus: "Seems BP keeps its 'fire station' up-and-running on weekends these days."

Of course they do. Anything might happen on a weekend during this catastrophe, including the release of information and accusations by a Congressional committee chair. Why is it that I suspect you would be among the many complaining if they were not available for comment?

While trying to push readers toward a conclusion you have reached yourself, please don't twist the facts and evidence *too* much.

N.B.Before accusing me of being a BP apologist, you should know that I'm a raging environmental socialist who would nationalize BP America's operations in a heartbeat. I just have this "thing" for facts, reality and intellectual honesty.

Whoa, kall, I fall near you on the R.E.S. scale. Tried a little drollery that apparently, um, misfired. I'm just impressed that their actual PR department is functioning well, despite the executives' blunders (though I don't suppose it would have occurred to me to complain if we hadn't heard from Odone). Dunno what conclusion you perceive me to have reached either, but that mystery I can tolerate.

Apologies for misunderstanding.

In the context of the thread, reference to this article was made by a poster with a history of (IMHO) wild and reckless speculation and ill-founded analysis.

As far as I can tell, Markey (not a bad guy for a tepid liberal, but a showboater, nonetheless) released an undated document with little real evidentiary value, the MSM picked up the most provocative element and ran it as the headline, and the conspiracy wackos are frothing and foaming, eager to take it from there.

Some think that it's wisest, in the context of this forum, to ignore the hyperbole and wild speculation. The problem with that approach is that the worst goofiness published here is often picked up and distributed to the wider Internet, with extra "authority" presumed, precisely because it comes from here.

I have, twice within the past few days, been contacted by people quoting nutcase "theories" first presented here, asking if "the experts really said that."

I think it's important to respond immediately to the blatant misinterpretations, multiple iterations of the "lake of oil," "falling-over BOP," "deliberate act of conspiracy to pass cap-and-trade," etc. If we don't do that, you can bet that we will soon be hearing from a professor of theology that sections of the drillstring, secretly coated with nano-thermite and with cleverly hidden micro-transponders and teeny-tiny detonators...

Again, sorry if I erroneously dropped you into the wrong pile. ;^)

sorry if I erroneously dropped you into the wrong pile

Yup, you did, but all's forgiven since our other perceptions match up nicely.

While my faith in science fiction writing has been greatly restored by this whole event, I'll also note that I've stumbled across several sites citing the oil drum as the go-to place to gain understanding of what we're dealing with.

One example, an electrical engineer was chided by his forum-mates, (one of whom referenced this site), for coming up with a design that's pretty much exactly what the DOE drawing at the top of this article shows.

I'm glad others are taking the time to make corrections, as my personal interests are narrow in scope. I don't care about the political, financial, legal issues at this point. For my purposes, it's tantamount to the captain of the Titanic calling for an inquiry rather than manning the lifeboats.

There's some great minds assembled here, I appreciate the amount of high caliper knowledge flowing through here.

Just wanted to express my appreciation.



One of the most controversial and complex theories was put forward by Robin Gardiner in his book, Titanic: The Ship That Never Sank? In it, Gardiner draws on several events and coincidences that occurred in the months, days, and hours leading up to the sinking of the Titanic, and concludes that the ship that sank was in fact the Titanic's sister-ship RMS Olympic, disguised as the Titanic, as an insurance scam.

For some reason a not insignificant portion of human nature tends towards the opposite of Occam's Razor.

For some reason a not insignificant portion of human nature tends towards the opposite of Occam's Razor.


the worst goofiness published here is often picked up and distributed to the wider Internet, with extra "authority" presumed, precisely because it comes from here.

The infamous DougR doomsday scenario was cited yesterday in a hair-on-fire article on the Web site of The Atlantic, a publication that is widely read and considered very respectable. The reporter didn't mention TOD, and she did say she couldn't vouch for the scenario's accuracy, but a commenter pointed out that it had appeared on TOD.

I've seen other references on blogs to DougR's comment that claim it was endorsed by TOD. The Editorial Comment now posted with it is ambiguous, at least to newbies, about TOD's view of its validity.

Also here, from a source I have great respect for.


The 9/11 Nano-Thermite Demolitionists also make long, impressive looking presentations of apparently credible information, as long as you don't go to too much trouble fact-checking things for yourself.

dougr's post went viral. I saw it on several well-respected sites. I haven't seen anyone dispute it succinctly. It would be beneficial to see a summary in one place of the facts and the meaning or implication. It's more than a full time job keeping up with this issue and I'm thankful some are doing the job. But, it is hard to follow a bit now and a bit later.

"N.B.Before accusing me of being a BP apologist, you should know that I'm a raging environmental socialist who would nationalize BP America's operations in a heartbeat. I just have this "thing" for facts, reality and intellectual honesty."

I like your style kalliergo, I'm a raging Libertarian conservationist that expects BP America to be nationalized in a heartbeat after BP America goes bankrupt, but it will not be the last American energy company to be nationalized depending on gasonline prices and the November elections.

I too have a "thing for facts, reality and intellectual honesty" along with logic and results. I'm not on this board to talk much politics and I'm glad that most on these BP related threads don't, because politics won't kill this well and politics IMHO won't deal with our choice of energy, Peak Oil will do that for us.

The undated document states...

FWIW, from the AP article on this:

BP spokesman Tony Odone said the documents were submitted to Congress before BP America President Lamar McKay testified in early May.


Kall - I think your efforts would be better spent contacting Reuters directly and getting them to change their headline (as in their headline that I posted above along with the link).

No. I'll settle for reminding posters here to read beyond the headlines.

Matt Simmons June 15, 2010 interview on Bloomberg:


Key points:

The casing blew out - that is why the relief wells will not work.

Other points:

The real leak is 6 miles away, not at the riser.

Thomas Jefferson identified an under sea oil slick covering 40% of the Gulf.

Not POTUS #3 Jefferson I take it.

Yes; they're using a recently discovered email from Jefferson to Adams as evidence that this leak has actually been going for over 200 years, and that the whole DWH incident was cooked up to cover the inevitable discovery and public outrage.

Or something :)

BP was involved very early on. Hence the Declaration of Independence.

I have yet to see an interviewer understand much of what Matt is saying.


Or what I am pointing out he said.

Plume 6 to 7 miles away that is where the real leak is, not where the BOP and Riser is.

People can claim anything they want. Do they have a particular direction, or is this leak in somewhere 6 to 7 miles away in a random direction? Has anyone done the math on how long and wide and high the volume this under the mud river of oil would have to be to pop up that far away? What pressures it would take to force something to flow for 7 miles, because that stuff won't flow 6 or 7 miles laterally without a significant push. A continual push. The pressure it would take to push the oil and gas out of the multiple casing strings and out laterally to reach and push 6 or 7 miles away is also enough to push those same fluids up the outside of the multiple casing strings and engulf the BOP stack with that extra couple of million barrels of oil and associated volume of natural gas.

