BP's Deepwater Oil Spill - An Update on Collection, Evaluating The President's Speech and Open Thread 2

Because of the large number of comments, this thread is being closed. Please comment on http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6616.

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

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

CNN video of a very smug and pleased Tony Hayward after the meeting with the Obama administration on Wednesday.


It would appear that the only major difference between BP's position before the White House meeting and after is that instead of undefined liabilities and exposure, those are now structured at a modest $5b per year over four years (about half their annual dividend payment). Other than that their is no difference to BP's legal position or that of potential claimants. Meanwhile their share price is soaring. I think if I were Mr. Hayward, I too would be pleased with the outcome.

His job is to boost BP shares. He has now done that and will probably continue to do that. He is neither a twit nor a fool.

The BP share price dive to oblivion is not interrupted by todays rally - one of several in recent weeks.

The get out of jail free card for BP is to sell their US assets (+ their US liabilities) to America to pay for the damages.

ON BBC prime time political debate tonight it was pointed out that the USA is the most polluting country on Earth.

A lot of very smart people have been buying BP shares over the past few days. The question is: Are they smarter than the people and pension funds and mutual funds that have been selling shares to them.

Its not one I'd touch- far to much uncertainty. Still very real possibility BP does not survive this. Even if the first relief well is successful, the environmental and economic harm is hard to quantify - and BP I think are at their limit. And the scope for further downside seems to outweigh any miraculous good news. BP are currently trading at level of 2008 crash - when they were in fact in rude health - which they are not now.

Its not one I'd touch- far to much uncertainty. Still very real possibility BP does not survive this. Even if the first relief well is successful

I suspect even the slightest prospect of the end of BP was ruled out after yesterday's meeting with Obama. I also wonder if Hayward's testimony today was downgraded after the meeting. I wonder if the "Total Stonewall" approach was approved?

It will all come out in the end but maybe not now. The movie hasn't ended yet.

Under: BP executives were as happy as any prisoner who just received a governor's reprieve from a death sentence. Just a reprieve pending....

Many pension and mutual funds have to sell because of the downgrades by the rating agencies. The dividend cuts trigger sales too.

BP now has a regulatory framework -- i.e. some legal structures in place. Investors like that.

The $$$ they are on the hook for are not insurmountable amounts.

Could, however, be a slow bleed, just like that gusher they can't cap/stop.

I keep thinking about the "small people" comments. Swedes are usually MUCH more sensitive to class issues to go into a landmine of translation like that. This is what happens when you are so shielded from the impact of your actions/speech that you loose sight of the natural fault-lines in society or in the seabed. The entire BP structure seems to be shot thru with mis-management and mis-appreciation of simple rules of conduct. So, the verbal lapses are really just indicative of the lapses of the much larger lapses. Words -> actions -> consequences (= urgh).

We are now reaping the consequences of all that.

Given that his native language is Swedish, and given that most of his career has been spent in Sweden, I think we should we should cut him a little slack — he likely meant "the little guy" when he said "small people".

"the little guy" is exactly the same as "small people", it's just a phrase you are more used to. It is every bit as offensive. I'm glad he used it, as it is indicative of how the public is thought of. Every now and then you get a little snap shot of reality.

I'm sorry, but if anyone takes issue with a sweedish guy saying "small people" you really are one of the "small people".

You know damn well what he meant, but choose to raise a fuss over nothing.

LOL - I have no idea what he meant, nor do I care. I assume he meant exactly what he said, and in the way he said it. What is your interest in interpreting it?

So, you are saying he is going to take care of the midgets? Whats wrong with that?

"And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this, this is working very well for them. "

Sorry, Twilight. I think this one has become a distraction topic.

I don't think it matches Mrs. Bush's classic up there.. but if he hadn't said that, people would have found something else to be outraged over. The anger at BP will come out one way or another.. but it seems pretty clear that he meant 'The little guy' as in the people who don't have access to the kind of power that he and the other elites have.

Sure, that is exactly what he meant, which was the point.

When you get a lot of "small people" or "the little guy" together, then you have a crowd, and crowds have power, something Americans seem to have forgotten. Hopefully, the people of the Gulf affected by this disaster will get together and organize, to counter the considerable power of BP.


It cost the tobacco industry a fortune in lawyers to snatch a victory such as you describe from the jaws of thier defeat by the antismoking establishment.

If things actually work out along these lines, I must admit the bloody baxxxrd will have made a fool of our lawyer prez and earned his outrageous salary for this decade at least.

I'm a little surprised to hear you say that, OFM. Setting up a $20 billion (for starters) account that BP has no control over is quite an achievement for a President who had no legal power to force the issue. Why do you think BP pulled one over on him?

Setting up a $20 billion (for starters) account that BP has no control over is quite an achievement for a President who had no legal power to force the issue

heh heh, who said BP has no control on this account? It is an escrow account which mean that there is a set of rule associate with the distribution of the money. Think of it as an escrow account for your house transaction. Money can only go out the door if it fit the rule.. That is why the administrator is so important and they pick a person that both BP and government agreed. He has to interpret the rule and release the money accordingly. And there is a 3 person panel for appeal (does it read delay??).. what that means, I think, is that those with proof of loss (e.g. last year W2, tax form etc.) will be paid real quick (as fast as they can ramp up the adjuster, IT etc..). Those who want to claim property value loss will be out of luck and they will have to head to court.. And remember BP put the money in over time.. If the escrow account start to distribute money that BP doesn't agree, why couldn't they stop contributing money.. It will go to court and everyone just wait for their check at that point. It is a political sledge of hand and they just get BP some help to administrate the fund and take the heat when the payment is late. don't see a hugh differnce if BP is paying the bill (it is the 3rd party contractor running the show anyway..). For 2010, BP contribution is 3B in 3Q and 2B in 4Q.. And starting in 11 1.25B a quarter..


Under the deal, BP will pay $5 billion annually over the next four years into an escrow account for damage claims from the gulf, setting aside an equivalent amount of U.S. assets as collateral until the fund reaches $20 billion. The figure is not a cap on the potential damages, and the company received no liability waiver as part of the agreement.

"If the escrow account start to distribute money that BP doesn't agree, why couldn't they stop contributing money"

You don't understand the agreement that was struck. They don't have a say on whether someone's claim is approved or not. I suppose they might renege on their agreement, but the US could easily pull all of the US permits, and they'd be dragged into court anyway, so it would be lose-lose for them.

I don't NECESSARILY think BP pulled one over on Obama;the original commenter seems to think the BP man did succeed in doing so, if I read him correctly.

I am maintaining an open mind in this respect as such an agreement might be construed later in court as an upper limit or something of that sort.

I have a good friend who is a lawyer and his favorite saying is that nobody should ever be really suprised by anything that happens in court.

Now it could be that BP can use this this twenty billion over four years as a defensive line and put up a pretty good fight lasting for several years against any higher payout.I hope they would lose, if a much higher payout is justified, and for what it is worth, my personal opinion is that twenty billion is only enough for a good faith deposit.

It is a well known fact that defense lawyers count on wearing out the patience and the resources of those who sue them, and thereby manage to negotiate much smaller settlements than they otherwise might have to agree to.

If I were wearing BP shoes at the moment I MIGHT be very pleased with this agreement;the management might have already decided based on insider info and company analysis that the total costs will break them like a matchstick if they have to pay up immediately;this agreement would then become a four year lifeline.

This could possibly enable those stockholders in the know to get out without getting hurt so much as they otherwise might be, and a lot of senior management to retire with thier parachutes intact.

In actuality I have no strong opinion either way, having no knowledge of such matters other than what I learned by having followed the news rather carefully in the case of the tobacco industry, Johns Manville, the Exon Valdez, etc.

There is quite a bit of discussion of this issue down thread for those interested in it; I had not read it at the time I originally posted this comment.

"I am maintaining an open mind in this respect as such an agreement might be construed later in court as an upper limit or something of that sort."

Good point, but it cannot happen as this is designed. It's really a very simple concept what obama proposed. First, this money is set aside for individuals, businesses and municipalities with claims against BP for lost income, property damage and other claims cor damages caused by the spill.

Obamma cannot cap damages for those claims in any deal with BP. Only the individuals who have those claims can do that (or congress conceivably could, maybe not, though). So there may be a cap on the fund, but there is no cap on the damages.

Second, all that's really happened is that BP has agreed to front money into a fund, have it overseen by a 3rd party, and have the fund administered by a professional claims handling business. People who want to can submit their claims to the fund, and they can get paid that way instead of filing a lawsuit, but they have to give up the right to sue BP in the process. If you still want to sue BP instead, go ahead, you still can, but no fund money for you.

This is the same sort of fund that would have been set up in a couple of years or more from now after all of the cases had gone to court and were consolidated into a class action most likely, and after BP had been proven liable for the damages. So this deal spares that ordeal and delay for them. Which is great. Justice delayed is often justice denied. They don't have to prove liability, but they do still have to prove their claims are legitimate and have to prove their damages. But it is easier/quicker than in court. It still won't be fun, though, I'm sure.

Why would you go with the fund instead of suing? For most claims, it will be much quicker and cheaper. Settlement funds like these are administered all the time in courts and there are some really good companies out there (used to answering to federal judges). They have the process down. The people who pay the money out are answerable to the guy who is in charge, the same guy whop handled the 9/11 fund, and he's going to be pushing for efficiency and fairness.

What if BP refuses to pay? Sue them. Everything would just default back to what it was yesterday. No rights are lost.

Why would BP refuse to pay? They won't. I believe the commitment is secured with BP assets. They're in for at least 20 billion. Most likely much more.

The problem is there might not be enough money in there to pay all the claims out as quickly as they come in, possibly, initially, but i have no idea if that will happen. If it does, uncle sam can probably arrange a short term loan until BP's next payment comes in.

Since the federal government earns oil royalties I think it is only fair that the government share in the blame and liability.

Um, that would be us, the taxpayers. We've already been taxed. A portion was supposed to go to set up and maintain a regulatory policy that would be enforced and another portion was to fund a mechanism to deal with a disaster, the existence of which is required by law. I paid for stuff and got snookered. Now you think I should pay again?

What they're drilling for is already ours, and they reap obscene profits when they sell it back to us at the pump (they wouldn't, if they were responsible for all costs associated with their activities, such as clean up). Why should they be allowed to take ANY profit before all costs have been accounted for and paid in full? If the price at the pump must be higher and their profit margins much thinner for this to happen, that's only a reflection of an honest free market.

If there exist external costs such as pollution, the good will be overproduced by a competitive market, as the producer does not take into account the external costs when producing the good. If there are external benefits, such as in areas of education or public safety, too little of the good would be produced by private markets as producers and buyers do not take into account the external benefits to others.

We call them externalities.

What they're drilling for is already ours

Nonsense. What have you done to earn the right to own a single drop of the oil to be found in the Gulf of Mexico?

A natural resource -- such as oil -- properly belongs to the individual/business that brings it out of the earth and makes it a value useful to man. That person/organization is the one who has created value -- beause prior to what that person/organization did, the resource in question was of no value/use to anyone -- so that person/organization rightfully owns what it has created.

In a capitalist society, the owner of the resource gets part of the profits. If someone obtains value from my property or uses my property in anyway, I have the right to charge that person rent. The government owns this property; therefore, it is in effect charging rent.

tstreet claimed:

The government owns this property; therefore, it is in effect charging rent.

No, the government doesn't own it -- for precisely the same reason that YOU do not own it.

Nothing justifies the notion that the government of a nation automatically owns all of its land and natural resources which the citizens must then get permission to use. In the American system of government, government exists only to secure our individual rights -- and it is thus our SERVANT, not our MASTER that dictates what we can or can not do with the nation's territory and resources.

OUR government, like so many around the world, has SEIZED control of previously unowned land and resources -- but the mere fact that they have the power to seize it doesn't give them the right to do so. The power to do something and the right to do it are two entirely different things -- as is illustrated by the fact that any thief with a gun has the power to relieve you of your wallet, but that doesn't give him the right to do so.

If it doesn't belong to the people of the US, why is production licensed and why are fees paid to the USG? Ayn Rand much?

Petey Wheatstraw asked:

If it doesn't belong to the people of the US, why is production licensed and why are fees paid to the USG? Ayn Rand much?

Because the Federal government has the power to force such payments to be made -- just as it has the power to confiscate whatever portion of your earnings (in taxes) it believes it is entitled to. That doesn't mean the Federal government is the rightful owner of all the land and resources of the United States.

They have that power, because the government laid legal claim to that property long ago.

If the Federal Government isn't the owner of land not privately held, who is? You want all publicly held land opened up to just anyone? And from whom will the claimants stake claims and take title? The Government. That's who.

As our government is, ostensibly by, for, and of the People, We the People are the owners of the USG held territories and properties. The people developing these resources do not own the land or the resource in any legal sense of ownership, period. What right does anyone have to MY share of our common mineral holdings?

Taxes are a fact of life. Stop moaning about them. If you do choose to moan, realize that you pay very low taxes by both historical and international standards, and that America was much better managed and profitable in the days when taxes were much higher for the top percent (I do understand that correlation is not causation, but, over a long enough period, it certainly implies it). You also pay nowhere near the true cost for a gallon of gas, but despite the subsidized price you do pay, some oil company exec is getting wealthy beyond your wildest dreams.

Your thought process seems to be FUBAR.

The Federal government bought it from France in the Louisiana purchase. The government of France (and the US, and the early settlers as well) stole it from the indians. Check your history. When government progressed from the frontier, it established rules for ownership. They chose to keep some - the offshore mineral rights included for themselves.

A natural resource -- such as oil -- properly belongs to the individual/business that brings it out of the earth and makes it a value useful to man. That person/organization is the one who has created value...

If this is an absolute principle, then it must apply in all cases with the same abstract structure. Postulate a resource that is a stack of gold bars covered by a thin layer of soil, that the territory has the legal status of the offshore seabed, and that bringing the resource out of the earth requires no more than light work with a shovel.

There is no logical, qualitative distinction between this hypothetical and the case at hand.

Does the principle you advocate trump the obvious common sense conclusion about digger's (non-) creation of the full market value of the gold?

If not, then I suggest that you reevaluate your deeper premises, their origin, and whether they pass the rational test of correspondence with the condition of human life in the real world. No appeals to second-hand philosophy, please.

Postulate a resource that is a stack of gold bars covered by a thin layer of soil, that the territory has the legal status of the offshore seabed, and that bringing the resource out of the earth requires no more than light work with a shovel.

The issue is not the amount of work that has to be done -- the issue is who is the first to do it.

Of course, in the real world, finding and making natural resources useable rarely if ever confirms to your ridiculous hypothetical example.

they reap obscene profits when they sell it back to us at the pump (they wouldn't, if they were responsible for all costs associated with their activities, such as clean up).

What makes you think they are not going to pay for all the costs of the clean up of this spill?

Some damage, by the limits of the natural laws, cannot be reversed no matter how much money you spend.

Indeed; what is the value of a dead sea turtle or pelican, and how much money is needed to "make them right"? Kemps ridley sea turtles are an endangered species, and must travel through this region to lay eggs in Mexico/Texas. The young will go to this very area to eat after they hatch; if the oil/dispersants wipe out the jellyfish they feed on, what then?

Bendal asked:

Indeed; what is the value of a dead sea turtle or pelican...

Of value to whom and for what?

What makes you think they can clean it up?

Petey asked:

What makes you think they can clean it up?

I think BOP can pay for all the economic damage that has been done to property owners, provided BP is not hounded out of business prematurely.

But the will not be able to reestablish our valuable fishing grounds, marshlands, beaches, or critters. How do you put a price on that?


Thinking proactively about the procedures that should be taken when the relief well penetrates the bottom of the well:

What steps should commence at that time? What could go wrong when mud is introduced? Will mud reliably penetrate the outside of the casing and kill the formation itself, which is streaming gas, presumably through the botched cement to a higher level before re-entering the casing at the joint? Will new cement be used rather than mud? Will enough cement be available or will BP run out("oops")?

How has this been done in the past?

Jumper -- I beleive the big uncertainty right now is what exact flowpaths are open in the well. Is all the flow coming up the inside of the production csg? Is some/all of the flow coming up the outside of the production csg? Are there now flowpaths in other areas of the well bore like shallower csg ruptures or failed cmt shoes? Those answers will determine how the kill pill flows. Some of the kill pill might invade the producing zone. That alone won't stop the flow unless they fill the csg up completely with 16 ppg+ mud. But there are some chemicals that could intentional damage the flow cacabiliies of the reservoir and aid the kill process. Probabaly won't see any cmt pumped until the well is killed. But lots of potential complications. A big one would be using too high a mud weight/pump pressure and fracturing thwe rock around the RW and losing it. Also instead of the mud building a tall colume inside the well bore and stoping the flow it might esacpe out of ruptured csg or failed cmt shoes. Then they might not ever be able to build enough back pressure to stop the flow. I susoect many of these possible problems won't reveal themselves until the actual kill process begins.

"there are some chemicals that could intentional damage the flow capabilities of the reservoir and aid the kill process."

This is something I'm very interested in. I don't know about such chemicals and I would like to learn more. Presumably BP will fail to use them or not have enough when the time comes.

Thanks, Rockman - J

jumper -- I haven't studied the web site of the company doing the kill but have read they have some very special chemicals available. You might want to try there.

RM, I have a question regarding geology/seismology: has undersea seismic activity been observed to open large-scale flow from oil resevoirs? If not, why not? If so, have these environmental conditions been self mitigating? Sorry, probably I should go to the library, but the recent discussions re seeps, etc got the ol' grey matter thinking

TEB -- I've never seen a report of that happening in the Gulf Coast. But I'm sure some of the natural oil seeps in the GOM involve shallow faulting. Seismic activity could affect some of these situations. But for conventional (and deepely buried) reservoirs it's very unlikely IMHO. All oil/NG reservoirs are trapped by a "seal": some layer of rock that won't allow the oil/NG to seep through. Earth quakes can disrupt rocks in many ways. But it can't change the sealing nature of GOM shales. In hard rock country, like CA, a seismic fault movement could, in theory, breach such a seal. But there would still have to be a conduit for the oil/Ng to reach the surface.

The biggest potential environmental damage that could be induced by seismic activity in the GOM would be causing a sea floor slope failure that could take out a platform and breach producing wells. This has happened around the huge cone of soft and very unstable mud deposited by the Miss. River.

Rockman wrote:

"The biggest potential environmental damage that could be induced by seismic activity in the GOM would be causing a sea floor slope failure that could take out a platform and breach producing wells."

This brings up an issue I have worried about. I have been out of the industry since the late 80s, and retired from LLNL in 2000. I have a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry, and spent most of my career in upstream energy issues, including petroleum reservoir engineering and nuclear waste disposal.

My worry: as I recall, there are growth faults all along the GOM margin when the slope steepens, with large-scale movements of the sea bottom that occur with some frequency. I am not concerned about rupturing a reservoir seal -- but what happens if there is a slope failure that includes a production platform and its array of producing wells? This could present a long-term source of massive hydrocarbon discharge into the GOM. This could make the Deepwater Horizon blowout seem trivial.

Please convince me that this is unlikely!

Hell dashes...it has already happened...years ago. Sleep well. LOL. At least 20 years ago Mobil Oil had a platform completely wiped out by a sea floor failure off the mouth of the Miss. River. Took out the platform and sheared the tops off the producing wells. Fortunately the wells the saftey chokes prevented a spill. Eventually they came up with a design (a very big diameter suface csg that held all the well csgs inside). Thus when the slope failed the mud would side around the surface csg instead of cutting it. But I have no sense of how big this potential problem is or isn't. AFAIK the DW wells are on a fairly low dipping sea floor and perhaps have little potential for his type of problem. But I have seen DW well locations changed to avoid potentially unstable sea floor bottoms.

One of the reasons I find all the 'nuke the well' comments to be on the strange side. Likely not enough to start seismic activity - but sure as hell enough to destabilize the slope....

There have been predictions (from the USGS IIRC)) that this is going to occur with increasing frequency due to AGW melting methane deposits.

The issue goes beyond slope failure --- at the depths you are talking about here, it is prime gas hydrates territory.

The hydrates cement the sediment and hold it in place.

A slope failure is one thing, but if the slope failure / shock / energy introduced into the sea floor cause a large release of gas hydrates, which can sublime from solid to gas, there is a much bigger problem.

We are talking about release of gases on a geological scale --- much bigger than what a small well can leak.

I saw these links on another website. Here is the text and a link to another story. Is this possible and if not, why?

B.P. SHOW US THE MUDLOGS! By geologist, Chris Landau
B.P. SHOW US THE MUDLOGS! By geologist, Chris Landau.

What are you hiding? Why are you hiding them? It is now too late.

Senator Bill Nelson of Florida is telling us that the oil is gushing up around the casing. The casing has failed. There are multiple layers of oil and gas, probably 50 in this well. If you could seal the bottom layer, in this well, the casing and cement has been blown out. You cannot seal the other 49 layers of oil and gas above this layer. Your cap is a failure that can not be closed. The more you close it, the more the oil and gas will come through the sea floor. You will never be able to shut this gushing well down. The best you can do is relieve the oil and gas pressure from this region.

You need to take the oil and gas pressure out of this area. Drill eight wells around this blowout well, positioned 1000 to 1500 feet apart.

2(two) new directional wells being drilled into this well, theoretically to be completed by August 2010, will not work to solve this Transocean-Halliburton-BP blowout well and will create a larger uncontrolled blowout disaster.

Reasons for the mudlogs

1) A mudlog is a schematic cross sectional drawing of the lithology (rock type) of the well that has been bored. Without looking at the mudlogs and e-logs, we are all navigating blind. They are the forensic tool that you use to discover what happened. The mudlog is your map and your compass and your guiding star.

