BP's Deepwater Oil Spill - The Australian Oil Spill - and Open Thread

This thread is being closed. Please comment on http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6856.

Update by Gail, Sunday am: BP has been told to keep working on its relief well. On Saturday, Admiral Allen said he wanted additional testing before BP was given orders to proceed with the relief well, and those test would not be available until late Monday or early Tuesday. So it will be at least late Tuesday before he gives his order to proceed, putting the timing of the interception off until at least next week-end.

The Age in Melbourne has an article about a possible moratorium on oil and gas drilling in Australian waters, as a result of the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the Montara oil spill in the Timor Sea off Australia last year. A review into the Montara accident has just been completed but has not been released, for 'legal reasons'. Apparently prosecutions may be in order. It's a pity as the review may highlight some common factors with the Gulf of Mexico spill, particularly in relation to the failure of the BOPs to seal the well.

Wikipedia: The Montara Oil Spill

The Montara oil spill was an oil and gas leak and subsequent slick that took place in the Montara oil field in the Timor Sea, off the northern coast of Western Australia. It is considered one of Australia's worst oil disasters.The slick was released following a blowout from the Montara wellhead platform on August 21, 2009, and continued leaking until November 3, 2009 (in total 74 days), when the leak was stopped by pumping mud into the well and the wellbore cemented thus "capping" the blowout. The West Atlas rig is owned by the Norwegian-Bermudan Seadrill, and operated by PTTEP Australasia, a subsidiary of PTT Exploration and Production (PTTEP) which is in turn a subsidiary of PTT, the Thai state-owned oil and gas company was operating over on adjacent well on the Montara platform. The Montara field is located off the Kimberley coast, 250 km (160 mi) north of Truscott airbase, and 690 km (430 mi) west of Darwin. Sixty-nine workers were evacuated from the West Atlas jackup drilling rig when the blowout occurred.

The Australian Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism estimated that the Montara oil leak could be as high as 2000 barrels/day, five times the 400 barrels/day estimated by PTTEP Australasia. After flying over the spill site, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert claimed the spill was far greater than had originally been reported. WWF-Australia also claimed that the spill was worse than originally expected.

The first four attempts to plug the oil leak by PTTEP failed, but the fifth attempt succeeded on November 3, 2009, when PTTEP pumped approximately 3,400 barrels of mud into a relief well to stop the leak.

On November 1, 2009, during an attempt to plug the leak, a fire broke out on the West Atlas drilling rig. On November 2, PTTEP said that the fire appeared to be burning off the oil and thereby preventing further leakage into the sea. The fire was largely extinguished when the leak was stopped. Once safety criteria was met, a specialist team boarded the Montara wellhead platform and the West Atlas to assess the damages.

Given how much outrage the BP spill has caused in the United States, it's remarkable that after the first few days, the Montara oil spill was largely ignored by everyone in Australia and was probably never heard of in most parts of the world. This despite being our nation's largest oil spill and causing an oil slick 180 km (110 mi) wide (not bad for what was really a gas well and considering that much of the oil burnt at the wellhead). With so little public outrage, there has been very little pressure on the operators PTTEP to release details of the incident to the public. The official review has now been completed but even that may not be available for quite sometime:

The Age: Why the oil minister doesn't feel too well right now

We have not heard much about the Montara incident. No one was killed and maybe 30,000 barrels of oil spilled into the sea over a few months … that's less than BP's Deepwater Horizon was thought to be gushing into the Gulf of Mexico per day. And Australian-listed companies were not involved in Montara. The key companies involved were PTTEP of Thailand, and Atlas and Halliburton, both of the US.

But as luck would have it, an extended investigation of the Timor Sea incident has just been completed. The report was handed to Martin Ferguson last Friday … and the first thing the minister did was hold on to the document for ''a legal review''. Now you might think that is an easy way out for a government that will be damned if it responds to the Greens and doubly damned by a raging multinational resources sector. But the report has been delayed for public release on advice of the Solicitor-General. In other words, there is the real possibility of prosecutions following the Montara incident.

That's a pity because there is likely to be a lot of information in this inquiry relevant to the Deepwater Horizon blowout. But already it adds weight to the idea that there have been a large number of accidents and 'near misses' and that a serious blowout and failure of the BOP was not as 'unforseeable' as some in the industry have claimed. If prosecutions are a 'real possibility', then clearly somebody or some companies have not been doing their jobs very well. Some of the companies involved in the Deepwater Horizon blowout will surely be a little worried at the moment?

And is Martin Ferguson brave (or stupid?) enough not to consider a moratorium on new drilling in Australian waters until the reviews of both incidents can be acted upon?

Whatever the inquiry result Martin (Hare Lip) Ferguson would never put a moratorium on off shore drilling.If ever there was a Labor apparatchik wholly bought,paid for and signed up by big business it is him.

It is not only off shore drilling which is causing problems.The infant but booming CSG industry in QLD is already in strife with farmers over degradation of valuable agricultural land and the issue of the large quantities of hyper saline water produced in the extraction process is nowhere near being solved.

All this would be bad enough if the gas and oil produced was for Australian consumption. But most of it will be exported.Instead of imposing a super profits tax on these germs it would be far better for the long term welfare of Australia if they were just shut down.

Easy mate. Without gas the lights go out in WA. Australia imports 40% of its oil at the moment. Then there's depletion. Onshore oil almost nil.

CSG = Coal Seam Gas? (from context of saline water release -> farmers pissed off)

a.k.a. "Coal Bed Methane" (CBM) here in the U.S.

For other foreign readers, QLD is Queensland, state in N.E. Australia.

reminder to spell out all but the most obvious abbreviations on first use.

You'd almost think oil was running out with the great lengths they seem to be going to. I believe there is talk in drilling in water a kilometre deep, double that of Deepwater. I note the Timorese now demand Sunrise oil production is landed on their soil rather than NT or a floating refinery. And whaddayaknow China is now cosying up to East Timor.

In other unsurprising news in Drumbeat I see Norway is now worried about its long term gas reserves. That prospect never seems to have occurred to Martin Ferguson. Maybe the mining tax should have a special deduction for those who save some oil and gas for later.

I guess Woodside would have sound commercial and engineering reasons for putting in a floating production platform.Even if they would prefer a land based system I doubt if they would spend megabucks in a place like Timor with it's record of instability.

The Chinese can sniff around as much as they like.The Timorese government will no doubt act contrary to the long term interests of their people.Just like the Australian government who are continuing to push that abomination of a concept,a free trade agreement,this time with China.

Re your last sentence - I'm afraid that conservation was long ago consigned to the back paddock with the other pensioner nags.A hedonistic society has no concept of the future,let alone reality.

