BP's Deepwater Oil Spill - An Update on Collection, Evaluating The President's Speech and Open Thread

Because of the large number of comments, this thread is being closed. Please comment on http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6614.

In this post, I will be giving you my thoughts about Tuesday evening's Presidential speech, but first, let me give you my usual update on the oil collection process.

The secondary collection system, using the Q4000 has now been activated to help collect the growing volumes of oil generated from the oil spill at the Deepwater Horizon site in the Gulf of Mexico. There was also a small fire, yesterday, due to a lighting strike, that shut down collection for a short while.

The current status is thus

For the last 12 hours on June 15th (noon to midnight), approximately 4,830 barrels of oil were collected and 14.6 million cubic feet of natural gas were flared.

• On June 15th, a total of approximately 10,440 barrels of oil were collected and 25.1 million cubic feet of natural gas were flared.

• Oil collection volumes were lower on June 15th due to the direct lightening strike on the Enterprise.

• Total oil collected since the LMRP Cap containment system was implemented is approximately 160,400 barrels.

• Collection commenced on the Q4000 at ~9:50pm with hydrocarbons reaching surface at ~1am on the 16th. We expect to optimize collection over the next few days.

The President has now given his Oval Office Address to the Nation on the Oil Spill, and I will update this as the news of his discussions with BP officials goes on. But the speech itself is worth examining. The most critical part of the spill is to get the leak stopped. It was the first significant topic of the speech, but this is what he said:

Because there has never been a leak this size at this depth, stopping it has tested the limits of human technology. That's why just after the rig sank, I assembled a team of our nation's best scientists and engineers to tackle this challenge -- a team led by Dr. Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist and our nation's Secretary of Energy. Scientists at our national labs and experts from academia and other oil companies have also provided ideas and advice.

As a result of these efforts, we've directed BP to mobilize additional equipment and technology. And in the coming weeks and days, these efforts should capture up to 90 percent of the oil leaking out of the well. This is until the company finishes drilling a relief well later in the summer that's expected to stop the leak completely.

So the recommendations of the “nation’s best” is “do better?” or “do more?” To which BP has responded by bringing in more collection equipment, but has not changed their current response to sealing the leak – which is basically to rely on the relief wells. (Although I did hear some stories that it was the “expert” team and Dr. Chu that told BP to stop the Top Kill attempts). But that was all the coverage that the most critical part of the speech provided.

The problem, of course, is that the problem is not solved until the leak is closed. Thus the “X days of the Gulf Crisis” that is the mantra of the main stream media will likely continue until X reaches about a hundred, and by then, barring some further catastrophe (and I’m not ruling one out) the public may be rather tired of the story. The clean-up is vital, dealing with the compensation for those who have lost wages will become interesting.

BP have just agreed to set up a fund of $20 billion to recompense those who have lost jobs and livelihoods. They have also suspended their dividend for the rest of this year. But the Administration gave BP some years to create the fund, so that the company does not get wiped out. They also agreed to create a $100 million fund for those in the oil patch who have lost work because of the moratorium on drilling.

It gets them off the hook, but I am very dubious that it will accelerate payments to individuals and companies. While BP had the responsibility, they had to hire the accountants, clerks, and administrators to oversee the distribution. These folks had to have rules, which had to be written, and paperwork documentation of claims had to be established. Getting that done as fast as it was is something that private industry, with the right incentives, can largely achieve.

But if the whole process, or significant parts of it, have now to be redone with a different set of rules to be established, then BP can now claim no responsibility, and it will be the Administration which starts to get targeted as payments continue to be delayed.

Bureaucracies take time to build, and once established are hard to get around. That is not going to change for those who need a check in the next week or so to pay the mortgage, or feed the kids. With apparently 14 different agencies involved in the clean-up, getting all the permissions for particularly innovative approaches had already required some creative thinking, and may require much more if, for example, advanced skimming tools are to be used within a meaningful time-frame. Again, based on current performance, I am becoming more cynical as to success, as the Administration claims more authority over what is, and is going to be done.

The other half of the speech dealt with the need to accelerate the change to alternate fuels. This is a site that is seriously concerned over the coming shortages of fossil fuels, and oil in particular. So encouraging the development of alternatives is something that needs to be done. Did it need to be in this speech? That is a political issue I don’t want to address. But there were not a lot of specifics in the speech. It was more along the lines of

Others wonder why the energy industry only spends a fraction of what the high-tech industry does on research and development -– and want to rapidly boost our investments in such research and development.

Well the federal agency that used to support such R&D was the U.S. Bureau of Mines, in the Department of Interior. It was one of the few agencies that the Federal Government (in the Clinton Administration) has ever closed. So maybe this isn’t just an industry problem?

So at the end of the day, there are no specific new steps to move forward with. We will see what Congress brings forth.

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

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For Rockman, Heading Out or other longtimers here with experience in remediation efforts:

First, my profound gratitude to those of you who have patiently provided invaluable information to us newbies and the outstanding progress reports,links and other considerations the longterm members have shared thoughts on.

My latest question - what large scale cleanup efforts/machinery/facilites are available or needed for removing oil from the sand? Seeing legions of people shoveling contaminated sand into plastic bags isn't going to cut it when the oil starts hitting the beaches in real volume. I fear that even as efforts have been overwhelmed so far in water clean up, what can locals do to plan ahead for what I see as an eventuality on the shores? Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

note: Apologies for the repeat post...Previously posted in an earlier thread that's been closed for further comments.

Is there any reliable information about oil "hitting the beaches in real volume"? Is there a volume out there that hasn't hit that is expected? I mean some exponentially large hourly/daily volume in addition to that which is already hitting. Thanks.

Of coarse there is, it's not simply going to disappear.

From Obama's speech:
"...these efforts should capture up to 90 percent of the oil leaking out of the well. "

"Up to"? - that means somewhere between 0% and 90%.

It would have been a bit more impressive if he had said "..no less than X%.." even if the baseline number X nominated was quite conservative.

What he is really saying, is: " We haven't got a clue what percentage of the oil we are going to be able to capture and I'll be damned if I am willing to stick my neck out and put a minimum figure on it."

Hardly confidence inspiring!

I'll keep it very brief, but the remedial option for the oil contaminated sediment recovered from the shorelines is soil washing with a jet pump scrubbing stage for the fines (clay/silt/sand fraction) followed by bioremediation (biopiling, perhaps using a fungal based system) of the washed fines and recovery of the oil by tricanter centrifuge.

Thermal desorption is also an option, but the VOC content and calorific value of this waste is likely to be very high for the thermal capacity of a desorber drum, they tend to blow up if you feed them rich stuff.

BP needs to be setting up hub sites in each state to accept and treat this material now, it would likely save them money in the long run.

You are doing a great job and this is the only site of real merit in existence. We are a specialist connection company from Down Under and we think we have a solution. We are trying all contacts to short circiut BP/Unified Commands process because we submitted over two weeks ago and nothing has happened. Many of the best suggestions involve dropping a pipe in to get a clean edge to attach something to and while they are good ideas, they are unlikely to succeed in getting the connection required (think inflatable collars, reverse umbrellas, barbs etc). We have a helical connection we have pioneered that we know will work.

The helical approach – see 3 video links following http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OpWg4L6rmow – has merit because:
1 It is self-locking and self-sealing
2 Creates a distributed load on the inside of the pipe (jagged top is irrelevant)
3 Is easily fabricated
4 Is somewhat inherently dimension tolerant
5 Initial testing with a ridiculously fragile helix suggests that if scaled up will easily withstand the pressure (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jr-8X0DEyLY )
6 Can be slender so inserted against the high psi down the sides of the flow
7 Has a servo locking character where the oil pressure will increase the lock and seal You really need to look at all three videos – total play time is about 13min Basic idea is
1 Oversize a spring to inside pipe bore (slender _ see latest video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5L4l2uADlW8 )
2 Reduce its diameter, by winding and or stretching
3 Take to seabed – reduced in diameter
4 Release spring so it unwinds to the pipe inner surface
5 Gradually close off attached valve – or take oil and gas to surface if worried about blowing BOP apart
6 Drink champers

any feedback would be much appreciated .. contact details at the end of the preso.
I know that if the BOP is blocked off it might lead to bigger problems, but still feel that a decent seal will help, and will eliminate the risk of crystalisation that seems to be a problem now.

Trying our best to get heard. Still working 24/7 after 2 weeks trying.

Thanks for the videos, Dan. It's a clever, interesting looking device, I encourage our experts (I'm not one!) to have a look.

One point to mention is that there seems to be a reluctance to create too much backpressure in the system now, as there may be damage down below. However if your device was used to create a good coupling, it could be combined with other hardware incorporating relief valves or shutters that allowed the operators to dial in as much, or as little pressure as they wanted.

It seems like something that might have various applications in the industry.

If the BOP is to be completely sealed, then your device would probably do the job. But as you acknowledge, the experts appear to believe that the BOP should not be completely sealed, to avoid the possibility of making a bad problem worse. If you are not getting any response from BP or Unified Command, that is probably the reason. Your method is clever and I hope your business succeeds.

If the problem is in the BOP or upper sections of the casing, would it be possible to attach this device to a drill string and set it down around the ~15K foot level, and pump in extra heavy mud to shut down the flow, then cement the well? It would lock out the reservoir, and any casing problem further up would be eliminated.

That is correct, but also there seems to be a problem with hydrates with the current containment cap and that is putting a restriction on how much they are willing to get to the surface. Having a clean seal would eliminate this problem and mean they can shut off another valve...

This is a link to the text of President Obama's speech.

This is a link to a review of the speech by Richard Heinberg, called A Tepid Plea for Unspecified Change, which is quite good.

If Richard Heinberg is so in favor of Jimmy Carter's methods, then perhaps he could do a follow up and explain how successful Carter was in getting them implemented - or better yet explain what Carter was able to accomplish in his second term.

Given the general tone and lack of specifics, Obama certainly wasn't speaking to those of us that already understand the issues - it was targeted to the rest of the public that doesn't understand and may not even care much about energy or what's going in the Gulf. Obama's speech needs to be analyzed in that context. For example, did the religious note at the end help reach and maybe start to wake up a few people?

"For example, did the religious note at the end help reach and maybe start to wake up a few people?"

No, of course not. It did exactly the opposite: It encouraged superstitious Americans to rekindle unreasonable hopes that, somehow, in some unspecified way, we will "be saved," by faith, by our spirit and ingenuity.

In other words, it led them to believe that all will be well and that we will find (somewhere) the clean renewable energy we need to maintain our "American way of life"—to keep, as a poster here put it, our cherished "zippy cars and juicy steaks."

It was a feeble, nearly content-free, bland attempt at general reassurance.

"No, of course not. It did exactly the opposite: It encouraged superstitious Americans to rekindle unreasonable hopes that, somehow, in some unspecified way, we will "be saved," by faith, by our spirit and ingenuity."

Are you sure about that?

A Little Religion Gives Environmentalism New Fervor
by Worldwatch Institute on December 19, 2002

New Worldwatch study documents how religious and environmental groups are partnering for the planet

Washington, D.C.—Religious institutions around the world are going green and providing a push to the environmental movement, says a new report from the Worldwatch Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based research organization. Invoking the Spirit: Religion and Spirituality in the Quest for a Sustainable World documents how these unconventional alliances are growing in frequency and significance to address issues from deforestation in Thailand to green investing by stockholders in New York.

"This collaboration could change the world, " says author Gary Gardner, Worldwatch Research Director. "These groups have different but complementary strengths. Environmentalists have a strong grounding in science. Religious institutions enjoy moral authority and a grassroots presence that shape the worldviews and lifestyles of billions of people. It’s a powerful combination that until recently remained virtually unexplored."

Gardner says that in learning to work together, the two groups must overcome mutual misperceptions and divergent worldviews, which have historically kept them apart. He writes that secular environmentalists worry about the checkered history of religious involvement in societal affairs. Religious institutions, on the other hand, may have perspectives on the role of women, the nature of truth, and the moral place of human beings in the natural order that sometimes diverge from those of environmentalists.

However, partnerships are successfully happening, and Invoking the Spirit provides examples from around the world where religions are using their influence to promote sustainability. For instance, in the 1990s, "environmentalist monks" in Thailand opposed shrimp farming and dam and pipeline construction and protected mangroves and bird populations. They even preserved trees by "ordaining" them within sacred community forests.

Since 1996, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the symbolic leader of the 250 million-member Orthodox Church, has used the prestige of his office to gather prominent scientists, journalists, and religious leaders for four week-long, shipboard symposia focusing on water-related environmental issues.
Religions are also tapping their extensive grassroots presence and economic resources to engage issues of sustainability. In the United States, 3,500 Lutheran, Presbyterian, Unitarian, and Quaker congregations have committed to purchasing fairly-traded, shade-grown, often organic coffee. Just five years old, the Interfaith Coffee Program now supplies about one percent of the country’s congregations and is the fastest-growing source of revenue for the Equal Exchange Coffee Company, the program’s sponsor.

Meanwhile, Episcopal Power & Light offers its U.S. customers the opportunity to purchase electricity generated from solar, wind, geothermal, and other renewable energy sources, and helps congregations to “green” their houses of worship.


I'm sure that the 50 odd religious Americans or so who are receptive to a pro-environmental message like that are very earnest and enthusuastic in their support. Unfortunately, this message falls on deaf ears to the other 250 million+ glued to Fox News, 700 Club, Rush, Beck & Hannity. Those Americans are eagerly awaiting the Rapture to take them to right-wing Heaven, where rivers of 92-octane flow freely alongside the milk and honey, every channel is Fox or ESPN, and Hell is where Liberal tree-huggers go.

Here are a couple relevant links for ya':
Most Christians Infected with Prosperity Gospel

I live in one of the most backward,poorly educated, and religious communities in the US.

The typical church goer here with a larger than average endowment of basic brain power quietly believes in or accepts most or all of these things: round earth,evolution, geological time, dinosaurs, peak oil,climate change,the population bomb, financial overshoot,possible pandemic killer diseases,and various other things that would suprise the hell out of most people who never have any ACTUAL contact with such people-other than the nutcases of thier kind.Even the dumb ones mostly do not deny these things except if directly confronted in respect to them and the issue is forced.

This may have a lot to do with the fact that most of them are farmers or second generation off the farm, and farmers tend to be quite realistic about such things due to actual eyeball and sweat experience and the fact that they have had televisions for the last fifty years.

A man who runs his own business and makes critical decisions on a regular basis cannot be fooled into believing there is plenty of oil available when he knows that the oil companies are drilling in deep water and mining tar sands.

A man who has seen thousands of acres of crops wiped out by a blight or a new to the nieghborhood bug understands that such things can and do happen at random and could happen to people as well.

A man who talks to family members with his cell phone on the West coast where the sun is high but it has already set here necessarily understands a round earth.

One of them a few days back , in response to a comment that oil is expensive only "because the oil companies are holding it back" simply snorted and asked why they didn't hold it back when it was thirty cents a gallon.

A man who has had to sell off his cows because they would otherwise starve due to a bad growing season and who has also seen New York or Atlanta as a soldier or a truck driver has no problem understanding overpopulation.

A man who has an orchard of fruit trees such as nectarines which did not exist until created by plant breeders does not deny the reality of evolution.

A coal miner who has seen the local mines shut down because the coal can no longer be gotten out at a profit understands that the same thing must eventually happen at all other mines.

Of course if you ask one of the religious locals directly he will toe the church line from Genesis to Revelation.Nobody should be suprised at this.My well educated friends are just as subject to cognitive dissonance and hypocrisy as the average high school dropout Baptist.Virtually all of them toe the line one way or another in respect to party politics that they really don't agree with.

I have acquaintances who are stalwart Democrats who would die rather than see thier daughters marry a black man or thier sons bring home a boy friend and Republican acquaintances who are just as hypocritical in other respects.Quite a few of them believe in subsidies for themselves and free enterprise for everybody else.

Now I will not argue that there are not plenty of fools in my community-but like Thoreau, I have traveled widely without going anywhere much, and I can assure the audience that fools are extraordinarily plentiful everywhere, including universities, banks, and high govt offices..

Now the locals do tend to believe they are going to Heaven;but my eighty three year old Daddy was out at the break of day today planting sweet potato slips and ran me out to pick cherries before the sun was up. Today we froze sixty quarts-enough for a pie every week and a few for gifting until next years crop comes in.

He only expects his God to help him as long as he trys really hard to help himself, and he is in no hurry whatsover to get to Heaven-which tells me and anybody else willing to think about it just what Heaven really means to him.

Where he is really in no hurry to get to is his grave out on the hill next to Momma and my sister who died as an infant.Heaven is just a sort of charm or incantation used to deny the grave.

The average liberal does not really believe in socialism and getting a living without working and the average conservative does not really believe in allowing old widow women to starve to death.But if you listen to the partisan sniping you would conclude that each side does so believe.

The average church goer here in the mountian Bible Belt does not really believe in most of the dogma of his church, unless he is intellectually challenged.He simply avoids thinking about it.

Of course the ones who are in fact intellectually challenged are the ones who take it upon themselves to represent the group publicly, and of course these are the ones most readily and easily caricatured by the media in order to sell advertising and to further the political agenda of the media establishment.

Nor should anybody be suprised that many of the dumbest of the religious people are in leadership positions.Most of our leaders are as dumb as fence posts, excepting thier understanding of one problem-getting into power, and staying there.


Fine post, very real, from the heart!

Also, I had my fist homemade cherry pie slice yesterday...our new house came with cherry and peach trees...my family picked those cherries and made us a nice pie...I mixed in some blueberries and put a little whipped cream on top for breakfast...the simple pleasures, much nicer than sitting in front of my computer at work for 8+ hours per day deriving answers that my bosses do not want to hear...

People's brains are hardwired for patterns of behavior which can be manipulated. They often are reluctant to take a stand on an issue that won't win in the end. We want to be winners, to be safe. TV and religion give them safe havens. To bridge the gap from what their heart tells them is really true and what they do in the end ( ? believe BP and the govt are just trying their best in a tough situation ?). It takes guts and energy to stand up against raw power and say no.

Excellent post OFM.

Oldfarmermac, I sure hope you're right because it looks the opposite to me. I want to believe you. I want to believe that the farmers and salt-of-the-earth see through the nonsense being spewed to them by preachers and politicians, but I just don't see the evidence for it. I hope you're right and I'm wrong.