2) How many oil and gas horizons were there in this well? There was certainly more than one. The mudlog will list the gas and oil horizons. Were there 10, 30 or 50? Which of these many horizons are we trying to seal? Are the proposed directional wells above some oil and gas horizons and below others? Why is this choice being made? Regardless, the directional wells that are being drilled, can not seal an open well or blown out well or blown out formation. Back pressure is required for drilling mud to stay in the well to keep the oil out to allow the cement to set. We need a quiet zone for the cement to set, not a "roaring river" of oil and gas. Whether you inject that cement from the top of the well or the bottom of the well, you have not changed a thing. The pressure in the well is the same everywhere. Directional wells will not work. You only create more holes with less back pressure to keep out the oil and gas. The drilling mud escapes. The cement escapes. Only new wells that do not intersect this blowout well will help drain the gas and oil pressure from this region. It is too late for this well. It can not be sealed.

3) It is a dangerous game drilling into high pressure oil and gas zones because you risk having a blowout if your mud weight is not heavy enough. If you weight up your mud with barium sulfate to a very high level, you risk BLOWING OUT THE FORMATION. What does that mean? It means you crack the rock deep underground and as the mudweight is now denser than the rock it escapes into the rock in the pore spaces and the fractures. The well empties of mud. If you have not hit high pressure oil or gas at this stage, you are lucky. If you have, the oil and gas comes flying up the well and you have a blowout, because you have no mud in the well to suppress the oil and gas. You shut down the well with the blowout preventer. If you do not have a blowout preventer, you are in trouble as we have all seen and you can only hope that the oil and gas pressure will naturally fall off with time, otherwise you have to try and put a newblowout preventerin place with oil and gas coming out as you work.

4) More directional wells into the blowout well will create more holes in the casing and production pipe for the oil and gas to leak out of, by drilling more rough boreholes into this well. More cement and mud from more points is not going to help. You are just
creating more holes and you will not be able to see whether your seal is working at three miles down inside the rock at these juncture points.

BP, publish the mudlogs and e-logs so that we can study the forensic evidence.
You need to drill 8 new wells 1000 to 1500 feet apart around this existing
well to relieve the oil and gas pressure out of this region.
BP, you are wasting time with a directional well solution forAugust 2010
that can not work. It is designed for failure. It is a waste of time and too late for that solution.
5) The drilling cap and pipes that are now collecting 15000 barrels of oil a day could be blown off if you push more drilling mud into this well when the directional wells intersect in August 2010.

Read more here:


Here’s a summary of the interview:

Hoagland said his sources for the information he has include people working for BP and people working for the U.S. government. There is a gas bubble (generic “gas” is what he said) that has formed around the well head that is 15 to 20 miles across. This was discovered by surface ships using GPS and depth finders. He then brings into his talk a reference to a geologist who is president of his own company and was the guy in charge of putting the oil fires out in Kuwait (he’s a Red Adair type). He said this man was willing to come on the radio show, under certain conditions, and talk about the problem with the host. This guy was one of the geologists hired to do a study on the formations in the gulf so he is very familiar with the with them. He advised people that it is not safe to drill deep wells there. He felt the formations could not stand the pressures of opening up a deep, deep well.

Hoagland proceeded to say that the well goes down 22,500 feet (4.5 miles) and the geologist believes the psi is 100,000 (gases). The mixture of gas and oil roared up the pipe and blew the casing away. He then talked about cavitation resulting from the continued rush of stuff up the pipe. He said the pipe goes through as many as 50-60 layers of geological materials - sandstone, gas pockets, different oil reservoirs, sand lenses (not sure if I have that right - wasn’t clear), etc. He said it’s like turning on a bubble machine.

Side comments back and forth - this is why they haven’t capped the well; drilling 2 relief wells is the wrong thing to do. Brief mention of abiotic oil. Comments to the effect that it is possible to tell whether this oil is “new” oil or “old” oil. A Chis Landau has actually written 2 papers stating that he believes abiotic oil could be produced in the gulf. Both papers have peer review.

Hoagland went on to discuss a worst case scenario that if the well is pressurizing the upper level strata and were to create cracks in the ocean floor at the top level which appears to be happening and they try to cap the well or the final rupture occurs, you could have the most horrendous gas explosion. Results would be toxic cloud drifting over land and a 400 to 600 mph tsunami which would primarily endanger Florida but wouldn’t be insignificant elsewhere along the coast where the land is higher.

Finally, he believes the mud (dog) log data from BP on the Deep Horizon well and all the wells in the gulf (he knows they are proprietary) need to be analyzed and a network of buoys set up in the gulf in conjunction with gps (military gps would be best of course) and echo sounding to get what in effect would be a cat scan of the gulf to see if this threat is as serious as is feared so people can be warned.


Not possible. Bruce Willis got killed off in Armageddon (1998). Sigourney Weaver maybe, but then you need aliens. Maybe if it opened up a fissure so deep that it drained the Ghawar oil field in Saudi Arabia. We need desert scenes. Maybe Harrison Ford, but he's filming a sci-fi western in New Mexico (and getting married), so probably not for awhile.

the geologist believes the psi is 100,000 (gases)

When it gets to 200,000, call me.

Harrison Ford, but he's filming a sci-fi western in New Mexico

Martians probably feature somewhere in the blow-out if Richard Hoagland is involved.


Richard Charles Hoagland,[1] most commonly known as Richard C. Hoagland, (born April 25, 1945) is an American author and a proponent of various conspiracy theories about NASA, lost alien civilizations on the Moon and on Mars and other related topics. Claims from his personal biography[2] and publication[3] include having been curator for a science museum in Springfield Massachusetts at age 19 in the mid-60s.[4] Hoagland does not have any scientific training.

His writings claim that advanced civilizations exist or once existed on the moon, Mars and on some of the moons of Jupiter and Saturn, and that NASA and the United States government have conspired to keep these facts secret. He has advocated his ideas in two published books, several videotapes,[5][6][7] lectures,[8] interviews,[9][10] and press conferences.[11] His views have never been published in peer-reviewed journals[12]. Hoagland has been labeled by James Oberg of The Space Review and Phil Plait of Bad Astronomy as a conspiracy theorist and fringe thinker.[13][14]

...He has repeatedly alleged that the 12 moon-walkers, who would be well qualified to confirm the existence of lunar artifacts and glass structures, have had their memories selectively edited via hypnosis so that they no longer remember seeing evidence of a lunar civilization.[52]

It is likely BP have reactivated MK-Ultra. By this time next year Alanfrombigeasy will be praising BP (after a few LSD water-boarding sessions by "Unified Command") and only remembering vaguely some minor spill by Exxon that everyone has forgotten about.

I'll be back on Mars with the Mysterons :-)

James Carville riding a flaming alligator ahead of the tsunami during a Cat-IV hurricane gas-fueled firestorm, clutching the reins of a team of rabid mud-dogs foaming dispersants at the mouth, warning of the molten core of the Earth sloshing violently about, 30 feet, to and fro. Don't tell me you haven't considered the possibility. Where is BP's government-approved contingency plan for *that*? I wouldn't have let them trip in without one. Well, unless we were buddies, I guess.

I wouldn't have let them trip in without one. Well, unless we were buddies, I guess.

"Set and Setting" Leary said

I think BP got both wrong (and were encouraged to). Don't think that's unique to BP.

You might have something, except that I think Wikipedia is run by aliens. Every day, they tweak our collective memory just a bit. Wait a few days, and then check the entry for "President Cheney".

That will give you the chills.

Maybe it is not a Wikipedia problem and reality is actually changing. Like in Star Trek


While Dr. Crusher was caught in a shrinking warp bubble and asked the computer for the definition of the universe, it replied that "The universe is a spheroid region seven hundred and five meters in diameter.". A scan of the edge of that universe revealed it to be a mass energy field. (TNG: "Remember Me")


And how dare you refer to King Cheney as mere president!

"Maybe if it opened up a fissure so deep that it drained the Ghawar oil field..."

Nah. Not big enough for real drama. Ghawar is dying. ;^)

You can get that on a coffee mug you know.


And on a Bumper sticker.
It was a great story when it came out.

Ghawar Is Dying
Chip Haynes

He did a really funny 60 day diary of Oil being cut off(Uprising in SA)
Very Funny.

Sixty Days, Next Year
Chip Haynes

Just is well it didn't happen or oil prices would have shot up well over $100 per barrel until an economic crash reduced demand back within physical limits.

Thank Heaven we dodged that one.

The e-logs for the lower interval are publicaly available. Go to the energy commerce website and read one of the casing design reports.

If there was a gas bubble sitting around the wellhead - it would rise to the surface and sink everything out there. That's why people get worried about gas bubbles. Go back and read Shelburn's post right before top-kill started.

There are a lot of people around tweaking their amygdalas right now, just because it's fun.

(playing catchup here) I'm guessing this company has the contract.

Some techniques I didn't know about, or didn't exist, back in my day. The money article I found best is here:

" * High flow potential gas reservoir s with low fracture strength and/or very high permeability with vugs and caverns
* Blowout flowpaths at vertical depths that will not allow a static kill without fracturing the formation
* Two or more zones flowing which cannot be practically killed simultaneously
* Supercharged recipient zones in underground blowouts which unload the kill fluid above, lowers hydrostatic below, and again allows reservoir flow.

Fluid types used include crosslinked and linear polymers, with gel time and strength controlled by temperature and pH. Other two-fluid reactive mixtures must be pumped separately or in slugs similar to pumping a gunk plug for lost circulation. Soft plugs (diesel oil, bentonite and cement that react with water) can be successfully used in specific situations. Chemicals that will form hard plugs when properly mixed can seal off a borehole or aid in the killing process when combined with heavy mud and/or cement."

They're drilling two relief wells at the moment. The first one is (God and John Wright willing) going to be ready a couple of weeks before the second one has any chance of intersecting the original bore. Is it likely they will try a kill operation with only one well or will they wait until they have both wells connected to the runaway? I can see how having both wells would up the odds of a successful kill -- higher mudflow rates, more flexibility in how and when to deliver any exotic mixes, better instrumentation and measurement but a quick attempt at a kill, presuming it didn't damage the bore could at least reduce the flow of oil up to the surface which would be a good thing.

It is very unlikely that they will wait until both relief wells are completed to conduct the kill ops. The 2nd relief well is being drilled as a form of insurance in case the 1st relief well experiences problems rendering it unusable; it saves significant time having the 2nd well underway. For a kill op, only one well is needed. Neither relief well will be used to produce any oil/fluids, etc. They are not being drilled for any use except for controlling the original blow-out

Continuing from the previous thread... I asked why BP can't just bolt a valve onto the LMRP flange and close it slowly, monitoring the pressure and backing off as necessary if there is any sign of a breach in the casing. I'm questioning the assumption that there is no way to do this without creating a huge risk of a bigger blowout.

If the well is basically flowing wide open right now, then in the worst-case scenario above, re-opening the valve should return us to the same flow rate as before.

If the well is NOT wide open, but rather mostly blocked by restrictions in the BOP, then the pressure is already elevated, and it shouldn't make much difference to close it off the rest of the way.

Neither of those scenarios precludes my gradual-shutdown idea, so naturally someone will say the BOP must be providing some INTERMEDIATE level of resistance, such that a full shutdown would push the pressure over a critical and irreversible threshold.

Ok fine, that is indeed a POSSIBILITY. But look at the current, ongoing leak rate. That is a CERTAINTY. I hope somebody somewhere is applying the Law of Total Expectation to this situation (weight each possible outcome by the probability of that outcome).

You have to weigh costs, benefits, risks.

The problem I see is that the condition of the casing and the well/reservoir interface is not well known. There is a possibility of a failure that would make the well permanently impossible to control by any method, until it stops leaking on its own.

There is a general feeling that the higher the backpressure, the greater the likelihood of either a catastrophic failure, or of some other damage that might prolong the eventual control effort. I don't think we have really good estimates of these probabilities, and that, too, is part of the situation. Decision making under uncertainty.

Let's say we think bottom kill will work by Sept. 1. If we shut the well today, what do we gain? We have to make some assumptions, and just to get a number, suppose the flow increases soon to 100kbpd, and we are able to capture and recover half, using the current planned recovery and capture design. Then the gain from a kill today, as opposed to Sept. 1 is 50kbd times 2.5 months.

That means if we could kill the well today, instead of waiting for bottom kill, we could prevent 3.75 million barrels from getting into the GOM. Pretty good. Your mileage may vary.

But suppose we mess up, and break something, and bottom kill fails, and suppose we decide not to try the nuclear thing, even if Sarah Palin agrees to hold the device in place during the procedure? (Sorry.) What is the downside?

Hard to say, but you might have 100 million barrels that leak into the GOM. I'm not too confident about these numbers, but I think the general point is correct. There is a big downside if you break something, and you probably would not get any advance warning that would let you "back off" the procedure if "there was a sign of a breach in the casing." Things fail suddenly, and we don't have much visibility into the entire system.

But still, it's good to consider these things and weigh the alternatives.

Thanks, cudBwrong... That is exactly the kind of analysis I'm talking about.

But you left out one important factor, which is the risk of another fatal explosion or massive fire at the surface as long as the capture efforts continue. Taking a stab at shutting down the well starts to sound pretty reasonable when you weigh it against the very real possibility of a catastrophe at the surface. I'm no expert, but even the experts are saying it's getting seriously dangerous up there...

Thanks, cudBwrong... That is exactly the kind of analysis I'm talking about

heh heh, what analysis?? We are just trashing and trying to learn things here. We know very little about deepsea drilling. We know even less on the acutal measurement of various part of the BOP or the casing and their design limitation. And we definitely don't know what kind of potential problem a kill operation will do to the well in this kind of depth. Trying io compare what we learn from oildrum in a few weeks to people who work on this kind of problem all their life and has multiple million dollars worth of equipment at their disposal is an insult to our own intelligence. yes, we can speculate and we can learn from each other. But don't take our own plan too seriously and ridicule the acutal reponse base on our limited knowledge. If things don't go as what we hope, we would say "shit" and log on with a different user id. But if they screw up in the well, a lot of people life will be changed. And that is a different level of responsibility.

When I said "permanently impossible to control," that was too strong a statement. At a minimum, you could drill additional producing wells to knock the pressure down, though this would take a while. Eventually, one way or another, this puppy will stop leaking. But if we damage it, it could very significantly prolong the control effort and result in a lot more oil escaping.

Actually your idea makes perfect sense and it is simple and could be done with the resources readily available right now. If they were concerned about putting too much back pressure on the damaged well, at least they would have a means of direction the oil and gas to various containment options without billowing black leaks, concerns about seawater intrusion and methyl hydrate clogs. They could for once precisely control where it goes even if they were not comfortable with throttling it back to a more manageable volume.

The 'what if' argument is always immediately used to put this idea down, describing a Matt Simmons scenario. Perhaps, but a few weeks ago the pressure at the base of the BOP was over twice what it was last reported to be on May 25th, and the well casing didn't blow out and rocket into the stratosphere. I suspect it could still be safely choked back to a volume the Discoverer Enterprise could handle by itself, and no more oil would have to billow from under that pathetic top hat contraption into the gulf.

Your idea is sound IMO. Others will disagree.

If you haven't seen...have a look at the present plans as well as the structure of the overshot tool which gets bolted directly to the LMRP. (posted previously)


It seems they have decided not to stress the casing further. I can only surmise that pressure/flow info already gathered from top-kill has directed them toward a collection/RW strategy rather than subject the well to the static loads and erosion of shut in from the top.

They are currently at least able to monitor and collect something from the main leak point. They suspect there is at least one failure around 1000' down. IMHO they do not want to jeopardize success of bottom kill in any way by providing or expanding additional unknown leak-points.

It is a little puzzling to come to the conclusion that they don't want to put any more stress on the bop and well head when they are proposing setting a 75 ton chunk of steel on top of it... that still doesn't appear to seal the leak at the bottom. It is just a much BIGGER version of the current top hat that weighs 75 tons.

Where is the seal that will stop the oil from billowing out around the bottom? I do not see one it that design. They seem to think letting 5,000 or 10,000 bopd leak into the gulf is acceptable, as long as they are collecting "the vast majority of it.

They have a perfectly good flange and the demonstrated capability to remove and reinstall the bolts on it. Why on earth can't they bolt something on that that doesn't leak? At least they could then direct what they had capacity to process topside, even if they had to still divert part of it out a diverter valve into the gulf for now.

Pressure/ erosion stress to the well vs. structural forces on the BOP. Two different things.

The picture of the cutaway of the top structure of casing, liner, cement repeated at the top is what will hold up all that weight. Probably one reason they wanted to monitor the BOP angle before and after riser cut.

"Why on earth can't they bolt something on that that doesn't leak? At least they could then direct what they had capacity to process topside, even if they had to still divert part of it out a diverter valve into the gulf for now."

The bolting/unbolting will take time in any event, during which there will be an unimpeded blow. As you noted this overshot tool is very heavy which suggest the potential to bear down with considerable force on the seal area. From the video it does indeed bolt on. The risers will be anchored and float independently.

A question. Is it possible to build in some sort of shut off station, at various depths ( for redundancy ), within the shaft of the oil well itself? Something that can be controlled remotely and that, when closed, would stop the flow of oil thru the well.

In a new well, with years of development, yes...

Steve -- such control valves are installed in the well head or immediately below it. Such as a storm choke that can be installed if the well has to be temp abandoned. Down the well bore solid devises such as packers and cement plugs can be set. But those are essentially not capable of allowing flow without their complete removal

Steve -- such control valves are installed in the well head or immediately below it. Such as a storm choke that can be installed if the well has to be temp abandoned. Down the well bore solid devises such as packers and cement plugs can be set. But those are essentially not capable of allowing flow without their complete removal

Would that also mean a larger diameter bore to be drilled deep enough in rock to contain the device, and in a scenario like that, with the wellbore-bop flawed could make things even worse?

s0nik -- I think what folks are trying to envision is some sort of BOP stuck down in the csg. I suppose it could be done but remember there are multiple csg strings that sit under the well head. I think the best/quickest solution would be a new generation of BOP's. I suspect that would be much easier to design by not being restricted to the very small space inside the csg. Remember the csg string blowing the oil/NG out is less than 10" in diameter. And consider that the primary control system today is a 50' tall/450 ton BOP.

I agree, as long as the casing/cmt job and it's testing are carried out with care and enough onsight, and those reckless cost-cutting behaviors are totally eliminated from the business. I can hardly imagine that could be taken for sure at any time in the future, as those are affected merely by human decisions. Of course, just as much as following any other fail-safe regulations. So drilling a flawed well through any next-gen hi-tech whatsoever BOP won't make such an event less likely to happen..

s0nik -- Like we say in Texas: You can fix a machine. But you can't fix stupid.

And didn't I read somewhere that it would take 22,000 tons of weight to equalize the psi of the well? That BOP is huge itself, but no match for the forces jetting through it now. Makes the 'sink a battleship onto it' idea almost make sense.

NY Times Headlines suggest that the American public is being prepared for a new normal: Nigeria.

Rockman - thanks for your reply in the other thread.

Going back to the relief well for a sec.... It's been discussed here that the casing that runs the full length of the well jacked back up into the BOP when the well blew. If this is the case then presumably that includes the drill pipe as well. Rockman i think you said that they would use an electromagnetic guidance system to steer the relief well to the original bore when they get close. If the drill pipe/casing is no longer there and therefore the electromagnetic gear presumably is redundant then will this make the intercept with the relief well significantly more difficult?

Cheers in advance

Got -- I've seen the speculation about the csg being pushed up into the BOP. Cound have happened. But I would guess we're talking about inches or just a few feet. There should be plenty of csg at the depth of the planned intersect which is actually above the reservoir. They'll hit the well bore. maybe not the first or second time but they hit it. But as I mentioned above this would be the easy part of the process. Once they start pumping the kill pill the rest of the plan could radically change IMHO.

Thought the movement in the casing may be less than it was in my imagination!

Yep, i've read your and other comments on the kill pill and it is concerning, more so because the press seem to be so blase about the relief well being no issue whatsoever. I don't think you've detailed it before but if so say and i'll search it out but..... if the weight of the kill pill causes a sub sea blow out (for which my understanding is fracturing of the formation causing complete structural failure at depth) then will this collapse seal the well/reservoir? The downsides of it being that the reservoir/well is now completely out of control of BP or anyone else and there is a chance that oil/gas could migrate through the weakened rock formations to the seafloor?

If you're ever in London I owe you beers for services to the oil uneducated!

Got -- A subsurface blow would mean the producing reservoir is charging some other reservoir in the hole. Not a terrible outcome. Might make the reservoir uneconomic to develop but we wouldn't be dumping more oil into the GOM. Frac'g the rock with the kill pill is a different problem. Basicly called lost circulation. That would be very bad: instead of the kill pill filling the csg and producing sufficient back pressure to stop the flow it could be pumped endlessly where it does no good. OTOH if the LC is into the producing reservoir and this damages the flow characteristics it could help. By the time we get to the kill phase of the RW well be posting a lot more details.

Trying to get back across the Big Pond in the next year or two. Mostly to cruise around Ireland and find out in my kin over there are as worthless as the ones over here. You know...that thing about why God created whiskey. But get that close we would certainly try to make it to London.


If your travels ever bring you to the Blue Ridge Mountians, I would be honored to arrange for you to freely sample the local artisan whiskeys and brandies lovingly crafted by some of your long lost cousins.

Just gotta make sure some way it is really you.Wouldn't do to treat a revenuer and introduce him to the local distillers of course.I might find myself in considerable difficulties if I were to be so indiscreet, and not with the law.

This will of course cost you a few hours of serious conversation while we enjoy ourselves sampling the goods and some grilled steaks but nothing else except getting here.