You'd almost think oil was running out with the great lengths they seem to be going to

You have to look no further than chapter 3 of the recent Australian Energy Resource Assessment:


I have put it together here:

Australian crude oil production to decline 85% over the next 10 years

Western Australia's battle for offshore oil
Crude Oil dropped by 27% in 2009

See also a compilation of Australian graphs here:


I am using the above graph to superimpose traffic forecasts:

M2 widening: Primary Energy Dilemma for cars

Brisbane Motorists bypass the Bypass Tunnel

I believe there is talk in drilling in water a kilometre deep, double that of Deepwater

Check details here:

2010 Acreage Release


New petroleum frontiers revealed


Beautiful and informative graphics, Matt.

I spent a lot of time in Australia. There is less prospectivity than you imagine and a great deal of fraud by permit applicants. The Oz government is even-handed and transparent about acreage release and publishing whatever data exists, usually 2D lines and bottom dredging. No payola. They award on the basis of "program of work." Field day for ASX listed minnows, because the majors won't touch tiny stranded prospects.

The Bight has some interesting turbidite sands. Zeewick and Mentelle are plausible plays.

Note: Macondo well in 1500m of water. Other GOM wells in 2000+m.

The Marcando well is only at about 5,000 ft deep, not extreme by any means.
A KILOMETER deep would only be at about 3,200 ft deep.

All reserves can only be produced once. It does take some time and expense to develope more of them. Withouth those investments, the Aussies would still be 50% sheep and 50% roos for the diet and traveling via walkabouts.

...the fifth attempt succeeded on November 3, 2009, when PTTEP pumped approximately 3,400 barrels of mud into a relief well to stop the leak.

Sounds just like an ordinary top kill doesn't it? The previous attempts being aborted due to fire (burning undispersed methane).

Did they use undersea dispersants for the fifth top kill attempt?


Could the Australian government be offering cover for the Obama administration by withholding a damaging report?

Edit - Australia is part of the British Commonwealth, so it would seem that the Queen could force release of the report as evidence in a possible legal action, British Pensioners v. USA & Steven Chu et al in British Admiralty Court, where one can be sure the barristers understand the word demurrage.

There is exactly zero chance the Queen would intervene in Orstralian politics. It was bad enough in 1975 when one of her representatives did.

A critical point for those of you not resident in God's own country. We have a federal election in six days time. The minister, and his entire government are up for re-election. Not only that, it is going to be a very very close election. With a report in his hand about the spill, the minister is never going to release it now. No matter what he does it will only be downhill. He may not have a job in a week, and during the period in which the election is running the government has highly proscribed powers anyway.

If the conservatives get in (We call them the Liberals believe it or not) it will be very interesting to see what happens. Even if Labour squeak back in it will be some weeks before the dust settles anyway, before business as usual resumes.

We use an elephant as a symbol for our conservatives and a donkey (ass) to represent the liberals. The wealthy coasts of the United States of America are the blue, Democrat, liberals and in the center of the nation are the poorer red, Republican, conservatives. Our elections are in November and this is what we call a mid-term election. That would be an even year election when we do not vote for a President. I have NO idea what will happen in November. Both sides have supporters and detractors, but most folks would just as soon take a flamethrower to both parties. I suspect you probably feel the same about your politicians. Good luck.

but most folks would just as soon take a flamethrower to both parties

Which is why I am supporting this guy and working on his campaign. I believe that it is time for all citizens to become involved and maybe things can change.


Really? Cool. I am active too. I am supporting this guy for Congress. He has such an evil scientist laugh.

Edit: Also in the oil response team too. Get the Roach. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_LZn95QumW8&feature=related

Looks like your guy has a plan of action when he gets to Congress. I am sure that Dave being a Navy Seal could help. ;)

Rio, Dave has my vote (soon as I saw he was a pilot AND a Seal), unfortunately I don't live in Oklahoma so will have to use the methods followed in Washington and Minnesota to vote for him. We'll have to ask TFHG if he's one of those "Major" Seals. :)

BTW, updated my profile to show you my belt buckles (Dad's actually). I'm going to start wearing the oilfield trash one in support of all the folks out of work down in the gulf. Too bad it is so hard to get through security with one of these, I don't think they like the gold plating.. ;\)

(soon as I saw he was a pilot AND a Seal

I am a pilot also, been flying since 1956 (about 3000 hrs including some jet time), also a former Navy man (USNR), but can't claim to be anywhere near as elite as Dave. Those Seals are unbelievable.

Yep, I am very familiar with the International Association of Oilfield Trash. Back in the 70's and 80's I attended a lot of their great fish fries.

Seal. No way, 13A. ROTC paying off college volunteer. Platoon Leader fresh out of college. Damn lucky I did not get fragged. It was a new reserve unit that had an awesome SFC, so I had it made. I made him look good and he made me look good. Got out in a little over two years and went right to work.

Both sides have supporters and detractors, but most folks would just as soon take a flamethrower to both parties.

I'll second that. Do we have a quorum?


I'm in.

Did you click my link and see my choice for Congress, Mr. max16?

We need a man like that in Congress.

I'm there.

It amazes me how the politics in certain countries are increasingly always very very evenly split between the two top (bad) choices. Almost seems like a plan...

Sounds just like an ordinary top kill doesn't it?


No it sounds like a bottom kill via relief well.

jinn -- abablubi: "On November 1, 2009, the West Triton rig successfully drilled the relief well to intercept the leaking well. During operations to kill the leak by pumping heavy mud down the relief well, a fire broke out on the Montara Wellhead Platform and the West Atlas rig."

Interesting side bar:"However, PTTEP rejected the Woodside offer on the basis of "safety reasons". The Woodside rig was a semisubmersible drilling rig and, as it floats on the sea surface, was not deemed as a suitable platform for the relief well due to heavy swells. On September 6, the plugging of the oil leak was delayed further by a broken towline to the mobile oil rig being towed in from Indonesia by PTTEP."

So the semis that can handle N Sea conditions can't handle these sea conditions? Righttttttt. Sounds more like the operator didn't want to pay the higher day rate. So they delayed the RW to save some bucks. Sounds like the Aussies should have their own hanging party gather up. IMHO they should tag an additional fine equal to at least 50X what they saved by not using the semi in the first place. Might be a good precedent for other operators to take note of.

Posted this at the end of the previous thread in answer to a post about ROVs with no feed.

The feeds we don't see are ROVs Millenium 36 and 37 operating from the Boa Sub C (not to be confused with Boa Deep C). We never see these feeds and never have. Thad's been asked about these feeds but we still don't get them.