I think that if oldfarmermac is right, it means that those people would accept the things he says they do, if asked; it is knowledge that they have. But something else in their brains stop them bringing that knowledge to the fore, to think about them and to start to question their politicians (at all levels) about them, or even to discuss those issues between themselves. If this is true, there really is no hope because it means that the world is divided into those who simply deny the obvious and actively try to convince themselves (and others) that reality is not reality, and those who, whilst accepting reality deep down, simply don't want to think about reality to any great degree. Either way nearly all people want to just go on as "normal" and will accept soothing words either explicitly or implicitly.

Great Post OFM

Many folks (like you) on this site actually think clearly and see the world as it is - very complicated. Others think only in stereotypes. In their inability to think clearly they attack every group not exactly like them. But I keep coming back to the site because of thinkers like you.



Unfounded stereotypes like this, perhaps: http://www.godhatesfags.com/?
Or this: http://www.raptureready.com/?
Or, how about this: http://www.amazon.com/Treason-Liberal-Treachery-Cold-Terrorism/dp/140005...?

I guess all the batshit crazy conservative neo-Puritans (up until recently running the entire country) exist only in my head.

Exactly. For over 30 years as an adult in the US I suffered second class citizenship in the US. Social snubs, bullying, career discrimination, ridicule, even threats of violence, OFM's good churchgoing people were no help at all. All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing. The "good" Christians, if they exist, have done nothing to curb the haters. Plus got to pay (higher) single taxes while not being eligible for SS survivor's benefits etc. And got to look forward to Pat Robertson blaming me for peak oil in addition to 9/11 and hurricanes.

In 2004 I had to go to Canada to get legally married. Since 2005 I have lived in New Zealand where my spouse and I have not experienced anything other than acceptance of our relationship.

Difference between US and New Zealand? Majority Christian versus majority atheist. Coincidence? I think not.

PS: We believe in evolution here too


My Dad was a big city, big eastern college geologist who got along equally well with physicists, roughnecks, small town gum-popping waitresses, and just about anyone of any shade of skin or politics who had a lick of common sense. He spent his high school and college summers working as a farmhand. Maybe that is where he got his wisdom.

Your post is a gem, and I'd like to see it get a little more notice. Please repost it sometime when folks here need to be brought back down to earth.



Despite your thoughtful, nuanced and well argued post, I am afraid I do not agree with your general thesis that the leaders who represent us are actually not as smart or well informed as the rest of us. I also think you are confusing those such as yourself, who can remain spiritual/religious without surrendering reason or logic, to the vast majority who cannot do so.

Many a nationwide poll does not support your contention that the "average church goer here in the mountian Bible Belt does not really believe in most of the dogma of his church, unless he is intellectually challenged." If that were true, science in general and Evolution in particular would not be under relentless assault by right-wing activists in virtually every state.

I also disagree that the ones in power are "dumb as fence posts" or generally less intelligent than the religious people they represent, as comforting an idea as that may be. While this may be true in a few isolated cases (Jim Bunning & Sarah Palin come readily to mind), I see the opposite as more generally true. Politicians are mostly clever, crafty people who are successful precisely because know what their constituents believe and want to hear. Whether or not they personally buy into the claptrap, they go along and pretend to buy into in order to get ahead.

You and I may see shades of grey where others see only black and white, but we do not represent the majority of opinions out there. After observing the U.S. political process and members of my own extended family for over 4 decades, of this much I am certain.

Thank you, OFM; very succincly said.

I am reminded of a quote from C. S. Lewis:

    "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the 'common good' may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for 'our own good' will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."

Seems politicians and preachers are mostly culled from the same cloth.

You do know that Jack was, perhaps, the most famous Christian apologist of the 20th century, right?

Another quote:

I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: 'I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God.' That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronising nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.

~Mere Christianity, 1952

I admire CS Lewis a lot, and in this respect do agree with him. Of course, not being afflicted with Faith, I choose his second option, of course.

Let's assume you're correct in your assessment of your neighbors, OFM.

Nevertheless, Obama's speech, imploring them to "have faith" in some vague, ill-defined process by which we will transform an economy that has run on carbon since the beginning of the industrial revolution to one that runs on sunbeams, wind and American ingenuity, does them a huge disservice.

You said, about an average church-goer's approach to religious dogma:

"He simply avoids thinking about it."

That's right. That's what humans do when thinking about something is hard or frightening or painful. And that's what Barack Obama is inviting your neighbors to do: Have faith, trust in our spirit, believe that everything will be OK.

We, those of us who have been paying attention, have known for decades that the party is coming to an end. But nobody *ever* wants to think about, and accept, the reality of that. So, we've continued the insane growth and consumption and waste and willful ignorance—accelerated it, in fact—day after day, year after year, generation after generation.

We have accomplished so little that yesterday, forty years after the first Earth Day, 48 years after the publication of Silent Spring, and in the middle of an eruption of gunk into the Gulf so outrageous as to be literally obscene, a poster could come here and talk about "enviro wackos" with contempt, a poster who can actually form complete sentences and express cogent thoughts, who has presumably attained some level of educational achievement. We have failed.

So, please forgive me if I don't have the "faith" you do in your neighbors and our fellow citizens. Forgive me if I find religious superstition dulling and dangerous rather than harmless or, even, beneficial, as some have asserted.

Forgive me for thinking that feeding those smart people you spoke of an endless stream of empty platitudes, the kind that Barack Obama has mastered, will never bring the change we need and offers no real hope, at all.

I am (obviously) not very religious, but I can still give kalliergo an "Amen!" ;-)

"Forgive me for thinking that feeding those smart people you spoke of an endless stream of empty platitudes, the kind that Barack Obama has mastered, will never bring the change we need and offers no real hope, at all."

Obama is not a dictator. He can't just order solutions. He has to get people to support him. He has no chance otherwise. The gop is hard-wired to oppose every move he makes, especially on corp. regulation and environ. regs. Look what has happened to others who have taken the approach of 'lecturing' people and telling them the hard truth too bluntly - like Carter and Al Gore - both of whom are now roundly mocked and ridiculed even though science backs them all the way. Nothing happened.

He needs public support to get any where, and that means reaching out to everyone. Bush used the religious right to help accomplish deregulation. Why shouldn't Obama woo people of faith for support in addressing our dependence on fossil fuels when some are natural allies? He is not basing policy on the Bible, he's just reaching out to people.

I don't see anything wrong with that.

"I don't see anything wrong with that."

What's wrong with it is that it is, as I've said repeatedly, bland pablum. No hard truths about the crisis we face, no dose of reality about the sacrifices that will be necessary, no plans or ideas of any specificity. Nothing but empty rhetoric.

His method of "getting people to support him" should be perfectly obvious by now: He says the things progressives want to hear (actually, he says things that make them think they're hearing what they want) and then he sells out to the BAU tweakers and the ranting, foaming, Taliban wing of the Republicans and the teabaggers, on virtually every issue, before negotiations really even get started. On every single issue, at every single step, he has caved to the forces of reaction, greed and destruction that call the shots in his White House just as surely as in the Reagan or Bush (pick 2) or Clinton years.

You've noticed that Carter and Gore failed to advance their agendas. Why haven't you also seen the failures of Clinton and Obama, whose model is just the opposite: appease, accommodate, try to outflank on the right?

I think that you, and the rest of the ever-decreasing band of Obama true believers (it's a depletion curve) are still seeing and hearing what you desperately *want* to see and hear, rather than what the man and his minions are actually doing.

While you repeat and defend the noble things you hear in his speeches, don't forget this one:

I want to put out, by the way, that oil rigs today generally don’t cause spills. They are technologically very advanced. Even during Katrina, the spills didn’t come from the oil rigs, they came from the refineries onshore.

~Barack Obama, 2 April 2010

The latter assertion is not true, of course. This from the man who, yesterday, listed with apparent pride Ken Salazar's achievements in cleaning up MMS (while admitting that they hadn't done enough). Stories all over the MSM are reporting that, as he approached the decision to expand offshore operations, he asked nothing about, showed little interest in, the situation at MMS.

You're being conned.

Hear, hear.

Have you seen this piece in Rolling Stone:


The Spill, The Scandal and the President?

Of course, every time I think that even the most die-hard supporters are wising up I click into their habitat over at Kos and see that I'm wrong. It's like during the Bush years when you think, "no one can possibly still believe in this guy." But there they were! Ever faithful.

Not really. I am supportive of obama when he does something i support or i think is a good move even if i might not have done the same thing. I also criticize him when he doesn't.

I don't have any illusions, but i have watched this country head in one direction for a long time, and i think it is ready to turn down a smarter path. It has been a long time coming. When you look around at the wreckage out there, from employent to housing to healthcare, energy, the economy, it's hard to believe change can't happen. It has to.

I think obama's approach is to get the ship turned first. That's the important thing. Once you get it headed in the right direction, on the important issues, you can begin to tackle them and expand and pick up speed. It is changing the mind-set, changing the direction of thinking, that is hard and takes a lot of work. And it may mean initially, much smaller steps than you or i would prefer.

Maybe it will work. Maybe it won't. Maybe obama really is just a puppet to the big corps and big money, and maybe every president is and has to be, because they run the country. But maybe not. He did force BP to cough up the $20 billion. Show me another prez who has ever stood up for people against a giant corporation or oil company like that.

I am as disappointed as you are that we have to settle for such an incrementalist approach. I had hoped for more. But I have seen the Carter and Gore approach fail spectacularly - both lost the WH. (I have also seen obama accomplish what clinton could not.) And I also realize that nothing can get done without 60 votes in the sneate, and with the just-say-no congress we have now, Obama is really limited in what he can do. He has to have public backing to get any thing done. So i am going to support him on his plan and hope it works, and criticize him on what i don't support. It makes sense for me.

"And I also realize that nothing can get done without 60 votes in the Senate..."

That's just not true.

The 60-vote cloture requirement is merely a procedural rule of the Senate. The Constitution makes clear, and the Supreme Court long ago clarified, that such rules can be changed by a simple majority vote. Ruling parties don't change it because they fear losing the effective veto power it gives them the *next* time they are in the minority.

Obama and his Democratic Congressional majority could actually do real legislating, but that's not their priority. Their priority is to maximize the chances of reelection for members of their branch (the near-right wing) of our single party (the Lobby).

If it were truly the case that this is an incrementalist approach toward the kind of change we need I'd be with you 100%, but the evidence shows otherwise. It started with his economic team filled not just with Wall Street people but key members of the very crowd that created the disaster. Health care reform? The Mitt Romney/Heritage foundation plan complete with sleazy deals with the insurance and pharmaceutical industries. Not one robust mechanism for reducing costs. Was that necessary?

MMS didn't need incrementalist reform, nor was there any political imperitive for such an approach. Nobody was defending that motley crew, nobody. It didn't have any political constituency in Washington. Cocaine and Crank parties with oil industry people? No, this was a call to clean house, and it wasn't done. This had nothing to do with Joe Liberman's cloture threat or any other political consideration other than Obama appointing yet another oil spiv to run the show.

Administration point man on finance reform? Timmy Geithner, Wall Street's boy at the New York Fed! What happened to Paul Volcker? A man who should be enjoying his retirement but put his reputation on the line for Obama? Shoved into a corner, an all-important amendment to the bill named after him cruelly excised on instructions from...the White House.

See what happens in committee to the one great surviving thing about this bill, the flukishly tough measure to curb out-of-control derivatives trading. It's biggest, most powerful foe? The White House.

What's become abundantly clear is that Barack Obama is not a progressive. Oh, he loves expanding state power, just like his predecessor. But he's no liberal.

What he had was a once-in-a-generation opportunity to do exactly what you say. But such changes in mindset NEVER happen incrementally in this country. Ever. They happen when leaders seize the moment history gives them and use the fleeting and narrow window of power afforded them.

But this man is not what he seems. Neither was Nixon, for that matter. The progressivism of his administration puts the last two Democrats to shame.

Only Nixon could go to China, only Clinton and Obama could kill the last vestiges of the New Deal.

But this man is not what he seems. Neither was Nixon, for that matter. The progressivism of his administration puts the last two Democrats to shame.

Only Nixon could go to China, only Clinton and Obama could kill the last vestiges of the New Deal.

Bravo! Exactly. The official insight of the night.

Can't touch that, so, off to bed...

"Are you sure about that?"

Yes, I'm quite sure, and your WWI excerpt, in response, is far off the mark.

"Fervor" is going to do exactly nothing to solve the problem, especially coupled with faith that the problem can be solved in a way that permits our "way of life" to continue.

I'm not at all certain that the problem is soluble but, if it is, the first step toward a solution must be recognizing that the cheap energy party is over. Really, no kidding, over.

Apparently, many believe that soft-pedaling and obfuscation (along with pie-in-the-sky faith) will make the masses more manageable. I suspect they are going to be very unmanageable, indeed, when they awaken to find that zippy cars and juicy steaks are fading memories.

I'd be willing to bet that telling them the truth is a better idea.

Maybe if we hadn't blown a billion a week in Iraq and Afghanistan for the last 8+ years, we could have invested in alternative and cleaner forms of energy instead. Then we'd have real national security. Instead, we've just destroyed ourselves better then any asshat with a cigarette lighter and a fire cracker could have ever dreamed possible.

Religion has been the opiate of the masses since man crawled out of the caves.

What we need is hard choices and careful science, not prayers for divine intervention because we are too weak to face the truth.

No, really, that was in the speech for a good reason. A lot of religions organizations / congregations are taking a stand on environmentalism. There is an obvious logic between recognizing earth as God's amazing creation and wanting to treat it as such, not trash it with oil spills and such.

Bill Moyer did a special on it:


What's so important about the potentially powerful influence of conservative evangelical Christians on environmental issues, especially global warming? For years, many of these evangelicals have been charging environmentalists-and those progressive Christians who support environmentalism-with idolatry for lavishing worship on "God's creation" rather than God. Moreover, they have been skeptical, if not downright hostile, toward government-mandated protection of the environment.

So as President Bush early in his administration initiated efforts to roll back a slew of federal environmental regulations-including safeguards on clean air and water and protections against commercial logging and drilling on public lands, among others-and withdrew American support for the Kyoto treaty on global warming, he knew he could count on conservative evangelicals to remain firmly in his corner.

But changes are afoot. In February 2006, a group of 86 respected evangelical Christian leaders from across the nation unveiled a campaign for environmental reform and put out a statement calling on all Christians to push for federal legislation that would reduce carbon dioxide emissions in an effort to stem global warming. This Evangelical Climate Initiative, which has helped publicly solidify a nascent environmentalism in the evangelical community, also intends to lobby federal legislators, hold environmental meetings at churches and colleges, and run television and radio ads that link drought, starvation, and hurricanes to global warming.

"The same love for God and neighbor that compels us to preach salvation through Jesus Christ, protect the unborn, preserve the family and the sanctity of marriage, and take the whole Gospel to a hurting world, also compels us to recognize that human-induced climate change is a serious Christian issue requiring action now," their statement read in part.

But weeks before the Climate Initiative's statement was released publicly, another group of high-profile evangelicals was working to quash it. In a January 2006 letter to National Association of Evangelicals, whose affiliated churches and ministries were considering taking a stand against global warming, these leaders warned that "global warming is not a consensus issue, and our love for the Creator and respect for His creation does not require us to take a position."

So how did conservative evangelicals, who tend to present a unified front on most matters of political significance, end up in such a public breach? And what effect might the growing commitment among evangelicals to combat global warming and other environmental perils have on the 2006 congressional races and the 2008 presidential election?

Explore these conservative evangelical issues and learn how other faiths view their obligation to the planet-and let us hear your voice-in the MOYERS ON AMERICA Religion & the Environment Citizens Class

These same Evangelicals are fighting the teaching of basic principles of science in our schools in favor of creationism and crypto-creationism aka "Intelligent Design".

We have recently been treated to a Pope waffling on the issue of whether or not Galileo was right, and Italian astronomers protesting a visit by the Pope to their university.

We are treated on TV to avowed creationists like Sarah Palin for solutions to these problems. Do you know that young earth creationism leads to the idea that fossil fuels were laid down during the Flood a few thousand years ago?

I find it extremely far fetched to believe this kind of thinking will bring anything positive to the long term issues associated with sustainability.

I am not suggesting Obama did anything more than insert those lines to acknowledge ... show his respect to ... those who link their faith and concern for the environment / the planet ... due to their growing numbers, or maybe he gently invoked that concept in general because it presents such a natural link and there are a lot of people who are religious in America.

I saw it as simply reaching out in a benign way to broaden the appeal of his message, and hopefully support for his efforts going forward. Nothing more, and a good move. He has to broaden the appeal or he'll just be another Carter if he tries to make fundamental change.

It's a start, we'll see. He does have an energy bill pending.

Syncro, yes, a lot more people are embracing good stewardship in their faith, and it's not that much of a stretch for them.

Back in the 90's I worked in Utah for a summer, radio tracking Spotted Owls in canyons and plateau forests. One of our all woman crews was heading into the woods for the night when a group of local Mormon loggers was coming out. As I heard it, a nasty argument broke out about endangered stupid birds, states rights, jobs, and the proper place of liberal female East Coast biologists in God's universe. A rather warm place, I recall. Things were ugly and looking worse when one of the field techs said, "God made these owls, and it's not our place to remove them from the earth". It got quiet, then one of the loggers replied, "You're right, ma'am", and the loggers drove off into the dusk.

Dismissing people because of their religious beliefs and associations is not an effective tactic. It's more effective to take people as they are, and reach past the narrow spite preached by a noisy few, to appeal to the better and bigger beliefs in most folks' hearts.

'Course now and then it won't work and you gonna get slapped up side the head.

One man's god is another man's devil. Religion is not so bad. I think the long term outlook on such activities is probably less harmful to oneself than motorcycling or clubbing. Besides, maybe you do not believe, but will you at least make your children aware and allow them to choose if they want too. Especially in their teen years? As long as it was in moderation, would you even think it a plus? If not you, I am sure many Atheists would. Why? I am not saying you are wrong, just thinking out loud.

God, devil, ... whatever; they are all right there where we think.

Uhhh, Joe...I don't think Carter was able to accomplish much in his second term, seeing as how he only served one term...

Sorry, I guess my sarcasm was a little too subtle. Of course, Carter didn't get a second term. Heinberg seemed to be asserting that Carter's approach or methods were better than Obama. We'll see. Maybe Obama learned something from Carter's loss to Reagan in 1980 and is playing a different game.

What do you think the pundits would say if Obama gave some long and very detailed speech. The same same pundits that said last night speech had too few details - would instead be screaming how boring it was and how the general public would have tuned out 15 minutes into the speech.

Can the American people accept some of the blame for their failure not to respond to this clear message? Or are we always and eternally perfect, and it is only our leaders who have faults?

I guess its the kind of thing that gets you burned for saying it, but I blame democracy.