An airconditioned and comfortable bedroom if you can stay overnight,of course,and a complimentary bottle or two for the road if you aren't traveling by air and can afford to risk getting caught with it in your possession..

I gaurantee I can find you some Irishmen as shiftless and worthless as any to be found anywhere-plus some who work eighty hours ever week.

Ps, we even have indoor plumbing. ;)

Pps Thanks for the explaination of the oil gas water seperation process.

Thanks mac. Some years ago I drilled a few shale gas wells in KY and ran up and the the BRM when ever I had some spare time. Ran all the way down to NC a time or two. I don't think a lot of folks realize how nice it is even compared to some of the western vistas.

We have our own little corner of Paradise, and no doubt about it.If you traveled the Blue Ridge Parkway you passed within walking distance of our place.

I am ever so happy that the gas shales don't extend into my immediate area.

You might want to consider investing some of your ill gotten oil loot in a vacation home or farm in this area someday;the upside potential is enormous, compared to most other places.

I don't like to see the mountians developed , but since I can't stop it, I like to think some of our new nieghbors will be worthwhile citizens such as yourself.

Knock it off, both of you. It's nice up here, and we want it to stay that way.
No jobs, no jobs whatsoever.

Separate RW intercepts higher up at liner joints (where liner gauge changes) might be very desirable. Even if exactly which joints are leaking is not known. Cement or junk introduced there (in the rockface annulus) - or a few feet above or below - might be valuable, it seems to me. Of course then, requires backing out of relief bore and re-steering down to next point... awful slow progress.

The current lack of ingress points for wireline tools or small gauge coiled tubing makes things very difficult.

Just posted this before the last thread got shut down, sorry for being redundant but I'm really interested in your opinions.

There are thousands of people above that thing, breathing all those nice healthy crap, besides risking another catastrophic death toll to take place. There is still too much of crude gushing in the sea. Solutions so far concentrated on containment or killing the well. Now it's said that a flange-to-flange sealed connection could be made, that I didn't hear in the official talk since now.

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 some means, ignite and watch it burn?

I understand the dangers of backpressure risking the already failed csg to fall totally apart. The installation of the new flange (with the right equipment - hopefully not ROVs which would be probably blown away by the heavy stream of sludge, or if not that, totally blocked vision would render them unusable as soon as the new riser gets close enough, but some pre-installed driver device attached on the LRA that I'm pretty sure in a yet-to-be-made state /if any/, which is why the sealed connection is not considered too seriously) - 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. Once there is constant flow, the backpressure would be less than it is now from the current water coloumn.

Probably the expanding gas bubbles could do some harmful kick-backs on the well, that seems a relatively easy engineering task with some spring loaded relief valves at the bottom of the riser (which could be closed later considering the characteristics of the flow).

If these issues can be worked around, I really don't know what could go wrong by just flaring it.
There would be a big scary flame and even bigger 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..

The US government at first, defined the problem as an oil spill problem.

However, reading between the lines of the speech, it looks like they are preparing for bigger disasters.

What must be in their contingency plans?

a) complete failure of well casing

b) relief well(s) don't work - or make things worse by opening 2 new blowouts.

c) geological event (gas blow off) eg from the Methane / Gas Hydrates being destabilized and then landslides

d) hurricane

What are the contingency plans? What are the scenarios? What resources are being mobilized to deal with them?

What is the President not telling us?

Probably they have finally read Joseph Tainter`s seminal work "The Collapse of Complex Societies" (1989) And they realize that he was right. The costs of maintaining complexity get too high and the society can`t maintain the complexity and collapses.

So they will prepare for that. And they will probably use the military. It is basically localizing. You know they`ve been using the military all over the place and now it is coming in to do its job at home when the gas shortages start (they will start in a year maybe or maybe two). I`m not saying it has to be that bad...I really don`t know their plan except the vague outlines....off oil, but not if you have any power or connections. Surely the military will keep all the oil they need. They are not going to allow enough deepwater drilling and they won`t/can`t pay for the foreign stuff forever so it is bye, bye oil.

It would appear that the only major difference between BP's position before the White House meeting and after is that instead of undefined liabilities and exposure, those are now structured at a modest $5b per year over four years (about half their annual dividend payment).

That's silly. We have BP on the hook for $20 billion. Do you know how long it would take for attorneys and courts to litigate each billion? Do you know how much they'd keep for their effort?
What did Exxon give up, how long did it take and how much tricked down to the aggrieved?

Have you ever heard of a corporation slicing off $20 billion before a single claim was litigated, placing the money in escrow to be dispersed by a third party and agreeing to unlimited further damage claims?

Not enough? Maybe. Who said they can't be squeezed for more?
Unprecedented? Absolutely.
I have never demanded a corporation hand over $20 billion. Anyone out there have that experience? How'd it go?!
It could be easier than history suggests but when Obama secured that cash it was a first.
When someone gets more money and gets it faster, then they can whine. Till then this is the new bar.

This kind of behavior (whining about 20Billion not being enough) just reinforces the fact that we Americans are a bunch of crybaby's. Why don't we, just occasionally, look at the positive side of things? Yeah, 20 billion has been already allocated. Would you rather BP go out of business and not pay out jack s&*t!

If $20B is not enough, then why should they not pay more? Why should I care if they go out of business? Whatever assets they have should be available to fix their mistake.

Has anyone told you the story of the goose that laid the golden egg? You don't eat the goose! You keep the dumb brid fat and happy and keep getting the golden eggs. BP if worth much more in business feeding golden eggs in to the clean up. The asssets that could be seized in a bankrupcy are only chicken eggs by comparison to the golden eggs.


Speaking as a reader of history, (but not as a historian, which I an not) I forsee the OIL PROBLEM being taken care of by the military for the forseeable future-as it is currently.

In my estimation anyone who thinks we would have had affordable access to Middle Eastern oil for the last three or four decades , or would have such access today, without our armed forces securing it for us, is historically and politically niave in the extreme.

SOMEBODY IS ALWAYS THE TOP DOG in terms of geopolitics and the world economy.If not US, as in both "us" and as in "United States", then "them" as in a local empire forming, or China, or a resurgent Germany or Japan, or a rising India.

For now we are playing nice and can afford to play nice , as long as the oil flows into a fungible world market;we have to pay a high price for it, but we can buy as much as we want , so long as we are able to outbid the other oil importing countries.

When tshtf for real, we will find that the American public in particular and the Western public in general, as well as Japan, will be more than willing to slip off the gloves and actually FIGHT for the oil.

Right now we are trying to do something that is quite possibly impossible-stabilize the exporters as friendly bau buddies of the West.That policy may fail;a lot of very smart people believe its failure is inevitable.Personally I think it has some reasonable chance of succeeding from one year to the next for quite a while; if not permanently,then for as long as we can keep the troopps on the ground there.

If the Pentagon is directed to do so, the military can simply clear out any person anywhere near the oil fields or the terminals or the pipelines who is not wearing a security badge and subject to immediate forcible random investigation of the depths of his anus.

Machine gun ammunition is cheap, in relation to the trouble it can save,supposing the owners of the machine guns are no longer inhibited by the qualms of the citizens back home from using them.

Some people who believe that a raggedy assed insurgency can defeat a major power ALWAYS forget that such insurgencies win byonly by means of the help of another major power, if they do win;or because the major power is too embarrassed to really stomp on such a weak country and simply kill off the locals.

We could have put a dmz between North and south Vietnam a couple of miles wide with agent orange if we had chosen to do so, and simply killed anybody who entered the open ground, had we had then the technology we have today, such as remote sensors and small remotely operated planes with guns aboard.

Nothing in the Middle East can stop a brutal outright take over if the US decides to implement such a takeover, other than an a possible nuclear intervention by China or Russia.

A few sniper teams and roadside bombers who fade back into the local population and actually work for the occupation troops on days they aren't attacking can create a world of problems-the world of problems existing for our troops today.

If the occupying forces simply give everybody the choice of moving ten miles away and NOT coming back, or dying , and patrol with intent to kill, there will be no problem with an insurgency day to day.

I am no expert in such matters but I have some reason to believe from talking to career military people that such a policy could be implemented and made to stick with many less troops and much less equipment than we are currently using in our attempts to pacify the occupied countries.

Anybody who thinks we and the other Western powers are not capable of such actions once our backs are really to the wall has a lot more faith in the basic decency of people than I do.

I do not believe there is any danger at all of us acting this way for AS LONG as we can keep the oil flowing without doing so.

I don't think the average young liberal woman will have any problem rationalizing such actions once she realizes the choice is severely curbing her own lifestyle and that of her children - or going along.She will of course insist that the thing be managed in as humane a fashion as possible and might even volunteer as a teacher or nurse for a year or so to help out the locals.

But she will still go along when tshtf.

The right wing is already on board and the vast non political middle will hardly notice in any case, so long as thier own children are not drafted and the local service station has gasoline available at an affordable price.

Such an occupy and plunder strategy cannot work forever, but it can work fron one election to the next, or until even the Middle East is fairly well pumped out.

The US can secure the necessary political support of a lot of smaller countries by promising them a small but steady supply of looted crude at a reasonably low price.Ditto Western Europe and Japan in my honest opinion.

We live in times that are due to become WAY to interesting.

The only long term silver lining that I see in such a scenario is that we might last as a powerful industrial society long enough for some really game changing breakthroughs to materialize on the renewables, efficiencies, and conservation fronts.Short term I live out my life without any real sacrifice.

A crashed industrial economy cannot support fast progress and major investments in these fields but research and development in these areas will be vastly accelerated in the near future -assuming it can be paid for-as the real size and nature of the energy crunch becomes obvious even to Rush Limbaugh and Nancy Pelosi.

Yes.As you. am a reader of history but in no way an historian. Try to keep my children informed. Tend to live in quiet desperation for their future when I step off into eternity.

Wow mac..you're in a dark mood this morning. Bowels acting up again? LOL. Not that I disagree with any of your sentiments. I particularly enjoyed your "average young liberal woman" rationalizing our actions. I'm sure she would fully support taking only head shots. It's really the only humane way to go, isn't it? Just last night I made a similar point to my wife's rather liberal but very nice daughter. She wasn't amused but she also didn't disagree with me.

I particularly liked that part about "patrol with intent to kill."

But even if we did everything mac says, we would still have to deal with this pesky leaky well, which seems to be pumping out an awful lot of oil for a 60' horizon. Maybe they missed and hit Saudi Arabia?

As a matter of fact my bowels ARE in runaway mode.Our sweet cherries are ripe and I am picking five or six hours a day and I have eaten a over a gallon a day for the last three days.

You can't buy anything so good as hand selected tree ripened fresh fruit transported directly off the twig to the mouth.

A real fruit farmer can detect the difference in only a half an hour after harvest, sometimes even less.

You have a fine sense of humor, Mr. Mac.

I once lived in the E. Tenn. mountains, where we also had some fine cherries and artisan made whiskey, which I had to fetch on horseback.

If you entertain any guests who are not familiar with it, don't forget to remind them to fasten their seatbelts.

I wonder if a little drilling mud might be good for what's ailing you right now.

mac -- you reminded me of a story I heard 10 years ago. Drilling wells in WY and the consultant geologist working with me was from Montana. He had a friend who made wine out of their local choke cherries. He didn't want to bother pitting them so he ground them up whole and made his wine. Over a period of months he became more ill. Doc finally diagnosed it: he was slowly poisening himslf with arsenic. The arsenic was from the cherry pits. Live and learn.

So THAT'S why my ma always smushed them through a sieve lined with cheesecloth! She was born in Nebraska, not Montana though!

Choke cherries or choke berries? The latter are also referred to as Aronia berries and are highly touted for their health benefits;



A local vintner friend of mine is raising some to make wine with, in addition to his typical offerings and his elderberry wine;


Might that have been cyanide rather than arsenic?

gorse - That's right. Bad memory. And it was called choke cherry wine or maybe choke canyon cherry wine. I even saw a bottle for sale in a local store.

For the record: it's choke cherries out here. Yep. Makes darned good jelly and syrup too!

Predatory militarism? Surely not! Example: Japan after the oil embargo in 1941.

Here's an interview you might be interested in reading. Note that there's also a link there to an article that will be published in "Energy Policy". http://www.energybulletin.net/node/53035

Mac - for you and other readers of history, there's a brand new book by Bower, Oil: Money, Politics, and Power in the 21st Century. My copy just arrived in the brown truck so I haven't read it yet, but it looks like a worthy successor to Yergin, The Prize.

I like happy packages from the big, brown truck!

Thanks , please post a fast review as soon as you get into it.

Nothing in the Middle East can stop a brutal outright take over if the US decides to implement such a takeover, other than an a possible nuclear intervention by China or Russia.

What's to stop Iran for example taking out every major oil installation in the Middle East with conventional missiles if attacked? What stops the Saudis pressing the button which blows up all their own installations (apparently already rigged for this possibility) rather than allow a hostile take-over? What keeps a nuclear armed Pakistan onside while the US attempts to take control of the entire region?

And why would Russia or China need to go nuclear if they could prevent production and transport by conventional means?

And there's always Israel's Samson Option to consider if things really go badly in the area.

The Saudi royal family is already in our back pocket and would have been stoned out of existence a long time ago otherwise.

Bombed out and burnt out stuff can be fixed, witness Kuwait after 1991.

As for Iran, and a strike on thier part, possibly it might work to some extent if they move first.

But if we move first, they will sit tight and like it, or suffer the consequences of a real western style war-total destruction of whatever we decide to hit.A single wing of first line state of the art fighter bombers can take out a modern city over a few days flying off a carrier without losing a SINGLE aircraft to enemy action.

Then there are such things as cruise missles which can be loaded heavily enough to take out a city water system and are accurate enough to fly them into the system managers office window.

Military technology has advanced as much since the WWII /VIETNAM ERA as everything else, including computers , etc.The opposition will not have countermeasures sufficient to enable them to mount a credible defense.Bombs go within a few feet of thier intended targets almost everytime nowadays, and one bomb equals one destroyed facility.One planeload of bombs if it is a large facility.One plane, and one load of bombs, today is worth fifty of the WWII era, or even a hundred, on the offense.

If we move, we will move first.Iran cannot move first, and survive, once the gloves are off.

Of course some angry Mullah who cares less than nothing about the consequences might manage to get things started by organizing a coup or something along that line.

Iran might eventually possess a nuclear arsenal capable of seriously threatening the West but that is a long time down the road, and if they drop a nuke on ANYBODY, including Isreal, they will pay the price of thier obliteration as a nation.

I don't like this sort of stuff, I am FAR from liking it.It is just what I see as the current reality.

The people who argue otherwise as to military interventions in open, industrialized territory are fooling themselves, and very badly, or else cynically trying to win the political debate in respect to our being in the Middle East by distorting the truth to the point of lying.

I am seriuosly considering writing a novel along these lines and have deliberately avoided reading any of a similar nature based of future scenarios in respect to WWIII and the energy crunch in order to prevent my own creative vision being polluted.

I sure could use the money if it sells.;)

Are there any literary agents among us here on TOD?

Am I too late?

I would enjoy getting to visit with Oprah on her tv show.

She's kinda cute and just the right age for me. ;)

Dear OFM:

I'm afraid I share much of your pessimistic scenario -- in fact, I thought in the early 70s that doomsday was imminent, because our appetite seems insatiable for using finite resources as fast as we can find and develop them.

I have believed for years that a substantial fraction of our military budget should be considered part of the price of oil -- in effect, the real cost is concealed by keeping the pump price as low as possible.

Has anyone made a serious, objective effort to determine how much of our military budget pays to maintain the illusion of cheap oil?

Yes. There are several estimates of how much of our military budget pays to keep our access to oil from the Middle East. Unfortunately, they range all over the place. My own guess is that it is about half of the total Pentagon budget, just a WAG.

In my estimation anyone who thinks we would have had affordable access to Middle Eastern oil for the last three or four decades , or would have such access today, without our armed forces securing it for us, is historically and politically niave in the extreme.

But when you say affordable you haven't added the cost of our military budget to the price of oil at the pump. If you did you might have a different idea of the affordability of this oil. Not to mention the lives we have spent on this oil.


I have actually taken the costs into account in my own reckoning, and I do recognize that they are enormous.

But hey, nothing is permanent, we are still driving away, we haven't lost that many men and women ( I am truly sorry for them and thier families but we lose more young lives by issueing drivers liscenses to teenagers.) and all of them volunteers.

So far as the accumulated debts go, nobody seems to give a real hoot, except the ones of us worried about a general collapse;and of course to most of the world we are no more credible than little green men in flying saucers.

Millions of us earn our living supporting the war machine.

I can't prove it but human life aside I strongly believe we have made a good deal, dollars and cents wise, by occupying the ME.I reach this conclusion by making my own seat of the pants estimate of how wealthy we would have been otherwise, over the last few decades.

Now I do recognize that a huge part, the larger part, of that wealth has been spent on frivilous ends, and that we should have taken a different path in terms of pushing conservation and renewables, etc.

But we here on TOD are collectively much smarter than politicians, and we don't have the first order job of getting elected between us and writing up our thoughts. ;)

Will not happen. And it wouldn't make a difference for oil prices if it did.

What your scenario requires is a takeover of the oil production industry by the us government. Otherwise, whoever is pumping the oil is still selling on a global market, or at least setting the price based on the demands of the global market. We will never nationalize our oil industry.

Even if you believe the Iraq wars were about control of oil (and they probably were), it was never to bring oil home as a trophy. It was to bring the revenue home, so US companies were the ones making the profit, not foreign companies or states. If Iraq had simply given US companies full and cheap access to their fields, there probably would never have been a war. Especially the first one... if Saddam had renamed Kuwait "Exxon", we would have been perfectly happy.

Every country with an oil industry will now hold its oil industry hostage to prevent western attack. And in Iran's case, its neighbors. We will never attack to control Iran, or even "liberate" it, because they will simply destroy their oil and everyone else's nearby. That is their nuclear warhead.

We have a somewhat better chance with third world countries, but only by buying our way into control (which is more or less what we are doing), not through military action.

There will not be a global oil war. Our small scale tests for control have failed miserably, and have warned all major producers that they must have their own doomsday option. The big players want stability in that market. The energy wars, if they happen, will be fought more like the Cold War was.


You may be right of course;I am not making specific predictions but only outlining possible scenarios that seem to have a reasonably probability of comming to pass.

Now speaking as a tradesman and a mechanic, if i hit something with a hammer and it doesn't give after a few licks, I just fetch a bigger hammer.This is also the usual way politicians and generals try to solve problems.

As far as Pakistan goes, one submarine, one deployment, and Pakistan is back to the ninth century.They won't bomb us, or our armies in the field more than once.But once somebody bombs us, we will bomb them , and good. This is SOP according to history.

You miss my point in one respect-there is and will be an oil market for the present and for some time-while we are still "playing nice"we will buy at world prices.

But once we can't pay the price, and the gloves come off,there will be no world "oil market" from that point forward.

We will simply take it, and pay a fig leaf price to the current owners.This is the way it works when a country is SERIOUSLY occupied by a more powerful country.

We will distribute a small but steady portion of the oil to our friends who know enough to stick with us, as opposed to being against us.

Rome fell.

We will fall too,eventually.

But we are going to put up one hell of a fight if it comes to it.

I don't THINK we will resort to first use of nukes but I would not rule ANYTHING else out five or ten years down the road if the progections of Westexas and his buddies are correct.

I see no reason to think they aren't correct after studying the energy situation intensively for a year.Of course I am only an amatuer but I believe I have developed a good feel for the truth after spending a lifetime reading all sides of whatever questions have interested me.

"Will not happen. And it wouldn't make a difference for oil prices if it did.

What your scenario requires is a takeover of the oil production industry by the us government. Otherwise, whoever is pumping the oil is still selling on a global market, or at least setting the price based on the demands of the global market. We will never nationalize our oil industry."

The government doesn't have to nationalize the oil industry in order to justify military action aimed at securing supply. The necessary precondition for a global oil war (involving the US) is already in place and has been for many, many years: the privatization of the US government. (Our electoral system is fueled by legal bribery and is facilitated by a reverse-Pravda propaganda machine.) As you yourself noted, there is precedent for this military adventurism in corporate service--you gave one example but there are dozens you could have cited, not all involving oil, some involving metals, some involving commodity-agriculture, etc.

Opinions differ as to when but there is question as to whether or not supplies begin to dry up. When it happens, what remains will be (barring an explosion in new green-energy technologies) profitable beyond corporate America's wildest dreams. To the extent that there are any oil-rich countries who would deny US oil-industry access to their resources, there will be war. To the extent that any rival nation would militarily attempt to secure access for itself, there will be war. You're right that it wouldn't make a difference for prices. It will be prices which drive the fighting in the first place.

As for these potential victims "simply destroy[ing] their oil and everyone else's nearby": I don't see how that could be accomplished. You can't incinerate oil which is still in the ground. Scuttling the infrastructure is another thing but that can be rebuilt. Our best hope is actually a new Cold-War. Worried about a nuclear-armed Iran? We should be so lucky. Without one, our sons and/or grandsons will probably be occupying Iran for the long-haul in the decades to come and the bodybags for the fallen of both sides will fill stadiums.

Just saw in one of the newspapers I am trawling online (but can't find it immediately on Google, so prob'ly non-English) something about a big oil find in Kunduz.. now who said something about how long who would be there the other day?
Here's a link (not the headline I saw, but it'll do):

As for these potential victims "simply destroy[ing] their oil and everyone else's nearby": I don't see how that could be accomplished. You can't incinerate oil which is still in the ground.

This may be the only place in the discussion where downhole nukes are an intelligent answer to the engineering problem at hand. A dirty bomb might not burn the oil in place, but who's going to dare to pump it afterward?

Well, since I'm in the military I guess if/when any information along the lines you mention will filter down to me fairly early. Not a peep at all thus far.