Perhaps they sometimes carry some of Dr "Fu Manchu" Chu's possibly "sensitive" DoE/DoD equipment? Or perhaps BP and Thad have mixed up the two Boas and have forgotten about one of the ships. But that doesn't seem likely.

In any case the lack of these feeds strongly feeds beliefs that BP/US Government are hiding something.

The feeds for Boa Sub C were visible in the famous BP Photoshopped Control Room picture. Hi Res Original untouched at http://www.flickr.com/photos/bpamerica/4816204905/sizes/o/in/set-7215762...

The Mission title of Mill 37 may read "Aco***** Monster" but more likely "Acoustic Monitor" :)

Pretty tight blackout today. Scandi low-res gone, after I saw them working at the old BOP. Usual threesome shown here, with a very odd apparent tilt.

All the feeds are dead right now. Just went down a few mins ago. Happens from time to time and feeds usually back fairly quickly. Will see what happens this time.

See, this (and the same thing in the pic below) is exactly what I have a problem with. You pick the pictures that show the most severe optical illusion, ignore that the ROVs are free to tilt and roll, ignore that the ROV is above the stack and that normal perspective will cause a vertical object to appear to be leaned over to one side and tilted back toward the point of view, and then throw out some leading 'questions' peppered with black helicopter paranoia hints. You know damn well what you're looking at, but you say it's something else.

All feeds cut at this timestamp.

Starting to come back now. I have Q4000 back.

Scandi low-res back online. Who the hell flies an ROV crooked?

They are not being piloted crooked, the thrusters are barely able to make headway against the new methane bursters.

It's worser than we thought and we thought it was pretty bad. Prayer, hand-wringing and mindless commentary is the only possible salvation of the GOM. Blacked, crispy pelican pics will beat the he'll out of greasy turtles. It is just a matter of time.

/Sol is fall outta main-sequence! Halp!

Thanks a bunch.

Glad you cleared that up. At first glance I thought I was looking at a Corexited narwhal.

I thought it was the Mormon Narwhal:-)



It's the dead whale tied to the side of the ROV.

Which part of this do you not understand?

Boa Deep C has left the MC252 operations area


If you are going to be rude then I'll just respond: "What part do you not understand?" I am talking about "Boa Sub C" not "Boa Deep C". They are two different ships and I even pointed that out in the post to prevent confusion. Boa Sub C has not left the operations area and can still be seen there on Marine Traffic. Boa Deep C has gone.

Boa Sub C http://www.boa.no/Default.aspx?ID=49

Boa Deep C http://www.boa.no/Default.aspx?ID=50

I've noticed that there are a couple of ROV that always hang around the wellhead (you can see them in other ROV feeds) but they don't have feeds themselves. I assume those are the Sub C ROV?

I also see that on Aug 9 Thad Allen was asked (again) about the lack of video from these ROV and said (again) that he would look into it.

Yes these are the Boa Sub C ROV's unless there's another invisible ROV handling ship on the surface right next to the Boa Sub C :-)

Thad might be playing dumb when asked about them.

Okay. Thanks for your answer.

My apologies, been reading too many 'the seafloor's explodin' threads. Don't see either on the BP tracker and can't find the other tracker.


Thanks, see it now. Bookmarked the link this time :(



FOR ALL: I’ve seen reports that Thad is concerned about the potential leak of 1,000 bbls of oil “trapped” in the well. Can’t find the actual statement…true? If he did then I’m as confused as ever. If he’s talking about the annular area between the production csg and the shallow liners that volume is less than 1,000 bbls. (I think…don’t have my little Red Book handy). Not that we need more oil in the GOM but 1,000 bbls isn’t much to worry about IMHO. I wonder, if the statement is true, if he’s actually expressing concern about the annulus not being killed and has the potential to renew a large and continuous oil release back into the GOM.


Here's what Thad said yesterday. as I understand it (could be wrong...) pressure tests have confirmed no communication with reservoir seen via any path. However they are worried that there may be pressurised oil (or mud?) trapped in the annulus held at the top by the intact hanger seal and at the bottom by cement. That volume is approx 1,000 barrels according to Thad. The main worry is that, when they drill into the outer telescopic casing, they could end up blowing the hanger seal and then the weakest point at the BOP/Stack if they try to pump mud/cement into a sealed system thus venting some/all of the trapped "oil". The very worse case scenario I suppose is if they break the bottom cement seal during bottom kill and then somehow blow up the relief well as well as the original well.


Gary Taylor: Hi, yes, I just wanted to make sure, are we – we still only talking about a maximum release of just the 1,000 barrels that you said was caught in the annulus? Is that what we're talking about here?

Thad Allen: Right now we know there is 1,000 barrels of essentially stagnate oil in the annulus and what we really need to understand is, the pressure readings would tell us that it's static in there and there is no communication with the reservoir. What we're trying to figure out right now is, what is the – what are the implications of whatever is between the annulus and the reservoir in regards to the volume and the pressure that we created by putting the mud and the cement into the annulus. But right now, what would appear to be at risk right now is the thousand barrels.

What we don't know and never want to even get close to would be a worst case scenario where we think there'd be some kind of possibility in the process of doing this that we would create some kind of a communication that we had not expected. But at this point, a realistic risk right now is the thousand barrels and BP will have directions to mitigate that, so we will take care of that before we do any bottom kill.

Thanks tow. That makes sense...sorta. But doesn't make any difference what's in the annulus...oil/water/mud. If the annulus is sealed both top and bottom then any attempt to pump cmt into it will run the pressure up very quickly. Just a few tens of bbls would do it and before you know it you've exceeded the frac gradient of the rock or the specs of some portion of the system. But how else are they going to pump cmt if the don't break down some seal that's supposedly inplace? If the system is no longer leaking to the cap/BOP then the only way to pump cmt in a bottom kill effort is to fracture something: csg shoes, liner cmt, the new bottom cmt, the csg itself. Basic physics: no two atoms can exist in the same space at the same time. For every bbl of cmt pumped one bbl of something has to be lost in the system somewhere. But maybe I've missed something in the conversation.

If I've followed correctly, it seems they were originally expecting the annulus not to be sealed at both ends (and everywhere in between). Seems the one time they actually wanted a leak they don't have one :)

To make sure they can hold the pressure spike BP have been asked to demonstrate to Thad's satisfaction, as one option, that they can safely remove the old BOP/stack and replace with a new one prior to bottom kill. They can then blow the top seal if needed and take excess flow safely through the new BOP.

Of course if they are willing to replace the BOP that begs the question of why they don't then just continue with a standard "Plug & Abandon" rather than drilling into a sealed pressured-up system miles under the ocean with another well.