Democracy worked ok when most people's occupations didn't primarily involve interpersonal relations or practical politics, but instead related to the tangible physical world with its unforgiving limits and immutable laws. You can't argue with a cloud that wont break, and you cant convince the wood to be chopped when its cold and you need a fire. These days we have Oprah's SecretTM, tacit approval for people who make decisions 'from the gut', and a majority of people who, when asked, say they literally believe in interventionist angels.

The problems of this disengagement (and of democracy in this context) are compounded by the main stream media. Classically, the democratic process is statistically interesting in that even if we assume that the majority of those who vote are essentially ignorant, we can probably expect to contribution of the ignorant to the vote count of any party to basically cancel out. If this were the case, then elections could consistently be decided by those who were knowledgeable, even if they make up a minority of those who vote. However, in the context of cheap accessible pervasive communications media, it becomes significantly easier to attract a larger portion of the ignorant than to create the policy innovation required to capture the same amount of knowledgeable folk.

The combined result is a system of government where the party in power cannot do anything which will give ammunition to the opposition with regard to their perception by the ignorant majority. Can't 'tell it how it is', can't enact policy which carries lifestyle cost to middle america, even if it offers massive long term gain.

Silly to blame 'the American people' though. It's happening all over the world. It seems to me to be more related to the poor fit between democracy and an electorate disengaged from the physical world, in the presence of a pervasive MSM.

I got your sarcasm.

The evil visited on us by Reagan was that we could do whatever we wanted since either the market would sort things out or the apocalypse would come first. As a result, we spent without out limit, we exploited the environment without holding back and we pretended it was OK.

Carter gets too much credit. Don't forget that Carter created the Carter Doctrine, which formed the rationalization for oil wars.

The same same pundits ... would instead be screaming how boring it was and how the general public would have tuned out 15 minutes into the speech.

Actually, the pundits are saying that: link

"Though the president used slightly less than four sentences per paragraph, his 19.8 words per sentence "added some difficulty for his target audience," [yes they are dumber than a 10th grader] --language guru Payack said.

Here is a response to the escrow account deal obama engineered from 115 house republicans (the Republican Study Committee):

Chicago-Style Political Shakedown

Washington, Jun 16 - Republican Study Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-GA) issued the following statement after the White House announced it had reached a deal with BP to require the oil company to place $20 billion into an escrow fund to pay claims filed against the company in the wake of the Gulf oil spill.

“We all agree that BP should be held fully responsible for its complicity in the oil tragedy in the Gulf,” said Chairman Price. “In fact, BP has already begun paying claims. Any attempt by the company to sidestep that responsibility should be met with the strongest legal recourses available. However, in an administration that appears not to respect fundamental American principles, it is important to note that there is no legal authority for the President to compel a private company to set up or contribute to an escrow account.

“BP’s reported willingness to go along with the White House’s new fund suggests that the Obama Administration is hard at work exerting its brand of Chicago-style shakedown politics. These actions are emblematic of a politicization of our economy that has been borne out of this Administration’s drive for greater power and control. It is the same mentality that believes an economic crisis or an environmental disaster is the best opportunity to pursue a failed liberal agenda. The American people know much better.”


Oh, well, I guess we better give the money back then and let the lawsuits proceed. I would not want a workable compromise to ruin all the fun. (Not to mention that this exact same type of fund would almost certainly have resulted from a class-action lawsuit after all the cases were consolidated. That would have taken months at minimum going through the courts, and only after BP was found liable or admitted liability, so probably maybe years.)

I suppose if BP's Tony Hayward and their board had refused the demand for an escrow account then Price's comment would have carried some weight. His comment re; an administration looking for greater power and control has significance to his short term memory loss over a period of about two years. Other than that it sounds like partisan fluff i.e. vote for me.

I'm not sure what Americans want other than instant gratification. I'm not sure what the presidents words of war, battle plans etc. mean but I wasn't expecting a magic wand. He refrained from saying; it would be easier if I was a dictator. I personally wonder why the man even wanted the job. It can be compared to Tony Hayward vying for the position of BP CEO the day after the DWH sank into the GoM. As things stand today there has been lots of manure hitting the fan over the last two years and not just in America. It's unfortunate this disaster happened and I don't agree with lots that's been done but they didn't ask me for answers. I can acknowledge that what I haven't agreed with in part is because I didn't have all the information on what's happening behind the scenes.

There's more information on this site than I will ever be able to absorb even if I had hours to spend here daily. I have learned lots over the last few weeks and that is Americans (not only) are a greedy lot. We have a huge surplus (not oil) and we want more. I think most (90+%) of what has been discussed regarding the distaster relates to money. In government we call it bureauracy and in private industry we call it corporate culture and I am curious to see how the president's plans work out.

What we don't have a surplus of is ethics and morality. Over the years I have heard and read lots of disparaging comments about President Jimmy Carter. If it was good bad or indifferent he would tell the truth. The truth not in a manner to harm an individual but the truth in his decisions especially if he was asked. He told the truth about the Iran hostage crisis (fiasco) which can be a good example of how government should not direct operations from the White House. He also told the truth about our energy situation. There's know way to know if we would be experiencing our current situation had we listened. The partisan bickering then was much the same as the comments by Chairman price, rather pathetic.

Here here.

“BP’s reported willingness to go along with the White House’s new fund suggests that the Obama Administration is hard at work exerting its brand of Chicago-style shakedown politics. These actions are emblematic of a politicization of our economy that has been borne out of this Administration’s drive for greater power and control.

What bugs me about the quote is that it sounds like half of a premeditated "damned if you do, damned if you don't" setup. You can almost hear the voices in the strategy meeting last week: "Okay, boys. If Obama can't get BP to put cash on the table, we blast him for being an ineffectual liberal puffball. If he does get them in line, we call him a power-mad Chicago-style racketeer."

Our oil import bill constrains economic growth. We cannot drill our way out because our reserves are largely depleted. We must reduce our dependence on petroleum or risk choking off recovery as the increasing price of oil escalates the trade deficit.

Therefore, we need a practical plan to reduce oil usage and Pres Obama could have started last night but he didn't.

Perhaps the reluctance to attack consumption is related to the fact that the Federal Highway Trust Fund (source of much pork) is in crisis because of falling vehicle miles traveled. Because that's exactly what we need to do...drive down VMT.

"We must reduce our dependence on petroleum or risk choking off recovery as the increasing price of oil escalates the trade deficit."

Ummm... what recovery?

The very fact that the economy tanked because cheap energy is gone, necessitates we NOT have a recovery to the old, unsustainable growth based economy. Choking off a recovery is a good thing because it lowers consumption, making the downhill part of the resource depletion curve less steep.

Exactly. There is no"recovery" and we don't (or shouldn't) want one if by "recover" we mean "increase growth."

Growth is so last-century. Growth, in all the ways we usually use the term, is a recipe for overshoot and collapse. We must build an entirely new model, one in which "success" doesn't mean "more."

The alternative, quite likely in a time frame that will encompass much of the lives of those who are children and young adults today, is very dark, indeed. We can't have the "more of everything" future most of us want for the next generations, but we might be able to do better than "Mad Max Rules the Night" (~Hanson) if we get really serious, really fast.

You can't take it with you, you can't always get what you want, and if too many take too much, too fast, for too long, game over.

I've always been annoyed by the casual and sloppy way that the expression "new paradigm" has been tossed around by my oh-wow-groovy friends (California, you know) but this is one of those cases where it is perfectly apt. Tie it to the back of the wagon: "New Paradigm or Bust."

Total oil collected since the LMRP Cap containment system was implemented is approximately 160,400 barrels.

Wow. The volume run through that system in less than a fortnight is already 60% of an Exxon Valdez.

Wonder how much more billowed out from under the cap?

What was not mentioned was the 11 men who died and hundred others that suffered due to the negligence of BP. That was manslaughter. Those men have all been forgotten already. Why is Hayward not in jail? Why has no one been fired?

I would love to hear some industry companies or officials clamering for justice for those men. The compensation paid to their families will be nothing compared to the money BP was "saving" by endangering their lives.

What was not mentioned was the 11 men who died

This is a very unfortunate misremembering of the what Obama said. He did mention the eleven. Some might have wished for more wailing and gnashing of teeth, but the mention was there.

jimmy - you can cut the anger with BP by the rest of the oil patch with a knife it's so thick. But in general we don't vent it publicly. Don't ask me why...I can't explain it. Right after the details began to surface and BP's stupidity became apparent we insiders expressed our anger. But today it seldom pops up in our private conversations. I suppose once we've expressed our feelings we don't tend to repeat ourselves much. Don't know how unique that is but pretty much how it has been for my 35 years.

Rockman: A famous Texan once said: "Don't spit in the soup, we all gotta eat." — LBJ

Rockman: Ditto for the heavy/highway construction folks.

GW -- makes sense. Maybe it's just a normal human reaction to grief. Just don't want to bear it longer than necessary. Within the first week I had to drop out of the chat at TOD for a while. Was just getting to me too much. Today it doesn't bother me at all.


Maybe the compensation "will be nothing" after all.

I can't believe I just read the article below. I searched TOD and did not find reference. I'm speechless. Let the article speak and chime if you have knowledge of this.


Let me wet your whistle:

But the families of the workers killed on BP's Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico probably won't receive a similar windfall. That's because the Deepwater rig is legally considered an ocean-going vessel, and was more three nautical miles offshore at the time of the accident. As a result, the families of the dead workers can only sue BP and its contractors under a 90-year-old maritime law, the Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA), which severely limits liability. In some cases, BP could get away with shelling out sums as paltry as $1,000.

:-0 indeed!

Terms in BHO speech:


assaulting our coast

fight this spill with everything we got

do whatever it takes

battle plan"

These terms have never been used by a sitting President except in wartime or in relation to an imminent war. They are ominous and indicate that he knows something that he is not telling the public yet.

President Obama is a skilled politician with excellent advisers and speech writers who would not consent to that language unless something real big is up --- and they are mobilizing behind the scenes.

I doubt they were more than just words of the kind he thought the public wanted to hear.

The staffing of the operation is interesting:

Admiral Thad Allen and 17,000 National Guardsman mobilized.

Note the term "mobilized" that is straight out of war / Pentagon talk --- it is NOT civilian disaster relief language.

Then this:

"Ray Mabus, the Secretary of the Navy, a former governor of Mississippi, and a son of the Gulf, to develop a long-term Gulf Coast Restoration Plan "

That is a huge diversion / distraction to a Secretary of the Navy --- one of the most important people in the government along with the Secretaries of the Army and Air Force and the Defense Secretary.

Why him? Why is it so important to involve a sitting Navy Secretary?

Does the "recovery plan", or should I say "contingency plan" require massive deployment of Naval assets?

That can only be true of there is something going on they are expecting or have a contingency for that is bigger than Katrina.

What gives?

The posting a few days ago by dougr? My thought.

If that type of "total system failure" occurs and not even a relief well will work any more, then I'd say it's time to use a nuclear device. Can't be worse than the reservoir continuing to flow until it's depleted (which is what'd happen if nothing else worked.).

What about the risk of setting off land slides and disturbing the gas hydrates under the sea with any large explosive device?

You've been listening to too much Alex Jones. What else does the US government have at its disposal besides the military (of which the Coast Guard is a participant)?


Mobilized is the proper and normal term used when the Guard is called up, whether for civil or combat duty.

"The Army National Guard have been mobilized to take part in Joint Task Force - Katrina, a humanitarian assistance operation"
(This is from the US Army Katrina response page. Highly recommended for pictures you may not have seen before):


Why the Sec. of the Navy? The Navy does a lot more than just make war. It has a long history of research in marine and coastal environments, including projects like the recently released Climate Change Roadmap. Article on it here:


"Never attribute to conspiracy that which can be debunked by a quick Google search" --JM

Having watched official speeches for a lifetime, I have never seen an American President structure a speech in response to a peacetime disaster in the manner it is done.

The tone / structure is unusual.

You can believe what you want to believe - including the idea that the President tells the whole truth.

Call me a ditto head but..........ditto.

Or, are they just more empty words from yet another corporate President?

Why would they be "mobilizing behind the scenes," and what is it they are mobilizing?

once more with feeling for those who asked, but didnt see, Geology of gulf,

http://www.utdallas.edu/~rjstern/pdfs got it from a utube feller named henningkemner. he had a few other good links, more than a week ago.

unfortunately this is just someone's geology reading list, or maybe stuff published by the lab group. The pdfs I looked at had nothing to do with Gulf geology.

Thanks for the links! Adding to my GoM collection. I guess I can ask my questions here.

Based on Rockman's explanation in node 6611, I have a question about the 12,900 feet referenced in the BP email and Goat's statement on node 6609. The Fugro figures gave the seafloor at 4992' at both locations. TOD has been saying there's about 1000' of mud which I interpreted to sit atop the seafloor and I allowed for that, and then added 5292 from the Inital Exploration figures on fault intersection of bore (sorry if that's way wrong, but TOD sets a steep learning curve and most of us are own our own trying to sort out information). So they went beyond the guaranteed no fault intersection depth? Is there an amendment that's filed to the exploration plan when that happens? Do y'all think they had additional imaging studies done when they decided to go ahead?

Why did Goat say that MC252 is not a below the salt well? Is that a technical specification? I thought most of that deep water drilling was done with the ultimated objective of getting into the tertiary play deposits amd that the wells in grid 16 are predominately deep or ultra deep water propositions and that this is broadly classified as below the salt drilling.

Thanks for taking the time to explain. References below to help clarify questions.

1.Goat 21 said on node 6609
"BP and partners have seismic data on the reservoir(s). This is not a rank wildcat well. The geology is not "sub salt"..."
2."Structural features, such as faults, folds, and ridges, are produced by displacement and deformation of rocks. The regional dip of sediments in the GOM is interrupted by salt diapirs, shale diapirs, and growth faults"..."and " ...major geologic hazards that may affect oil and gas activities within the GOM north of 26°N.latitude can be generally grouped into the following categories: (1) slope instability and mass transport ofsediments; (2) gas hydrates; (3) sediment types and characteristics; and (4) tectonics..."www.gomr.mms.gov/homepg/regulate/environ/nepa/grid16ea.pdf
3."MC252 is located in grid 16..."
4. The seafloor at the proposed "A" location is in a water depth of 4,992 ft and dips to thesoutheast at ~3.0°. The only seafloor feature identified on the exploration 3D seismic data within the vicinity is a low-relief escarpment approximately 1,000 ft to the south ofthe "A" location/[B] within the vicinity is a low-relief escarpment approximately 950 ft to the south of the "B" location, which is the seafloor expression of a deeply-buried scarp associated with mass-wasting...
5.The proposed wellbore will not intersect any faults between the seafloor and the depth limit of this investigation at Horizon 6 or 5,292 ft bml..."www.gomr.mms.gov/PI/PDFImages/PLANS/29/29977.pdf
6."Are there any hydrocarbon bearing zones below 12,900 feet?" March 10, 2010 BP Email


The Fugro figures gave the seafloor at 4992' at both locations. TOD has been saying there's about 1000' of mud which I interpreted to sit atop the seafloor and I allowed for that, and then added 5292 from the Inital Exploration figures on fault intersection of bore (sorry if that's way wrong, but TOD sets a steep learning curve and most of us are own our own trying to sort out information).

My understanding is that the seafloor is where the water meets the silt.

GOM reservoir size distributions:

Every link provided to GOM reservoir sizes didn't work. Don't know why.

Are you sure they are reservoir sizes? As in, net volume capable of being filled with oil and/or gas, with or without those hydrocarbons actually being there? Its one of those heuristic things, reservoirs aren't required to have oil and gas in them to have a reservoir size, they can just be unfilled. I haven't seen you create a distribution for them, do you happen to have a blog post or histogram on what those look like?

They are histogram-binned reservoir sizes. Bins are in powers of two so they fill up almost 4 orders of dynamic range. I transcribed Figure 33 which was volume of oil.
I deal with the data as I find it, most of the MMS URL links are broken.

"President Obama is a skilled politician with excellent advisers and speech writers who would not consent to that language unless something real big is up --- and they are mobilizing behind the scenes."

Something big is *definitely* up—there's a huge gusher devastating the Gulf and Gulf Coast.

What do you think "they" are "mobilizing"?

The NOAA has 4 ships out there, and there is 1 "private" U of Florida research ship out there and there is aircraft too.

That is one of the largest assemblies of NOAA assets in recent memory.

Here is a link to NOAA assets and where they are:


If there is a shift of assets from the Pacific to the Gulf, we will know something is really up.

Idle speculation on my part, maybe BP was given some assurance of protection from a hostile takeover? One of Obama's big worries must be the strategic, national defense, implications if the Chinese get hold of BP-America assets.

BP has the fuel supply contract for the US armed forces.

Yes let's throw them into receivership right away, while we are engaged in two shooting wars.

OH, might we want to wait a bit first.....


Surely someone else could deliver on a commodity item if BP goes toes up. Maybe it costs more, but dealing with this incident is not cheap to begin with.

Surely someone else could deliver on a commodity item if BP goes toes up. Maybe it costs more, but dealing with this incident is not cheap to begin with.

heh heh, you think facility, people and logistic of getting the fuel from a refinary somewhere and go to the troop in different part of the world just grow on tree? And remember once BP USA is in bk, every financial decision will go through BK court and all creditors will just line up to divide the asset. But in the mean time BP USA can pretty do what they damn please in the name of maximize the value of asset (ie.. if BP USA doesn't feel like paying out compensation to the shrimp boat operator, they don't have too. The shrimpboat operator will become one of the creditor and can claim ownership of the BP USA asset. But they have to fight it out with government and everyone else and the suit probably last about 2 to 3 years.. The end result is that majority of the asset will go to the lawyers. Does it sound like a good end result for our gulf residents?)

Forget putting BP the company in recievership in UK. The court there will just laugh US lawyer out of their court. We have not establish the size of the liability and we have not establish BP cannot pay for it.. So what cause do we have to petition the court to put BP in receivership. Remember UK pensioner depend on BP for their monthly check. And you have to priece the corporate veil between BP USA and BP before you can even bring the suit to UK court.. Sound like that is the way to get everyone compensate real fast???

Well, we could stop the wars...

What makes you think that putting BP into receivership would negatively impact the flow of O/G to its most important customers?

Dear Speaker To Animals,
I hear ya.... although I don't think BP-America has a very large share of direct delivery to US military. Please see this Defense Industry Daily report from last year, Spotlight: The US Military’s March 2009 Fuel Contracts. I don't know about this year's contracts?

I speculate a big concern, of both BP, the US and UK is a hostile takeover by a state-owned oil company with geo-political ambitions.