That 6 or 7 mile ribbon of oil would be filled with more than a million barrels of oil, and that oil that hasn't made it into the Gulf of Mexico would be a good thing, and that oil hasn't affected the bottom of the BOP stack one iota.

No, this was a claim made to sensationalize the whole nightmare scenario -- most likely. Because without real proof, which there is none, it's a fabrication.

Finally, the Coast Guard has been making daily flights over the area. They've been photographing and helping NOAA out with the water monitoring. Not one mention has been made of this rogue plume of oil and gas? Really? What, this plume of oil and gas has made snuck out under cover of all the other oil on the surface? It's been a few weeks since we first heard of this claim. Any NEW evidence to back this up, or we're just yammering over claims yet to be substantiated here?

Note, the pic of the vessel taking water samples within a mile or so I posted in this thread was one of the NOAA vessels, but I'm not sure which one.

I have yet to see an interviewer understand much of what Matt is saying.

The relief wells will work even if all the original structure is gone and there's nothing in the ground but a big muddy hole. That's why the RWs are aiming for the bottom of the hole, not the top. Put the kill pill in at the bottom and none of the wild pseudo-theories matter. I don't know why people keep taking this garbage seriously.

There's no data to show any leak anywhere other than at the top of the cut riser, where the collection cap is. Too many conclusions being drawn from guesses based on conjecture about half-truths and rumors based on misinterpretations. When there's some hard data, come back and tell us.

Matt Simmons said he talked to the staff on the Thomas Jefferson that surveyed the undersea heavy slick.

What data did they collect?

What information do they know / hold that they are not releasing?


Unambiguous and triple-sourced from the Washington Post.

I do believe the relief wells will kill the well but I do not rule out distal leaks at present, especially given the pressures (see illustration in tod article above).

"Unambiguous and triple-sourced from the Washington Post. "

Unambiguous and triple-sourced?

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

"'...things were broken...'"

"...spoke on condition of anonymity..."

"...could not describe what was damaged..."

No court, no scientist, no engineer would accept the assertions in that piece as evidence of anything. I suggest that we not do so, either.

Oilpatch guys: What's the formation like at 1K ft.?


Unambiguous - that's questionable - and anonymous for sure in a three week old article. The quote also refers to a presumed leak of mud somewhere out the side during the failed top kill operation, not a leak of oil through the seafloor.

I don't understand why some folks are so eager to believe there is oil spouting out elsewhere. As comfy mentioned, other sites are now citing occasional TOD comments about other possible leaks, giving them heavier weight because of TOD's reputation for accuracy.


They're journalists - of course their sources are anonymous. They might get fired - isn't that the idea?

The unambiguous tag refers to the language - they claim that fluids are leaking into the formation at a point well below the surface.

I don't understand the presumed statute of limitations. Maybe makes sense just not obvious.

If top kill leaked oil out the side into the formation isn't that evidence of a permeable, deep connection to the sediments? Which wouldn't go away just because we stop pumping mud?

I'm not eager to believe anything. But all the outrage you can pour into the discussion doesn't change anything. The TOD reputation, far as I know, isn't for providing rigid conclusions - it's for intelligent discussion.

You are right. But most of the people in these blowout threads weren't here before it occurred. So far the discussion level has been high but there is still a lot of opinionated garbage such as that which you are encountering. Interesting how the rabid desire to "debunk" anyone who pointed to the impossibility of this being a 5000 barrel per day leak has disappeared. Now the focus is on trying to convince everyone that leakage cannot possibly be happening below the BOP. Before that, it was asserted as professional fact that the riser flange bolts could not be cut and so on.

I also noted the comments by Matt Simmons, citing evidence found by the Thomas Jefferson (NOAA) research vessel, that there is a leak 6 miles from the well head. Does anyone know if that is within the DEH leasehold, part of the underground formation/chamber which the Horizon well was drilling into, or another formation altogether?

Are there efforts underway to get undersea pictures of the leak found by the NOAA vessel, or to do further investigation to discern if it is related to stresses which arose in connection with the original DWH blowout two months ago?

I am concerned that the additional leak may be another "cover up" deal with huge quantities of oil leaking out away from what we are thinking is the main event.

Thanks for any help, knowledge or insight into what is being done to pursue this angle.

There are natural seeps of oil all along the Gulf --- that is what it is --- natural.

The question is, is there more than one place it is coming out of beside the BOP / Riser?

"Are there efforts underway to get undersea pictures of the leak found by the NOAA vessel..."

There is no publicly-available report or other evidence, from the Thomas Jefferson or from any other reliable source, of such a leak.

At least at this point, there is no sensible reason to believe that such a leak exists.

And even if there is such data, a detectable level of hydrocarbons in the water doesn't imply a leak from the seafloor. The most reasonable cause is that water tends to not sit in the same place for very long. Jumping from 'hydrocarbons detected' to 'subsurface rupture' is just sheer lunacy.

Here's a little sample of how weak the mainstream media is on the oil spill issue, courtesy of Frank Rich in today's NY Times, where he attempts to discuss the meaning and long-term significance of President Obama's recent speech:


"The sole sentence that really counted on Tuesday night was his prediction that “in the coming weeks and days, these efforts should capture up to 90 percent of the oil leaking out of the well.” He will be judged on whether that’s true."

The problem here is that the waffely statement on which Obama "will be judged" is already true, owing to the weasel words "coming weeks", "should", and "up to". Yes, that's right, we're already capturing "up to" 90%, which would be any amount between 0% and 90% of the oil, or we "should be", either now or in the "coming weeks", no matter how long that may be.

Frank seems to think Obama's statement was equivalent to saying "by the end of June, these efforts will capture at least 90 percent of the oil leaking out of the well.” This definite statement may or may not come true, either by the end of the week, for many more weeks, or even months. But that's not what Obama actually said, and it's not even close.

Ol' Frank isn't thinking very clearly about these things. And he's certainly not alone in that, among his brethren in the mainstream press. And that's just part of the problem we've got, politically, as a nation.

I can tell you about how the spill is affecting Gulf Shores including near shore below surface areas. The main stream media will still be the source for most folks, but at least here you get some honest, amateur, first hand, information. The main stream media is just another player AFAIC.