But doesn't make any difference what's in the annulus...oil/water/mud.


Seems to me it would make a difference what's in the annulus.

If it is oil in the then the pressure in that contained volume is much lower than if it is the original mud. And then there is a question of how did that oil get there if this is a closed container.

If the theory is that the oil got there because there was at one time a flow of oil up the annulus and casing hangar (Allen suggested this was a possibility). Then there is the possibility that the RW intercept could cause a pressure jump in the annulus that again would cause a leak at the casing hangar and possibly even lift or disturb the production casing so that a flow path from the reservoir would also be established to the well head.

Of course the relief well is right there pumping mud so it shouldn't turn into another full scale blow out but sh*t happens.

The question Allen is wrestling with is it safer to drill the RW now or replace the BOP first given that it appears that could be done now without incident.

I agree with you Jinn, from the standpoint of potential pressure spike that could be transmitted from the RW to the casing seals, it does make a difference what's in the annulus. The thing I'm struggling with is how have they determined that it's oil/gas on the back side... observed compressibility during the top kill?... an unexpected oil show in the RW via fractures? Any thoughts?

jinn -- to clatrify: no difference as to what might be leaked into the GOM. Big difference as to whats open to flow and not.

Rockman- I haven't heard anything that suggests the concern is about polluting the gulf with whatever is in the annulus. The concern is making a mistake that might cause another blow out. Allen has said numerous times that he is analyzing the high risk low probability scenarios. Which translates into this may be much ado about nothing.

Allen now seems to be convinced there is oil in the annulus. So how did it get there? Even if the bottom of the annulus was open to the reservoir, by what mechanism would the mud be displaced. Or put another way where did mud go?

Sometimes I get the feeling Allen senses he's being jerked around by BP. But he doesn't have the expertise to know who amongst the various experts is BSing and who isn't so he just makes whatever he is told public.


What if they were to replace the BOP then perf the production casing below the BOP near the well head. They could then finish the intercept and pump mud from the bottom till the oil is circulated out of the annulus. Then they can go in and finish the abandonment procedure. Shouldn't effect anything in the production casing as it is already full of mud. Oil and water can be collected through the BOP and processed at the surface.

Is it feasable?

What if they were to replace the BOP then perf the production casing below the BOP near the well head. They could then finish the intercept and pump mud from the bottom till the oil is circulated out of the annulus. Then they can go in and finish the abandonment procedure. Shouldn't effect anything in the production casing as it is already full of mud. Oil and water can be collected through the BOP and processed at the surface.

Is it feasable?


That sounds like a fair description of one of the options.

The main problem with that is that if the cement that is isolating annulus from the producing formation were to let loose during the period of time when no BOP was on the well. The ongoing ambient pressure test is presumably looking at that risk.


Isn't that why they did the ambiant pressure test. Would seem to be minimal risk from those results???

It sounds like they are still proceeding with the ambient pressure test. I don't know how long they expect it to take to get the old BOP off, but it does seem from the test result so far like the well would be a able to handle change over at this time.

If they don't want to get down to the reservoir, they can lay the relief well parallel to Macondo about a foot away, and perf in two places, one on bottom and the second higher up the hole (say 200 feet above). They'll need deep penetration charges to get through. Then they can run in and set an open hole packer in the relief well, and circulate. If they can't, and the perforating charges did go into the Macondo well, then the Macondo well is cemented. In that case they can circulate cement and plug the relief well.

My preferred option has been to go to the reservoir, and flood it with sea water, then flood it with gelled brine, and then follow that up with higher viscosity higher brine until the near well area is surrounded by a pretty dense viscous pill. Given the problem these guys face, I would work with heavy brine and not mud, but I think they got a problem with hole stability using brine - otherwise why use mud when brine is so much smarter?

Now I want to add another option: follow the viscosified brine with a good dose of resin, formulate it to plug the heck out of the near wellbore area. This way the permeability around the well will be shot to hell. The problem is most of it will go into the bottom sand, I guess.

In addition to some concern about an unplanned dumping into the enviroment, Allen said on 8/11:

There [would be] very little harm to the environment but we need to understand that they would like to have the blow out preventer if they can removed intact.

At this point, after the initial blowout, the top kill and junk kill attempts, and 100+ days of heavy flow, they still seemed to be worried about what one more assault on the BOP could do to their evidence collection.

I've been struggling a bit to understand this 'ambient' pressure test.

Having re-read again the Allen and Wells transcripts from the last few days it seems to me that apart from the integrity of the cement in the production casing itself, or the integrity of the casing itself, the only other set of cirumstances that they are testing for is one in which :

- there is no cement seal (either from the original job or the kill job) above the reservoir in the annulus, AND

- there is thus high pressure below the casing hanger (reservoir pressure minus the head of whatever fluid is in the annulus), AND

- the reduction of the BHP pressure to ambient creates enough pressure difference across the hanger to lift it and the casing string beneath

Such a result would indicate communication with the reservoir, and from the pressure encountered say something about the proportions of mud and oil in the annulus.

But to purposely cause the hanger to fail seems one hell of a move to me. And I think I saw someone post here a while back some calculations which suggested that you would need a very large delta-pressure to lift the hanger. Can't find it anywhere. It may have been a copy of a post made on another site? Can anyone help?

The likely maximum of 7000 psi under the hanger, minus the 2300 psi in the BOP does not seem large enough to do the job. I must be missing something.

One last thing - a small off-topic - following the footage of the Husky pilot handling his plane very nicely into the strong headwind, check out the sheer skill of this guy. I imagine he had a few beers that night...


HOLY MOLY, bignerd!

Hadda open that cockpit fast for some fresher air, didn't he?

(hunches shoulders, lifts palms, rolls eyes) Just dunno.

Well that one took me in, hook line and sinker.

Retires with tail between legs, vowing never to OT again...

I had to look twice then spotted the other clip down the side. Had been wondering why the break was so clean, no cables or anything, also the landing didn't seem to have the right movement timing for a plane.


Also in the seen and not to be believed category:


Hi bignerd. I am a pilot. That you-tube footage is quite famous in the aviation world. It is commonly regarded as a fake!! Do not have any proof however. Google around and see what you come up with.
cheers juan.

I have been puzzled by the state of the static kill and the annulus condition for the past two weeks. (I guess everyone else is puzzled as well, including Admiral Thad.) It was reported that 500 barrels of cement were pumped, with about 300 remaining in the production string and 200 going outside somewhere. If the top of the annulus is sealed at the suspect hanger, then there is no way that the 200 barrels went up the annulus from the bottom, unless it broke out at some formation above the main reservoir. In that case the reservoir is not adequately sealed. The bottom kill is still needed. If the 200 barrels, or a significant part of the 200 barrels did go up the annulus, it probably means that the top seal leaked, but the well is now thoroughly sealed. The bottom kill would be more or less useless, but it would also not cause any damage.