PQ17, not to criticize the Pres or you, but the statement:

These terms have never been used by a sitting President except in wartime or in relation to an imminent war. They are ominous and indicate that he knows something that he is not telling the public yet.

doesn't ring true to me:

1. The 'War on Poverty'
2. The 'War on Cancer'
3. The 'War on Drugs'

Two wishes for rhetoric:

1. War terms be reserved to talk about war
2. Sports terms be reserved to talking about sports

Here are the links to the actual text:

"War on poverty" speech:


"War on cancer" was purely an unofficial rhetorical term - not in President Nixon's official speech.


Likewise, look at other context "war" is used:


Examine each of these cases, and you will not find the explicit link of "war" as a rhetorical instrument to mobilization of troops that the President directly commands (e.g. National Guard, Coast Guard, Navy) nor the explicit selection of military commanders (e.g. Secretary of the Navy) to deal with a civilian emergency or social issue (poverty, drugs, etc.).

Read it.

The usage is unique.

IMHO: fail. 1) Don't petulantly parade accomplishments of an oil spill response that was, and still is FUBAR'd. 2) Leveraging a national disaster for anything, even a clean energy bill -- tacky, tacky. Buy votes and support some other time. 3) Sure we want BP to pay, but what we want to hear is how the response will improve, even if they do.

"Leveraging a national disaster for anything, even a clean energy bill"

Yeah, it's not like climate change or peak oil is important enough to tackle. Let's keep pushing that off until we have a lull in The Long Emergency.

And in the coming weeks and days, these efforts should capture up to 90 percent of the oil leaking out of the well.

I assume our Plugger-in-Chief is talking about the "overshot tool" - the massive steel cap that will replace the current cap-and-choke recovery systems? Kent Wells's June 10 tech briefing PDF shows the overshot tool (with flang-y bolt holes on it) and TWO hurricane-proof collection lines to surface ships.

I thought it was weird how he glossed over anything real, using phrases like "weeks and days", and giving us things to pray about instead of assuring us with (admittedly not that convincing) technical information.

Well, he didn't manage to prevent the spill, did he?

First off it is important to point out there is no right, no left, no democrat, no republican, no for the people what so ever.

There is definitely no one person, THE PRESIDENT, that has any meaning what so ever.

There is a government aka PTB that is and has been doing what it does for a very long time, which is maintain its presence.

Having said that Obama is the Al Jplsen of our time only without the ability to sing (truth is I don't know if obama can sing or not but if he could I think we would have been regaled by now). He has been trotted out to entertain us and nothing more. He was conceived and operates on pure hopeium.

This is not just Obama bashing. It has nothing to do with Obama. It would be the same regardless of who was chosen, he just met all the criteria.

He is a man thrown up to distract the masses, and indeed the world, and he has accomplished his job admirably. He bought us some more time. Which is the name of the game right now.

If after seeing this latest performance and you don't see this you are in deep denial.

If after seeing this latest performance and you don't see this you are in deep denial.

Gotta admit he is pretty good. Too bad he can't sing and dance as well as Charles Durning...


Since when does the United States negotiate on equal footing with foreign criminals? 20BB is not enough. I resent how British Petroleum framed this as a problem between equals, saying the US is a great country, BP is a great company, etc. Since when do we allow a foreign corporation to control media access to a disaster site on US soil, as per this NY times article. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/10/us/10access.html?src=tptw
Also, what if the well is not capped by August. Read the comment by dougr on the oil drum here, which explains why the flow rate is getting worse. http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6593#comment-648967

A well failure is similar to a dam failure, little trickles leading to spectacular gushers and structural collapse.

Too little, too late. 1250bls flared by the Q4000 over 12 hrs, but Enterprise's recovery is down about 600bls. These incremental increases are not even keeping up with the increase in flow rate.

Surely they'll pull up as much as they can with Q4000, then rebalance the Enterprises top-hat to maximize the difference?

They are effectively bumping up by 600bbls in 12 hours, or 1200bbls per day. If they keep increasing that'll soon enough cover the leak, except for what ever hydrate-avoidance level remains necessary.

How do you know what the incremental increases in flow rate of the well? Or are you referring to the increased flow estimates?

The team effort by the US government and BP to limit the flow of information, if not oil, is truly scandalous. But where's the outrage?

Make an effort to catch James Carville on TV. I promise it'll be worth it.

Speaking of Carville...right click->view image to see full size.

original source: http://www.xkcd.com/748/

Thanks, I caught that yesterday and sent it around. I was actually hoping that Carville would be appointed to a meaningful position today, but I guess he's pretty scary to the WH right now.

With a mug like that, James Carville is scary to everyone.

Carville already has a meaningful position. He's Left Out.

Freakin' hilarious!

I must admit, I have gained a new-found respect for Carville in recent weeks. Whatever one thinks of the man, his actions and statements seem motivated by heartfelt, genuine concerns.

It can't be easy for him to get out there day after day and speak so critically, especially when he, Rahm Emanuel, George Stephanopoulos and Paul Begala begin every day with a private conference call (rather entertaining profile at http://politi.co/IB1U).

The President must be asking Rahm why he can't get his old buddy to just shut up. Then again, I haven't seen James on tv the past few days...

I guess it wouldn't matter what Obama did, to some people they'll always find a reason to criticize his actions. He gets BP to agree to a voluntary transfer of $20 billion for US officials to reimburse distressed citizens, Republicans whine that he "strongarmed" a foreign country.

He accepts foreign assistance to combat this spill, Republicans whine that it was done too late.

BP agrees to pay everything involved with the cleanup and fixing the leak, people whine that he is "negotiating on an equal footing with foreign criminals".

You know what? I think he's done a DAMN good job with this disaster. Sure he accepted BP's early assurances about the severity of the spill, but the CG was on the job almost from the start and other government agencies have been heavily involved almost as quickly. He's made sure that BP is kept aware that the US won't accept anything less than full compensation, and got them to set up the biggest escrow fund in US history without any tradeoffs in lesser responsibility or liability.

But, this is just like everything else he has done or tried to do; as soon as word gets out about his efforts, the nay sayers, whiners and "we can't let that Socialist destroy us!" types come out of the woodwork. Had he swum down there and closed the shears on the BOP himself, then collected all the surface oil in one place and scooped it out himself, some of you would still gripe he did it wrong, or too flamboyantly.

Dear Bendal,
Obama voter here...

It's all well and good that Obama has the needs of the "small" people foremost in his mind. Nonetheless, in the real world corporations do not give away money without getting something in return. My guess is Obama offered some form of protection, either from hostile takeover or maybe even criminal prosecution?

greenflloyd: As a general rule, pissing off your landlord does not work out well for you... especially when you may want to rent more space.

Hi E L
We are so far past mere pissed-off-ness... Nonetheless, due to current political, economic and national security issues we rent-out our environment to people that make very poor neighbors.

"My guess is..."

Why can't people stop imagining back-room deals? Cynicism about politics is justified and all, but don't just manufacture narratives out of thin air where there is absolutely no proof other than your general mistrust of TPTB.

There were well-documented back-room deals involving Cheney and his energy buddies. More recently there have been well-documented back room deals held at the Obama WH with the insurance and pharmaceutical lobbies, in an effort to limit health care reform efforts. Even more recently in various Senate offices, where an army of no less than 2,000 Wall Street lobbyists worked feverishly to neuter efforts to reform the financial services industry.

In each of these cases the negative impact on efforts to reform critical industries and systems has been profound, lastingly harmful and....very well documented. So why do you doubt people who "guess" that such things are going on right now?

Here's a shot from across the water.

Bullied into a £13bn cave-in: Obama forces BP to set up huge compensation fund for U.S. oil spill victims - and British pensioners will pick up the bill

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1287222/BP-oil-spill-British-pen...

The "pensioners" own stock in BP. Too damned bad. Maybe they should sell if they don't want to own a little piece of that company. Or should have sold when it became apparent that BP's wrecking the GoM and the lives of the people who live there.

And by the way, I found myself in strange company last night, in agreement with Team MSNBC. Ask James Carville how great a job Obama's been doing.

You'll notice there was no fund setup to support the pensioners as a result of the fraudulent trading by US financial companies earlier on? Double standards much?

BP was stupid to agree to this, I assume someone has been given assurances of no criminal prosecutions as a quid pro quo. I'd expect the shareholder to go after BP for agreeing to something they didn't have to.

"I assume someone has been given assurances of no criminal prosecutions as a quid pro quo."

I doubt it. The political risk in such a deal would be huge. Maybe something less than that, and certainly not explicit.

Besides, the feds aren't the only people who can bring criminal charges, and you can bet there are some angry and ambitious states' attorneys general, and maybe even some district attorneys, who are just itching for the chance. Those guys would want way more than a $20B escrow to even consider backing off.

Cuz $20 billion may not be even close...

$20bn is more than is owed.

It's a witchhunt, and BP board will get hammered for falling for it. I hope they have something signed saying they are free from court attack, because their careers are over either way. They have just opened $45m of BP funds to carpetbaggers and the shareholders will realise.

Dumb, dumb, dumb.

IIRC 40% of BP stock is held in the US too. Those stockholders here will also take a haircut on their investments. I'm not particularly upset over their loss; in fact, I'm not upset at all. The company they invested in screwed up in a historically spectacular fashion; now they will have to share in the loss. Isn't that how capitalism is supposed to work, after all? Your fortune rises and falls with the fate of the company you invest in.

No, I'm not feeling sad over their loss at all.

As for any theorized "backroom deals" Obama cut with BP, I'll believe it when I see it. Until then, I'll go with what's been reported; if there was a "deal" then the GOP will be all over it.

Please don't dump all Obama critics into the same pile. I think he's a crypto-Republican corporate stooge.

Well, thats obvious.
We need to dig deeper.

I like the "I think..." gives you room to rethink your position at a later date.

Of course. If the evidence changes. I'm not going to hold my breath.

"He gets BP to agree to a voluntary transfer of $20 billion for US officials to reimburse distressed citizens ..."

[snicker] reimburse citizens ... right ... sure. Anyone wana guess how much will get to "distressed citizens"? Anyone wana guess how much will end up in political pockets, political slush funds, etc, or be wasted away in layers of bureacracy, or be lost, as in "uhhhhh we don't know where that 2 billion went"?

BP letting the government manage that money. A f*&%up eclipsed only by the f*&%ed up well itself.

I suppose you think BP should have been allowed to continue with their non-payment process to citizens, then? Or maybe you thought that BP should have just flown over the affected area and shoveled money out of the helicopter door.

Someone has to administer the disbursing of this fund. If not BP, and not the government, then who does it? The total range of who is impacted by this oil is not determined yet; it will probably include more area than what's been affected already, so one agency that can deal with multiple states has to be put in charge of this fund.

Come on, if you think the govt. isn't qualified, and BP obviously isn't, then who is?

When I think back to the Exxon Valdez disaster and how Exxon strung out in court for over a decade compensating the Alaskan fishermen and other who suffered losses, only to stiff them in the end, I almost have to give BP a little credit for not lawyering up and dragging everything out. Or maybe Obama did know whose ass to kick. Time will tell if the $29B will be adequate but BP seems miles ahead of XOM in meeting their obligations at this early stage.

The situation involved two kinds of damages. Exxon fought the punitive damage award.

My bet is you would have too.

The part of the speech that interested me the most was the discussion of longer term plans. The immediate tragedy of the explosion and spill - it would be great to have some miraculous fix, but I don't really expect too many miracles, and especially not a plan for a miracle coming out of a monster bureaucracy. But to steer that monster in a smarter long term direction, that is a core task of the President. Short term reponse to the crisis is of course essential too, but sadly there is only so much that can be done to reassemble Humpty-Dumpty.

Obama didn't just say that we need to get off foreign oil. He said we need to reduce our reliance on fossil fuel altogether. He acknowledged that it is a finite resource and the reason we are stuck with the challenges of deep sea drilling is due to that finiteness. This seems to me to be a milestone statement.

Did I miss it, or did Obama omit mention of nuclear power? This is a huge fork in the road ahead of us. If we are going to scale nuclear power up to be a significant part of our strategy to get off fossil fuels, we will have to start moving fast. I did not hear that in Obama's speech. I think that between weapons proliferation and waste, with reactor safety merely frosting on the cake, that nuclear is not a smart strategy. So I was not disappointed that Oboma omitted nuclear power. But I think that was a huge silence.

"If you should ever come to a fork in the road--take it." Yogi Berra

(Sorry, I couldn't resist.)


As far as I know the policy hasn't changed since February:


But of course $50 billion of loan guarantees isn't going to scale the US up to French levels of NP.

Obama didn't just say that we need to get off foreign oil. He said we need to reduce our reliance on fossil fuel altogether.

Good catch.

He definitely left out the xenophobic "foreign" adjective in front of oil.
He did not mention getting oil from people who don't like us very much.

He lumped all fossil fuels together.

And he didn't mention the nuke option.

But then again, so what? Presidential talk is cheap.

You may resume your worry about nucular electricity. On Charlie Rose yesterday, Rahm Emanuel strongly mentioned it as one of the needed renewable energy sources.

I thought that was cute. Maybe he was thinking of breeder reactors, or thorium.

I'm strongly in favor of nuketrons. I think the waste product hysteria is just that.

You want waste products? Talk to Bobby Jindal. Ash from coal? CO2? Global warming. I take the wide view. I'm not afraid of ionizing radiation. It worked well on my thyroid cancer, which was caused by ionizing radiation, incidentally.

You want biological risk-taking? Have a kid.

"Maybe he was thinking of breeder reactors, or thorium."

Maybe he was. We'd have to come up with *some* solution for the shortage of nuclear fuel, if we're going to put many eggs in that basket.

We already import a larger portion of the uranium we use than of the oil we burn. About half of our supply is coming from Russia.

"America's new, improved breeder reactors: Every box fortified with Pu-239 for glowing good health!"

If you brand it properly, you can sell it.

If the US efficiently burned its stockpile of nuclear waste (yucca mountain type) it could feed 5000 big reactors for 100 years. If the US burned its 1.5 million ton stockpile of U238 tails in the traveling wave reactor or other like proliferation safe reactor types, it would feed an additional 10,000 big reactors for another 150 years.

Of course under this approach, no nuclear fuel supply company would make any money selling nuclear fuel.

The plutonium and high level uranium that is coming from Russia is from their decommissioned H-bombs. That stuff won’t run low for a very long time indeed. This bomb stuff burns very well in US reactors. Yes by doing this, it does makes the world a little bit safer.

Yes, well, the devil is always you-know-where.

I'd like to see rough numbers and a process diagram supporting your idea.

I don't imagine we're going to have much choice other than to build some nuke plants, so determining the most efficient and safest way to approach it makes a lot of sense. I am *not* all that sanguine about dealing with the waste—half lives on the order of tens of centuries are seriously problematic.

Also, if we're going to do this, we'd better get dome proactive leadership, at the presidential level, operating without delay. Building these things is gonna take a lot of oil, and they ain't making any more of that stuff, no matter what the fantasists say.

Oh, yeah: Prepare for some socialism, gang. No doubt we'll talk about public-private partnerships, but a nuclear future means a society on the hook for the risks.

Dunno if it was mentioned - coal, oil, generally every fossil fuel comes with more or less radioactive compounds. These are being burned right to the atmosphere a very long time ago, and nobody really cares.

Of course concentration is a different matter. I can see the bright future with those old depleted oil wells re-used as nuclear waste wells, with the new opportunity for a "very unlikely" event of an underground blow-out, rupture, slow unnoticed water poisoning or whatever you can imagine.
Btw. energy industry by definition dealing with great amounts of energy, dangerous substances and all that stuff naturally carries a risk of a huge disaster.

But what is now happening to the GOM waters, probably not restricted to that area, instead at least the whole Atlantic, is already much worse than any nuclear accident I can imagine. If that single reservoir would really run out of control and discharge itself into the sea, it would likely poison all waters around the globe, would be an event with effects have never seen in our worst nightmares.

Just ONE wild well drilled into ONE reservoir in DW.

So why not build those damn reactors?

Last thread closed before I could post...

Might there be a company in North America that could make one of these skimmers for testing?? Half-scale prototype-- 30-40' ship and 12-15' collection wheels about 8' high from water surface to propeller.

(Click on Large above small image at site below)


If so, contact group owner at Oil-tanker_Carousel Yahoo group.


Since the last big spill of Ixtoc 30 years ago, there doesn't seem to be much alternative to the laborious and lengthy Relief Well drill to kill method. I'd like to explore if there is an alternative. Being mindful to keep Theoildrum postings not entirely fiction based, I've tried to vet some of the components first :)

A brief recap: We configured a 5000' pipe to the sea bed BOP. That is connected to 13,000' of drillpipe/casing to the oil layer. To perform a top kill, we try to counterbalance the reservoir pressure (13,000psi) with a dense (2x that of oil) column of kill mud (that computes to require around 13,000' also). We couldn't create such a column down the bore as there is too much of a leak just 8' above the injection point. So bottom kill is expected to work because we can build the plug working upward before the leak escapement. To implement this "bottom fill" we contend with the leak continuing for 50+ days, contract out 2 RW rigs, and (re)drill through 13,000+' of rock, just to get mud placement started near the bottom.

I'll start this thread as food for thought. It may not be implementable for this situation, risk/reward, or time frame, but maybe could spark contingency preparedness for the other 1500 wells in the GOM, or be incorporated in future bop design changes. As Ixtoc occurred 30 years ago, it would have been nice to be in a different place now with new methods of attack.

It's useful to recognize the classifications of ideas presented here and elsewhere as 1)remediation of spilled oil, 2) collection/confinement of the BOP leak for topside recovery and 3)halting the leak. To kill, from where we are now, the RW approach is tried and true and probably presents the least risk. However the risk metrics could change if for example, hurricane reports suggest a long lasting event, days away, by which all catchment system will have to be disconnected - also furloughing remedies of classes 1) and 2). So there might be a situation where choosing a riskier route is beneficial for expediency.

While it is understood the casing is compromised, the thought is to explore what would be necessary to deliver a bottom fill without 50+ days of redrilling. To feed a 3" constant o.d pipe down the existing 6" drillpipe or 20" casing, it would require a bolt-on assembly that incorporates 1)valves to maintain the existing leaking pressure (9000psi) so as to not upset what is currently encountered 2)a pipe seal mechanism that allows feeding in this new 3" kill pipe under 9000psi. 3)flange bolt removal seems to be possible as others have pointed to specialized motorized tools for that purpose. 4)operable shear - last discussed seemed to indicate it can still be backed out and reapplied. 5)a tool bit (mud motor or topside power) only necessary to ream through the constricted sheared pipe end (more below). 6)Standard drillstring operation to feed the total 18,000' drillpipe. Around 75 tons upward force (exerted on 3.5" drillpipe, 9000psi) is to be countered by the drillstring weight and feed force. The pipe might be the constant o.d. collared pipe or if coiled tubing and a snubber can be operated at depth then that might be used. 7)likely some support structure is needed to keep additional weight/stress off the existing bop/casing.