Don't worry, I'll spill the beans out of a sense of duty to We the People.

IMO it is best to think of it in terms of "the powers that be" , the people who, for whatever reason, whether they are rich, powerful, well connected, what have you, as being those who run things not A PRESIDENT. They write what he says. No conspiracy there.

Does anyone actually think that GW Shrub sat in the Oval office and stratamagized his 8 year reign?

So the question should be what is the PTB thinking behind all of this? All we can see is how much they don't want us to see and understand. It would be a piece of cake to provide huge amounts of mainstream video and information but instead we hear constant instances of information destroyed, covered up, withheld, restricted. Then they trott out the hopemaster to give everyone a fix. So much lies and deception its not even funny.

My point is there must be a reason that everything is being handled this way, other than that they "don't want to spook the heard" I mean.

If you want to analysis the Presidents statements how about doing it with this in mind.

I agree totally. But if deepwater drilling becomes uneconomical---or in part is already so---(insurance rates, safety procedures), then the govt has to accept that the US won`t have the energy to even go and get or buy the energy in other countries.....will they have a controlled collapse of the US economy and restart it along new lines? Again, this doesn`t have to be all that bad of a scene: rationing, new farms, etc. They just don`t think the oil is worth the devastation and cleanup costs. I don`t know what they are thinking but there was a lot of military imagery in the president`s speech and one can`t help but wonder if the elite is getting ready to have people phase out oil consumption....

I hav no idea about the foreign war part. I have heard a lot of anti-Iran rhetoric which sometimes sounds like the propaganda buildup against Iraq back in 2002 but it is less sustained in the case of Iran. So many countries are basically broke so I think they might not be able to fight any more wars.

The cowboys are most definitely singing thier hearts out tryng to keep the cows calm, and not ust in respect to this runaway well..

If the general public were ever to adopt the frame of mind of the typical person who posts comments here,the economy would be as dead and smelly as last weeks forgotten fish bait left in the boat cooler.

All the potential future problems we enjoy talking about so much would arrive with tomorrows morning news.

We may not be as quite as smart as we think we are; from the pov of a politician responsible to the public, we can justifiably be considered idiots determined to get everybody killed in a stampede for the exits.

I would like to confirm that I'm reading BP's subsea operational update correctly.

See BP's Update

For the last 12 hours on June 16th (noon to midnight), approximately 7,710 barrels of oil were collected and approximately 2,600 barrels of oil and 22 million cubic feet of natural gas were flared.

I read this as 7,710 barrels of oil were "collected" PLUS 2,600 barrels of oil "flared" (along with 22 million cubic feet of natural gas) in the reported 12-hour period. In other words, 10,310 barrels of oil and 22 million cubic feet of natural gas were recovered, some stored on DE (and the gas flared) and some burned on Q4000.

I base this assumption on the use of the "and" word in the quoted text.

Is everbody else reading this the same way?

To my "calibrated eyeball" the flow from under the cap looked like it was noticeably less at 9am CDT.

Edited for typos.

bb --

no what that would mean is -- total fluids produced at surface = 7710 Bbls of Oil + 22 MMSCF gas

out of which 2600 bbl of oil + 22 MMSCF of gas was flared

it is easier to look at this in-terms of a unit barrel of oil equivalent (BOE) used in the industry -
it is 5487 SCF of NG is equvilant to one barrel of oil so it can be said :

7710 bbl + (22,000000/5487) = 11,719 BOE

so 11719 BOE produced top side out of which 6610 BOE were flared

"I read this as 7,710 barrels of oil were "collected" PLUS 2,600 barrels of oil "flared" (along with 22 million cubic feet of natural gas) in the reported 12-hour period. In other words, 10,310 barrels of oil and 22 million cubic feet of natural gas were recovered, some stored on DE (and the gas flared) and some burned on Q4000."

I agree with you.

In today's update, BP states that:

"Total oil recovered from both the LMRP Cap and Q4000 systems since they were implemented is approximately 179,000 barrels."

In yesterday's update, as shown in the commentary at the top of this open thread, BP stated that:

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

The difference between the two is 18,600 barrels, which is also the total of the "...approximately 14,750 barrels of oil [that] were collected and approximately 3,850 barrels of oil ... flared."

So on June 16, they brought up a total of 18,600 barrels of oil.

I'm thinking they'll exceed 20K barrels today.

FWIW, it appears to me that the plume escaping from under the lower edge of the cap (Skandi ROV 1 view) is now a higher percentage of gas then it's been in the past.

If that's the case, then here are my questions of the day:

1) What happens if the total oil flow is actually 25K barrels/day or less?

2) If that's the case, will the press begin to report that since the LMRP cap was installed, then BP was capturing a much larger percentage of the oil than they thought when the current 60K BPD estimate was released a couple of days ago?

3) Will everyone recalculate their estimated amounts actually leaked into the GOM?

I am basically skeptical of all of the estimates even if they are peered reviewed. In this situation, I view peer review of all of these estimates being a “consensus best guest."

You can take a wild-ass guess and apply science to get a scientific wild-ass guess but it is still basically a guess within perhaps a more bounded range.

With the caveat that I don’t know squat about this industry or this type of engineering, I don’t think we’re likely to get to the precision and certainty people want on the flow issue using the Flow Group’s techniques. I think that only when we’re getting reports of “x” amount fluids captured and measured topside and see only a “trickle” coming from under the cap will we have a general idea of the size/scope of the flow. Of course, people will continue to debate the size of the “trickle.”

As Reno says above, I too wonder what will happen if the flow comes in at the 25-30k range or less; many such posts mentioned in other TOD threads.

I hope that the current capacities of the dual system let them come close to capturing a really big bunch of what is coming out of the well. I’m loath to use the “vast majority” term ;-)

Edited to clarify meaning.

I see I'm not the only one confused about how to read these reports.

I look forward to learning more.

Hi everybody, I've been reading up a bit lately on what is happening in a similar situation in Nigeria in what seems to be on an even larger scale than what is happening with the Deep Water Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico. My question is do we have any data on what has happened to the Niger Delta region over the last few decades to compare with potentially what is happening in the Gulf of Mexico? Seems to me that there is a wealth of information that we can glean as to the environmental impacts, governmental response, health concerns, nearly everything that we need information on given the scale of this tragedy. Anyway I'm not a scientist but I thought it might be worth doing a compare and contrast with the two regions to both find solutions and maybe even raise awareness about the crisis on two continents.

Here's a link to an article summarizing the issue.


I can see it now. We will have our own version of MEND, the Movement for the Emancipation of Nigerian Delta, but on a much larger scale. It could be the Movement for the Emancipation of Southern States or a big MESS!


Really nothing on this?

I thought for sure somebody would have thought it interesting to note the parallels of polluting a region that's quite similar to the GOM. Or the free rein that companies have when the govt of a nation is in bed with them.

Is it acceptable to respond to a comment you disagree with by quoting a member's join date, and inferring that member only joined recently for the sole purpose of catapulting BP spin? Is that what would be considered an 'ad hominem attack'?

If that's acceptable behavior, I suggest the site policy be changed to reflect that by blocking all 'new' members from commenting.

I do find it a little hilarious that the people who think I'm some kind of undercover plant have never noticed any of my comments other than the ones they disagree with.

Easy now. Someone has to be the adult. Found any more alien footprints down there? Heh.Heh.

Please pay no attention to the poster in the corner. Your still shot posts have been funny as hell and a good temporary antidote for petroanxiety.

Well I'm a new poster here. I discovered TOD while looking for info on the DWH event. Lurked for a while and later joined (3 weeks 1 day ago) to add to the discussion. Made a donation, too. Hopefully my comments have been helpful.

Fair disclosure: I don't work for BP but for a service company that supports BP DW GOM assets.

I have not personally seen any shortage of safety focus in my interactions with BP. I have seen people sent home for unsafe acts.

I do get tired of some of the gratuitous BP bashing that is based on speculation. I try to ignore it. I expect the facts about BP's motives and mistakes will come out in due time.

We're all aware of BP's historical safety issues in the refining and pipeline businesses. I have not seen any indication of similar issues in Exploration and Production before DWH. I've asked a couple of times if anyone has sources for E&P safety comparisons between BP and the other DW GOM majors but have not seen a reply yet.

I've also done some reading about Peak Oil at TOD. Not sure I buy all of it but it's interesting and informative. Agree or not, TOD is one of the most factual O&G information sources I've found. Thanks to all who help provide this service.


It is ok not to believe in Peak Oil. That does not preclude Peak Oil believing in You.


Who are the BP leads that ordered the replacement of mud with seawater just before the blowout?

Who and where are they?

Wrong question. "WHAT are they?" would be the right question. Ever see "American Psycho?"

jay -- the BP company man on the rig gives that order. What he was directed (or ordered) to do by someone in the BP office is another matter. There has been some discussion about the coman not agreeing with his instruction but doing so anyway. A coman has a choice when he's instructed to do some he feels is very unsafe: follow the instructions or quit. A tough choice for sure. But some have made the choice to quit before risking lives. We may well hear the Nuremburg defense when the final investigation/trial gets underway.


Have been viewing this site for 7-odd days. Just signed-up.

Could I trouble you to briefly explain what is seen in the current live cam video? I can't see a 'containment' cap. The flow seems to be directly out of the 'stub' into the water.



Sorry tex. I haven't been watching the underwater opera. To be honest it bores the heck out of me. But there are many clever folks here that having been watching closely and can field your questions much better than I ever could.


Thanks for the reply. I briefly view the video feed every 2-3 days.

I'll post my question separately.



Saw Jim Cramer on MSNBC this AM and he suggested that part of the game was BP trying to keep from revealing how big the find the Macondo well was. Certainly, he has his hyperbolic moments, but his statement that BP was trying to keep under wraps the "largest recent find in this hemisphere" (or words to that effect) was interesting.

Besides being the well from hell, anyone know of or have some data on this?

I've seen the figure 100M barrels a few times but don't have the source handy.

Too bad their "largest recent find" is dumping itself into the GOM without control. Maybe by the time they manage to stop this disaster, their "find" will have self-dwindled to nothing to write home about.

trooper -- just the 100 million bbl number that others have been floating. I have no idea on the reservoir extent. But we know how thick the main pay sand is = 60'. Not that you can estimate ult recover from just pay thickness but the really big DW fields have pay sand thicnesses in the order of 300' to 600'. Not knowing the details I would just stick with the 100 million bo number for now.

RM --

main pay is 60' !!...seems to be gushing out like a 500' pay with a coupla darcy's worth of perm ....wonder what the Ariel extent of the reservoir is .....Ol' faithful here just keeps on surprising .

I too got the impression this would have been a nice find for BP if not for the ...

The word is areal. Highly permeable, okay, and the well is undoubtedly at the crest of a fat lobe of sand. But super flows imply two or more formations producing. There was a productive interval at ~12,000 and I surmise that it's possible overbalanced drilling and pressure release could have fractured the shale at 18300.

i have wondered about this for a few days actually ....but i was assuming the productive was biggggg...the BP engg did hihglight some other possible pay zones the the well yesterday in his testomony (incidently the only testimony i have watched completely) .....

but I too am starting to suspect that these crazy rates are a result of fluid from more than one pay zone .....sounds unlikely but explains more than a few things with this well if this is correct....and depending on where the other intervals are and what the flow path upbore is.....the RW job just got a little more difficult or a lot more difficult

"...but I too am starting to suspect that these crazy rates are a result of fluid from more than one pay zone..."

Entering the bore (casing/annulus/path-to-BOP) by what route(s)?

Edit to address ambiguity.

Killiergo --

that's the million dollar question ...what are the flow paths

a- up the prod csg
b- outside the prod csg
c- failed cmt shoe(s)
d- csg ruptures
e- all of the above

i think its a good bet flow is inside and outside the prod csg ....atleast one cmt shoe is bad and possible shallow csg damage ....

this is a big uncertainty and someone on the RW team will earn his/her keep making this call when the RW gets near target...as this will have an big impact on what agents are used in the kill pill.

Yeah. Multiple routes and multiple pay zones. The possibilities are making my brain full, even without understanding it very well.

Let's hope/chant/dance/pray/whatever that the RW folks are having a long string of good days and good luck.


Nope, no need for surprises, calcs show 50ft at 500 mD would do it.

Of course could be higher permeability but high skin due to channeling through cement..

or lower permeability but negative skin due to wellbore enlargement after sand failure..

bignerd --

i have yet to see a chunk of rock in the GOM that can put out these rates if the assumptions are 50' pay and K = 500 mD (assuming we the BHP correct @ 11,900 psi).....an by put i mean put out clean fluid.....BP has not reported any significant sand cut so channeling /sand failure IMHO cannot be a significant factor here.....it cud definitely be a contributing factor ....

i don't know ..... a healthy sand cut would explain a lot of things ...if only someone at today's testimony has stopped playing democrat and republican and asked tony hayward what the sand cut has been on the topside...but then again this reservoir will be here far far longer than the well will be leaking ....so BP could make a valid case for not disclosing this number.....

I believe that there were 2 also - but I thot that the upper one was thinner, possibly based on ignorance.

E.g. there are no logs, but I believe that the area where they had a well control problem before side-tracking is above the taper on the production string. Not an engineer - but would'a thot that the entire production would have been from the 7" string.

The casing programs all say that the 17,800 interval is the 'major loss event'.

OTOH they were having lost returns a lot on that well, so who knows? Maybe a lot of thin pressured sands?

There are some sketchy logs out there, covering roughly 17200 - td if I recall correctly.

A couple of ratty looking stringers above the main pay, ratty looking and apparently slightly overpressured with respect to the main reservoir beneath. Not likely major contributors to flow.

Can't say anything about depths shallower than this though.

ali -- Yep. Gotta figure it's well above the oil/water contact otherwise you would have thought it coned by now.

RM -- yup sucking this hard would've resulted in coning quiet early if the OWC was near....

if you're saying 60' pay...i reckon you've had a little look at the log ...mighty fine chunk of rock then :)

interesting side note : got a few summer interns here ....pete's from TAMU (2) and UT (1) and TTech (1)...showed them the drill data someone had posted on TOD ...told em it is from an old well i worked on....asked them to interpret it .....the red raider, the longhorn and 1 of the aggies said well is winding up .....stop displacing and get the heavy pill in ....the last one ...an aggie suggested to only stop displacement and check if the mud counters and such are properly set and if yes then pump in heavy (i think he will get a job offer before he leaves end of summer)......then i told them it was from the BP fiasco .....they couldn't believe it ...i told them I still think I am missing something here cuz I can't believe it even now....

ali: Tell them the goal is fast, fast, fast and cheap, cheap, and once again fast/cheap. Ask them the same questions now: What should we do?

OT, but this blog from the previous thread makes a nonsense claim, calling into question the veracity of that website’s content.

Oil spill may wipe out Gulf sperm whales -- Just three dead whales could push the Gulf population over the edge

Well, of course: linear extrapolation of any net negative number (births + immigrants – deaths - emigrants) for a long enough period yields a zero population.

Here’s a summary of what’s known about the GoM sperm whale, paraphrased from: NOAA Marine Mammal Stock Assessment Reports by Species/Stock, Sperm Whale, Northern Gulf of Mexico, 2009.

The GoM stock of sperm whales is distinct from other Atlantic Ocean stocks. These animals average 1.5-2.0m smaller than sperm whales in other areas. Female/immature group size in the Gulf (9-11 whales) is about one-third that found elsewhere. Tracks from 39 whales satellite tagged in the northern Gulf, monitored for up to 607 days, showed no seasonal migrations, but Gulf-wide movements occurred, mainly along the northern Gulf slope. GoM females are genetically quite different from those in the North Atlantic Ocean, North Sea, and Mediterranean Sea, whereas genetic evidence shows that mature GoM males move in and out of the Gulf for breeding.

Sperm Whale Distribution

Sperm whales make social vocalizations with distinct patterns that appear to be culturally transmitted. Groups of sperm whales worldwide can be placed in recognizable acoustic clans. Recordings from GoM groups indicate a distinct acoustic clan rarely encountered outside of the Gulf.

The best abundance estimate available for northern GoM sperm whales is 1,665 (data pooled from summer 2003 and spring 2004 oceanic surveys using line-transect estimation methods). The minimum population size is 1,409. The estimation method doesn’t provide a maximum estimate. There are not enough data to assess population trends.

Reproductive rates are unknown for this stock, but theoretical modeling shows that whale populations may not grow at rates much greater than 4% per year because of reproductive constraints. A commercial fishery for sperm whales operated in the Gulf of Mexico in deep waters between the Mississippi River delta and DeSoto Canyon during the late 1700s to the early 1900s. There are no recent reports of mortality or serious injury to sperm whales by the present-day pelagic swordfish, tunas, and billfish longline GoM fishery. Nor are there any reported seismic-related or industry ship-related mortalities or injuries to GoM sperm whales. However, disturbance by noise might be an issue in areas of oil and gas activities and/or where shipping activity is high. The potential impact, if any, of coastal pollution may be an issue for this species in portions of its habitat, though little is known on this to date.

The question of whether a massive oil blowout could harm sperm whales is not discussed in this Stock Assessment report. Whales dive through the water column dozens or hundreds of times per day to feed, commonly to depths of 1000-2600 feet. They feed mainly on squid but also eat octopuses and many kinds of fishes, especially bottom-dwelling rays. Pollution effects on their food supply would presumably be detrimental to sperm whales, which would be expected to move to unaffected waters.

NOAA just announced pulling a dead sperm whale out of the Gulf about 70 miles south of the blowout. They won't be able to tell what killed it for a couple of weeks though, but their website indicates that dead sperm whales are only rarely found in the Gulf.

Also, NOLA is reporting today that BP told Congress that they never followed MMS regulations on testing their BOP's to make sure they could close a well because MMS never made them do so.


"I find it very disturbing that BP asserts that the 'practice' in oil drilling is to avoid current laws designed to keep our beaches safe," Grassley responded in his letter. "And I am outraged that MMS is looking the other way."

Beaches, yah - 11 people died on that platform. When I was an engineer with responsibility for a hazardous operation I made sure that the safety equipment worked, regardless of whether or not there was a regulation. I can't imagine what it would feel like to have somebody you work with and had authority over die on the job.

No company drilling in the GoM performs this BOP Shear Test.

STA -- And there's the big rub. If they ran a survey they could find 100's of hands with the same story about unsafe procedures that scared the heck out of them but they were powerless to do anything about it except not work for that operator again. Of course, the problem would be getting those hands to discuss it publicly if they are still in the job market. BP's errors in judgment were very bad but not unique. Everything that went wrong with this well could have still happened. But if the BOP had stopped the blow out and they were able to kill the flow no one outside of the oil patch (and very few on the inside) would have ever heard about it. Near misses don't make headlines. A grossly polluted GOM and 11 dead bodies do.

Wouldn't it be a bit freaky if, while watching the ROVs do their daily work, all of a sudden you see a sperm whale come into view and run away with one of the ROVs? As I recall, those guys (sperm whales) can dive very deep. Can they get down to where the BOP lies?

Here's one at 900 m/3000 ft: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68mWBVOJ8yA
No depth given for this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pb-hujQs2dY

Speaking of Speeches (and to HO's point), Jon Stewart "An Energy-Independent Future" (The last eight presidents have gone on television and promised to move America towards an energy-independent future):

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
An Energy-Independent Future
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Interesting clip.

I wonder, if Saudi Arabia became a US possession, would we not have an "energy-independent" future? In jest of course. I think.

Even further off the point, It is an interesting commentary on the times when a comedian is a respected political observer.

In a lot of ways, Saudi Arabia is already a U.S. possession or dependency. Our military and navy and air force guarantee the security of the oil wells. During World War II (or shortly thereafter; I cannot remember for sure.) there was a long-term agreement made between KSA and U.S.A.: The Saudi Royal family would keep the valves open on oil production, and in return the U.S. guaranteed the security of the Royal family from enemies domestic and foreign. Except for the brief oil embargo of 1973, both parties have kept to the agreement.

Currently the U.S. has 100,000 soldiers and a large number of naval craft on Saudi borders. They know that, and we know that they know that and appreciate what this presence means.

15 of 19 Sept. 11 hijackers were Saudi. We are already a military presence there, and some of them see that presence as an invading/occupying force, and will fight back by any means necessary. Just as many Americans would.

War in the ME: Another unaccounted for cost of oil production.

The U.S. no longer has a military presence in Saudi Arabia. They kicked us out. By no coincidence we invaded and now occupy Iraq, KSA's next-door neighbor (which may have more oil reserves even than Saudi Arabia. Nobody outside those two countries knows what true reserves are.).

except Cheney and a few others

"During World War II (or shortly thereafter; I cannot remember for sure.)"

February 14, 1945: Meeting at Great Bitter Lake between FDR and King Abdulaziz.

Thank you.

I liked it when Obama ordered immediate conversion of all applicable Federal buildings nationwide to be upfitted with solar water heating, ground-source heat pumps, and photovoltaics.

Oh, wait, that didn't happen. Never mind.

Like your comment. We can only hope.

Actually, something very similar is on-track as we speak;


It says a lot about the current status of the MSM when Comedy Central provides the most honest and probing commentary on America's state of affairs.

Since this thread is still on topic for the settlement I thought I would post one Texas congressman's response, Joe Barton, in office since 1984. He is genuinely seething about the settlement, and let's make no mistake that it was a settlement. A good one for everyone, including BP (see stock mkt.).

But what really gets me about this clip is the disgust he has at the idea that people won't have to slog through months and years of delay getting their judgment in court. It borders on contempt for the victims of the spill, and how they can just wait in line and prove their cases in court, what nerve of the president to try to stop that from happening. He then apologizes to BP.

Haywood doesn't know what to do. He seems to think the guy is nuts.