I believe there is a lot of financial liability riding on what is found in the annulus at the RW location. If there is only cement, then the static kill "worked". If there is only mud, then the static kill did not work, but the original cement job worked for the annulus. (It is my understanding that the original expected TOC is below the RW intersect point.) If there is significant HC then neither cement job worked. 200 barrels is a lot of cement. If it all went up the annulus the TOC would be considerably above the 9 7/8 casing shoe.

The only real "smoking gun" for BP "willful" negligence is the number of centralizers used for the final string. Willful negligence is what leads to treble damages and higher fines. Others can argue whether BP was innocent, stupid, unlucky, criminal, or whatever. That is not my point here. If there is no HC in the annulus at the RW intersect, then the centralizer issue more or less goes away.

(Yes, I am new here.)

"But how else are they going to pump cmt if the don't break down some seal that's supposedly inplace? If the system is no longer leaking to the cap/BOP then the only way to pump cmt in a bottom kill effort is to fracture something: csg shoes, liner cmt, the new bottom cmt, the csg itself. "

This is why I asked why they pumped cement in the last thread, Rock. It only made sense to do it if they believed it would kill the well and make the RW unnecessary. Otherwise, they (potentially) end up with what you describe above, a situation that makes the RW less certain and more risky/complicated.

So I guess it was deemed a failure on some ground and the RW now must go in and fix things. So all of this messing around with static kill and cementing from the top appears to have only delayed killing the well and to have made it more risky than proceeding with bottom kill only, as initially planned. At least to a novice it appears that way based on the limited info we have.

I'm off to enjoy the day outside before i waste the whole day here. LOL.

>>So all of this messing around with static kill and cementing from the top appears to have only delayed killing the well and to have made it more risky than proceeding with bottom kill only, as initially planned. At least to a novice it appears that way based on the limited info we have.<<

And as another novice I completely agree.

But implicit in that conclusion is the assumption that bottom kill would be a more certain bet, and a more effective means of killing/sealing the well, than the route they have taken since the shut in.

I guess in my mind, it would have made more sense to have tried bottom kill first, and keep cementing from the top as a back-up if something went wrong with the RW since they apparently did not know enough to be right that pumping cement from the top would actually work to everyone's satisfaction.

Edit: changed "static kill" to "cementing" in 2nd sentence.

I get the feeling that the top kill / cementing did work to the satisfaction of BP. I am going by what Thad Allen said in his directive yesterday ...

>>and in response to BP's request to consider foregoing the Relief Well<<

So, is it possible some but not all parties are satisfied?

"So, is it possible some but not all parties are satisfied?"

That would seem to be one possibility. They probably agreed ahead of time what would constitute success, though. But who knows. The conclusion nevertheless seems to be that the top cementing did not sufficiently do the job to obviate the need for the RW.

If they have been forthcoming thus far, one set of data probably suggests no communication but they cannot verify cement integrity sufficiently. One party may disagree about that, no doubt.

There does seem to be some uncertainty about the pressure, though. It's confusing.

Even if they didn't do the relief well they'd have to re-enter from the top and thoroughly kill the well to MMS standards. I'm sure both parties are satisfied with the results of a very successful top-kill and now it's a matter of calculating whether things have gone so well that the RW well itself just adds more wasted time and extra unnecessary risk before they can finally leave the site.

As they've said all along they'll do the RW they probably will. I wonder what John Wright's opinion is? Even more I wonder if he was the source of the request from "BP" to consider not using the RW? Seems unlikely BP would even suggest it without Wright's input.

How can both parties be satisfied with the results of top kill if they conclude they still have to go in with the RW?

And if they were going to do the RW all along anyway, it would seem to have made more sense to do the cementing from the bottom first to avoid the issues now being discussed with the trapped oil and pressures.

But i'm just guessing, though.

Because they always expected that a "satisfactory" top-kill would still leave them with a possible communication with the reservoir via the annulus which they would seal with bottom kill. It now turns out that path is sealed as well. It is only because top-kill exceeded their expectation and left them with all flow paths seemingly sealed that the possibility of even considering forgoing the RW is there. If they are even considering removing the BOP first they must be very confident the well won't flow.

Plenty other issues would have come up if they had done the bottom kill first and they would have been left with a pressurised leaky BOP/Stack fizzing like a champagne bottle for however long it took - with the risk of sudden failure of tortured equipment always present.

"Plenty other issues would have come up if they had done the bottom kill first and they would have been left with a pressurised leaky BOP/Stack fizzing like a champagne bottle for however long it took - with the risk of sudden failure of tortured equipment always present."

I agree with that, a problem that would have been avoided in the first place had they stuck with collection instead of shutting in a creaky damaged well.

But I don't see why they could not have just maintained hydrostatic balance after doing static kill and then cemented from the bottom. They would not be facing the dilemma they face now. And they would have still be able to reduce the pressure on the stack while RW being completed.

But enough of my speculation. These were just questions that arose for me.

The well may have been killed but what they have to do now is make it safe. It is far from safe now. If you look at it that the relief well has change from the kill operation to the safeing operation it makes more sense.


I agree with that, a problem that would have been avoided in the first place had they stuck with collection instead of shutting in a creaky damaged well.

The potential problem with that approach would have been the continuing need to detach in advance of a tropical storm, leaving behind oil and gas flowing into the gulf.

I wonder what John Wright's opinion is?

Did you see the new AP story on him?

... Wright said he would not have been disappointed if the relief well was halted.

"At the professional level we have done the job we were asked to do," Wright said. ...

The planning was ... arduous. One team had to figure out where Wright needed to drill to kill the well -- and another had to work out how to get there.

"In general the shallower the intersect the harder it is to kill, the deeper the harder and costlier it is to intersect," Wright said.

More difficult than the work, Wright said, is getting everyone to agree on how to do things. The process has often been slowed with so many officials from BP and the federal government involved.

"Many additional hours in meetings and preparing justifications are necessary to get a consensus than normally would be required on a lower profile blowout response operation," he said. ...

More there, but still no clear picture of how his advice has played into the process.

This is an interesting article. Thanks.

I can *only hope* that his advice has played a part in all of this.

And my understanding is that they have the well sealed with cement and in the safest configuration it has ever been in since before the disaster. They have the small luxury now of taking a little bit of time to think about everything before moving forward to entomb it even further for posterity. Should anything unexpected happen and they see something which concerns them during the extended "ambient pressure test" then I'm sure they have actions which will be instigated promptly if needed and pre-empt the review process.