Previously I queried about pics of sheared drill pipe. It appears the deep "V" super shears were not used on this well as I had thought. I think it is quite reasonable to guess a 6+" pipe cut by such a tool might produce a constricted cut that is very close to leaving a 3" dia opening. Other than that, there are pics in the link below showing a pipe shear that might be more representative for this well.

Now, as for what might be incorporated into a future improved BOP shear: Imagine one of the 2 blades much longer and having a 3" portal access hole. In regular operation the shear blade is extended and severs the pipe, the access hole is still outside the outline of the casing. When needed, the existing stop can be removed, mechanical or hydraulic motion can hyper extend the blade assembly so as to position the access hole over the casing end. Of course a new extended pressurized assembly described above has been fitted prior. There might also be ways of improving the way a super shear holds the sheared pipe in a predictable location for ease of 3" kill pipe insertion.

other thoughts-
This may seem rather extreme to halt a well by this means, especially in light of unbolting the flange where new valve could be attached. It is the catastrophic failure events like this one where the dropped riser and torqued casing presents the need for suppression by bottom kill.
It goes without saying, anything planned should be tried top-side on a mock up to weed out unforeseen problems first (hmmm, for a second I thought reaming out the severed pipe might be free to spin, but no, I expect the pipe rams to clamp them).
Discussions of solutions seems to have really ceased - most likely they were disproved or irrelevant now with the changing progress. FWIW, here's a summary of ideas (though, a few inadequately explained away IMO).
The oil spill: Your solutions

pipe shear end pics and super shears:

the "v" cutters (super shears) referenced above:

constant o.d. pipe and 9000psi passage seal.
Addendum: the full assembly would be similar to a BOP. In particular, for emergency it will again need a shear capable of severing collared pipe.
Sunnnv's reply was very helpful as I was unaware of the Coiled Tubing and Snubber systems.

drill pipe variants:

the 50 day (2) RW projection:

The problem with the relief well is that by the time it is done the GOM is a dead zone for decades regardless of the outcome.

Aggressive efforts needed to be made from the beginning to completely contain this or shut it off, but alas all we got were PR stunts designed to appease the public while waiting on the RW's, as letting it leak while drilling relief wells was BP's plan all along.

Spill threatens NW Florida; Intracoastal Waterway may close

Oil has begun invading beaches in Northwest Florida and is seeping into Pensacola Bay, leading state officials to warn that the Intracoastal Waterway may have to be closed to commercial traffic.
Small deposits are already drifting to inland waters, and large concentrations are right off-shore and moving closer with every incoming tide. Closing the Intracoastal Waterway, a vital inland conduit for shipping and barge traffic, becomes more likely with each incoming tide, Sarah Manning, a state Fish and Wildlife officer, tells NBC station WJHG of Panama City.
"You can see the sheen real well right here," Manning says. "There's a lot of weathered, small tar balls right here" in the bay.
The spread of the oil prompted the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to expand off-limits fishing areas north to Panama City Beach this afternoon. That brings the total area closed to fishing to 80,806 square miles, slightly more than a third of federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico.

Look at the bright side. They just opened scallop season two weeks early. (Like I want to eat any filter feeders from the GOM any more.)

That is not the lesson anyone might learn from Ixtoc.

The problem with the relief well is that by the time it is done the GOM is a dead zone for decades regardless of the outcome.

People keep saying that. But the fact is, nobody has a damned clue what the environmental effects are going to be in this situation, because there's never been a situation anything like this. Don't get me wrong, I suspect this will be the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history, but does that mean destruction limited to delicate wetlands, or will pelagic and benthic ecosystems be seriously impacted? Over how big an area? Will bacterial action remove the worst of the oil in months or decades? We don't know.

We have little prior experience on oil spills of this size, or for this duration, or in this ecosystem, and *no* comparable information on spills from this depth. The only significant data points we do have are these: 1) there's a hell of a lot of oil out there, and 2) hyperbole gets you on television.

With no good basis for prediction, I think it's irresponsible to predict total destruction of the GOM for decades. It could be better than the talking heads are predicting: it could also be worse. We're in unknown territory here.

But we can watch it happen as it evolves. The enormous plumes of oil and methane are being gobbled by bacteria that in turn are using up all available oxygen. Last I heard, large areas were right on the edge of the lower limit of oxygen concentration to support complex life.

A child's garden of Gulf ecosystem doom:

Not sure if you're posting your "garden" to agree with me or disagree with me, but it proves my point nicely.

"At some point", "new fears", "in jeopardy", "coming into focus", "fears grow", "uniquely sensitive", "may wipe out", "could push over the edge", "could smother", "may be important", "vulnerable", "may be wreaking havoc", "endangers".

Almost every one of those headlines warns of potential danger, or discussed concerns or fears. Very few of them talk about *actual* damage observed to be occurring now, and those that do focus on specific locations, specific species, and small numbers of deaths. And none of them offer concrete predictions of the *duration* of the effects.

We have no idea how bad this is going to be. It could be very bad, or only pretty bad. We're going to find out the hard way.

An honest question here:

If, as you say, all of BP's attempts to close this well up to date have been "PR stunts", what do you think they SHOULD have done?

They tried a large cap (the 50' tall structure)
They tried a top kill/junk shot
They tried sending robots down to manually close the BOP valves
They're currently using a collection cap

Men experienced in this field of work on this site say they've done about everything they can do to stop this well. What do you think is left for them to try?

Unbolt riser at flange on top of LMRP. Bolt on big valve in open position. Close valve. Done.

The ROV's can handle those bolts at depth... they have done so in salvage operations at other wells.
The only explanation for BP not having tried this is that they know (or strongly suspect) that the casing is damaged below the BOP and would blow out from the increased pressure.

I haven't seen any official statement from BP to that effect, but it seems to be the working theory on this site.

You just explained in your own post why BP hasn't tried that solution. If they're convinced putting a shutoff valve on the assembly would overpressure the BOP and well, leading to a completely uncontrolled rupture, why do you think they should try that?

I guess didn't explain it well, but I am QUESTIONING the assumption that an increase in pressure would necessarily cause the casing to blow and drastically increase the flow rate. As I describe in another post, the valve could be closed gradually while closely monitoring the pressure, backing off as needed, with (IMHO) very little risk of making the situation much worse.

Good investigation. Check out the Transocean internal blowout investigation. It has shear ram pictures, and mentions "Evidence of upper pipe ram activation...Potential for multiple tubulars in BOP at time of incident" A BP employee (engineer?) on a Discovery channel program on this said they thought the shear rams closed, but the rubber seals blew out, if I recall correctly.


good info - thanks for the links gearhead. yeah now I recall tod's postings mentioning possible multiple tubulars. I always pictured that not much more than one pipe could fit in the bop passages.

Here is what I think about BP and Goldman Sacs now that GS are going hand in hand, with BP America. The America part of BP will ultimately go bankrupt and BP International will make a financial killing:

BP Internationl knows its America division is going to declare bankruptcy, and so GS is setting up a financial instrument(s) to allow BP International to make a killing when BP America belly up.

BP will put up a very good show, telling the public that the BP International will back up BP America, and that BP America will get through this, regardless of what it takes.

So when BP America finally closes its doors, BP International will have made out like a bandit, which of course is what the whole system is about.

America now is not what I grew up with. The trust between people is gone, soiled by capitalism and the constant need to boost the bottom line, regardless of who it harms, except for thee.

Dear classe201,
What kind of "financial instrument" is that?

A tranche of oil industry credit default swaps, perhaps? Some synthetic derivative ultimately backed by the taxpayers. Short term BP CDS rose over 1000 basis points today... no buyers out there, so they'll have to slice and dice BP with "lower risk" CDS, like sub-prime, then pitch it through the sales desks while the prop desks short it. Nothing new here... :-)

As far as the speech, that's as close as you'll ever hear anything regarding Peak Oil from a President...He should have told people to begin individually weaning themselves off of oil...My family has been weaing off of oil for over 3 years now...I attached one of my videos showing people how to do it and prepare for Peak Oil...



My Orphaned post: I put two of the comments below. I’d love to see this answered by y’all.

I am not a Simmons fan but I do believe that there is currently an underground blowout. Can you critique the following "proof"?

First, assume that there is a leak in the casing at around 1000 ft as reported by WSJ and by Washington Post (it is all sourced: I don't know the original sources).

- The pressure at the seafloor is around 2300 psi. That is just the weight of the water above.
- The BOP is at the seafloor but it has a higher pressure - 4400 psi - at it's base because it has restrictions to flow inside. You have to apply more pressure to get the flow out the top.
- the pressure at the casing leak (inside) 1000 ft down is BIGGER than that at the BOP by the weight of the oil in the column between the leak and the BOP. It's an extra 400 psi making the pressure inside the casing, at the leak, around 4800 psi. (note that flow friction will make it even bigger).
- What about outside the casing? The pressure outside is simply the pressure at the seafloor plus the pressure due to the weight of the mud sediments surrounding the casing, which add an extra pressure of around 1000 psi. So the total outside the casing is around 3300 psi.
- we're done: the pressure inside the casing is 4800 psi and the outside pressure is 3300 psi. The fluids press outward with a differential of 1500 psi - a large pressure. The sediments have very little tensile strength because they have not lithified yet.
So the leak flows outward and upwards.
Am I off base here? The argument is ridiculously simple - probably already discussed but man, all those posts to go through! Any assistance appreciated - I am happy if you debunk it.

Comment 1:
If the casing is leaking and has been doing so since the blowout, where's the evidence?
As far as I’m concerned, there is no evidence. Many are looking at ROV videos but I believe that they don’t know how to interpret them. But really, who’s LOOKING for evidence. Not BP. Remember that crap about “it’s not important how much it’s flowing because we’re here to the end”? Then they bring a 15K/day containment system. Someone has to want to find the leak. That’s why I’m interested in the pressure as evidence that there must be a leak.
Comment 2
You forgot that the casing is of steel and is thick enough that it can hold 1,500 psi.
Answer 2:
Good point. Even better” there are three strings at 1000 ft. But we have the word of the wall street journal and washington post that the casing is leaking there and that, in fact, top kill ejected most of it’s mud from these leaks. These days, I am very skeptical of MSM “journalists” but I am assuming they didn’t get this wrong.
Comment 3:
Why's it go up??
Answer 3
Seems like geomechanics in shallow sediments says it'd go lateral. But it's an impermeable medium and I do not think the oil/gas would remain trapped at depth - I think it'd go vertical at, say, inhomogenieties.

So if these Subsea leaks caused 'Top Kill' to fail, could they also cause 'Bottom Kill' (Relief Wells) to fail?

My guess - no. The relief well can't tell the difference between a leak at 1000 ft and a leaking BOP.

but what if it's much lower?

My guess - no. The relief well can't tell the difference between a leak at 1000 ft and a leaking BOP.

Ok, my thinking is that more and more of the sub sea pipe could be compromised leading to erosion of the well shaft/surrounding rocks and enlarging to the point you can't pump enough down to fill the huge cavity.

==we're done: the pressure inside the casing is 4800 psi and the outside pressure is 3300 psi. The fluids press outward with a differential of 1500 psi - a large pressure. The sediments have very little tensile strength because they have not lithified yet.==

The reason we use pipes is that they HOLD pressure. Unless the 1500 psi is above the pipe pressure rating(it is not), the pipe doesn't break and doesn't transfer that pressure to the soil outside. Under pressure the pipes (or any cylindrical structure) will expand a little, but since the stiffness (engineers call this Young's modulus) of steel is very high, the numerical value of expansion is very small and puts very little load on the outside soil.

Here's the thing. The casing has a HOLE in it so it doesnt matter what the Young's modulus is - it has failed and doesn't hold back any pressure differential. That's the hole point. The 1500 psi is pressing on the sediments.

Then, I guess, the oil is coming through the soft sediment somewhere else, like this fellow Simmons says.

With the amounts of oil being seen over such a vast area, that's the most likely explanation.
Worse than BP's own "worst case" scenario....at which, in their typical flare for colossal hubris, they thumbed their noses from the beginning.

When it approved BP's 2009 plan to start an exploratory well 50 miles off the Louisiana coast -- the same well that is now spewing millions of gallons of crude into the Gulf -- the federal agency that oversees oil drilling assumed there would be little risk of a well blowout and likely no death to marine life if an accident were to happen.

BP estimated that in the worst case, a blowout at the well would spew out 162,000 barrels of oil every day, a massive figure that far exceeds any estimate of what is coming out now.

But in its exploration plan in March 2009, BP assured the federal Minerals Management Service that a well blowout was so unlikely that "a blowout scenario ... is not required for the operations proposed."


How long would such a process take? It's a big seabed. It would seem to me that if conditions for an upward migration of oil were present, it would have emerged in quantities around the well bore that could not be ignored.

I guess that seems like the most likely result, but apparently not the only one.

Say you have a spot on a ceiling and are trying to identify the leak path - this is a acknowledged difficult problem.

Same with a leak path well below the sea floor - exactly where it is coming out and how noticeable is it? What if it filters up over large area, in a diluted state? You wouldn't really see it on an ROV feed, but you will get elevated oil concentrations at some depths - kind of what the scientists are measuring, it seems.

If there was no subsurface leak concern, BP wouldn't be running ROVs snooping around the sea floor - which they do on a regular basis.

I got into a series of posts today about respiratory issues being discussed on MSNBC and a Dr. Ott came up. Apparently she is also taking her message to the locals around here. Maybe she is right, but I would also ask why a marine biologist would make a good industrial safety engineer? In other words, I would tend to better vet a doctor of all knowledge from Valdez Alaska than say Dr. Spivey from the local college. I talk with him regularly and he was a captain in the military. Big nature lover too. Maybe she is the best thing since sliced bread, but I at least question some of her motives. With all her books and attention she is getting, what is her primary motivation? I politely question all out of town experts working in this area in the same way.

I'm afraid this article did little more than toss darts at one cherry-picked statement out of the entire speech (and then take a swipe at the Clinton Administration for folding coal research into the Department of Energy).

We've needed a President who could make statements like;

For decades, we have known the days of cheap and easily accessible oil were numbered. For decades, we have talked and talked about the need to end America’s century-long addiction to fossil fuels. And for decades, we have failed to act with the sense of urgency that this challenge requires. Time and again, the path forward has been blocked – not only by oil industry lobbyists, but also by a lack of political courage and candor.

The consequences of our inaction are now in plain sight.

He's already taken action on this subject by accelerating alternative fuels research, raising CAFE standards, and promoting energy efficiency and conservation.

Another part of the speech reminds us of another seminal peak oil work;

... the transition to clean energy has the potential to grow our economy and create millions of good, middle-class jobs – but only if we accelerate that transition. Only if we seize the moment. And only if we rally together and act as one nation – workers and entrepreneurs; scientists and citizens; the public and private sectors.

This is exactly what Robert Hirsch suggested when he proposed his peak oil mitigations.

Governments worldwide will have to take the initiative on a timely basis,
and it may already be too late to avoid considerable discomfort or worse.
Countries that dawdle will suffer from lost opportunities, because in every
crisis, there are always opportunities for those that act decisively.

You should note that the voices crying out for dawdling are the ones that we should be directing our disapproval to;

Most Americans are baffled by [the suggestion to come to grips with our addiction to fossil fuels]. The crisis as they see it is a broken pipe at the bottom of the ocean, miles-long oil slicks, and threatened coastlines. The first thing they want to know is what the administration plans to do to plug the leak, clean up the oil, and mitigate the spill’s effects on the livelihoods of those affected. -- Mitch McConnell

I think Obama started out slow but picked delivered more at the end. As to the McConnell quote, I noticed that the right-wing talkers are most upset that Obama mentioned the lack of easily-accessible oil.

The sad thing is McConnell was attacking Obama's speech before it was given. His contingent is focused on promising the continuance of BAU at any cost. So he's going to all lengths to promote the dawdling of a transition away from oil.

3 out of 3 right-wing talkers yesterday I heard yesterday denied any problems with oil depletion, instead that it is just a matter of more exploration. These talkers were Dennis Miller, Jason Lewis, and Mike Quinn (ordered in rabidity).

You are right, McConnell and company has all their minions lined up with BAU talking points.

I'd like Obama to order the Navy to field a bunch of it's own ROV's, to independently Monitor Bp's work and to monitor seabed integrity and look for leaks. I read somewhere there are pipes (Manifold?)buried under the sand, maybe that is what Matt is talking about as a big leak? In any case it is CRAZY for the only 'Eye's' on location to be BP's.

Kingof: Please cite source for number and availability of "Navy ROVs."

NOAA appears to have five or six, at least:


Checking on US Navy (prob harder to get accurate numbers).

If Navy ROV's are deployed we aren't likely to hear about it.
Neither is BP.

Since there are already a bunch of ROVs manoeuvering with difficulty around the wellhead I really do hope that if the US Navy decides to add another hazard or two to the rats-nest of cables connecting the ROVs to their surface ships then they will let the ROV operators already on station know about it so they can stop operations and recover their own ROVs before they lose them to cable failures or collisions with ROVs they don't know about manoeuvering in the locality.

BTW how many of the US Navy's ROVs can actually operate at 5000 feet? I figure any submersibles connected with minesweeping or similar near-surface operations will not be designed to function at those sorts of depths.

Here's the Wikipedia article on ROV's:


It lists several classes of military ROV's operated by the Navy, all of which appear to be deployed from minesweepers. The Navy also appears to have several vehicles used for research and "outreach." Of course, we also know that the Navy is one of the operators of the Super Scorpio:


Any number of marine research and educational entities also appear to operate ROV's, including Woods Hole, the University of Rhode Island, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, etc.

Based on HO's interesting CHOPS posting from yesterday, I put together a tutorial on how accelerated rates can eventually leads to a Hubbert Peak.
This is essentially a fresh perspective on how to derive Peak Oil.

What is so frustrating about this situation is that the oil companies all desperately want fast and efficient extraction, yet now that we have it we can't slow it down.