For those that continue to use the argument tha BP's stock price is going up due to the settlement. Do you actually take a look at the market? BP's stock price when up slightly more than the S&P500 yesterday, and it is down in relation to the S&P today. Where are you getting this line of BS?

"BP's stock price when up slightly more than the S&P500 yesterday"

Yup, that's what I said. It went up. Instead of down, as it would have had there been no deal. It may have gone down again today. But it is my belief that the settlement helps stabilize the picture for BP for investors and will have a positive impact on the market, compared to the alternative of no resolution. You are free to disagree, of course.

Over the last 3 days BP's stock has gone up 2.8% - this after falling some 38% over the past 30 days.
The S$P500 index during the same period of time 2%. Now, tell us how .08% matters in any discussion over BP stockholder reaction over the 20Billion escrow.

I agree BP is out for itself. It's a corporate entity and its gonna do what it is designed to do - protect the bottom line. We are all suffering because of it. But lets not throw falsehoods out there to go after the current administration at the same time.

I have no agenda. I think it would have been risky for BP to turn down the expedited claims process settlement. It's more a staunching of the bleeding than a gain in value. It dropped a fair amount monday because of all of the turmoil, uncertainty and a looming fight with the US. At some point, take over was a real possibility if it kept falling. I don't anticipate any gains are because BP somehow got over on obama. That's a stretch I think. But i sure can't predict the market better than anyone else can. Don't claim to be able to.

H O:

Your take is just so wrong in so many ways it's hard to keep track.

First of all, the "bureaucracy" involved here was used before in the Airline Bailout package of 2002 (more popularly but falsely known as 9/11 Victims Compensation), so we already know that bureaucracy works. We have no idea whether the ad hoc system BP has set up in the last few weeks will work over the long term.

Second of all, there's no way, absolutely no way, that BP's incentives would not eventually evolve to lowballing and delay. Yeah, they might be quick and generous now when the public relations gain from acting so offsets the costs of expediting claims, but when the cameras get turned off and Lindsay Lohan is once again the lede, BP will have no incentive to maintain the charade.

Third and most importantly, you discount psychology. Studies of various medical malpractice systems show that binding arbitration results in more claimant satisfaction than adversarial proceedings or even flat settlements ( http://www.stradley.com/library/files/mediation_med_mal_ep3751.pdf ). Turns out, people who think they've been hard done by want someone to listen to them, not just give them money and tell them to go away. The same amount of money determined by a third party as by the responsible party brings greater satisfaction to the payee.

Fourth, the complaint that the Adminstration will now take the blame for delays or inadequate payouts rings hollow because they should be and will be held responsible regardless of who runs the show and cuts the individual checks. That's what government is supposed to be for.

All in all, an escrow account adminstered by a third party is superior in every way.

TED Talks in less than 6 minutes: Edward Burtynsky photographs the landscape of oil (and talks about peak oil and resource depletion)

Burtynsky's work is hugely relevant to understanding the scale of energy and resource use throughout its entire lifecycle. I highly recommend the documentary about him, "Manufactured Landscapes".

If nothing else, watch just the first 10 minutes, one continuous dolly shot which helps define what 'scale' actually means.

Burtynsky photography is spectacular and his focus is across multiple industries

well worth visiting his website


His shipbreaking portfolio is amazing


There's footage of the shipbreaking in Manufactured Landscapes ... completely blew my mind.

I think they know they can't let BP fall. The disruption to the worlds supply of oil for the weeks/months it take to transfer control would spike prices and kick the global recession up another few notches. Organizing the transfer of all those assets at once without disruption or accident is implausible. Stringing it out over time is more plausible, but still likely to result in higher rates of disruption, damage and accident. Maybe they could release strategic reserves or get OPEC to produce more oil to offset some losses.

It is almost certainly better to let BP live, hopefully under new management and a new safety regime.

I don't like the too big to fail paradigm, but in this case it probably is true.

I suspect thats why the bestest CEO in whole the world looks so happy today.

Probably the only disruption will be in the corporate offices: they don't have to move anything but paper to transfer control.

Really? Because I see a whole supply chain that needs to be smoothly transferred, the paychecks and subcontracts of everyone working for those rigs, the supply contracts for parts and food and fuel for their rigs, maintainence contracts, security contracts, pipeline and refinery deals, leases over public lands, etc. New chains of command through new managers, conflicts over who has authority over what parts of the business.

Even if one company bought everything of BP, they would have a tough time getting all of that in place. That would be an enormous purchase for just one company. If they try to split it up to different companies, it becomes more managable in terms of people and internal control, but even more complicated for goods and services.

You have it backwards. The question is whether BP will allow the US to fail.

And other oil companies too. Will the risks/costs of extraction be seen as worth it after this?

We (the US) have a symbiotic relationship with the oil companies, just like we do with China. We are the top buyer of the their product and they are quite keen on keeping us the top buyer of their product.

I think they know they can't let BP fall. The disruption to the worlds supply of oil for the weeks/months it take to transfer control would spike prices and kick the global recession up another few notches. Organizing the transfer of all those assets at once without disruption or accident is implausible. Stringing it out over time is more plausible, but still likely to result in higher rates of disruption, damage and accident. Maybe they could release strategic reserves or get OPEC to produce more oil to offset some losses.

That might help wake people up more, though.

I don't like the too big to fail paradigm, but in this case it probably is true.

So does this mean you think we should hang on to it for everything? If so, I disagree and think it should be jettisoned.

General comment which may be of interest:

I was worrying that flaring the oil would release dioxins and other unwanted contaminants.

However the report linked below suggests that the burning of crude oil spills is not especially hazardous.

See: http://www.iosc.org/papers/02103.pdf

Just wait till we start burning land-fill plastic for heat in the UK when the gas runs out. Dioxins will be the new smog. At least it might kill our fertility..

Maybe not hazardous to breathe, but it's certainly lethal to the sea turtles trapped in the oil being skimmed. There's a YouTube video that shows one of the boat captains talking about rescuing trapped sea turtles from the oil within 10 miles of the blowout. BP began complaining that the rescue was interfering with oil skimming operations and chased them out of the area, then banned them from returning. The captain says the turtles surface in the thick oil, get coated and can't breathe, so they don't try and submerge. Before BP ran them off he had scooped 10 out of the oil; he was part of a larger rescue mission BP had set up, but due to the need for burning more and more oil they're cutting the program short next week.


The Bureau of Mines, and the Congressional Office of Technical Assessment [OTA] were indeed closed during the Clinton administration. However, their closure was a result of the "contract with America" which was a Republican-led effort to eliminate agencies that were deemed unnecessary by the party that held power in Congress at the time.

I've been watching Tony Hayward, BP CEO, giving his testimony-under-oath to the congressional committee for the last couple of hours, hoping it will shed light on some of the many questions asked here on TOD. So far he hasn't been very forthcoming, often replying to questions about the drill casing, etc., with an "I wasn't there so I don't know" response. Anyway, they've taken a recess for an hour until 2pm ET.


I'm in the UK, not the U.S., so have to qualify this comment by saying I mean no disrespect to the U.S. Congress. So with all due respect, why don't they have some technical experts on the committee to ask Tony Hayward, for example, whether he is aware of Matt Simmons' claim that there is a second leak, and (reminding him he is under oath), what his response is? It's such an important question. Why doesn't somebody ask it?

Congressional questioning is mainly to promote the congressman's political career.

Yeah, we have a system of representatives, but most of them only represent themselves.

PT --I gather you're new to the US political soap opera. Such congressional hearing (regardless of which party is in power IMHO) will seldom ever answer important questions. It usually political gamesmanship. By the time you're reading this you may well have seen excellent examples of this. Thank goodness your parliament doesn't involve itself in such displays. It could very embarrassing.

Yes, RM, it was an education. But unless I misheard it, he did answer one important question. I think I heard him say they don't know if the casing is cracked below the seabed. It was in answer to a question from Congressman Scalise.

Putting political theatre aside, Hayward's answer would still be the same as it's been all day. "I can't comment until our investigation is complete." I started the day out sort of feeling sorry for him to have to go through this. Looking back on it now, IMHO the most relevant comment so far was shouted by the protestor who wanted him to be tarred and feathered.

hey -- I'll give you a very biased opinion: BP's investigation was completed within 3 weeks at most after the explosion. Probably had a good handle on it in a week. He knows exactly what went wrong and who was responsible. This was not some freaky on-of-a-kind event. I've seen more near misses caused by the same error than I can recall.

I started the day out sort of feeling sorry for him to have to go through this.

Every time I find myself starting to feel sorry for him, I ask myself whether I'd be willing to go through what he's going through in return for several million a year. Turns out to be a real Jack Benny moment.

It's called being creative about telling the truth.

1. He likely was NOT aware of the well prior to striking oil in any more than a very indirect way. E.g. Gulf arm is drilling X number of wells this year and they have one going down now. So 'I wasn't involved in the decisions and was not there' is a completely true statement.

2. 'I can't comment before our internal investigation is complete' is likely ALSO a true statement from a 'he works for the board of directors' perspective - who would NOT be happy about BP talking about interim results'.

So he can manage to not perjure himself while not actually providing any information.

About ten years ago my company - in collaboration with another - in response to the increase in drilling costs and the move into deeper water, developed the design for a seabed exploration drilling system which was aimed very much at deep water exploration. The design was spec'd for 3,000m water depth and a 5,500m hole depth.

This feasibility design was funded by us, the UK Dept of Trade and Industry energy people, another major oil company and - yep you guessed it - BP.

All parties agreed that the design would work, that it would certainly have been considerably cheaper than building/hiring a deepwater semi-sub and that given it eliminated completely the hydrostatic pressure differential it would also be much safer.

We designed the system around a coil tubing unit using slim well techniques and others aimed at ensuring ease of operation. One of the attractive elements of the design was that the vast majority of the components were "off the shelf" and already trusted by the industry.

Following that initial feasibility design work and the reaction it achieved we were of course fairly confident the next detail design phase would also be funded. We were looking at a figure here of around £1m (circa $1.5m) which in oil industry terms is peanuts.

Sadly it was decided at senior management level to cut back on all R&D funding on the basis that a project of this nature was better suited to be funded by the drilling industry itself. Those closer to the frontline recognised the chances of a major drilling contractor funding a project to put all its deepwater rigs out of business wasn't going to happen.

Scottie -- you bring up a good point I'll expand upon. As you said management thought the project would be "better suited to be funded by the drilling industry". About 30 or more years ago the major oil companies were THE folks doing R&D. They were the innovators. Their personnel handled all field ops. Those days are long gone. It is the service companies like Halliburton and Schlumberger. Not only are they developing most of the DW technology it is their hands who are employing the equipment. I think there were about 120 hands on the rig when it blew up. Perhaps only a handful of those folks were BP employees. Everyone else was a subcontractor employee, consultant or worked for the drilling contractor. Even the BP company man might not have been a BP employee. Most of the comen I've worked with offshore were consultants. I don't know it for a fact but there may not be a single BP employee on either of the two RW rigs. And there may be none onboard when the kill effort is made. When I was working DW GOM my office mate worked for a drill bit company. He did the research to determine the right bit to use for a particular project. He was an "in-house rep"...he wasn't paid by the operator. We had him there because the operator agreed to use his company's drill bits. Not only did it get them an expert on drill bits in-house but he was "free". When I was working offshore I did the job an employee would have done 30 years ago. But you can see how strong an influence the operator has over the recommendations of the consultant/service company: follow the company line or we'll find another body that will to fill your chair .

I've been patiently waiting for someone to say this but since no one has, here goes..

Since the casing is an unknown, and the allowable kill pressure is an unknown..

Would it not be safer to kill the well with both the RW's in place, even if it takes more time.

All kinds of options would be open then including producing the lower well to reduce the upper pressure.

Is this crazy.

they will understand what the RW is up against only when they get in the near wellbore region of the leaking well.....a certain amount of baseline parameters are known and people involved can extrapolate and get some more idea....

hitching 2 RW's to a single wellbore has never been tried before and looking at the anticipated wellbore profiles of both RW's it seems unlikelier still that any such plan in standby as plan b ,c or even plan d .......highly unlikely unless its the last "throw the kitchen sink" attempt to kill the well...

this is why i been saying it is more likely to be a round early September than early august


If there is one thing we have learned it is not to try anything not tried before in controlled circumstances.

Breaking News- Relief well ahead of schedule but coming in at the same time. Thanks Thud.

Some small-talk about the small-people-talk. Here is my Swedish and perhaps odd point of view.

Svanberg made a big blunder when he did his small-people-talk. Svanberg is a native Swede and I am also but this time I will NOT excuse my poor english which I did a couple of days ago.

IMO the blunder was bigger than you in US think. As a native Swede I know exactly what he was trying to say. It was not only about the phrase "small people". To me it seemed that he tried to act like a [Swedish] politician from the left wing. But he failed. And it was the wrong approach for him because he is not a political kind of guy. He is mentally a little boy IMO. A boy who think a ROV is one of the most exciting things in the world. That is ok, I also think a ROV is an exciting vessel, but he talked about those exciting ROV:s on TV like a little boy some time AFTER 20 april. That is NOT ok given the circumstances.

He is also former CEO of the big IT-company Ericsson (Ticker ERIC/ERICY). I have seen him in Swedish MSM for several years but I have always thought of him as a boy who want to play with the big guys and almoust everytime with a big smile in his face. And as I recall it, he have said that it was a dream coming true when he became bp:s chairman. He simply like to play with what he think is big macho guys. (I do not say that the bp-crew really are big macho guys).

I really was surprised when he said those "small-people" words. But I have not been surprised if he had said "If we just do some positive thinking, the well will cap itself". Maybe he is rather good at refine and optimize things (companys) that already are working pretty well, but he is not the guy to rely on i difficult times. I hope you have got MY picture of him by now.


I think it is possible that something good will come out of Svanbergs visit at the White House. Think of this. Svanberg is almoust the only Swede ever that have talked to a President of the US for several hours (except for some politicians, diplomats and the Royal King of Sweden of course). That is a really big thing for a little Swedish boy so to say. I think Svanberg is not the same human being now compared to before the meeting with Obama. Of all "big macho guys" he have met in his life this one is the biggest. And believe me, I think he listened very, VERY carefully to Obama. And I hope Obama told him (but of course not literally) that this is not about exciting ROV:s. This is not about playing games in the schoolyard. This is for real. This is really REALLY serious. And if so, I think Svanberg got the message.

And if Obama put i right I think by now Obama is kind of a member of bp:s board. Svanberg is by now in Obamas hands. Svanberg will do everything he can to achieve Obamas "wishes" about how things have to be done.

But what can Svanberg possibly do? Of course he can not do much to stop the blowing well. It will not cap itself. But he was CEO of Ericsson and that was all about communication. Maybe he can introduce a new thinking about communication between bp and the rest of the world. A new thinking about transparancy. Svanberg is from Scandinavia and Norway is almoust the only country that provide the world with accurate statistics about the oil and gas production and reserves. That is a good example of Scandinavian transparancy IMO. I think and I hope he is going to do something in that direction (with encouragement from Obama).

More transparancy will not cap the blowing well but right now there is almoust a total lack of transparancy IMO. If I am right there will be some improvement about transparancy in a week or two. And perhaps Hayward will be fired as a result of the new father-son relationship (Obama-Svanberg).

At last, do not get me wrong. I am NOT defending Svanberg or bp but IMO Svanberg do not lie when he says bp will pay all the costs for this disaster.

Thank you for reading.
Kind regards from Sweden

I am a lowly Bachelors in the business world, but BP is doing a terrible PR job IMHO. I would have spokespeople talking and shut the higher ups off from the press. When the top management did speak, I would always mention the 11 first and continue talking in a funeral style. The BP America guys could handle domestic communications. Hayward is a Doctor of Geology. Don't they take oaths? Surely at least the spirit of such an oath would be against facilitating one of the greatest man made disasters in human history. Hayward needs to be in the marsh cleaning birds. Every day. So should all of upper BP management. It would stop the war against BP and it would make a difference in the response IMHO. Of course, Dr. Hayward would never stoop to such low things or risk his health. That is what we are for. I am starting to understand how the Irish feel. Remember the Macondo 11. Remember 4/20. BP is a green devil.

Don't worry Swede I already got Obama, Allen, and Svanberg is next. He is complicated and I see no obvious feature I can highlight with a shop job for my political satire. I look at it like this. It is what we call in America, "monkey football". Nothing racial but rather it is a derogatory term used to describe a situation where the managers of an endeavor are totally without direction. As though they were coaching a team of monkeys playing football. I was always the monkey.

How about this and sorry ladies, he is a cad. Ellen Elin will get $500 mill though. Svanberg is a hard one to do.

No matter what your politics are, I think you need to give credit to Obama for speaking about peak oil. No, he did not use the phrase 'peak oil' but he did clearly explain the situation.

From Obama's speech:

One of the lessons we’ve learned from this spill is that we need better regulations better safety standards, and better enforcement when it comes to offshore drilling. But a larger lesson is that no matter how much we improve our regulation of the industry, drilling for oil these days entails greater risk.

After all, oil is a finite resource. We consume more than 20% of the world’s oil, but have less than 2% of the world’s oil reserves. And that’s part of the reason oil companies are drilling a mile beneath the surface of the ocean – because we’re running out of places to drill on land and in shallow water.

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 candour.

The consequences of our inaction are now in plain sight. Countries like China are investing in clean energy jobs and industries that should be here in America. Each day, we send nearly $1 billion of our wealth to foreign countries for their oil. And today, as we look to the Gulf, we see an entire way of life being threatened by a menacing cloud of black crude.

We cannot consign our children to this future. The tragedy unfolding on our coast is the most painful and powerful reminder yet that the time to embrace a clean energy future is now. Now is the moment for this generation to embark on a national mission to unleash American innovation and seize control of our own destiny.


Under-reporting the volume of hydrocarbons "harvested" over 50 years?

Last year's total O&G royalties paid to the US by all companies was $13B. Chump change.

If MMS wasn't monitoring well output, or lying on records, how many billions in royalties have been obsfucated these past 50 years.?

BP makes more profits on US hydrocarbon units than anywhere in the world. (see 1Q2010 financial statement)

It was this agency that issued some off shore leases during the Clint admin in 1998 I think that required NO ROYALTY payments to the Govt

Rockman, - this may be a really stupid question - and maybe you can "fix stupid" in this case LOL...

Let just say that the two relief wells don't work.. can't build enough pressure or pump enough mud to overcome the flow of oil to stop it. If I understand correctly - you have to stop the flow to cmt the pipe..

If it possible to pump sea water down the relief wells into the broken pipe and create a "sea Water ciruit" that would slow down the amount of oil reaching the surface? It seems to me that pipe is only so big, holes and all, and given the heavy mud is not unlimited - whereas sea water is everywhere... well you get the idea..

Thanks - many have said it but, your opinions are greatly appreciated. Oh yeah, has Obama called you yet?


DBL Tap,
I'm not RockMan, but there is a specific gravity issue to your idea. The reason drilling mud works is the specific gravity which can overcome the psi pressures downhole. At 13,000psi downhole pressure the (as I recall without looking) 14.4# drilling mud was easily able to overcome it. Unfortunately your "free" water water everywhere only weighs ~8.4# per gallon and could only overcome the well dynamics if you had massive pumps to drive it, and even then, would fail the second the pumps were off. In other words, it would solve nothing.

Remember, this disaster happened because drilling mud (DM) was DISPLACED by seawater (on purpose) and the hole lost containment. Because they were trying to save money (and steps) they offloaded the DM to a support ship below the Deepwater Horizon, instead of using the mud pits on board her, they were unable (IMO) to recognize that they were "making" more mud than they were displacing with water. That was their warning that things were going to go... bad, but they couldn't see it because they didn't have an easy mechanism.

red -- Got an update on reservoir pressure. Saw a BP doc showing a wireline pressure test (MDT) in the reservoir of 12.6 ppg or about 11,900 psi. Just a little fine tuning for our calculations.

Because they were trying to save money (and steps) they offloaded the DM to a support ship below the Deepwater Horizon, instead of using the mud pits on board her, they were unable (IMO) to recognize that they were "making" more mud than they were displacing with water.

Testimony was it went to the DWH pits first. Plus there's the provided data logs showing unexpected flow for nearly an hour before the fatal explosion.

Here's some commentary from Transocean. (BP Comments at http://energycommerce.house.gov/documents/20100527/BP.Presentation.pdf )


Anyone comment on the "Sperry Sun sensors"?

DBL -- You and I are in agreement: that is a stupid question. Hey...at the moment I'm a semi-god on TOD so I figure I can get away with being as ass...sometimes Actually your logic is good. It's more a question of magnitude. The kill pill, even if it can't accumulate enough to stop the flow, should slow the oil volume down some and do so better than sea water. Drill mud is relatively cheap to the other bills adding up out there right now. As you imply: two pieces of matter can't occupy the same space at the same time. I've heard the RW team has some special fluids to work with. When we get a little closer I'll see if I can dig out some of that info.

Nope..no call. But my number is unlisted. I have to struggle to deal with my new notoriety. Just last night there was a young woman banging on my bedroom door begging me to unlock it. I finally had enough of her racket and I got up and let her out.

I asked a similar question earlier and I think I get it now. As you add mud, even if the flow is enough to push your mud out the top, the mud slows down the flow so that as you keep adding mud, eventually things even out and the flow stops. Basically, a full column of mud will theoretically drain into the reservoir until the column produces an equal PSI at the well to reservoir interface.


"You and I are in agreement: that is a stupid question." You made me laugh! - I figured in was stupid, just had to make sure - and I was born in Texas.... LOL El Paso counts, doesn't it?

As far as the young lady, you did tell her that you had the "ear" of the nation, didn't ya? Didn't help? Well, next time try "There's a reason they call me RockMan and not RockBoy". As you say it, please film it, we'd all love to see the video!