It is quite amazing, people were running around wondering why BP rushed the completion, the WOC and took short cuts. Now they are wondering why they are taking their time and not rushing to complete. No accounting.


More difficult than the work, Wright said, is getting everyone to agree on how to do things. The process has often been slowed with so many officials from BP and the federal government involved.

"Many additional hours in meetings and preparing justifications are necessary to get a consensus than normally would be required on a lower profile blowout response operation," he said. ...

I wonder how the defense attorneys involved in criminal and civil cases have impacted this, as well.


It is my opinion that BP is probably running everything through their attorneys because almost anything they do could have implications and that does not sit well with investors. They are definately between the rock and hard place!

I'm certain that the attorneys would have it no other way. And I'd bet that that's the major reason for the lack of information we're all squawking about.

>>It is quite amazing, people were running around wondering why BP rushed the completion, the WOC and took short cuts. Now they are wondering why they are taking their time and not rushing to complete. No accounting.<<

I can't speak for others ... only myself. I'm not wondering why they are taking their time. I don't understand why the relief well was touted as the final solution but then they did a top kill that has made the relief well more risky. Seems backwards to me.

all of this messing around with static kill and cementing from the top appears to have only delayed killing the well and to have made it more risky than proceeding with bottom kill only, as initially planned. At least to a novice it appears that way based on the limited info we have.

As a novice frustrated by my inability to absorb the technical details of well structure and pressure and mud weights and so on, I've been reading the Allen press briefing transcripts faithfully, and this is the impression I've gotten from the way he's been talking, particularly what he's been saying--or rather not saying--in response to reporters' questions. (FWIW, which is surely d*mn close to nothing.)

While you are at it, was all the DWH fuel accounted for already or is there more potential spillage from the fuel? I forgot.

My understanding is there's 700,000 gallons of fuel there and that there are thus far no plans for it...

Then by default, 'we' are hoping for a slow release in the future. That's nice, but I see the problems in getting at it. We would burn 10 times that amount in oil and money trying to recover it, IMHO.

Unless it went up in the fire which could be quite likely.


ROCKMAN, what's your gut telling you about paralysis by analysis? Think the academics are fogging things up?

snake - It's difficult for me to be critical by the slowness of the process w/o knowing the exact cause. When I have to make a decison that could hurt/kill someone no one can make me go faster than I'm willing to do it. OTOH I can't guess how many times I've seen managers frozen into inaction for fear of making the wrong choice. And sometimes waiting causes more problems then anything else. Consider how we think this whole nightmare began: instead of being proactive and confirming, with no doubt, the integrety of the cmt job in the BO well before displacing with sea water, the rig management went with the non-decision decision: lets go forward and see what happens because it will be OK. And then seemed to not even monitor the validity of their "decision".

I gather you don't agree with an old Army saying:


and its adjunct


It is a sarcastic expression that says if you are in danger or trouble or have doubts as what to do, and don’t have a clue how to properly handle a bad situation or crisis, just start making a show of a lot of activity and noise to appear proactive – using bluster as a cover for indecision and incompetence – and maybe folks won’t notice that you really don’t know what you are doing.

My sense isn't that they're a bunch of inept clowns. My sense is that they're facing a situation with some unknowns and because of that, they gather data, overchew it, rethink it, overchew it some more. The problem with that approach is that it can still lead to decisions that turn out to not have been so good and sometimes it makes that more likely.

my sense is that the same culture that existed in BP prior to the blowout still exists in BP today and is manifested by the way decisions are made in the war room and implemented in the field. The fact that Admiral Allen is "in charge" means nothing when he is unfamiliar with the technology and operations. Sure, he knows more now than he did when he got the job but he is still only in grade school.

I was thinking more about Team Chu. Allen's a bit over his head, isn't getting enough sleep, stumbled into a motherlode of White Widow, or is fronting for a team that takes a Byzantine approach. In my uneducated and quite possibly wrong opinion.

my comments were more about the team of industry experts assembled to assist the effort and which seem to be ignored. I can't see the industry experts recommending some of the actions BP has taken lately, but I could be wrong. You hardly hear anything about Team Chu so his team's input is hard to assess. Some of the overchewing may be well be directed by Chu. It wouldn't surprise me to see or hear some of the industry experts have been pulled by their home organizations for lack of consideration of their opinions. Wonder what the chain of command really looks like.

I agree. And I have come to believe everything afloat is compartmentalized to such an extent that no one gets a full picture of what's happening. Half of the ROVs were tasked to do cutesy PR stuff, watching crabs and eels, silt sprayed by amphipoda. Those feeds run 24/7. Same thing with the low-res lights-off Scandi high angle of BOP & capping stack ops. See? - nothing to hide. We'll even show you a close up of the capping stack occasionally. BOP? What BOP? The cap is the BOP now.

Meanwhile five ROVs are top secret, and I don't even think the pilots get to see the whole picture. Each one is tasked to a specific role. The wellhead doesn't exist except for a single ROV under tight wraps.

Hos Achiever Maxx 2 just completed a slow end-to-end inspection of the Q4000 high pressure mud line. No leaks. Mission accomplished. More BP dissembling, pretending not to know where the mud is leaking.

Chu and Thud have been compartmentalized, just like the ROV crews and drilling crews. Yes, Mister Secretary, Admiral, here's a bunch of indecipherable and basically fraudulent "data" we collected. BP managers are good listeners. Whatever Chu says, whatever Allen says, they nod their heads and promise to get that information right away.

The cement pump was important to prevent flow measurement. Killing the well is not a BP top priority. If Wright can't fix it, they'll blame Wright, Thud and Chu.

You do live in a fantasy world. So BP are running top secret compartmentalised sensitive operations under the nose of the US government and none of the various bodies which might be interested in such a deception have noticed?


Have you worked for BP (post merger)?

Never worked for BP ever. Have you thought of contacting the FBI, CIA, NSA, Homeland Security etc with your observations? If true I'm sure they would be disappointed not to have a tip off that a foreign company is running a successful Psy-Op against the United States Government.

Edit: By the way I've noticed that the pic I posted at link http://img213.imageshack.us/img213/8641/mill3637a.jpg of the Mill 36 and 37 screenshots hasn't been loading now for hours and doesn't show up in my post in another thread any more (and actually hangs the page load until timeout). Should I assume BP have used their amazing powers to shutdown one of Imageshack's servers?