It seems simple to me, that if the rock around the well head is cracked, leaking, breaking down, etc, there is only one solution possible: relieve the pressure in the well by multiple other distant wells asap. The pressure in the well will not empty the whole oil field into the Gulf, but enough surely to extinguish life in the neighborhood.
Now we must drill drill drill.
The nuclear option is too far out to imagine, except if the Russians have good data on their work with it. However, such an explosion would also run very significant risks of opening the oil field to the sea above. It looks extremely bad indeed.
How long will it take americans (and their politicians) to wake up to the fact that climate change was going to be easy to live with compared to what we have now done with our addictions.

Dear Renzob,
I agree, "Drill baby, drill!" (those relief wells) and fire up a couple more if you can, just in case...

Nonetheless, I would not be surprised if some sort of very limited, highly controlled nuke or conventional explosive were still on the table. Just in case...


Dear PJEvans,
I don't understand, "NO" to what?

I concur, and I think Obama must force BP to contract every deepwater oil rig that's currently in the Gulf of Mexico to start spudding in more relief wells NOW!

This action would be used to tap and empty out this horrible reservoir, with as many producing wells as possible. Even if the DD-2 and the DD-3 are successful in killing the current wild well for the time being, can we be sure that any common plug and abandonment procedure be truly permanent? With as much possible damage as this reservoir may have done to multiple geological formations below the sea floor, can we rule out a future underground blowout in years to come?

Obama's action would save the thousands of jobs that will be lost by the deepwater moratorium and it would ensure that we never have to worry about this rogue oil formation again once we deplete it as fast as possible. The leadership to employ such a massive and "out of the box" undertaking to protect our environment, our wildlife and our people would be extremely impressive. I think Obama must move on this type of action and utilize every possible resource to deplete this zone ASAP and protect us all!

If I remember correctly, I was first to suggest there was migration in a shallow section, across a fault or salt weld to the surface. All it means is the need to kill the well at the productive horizon(s). Could be plural, but that's not a sufficient reason to multiply the number of relief wells. One is enough, with a backup in case the first one encounters lost circulation or stuck tools. There's nothing particularly fearsome about the reservoir(s). Just needs to be cemented and killed. Two rigs are plenty.

Watching CNN Anderson Cooper just a few minutes ago (10:15 PM in NY) - their White House correspondent, Ed Henry was commenting on today's meeting with BP and Obama. Amazing video of Hayward greeting colleagues just after the meeting as they were about to get in their vehicles - all smiles and slaps on the back for a job well done was the image. Hopefully someone has this recorded, it was a sight to behold.

It's notable that Kenneth Feinberg was chosen to head the relief fund. He won a lot of praise for his work on the 9/11 victims fund. He strikes me as being someone who is smart, honest, and fair, and I hope he will get some relief to the injured parties promptly.

Others wonder why the energy industry only spends a fraction of what the high-tech industry does on research and development -– and want to rapidly boost our investments in such research and development.

I remember visiting the R&D Labs in Naperville years ago. The semiconductor lab was pure lip service and no great research came out of it that I can recall.

Today is the First Day of Flange-Gate

In his briefing today, Coast Guard Admiral Allen said that the response plan now includes "unbolting the flange" (on top of the blowout preventer) to connect a new cap to capture the oil completely!

Weeks ago, the excuse given by BP as to why oil would continue to leak around the containment cap, was because the connection could not be sealed since the pipe was bent and there was no flange to connect to. This is unbelievable. If the first thing they did had been to unbolt that flange, and connect a valve and new riser, this could have been all over.

No one ever mentioned the obvious: Clamp-on Sonar Meters

The only thing an accurate flow meter can do now is to benefit the Gulf community by accurately measuring the legitimate fines and royalties due. BP is already facing up to $10 billion in fines in mid-June from violations of the Clean Water Act, as much as $4,300 per barrel leaked into US navigable waters, before any costs of remediation, rehabilitation, restoration, or compensation.

There is even a product video that shows how the products actually work in the real world, delivered all around the world.

Deep Sea, Calibration-Free, Clamp-on Sonar Oil Flow Metering – The Movie

CiDRA is the company mentioned in the August '08 BP Frontiers publication that developed the clamp-on sonar metering technology with BP two years ago:


CiDRA Oil & Gas is now Expro Meters:

Expro Group

They can be clamped on to pipes of up to 0.9 m in diameter. The riser is only 23 inches OD. There is still plenty of pipe to clamp on to, Tony.

Ok, I can see some "issues" with bolting on a new LMRP, as they had so much trouble with the diamond saw, the shears, etc. But, it will make great viewing. Sorta like "BP: Nightmare at Macondo 3"

Apparently you missed the (excruciatingly painful) 2 odd days of them trying, and trying, and trying, to get 1 bolt off 1 flange (on a non-flowing section of pipe). Now that they have a subsea toolkit that includes ability to bolt & unbolt a riser flange with an ROV, there are actually "normal" sealing options available.

>> They can be clamped on to pipes of up to 0.9 m in diameter. The riser is only 23 inches OD. There is still plenty of pipe to clamp on to, Tony.

Looking at data sheet, this particular meter requires 3 feet of continuous straight pipe to connect to (not even close to that length of clean pipe currently). And measuring complex multi-phase slug flow still creates a large uncertainty range on the best of meters. Once have a direct solid connection to collect & process the full flow, a fancy flowmeter is a fun toy, but rather pointless.

Yes, there are lots of options to measure flow if have a clean flange available. Good old fashioned pressure drops are still a favorite of mine. But at the end of day oil in the tank beats out any fancy flow meter estimates & I'd rather see them focus effort on getting a clean connection direct to sufficient processing capacity on ships, collecting 100% of the oil & measuring it there.

I have advocated a direct connection for a month.

However, as the flow estimates go up, one has to carefully consider topside risk. This is a wild well, with a variable flow rate, or a flow rate that CAN increase without warning.

One would need a large capacity, fast acting and automatically controlled diverter to dump excess oil into the water, if the topside capacity for processing is exceeded or for any other safety reason.

That can certainly be accomplished, but BP has shown consistent and stubborn reluctance to couple to this well directly. It is undeniably dangerous to try to process 60 kbd in real time with multiple parallel production facilities. But it can be done.

It lead me to argue that another company, with a different set of priorities can see the risk differently and make different decisions.

As an aside, measuring this flow is a complex issue in its own right. There are very nice optical methods (laser based), but the oil fraction uncertainty is the real problem here.


I am with you 100%, but BP seems to have an almost pathological fear of a direct connection. Either they are being extremely cautious or they know something we don't.

As I see it, they presently do not have the capacity to deal with full flow, so a direct connection is not logistically feasible for the moment.

A second issue is a possible increase of back pressure and stressing the structural integrity of the BOP/well casing etc.

I think the risk of increased back pressure can be minimized with a rupture disk (fast) on a tee, just above the flange connection followed by a control valve to throttle the excess. The downstream side of the control valve provides a connection point for a second riser.

IMVHO, a direct connection with a "dump" valve is preferable to a cap.

There are some very capable people on this forum, and I am not one of them, (my experience in piping is with cryogenic gases), but we are all uninformed. We do not know what BP knows, and worse, we do not know what BP does not know.

I am not minimizing the difficulty of making the connection but a recent exercise in removing bolts tells me that the process is possible, but very tedious.

Perhaps it is hubris on my part but I took the time to write up a theory, procedure and do up a set of drawings as to how a connection could be reliably, and safely made. I sent it to OEG in Houston, who is doing the evaluations of ideas for BP,

As to the structural integrity, a poster on a closed thread stated that an inclinometer had been installed on the BOP. Can anyone verify this?

I saw an ROV making inclinometer readings on the flex joint in the LRA but I haven't seen any evidence that a permanent inclinometer was installed on the BOP apart from one post.

If it is true, that scares the living bejeebers out of me. Even if it is precautionary, the possibility that the pipe, (basically a pile below the BOP), may be unstable does not improve my sleep pattern.

I look forward to your views, Dimitry, but all others are welcome to chip in with their own $.02.

Still a learner.

The people driving the oil recovery effort are being very cautious, yes. They don't want to kill anyone. That's why they're being very cautious.

I have the feeling that a lot of folks posting here don't realise that the oil recovery process currently in train is incredibly dangerous. There are hundreds, possibly thousands of folks working flat out directly above a spout delivering 30-40,000 barrels per day of highly inflammable and oil and gas to the seabed below them. They are in ships, rigs, helicopters and aircraft moving around in a carefully synchronised ballet in a bath of toxic inflammable materials while they light giant flares resembing God's own barbeque and hope nothing explodes. If any of them feel like taking a risk (or having a quick smoke) someone can always cue up the recordings of the Deepwater Horizon exploding and sinking to remind them.

They are not working to industry best safety practices because they're making up a lot of the tech and processes they're using as they go along and there is no history to base any rulebooks on. I fear that tiredness or an unforseen consequence is eventually going to result in a second tranche of dead workers and another setback for the oil recovery process. I hope my fears are groundless.

I thought the original concern with a direct connection to the BOP was that it allowed uncontrolled amounts of oil/gas up to the surface. Basically they take the gusher of oil/gas at the bottom of the Gulf and transfer it to the surface of the water.

If they put a check valve or flow reducer on it, then the entire system gets pressurized, and if the BOP or something lower is damaged, there's a risk of a rupture with a higher pressure environment.

In addition, if a hurricane/tropical storm approaches, SOP is to disconnect and get the ships/people out of harm's way. In this situation we would then have 60k+ barrels/day now leaking directly to the surface of the Gulf, with a storm to help spread it around quicker.

In my inexperienced view, aren't these concerns still valid? What has changed to cause BP to think a direct connection is now acceptable?

The "direct connection" they're building right now consists of a cap to be hard-bolted on the wellhead. This cap will be connected to a pipe that ends in a manifold/receiver floating a few hundred feet below the surface. The oil/gas mixture from that receiver is fed to recovery ships and rigs which are positioned well away from the wellhead itself. They can disconnect from that receiver in a hurry if safety or equipment failures or an approaching bad weather system requires it.

In contrast a hard connection straight up to the Enterprise drillship currently on station would deliver more oil/gas than its processing system can handle. Any attempt to restrict that flow up the hard-connection pipe would put back-pressure on the wellhead and the damaged upper casings. Any dump valves or similar used to bleed off excess unprocessed oil/gas mix in that line could fail hard and that failure would put the Enterprise on the bottom next to the Deepwater Horizon.

Try to imagine what could go wrong, what could break in any given equipment assembly you can think of and then design your system so that it will not kill people, damage the well's casings, destroy the wellhead and make things worse. The KISS principle applies here in spades.

This is a great thread... you guys are really getting to the heart of the matter: Bolted connections and risk management.

Several of you have repeated the assumption that the casing is compromised and might blow up if you apply too much back pressure. This assumption seems to have arisen as an explanation for why BP has no plans to try the obvious solution of bolting a shutoff valve on top of the LMRP flange, and then closing it.

My question is this: Can't we close that valve gradually, while carefully monitoring the rising pressure? A leak in the casing would show up as a pressure drop, which would be our cue to throw the valve open again immediately to prevent widening of the breach. Unless something really pops down there, it's hard to see how we would be significantly worse off, even in the worst-case scenario.

The risk of making things worse has to be weighed against the certainty of continuing massive leakage under the current plan.

If you start closing the valve gradually, and nothing happens, you keep closing it until it's shut, right? Except, BP already knows there is some form of structural failure down in the well; they pumped far more mud during the top kill process then they should have and can't account for where it all went.

Close a valve at the top and all that pressure will find a way out even a small rupture, and begin eroding that hold immediately. Before too long the small rupture is a lot bigger and once a good path is established it wouldn't matter if you reopened the valve or not.

I'm thinking it's a risk that BP doesn't want to take; they can capture some or most of the oil using current methods. If they try and shut it down completely at the top they risk not being able to capture any of it, and a mid-well rupture may make a bottom kill more difficult as well.

What about leaving an assembled buoyant riser there with it's top section floating above the water level, get everyone the hell out there, then make the flange connected by the ROVs. A remotely powered ignition at the top, and it is all over. Big scary flame and cloud of smoke for some months, whatever the water is not poisined anymore, until the RWs get done. Sounds far better to me than anything happened there since the rig sank..

I understand the dangers of backpressure risking the already failed csg to fall totally apart. The flange installation (with the right equipment - hopefully not ROVs probably blown away by the heavy stream of sludge, or if not that, totally blocked vision as soon as the new riser gets close enough, but some pre-installed device attached on the LRA that I'm pretty sure in a yet-to-be-made state of process, which is why the sealed connection is not even planned now) - so that could be done slowly, letting time for the seawater in the new riser to gain momentum, so there wouldn't be so much pressure shock on the BOP and anything under it.
Probably the expanding gas bubbles could do some harmful kick-backs on the well..
If these two issues can be worked around, I really don't know what could go wrong by just flaring it.

Since you say there is a direct connnection between CiDRA and BP, one reason for sonar meters never coming up despite this may be because they didn't WANT them to be deployed (since this would create a large pressure of expectations on accuracy on the part of BP's flow numbers towards the public).

I heard Mike Malloy mention TOD on his talk show tonight...he was talking about an article on TOD by Sharon Astyk (I think) concerning down-hole fracturing/damage at DWH I pulled into my driveway and didn't hear the rest...

Good job TOD getting air time! I have emailed several radio shows to bring TOD to their attention, and I bet a lot of others have done the same.

If you want TOD's message to reach a wider audience, contact the various radio, TV, and newspaper and Internet media shows and publicize TOD...

Bedtime thought:

"Congressional hearings provide a unique mix of mannered formalism and absurd grandstanding that are ideally suited to operatic adaptation." — Melissa Dumphy

As long as they use that three bulb time limit thingy. I wish they would use it more often.

This has been out there a while today but it's worth reading if you haven't already. It won't be news to most folks here but it conveys the look and feel of SNAFU pretty well.

Slippery Start: U.S. Response to Spill Falters
Officials Changed Their Minds on Key Moves, and Disagreements Flared Between Agencies; Boom Taken Away From Alabama


I don't see a "SNAFU" from the WSJ article; I see a group of dedicated, frustrated officials doing the best they can with limited resources. The initial response suffered from too many officials, with BP, the Coast Guard, and state officials all doing their thing, sometimes at cross purposes with the others.

For example, I had no idea there were two categories of oil boom, or that they're designed for different situations. Alabama had to go to Bahrain to get open sea oil booms; obviously there's not a lot of them around. Same with the sand berms Jindal wanted; the Corps had a valid concern that they would cause more damage than they were worth.

What was needed was one person who knew definitively that he was in charge, and could coordinate the BP/CG/state responses rather than having them all running around by themselves.

> "What was needed was one person who knew definitively that he was in charge, and could coordinate the BP/CG/state responses rather than having them all running around by themselves."

Right. But there was no plan in place despite requirements otherwise, counter to what taxpayers had paid for and expected. SNAFU: Situation Normal, All F'd Up.

The President is in charge and the Clean Water Act clearly lays out what he should have done.


Apparently some people think the President should be capable of handling the day-to-day decisions this disaster requires, plus run the country and everything else too. I disagree; he should appoint someone to take charge and then step back and let them do it.

Allen appears to be competent at his job; I think the reason why there was so much confusion early on is because no one had a good handle on the magnitude of this blowout. BP said they had a response plan for a spill even larger than this, but they lost several days trying to implement it. Same with the CG spill plans; by that time the states were jumping in trying to help, and it became a case of too many chiefs and not enough indians.

Unless you think the Federal government should have a gigantic stockpile of spill response material and personnel they can draw on, the initial response has to be from the companies themselves with assistance from the government.

Thank you TOD for keeping uptodate on this very tragic situation. It looks like BP may need to think differently.

This is an idea that i had together with a friend of mine, thank you ROB!

The issue is that the well may collapse and the casing with it, meaning free flow of gas and oil from the seabed into the water.

Ok, so what you need is something large that can capture this free flow. What is large and has systems for crude oil? A crude oil carrier. Take a vlcc, cut a hole in the no 4 cargo tank, and sink it on top of the wellhead.
You will now have crude and gas flowing into a tank with a hole in the bottom and filled with seawater.

There are several crude oil carriers around, single hull that BP has on charter and can sacrifice. The water will fill up in the tank and push the water out due to difference in density. The weight of the vessel will restrain the vessel from floating up, driven by the bouancy from the crude vs water. Open up the cargo valves and flow the crude through the midship manifold and up to the surface. Last resort, but it should work, once you mange to get the vlcc in place. They managed to bring the Kursk up tp the surface in the north sea, filled with nuclear waste. This is easier...gravity does it for you.


Sounds like a new idea, but remember that those cargo tanks are designed to withstand only about 2 psi differential pressure. Not saying you couldn't keep under that if you were careful. Main problem here, as everyone knows, is the hydrates. What would prevent them from clogging up the piping here?

NY Times: With Criminal Charges for Oil Spill, Costs to BP Could Soar

Very detailed article of possible criminal charges v. BP.


And we thought you had gone to bed. Now, you've assigned us new reading. ;^)

You trusted me?

The threat of criminal penalties hanging over BP's head makes me wonder if that's the reason why they're willing to try a solid connection, full collection option currently being planned. If they can stop the oil from entering in the Gulf waters by directing the flow into ships until the relief wells shut off the flow permanently, they might try and argue that they've gone above and beyond the normal expected effort and ask for lesser fines be levied on them.

I don't believe that Obama promised to "go easy" on them in the courts in exchange for that $20 billion escrow fund; the political heat he'd take from BOTH sides of the aisle would be enormous. Plus, this is a historically significant event, in size and scope; every regulatory agency that has a part in this is going to want a piece of BP, and public opinion no doubt wants that as well.

"But those carry a tougher standard of proof. The government would have to show that the company knew its actions would lead to the gushing well on the ocean floor."

I wonder if this was a typo? To try and prove the company knew its actions *would* lead to the disaster would surely be futile, if not ludicrous. To try and prove it knew its actions *could* lead to the disaster, but didn't have the necessary safeguards in place to prevent it, etc., seems much more believable.

Is there anyone with legal knowledge here who could clarify? Thanks.

It's a very interesting question given the context.

I haven't looked at the law, so assuming this guy is right, what he is saying is that there is different mens rea for the felony counts than the misdemeanor counts. And they require proof of intentional conduct. Now if in fact the correct focus of the inquiry under this law is the cause of the blow-out/spill, of course BP did not intend to cause the blow out. Someone may intend to break an environmental law by intentionally releasing oil into a waterway, and then they would meet the felony mens rea. But not BP in this case.

So that would leave the misdemeanor counts where they only have to show negligence for mens rea. Yes, BP likely negligently caused the spill, maybe even recklessly, maybe even with wanton disregrad for the safety of others, but not likely intentionally.

Thanks, syncro. It will be interesting to see how this develops.