This comment, with which I entirely agree, illustrates how the press and even the government has constantly muddled the waters in trying to make sense of this disaster. We hear reference to a spill of "up to 60,000 barrels a day" and eventually in the New York Times this morphed into a spill of "60,000 barrels a day." We hear of a "plume" with concentrations "up to" 500 ppb, which morphs into 500 ppb. We hear of oil incorporated into the Loop Current, which apparently hasn't happened. We hear of the imminent death of the Florida Keys when the oil gets there, even tho Jane Lubchenco of NOAA says that even if the oil gets there it will be so diluted that no harm will ensue. But of course, it's the alarmist reports that cause the damage, causing people to cancel Gulf vacations and the like. And now Obama says BP will capture "up to" 90% of the oil in the "coming days and weeks." All of this is adspeak disinformation, but to be fair, these people may not know they are misstating these numbers or even being imprecise. t has become the way we talk these days. At least Haley Barbour has called the press out on the misinformation about the spill. I have a couple of posts that I would be interested in comments at http://chumpsandlosers.blogspot.com.

According to AIS, the Seacor Washington, one of the ships carrying the Koseq (Dutch) skimmer arms, is working just SE of the City of Ships. Now, we've had all these articles and blog posts about blame for the delay, and claims about their super-effectiveness, but after three days or so on the water, apparently no journalist has thought to ask how much oil the SW is collecting per day, or published the names of the other ships. At least I can't find anything on Google Newa.


Also why is the press not interested in what the Q4000 burner looks like in action? The one image I found yesterday was a tiny still from great distance. NOLA.com claimed they had video, but what they showed was the gas flare on the Enterprise.

Somebody posted this yesterday, Gobbet. Closest I've seen.

fly over video via ABC


That graphic of the slick at 3:17 is alarming.

Thanks, Onlooker. David Muir was apparently unaware that he was the first journalist to show a good look at the Evergreen Burner; I'd guess he didn't know what it was. That segment was just terrible all the way through. The CG captain is probably 100% wrong about the role of the Jones Act.

Diane complains about not being given an answer to the "simple question of how many miles of shoreline have been impacted." It is anything but a simple question, but the response page posts a simple answer every day.

However, the Media Village apparently has settled on the theme of red tape, so we can be sure it will occupy 80% of discussion of the spill for the next month.

The Villagers are heavily into alarums-and-excursions, even especially when they have to concoct 'em themselves. But the footage here is so stark, most of the audience will probably remember what they saw much longer than what they heard.

"The CG captain is probably 100% wrong about the role of the Jones Act."

I was wondering about that. The captain is supposed to be piloting a chopper, not incorrectly analyzing Acts of Congress.

Here's the Jones Act (excerpted from Wikipedia):

The Merchant Marine Act of 1920 (P.L. 66-261) is a United States Federal statute that regulates maritime commerce in U.S. waters and between U.S. ports.

Section 27, also known as the Jones Act, deals with cabotage (i.e., coastal shipping) and requires that all goods transported by water between U.S. ports be carried in U.S.-flag ships, constructed in the United States, owned by U.S. citizens, and crewed by U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents. The purpose of the law is to support the U.S. merchant marine industry, but agricultural interests generally oppose it because, they contend, it raises the cost of shipping their goods, making them less competitive with foreign sources. [1]
In addition, amendments to the Jones Act, known as the Cargo Preference Act (P.L. 83-644), provide permanent legislation for the transportation of waterborne cargoes in U.S.-flag vessels.

And this is Wikipedia's further clarification of the cabotage aspect of the Act:

The cabotage provisions restrict the carriage of goods or passengers between United States ports to U.S. built and flagged vessels. In addition, at least 75 percent of the crewmembers must be U.S. citizens. Moreover foreign repair work of U.S.-flagged vessels' hull and superstructure is limited to 10 percent foreign-built steel weight.[2] This restriction largely prevents American shipowners from refurbishing their ships at overseas shipyards.

Here is the text of the jones Act (good luck wit dat):


From a cursory reading, the Jones Act covers goods shipped between US ports and ships operating or the purpose of incinerating hazardous waste. I would say that the captain is wrong. In fact, I would say that he's politically motivated (being that he incorrectly cites the Jones Act), and that his political speech, while on-duty, violates military protocols and regulations.

UCMJ, Article 88:

"Any commissioned officer who uses contemptuous words against the President, the Vice President, Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of a military department, the Secretary of Transportation, or the Governor or legislature of any State, Territory, Commonwealth, or possession in which he is on duty or present shall be punished as a court-martial may direct."

Thanks Onlooker,no wonder I couldn't find it the other day. They have CBS in the title.

Another video with some quick shots of the Evergreen - plus short interviews aboard DDII - is linked at the top of the article Life aboard the drilling rig .... (h/t Lotus in yesterday's open thread.)

Here's a still I found yesterday:

When I wrote my Congressman Michael Honda, I learned that The BP platform Deepwater Horizon was not even on the radar of possible catastrophic failure.... HOWEVER, another BP platform was. Congress was well aware of the potential catastrophic failure of the BP platform Atlantis, which is still very much a possibility. Here is what Congressman Honda wrote, followed by an article I found with more detail about the potential of failure with the Atlantis. This is scary stuff.... I think the Atlantis also deserves mention and attention ASAP.

From Congressman Michael Honda:
"I have also joined with my a number of my colleagues, led by Representative Raul Grijalva of Arizona, in asking Interior Secretary Salazar to direct the Minerals Management Service to promptly and thoroughly investigate whether another BP platform in the Gulf, the BP Atlantis, is currently operating safely and adhering to the law. In March 2009, a whistleblower notified MMS that he believed BP lacked a large percentage of engineer-approved, up-to-date drawings for Atlantis's subsea components. A review of a BP database shows that of the more than 7,176 documents and drawings for Atlantis's subsea components, a total of 6,393 of them - over 90% - had not been approved by a professional engineer, as required by industry minimum standards and MMS regulations. A 2008 email from BP's own management indicated that using these incomplete or inaccurate documents "could lead to catastrophic Operator errors due to their assuming the drawing is correct." A thorough investigation of BP Atlantis must include interviewing the whistleblower and other BP employees, including the ombudsman, as well as examining whether the company properly responded to the whistleblower's concerns. Lessons learned will help shed light on how the company views safety requirements for very complex platforms operating in challenging deep water environments. It could even shed light on the cause of the Deepwater Horizon accident."

Also... here is a more detailed story about BP Atlantis and whistle-blower information mentioned above by Congressman Honda:

"The BP platform Deepwater Horizon"

The Horizon was not a BP platform and it shouldn't have been on the radar for anything inspectors would normally look for anyway.

People just don't understand that they can't simply "inspect" the rigs in the manner that inspections have come to be thought of. There's usually nothing wrong with the rig itself, you have to go into the downhole well design, engineering and construction process to find the answer. This incident was not a rig problem. People that can't figure that out are not helping find the answer they are slowing down the people who may already have the answer.