Actually I've never seen an Imageshack server down for more than a few minutes and certainly not many hours but I'll assume Murphy's law rather than a conspiracy to censor the picture. However just in case (and it is only a crop of the original BP image anyway) here it is at another imageshack link http://img6.imageshack.us/img6/8641/mill3637a.jpg :-)

Undertow, what is the object in the bottom image you linked here:


Edit: I see in the original posting you say this is photoshopped. Do you know who photoshopped it and for what purpose? I must have missed the background information. Thanks.

That's the well-head at the mud-line (below the BOP) in the bottom image as far as I can see. The image is not Photoshopped (other than I sharpened it slightly). It is actually the unretouched version (which BP later released) of the image BP famously Photoshopped

As the image is still not appearing I'll put it back inline. If it vanishes again then maybe I will shortly afterwards as well :)

Note that the Photoshopping did not change the section I've cropped in any case. See BP's explanation at http://www.flickr.com/photos/bpamerica/sets/72157624429465573/

Matt Simmons spread enough money around to create quite a legacy.

The Annunaki are running the five top secret ROVs. The whole thing is coverup. The truth is that Atlantis is rising. See for yourself: http://www.disclose.tv/forum/atlantis-rising-t27831.html

Oh no, not "Dr." Bill "Bald Eagle" Deagle at it again!

Perhaps if I read far enough he will tell me how swine flu fits in.

You need to quit watching this stuff for a while. Seriously. You have no control over what happens anyway.

Okay, I've said my piece. There's mud leaking at the wellhead.

I'm aware that that's your position.

"Meanwhile five ROVs are top secret"
3 have been chartered by Cuba and 2 by North Korea. There are some rumors Obama is planning to seek political asylum in Havana.

ez -- LOL...sadly very familiar with that philosophy. Works OK sometimes...not so much when the trail is lined with trip wires. Go back to the original explosion: we may never know for sure but how long might the hands have seen the well coming in but didn't react because they didn't want to take responsibility for doing the wrong thing...like activating the BOP if it wan't really neccesary. I've seen that explanations (didn't want to do the wrong thing and get chewed out) more times than I care to remember. One time a company man told me "we'll wait and see" when I gave him a warning. I said OK and I'll be right back after I get my wallet and car keys from my bunkroom. If you don't know that's a rather standard "FU" response when someone is making a very risky move. We got thru the situation without a serious incident. But, needless to say, that company man asked that I be replaced. Worked for me too.

My dear old dad, RIP, was a licensed coal miner with only a high school education, but he was one of those guys who just knew what to do. He would say "Well, let's do something, even if it's wrong", then quietly take charge and fix the problem. I don't recall him ever being wrong - his solutions always worked. Those guys are rare, and worth their weight in gold.

Pinkfud: My ol' Dad was just like that too! The old breed of the construction trade. Ran the business, ran the dragline, did everything well! He did have to get a real wild hair up his a-- sometimes, it would scare the s--t out me. it always worked out tho!

So true GW/Pink. I mentioned a while back the best mud engineer I've ever worked with had only a high school degree. And he would teach clases to younger hands with master degrees and a few PhD's. More than 30+ years of OTJ experience will often beat the best book learning...especially in the oil patch.

Mr. Rockman: You know about that observation thing you mentioned the other day? As a crane operator,by trade, you get to watch a lot of people work. I learned to see and know what was going to happen before the people on the ground knew what it is was they wanted. You just know if something is not going to work out. It is experience, with all that goes along with that, that I came to know that. I am just glad to know that you know. Know what I mean? Heh. Heh. Ah, geez! Hope you understand.

GW - A funny/scary story about doing a lift. Several years ago while on a piece of crap Russian drill ship of the coast of Africa I hear yelling from out side my porthole. I see a German crane operator standing on the wing yelling at an African hand (who spoke only Spanish, oddly enough) giving him hand gestures as to how to make up a shackle for the lift. The hand looked like he never saw a crane before. I decided it was a good time to get a cup of tea in the galley…far from that bulkhead between me and the lift.


It is such a shame to me, that seasoned veteran oilmen such as yourself don't get together to record your experiences. The young hands might learn a thing or two especially in light of their moving into deeper and deeper water.

I also think that "tie back" should become mandatory for any formation that has expected gas formations.

lab -- I'm pretty sure we'll see a lot of new mandated procedures. And we old farts have been expressing ourselves since the beginning of time. Just gets filterd thru management. Always has and always will IMHO. But some enforced mandates could help a lot. Might be hard for some to believe but the vast majority of oil patch hands are very safety conscious. But most don't get to make the call.


That's the problem in a nutshell! Those mandates will be decided and put into practice by Lawyers and Acedemics instead of those who know better. They need to get a good cross section of thought from the industry to make the changes safe and cost effective instead of just change for the sake of change IMHO!

What if those incidents weren't reported to management, or passed around as rig lore, but reported directly to the feds? Like a standard incident report, including the names of the people involved. If the company man knew that his decision was not only considered risky by some geologist, but that his name would wind up on a report filed with the regulatory agency, that would change his calculus a bit, wouldn't it? It seems that this kind of reporting would do a lot more good than mandates that may not even make sense in a particular situation at hand. I don't know if there's a classification system for rig hands, but if there were, it would lend these reports the appropriate weight. If they were routine enough, the system would be hard to game, and the chance of retribution would be pretty low.

sch -- Good points. I won't be surprised to see some new reporting procedures. But I'll still wonder how much that will help if the govt is still laxed in following up. There are already lots of reports filed that are stuck in a file cabanet and never reviewed.

My impression is that Admiral Allen, and the rest of the team are concerned about another issue, and since nobody has asked him the right questions, and he's trying to explain the situation in terms in which he is not fluent, he thinks he's being understood when he's not (a common problem in the communication process).

As I understand it:

The well was drilled through the reservoir into a non-oil-bearing formation below the reservoir.

When they did the top kill they cemented inside the bottom of the casing, and u-tubed up through the annulus outside the casing below the reservoir. As a consequence they are reasonably confident that there is no communication between the well head and the reservoir. Also, therefore, they know that they have one primary barrier in place.

What they don't know for certain, is whether the entire reservoir was sealed off by this operation, or whether some of the cement penetrated the reservoir, therefore failing to seal the annulus above the reservoir.

If they didn't thereby seal the annulus above the reservoir, then that part of the annulus could in fact have a cement seal still intact, with mud above it, having been sealed properly when the original pre-blowout cement seals were put in place, providing a second primary barrier, if its integrity has survived.

Alternatively, that seal above the reservoir could have failed before or during the blowout, leaving that part of the annulus open to the reservoir for an indeterminable length above the reservoir.

They are reasonably certain that if that is the case, there is no communication between the annulus and the casing, but they can't be sure whether the annulus is open all the way to the wellhead, where the only barrier still in place is the wellhead seal.