PT: Just a guess. Most statutes read "knew or should have known." "You can't turn a blind eye." Whatever. It's still a giant hurdle to prove "should have known" "beyond a reasonable doubt." Just to throw in another cliche, you usually need "a smoking gun" that was ignored to reach the "should have known" threshold. [My computer just ran out of quotation marks.]

We will see what Congress brings forth.

OMG. That puts us beyond help.

Yep, their track record proves anything the guv touches turns into a giant pile of crap. After watching the hearings yesterday with the oil CEO's I have determined this country would be better off if all the sumbishes on capital hill were hung by the neck.

Official estimates on BP disaster oil flow rate gradually reveal the truth; now raised to 35,000-60,000 barrels/day: http://bit.ly/BP3560
Clean Water Act fine for BP is $4,300 per barrel for gross negligence (http://bit.ly/4300fine). At new flow estimate, that's $ 150-260 million/day

On another website discussing this disaster early on, before we knew the true size of this flow rate, I took a lot of heat for proposing a $100 million/day fine for BP as an incentive to get them to shut the well off ASAP. The protests were based on saying this level of fine would ruin the company, which didn't really bother me.

Once the original estimates started coming in about the flow rate being around 20k bpd, I did the math using the $4300/barrel penalty allowed under the Clean Water Act, and pointed out that all it would take is the flow being 25k bpd, and the penalty would reach $100 million+/day. Now we're talking about a flow rate up to 60k bpd, which if we assume that has been the actual flow all along (probably not), would mean that if the full $4300/barrel fine was applied, means BP already owes the US $13,600,000,000 in Clean Water Act fines alone.

Dumber than a fence post is an accurate description, if I may borrow it from oldfarmermac. Does anyone follow the logic? I think the fumes from all of the oil pac money he gets in contributions have taken a toll.

Miss gov.: $20B escrow by BP might hurt, not help

By EMILY WAGSTER PETTUS (AP) – 5 hours ago

JACKSON, Miss. — Mississippi's governor said Wednesday he's not sure the federal government should have made BP put $20 billion into escrow to compensate victims of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill because the company needs it to drill more wells and make money so it can pay up.

President Barack Obama insisted BP set the money aside, and the company agreed to put $5 billion a year into the fund for the next four years.

"If they take a huge amount of money and put it in an escrow account so they can't use it to drill oil wells and produce revenue, are they going to be able to pay us?" Gov. Haley Barbour told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Wednesday.

Millions of gallons of oil have gushed into the Gulf since a BP well ruptured eight weeks ago off the Louisiana coast.

"We need them to generate revenue to be able to pay us," said Barbour, a Republican. "I worry that this escrow account reduces the chance of that rather than increasing the chances of that."

Barbour said he has "no objection" to Obama's decision to appoint former Mississippi Gov. Ray Mabus to develop a long-term Gulf Coast Restoration Plan. Obama said BP will pay for the plan, and Mabus is to work with local communities to develop it.

"If this is really what it sounded like — that is, the federal government is going to make a long-term plan for the gulf states — then it's a terrible idea," Barbour said. "Mississippians will decide about Mississippi's future."


BP=RJR Nabisco?

When the government won its huge settlements against the tobacco industry, the solution wasn't to bankrupt them, but to allow them to keep poisoning its "customers" so they could pay off the government.

Sure, but if they're paying out $17 billion a year in dividends (now canceled) and have $350 billion in oil reserves among billions in other assets, $5 billion a year is very manageable.

So with BP, the logic of, don't make them pay us because then they won't be able to pay us, makes no sense.

I am flabbergasted by the gop response, though. It's probably because they are flabbergasted by the accomplishment.

I can't recall any president ever going to bat like that for citizens against a big corporation. I'm impressed.

right on.

Barbour's comments just tells me the GOP cannot bring itself to give Obama credit for anything he does, even when it's going to benefit them. First he worries that BP putting money in an escrow account means they won't be able to make money to put in the escrow account, a circular logic puzzle if there ever was one; then he goes on to say he wants "Missippians to decide what's good for Mississippi" after Obama assigns a Mississippian to craft a Gulf restoration plan.

I guess Barbour didn't listen to Obama's speech when he said that the states and local officials would have input into how this plan would be crafted either, or that BP would be paying into the escrow account over 4 years (or that it wasn't capped at $20 billion).

This disaster is really bringing out the best in Barbour. From WSJ, a few days ago:

I want to reiterate to him the biggest economic problem we've got is the news-media coverage that makes people think the whole Gulf is ankle deep in oil when it's not.

They say that if you the owe bank 8000.00 dollars that "they own you". They also say that if you owe the bank 8 million dollars "you own them". We will be tied to keeping BP operating so that they can rebuild the gulf. They could go bankrupt and say here you go. Here is your 71 million and we will just stay in England so forget about any law suits or criminal convictions. Obama has such good relations with England anyway.

If BP fails to shape up then take them over. What can England do about it? The only thing they got left is derivatives.

"If this is really what it sounded like — that is, the federal government is going to make a long-term plan for the gulf states — then it's a terrible idea," Barbour said. "Mississippians will decide about Mississippi's future."

Hey Mississippians: I think your governor just turned down your share of $20 billion. That's cool, we'll give it back to BP, and you can fight for it yourselves. PS: BP's annual revenue is four times your state's GDP. Enjoy!

"BP's annual revenue is four times your state's GDP. Enjoy!"

Well, it *was* four times larger...

I don't think Mississippi would blink an eye at the challenge of prosecuting BP in either civil or criminal matters. And I know the state would be a serious adversary. Have you checked the history of Mississippi jury awards?

Remember: Gov. Haley Barbour has presidential ambitions. He has more than hinted at his intentions.

Now, for around 50 days or so, we have been making on an industrial scale, what amounts to weed killer , at the bottom the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico.
No one in any biology lab anywhere ever asked the question , " What happens to the Gulf when you install a herbicide factory at the mouth of the Mississippi in 5,000 feet of water ? And you don't build an off switch ."

GULF SHORES, Ala. — Dolphins and sharks are showing up in surprisingly shallow water just off the Florida coast. Mullets, crabs, rays and small fish congregate by the thousands off an Alabama pier. Birds covered in oil are crawling deep into marshes, never to be seen again.

Marine scientists studying the effects of the BP disaster are seeing some strange phenomena.


I expected BP would proportionally reduce the amount of Corexit 9500 being released near the BOP once they saw the LMRP was effectively capturing some of the oil.

After all, less oil escaping requires less dispersant.

Instead, they added a second ROV to full-time dispersant duty.

Not what I was looking for there, BP/EPA/USCG/Houston.

I"ve been away a couple days, and haven't actually looked at the underwater cams, but i was clicking around news sites earlier...and clicked on the live feed from cnn http://www.cnn.com/video/flashLive/live.html?stream=stream/3&hpt=T1 Been a while since I've seen it look that explosive.

A question for the tech guys on here that i don't think has been explained previously.

With regard to the relief wells how do you run the casing strings? I can understand that when drilling you can 'curve' the drill bit but how do you lower a casing string down a curved hole? Also how does this affect the seal between the strings. Are the sealing mechanisms designed with a degree of tolerance to account for the presumably angled seating of the string?


Got -- Actually it very easy to run csg in a directional hole. The scale often used to show a direction well gives the impression that's its a much tighter bend then it really is. Typical bend rates are 4 to 10 degrees per 100'. Steel csg is also a lot more flexible then you can imagine especially when it's a few 1000' long.

Another techie question: did the diamond saw work?

Until recently I thought that the diamond saw cutting the riser from the top of the BOP had jammed, so shears were used to make the cut.

However I saw somewhere else that the shears were used simply to grasp & lift the kinked riser to relive pressure on the diamond saw, so that it could continue its work.

Sooo ... was the riser cut or sheared from the BOP at the end of the day?

Found this;

"The drilling of two relief wells, “which we believe represents the ultimate solution to stopping the flow of oil and gas from the well,” has reached depths of 15,226 feet and 9,778 feet, respectively, he says, but they are not expected to be completed until August."

on this site http://news.gnom.es/news/bp-ceo-we-cannot-guarantee-outcome talking about the hearings tonight but haven't seen those numbers reflecting drilling progress anywhere else, including the BP site so if there's a BP PR dolly scanning this get it fixed - markets shouldn't be getting updates from obscure news sites on the web.

Dougr's comment on a previous thread has made it to Mother Jones:


Yeah, going viral. Gawker and lots of other blog aggregators have picked it up, naturally without any of the challenges put to it here at TOD being posted. Probably we'll see the "OIL SEEPS FROM SEA FLOOR CRACK!" video on Drudge and HuffPo. Pitchfork and torch suppliers and end of days orgs are going to be having a really good day.

My understanding of the situation is that the pipe below the seafloor is compromised and that the oil can only be contained. Capping the well would cause leaks in the seafloor around the pipe and according to an article I just read in Mother Jones flow would increase to 150 000 barrels day.

This is ridiculous, if the pipe is compromised capping the well would cause leaks in the seafloor I'll agree but total flow would be reduced because there would be more resistance along the path and flow would be constricted. Cutting the pipe increased flow by 20% because resistance to flow was decreased. Leaks in the seafloor would be limited to the pipe casing area only.

The pipe should be capped but in a way no one can accept because it is too simple. Nobody in the oil industry would think or propose the idea I am about to present because tunnel vision will not allow it. Most people won't accept it because it is an idea a naive child might propose. By false logic most people will dismiss it as childish.

If you understand electric circuits you might be able to comprehend what I am about to present. To those of you I'll give a hint. Increase circuit impedance so flow becomes negligible.

The rest of you still require preparation so I'll ask you to ponder a scenario.

What would happen if a bucket brigade of ships sequentially sailed over the well and each dumped 1000 tons of sandbags over the well. Use enough ships and over the course of a week and a layer of sandbags is over the well site 150 feet deep. If the sandbags supply runs thin use old cars, gravel, boulders, scrap metal, chunks of concrete. Anything with a specific gravity significantly greater than seawater.

What would the seabed look like when you are done?

The answer is that oil and gas will be leaking out of a pyramid of fill but at a reduced rate. The fact that the pipe is compromised won't matter because you have covered over the entire leak zone because it is confined to a small area around the pipe.

Extend the process for another week and then what will the site look like?

A larger pyramid of fill will cover the well site and no oil or gas will be leaking out at all.

The answer is so simple a cave man could do it.

Hubris will prevent this solution from being considered. It won't work you'll say. Ok tell me why.

Maybe you will say that if it would work they would already be doing it. The problem with that logic is that they are saying the same thing you are.

BP is a huge bureaucracy, Obama apparently is no better. Ever meet a bureaucracy as smart as you are?

Everything that has been tried has paralleled the IXTOC disaster right down the line. It did not work then and it can't work now. Think outside the box, I hate the phrase but I have to use it. Think like a cave man instead of just acting like one. Put high tech aside, think low tech.

If you think I'm curt with all of you it's because time is a factor. I need you guys to act fast if you wanna get out of this. Don't think do. Every second you think another barrel of oil leaks out.

So pretty please with sugar on it.


If you don't think it will work write an explanation that would pass muster by a freshman college physics professor and post it. Anything else is just your reptilian brain taking an easy way out. Put up or shut up.

OK, let's test this before ordering the battle fleet.

Lay a garden sprinkler on your lawn.

Turn on the water - but make sure its at several thousand PSI.

Watch the amazing water spray!

Now start burying the sprinkler head in sand. Use as much as you like.

Come back in a week.

Pressure will distribute over a larger area as you move away from the pipe so the several thousand PSI is mitigated. Further the only reason you have that much pressure at the pipe opening is because flow has been reduced to zero. Currently pressure one inch into the pipe opening is the same as the ambient pressure of the ocean at that depth. The pressure of the oil gas mixture starts out at several thousand psi as it enters the pipe but falls all the way along up the pipe. If that were not true flow would be constantly accelerating.

The sand over your garden hose has stopped flow to a slow ooze. you said I could use as much as I want.

Ohms law wins again.

What does a week have to do with it.

No it isn't mitigated. The pressure or voltage differential is the same. So it finds the path of least resistance and blows through.Piped liquids and electric circuits behave in similar ways but this points out some important differences.

-A high voltage through a too small wire burns it out. A high pressure through a too small channel blows or erodes it bigger.

- Circuits are surrounded by a resistant void. If the electricity gets out in ideal circumstances it has nowhere to go.

- This wellhead is surrounded by a conductive void. The oil gets out, it can go anywhere. It is as if you had an insulated wire submerged in a gold paste and there are 100,000 volts across them and the insulation has ruptured. Your proposal amounts to trying to stop the flow of electricity by dropping shredded insulation through the paste until it makes a really big heap on the end of the wire. The electricity will just flow around and between your insulation.

That would work just fine if you dropped 13,000 feet of silicates on the leak in one go. A 13,000 foot column of mud was what it took to restrain the well in the first place.



Member for
1 hour 35 min"

(What a surprise - Not)

Wrong - the mud was in a pipe so force could not distribute over a larger area as it will when you move away from the pipe opening in a pile or pyramid. The pile has to be large enough so its weight will balance the force as it distributes through the pile volume. A pile 130 high with the density of common brick will have 10 times the weight that is needed to balance the force.

Pressure will distribute over a larger area as you move away from the pipe so the several thousand PSI at the pipe opening is mitigated. The only reason you have that much pressure at the pipe opening is because your flow has been reduced to zero (gotcha). Currently pressure one inch into the pipe opening is the same as the ambient pressure as the ocean at that depth. There is no thousands pounds of pressure at the pipe opening. Pressure of the oil gas mixture starts out at several thousand psi as it enters the pipe but falls all the way along up the pipe. If that were not true flow would be constantly accelerating. Resistance along the pipe reduces flow to a steady state.

Check out Bernoulli's equation.

Do you want to block the flow to zero? If so, how? The static pressure will be thousands of PSI.

Or do you want to deal with i.e. capture a significant flow and keep the pressure low ... the current solution.

The zero velocity solution could blow weak points in the piping.

Also, consider the pipe exit in this case : the cylindrical pile of sand sitting vertically above the hole would have to be exerting enough pressure in order to prevent the whole cylinder of sand moving upwards.

How high would that cylinder of sand have to be in order to exert 1000s of PSI at its base?

I know Bernoulli's equation.

If the static pressure at the well opening is thousands of PSI the problem has been solved because flow has been reduced to zero.

The cylinder is actually a cone and the minimum height is 130 feet by my calculations. I used 9000 psi and a 21 inch diameter pipe opening. I used used common brick density less the density of seawater. When I found the required force I multiplied it by 10 to get 130 feet.

The weight of a 130 foot pile would have 10 times the weight needed to balance the pipe force when flow has been reduced to zero.

Nobody has said that flow would not be reduced as it encounters the 'voltage drop' of going through the pile. Perhaps there is hope for the human race after all.

Holes blown in the pipe have nowhere to go just like the hole at the top which has been buried under the pile. Any flow would be no different from that of a natural oil seep because that is what has been created. It would ooze slowly.

The low resistance hollow pipe has been capped by a high high resistance pile of fill. Flow is reduced to the point where relief wells can be drilled at a leisurely safe pace.

Ohms law is a near perfect analogy.

Your idea only works if the cone is a massive chunk of solid material matched to a perfect seal.
However if we wanted - or were able - to make a perfect seal we would use a steel closure not concrete.

I'm not sure that the BOP would like to have a big chunk of concrete - or - cemented bricks - sitting on it!

For a LOOSE fill of sand or bricks you don't need to know the pipe diameter - just the pressure across the exit's 'face' when flow is static.

I can't remember the actual GOM pipe pressure, but let's assume 10,000 PSI absolute.

14 PSI = 1 atmosphere
so we need to apply around 700 atmospheres of extra pressure i.e. 550 atmospheres above the local 150 atmospheres of water pressure due to the 5000 ft depth.

34 feet water = 1 atmosphere
so we need 34*550 = 18000+ feet of additional water vertically to match the oil pressure.

OK, lets assume we are using brick which has a density of around 2.

This reduces the height we need to around 9000 vertical feet of bricks - or a bit more if we allow for any 'floatation' of the bricks.

Make any adjustments you like - this is a tad more than 130 feet!

So a loose fill solution is way poorer than the pave-the-gulf option. Correction : BOTH options fail for different reasons.

Note: I have a feeling that we are being trolled here.

The resistor analogy is indeed informative: When you wire resistors in parallel, or apply sand in concentric layers, the resistance goes down.

Let's say the first sand bag lands right on top of the oil flow, and miraculously stays put. The oil has no choice but to flow through that bag, so you do get some resistance. Great. Now apply a second layer, say ten bags surrounding the first. Those bags are much less effective, because the pressure is spread out over a much greater area. In other words, a molecule of oil that gets through the first bag is not slowed down much by the second layer because it has many more pathways available to it. The third layer is exponentially less effective, and so on.

This is directly analogous to a circuit consisting of a pyramid of identical (say, 1 ohm) resistors. The first layer (one resistor) has a resistance of 1 ohm. If the second layer consists of 10 resistors in parallel, you're only getting an additional 0.1 ohms. The third layer (100 resistors in parallel) only adds 0.01 ohms, etc. You'll never even get to 2 ohms.

> "If the sandbags supply runs thin use old cars, gravel, boulders, scrap metal, chunks of concrete. Anything with a specific gravity significantly greater than seawater."

Couldn't resist, apologies in advance: How about members of Congress carrying suitcases full of money?

Assume the hypothesis of a compromised substructure is correct. What are the possible consequences of dropping a lot of heavy stuff on top of a compromised substructure?

I said answers that would pass a freshman physics professors muster but I understand your temptation. The money and congressmen would float like evil witches and the rule was objects must have a specific gravity greater than seawater.

My earlier proposal was to toss them off the deck of the drill ship. Those who sink can be ignored while those who float must stand trial.

Think outside the box, medieval trial by drowning is not new. Just as all solutions which have been tried so far were tried and found not to work in the 1979 disaster trial by drowning never worked.

Your proposal seems to be a more localized variant of the "let's pave the Gulf with concrete" solution, albeit way more efficient. But: If the substructure of the Gulf is compromised, what could be the consequences of piling weight on? I haven't seen anything that even attempts to be an estimate of how fragile the situation is down there, but I'd bet there are some, classified of course.

The substructure of the gulf is compromised only along the well shaft in which the pipe is sitting. That's all we have to cap. All I am trying to do is increase resistance to flow so we have an environmental issue at worst not a huge disaster (worse than what has already happened). Once flow has been reduced we are once again in a steady state.

We will be fine until 2012 when the Mayan calendar ends.