I understand wildbourgman.... was using "platform" like Honda did as a way to generalize the specific well area... I think we all know it isn't what is above water here, that the entire focus is on undersea components. Next time I'll just say "Deepwater Horizon subsea components" and "Atlantis subsea components", to be more precise. ....Whew! Am glad I didn't make the mistake of calling this gusher a spill! ..just think how that misnomer would slow everyone down!

There's a big difference between the components of a BP production facility which needs much more detail inspection in order to decide whether it's going to EXPLODE and the Transocean Horizon drilling rig.

You can probably find many issues with both, but on a drilling rig like the Horizon it's BP's well design and processes that caused the expolsion.

I'm not being rude, sarcastic, or patronizing to you when I ask this, but do you know the difference between a floating production platform and a floating drilling rig? I just need to know where to start.

Dunno if this is of any use to anybody.

A friend and I were trying to derive some sort of meaning to the coords in the ROV telemetry. There are likely people on this site who know the actual coord translation, and my data could be very wrong, but here it is.

It's based off of near simultaneous data snags of the Skandi Neptune's position and a screen cap of one of the ROV's in the handling deck. Angular translation was done with an Earth radius of 20855487.84 feet.


the link seems not correct

Odd, worked earlier. I verified it and it came up. It just wont img tag correctly. Here, as a URL:


It's actually a png, but it's got a jpg extension. Some things can cope with that, some can't.

Okay, try this one. I wrestled with it a bit and now the browser sees it as a JPG under image info.


Good work Lurking. Could that thing you have labeled "valve board" be the manifold?

It could be, the ROV fiddled with it for quite some time. To me it looked like a circuit board with pipes instead of trace runs.

When I logged the initial coordinate translation with the ROV in the Bay of the Skandi Neptune, I caught another instance a few days later and checked the calculations against each other, they were only about 169 feet off, well within the length of the vessel pointing a different direction and the Bay being not directly at the GPS antenna. If I get a few more simultaneous snags like that I can refine the calculations.

The one picture you have labeled Grid are heavy mats they laid down, I read about them in another article. I think they are used to give equipment a smooth surface to sit on.

For some reason tinypic does that, even with animated GIFs.

Questions: What datum (NAD83, NAD27, etc.) did you use? When I get a spare moment I am going to try to correlate the ROV coords with the well permit and try to answer my question.

Interestingly, the well permits use NAD27 (as in 1927) instead of NAD83 (as in 1983).

PaulS comment below: UTM can be meters, or feet. I find GIS data on the web is in both.

Now, do they really do easting and northing in feet? Shades of that Mars probe?

Yep, it caught me out for a while. Just to make life interesting, some of the ROVs use meters. They seem to be handling the conversion a little better than NASA.


Gawd. So if you're just looking at these pix and feeds, where the numbers do not seem to come with the units displayed, I guess you just guess from the northing which it is? What a system...

Nah, they look quit different. Take a good look and you will see. One is about 3x the other.


Spill panel big on policy, not engineering
AP Science Writer Jun 20

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The panel appointed by President Barack Obama to investigate the Gulf of Mexico oil spill is short on technical expertise but long on talking publicly about "America's addiction to oil." One member has blogged about it regularly...

(AP tends to lean well left of center, which makes this article all the more interesting)

AP tends to lean well left of center

As the saying goes, "standpoint is everything." From mine, AP leans noticeably to the right and has for some years now. YM obviously V.

The phrase "addiction to oil" might mean more coming from folks who spent less time in jets.

Yes, an utterly meaningless phrase, and not only for that reason. If you engage in any activity other than minimal animal survival - eating, sleeping, defecating, procreating - is that automatically an "addiction"? If so, what use is the word? If not, who gets to play God and decide which activities are to be condemned as "addiction" and which are OK? (The apparent answer seems to be: self-appointed jet-setters.)

(AP tends to lean well left of center, which makes this article all the more interesting)

So, where exactly is your center - Fox News ?

A special report from the Gulf coast by Naomi Klein author of "No Logo" and "The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism"


followed by (at the bottom of article page} a 23 min. documentary
Naomi Klein visited the Gulf coast with a film-crew from Fault Lines, a documentary programme hosted by Avi Lewis on al-Jazeera English Television. She was a consultant on the film


June 17, 2010 — In the two months since the Deepwater Horizon explosion, millions of litres of oil have gushed out of BP's well into the water each day, slowly encroaching on the coastline. Fault Lines' Avi Lewis travels to the drill zone, and learns about the erosion in the wetlands from industry canals and pipelines, the health problems blamed on contaminated air and water from petrochemical refineries.

This is well worth the watch. Al Jazeera is apparently able to do what no MSM can. Compare the substance of this report to those of MSM of all stripes. Thanks for the post.

Transcript of Matt Simmons Interview June 8:


"(Rough transcript which I'll gladly add to or amend if someone else can understand what he was saying with that terrible web cam.)

Simmons: When this blew out there had to be resevoir pressures of 40-50,000 pounds per square inch other wise the fire wouldn't have been so intense and what would have come out first is the blowout preventer would have popped out of the water more like a cork. And then what would come out second is the casing. That is what used to kill people on land based blowouts, the casing would come right up to the mouth of the (inaudible) and fall on people. And so we have an open hole that's spewing I would guess somewhere between 100-150,000 barrels a day of oil which is why you now have over a hundred mile oil lake at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico that's apparently 4-500 feet deep.

Now one of the most important things that went on this week is the Thomas Jefferson, the United States biggest research vessel is now on location, it was actually in the general arena... area doing ocean bottom profiling and NOAA four days ago put if off and sent it over. They're going to basically find where these plumes are and why there's this oil lake.

I would think by the end of the week we will discover that we have an open hole with no casing in it which sits about seven miles away from where BP had been trying to fix these little tiny leaks in the drilling riser. I bet where (inaudible) of the drilling riser is still connected to the (inaudible) of it and so they've done everything wrong.

Ratigan: So you say they've done everything wrong, what do you mean specifically when you say that?

Simmons: Well they basically are trying to patch a little leak in the drilling riser. You've got to remember that what we're seeing on television, the drilling riser is 22.5" in circumferance. Most of it is a elastomers to make it bouyant. In the middle is a 7" column with the annulus where the drill bit goes down, so coming out of that is a little plume of gas. It's not oil and it's only about four feet high.

That could not by any way have actually covered 40% of the Gulf of Mexico, so what we're going to find when the Thomas Jefferson finishes its work is we have an open hole with no casing in it and the only way we'll shut it off is either let it complete which might take 30 years which could maybe not only poison the Gulf of Mexico but maybe the Atlantic Ocean or to put a nuclear device down the hole like the Russians did in the 70's and actually encase it by turning the turning the rock into (inaudible).