Thu Jun 17, 10:36 am ET

"WASHINGTON – A leading House Republican accused the White House Thursday of a "$20 billion shakedown" of oil giant BP by requiring the company to establish a huge fund to compensate those hurt by the Gulf Coast oil spill.

Rep. Joe Barton made the assertion at the outset of a House hearing where BP's chief executive officer, Tony Hayward, was appearing for the first time before Congress.

Facing Hayward at the witness table, the Texas Republican congressman said, "I'm ashamed of what happened in the White House" on Wednesday. Barton was referring to the agreement that President Barack Obama announced with BP for establishment of a $20 billion relief fund."


There are definitely some who have drunk the Koolaid and will not see the failings of any corporation.

Barton was told to apologize and pretend he didn't mean it:

I want the record to be absolutely clear that I think BP is responsible for this accident, should be held responsible, and should in every way do everything possible to make good on the consequences that have resulted from this accident. And if anything I said this morning has been misconstrued in an opposite effect, I want to apologize for that misconstruction.

They never sound quite as tough when doing that walk-back shuffle.

Have there been any posts on TOD showing the yearly or total revenues received by the US or state governments from drilling rights or royalties in federal waters?

Yeah, if I remember right - tax writeoffs offset by royalties, and I think my 19 yr. old daughter paid more taxes than BP did last year.

I would hope so fish. If a corporation is managed proeprly all the tax burden should be passed on to the shareholders. Very few corpaorations pay taxes directly beacuse they seldom retain much of the profit. I deally all the profit is distributed as dividends and the shareholders pay the taxes.

What? Dividends are paid after tax. That is why people are against dividends being taxed at the individual level. The income has already been taxed at the corporate level

Fish's daughter must be rich as BP paid cash income taxes of over $6 B in 2009 (alot more in 2008).

Yes there are agreements so that companies do not have to pays taxes more than once so taxes paid n one country may offset those in others. Net income goes to pay for capital investments, dividends and stock buy-backs, excess is held in reserve (think Cisco, Exxon until the recent purchase,Apple and others).
Some taxes get deferred.

Are you thinking about partnerships?

You're both right, depending on the type of corporation. S Corporations don't pay federal income taxes. The income is reported by the individual shareholders.

Yep and the the tax law that allows the S corp shareholders to avoid social security on retained earnings is gong to be changed for many of them.

fishoil wrote:

Yeah, if I remember right - tax writeoffs offset by royalties, and I think my 19 yr. old daughter paid more taxes than BP did last year.

Businesses don't pay taxes -- they just collect them for government through the price of their product.

robert -- The MMS web site has a very detailed breakdown of all the gov't royalty sources. www.mms.gov

The Escrow Deal:

Here is the White House fact sheet on the
"Independent Claims Facility:"


This has become a hot political topic very quickly, with charges from all sides. Can we take a look at it, in calm TOD fashion, to see who gave up what?

The BP execs looked happy when they left the White House, and the markets responded favorably. BP bonds, which had been trading at junk levels, recovered to just-above junk, and the Credit Default Swap spreads, which had shot up to 1000 (blimey!) narrowed back to a still huge 630, which IMHO is too big for them to stay in the oil business if it lasts on a permanent basis.

But reading the text, I can't see what BP got, except for one very critical thing: Obama says he will not be quite so angry with them anymore. He agreed that they need to stay strong enough to pay for the mess. That probably means the US will not attack BP in every way it can think of, for the moment.

Yet the agreement does not limit BP's liability in any way whatsoever. In fact, BP makes certain concessions and agrees not to do certain things that it might have done to defend itself. The US does not really agree to do anything in particular. Am I missing something?

What this shows me is that the current BP management wants to stay in business in the US and repair its reputation (a long term effort) enough so that it can one day get back to something like normal. This confirms my feeling that at least the current BP board and management will try to clean things up and reform their safety culture. I'm sure they now wish that they had spent the extra money to do a much better job on that well.

I'm much more concerned that they remain vulnerable to a takeover by a far more ruthless group, possibly a state-supported actor, who could be much worse. Not that I excuse what BP has done in any way.

Some are claiming that the new facility is a slush fund, and the administrator does have a lot of discretion in deciding what will qualify as a valid claim, although it also does say that the decisions will be made under current law. So I doubt that the final language, which is what counts, will permit claims with no legal basis.

The claims facility will not adjudicate government claims, only claims from individuals and businesses, but the escrow account covers government and natural resource damage claims as well.

Please take a look at it and tell us what you think.

If I had to guess - BP got to keep it's operations in the Gulf. Feds can pull 'license to operate' away (supposed to be harder in the US than some countries, but it's do-able).

Citigroup said a week or so ago that BP's US business was almost 50% of it's overall business value.

One of my buds said he thot that the Gulf made up about half of their US production.

A good point that reminds me of an additional detail:

BP will fund the $20 Billion dollar fund at the rate of $5 Billion per year, so they don't run out of cash and can keep operating. So how, you might ask, can it be in escrow if the money isn't there yet?

The answer is that BP assets will be put into escrow, and therefore, legally encumbered, until the cash is available. And which assets? Why the US leases, of course! So we get to put a hold on the leases without going through the difficult and possibly unsuccessful step of pulling the license to operate. Very clever.

I find this strange to say, but sometimes it's handy when the President is a pretty good lawyer.

Ha! I had the same thought. He's good.

It was a heart warming example of government and industry working together to help the "small people" (all of whom just got squashed by a giant oil co). :~D

This deal is beginning to pan out the way I hoped. Don't endanger BP so they can pay for other damages but tie them up completely... put them on parole. I remember the considerations for granting a lease to an oil company posted several days ago at TOD. The last consideration was a catch-all similar to "conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman" in the old UCMJ. The BP exec yesterday were happy like prisoners let out on parole. Their company lives and has a chance to recover. Remember: The US is the landlord and BP the tenant. And the US grants any further leases but only to officers and gentlemen... sort of. I am sure BP will have to report regularly to its parole officer and landlord.

WOW!!! You now get to be the "ROCKMAN" of legal stuff!

I never woulda thot of that.

(does that mean that you're devious, too?)

TT: Thanks, but I can't afford the Blue Bell bill.

[Addition edit: A little trial court judge philosophy: Threaten to crush the offender like a bug. Make him beg and plead for mercy. Then, relent some but leave your foot about three inches above the bug's head which is what you always intended to do. Offender giddily sings the praises of the judge as just and merciful. This technique works particularly well on dumb-ass, white-collar offenders.]

If the Deepwater Horizon belonged to Transocean and the drilling crew was Transocean - wouldn't the senior transocean person have the final say on safety. And wouldn't he or she have the authority to shutdown operations if there was a safety issue?

The captain of the aircraft has the final say on the safety of the aircraft - not the passengers.

The captain of the ship has the final say on the safety of the ship - not the shippers.

So - why isn't the CEO of Transocean being grilled by congress? And, if BP is responsible for the accident - why isn't Transocean sueing BP for the loss of their rig?

As long as the rig was connected to the well OIM was in charge, and yes he was responsible for safe operation. Harrell should have said no to BP and personally supervised cement tests and displacement. USGC panel knows that OIM and Sr Toolpusher were negligent.

That is true Don. But then it gets down to a judgment call. A little unsafe or a lot unsafe? Will the drill crew be a little dead or a lot dead? The OIM has the same problem the company man has: he's responsible but he also depends upon his superiors for a paycheck. It boils down to whether you have the confidence (or balls) to put your job on the line or not. It's one thing to have an opinion...another to pull the trigger and take charge. I doubt few of us haven't been in such a position in our careers. Perhaps not with lives on the line but still put self interest ahead of doing "the right thing".

There's another way to look at it. Does the man on the line get support from his boss? Will the boss back him up? Some bosses will, bless 'em. The others are moral cowards, pikers, and yuppie scum.

As long as we're off topic with crane stories, let me tell mine. They are building a large new building outside our office building, right across the street. They're almost done now, but early on when they were tearing out the old houses and buildings to make room for the new, they had this huge crane operating to help move the stuff.

There was this pipe/concrete structure sticking out of the ground that they couldn't get out. They attached the cable from the crane to the thing and started to try to jerk it out of the ground, pulling. Something snapped and the entire crane fell on its side, across two lanes of road. Incredibly, there happened to be no traffic on the road at that time although it is a very busy city street.

The top of the crane smooshed a car parked on the other side of the street. We're talking a good distance away, maybe, I dunno, 100 yards maybe? Maybe less, maybe more? Anyway, this all happened during business hours and all 17 floors of our office building which has walls which are basically just windows watched the whole thing.

Amazingly, no one was hurt.

EDIT: sorry, replied to wrong thread.

So True! As a retired crane operator, the first thing I learned as a young man was that EVERY time I picked something up, there were people's lives at stake. My own as well. In my career, I never tipped a rig(crane) over or killed or maimed anyone. I take a certain amount of pride in that. My OL' Dad told me one time: If this is what you want to do, you had better be thinking ALL THE TIME!

GWS22B - as a young man, I was working at a refinery. Some contractors were setting up to do a heavy lift, and I mean a heavy lift.

So I'm doing my thing and this guy is working in a bucket lifted by a small crane. The operator of the small crane was clearly new. Now the dude in the bucket needed to be raise higher. So as the operator extended the boom, he forgot to let out cable... you guess it - the bucket flipped and here is this guy hanging out of the bucket with one leg wrapped around the side. The F'in s**t hits the fan.

So on the other side of the yard there's another crane workin' and this crane is huge sitting up for a lift. The Boom is fully extended and the ball has not be dropped. I'm looking down at this, and it all happened in a heart beat.

Then you hear the roar of that big crane's diesel, black smoke just pour out her stack, as the operator swings that boom around, dropping the boom, plus dropping the ball at the same time. And I will swear to you, he dropped that ball right in front of the nose of the guy hanging upside down in that bucket. That ball did NOT swing an inch. I still can't believe it. The guy wrap his legs around the ball and was dropped to the ground and he just stepped off and as if nothing had happened...


Yes sir! Just like nothing happened! and that's what separates a lot of people's skills. When the rubber meets the road, that is to say when things go to hell in a hand basket, what are your actions gonna be? Better be thinking ALL THE TIME,eh?

I won't waste space with my crane stories, but I will take a moment to say thanks. I can't count the number of times my projects and the lives of my crews (and my life) depended on the skill and judgment of crane operators. Some of you guys are artists. A few are magicians.

Why has the question not been asked: The containment cap - why does it leak so much? Was it poorly designed? Does it not fit on the pipe crushed by the hydraulic shears? Plumbers around the world install caps to stop flow of liquids, why does this cap not stop the flow of oil? Remove it and install a better cap, how hard can that be?

They do not have the capacity topside to separate all the fluid so it can be stored or burned. They are choking the flow at the top to match capacity. In possibly 3 weeks there may be enough capacity to handle all the flow and a tighter cap will have been installed. Meanwhile the outflow from the bottom of the cap ensures that water is not entering.

Respectfully, you might want to spend a day or two skimming back threads to see what questions have been answered.

They are way behind the curve on this. First, still not having enough capacity to deal with this amount of oil topside this many days into the crisis in inexcusable. The heart of the problem is that they have been too content to just let it leak while they wait for relief wells.

There is no technological obstacle whatsoever anymore to being able to bolt some off the shelf plumbing onto this BOP co capture the oil cleanly.

The worry about what might happen if the bent riser is removed is gone because it is now gone.

The ROV's have removing those bolts down to the point it is like changing a tire, in case anyone missed the third practice session.

There is probably hardware sitting in a warehouse in Houston or NOLA that would bolt right on and allow a leak free connection to a manifold of valves that could direct the oil to destinations other than the GOM.

The problem is that right at the beginning the mindset was established that it was just going to have to leak until the relief wells were ready. No problem with that since 'there are other places that have shrimp besides Louisiana'.

They have the capability of capturing 100% right now if that had been their priority.

any idea when the equipment for processing will be available? will this include coverage for the ~20 million cu ft of escaping gas?

unrelated question: how many hp is the pump (s) that force the mud down to close off a wild well? i know the reservoir is ~11,900 psi so i am assuming one has to overpower that force


Yes, I agree. Looking at that mess they call a containment cap must drive all the plumbers nuts! If you have a broken water pipe in your back yard putting a bucket on top doesn't do much good, does it?

According to BP "it leaks by design". They seem to think oil leaking into the gulf for a few months is Ok as long as they are capturing 'some of it'.

They could do much better.

It has to leak:

1) if it closed off the flow in any way, there is a worry that the fragile and possibly damaged pipes below the sea floor would rupture. Bad.

2) If any water gets into the pipe, it forms crystals which will block the pipe.

3) there is a limit to how much oil can be processed at the top of the pipe.

Baloney! That is an excuse, not a reason.

If you have more oil than you can deal with send the rest out a diverter valve until you have the capacity to deal with it.

If you had a proper tight connection there would not be the problem of seawater getting in there, would there? So they would not have to worry about the methyl hydrate forming anymore.

Excuses, excuses!

"Send the rest out a diverter valve" to where? The flow in excess of current processing capacity includes (taking the central value of the current flow estimate) 34 million std. cubic feet of explosive natural gas per day. It has to be separated and flared. Or if you mean "send it out into the water," how would that be an improvement?

According to a knowledgeable poster, there is no vessel in the GOM that has both the needed processing capacity and the necessary dynamic positioning capability. One is on the way from the North Sea.

This fixation on the lack of a tight seal makes no sense whatsoever. They cannot cap the well from the top because it would force the high-pressure flow out the ruptured casing where it would erode the well bore. They have already built a new cap that will make a tight seal to go along with the increased processing capacity.

Agreed, yes we know the surface processing is limited, but there is no good reason why the excess is being allowed to leak into the GOM at 5000 ft and allowed to drift with the currents. It should all be brought to surface and the excess dumped overboard in a containment boomed area away from the main "fleet". The oil could them be skimmed or burned from the surface.

Are you volunteering to pilot the skimmer through an area where 25.000 cu. ft. of gas is boiling to the surface every minute? Lemme give you a light, there, bud.

To cudBwrong:

I wasn't there, of course. But this is what the Big Boys tell me. They weren't there, either, by the way.

They think that Obama gave Svanberg some assurance that he would protect BPUSA from a hostile takeover. Obama does not want the company and its sites taken over by some state-owned company with a parent state that has geopolitical ambitions.

BP was probably intent on handing out returns to investors in order to keep the investors. But if they can assure these investors that the company has some protection against takeovers, the company can probably remain capitalized.

Having the fund set up might give some folks in the US some assurance that BP is not going to run away and cheat them of any help with the damage. That would help BP get back into the good graces of the US people.

This analysis is, of course, more political than technical.

This would not surprise me at all. But Obama has limited takeover protection to offer. BP PLC is a UK company first of all. If I worked for some ruthless country with some available assets, cash and a decent secret service, I might try to have my operatives acquire controlling interests in a dozen asset management firms. The firms each buy 5 or 6 per cent of the outstanding shares. Using other people's money, of course. Now I can start electing new members to the board. I have control. I install a new CEO.

The next step is to start selling off assets. Easy to explain, we have problems, need to raise cash. Except the sales are all for small cash downpayments and large, interest-bearing notes to fairly unknown companies. But the notes pay lots of interest. My new CEO raises the dividend and gets a knighthood at the Queen's birthday honors.

After the assets I want are sold, the unknown buyers resell them, moving them through various shells. The original buyers default. They stop paying on their notes. BP PLC files for bankruptcy.

The asset managers had previously sold off most of their BP shares after the dividend increase. At the 52 week high. The nice, juicy, cash-producing assets all wind up in companies controlled by the brother-in-law of the chief of police. And the injured parties are trying to collect from the bankrupt BP.

Well the escrow deal solves part of this problem, although risks remain.

It looks to me like they have closed the vents on top of the LMRP cap.

When I compare the view from Scandi 1 ROV from last night to today I no longer see a jet of oil/gas mixture shooting at an angle to the main bubbling flow. When the bubbles cleared away you could clearly see one of the vents that had been left open since the cap was placed. Now only the fluid from the annulus around the cap is visible.

The current feed from Enterprise 1 suggests the same thing as the plume actually necks down as it reaches the top of the cap rather than spread out as it did. It appears that the GOR of the added flow is a little higher than it was before the Q4000 was connected and it certainly appears that the fluid exiting around the cap is very gassy.

If this is true, they are probably collecting between 20 and 25 KBPD and that would lead me to estimate the total to be closer to 35 or 40 KBPD (i.e. 10 to 20 KBPD still leaking). It also means they will likely soon be collecting nearly all of the flow as this is well within the capacity in place or en route.

I can't say how much I applaud the engineering effort on this insanely difficult problem. It's a pity BP didn't back them up with the ready resources to take full advantage of their efforts.

Sounds like all is well! Lets all "applaud" BP!

It is nice they have a healthy fan club at TOD.

I happen to think that two months to figure out a crude system for containing some of the oil, while creating a largest spill in US history is probably not an "applaudable" performance. From a company or an engineering house.

But I am not in oil engineering, which apparently is much, much harder than other kinds of engineering...

Come on now, I still see stuff 'leaking'. I will applaud BP when the Devil starts running a snowplow service. BP is a green devil. Where do you live? I do not call any other company the devil except Walmart and AIG.

I do not call any other company the devil except Walmart and AIG.

Ah, so you work for Goldman Sachs then? ;-)

I'm talking about the guys working the subsea wellhead collection problem. Very few of which are actually BP employees. Most oil companies not named Statoil don't keep large engineering staffs and sub contract almost everything. None of which had anything to do with the blowout or the decisions that led to it.

But I am not in oil engineering, which apparently is much, much harder than other kinds of engineering...

Yes, it is. Deepwater engineering is the most difficult of all.

==Deepwater engineering is the most difficult of all==

Didn't know that. Conventional wisdom sez aerospace, but what do i know?

Is that why they quick-welded up a big-old blunt cylinder with internal flanges for extra turbulence, no diffuser, no proper manifold, a stupid "seal" that failed after a week and a tiny pipe on top?

From an engineering point of view, the current "cap" is really an abomination. It works, like square tire "works" - it turns with large amounts of torque. This contraption collects some oil, some of the time. It even HAS to spew large amounts of oil into the Gulf, when it operates "properly".

If I "engineered" this solution - I would tell everyone that "we really didn't have time to do anything" except weld simple shapes from available stock and Joe the plumber did the final "prints". I would also point out that though the oil industry had decades of profits and warning, they never spent a dime on designing an actually engineered deep water oil recovery system and are doing it now, as much as complex engineering can be done in days or weeks under terrific pressure.

IF BP can't even do simple plumbing down there (because it is 'insanely difficult'?) then they sure do not have any business drilling oil wells down there do they?

Short answer: Yes

I'm no BP apologist, but I am sick of hearing how stupid the engineers working this problem are. This is the most difficult problem I've seen in my 30+ years experience and I've noticed most of the cat calls come from those that verge on technical illiteracy.

Everybody in the offshore industry knew a subsea blowout was not going to be able to be mitigated and still nobody put a nickel into figuring out how to do it. Now, these guys have to figure out how to do the impossible as the whole world jeers and accountants, pencil pushers and plumbers spit at them from the peanut gallery.

It's a damn shame the overpaid, over-privileged hacks that occupy BP's Mahogany Row couldn't back them up with spare capacity when they figured out how to collect oil and gas from a wild well a mile under water.

I've had the political authority of a medium sized European city climb up my ass because of unforeseen problems and other people's screw ups. It is not easy or pleasant. What these guys are going through is several orders magnitude worse. I, for one, appreciate it.

I appreciate their efforts as well. Am real glad we got engineers, geologists, etc. working on it. God knows I couldn't be of any help. There does seem to be a real disconnect between those guys and Mahogany Row Mucky-Mucks though. A real imbalance of skill. On the face of it.

I do not doubt that there are some extremely capable people working on this. What I suspect is a big part of the problem is that these extremely capable people are being told how how to do the work by less capable people higher up in management.

Really, that seems to be what got them into this mess in the first place.

> I've noticed most of the cat calls come from those that verge on technical illiteracy.

There's a name for that. Dunning-Krueger Effect.

In the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.
— Bertrand Russell

In the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.
— Bertrand Russell

That has to be Russel putting his spin on the loftier Yeats:
"The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity."

Crazy how well that fits our current predicament.

Anyway, I agree the engineering has made steady progress given the difficulty of the problem. While upper mgmt may have held them back, this is nothing compared to the criticism their efforts will receive once the flow has stopped and the armchair experts are viewing the whole event via the high-powered retrospectoscope.

One thing about this:

viewing the whole event via the high-powered retrospectoscope.

It has always lead to the discovery of many a retro-genius.

It looks pretty gassy on one side, but not so much on the opposite. They may have closed the ports, but one look at the current feeds and you can see there is a incredible amount of oil escaping - from the outside it looks worse than it did before they shut-down after the lightning strike. Would be interesting to get status on the ports. I guess we'll have some idea when they release the collection numbers tomorrow.

I noticed the same thing. How much is lighting effects and how much is dispersant I don't know.

They update in about an hour but they are running a little over 20 KBPD as of last night.

I can clearly see the cap occasionally behind the flow from both views, so that is positive. Clearly even my low wishful estimate of 10 KBPD still leaking is an insanely high amount, but the scale of the collection thus far makes me hopeful they will be able to get nearly all of it soon.

What a pity this kind of engineering work wasn't put in decades ago pro-actively.

I've been watching that GOR too.

There's a small chance they are going below the bubble point in the reservoir, but I think this would imply that the connected volume to the well is substantially lower than the 100 million stb I've seen quoted.

More likely to be an artifact of flow conditions in the collection system I would guess.