...as long as we stay away from idolatry made of fiberglass, apparently.

You say it's fine except for the well shaft. Others have claimed that there's imminent danger of an entire collapse, and various others claim something in between. Data-wise, we're virtual mushrooms. Got data, I mean aside from the "OIL OOZING FROM CRACK IN SEA FLOOR!" video?


Sounds good in principle , but the “still hope for human race” stuff could be lost.

I agree it could work, and then think it won't. But for maybe different reasons. What’s the point in burying all that flow?

To put less into the Gulf? Because unless your total proposed big high pile of eventual all-around seepage allows for the same total seepage as coming out down below, then you *will* be adding increasing levels of back pressure ultimately (ever felt a hose build up?), and that’s the same exact problem again for bad casings below, is it not? And if you allow the same flow still, what’s the point? If you allow less, you will have to, by definition, eventually saturate the capacity of that big pile, and that creates “back” pressure then, same as directly capping the well.

Am I incorrect?

Taking your side: Theoretically should work. However, from reading this place for weeks, seems any kind of plugging that thing is going to cause it to find another way around. And a big pile is a plug, not matter how you look at it. So unless your big pile is piled big enough -and wide enough all around-, and if the casing is fractured and the geology is compromised, then oil will find it’s way back up and around, and now you have a worse problem, a free seeper all over.


Let's first drop a nice large radius of base stones all around as a foundation so things can't erode downward from the spew factory to cover that caveat, then begin to drop instead of sandbags or similar, big (real big) concrete or other blocks with well thought out holes in them so the water (as metaphor) or the oil can blow into and around. The blocks are heavy, but they are many, so the flow volume which is high (and which does have pressure at that exit), goes into many openings where individually, it comes out at a lower more local pressure and volume at any particular point. You continue dropping those on to The Situation (perhaps until his reality tv abs break and submit), eventually you have one big pressure flow initially now coming out from under still, but in -many- lower pressure flows higher up, all over that pyramid. We'll call it Big Seep City Pyramid, or BSCP. For further brevity, we'll shorten it to BP, or Big Pyramid. Big pyramids were supposedly built by 'small people' , so perhaps this is all a fitting metaphor eh? :) Except everything thus far has been poorly fitting, so that's probably still a bad idea to change course midstream. Anyhow:

Upon some reasonably huge size being attained, if I am following the post, you drop smaller pieces, still heavy, which fill in some of those holes in the bigger blocks. Egypt could volunteer their tiny rocks from those nasty old and just-sitting-there-taking-up-space dry pyramids as a ready supply for some of this project. In return, when the well is finally stopped, Big Pyramid (BP) can send them back, and any small people needed to reconstruct them will find their millions of oil slicked limestone daily curses now slide like butter. And if you distill then refine the fumes (no masks allowed, that makes for bad press), now you can supply their autos while rebuilding the tourism. : ) I digress again.

So keeping with that I think you are saying ... Once you add more bits, the flow again has to exist in many more places (kind of like splitting impedances/voltages), but while being same total flow, the overall is split into tinier flows, just more of them at ever lower pressures...so now you you can drop ever smaller pieces, yielding ever more outlets, but each with ever smaller pressures all over. The weight/pressure the final drop pieces exert is enough to shut down the (by now) miniature flows they cover. Eventually, they are all shut down. It can work.

Yet can it? One might think you are soaking up all that oil pressure and causing it to absorb or slow the flow, but any concrete and BP rock-pile type shamwow will still saturate eventually, if the seepage rate does not -exactly- match the output of the source flowing in. And so your back pressure being applied to that single big point (er, BP) is going to effectively be the same as if it was capped then directly and present a problemo! Even if it erodes things around and self re-fills as that big pile would do over time.

Net effect, you have to have the same amount of oil leak out as seeps as was flowing in, so as not to create back pressure, would you not?

If my TOD reading is correct, and assuming that BP^2 (Big People's Big Pyramid) could cap things in burial tomb-land:

Given that you have capped the well in effect, just more slowly, all that pressure below which used to be able to go up directly and easily, will due to the (eventual) big pile back pressure still find a way to go out the fractures below that many are worried exist already, same which are mentioned could erupt if we just capped the BOP with a big iron Huggie. Think of plugging up that hose with your thumb. Doesn't matter the size of the pile, a plug is a plug?

Which means : unless those seeps and fractures are (er...well) also within the radius/bounds of that Big Pyramid on top of the well, all you've done in the end is expedite the rather bad situation of big seeps all over, commonly known as BSAO to those who use acronyms in a reckless fashion, as I have just done here. But we can shorten that one down to BO.

End result of the BP (Big Pyramid) it seems would still be just a large volume of black and orangey goo ( 'cause it's sweet crude goodness) , and a lot of stinking gas making for a continual stream of nasty marks in BP's (Big People's) already rather icky Fruit of The Plume undies. Undies which unfortunately have as their wash basin, the Gulf of Mexico, a formerly rather clean place now suffering from a bad case of BO all over and , as it would seem, all due ironically to an initial and easily corrected lack of BM (Big Mud).

But maybe I’m missing something.

It seems like the "big pile" of something is really the most popular idea. I hear people calling on the radio with it constantly.

The folks should be free to try it!

Just for fun I ran some numbers on GPG (Giant Pile of Goo) containment. If it takes ten yards of sand to absorb one barrel and there are 100 million barrels a pile a square mile in extent and a little less than a quarter mile high would do it.

That's pretty gooey though. At 100yds/bbl you'll need about a cubic mile, which should yield a nice, although flammable, island.

You would still end up needing to pave over the bottom of the gulf. Flow would continue unabated into the weaknesses of your pile and soon be pluming from it in hundreds of places. So ypu pave the top of the pile and the flow blows through the muck under it and comes out the sides. So you keep paving until you've paved the whole basin up to the shore.

This idea has come up so many times I'm beginning to think that there is money to be made betting people that they can't shovel sand fast enough to plug a pressure washer.

We used to play a game as kids - it involved dropping a coin into a swimming pool, and then trying to drop stones on top of the coin.

The winner was the person whose stone came closest to the coin under the water.

Next time you have a week to spare, try it out.

Hint : the bow and stern sections of Titanic lie about 2000 feet apart, at a depth of 12,500 feet.

Cracks Show BP Was Battling Gulf Well as Early as February


BP Plc was struggling to seal cracks in its Macondo well as far back as February, more than two months before an explosion killed 11 and spewed oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

It took 10 days to plug the first cracks, according to reports BP filed with the Minerals Management Service that were later delivered to congressional investigators. Cracks in the surrounding rock continued to complicate the drilling operation during the ensuing weeks. Left unsealed, they can allow explosive natural gas to rush up the shaft.

“Once they realized they had oil down there, all the decisions they made were designed to get that oil at the lowest cost,” said Peter Galvin of the Center for Biological Diversity, which has been working with congressional investigators probing the disaster. “It’s been a doomed voyage from the beginning.”

Hey you environmental types - How about using aerators to increase the oxygen level in the contaminated water. A higher level of oxygen will help decompose the oil through oxidation, promote the growth of oil-consuming bacteria, and provide more oxygen for marine life. Aeration of sewage lagoons promotes digestion of oily substances in wastewater. On a larger scale, it could do the same for the oil-contaminated waters. These aerators could be maybe even be powered by natural gas flowing from the wells. Granted, used on the gulf as a whole, this would be a little bit like trying to put out a house fire with a squirt gun, but in contaminated marshes and other areas of high oil concentration, it could be beneficial and is a process that could run for years, providing on-going remediation.

Perhaps you could come up with a design and a number of units that would scale to the size of the problem, taking into consideration the logistics in the marshes (power to all units, damage putting everything in place, etc).

All that would of course need to be done, but is well beyond my capabilities personally. Some idea could be obtained from current usage of aeration in sewage lagoons, some of which are quite large (the ones treating all the wastewater from Stockton, California for example).

The aerators used for sewage are typically floating, and electrically-powered, so I think that installation of this type would be relatively easy with minimal damage marshes, but making the moorings secure enough to survive storm surges could be a problem.

Posted at Zero Hedge

Oil Spill Conflict of Interest: Matt Simmons Is Shorting At Least 8,000 BP Shares
Submitted by Static Chaos on 06/16/2010 21:13 -0500

After busy making outrageous comments regarding BP and the Gulf oil spill as recent as last evening, Matt Simmons abruptly announced today that he would retire from the board of Simmons & Co.--the company he founded in 1974--effective June 30.

Meanwhile, Simmons & Co. also issued a statement in an apparent attempt to distance itself from its founder. As Houston Business Journal reports:

"..on June 14, [Simmons & Co] issued a statement dated May 12 in which [CEO Mike Frazier] distanced himself from the founder, saying that the former chairman’s views were not those of Simmons & Co. Frazier referred to Simmons' comments related to the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion and the implications for the industry and the individual companies."
You might recall in a Bloomberg interview on May 28, Matt Simmons endorsed the nuclear option as the only viable solution for the oil spill. Later on, BP shares slid to a 14-year low, around the same time Fortune magazine (on June 9) quoted Simmons as saying BP had a month before it would file for bankruptcy. As recent as last evening in a CNBC interview (at around 6-minute mark) Simmons also intimated that the Gulf oil leak was at 120,000 bpd, instead of the official estimate of 60,000 bpd.

Being a devil's advocate, my suspicion only grew each day when Simmons seemed to have become increasingly "passionate" about preaching the worst possible outcome and solution (a nuke bomb? come on!) to this unprecedented disaster.

Well, say it isn't so, but according to Barron's,

"...Simmons has a 4,000-share short sale on BP that he picked up when the stock hit $37. That’s in addition to a prior 4,000-share short sale he made at $48 a couple weeks prior. “It’s going to zero,” he says of BP stock. Mind you, Simmons has an interest and a deep investment in moving beyond fossil fuels."
The Barron's article went on to note that Simmon's Ocean Energy Institute, a renewable energy think-tank and venture capital fund he started in 2007, is involved in a project to develop off-shore wind power facilities and other alternative energies.

If Barron's assertion is true, it would appear that Simmons, an energy industry veteran and expert on "peak oil", could have had a serious conflict of interest when he went onto so many TV and magazine interviews talking his book about BP and the Gulf oil spill.

From that perspective, his remarks would seem irresponsible and only added to the existing despair and chaos, which is nothing the nation, particularly the Gulf Coast residents, need right now.

One has to wonder if this potentially unethical and maybe illegal act could have been easily deterred if only the media, instead of dashing to a seeminly sensational headline, would take a minute to require a disclosure before putting Simmons on TV and quoting him??

Once again there are two different gushers involved. And Simmons has done nothing wrong. Shorting stocks is not illegal, nor is stating why you are shorting the stock. What is illegal is saying all is fine as the well collapses killing many.

Does anybody know for sure if 'pump and dump' market manipulation is illegal? Certainly not particularly ethical....

One also wonders if BP can sue him for libel...but since I know absolutely zip about legalities of such things - I AM just wondering.

I doubt that a suit by BP against Matt Simmons would collect anything. On the other hand, stock market manipulation is a crime and carries prison time as a penalty upon conviction. If memory serves, it is a federal crime, though there may also be state laws against stock price manipulation through false information. (fraud laws)

Saw this in today's Wall Street Journal in an editorial about the drilling ban, and how the drilling experts were speaking out against the drilling moratorium that they supposedly peer reviewed (but didn't).

From http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405274870419800457531103337146693...

All of this matters because it offers proof the moratorium was driven by politics, not safety. The drilling ban was not reviewed by experts, and was not necessary to satisfy most of the safety recommendations in Mr. Salazar's report. It was authored by political actors so Mr. Obama could look tough. A cynic might argue the ban was only added after review precisely because the Administration knew experts would refuse to endorse it.

A big reason why those experts would have balked is because they recognize that the moratorium is indeed a threat to safety. Mr. Arnold offers at least four reasons why.

The ban requires oil companies to abandon uncompleted wells. The process of discontinuing a well, and then later re-entering it, introduces unnecessary risk. He notes BP was in the process of abandoning its well when the blowout happened.

The ban is going to push drilling rigs to take jobs in other countries. "The ones that go first will be the newest, biggest, safest rigs, because they are most in demand. The ones that go last and come back first are the ones that aren't as modern," says Mr. Arnold.

The indeterminate nature of this ban will encourage experienced crew members to seek other lines of work—perhaps permanently. Restarting after a ban will bring with it a "greater mix of new people who will need to be trained." The BP event is already pointing, in part, to human error, and the risk of that will increase with a less experienced crew base. Finally, a ban will result in more oil being imported on tankers, which are "more likely" to spill oil than local production.

All this is even before raising ban's economic consequences, which already threaten tens of thousands of jobs. This is why Louisiana politicians are now pleading with the Administration to back off a ban that is sending the Gulf's biggest industry to its grave.

"Mr. President, you were looking for someone's butt to kick," said Lafourche Parish President Charlotte Randolph, recently. "You're kicking ours." The sooner the Administration climbs down from this pointless exercise, the better for a Gulf that needs real help.

Government actions often have unintended consequences. Making deepwater drilling less safe for political gain is probably one of them.

One unintended consequence is that the effective 'moratorium' is likely to be longer than the 'actual' moratorium.

E.g. you send some rigs overseas to drill - they probably aren't going to turn around and rush back if there's work over there.

Also - if the BOP's need to be rebuilt - somebody has to tool up to actually rebuild, test, and market.

Seems to me like that's more than a 6 month effort....

But maybe I'm a pessimist.

toll -- just a little bit of info since folks are talking about mobilizing rigs from the GOM to other parts of the globe. It's a rather huge commitment. The last well I worked on in DW Brazil the rig was mob'd from offshore Africa. That cost the operator $33 million so the day the rig set up to drill that well we were $33 million in the hole. BP or anyone else who needs a rig in the GOM will have to pay a mob costs to get it back.

Here is the clip from CNN June 16 10:15pm with the caption:

"Did BP just pull one over on the White House?"



The answer is NO. The amount is not limited to 20 billion or is anyone not allowed to sue on their own.

Have you read the text of the agreement? Have you read the fine print?

Don't you find it curious that there would even be a need to sue if everything is covered?

Does the $20b get deposited right away or is it in installments? (the answer is installments)

BP's dividends have been cancelled: How much does BP pay in dividends each year? (normally about $10.5b paid out each year)

Who are the biggest recipients of BP's dividends? (pensioners including Americans)

What are the assets that BP is pledging to back up its promise? (I can't help but think of the assets the banks sold to the Treasury and Fannie/Freddie e.g. toxic)

Why would Mr. Hayward appear so elated in this video?

Why is BP's share price soaring? (BP's market cap which has been savaged has jumped $5b since the White House agreement)

Lots of questions, insinuations. Oil is a tcxic asset so this is one answer. A large part of the problem involving the leak.

The right to sue is in case the aggrieved thinks the settlement was not sufficient. Right of redress, its part of our system.

Hayward was happy to be in America and was not being arrested.

Stock rallied because the pain will be spread out over time instead of prepaid. Or prices normally fluctuate.

There is an expression "giving someone the sleeves off of their vest"

Implications galore:

Interior inspector general expected to fault oil spill probe

By Juliet Eilperin
Thursday, June 17, 2010

Elected officials should consider imposing ethics rules on oil and gas companies that do business with the federal government, the Interior Department's acting inspector general plans to tell the House Natural Resources Committee on Thursday.

Mary L. Kendall will also tell the panel that the Minerals Management Agency, which oversees offshore oil drilling, is probing the BP oil spill in a "completely backwards" way and needs to have its culture revamped. The Washington Post obtained a copy of Kendall's prepared testimony late Wednesday....


Okay, Here are my thoughts on the presidents speech. He is a politician, I don't trust him. I don't care what party he is from. The fact of the matter is this. The oil disaster in the gulf is a "consequence" of drilling for oil in 1 mile deep waters. That's a fact. Whether it happened last April or in the future it is what happens. The president says BP will pay for it, but I predict fast bankruptcy. Oil companies are basically a private enterprise providing a product for consumers. They are in business to do just that. That is a sad fact also. Most oil companies have killed and pillaged to get fossil fuels out of the ground for a century. That's a fact as well. Does Ecuador ring any bells? How about the 1.5 million tonnes of oil spilled during the gulf war? These are consequences of extracting fossil fuels. So the president vaguely mentions peak oil. Do they make any changes to counter that? Are troops home from a resource war in the middle east? No. Have they made any effort to conserve? No. Do they do any and everything to get re-elected? Yes. Will the government "really" do anything? No.
Here is how I see things. BP goes bankrupt. The economy starts to collapse in the south and taking the rest of us with. Perhaps a run on the market by everyone getting out while the getting is good. I would if I got screwed back in 2008 and had anything left in the market. Then the government will need to save their necks and jobs so they will bail out the south and anyone else in need yet, taking more tax money. Stimulus money needs to be paid back. That will have a profound effect on the economic model of growth that we all unfortunately live by. No growth, no cheap abundant energy spells disaster for everyone. Everyone at the Oil Drum knows the future implications of peak oil. This "consequence" perhaps just speeds up the down slope in the hubbert curve.
For the last 3 years I have been making changes in my life hopefully for the better. I ride a bicycle, motorized at that but at least I get 150 mpg with it. I still use a very small pickup for the bigger errands, but I guarantee I don't run out for no good reason. I moved to a farm and raise my own food. Alot more as well....

Mr. President. How about stepping out of the way for those of us who really have made an effort to change. How about some real honesty about the way we depend on gas and oil for our daily lives? How about a re-vamping of how we make alternative fuels like ethanol? Stop using corn as a feedstock and less fossil fuels to produce ethanol? Lets "really" make some changes for the future in a more efficient and sustainable way. If the government can't be honest, and can only make things worse by involvement, why bother? Succession from the union for my state looks like a better option for the people in my state more and more everyday. Very sad that that statement is said, but the federal government just is becoming more irrelevant as everyday goes by.

God bless and good luck.

BP Hires Army of Washington Fixers to Manage Oil-Spill Outrage

Worth reading.


A bit of fact checking is found here:

FACT CHECK: Obama left blanks in oil spill speech
By CALVIN WOODWARD, Associated Press Writer Calvin Woodward, Associated Press Writer Wed Jun 16, 6:19 am ET

WASHINGTON – In assuring Americans that BP won't control the compensation fund for Gulf oil spill recovery, President Barack Obama failed to mention that the government won't control it, either.


He may not have made the point in the speech, but he made it time and again before the speech that a neutral third party would control the funds. That was one of his main objectives. There's nothing unusual about that. What would be unusual is if either BP or the govt. held the funds. A big no no on both accounts.