Ratigan: If you accept the inevitability of this oil flow, best case scenario for months, worst case scenario for years is there anything that we could be doing right now or should be doing right now from a containment perspective that we're not doing whether it's not just booms but booms with a curtain that goes to the bottom of the sea, tankers, again it's obviously beyond my pay grade, but is there something we should be doing that we're not doing?

Simmons: The booms don't work because the oil's coming from the bottom of the ocean. They slip right under the boom. It's not on the surface. One thing they should be doing is every time we unload a tanker at the Louisiana offshore loading port which has all this supertanker offshore loading, they should go right over to the oil lake and start sucking up this black crude at the bottom and putting it on the tanker and get it out of the Gulf wet shorelands because when the hurricanes arrive the hurricane actually blows this oil on shore it will basically paint the Gulf shore black and it will shut down the refineries, the power plants and it will be America's worst catastrophe and nightmare.

It appears Sen. Ben Nelson agrees with Matthew Simmons on the failure of the casing. From bmaz at FDL, BP Well Bore And Casing Integrity May Be Blown, Says Florida’s Sen. Nelson:

Oil and gas are leaking from the seabed surrounding the BP Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico, Senator Bill Nelson of Florida told Andrea Mitchell today on MSNBC. Nelson, one of the most informed and diligent Congressmen on the BP gulf oil spill issue, has received reports of leaks in the well, located in the Mississippi Canyon sector. This is potentially huge and devastating news.

If Nelson is correct in that assertion, and he is smart enough to not make such assertions lightly, so I think they must be taken at face value, it means the well casing and well bore are compromised and the gig is up on containment pending a completely effective attempt to seal the well from the bottom via successful “relief wells”. In fact, I have confirmed with Senator Nelson’s office that they are fully aware of the breaking news and significance of what the Senator said to Andrea Mitchell. "

PQ17: Everything you've just posted has been covered here, in quite a bit of detail, over the past few weeks. None of it, none at all, has withstood rational analysis and the observations of the best-informed participants here.

Do you believe that any, or some, or all of the assertions by Simmons are correct? If so, which ones, specifically? Why do you believe them?

Are you confused or uncertain about any of the assertions? Which ones?

Why do you believe Nelson's comments amount to "agreement" with Simmons? Please elucidate.

If you are simply pursuing a hunch, a feeling or an agenda of some kind, please just stop it.

The Nelson comment was in the original --- not what I said... so I will go back and delete it.

Sorry, it no longer will let me edit it.

The Nelson comment was in the original --- not what I said... so I will go back and delete it.

Simmon's core belief is this is a 100,000 to 150,000 (check the interview please) leak and it is very hard to stop.

Okay. Regarding Simmons claiming that the TJ scientists found a lake of oil on the seabed, note the date of his interview: same day as this article, written by a reporter on board the TJ.


NOAA: Presence of hydrocarbons found deep in gulf waters

By Dan Zak
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, June 8, 2010; 4:19 PM

ABOARD THE THOMAS JEFFERSON -- Halfway through its 10-day mission to hunt for underwater oil in the Gulf of Mexico, this survey vessel of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has found erratic, moving clouds of hydrocarbons -- which may be oil and gas -- at depths of more than 3,600 feet less than eight nautical miles from the site of the BP oil spill, officials said Tuesday.

(big snip)

The University of Georgia-led team of scientists tracked the plume from three-quarters of a mile to nearly 14 miles from the damaged BP wellhead.

In Washington, NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco announced that the agency's Weatherbird II research vessel has found subsurface oil at three sites, but in low concentrations of less than 0.5 parts per million.

(big snip)

"We remain concerned about the location of oil on the surface and under the sea," Lubchenco said. "We will continue to do research to understand where it is and in what concentrations and what impact it will have."

She added: "There's definitely oil there. It's in low concentrations. That does not mean it doesn't have significant impact. The impact that it has, we remain to understand."

There is a lot more to the plumes ---


Gulf oil spill plumes: what is known so far

Scientists have found evidence of at least two undersea plumes from the Gulf oil spill. The plumes appear to be diluted, but still a threat to the foundations of the Gulf food chain.

"Tracking the clouds is not easy. Despite weeks of effort, scientists are still uncertain of the full extent of undersea oil, which often seems to engage in a high-stakes game of peekaboo.

Scientists on one cruise would pick a spot where a previous ship had taken readings strongly suggesting oil was present in deep waters. Then, "67 hours later we'd go there, and there'd be nothing," says Larry Mayer, director of the University of New Hampshire's Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping, just back from a plume-hunting cruise on the NOAA research ship Thomas Jefferson. "We'd go to a place where we had high readings 30 hours earlier, and there would be nothing."

"That's why we're backing off this idea of a plume," which suggests a continuous layer, he says. Instead, several researchers are thinking of the undersea oil as more cloudlike – patches of dilute oil in tiny particles, much like water or ice droplets in clouds.

Those droplets – many as fine as the mist from a can of hair spray – can form from the forces at play as oil leaves the ruptured well."

You brought the undersea lake of oil up. There's been no undersea lake information published anywhere other than by people repeating what Simmons said and by web users posting it to various websites. Where's the data?


She added: "There's definitely oil there. It's in low concentrations. That does not mean it doesn't have significant impact. The impact that it has, we remain to understand."

Emphasis added.

Other versions of the story report that the crew was playing cat-and-mouse with plumes, that they were "appearing" and "disappearing"

No evidence of a separate leak. No suggestion of a "lake of oil."

Given how large the Gulf is and the relatively small quantity of oil, that would seem to be the most probable --- dispersal.

Question is, that does not preclude large blobs.

Presumably they are using sonar to identify it, then getting water samples.

Thanks snakehead,
I like boats...

The Thomas Jefferson, whose home port is Norfolk, VA, is part of a fleet of NOAA survey vessels. The primary mission is to collect and process the data needed to maintain and update the nautical charts along the U.S. East Coast, Gulf of Mexico, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Accurate charts are critical for the safe shipping of goods and services to and from our shores.
A couple things I though might be grist for the mill...
Present location?
Schedule is hidden on a "restricted site" according to NOAA here.

"Present location?
Schedule is hidden on a "restricted site" according to NOAA here."

Yes, but the Thomas Jefferson is reporting its position via AIS.

It is currently at:


You can track that, along with *lots* of other data associated with the response at the ERMA site:


That means that the first expedition ended, of course. No unexpectedly scary news has come out that I'm aware of, at least not yet.

If I recall correctly, which is moderately unlikely after 12 hours of work, it should be rolling back into port this week.

Not quite this week... TJ just left port on 6/15, after a short layover.

NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson departed Galveston, Texas, June 15 to continue research on the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill’s impact on the Gulf of Mexico. During the three-week mission, the research vessel will use sophisticated acoustic and water chemistry monitoring instruments to detect and map submerged oil in coastal areas and in the deep water surrounding the BP well head.

The 208-ft. ship will also take water chemistry measurements and samples in the vicinity of Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary and collect air samples in the areas around the well head and downwind of the spill site.

Thomas Jefferson Continues Deepwater Studies

You've got your Nelsons confused. Ben is from Nebraska, Bill (or as I call him, Beel) is from Florida. No big: best I can tell, they both confuse easily.

Simmons: When this blew out there had to be reservoir pressures of 40-50,000 pounds per square inch

What approximate mud weight would it have taken to drill a well at 18,000 with these pressures? Anyone care to do the math? Would this mud weight be a believable mud weight for any crew to use?

Once someone makes a blanket statement that can easily be disproven by the facts of the case, why would anyone continue to listen to him? Is there some sort of magic in listening to someone who states a huge fabrication as fact and then continues to make outrageous claims? This is a joke on the level of James Carville riding a flaming alligator out of the Louisiana swamps.

For a column of fresh water (0.433 psi/ft, roughly 8.5 pounds per gallon) to equal 50000 psi, the column would need to be 115500 feet tall. If we triple that weight, which is getting close to the upper limit on mud weights (around 25.5 ppg, they were using mud much lighter than that to drill the well), then the column of mud equaling 50000 psi would be 38500 feet.

fresh water 8.33 pounds per gallon

sea water in the GOM 8.5 to 8.6 depending how close you are to rivers and bayous that's what I work with at least

Hercules drilling drill water(fresh water) is between 8.37 ppg and 8.48 ppg depending on the shade of rust it appears to be. That's a oilfield inside joke!

You would need about 53 ppg mud (specfic gravity 6.4), or just almost 1/2 the weight of mercury. Guess you might mix mercury in the mud, and I thought oil base mud was expensive. :)

R2 -- psi = 0.052 X Depth in feet X MW in #/gallon. So back calculating: 40,000 psi would be the equivalent of 42 ppg MW. Or about twice the highest I've ever seen in 35 years. The BP records show they drilled with a 14.5 MW. They also took a fairly accurate wireline reservoir pressure (MDT) that recorded 11,900 psi in the reservoir. That's the equivalent of a 12.6 ppg MW

My calulations were based on 50,000 psi so the range is 42-53 ppg. IMHO if there was ever that kind of pressure at that depth it would have long since found it's own way to the surface.

Dylan Ratigan will be going out on a NOAA ship, possibly Monday, June 21. I heard this announcement, but the website unfortunately posts previous show info, not future. Check/follow his Twitter about MMS and Simmons if you prefer.


Frank Rich of the NYT wrote a fine column today, "Clean the Gulf, Clean House, Clean Their Clock":


No matter what your political persuasion is, there is something good in it for you.

Edit: justwondering made a good point about this column in his post above, which I just read, but ol' Frank still did a fine job.

Tony Hayward has done what has eluded many Senators for many years: He has created bipartisanship:

"That's the height of arrogance," said Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala. "He is the CEO of BP and he testified in Washington before congressional committee the other day. Now he's gone over to be on his yacht over in England. I can tell you that yacht ought to be here skimming and cleaning up a lot of the oil. He ought to be down here seeing what is really going on, not in a cocoon somewhere."


[OH, MY.]

Woods Hole Institute is out there looking for plumes too...


They are using an "autonomous underwater vehicle called the Spray glider to map currents in the Gulf of Mexico".

Undersea robot aims for 3-D image of BP oil plume

(Reuters) - Scientists geared up on Wednesday for a 12-day trip in the Gulf of Mexico with an undersea robot they hope will capture 3-D images of oil plumes from the BP spill.

"At the end of the day, we'll have a three-dimensional, almost holographical image of the plume," Reddy said. (Christopher Reddy, director of the Coastal Ocean Institute at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

law isn't my line of work ....but it seems counter productive for BP to try and move these legal proceedings to Houston....the oil patch is not happy with BP's response so far.....in fact pissed off is more like it ....why BP wants to shift this to houston i cannot understand ....rmbr judges and such are elected offices out in the lone star state....there is no group of people more pissed off about this nonsense response than in Houston ...how they expect a sympathetic jury and a sympathetic judge in houston confounds me .....then again I ain't no lawyer but seems like if i were BP and could choose or recommend where to hold legal proceedings....I would aim for Maine or Vermont or something far far away ....

any person care to comment why BP is rolling the dice here this way ?? appreciate if if you abstain from commenting if all you know about law is what you gleaned out of john Grisham novels (like myself)

ali: Rockman and I just spend the better part of this afternoon debating this point (above).

Rockman's position is that anywhere would be better than Houston or NOLA. The oil patch wants BP beaten to death in public.

My position: They wanted this judge in this jurisdiction. BP's lawyers ran to him on June 18 to beat everyone else. I am sure they have excellent lawyers in Houston with superb connections and knowledge.

If what Rockman says is true, they have hired and taken the advice of a bunch of malpracticing amateurs.

If I'm right, their lawyers know something we don't know. I have suggested several possible reason above. My reasons have been met with "It just can't be so" from Rockman with his knowledge of the oil patch and its gossip.

"The awful thing about life is: Everyone has their reasons. — Jean Renoir, La Règle du jeu

EL -- my bad ...i should have browsed the thread before putting out my 2 cents (i just read yall's discussion up thread...most englightening)...i just put it out since I met with a few drill enggs and such for a few cold ones and someone mentioned this....took us all by surprise.....Anadarko and Mitsui must get a pass here ...

RM comments "Just my dark view of the matter: if the judge doesn't rule in Anadarko's favor regarding the JOA provisions he is a marked man in Texas. And we're deadly serious about such feelings. And that would be true even if such a ruling did honor the law. The oil patch is desparite to see protection via the JOA. It's more important than insurance in some ways. Just consider if an operator's ins. coverage is voided based upon negligence. Then the only protection left would be the JOA."

can't put it any fairer than this....no matter how much i hate to agree with geologists [nothing but trouble these geologists far as my livelihood is concerned :) always nitpicking ] ....JOA's is the basis on which the oil patch does business ....be the thin edge of the wedge far as the oil patch is concerned...

ali: I think you're now the third person to have read Rockman and my discussion. But the Resource Wars (water and oil) are going to be fought out either in the courts or in the streets Mexican drug cartel style.

Perhaps, this judge made statements criticizing the amount of the Exxon settlement. He has spoken at oil patch conventions on numerous occasions over many years and has numerous oil patch investments according to the article I cited on a previous thread. I have not seen his name anywhere or I would turn The Google loose on him.