Early reports were that BP's "most likely" was on the order of 50 million stb.

In a rare moment of candor during his house testimony Tony Hayward said as a production well they expected 15,000 25,000 barrels per day.
Fine, and it appeared within days after they had video evidence the flow was largely unabated. However BP never cited a daily flow that was close to the production estimate.
They must have known soon after it blew that there was no reason to expect it was flowing at a rate that was close to if not within the production range. It seems to be a glaring omission if not a indent to deceive if they did not include that probable relationship in their estimates through May.

1) BP was not the source of any published flow estimates (government was source of the estimates as reconfirmed by interview with Admiral Thad Allen again this Sunday)

2) Hehind closed doors, by May 5th, BP had already provided a worst case scenario to Congress of 60,000 b/d:

"Meanwhile, BP, the company responsible for fighting the spill, told members of Congress in Washington in a closed-door briefing that the leaking oil well five miles beneath the surface of the gulf could, in a worst-case scenario, spill as many as 60,000 barrels of oil a day,"


After reading the very informative discussions above and in previous days about the relief wells, this question still puzzles me, although I may have missed an answer.

RW1 will intersect the existing well at some depth X. Has it already been decided whether RW2 will intersect deeper or shallower than RW1, or will that decision be made after RW1 penetrates the casing, or when RW1 gets close?

I know there have to be contingency plans in place for many outcomes...RW1 succeeds, RW1 fails but does not damage the formation... RW1 fails and does damage the formation...and some of these outcomes probably affect whether RW2 intersects above or below RW1. Are there other factors? If RW1 manages to penetrate the casing do they just put the brakes on RW2 for a while and see how the kill attempt with RW1 goes?

glow -- the problem with planning a contigency change in the RW2 well is that the deeper they drill (and the the more csg they set) they can only change to RW2 directional plan so much. If they try to significantly change the interesect point they'll have to make such a radical and fast angle change they would run the risk of losing that hole.

Oil Spill on Track to Reach Atlantic No Later Than October


BOULDER, Colorado — Oil gushing from the Deepwater Horizon site in the Gulf of Mexico will reach the Atlantic Ocean within six months, says oceanographer Synte Peacock. Exactly when is all down to an eddy that broke off of the infamous Loop Current southwest of Florida on June 12.

Peacock, of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, usually studies how the ocean’s water absorbs atmospheric gases. But after the Deepwater Horizon platform exploded April 20, she realized her computer models could be used to follow where the oil gushing from the seafloor might end up.

Her simulations, announced in a press release June 3, made headlines worldwide. No surprise: The simulations suggested that, once the oil became caught up in the Loop Current, it would be funneled into the Atlantic within weeks.

Talking with reporters at NCAR on June 14, Peacock explained how some news outlets misrepresented her work by glossing over a few major caveats. Most important, the work simulated the movement of dye (not viscous oil) injected in the upper layers of the ocean (not the deep seafloor) for a total of two months (not the ongoing no-end-in-sight disaster).

The simulations underscore how complicated it can be to track the movement of subsurface oil. “We saw large differences in details in how oil dispersed, depending on local eddies and currents in the gulf,” she says. Still, “no matter what you do it’s very, very hard in our model to find a scenario where dye is kept within the gulf for a period of longer than six months.”

The Loop Current circulates clockwise off the southwestern coast of Florida. About once or twice a year, it pinches off an eddy that either wanders around the gulf before dying out, or eventually reattaches with the main Loop Current.

The unusual thing about the Loop Current this year, Peacock says, is that it was located much more to the south and east than usual when it pinched off its new eddy. Eddies have popped off in this location twice before in recent years, she says. One of those times the eddy wandered to the west, toward Texas, before dissipating. The other time it reattached with the Loop.

Where the new eddy goes will strongly influence exactly where the oil ends up, she says. When it does reach the Atlantic, she notes, the oil will not necessarily wash ashore on beaches in a goopy mess. The oil might stay far out to sea, or be extremely diluted by the time it gets to the Atlantic.

Her team is now working on simulations of what will happen if the oil keeps gushing for months to come.

It will end up on the coast of Iceland, Ireland, and Portugal in about 1 year.

And there will be pictures in the newspapers showing brown Polar Bears.

No, I do not think this will happen. But you can not be sure.

Don't forget the Walrus


In preparation for this hearing, the committee reviewed the oil spill safety response plans for all of the companies here today.

What we found was that these five companies have response plans that are virtually identical. The plans cite identical response capabilities and tout identical ineffective equipment. In some cases, they use the exact same words.

We found that all of these companies, not just BP, made the exact same assurances.

The covers of the five response plans are different colors, but the content is ninety percent identical.

Like BP, three other companies include references to protecting walruses, which have not called the Gulf of Mexico home for 3 million years.

Never can be too careful when drafting disaster contingency plans. What with brown polar bears headed for Minneapolis, walruses could be back in the Gulf at any time.

Yeah, computer models. There's a chance they're missing just a few variables.

I DO have a couple of textbooks around someplace with recent copyrights that insist that we are in an INTERGLACIAL period and that winter is coming;both written by serious professors at accredited universities.

And folks are running around loose accusing the oil companies of being shortsighted! ;)

Geez. Didn't we learn anything about how widely variant and untrustworthy computer models are from the global warming scare? How's your 5 day computer generated local weather forecast been working for you lately?


Listening to El Rushbo's gaseous eruptions again?

To answer your question - Nope. Don't think you did learn anything. As a matter of fact, like most of us you will deny climate change through droughts, low reservoirs, floods, severe storms, crop failure, polar bear extinction, and even the evacuation of Santa Clauses home due to sea ice melt.

If you don't know the difference between weather and climate, well, let me just say it is hard to take you seriously. Let the climatologists figure it out.


Oh, they're just crazy junk-scientist like those guys that tried to tell us smoking was bad for you health!

You know, I once saw a real scientist from Philip-Morris testify in front of congress that cigarettes were not harmful. Ever since I saw that I've known they were OK and I've stopped listening to any of that liberal anti-smoking nonsense!

Uh......there is only one real Santa......right? I, for one, appreciate the lump of coal he drops off every winter here!

Sorry Fish, but I've learned a lot. I learned that when you control what you put in a model you can get what you need for further funding. Sorry to say I saw a similar effort in my youth regarding a finite element code run for a US national lab. Modeling 3D hydrodynamics is an insanely complex task, and most models diverge so much in the first few iterations that the results become no more than an educated guess. Then you start tweaking the model to reduce complexity/coefficients and you pretty much can get what you're looking for, whatever it is. And it looks real scientific too.

"El Rushbo"? If it is what I think you're referring to, he's an idiot; and Dean whats-his-name and all their ilk. I don't listen to any of those morons so I can't say for sure.

Deny climate change? Change is the essence of climate. Although I am suspicious of the fact that the near-religious GW zealots switched from Global Warming to climate change when it became politically expedient.

I am more concerned with the coming ice age, which based on the historical record is coming whether you or anyone else likes it or not. When it gets hotter folks get uncomfortable, some suffer heat stroke, some die. When it freezes, millions may freeze to death if energy is not available. Let's just say my time frame is less short term than yours.

I am concerned about "scares" that become emotional and block out rational thinking.

I am concerned about eliminating as much fossil fuels as possible, replacing them with renewable energy supplied by the sun or the internal heat of the earth. This is also why I don't endorse nuclear. If you have to dig for it, don't depend on it as a fuel - geothermal excepted.

And for you GW fanatics out there - as the greatest atmospheric gas contributing to global warming is water vapor - would you approve of a large oil slick in the GOM that prevents water evaporation, thus reducing global warming? LOL, just kidding.

If anything, we learned that the projections of the IPCC were too conservative. How is the fact that the last twelve months are the warmest on record working for you? One year does not a trend make but on the other hand that is what the climate deniers have been trying to do for the last several years. The climate scientists have models that they use to project future climate based upon observed science and projections about how much carbon and other greenhouse gases will be emitted. I wish they were wrong. But I would not bet the world's future on the very slim chance that they have made a basic error in the science.

On the other hand, there are people like you who are willing to take a bet on the future based on the scientific knowledge of blowhards like Rush Limbaugh.

Some of us prefer to take out insurance for a much lower probability event, for example our house catching on fire.

You may stop making the premium payments on that insurance when you're out of work and you and your offspring are hungry and cold. Stop thinking short-term and take a look a a graph that goes back a few 100,000 years, not simply a hundred or two. What we're seeing is still buried in the noise. Fossil fuel energy consumption and fossil hydrocarbons for fertilizer is the real problem.

"Didn't we learn anything about how widely variant and untrustworthy computer models are from the global warming scare?"

Do you mean the recent anti-science frenzy being used by unscrupulous manipulators to stir up the ignorant masses? No, I learned something else from that.

"How's your 5 day computer generated local weather forecast been working for you lately?"

Pretty well, actually. Not perfect, of course, bur remarkably improved over the past 50 years or so. Not true for you?

Nah, I meant the "ignorant" trained scientists and engineers that after collaborating with the IPCC, reading the IPCC findings, then asked to have their names removed because they disagreed with the findings. The IPCC refused to remove the names.

I'm talking about the Global Warming Petition signed by ~31,5000 American scientists and engineers, almost 10,000 with PhDs, that says there isn't enough data. Do you think every one is just part an "ignorant mass"? Of course, they have no skin in the game and don't get funding by endorsing the IPCC findings.

Gosh I hate religious arguments.

I'm more comfortable with facts supported by more than one politically oriented agency.

"I'm talking about the Global Warming Petition signed by ~31,5000 American scientists and engineers, almost 10,000 with PhDs..."

...of whom 39 were climatologists.

Oh, that one.

Perhaps your believe that the other 31,461 don't know how to think logically, review data, or read?

39 isn't that big a number - you have the names of those 39? Or just picking a number?

I do hate irrational religious argumentation.

Assuming you have read the IPCC document, how many IPCC source citations have you obtained and reviewed? Or do you just take the IPCC and Al's word?

The problem is that current data is still in the noise and we have immediate troubles that demand more resources than we have available.

Not 39, more climate related scientists than the IPCC "used".

From the Petition statement of qualification:

Qualifications of Signers

Signatories are approved for inclusion in the Petition Project list if they have obtained formal educational degrees at the level of Bachelor of Science or higher in appropriate scientific fields. The petition has been circulated only in the United States.

The current list of petition signers includes 9,029 PhD; 7,157 MS; 2,586 MD and DVM; and 12,715 BS or equivalent academic degrees. Most of the MD and DVM signers also have underlying degrees in basic science.

All of the listed signers have formal educations in fields of specialization that suitably qualify them to evaluate the research data related to the petition statement. Many of the signers currently work in climatological, meteorological, atmospheric, environmental, geophysical, astronomical, and biological fields directly involved in the climate change controversy.

The Petition Project classifies petition signers on the basis of their formal academic training, as summarized below. Scientists often pursue specialized fields of endeavor that are different from their formal education, but their underlying training can be applied to any scientific field in which they become interested.

Outlined below are the numbers of Petition Project signatories, subdivided by educational specialties. These have been combined, as indicated, into seven categories.

1. Atmospheric, environmental, and Earth sciences includes 3,805 scientists trained in specialties directly related to the physical environment of the Earth and the past and current phenomena that affect that environment.

2. Computer and mathematical sciences includes 935 scientists trained in computer and mathematical methods. Since the human-caused global warming hypothesis rests entirely upon mathematical computer projections and not upon experimental observations, these sciences are especially important in evaluating this hypothesis.

3. Physics and aerospace sciences include 5,812 scientists trained in the fundamental physical and molecular properties of gases, liquids, and solids, which are essential to understanding the physical properties of the atmosphere and Earth.

4. Chemistry includes 4,822 scientists trained in the molecular interactions and behaviors of the substances of which the atmosphere and Earth are composed.

5. Biology and agriculture includes 2,965 scientists trained in the functional and environmental requirements of living things on the Earth.

6. Medicine includes 3,046 scientists trained in the functional and environmental requirements of human beings on the Earth.

7. Engineering and general science includes 10,102 scientists trained primarily in the many engineering specialties required to maintain modern civilization and the prosperity required for all human actions, including environmental programs.

Dear snakehead,
Fascinating read, thanks.

Perhaps we will be spared spread out of the GoM waters if that eddy dies-out and most of the oil stays in deep water where I understand there are no strong currents. The study of ocean and air currents is an ancient art, all sea-going cultures have developed a wide-body of knowledge about them. Using computer modeling is a natural extension of that knowledge. And that knowledge is essential to locating and removing the oil.

The question I still have is how dispersant will effect all this over the long term (distance). I assume they would like to keep the oil in the GoM. But then again maybe they just don't care how far and wide it spreads?

If they want to keep the oil in the GoM and if there is a lot of oil in dw you'd want to try and sequester, or corral it. How about a fleet of ROVs and a few square miles of screen mesh small enough to keep it in..???

How about 1000 ROV channels... cable? Sorry, I get carried away...:)

Matt Simmons on MSNBC, said that BP estimate of resevor psi was 10k but he thought it to be 40k.

If Matt is correct what would be the ramifications?

I've bent over backwards to give Matt Simmons the benefit of the doubt, but the guy is either off his rocker or has an ulterior agenda, like he thinks it is hilarious what the stupid MSM will swallow. I could see him now, drinking his Blue Label scotch with his buddies howling with laughter at what the gullible reporters will believe and regurgitate.

I know, huh. I could do the same thing with plain old Johnney Walker Red!

Matt was furious that the CEO of BP was so ill informed. This difference in viewpoint seems to be his case for using a bomb to block the off the oil pool. Also, the reason BP got into this mess.

I am not a an expert. I put oil in my car and trade some now and then.

I've starting lumping "Matt Simmons" posts with those suggesting use of nuclear bombs, giant screws, concrete blocks, etc.
I wonder what kind of drinks they offer in the green room for these TV shows.

Edit: No offense meant to you olemanagain, it's not your fault he's off his rocker.

wide: Here's what I would guess (category: wild) he's trying to do. Create a counter-narrative and doubt, short BP's stock and buy CDSs against BP's bonds. CDS market is totally opaque. Double the fun. It's been done before. I wonder if he's working in concert with a big hedge fund. That is... if he's still OK.

Boy, maybe, but... what are the chances that would escape serious regulatory scrutiny?

I think I'd be more likely to be that he's *not* OK.

It wouldn't be the first time because of the black hole called CDSs, cf. the Commodities Modernization Act of 2000. And cooperative, unregulated hedge funds, cf. SEC v. Goldman. They could share the CDS goodies. But probably "Not." But then again....

I think all that courtroom exposure to the most devious elements of our society may have increased your cynicism, EL. Not to say that cynicism is unwarranted; I'm a cynic, myself.

But, timing is everything, and even Goldman wouldn't try it under these circumstances.

Sheesh. Do you realize how bizarre it is that we can't dismiss your speculation out of hand, because it isn't beyond belief?

Not in the courtroom, Kal. Just by reading the WSJ.

My sister who is a medical pro says that an acquaintance of hers who specializes in evaluating people with possible problems thinks something does not ring quite true about Simmons after watching a recent video of him discussing the oil spill.

I agree myself;he did not impress me as currently being the sort of man who could run a big company.I don't think he is the man he must necessarily have been in his younger days after seeing him on video, and I have spent a lot of time watching old folks gradually lose it..

Of course I'm not the man I used to be either.

Of course he may simply be cashing in on the last of a reputation that means nothing to him in order to make one more buck after some fashion, which could also account for his not quite on the money performance.Maybe he's just not a really smooth liar.

If so, he is only following in the footsteps of millions of other businessmen who paved the way for him.

The only places I'm aware of that he could have sourced that 40000 psi info are conspiracy/heavy breather websites. Why not call it 100000 psi? When there's no hard data to point to - and he hasn't pointed to any - everything's game. What's his purpose? Being short 8000 shares is a nice potential chunk of change if BP goes to the GM standard (that's $0.75) but even at $40 profit per share I can't see it being enough to beat the drum the way he has been. Maybe there's something else at stake.

Somebody should ask where he keeps getting these numbers. I have my own guess as to where.

Hard to believe this is the same Matt Simmons that wrote Twilight. Maybe he does have a short position on BP.

Probably some sort of Purple Lable or something. It may involve sugar cubes too! If you catch my drift there.

Matt Simmons sold significant quantities of BP stock short twice in recent weeks and months--first at $48 per share, then later at $37 per share. Source is a comment on TOD made a few days ago.

I once listened to Matt, but lately he has lost the plot. The reservoir pressure was measured by MDT at about 11,900 psi. The measurement is accurate +/- a couple of psi. Matt is just making big numbers to get air time on the big networks.

I hope he is very wrong, that we close the deal by Sept.

Oldman -- BP doesn’t have an estimate of the reservoir pressure. They actually measured it with a tool (MDT) run into the hole on wire line. They measured about 11,900 psi. The MDT provides a very accurate measurement. Additional confirmation is that they drilled the reservoir with 14 ppg mud weight (13,000 psi). That would represent the max reservoir pressure. If the reservoir pressure were higher it would have blown out when they drilled it. This something a sophomore petroleum engineer would understand.

Under oath Hayward not only said pressure was about 11000 PSI but also said the discovery was about 50 million barrels. Lately I have been hearing reporters and others talking a about this being 2.5 Billion barrels.
So 120-150 K BOPD, 2.5 billion barrels, 40 K PSI, black seas of oil filling the gulf and the end of the world. Now I know why James Cameron wanted to go there ---his blockbuster disaster film idea.

Many of the laws of physics would have been repealed.

Heh! Heh!

For the 12 AM hours today, BP reports processing 12.5K bbl, so that puts the system very close to the projected capacity. 8K for the Enterprise and 4.5K for the burner. I want video!

Yeah, me too, from my nice little safe spot here. Quite sure I would not want to be within earshot of that burner, for sure. Hats off to those hands working there!

For the first 12 hours on June 17 (midnight to noon), approximately 8,000 barrels of oil were collected and approximately 4,500 barrels of oil and 25.8 million cubic feet of natural gas were flared.

Wow, they are up to about 25k bopd captured, and there still must be another 15k bopd blowing out around the gulf. It looks a little better, but not as much better as one would have hoped for from an additional ~10k bopd being captured.

and there still must be another 15k bopd blowing out around the gulf.

Anyone know if all the vents on top of the LMRP are closed? Initially only one vent was closed...

(quoting PQ17 from last thread about using a nuke to stop the leak in the event of "worst case" "total system failure" that not even a relief well might stop -- see http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6612#comment-652773)

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

I presume the concern here is that such a landslide would shear off additional wells, thereby adding more (and possibly bigger) reservoirs into the equation and so permitting a truly vast amount of oil and gas to erupt than would be released after the current reservoir has depleted itself sufficiently to stop flowing?

I was imagining a deep underground blast, like 3,000 feet or more underground and relatively small, even smaller than the Hiroshima bomb. Is it known that the geology of the area is likely so unstable that a tremor from such a burst could trigger a chain-reaction of such oil-releasing landslides?

Perhaps we should put our mental energy into addressing and figuring out the risks and obstacles involved with the kill wells currently being drilled. This solution has a lot going for it. It may serve you well to spend some time reading previous threads here.

Progress Continues in Drilling Relief Wells

The Development Driller III continues to drill the first relief well to a depth of more than 15,000 feet—11 days ahead of schedule—and is beginning to angle the well at 23 degrees. The Development Driller II has drilled the second relief well to a depth of 9,774 feet.

Source: http://www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com/go/doc/2931/666571/

I've heard rumors from a couple sources that seemed to imply they plan to drill fairly close to the original wellbore at 17,000 odd feet down, then turn back to vertical and track down parallel to the original wellbore the last 1000 feet or so to 18000', using some sort of locating tool to keep position along the original wellbore within 10 feet or so. Note this isn't shown on any of the published well diagrams I've seen so far, so this really is just a rumor.

However, now purely as speculation (as opposed to unsubstantiated rumor!), to me this seems like it could avoid a lot of issues of worrying about trying to drill through casing on the first relief well. Idea being to simply drill down until establish pressure communication with the original well just above the reservoir (within 10' of the original well) & let the natural suction flow of original wellbore kill itself as it sucks up the mud from the relief well? This method wouldn't matter whether current failure was now flowing from only annulus channeling or back up through the drill pipe or both, and wouldn't rely on the rather tricky issue of possibly needing to drill through both sets of pipe while in pressure communication with the original well.

Only issue I see with this approach is needing to be ready to pump a LOT of mud fast once pressure communication established (which is a common problem on any relief well option I think), and might need to be very close to original wellbore so that it sucks up the mud rather than bypassing the mud & continuing to flow oil.

Other risks / thoughts on this possibility of use of a relief well?

Adm Allen spread that same rumor this morning during a teleconference.


ADMIRAL ALLEN: And they are starting to close in on the, on the well. What they actually do, just for your information, they actually come very close to the well itself. Probably within 10 feet of it. And as they pass by it, they use telemetry and sensor to actually locate to a virtual certainty where the well, where the pipe is at.

Then they actually, this is directional drilling, they actually bend the drill bit down and they go down about another thousand feet and they come right back into the pipe. And the reason they do that is to get an absolute location and then follow the pipe down to the exact intercept point.

They’re going to be very close to that point of passing with 10 feet in the next couple of weeks. But that last thousand feet where they have to align it right because they’re basically trying to hit a seven inch diameter pipe after they go through the casing. And the last thousand feet and the telemetry required to do that and the sensors required to do that are very, it’s a slower process. It has to be very, very exact.

So while they’re ahead of schedule now, I’m not prepared to say that they’ll be able to do this in anything short of the August date. But the current timeline has them ahead of schedule.

His reference to the August date in the end was a bit of backtracking from a statement he made earlier in the call that

We anticipate over the next three to four weeks they will close in and be able to tap into the well itself. At that point, they will pump mud down ...

He also mentioned that they are looking into actually collecting the oil coming to the Q4000 and transferring it to shore, rather than burning it as they are now.

Thanks for finding source rainyday, though it does seem to state they are still drilling through casing rather than my random musings of trying to avoid doing that.

Not only drilling through the casing .. there was this exchange...

HARRIS: OK. And in terms of hitting the pipe, the, my understanding is the leak is not within that seven inch internal pipe but it’s between that and the external pipe. So what is their target the internal pipe that’s actually presumably not leaking? Or is it that small gap between the internal pipe and the casing?

ADMIRAL ALLEN: Well, what you want to do is you want to have an opening into the casing and if you need to into the pipe itself so you can pump mud in to kill the well. But the first thing they will do is they’ll actually drill through the casing and at that point they’ll make a decision whether or not they want to pump mud down and try and kill the well that way. Or whether or not, and the other thing is they need to actually find out whether the pipe, the drill pipe is still there. Because the drill pipe is another way for either mud or oil to go up or down. And then they may, at that point, make a second decision to drill into the pipe.

I'm a bit confused ... I thought the drill pipe only extended around 3,000 ft below the seabed. Do they think it might have dropped to the bottom?

Another interesting exchange about the condition of the BOP, piping and casing.

Q: Yes, hi. Thanks, Admiral. Do you believe the well pipes themselves are broken or leaking at all? And do you have any concerns about the integrity of the blow out preventer, the well borer, the sea floor that’s holding up the blow out preventer? Thanks.

ADMIRAL ALLEN: That’s a terrific question. Let me kind of take it in sequence. We have some idea of the condition of the blow out preventer and lower marine riser package. In combination, they call that the stack that sits above the well head itself. We know from some sonic testing that was done based on radiography equipment from the Department of Energy we have a partial closer of some of those rams but not a complete closer. And that was a problem for the top kill operation because we could not get enough pressure on top of the blow out preventer to force all of the mud down into the well bore to allow us to top kill it, if you will.

So we know that the, that there is, there is, and we also know that there is product rising up through the blow out preventer through the, where we cut the lower marine riser pipe. We’re not going to know the exact condition of that blow out preventer until we’ve capped the well, can remove the blow out preventer and bring it to the surface.

I’ve said on several occasions, I consider that blow out preventer almost the equivalent of this incident of the black box we would be seeking to find after an aviation accident because it can reveal a lot of information related to what happened at the time of the event. And the blow out preventer was key to that.

As you move below that and you go down into the well bore, I think that one thing that nobody knows is the condition of the well bore from below the blow out preventer down to the actual oil field itself. And we don’t know, we don’t know if the well bore has been compromised or not. One of the reasons we did not continue with top kill at higher pressures, there was a concern that if we increased the pressure too hard it might do damage to the casings and the well bore. What we didn’t want was open communication of any oil from the reservoir outside the well bore that might get into the formation and work its way to the sub sea floor and then result in uncontrolled discharge at that point. That has not happened and that’s the reason they’re taking such precautions and did not proceed any further with the top kill.

What we are doing is going down the very bottom of the well bore for this intercept and hopefully at that point they will start pumping mud in. And mud will first go up all the way and fill the well bore and then it will be forced down over the oil into the reservoir and then put enough weight of the mud to hold the oil in the reservoir. And then allow them to put a cement plug in after that.

So what I would tell you is we don’t know exactly the condition of the well bore. And that’s one of the unknowns that we’re managing around in terms of risks. And that’s the reason we didn’t go, didn’t go to excessive pressures on the top kill and decided that we’d deal with containment and then go for the final relief well.

btw, the transcript was just posted a short while ago. At points during the call, Allen sounds as mixed up as some of us newbies. There is such a difference when all of you experienced guys speak the lingo so fluently and so knowledgeably.

ps. sorry for the length Prof. G.

Oh, most excellent! Oil! Oil! Oil as far as the eye can see.

Should probably end those pesky excavation probs we've been having.

Yes it is. Written by complete Nutcase (or Mossad operative depending on your particular conspiracy theory) David Booth pretending to be Sorcha Faal.

I just looked into it. Wow!
...And I thought I had issues. :)

Old style Kremlin agitprop. "Before it's news", ha.

Hi all,
While we must consider the source, there are some compelling points to be considered, nonetheless.

It is true Russia has used nukes to kill oil and gas wells with success. Did they just get lucky, or did they have a lot of data on the rock and direct the force in such a way as to avoid bigger failure?

Seems to me we need to know, in painstaking detail, all about the reservoir and the rock around it. Before we dismiss a controlled detonation of some sort.

I think there's a need to know all about the reservoir and the rock around it and a lot of other stuff before a controlled detonation of some sort is even considered.

I'm quite sure the Russians never exploded a nuclear device deep in the Gulf's seabed. I can't see why anything they've done would apply.

Need to know... agreed Need a Rock-hound to get the lowdown.

"I can't see why anything they've done would apply." Except, it worked.

Not in this formation in the Gulf. The device is way less of an X-factor than the idiosyncratic characteristics of the structure and its subsequent behavior, 3D for a long way away. When they blew the crap out of a hole in the Urtabulak gas field in the south of Uzbekistan they had a larger margin for error, I'll bet.

Good Luck with that my friend! Is there such a thing as a shaped nuclear detonation charge?

Yup, there are nuclear equivalents to an explosive shaped charge. Actually been around for quite a while.

Would anyone direct me to any public sources verifying the Russian use of a nuke to kill a well. Russian language is ok.


See page 35ff. Report published by the U.S. Department of Energy in 2000, "The Soviet Program for Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Explosions", https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=http://www.princeton.edu/sgs/publicat...

Well, I would not like to see radioactive oil spread everywhere. Been burned extensively, back in the early eighties. Wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy. Can't go thru that again. Won't be goin down there to help clean that up, if thats the case.

So the radioactivity from even a single small shot would all come out and this would make it vastly more lethal then even emptying one half to the entire reservoir (or whatever huge portion is needed for the pressure to cease and the flow to self-halt)? 25 Million barrels of oil (half the reservoir) is several times bigger than the Gulf War/Kuwaiti oil spill, the biggest ever. Something of that magnitude is what you'd be looking at if nobody can stop this and it just has to flow and flow until the pressure stops. I couldn't imagine what kind of damage such a thing would do to the GOM. How is a single small nuke shot going to discharge enough sufficiently long-lived radioactivity as to produce so much environmental damage such that it alone would render insignificant the damage from the super-spill itself, esp. after factoring in dilution, slow release, etc., plus the fact that you don't detonate it inside the reservoir or even inside the spilling well, but rather in the rock off to the side to "crush" the well closed?

It is guaranteed that a large explosive shock wave, nuclear or otherwise, would fracture rock, open fissures, and make the situation totally uncontrollable and over a much wider area than the wellhead, even below 3,000 feet. Using shaped explosive charges to open up pay zone strata is standard industry practice. And in case you're wondering, the glasses formed by an underground/on-ground nuclear fireball fracture and crack on cooling.

Unless it's Corning Ware.......right? Heh! Heh!

mike3 "Is it known that the geology of the area is likely so unstable that a tremor from such a burst could trigger a chain-reaction of such oil-releasing landslides?"

That's the $64,000 question.

I get your drift. Just as a supposition I would assume that 47 miles offshore the sea bed is fairly flat a mile down and well settled. I don't think there would be much surface shift. In terms of 3,000 feet down, where would anything slide to? The pressure is equalized. A nuke would create a cavity, roughly spherical, but probably not larger than a few hundred feet max. Rock fractures would extend much further, but these wouldn't remain open cracks. They'd close as soon as the explosion gas temperature/pressure went down. Inductive logic has its problems ;-)


A while back I did a quick estimate of about $5 billion for the 6 months. This afternoon I had a visit by a VP of one of the biggest oil patch service companies. They’ve done an internal estimate and their cash flow loss alone is $4 billion. Based upon their market share the total loss will be around $12 - 15 billion. Even more shocking was the job loss. The loss includes all service companies including in-house personnel: 1400 hands per rig. That represents about 46,000 of the highest paid workers in the Gulf Coast. Hard to believe but this company is very well known for tracking oil field statistics. And even though the moratorium doesn’t include wells in under 900’ of water those ops are taking a hit. The permit process has slowed to a crawl. They have one client that had to stack 4 shallow water rigs because their drill permits are stuck in limbo. More pain on top of pain. Many of the extended families losing income from the spill also get nice pay checks from the oil patch. Been years since I’ve seen this one oil patch hand but he and his brother had a great setup: they worked 2 weeks on/two weeks off. While one worked offshore the other ran their private business: commercial fishing guides. As they say: irony so thick you could cut it with a knife.

This is heartbreaking.

However, I can't support an end to the moratorium until two key issues are resolved:

1) BOP failure root cause and remedy.
2) Automatic Disconnect failure root cause and remedy.

I realize it should have never come to the point where these pieces of equipment were needed, but they failed and people died because of it. Those that design and make them must know the root cause for failure and remedies must be made and implemented.

Then drilling can commence with much improved oversight (R-Man, Inc.).

I agree valve about the BOP status. The indusrty ignored it way too long. As far as safe drilling practices I would bet my stash of Blue Bell it's safer today the it's ever been. Whether it's safe enough is for the gov't/public to decide. As far as sailorman's idea of a 20 year moritorium nothing would make 95%+ of the oil companies happier. Anything that increases the value of our reserves is a plus. The public is trapped by their own gluttony: drill DW and risk the environment or rush towards PO a little faster. The DW ramped up offshore oil production rapidly. But it's going to disappear just as quickly due the high extraction rate protocol. Either way the train wreck is one the way IMHO. It's just a question of when. Thus, in a sense, the moritorium doesn't matter too much either way. Just my dark view of the future but the nightmare of the future resource wars will make the current incident look less scary.

ROCKMAN, the cost of the moratorium could make drilling in the GOM even more dangerous when it does sputter back to life at some point. No one is talking about the massive loss of the experience that will occur if the guys on the edge of retirement get pushed over the cliff and into the rocking chair before the drilling starts back up.

They are not talking about the guys in my age group (38) that started working in the early nineties, guys who attained a bunch of OJT over the years that may go elsewhere for good. My company is like many service companies we are dispersing hands to the four winds some may not come back for a while if ever.

We're are not hearing anyone worry about the good young workers that showed much promise and made it through this last market slow down just to have this BS happen. We're certainly not thinking about the next generation of oil field workers that will make the choice to do something else for a living, rather than deal with industry demonization along with periodic job losses.

IMHO if your right, when the energy prices go high enough to make "the little people" forget about the BP Horizon disaster and rigs come back to start searching for what the masses will be begging for (cheap oil) we won't have anyone available to get the job done safely.

Thank God for foriegn energy supplies! ... I think ?

good god.....

the last thing folks need after they cant fish .....15 billion revenue gone that would have been so helpful to lubricate the cogs in a struggling region ......50,000 good paying jobs lost .....this is just a sad state of affairs

and the only jobs to be had are 10$/hr beach cleaning gigs in the sweltering 100 degree heat and high humidity thrown in for fun .....

through hurricanes and all ......at least they had the fishing jobs and off shore jobs to come back to , to help em rebuild ......this time no fishing ...no offshore jobs ....if a hurricane hits this season i wonder if all people will bother to even return .....a sad sad state of affairs

EL .... el perfecto


I'd like to see the moratorium on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico extended to twenty years. We're going to need that oil a LOT more in twenty years than we do now. American oilmen can work overseas; it's a global industry. So oil companies will lose a lot of money. Boo hoo.

"American oilmen can work overseas; it's a global industry."

Don Sailorman, your right oilmen with experience and technical skills should be ok, it's the shipyard workers , the service dock workers, the deck hands and rough necks that won't be able to go with their workboats and rigs. It's the guys that work their asses off that will bear the brunt. Teachers, firemen, and police will also be laid off in my local area once the tax revenue go down. The "oilmen" they will mostly be fine.

We will have guys going to the shale plays in North America and you'll have some going along with the deepwater rigs overseas.

Yeah we will need more oil in twenty years, I agree, but you won't be able to get to it quickly or safely, because all of the expertise will be dead or gone.

Couldn't one make the same argument about cutting consuming oil? "If we stop consuming oil the oil workers will lose jobs! So don't cut the oil consumption! Keep buyin' them big cars and drivin' 'em!" Yet we need to get off of oil.

I agree Mike, oil production and the end user of hydrocarbons is not unlike illegal drug trafficking and junkies except for the fact that most junkies appreciate the their drug dealer more than people at the pump appreicate the people who fill their daily need.

I don't have much respect for those who bitch about oil, but never inconvenience themselves by trying to get off the stuff, they need rehab. I know more people who work on oil rigs that are planning and working to live off of the land, because they see our current unsustainable lifestyle coming to an end much more then I see people in other walks of life doing the same thing.

In the last year and a half, my company has laid off almost 1,000 workers, three of which were close friends of mine. Of those friends, one had 10 years experience, one had 20 years experience and the last had 35 years experience with this company.

Let's not forget that the employment hurt is spread out around the country and world right now. Don't ask me to feel more sorry for the oil patch folks more than any other folks hit by pockets of economic hardship.

Dragonfly41, I don't think anyone is asking you to feel sorry for them, but we won't feel sorry for the double dip recession that will occur due to the rising oil prices that may be on the way to a pump or a natural gas meter near you.

What we had in South Louisiana was a pocket of strong economic recovery and now we may have up to 60% unemployment in some coastal parishes. Many of the people in non-technical oil related jobs used to rely on commercial fishing during slow times in the oilfield. Man that's not going to work this time. Government assistance for all, no need to feel sorry line up to the soup line, but we prefer Gumbo! It is what it is!

Would it surprise anyone to know that BP had already developed the
technology to accurately measure troublesome oil and gas flow mixtures
at the well head two years ago? It can be done remotely and
continuously, at up to 10,000 feet, with a clamp-on, calibration free,
sonar flow meter, or that the company that sells and installs them is
presenting at petroleum conventions in Calgary and Newfoundland this

The reason BP does not want the true flow known, is that it would
require them to pay the "legitimate" fines and royalties they owe on
what is extracted, regardless of whether it is ever recovered. As of
mid-June their violations of the Clean Water Act alone are around $10B.
The reason no other oil driller wants it known, is that they may own
the next blowout and will also want to conceal their true obligations.

Expro Meters product video:


You might think a demonstration for the whole world to watch would be
worth more publicity than another silly petroleum convention:

"Key technologies on show for Expro at Canada shows

"Published Jun 10, 2010

"Expro is reinforcing its position as leader in well flow management at
this year’s Global Petroleum Show, Calgary (June 8th-10th) and at the
Atlantic Canada Petroleum Show, Newfoundland (June 16th – 17th), by
showing some of its latest and innovative technologies.

... ":Expro’s latest deepwater intervention technology will be
showcased at both events. Expro’s AX-S system will break new ground in
subsea well intervention when it comes to the market.

"AX-S™ (pronounced ‘access’) brings cost-effective, riser-less
intervention to deepwater wells (up to 10,000ft of water). Expro’s goal
is to deliver a full range of wireline intervention services in
deepwater wells at substantially less than the cost of using a rig.
Visitors to both shows will learn more about the capabilities of this
new technology through new 3D animated presentations.

"Expro Meters offers wellhead surveillance on demand, utilizing a range
of clamp-on sonar-based metering technology. Expro offers
round-the-clock, 24/7 well surveillance, on any well type or location.
Expro’s meters are clamp-on, non intrusive, easily installed and
applied without production shutdown, providing operators with a
permanent solution to their wellhead production surveillance needs.

"Expro Meters are also available on demand to provide quick and easy
well testing services through our portable clamp-on meters – anywhere
in the world."



This document is on BP's own website. It contradicts everything they
have said about not being able to accurately measure the rate of their
Gulf oil leak.:

Excerpt from p. 5 of BP's own Frontiers publication, August, 2008:

"... BP has identified that by combining sonar flow measurement with
additional measured parameters, such as pressure drop in a flow line,

"both the liquid rate and the gas rate on a wet gas flow line can be
determined. BP has proven this additional breakthrough in practice and
expects to deploy the technique in the field by the end of this year.

"It appears that measuring hydrocarbon flows which contain small but
troublesome percentages of liquids or gas may be less problematic in
the future thanks to BP's creative vision for sonar flow measurement.":


Where is the outrage, when Admiral Allen announced at his briefing
yesterday, that the next strategy was to "unbolt the flange" on top of
the blowout preventer, so they can connect a better containment cap on
a new flange top to capture 100% of the flow? The reason BP gave for
the containment cap leaking in the first place was because the pipe was
bent and there was no flange to connect to! If they could unbolt the
flange, that should have been the first option.

And, logic 101 demands admitting that the water depth of blowouts is
irrelevant. The methods that failed here, also failed at Ixtoc, at only
160 feet. Red Adair and his divers also failed to operate the BOP
manually. For the ROV operators on the surface, it is the same video
game they are playing at 100 feet, or 10,000 feet.

when you cut and paste, wrap your sentences please. This kind of structure takes up at least twice as much space as it needs to.


Well, I think there were 11 people surveilling this well at the time of the blow out. Unfortunately, they aren't here to share with us.

Dear Eyemagistus,
I was not surprised, still, thanks for the great post, very revealing...

As for the "nuke?" Let's just say little surprises me these days and I won't dismiss anything that could possibly kill this monster.

What is the feasibility of using a nuke to close off the oil leak?

About the same as using one to fix a leak in the plumbing in your house.

ROTFL! Damn! Now its asparagus all over the key board! You fellers have been hard on me of the last couple days!


What an innovative idea!

Who's going to be Slim Pickens? Simmons is too old to play the Major "King" Kong role.

OK, haven't looked at the ROV shots in awhile. So tonight, thought I'd take a peek and noticed something that doesn't make sense to me. On the shot from Enterprise ROV 2, you can see the bottom of the containment cap and the plume still coming out around the bottom.

What has me puzzled is this. Why are there hydrates floating up from behind the ROV and joining in with the plume rising up? Enterp - ROV 2 is slightly below the containment cap and maybe 3-5 feet away yet you can distinctly see a steady stream of hydrates coming up from some source AWAY from the containment cap.

I can think of several possibilities:

1) Hydrates are falling out from the cap plume some distance from the cap and recirculating back into the cap plume.

2) There is another smaller leak either below or to the side of ROV 2. This is a possibility. There could be some leakage out of the BOP or below the BOP.

What do you all think?

Looks like there were 'Rupture Disk Subs' in the 16" Casing.

I suspect they have ruptured.

. . . this is not good.

Found one unofficial statement that they are only 1/4 in dia.
If so, probably no real effect.

A lot of the fluid escaping around the bottom of the cap is gas. This is more visible on the Skandi ROV 1 feed. Gas plus seawater can form hydrates.

As we already know from the failure of the "dome", this gas forms hydrates at this pressure and temperature. I don't think it is anything more than hydrates forming from the gas we can see flowing out of the cap.

BP Oil Spill: Against Gov. Jindal's Wishes, Crude-Sucking Barges Stopped by Coast Guard
59 Days Into Oil Crisis, Gulf Coast Governors Say Feds Are Failing Them

...The Coast Guard needed to confirm that there were fire extinguishers and life vests on board, and then it had trouble contacting the people who built the barges.


Sounds as if the CG was worried about more than fire extinguishers ...

from this morning's teleconference, in response to a question about the barges

And in regards to the second question. In one of the overriding issues in any response like this is safety of personnel. What you don’t want to do is compound the problem you have out there by somebody getting hurt, injured or killed. It’s catastrophic enough that we lost 11 people when the mobile drilling unit sunk.

When you’re moving barges and tanks on barges and equipment on barges and sometimes you’re trying innovative technologies where you’re taking equipment that works on land and putting it on barges because that allows you to get opportunity in the marsh areas to evacuate oil and things like that, I think nobody has a problem with the concept.

We’re all trying to work together out there and we’re trying to do what is as affective as we can for the operations. But there are some basic safety and stability issues. You would not want to get out there and operate in the marshes and all of a sudden have a load shift or a capsizing and have all of a sudden another environmental problem, a physical problem for the marshes but more importantly, a safety problem for the personnel that are working out there.

Having been around for a bit, I notice in all fields a problem with "rule based" behavior. The more rules you employ, the more risk. For example, the banking crisis is based in rule-based accounting that says if you have x% equity it is off-balance sheet blah blah blah. The better standard is not rules, but accountants should answer [at penalty of their fortunes] the question "do the books of this company fairly reflect its financial position?" Likewise law, etc. In the offshore drilling arena, once you start having excessive bureaucracy, then the focus is simply passing the rules, rather than certain knowledge that everyone on the job will be accountable with their jobs and fortunes if they are careless. Just my thoughts.

Unbelievable Irony, I just got finished with a rant saying pretty much the same thing. My audience was a crew of oilfield service hands stuck on a deepwater drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico that's getting ready to shut down for a while.

This moratorium and regulation won't add much added safety if it's in the hands of the wrong people. Most wells in the Gulf of Mexico rarely use BOP's for well control. Oh they are down there, but with safe drilling practices, good downhole technology and experience. Safe people and good processes are much more important than rules and super redundant equipment.

If the right people go away and we have another oil boom (after the moratorium is complete), the wrong people could be employed to try to get you folks the commodities you crave.

Jobs and FORTUNES? Shoot! It's enough to come out with a paycheck sometimes! FORTUNES indeed!

I wonder if this is true:

But the Coast Guard ordered the stoppage because of reasons that Jindal found frustrating. The Coast Guard needed to confirm that there were fire extinguishers and life vests on board, and then it had trouble contacting the people who built the barges.

Could it be a "Not My Idea" issue!