Who knows? Maybe he's Rep. Joe ("shakedown") Barton's brother-in-law. That as good a guess as some of Matt S's.

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There will be scores of Federal and state law claims. For federal claims, It would seem natural for BP to want Houston, as it maintains its US HQ there. Federal Circuit judges are lifetime appointments. I'll speculate that big oil has enjoyed a judicial environment that is probably as friendly to industry as may be found in the US. The Houston district is part of the 5th Circuit court of appeals, which includes TX, LA, and MS. Therefore any appeals will be heard in New Orleans and probably a few will find their way to the SCOTUS. Leaving criminal aside for now, the fundamental federal claims that may find Houston jurisdiction are: 1) Wrangling among BP and its well partners. 2) Environmental fines imposed by the Dept. of Interior after fully exhausting administrative appeal processes. 3) Wrangling over cleanup costs to federal property.

For the myriad of state law claims, BP will claim diversity and move the suits into federal court. For a plaintiff, seating a federal jury in NOL or Montgomery, AL would have advantages. Besides possibly being more empathetic, it is state law that is applied within a federal court trial. Same idea would apply to MS, AL, FL etc.

This event is big enough that normal judicial infrastructure could be brought to its knees. With the maxim, "Justice delayed is justice denied" there will be tremendous effort to consolidate similar claims into class actions for judicial economy. This creates its own problems of fairness and individual redress. It could take a year just to sort out all the players and create an orderly process.

Delivering reparations faster is the important reason the $20B extra-judicial fund the President negotiated, is good. If in fact it does deliver relief faster.

Despite Mr. Haywards stonewalling the Congress the other day, BP so far has laid down and died. It would seem they have absolutely no good choices. I wonder how long they can stick to a strategy of "cooperating". I suspect that if they are unable to rehabilite their image with a cooperation strategy, they might feel forced to go the adversarial route. If they do, it won't be pretty.

As I typed this, I could almost conclude that selling out their GOM assets or even all NA assets might be in the cards.

NM: I cited an article in an earlier thread. From that article, it seems that BP went to a Houston federal judge to establish jurisdiction on a diversity basis over any legal claims by private individuals, probably through a class action. The article was unclear about how BP's lawyer were trying to do this. But I wouldn't bet the article is accurate.

Rockman has said that the Houston oil patch would like to see BP drawn and quartered in public. And then burned at the stake. Any judge, even federal, would no longer be welcome in the proper circles amongst the right people in Houston if the judge didn't stick it to BP.


An Overview of the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation
Origin and Purposes
The United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, known informally as the MDL Panel, was created by an Act of Congress in 1968 – 28 U.S.C. §1407.

The job of the Panel is to (1) determine whether civil actions pending in different federal districts involve one or more common questions of fact such that the actions should be transferred to one federal district for coordinated or consolidated pretrial proceedings; and (2) select the judge or judges and court assigned to conduct such proceedings.

The purposes of this transfer or “centralization” process are to avoid duplication of discovery, to prevent inconsistent pretrial rulings, and to conserve the resources of the parties, their counsel and the judiciary. Transferred actions not terminated in the transferee district are remanded to their originating transferor districts by the Panel at or before the conclusion of centralized pretrial proceedings.

Interesting that the process outlined only deals with pretrial and discovery proceedings. A trial is conducted in the original venue.

nw: Just another guess. But I think the biggie in terms of potential damages will be a class action by individuals alleged to have been injured. It will be a consolidated action for all purposes in one court. That's what Exxon fought and fought. What really interest me at the moment, however, is Anadakos early preemptive strike against BP. http://www.anadarko.com/Investor/Pages/NewsReleases/NewsReleases.aspx?re.... And BP's semingly dazed and confused response. See morning thread.

I read the Anadarko statement. I have heard others refer to is as harsh and combative. But I didn't see that. I realize that I am not used to reading legalese. Perhaps I just didn't recognize the important points.

Would you be a dear and point them out please? I am sure I am not the only one who is a bit confused.

What happens to the undersea oil over time?

Right now, they are dispersed by chemicals, which will over time dissipate.

Will the oil dissipate?

What are the ramifications of a hurricane?

Broad, open-ended, suggestive questions can be an effective rhetorical device in some places. They don't do too well at TOD, though.

We know that nature does a great job cleaning up oil spills - with the volatile components evaporating and bacteria and microbes attacking the less volatile components over time.

Given the scale of this disaster --- booms cannot but protect a tiny fraction of the coasts.

Why bother?

Why not just have BP write big checks to the State and Local governments concerned to spend as they wish instead of trying to clean it up?

The member "snakehead" have been a member of this site for exactly 3 weeks and 2 days.

Now it feels it is in a position to dictate what "do well" at TOD:

"Broad, open-ended, suggestive questions can be an effective rhetorical device in some places. They don't do too well at TOD, though."

That leaves one to ask what interest that snakehead represent that do not want whatever I said aired --- what agenda do they have?

Is BP employing bloggers to forward their case?

Tell us more.

You aired it. And you got a response from the WaPo reporter who was on the TJ.

Just shut the hell up with the witch hunt tactics, I'm sick of it and it does nobody any good, especially no good for TOD.

Using the google search in the upper left corner of the page I found at least 10 listings, this one seems to be a good start for you on hurricanes and gulf oil spill: www.theoildrum.com/node/6586

Here is a good news search engine.


Well, it's not always "small people" who disappear . . .

A GROUP of mining executives is missing and feared dead after their plane was reported lost in West Africa.

They are are among the most senior and well-respected in the small to medium-tier mining industry in Australia.

The entire board of directors of Sundance Resources were passengers on the chartered plane travelling from Yaounde in Cameroon to Yangadou in the Republic of Congo.

On board were one of Australia's richest men, Queensland mining magnate Ken Talbot, Sundance chairman Geoff Wedlock, chief executive Don Lewis, directors Craig Oliver and John Jones, and company secretary John Carr-Gregg.

Mr Talbot's executive secretary, Natasha Flason, and another two passengers, whose background and nationality are unknown, were also passengers. ...


why can't the riser stub be unbolted and then proper equipment be bolted on?

It could be unbolted now. The question is, what would be 'proper equipment' to bolt onto an out of control wild well, and who would want to be on the other end of whatever was bolted onto it?

The last thing to be properly bolted on to that well was Deepwater Horizon!

I have some ideas but you need to have hardpoints

The BBC and Chancellor George Osbourne (who is that, thought that was Ozzy), has declared the BP 'crisis' as big enough to bankrupt the UK pension system.

That's handy. Then it has nothing whatsoever to do with decisions made by British pols, their bad policies, or the career bureaucrats.

Like anything else there will be plenty of blame to go around, but considering over 50% of all UK pensions are rooted in BP or Shell dividends, this is likely the straw that broke the camels back. It would not surprise me at all if the direct ecological effects were not as bad as the economic and secondary ecological effects. It is always the devil you do not know even when you choose the one you know.

There are a lot of politicians who are eager to cut all the social safety-net programs, including pensions, because, they claim, they're so much of a drain on government ... but not defense spending, which is, at least in the US, every bit as large.

(I keep wondering what they think they're getting from that kind of deal.)


Far off the subject of the blowout, but did not Ike warn of the military/industrial complex?

I know nothing except the fact of my ignorance. Socrates?



Any possibility that this worst-case scenario happens?

If my uncle's methane gas level is used, I doubt it. I rate methane/carbon disulfide/dead animal smells on a Uncle Benny scale. An Uncle Benny is exposure to 5 minutes of his personal methane while being trapped in a 69 Cadillac. Granted the '69 was not exactly airtight, but I imagine it added dangerous fumes of its own. This was the leaded gas era. I am anticipating no more than .5 Uncle Benny's in the immediate area, but I am also watching the news and I am in contact with my brother, a local Internist. If I detect an overall concentration greater than 1 full Uncle Benny or otherwise notice folks with breathing problems having trouble, I will be sure and post here so you can watch the national news for the reports of effected areas and what to do.

Today I've been privy to reports from a friend's son who's working 30 miles offshore in the middle of the muck. It wasn't pleasant reading - thanks for the guffaw.

I hope your friend's son is fine. I live in Gulf Shores Alabama, and I have been around methane and natural gas w/&w/o Merpican before and it can be very dangerous and can kill and injure humans and animals. There are also many swamps around here. There are many animal farms around here. There is risk of methane from this event, but right now I am much more concerned about the ecosystem overall and the economic system overall. I honestly meant the part about monitoring the situation and reporting, it is just that I have been hearing about bad it is down here and all are fine. My aunt keeps calling me talking about what she sees in the news and I tell her she is 78, please keep calling so I know what to do. She is my canary. We are fine here for now. If it changes I will find a PC and you will hear about it. Good luck and God bless.

TFHG ~ Thx for your good wishes. He's fine - highly trained and on a trackable ship. No internet, of course, but we get occasional calls and are using Marine Tracker to keep up w/his movements. His biggest problem is coping with sight of the burn boxes, etc, and tech problems like pumps continually breaking. Lots of heat exhaustion to go along w/it all - 125 on deck today. By the time this is over, won't be surprised to see PTSD among workers - there's trauma and stress, for sure. best wishes - my admiration for the folks actually working this knows no bounds.

Absolutely not one mention of additional mental health or physical health help for that matter on any mass media. You want something to ask about, ask about that. I bet suicide and homicide go off the charts soon if help does not come.

BTW The lawyers and BP damn sure have commercials already. This country is so jacked up.

No one's put the terrifying methane catastrophe together in the same paragraph with the need to rush to nuke the Gulf. I hope someone does.

At the bottom of that article, there's this snippet: "Disturbing evidence is mounting that something frightening is happening deep under the waters of the Gulf of Mexico—something ..." which made me wonder about GOMzilla being down there.

Did you notice that he states that crude oil turns into gasoline on it's way to the surface, gawd, that would put the oil refineries and companies out of business. :) "While it is known that the gallons of oil spewing has yet to be controlled, there are certain chemicals mixed in with this gasoline that release toxin gases, finding a way to make it up into the air."

I guess they figured out how to get the price up on carbon with "other initiatives".


“We are focusing our investment in alternatives and renewables on power generation because it accounts for over 40 per cent of man-made greenhouse gas emissions, the biggest single source. It is also the area where technology can be applied most cost-effectively to reduce emissions.
“As the pricing of carbon develops through trading schemes and other initiatives, the market will grow rapidly as low-emission technologies displace less clean forms of power generation.”


Carter got Big Power to use coal not oil or nuke. So what do we want them to do now?

No. The methane concentration in the air is not high enough to kill humans by oxygen deprivation.

Consider that there are dozens of ships, with people on them, in the water above the leaking well and that the people there have enough oxygen to breathe.

Most of the methane from the leaking well is dissolved in sea water and will either dissipate at the surface or be oxidized in the water. Yes, oxygen levels in the water will drop locally, but the ocean is big and the well is relatively tiny.

The article is essentially fear mongering, and not much more.

duplicate posted below

The biggest concern though right now, which hasn't hit mainstream news yet but has been being discussed by scientists since the incident, is the amount of methane gas that is being released.

No identifiable sources makes this report less than credible. Although, the documented and imo incredible amounts of methane now being "flared" everyday are a major concern to me.

I believe I read today that what's gushing now is more oil, less gas (by 50%?). Maybe it'll be a trend.

Well, consider what the products of burning methane are.... carbon dioxide and water. Not exactly toxic stuff...

Secondly the amount of methane being flared is not that extreme. Flaring methane is a standard safety practice in the oil and gas business and a lot more than this well is producing gets burned every day.


In the Gulf of Mexico, the normal expected methane rate is 5%. According to the latest reports about 40% methane is being released. What this does is basically drain the oxygen out of the water, killing sea life that doesn't find a way out of its path.

So, America is going to be treated to a giant fart under the cloud cover? Like a Dutch Oven?

If this methane gas explodes out through the ocean, we are talking about martial law and the evacuation of millions on the shore. While the situation in the Gulf is grim, it seems it could get a lot grimmer.

Cats and dogs living together?


If you think methane is scary you should be terrified when you read about dihydrogen monoxide!


"Most of the methane from the leaking well is dissolved in sea water and will either dissipate at the surface or be oxidized in the water. Yes, oxygen levels in the water will drop locally, but the ocean is big and the well is relatively tiny."

You mean this is, like, "a very small oil spill in a big ocean"?

Is that you, Tony?

No, I mean that this is a very small methane leak in a big ocean. Even though., compared to the oceans, the oil spill is still nothing, The oil is just a mess in a limited area and an environmental hazard.

alcyon73 said
"Most of the methane from the leaking well is dissolved in sea water"

perhaps you could provide some backup to your statement. I saw LSU`s Overton in an interview saying similar things*, downplaying the methane theory only to admit he is not qualified in that specialty.


"BLITZER: David Kessler, I don't know if you him. He is a professor at Texas A&M University. He is quoted as saying this. And I will put it up on the screen. "This is most vigorous methane eruption in modern human history."

You think he is right?

OVERTON: He may know a lot more about that than I do. I'm not a methane expert, but there is certainly an awful lot of carbon going into the water column. There's no question about it. There is just an awful lot of water out there."


More grist for the heavy breathers:
Boater chases mysterious periscope off Hollywood beach