Thus their desire/need for more information.

If the latter situation prevails, then even if they complete a normal plug and abandon process, there would conceivably only be one barrier between the reservoir and the wellhead, namely the wellhead seal, and I doubt that anyone would want to bet the farm on how long that would retain its integrity.

That's where the relief well comes into play, but also some new concerns arise.

It's my understanding that their intent is to use the relief well to penetrate the well bore outside the casing and above the reservoir, thus gaining access to the annulus.

If they find only mud in there, that pressure should tell them whether the cement plug is in place in the annulus above the reservoir (below the point of penetration). It should also tell them that there is no path of communication through the casing from the annulus to the wellhead.

If its pressure is significantly higher than reservoir pressure, that would suggest to me that the static kill did seal off the reservoir, then forced enough cement into the annulus above the reservoir to compress the mud. But it would reinforce the belief that there is no communication between the annulus and the wellhead above that point.

In that case the pressure might also give me a rough reading on how much cement penetrated the annulus above the reservoir, and thus the relative possible integrity of the seal between the reservoir and the annulus above the reservoir.

If that mud is at reservoir pressure, then they should be able to quickly determine whether they can put cement in there to seal the annulus above the reservoir. If they get a significant spike in pressure there when they start pumping mud or cement in, that should tell them that the cement plug in the annulus just above the reservoir has integrity. If there is no spike then they can pump in cement, filling the annulus between the entry point and the reservoir. Then they can be relatively confident that there is no danger in removing the old BOP and remaining drill pipe, putting in a new BOP, and proceeding with a normal Plug and abandon procedure

If there is oil in the annulus, the same steps apply as would be employed with the presence of mud, but they would also know that there is some communication between the annulus above that point and the inside of the casing. That would need to be addressed during the normal plug and abandon process.

One of the concerns they might have is over pressurizing the annulus and blowing out the wellhead seal or one of the other barriers. Thus the need to proceed very deliberately and carefully at every step.

But I could imagine that, with all of these possible variables, they would want all of the information they can gather, and as you said previously, check it thoroughly for accuracy.

I might add that it is easy to forget that BP is not the only one involved in this process. There are engineers from other companies (such as John Wright), and scientists looking over their shoulders. The notion that BP could get away with much of anything at the point strikes me as relatively remote, no matter how lousy you might think Admiral Allen and Dr. Chu might be in carrying out their assignments.

I, for one think that they are both doing a superb job, and that post-blowout, after the government got seriously involved, BP and the other ones involved have done a superb job, even though I don't agree with all of their decisions at every point.

I would hope that at least some of my points above might bear some resemblance to reality, otherwise I'll have to go back to the drawing board.

This has to be one of the least paranoid, least delusional posts I've read on TOD since the DWH incident. (For those looking to take insult from something, note the words "one of the least", implying there have been other similarly sane posts.)

One note: oil in the annulus would mean there was communication with the reservoir at one point, but not necessarily now. The cementing could have closed the communication. Oil in the annulus would also mean that whatever was there before had to have gone somewhere.

My wager is they find mud when they intersect, but I don't regularly gamble for a reason.

David, is it your understanding that the pumps are on or off?

In the previous thread paintdancer asked a couple of questions:

So I am just wondering if the Corexit works like that , too. If so, then the bottom of the GOM would be extremely toxic , I would think. .....

I hope this isn't another stupid question, but is there anyone here, who can tell me if the Gamsol/Corexit comparison is relevant or not? In other words, does the same thing happen with the crude and the Corexit and if so isn't the residue extremely toxic?

The trick with any question like this is to go looking for the MSDS - the materials safety data sheet. You can usually find the sheet pretty quickly via a bit of googling. "Gamsol MSDS" brings it up in the first couple of hits. http://www.gamblincolors.com/msds/gamsol.html

The MSDS gives us the answer pretty quickly. Gamsol is 100% hydrotreated heavy naptha. This is pretty much a standard petroleum based solvent, sold for many purposes. It has no relationship at all to a surfactant like Coreexit. Indeed it is pretty much the same as (but purified from) one part of the oil in the leak that the Corexit is used to disperse.

What it is, is a middle weight fraction of the crude oil, heavier than the stuff used in gasoline, lighter than the oily and asphalty stuff. It can be used as a feedstock for creating gasoline, or is useful in its own right as a solvent or fuel. It is identical to Coleman stove fuel.

The hydrotreating bit is where it is reacted with a catalyst along with hydrogen, which ensures that every spot on the carbon chains is filled with a hydrogen atom. (This "saturates" the hydrocarbon.) The process eliminates sulphur, nitrogen, and metals as contaminants giving you a pure hydrocarbon petroleum product.

The MSDS lists cyclic aromatic components (essentially including your PAHs) as less than 0.02%

I suspect the reason your metal canisters get pin-holes in them is due to the metals in the pigments causing electrolytic or other corrosion issues. Water will of course fall to the bottom of the canister, so any contaminating water will settle there to aid the corrosion. The pigments in good quality oils are pretty evil chemicals in their own right. Some remarkably toxic. Luckily people don't end to eat them. OTOH, it is very likely that you breach most toxic waste disposal laws if you throw them in the trash.

Ironically, what Gamsol is very close to in Coreexit, is the hydrocarbon carrier. This is the main constituent of Coreexit, but isn't an active one. It simply carries the surfactants. It does no useful work, and as above, it merely a purified version of one constituent of the oil in the leak.

Am glad I work in watercolor!

Thank you, paintdancer, for the question and Francis, for the excellent response. My daughter is also a painter so my interest was aroused. Little did I realize (before my daughter's art study) that she would encounter so many toxic chemicals and materials, whether it be in the area of painting, photography, or metal scupture. Although caution and strict rules in handling these toxic substances are emphasized in all art schools, I've heard some hair-raising stories of students throwing caution to the winds. I guess we've all experienced those 'immortal' years of youth, but it's worrisome in any case.

@paintdancer, some further response to your questions at the end of yesterday's thread.

As I've been saying here, and as your LSU expert says, the primary threat to human health consequent to the oil spill is not Corexit, but the "aromatic" fractions of the crude oil that include benzene and the more persistent PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons). For this reason, EPA sampling of air and water has included these substances, and FDA sampling of seafood focuses heavily on them.

The Gamsol you use to clean brushes is "odorless mineral spirits," a fraction of petroleum from which the dangerous aromatics have been removed. Corexit does not cause oil to sink like the sediment of oily pigment in your brush-cleaning canister. Rather, it causes microscopic droplets of oil to be suspended in the water and drift with the currents until bacteria break the oil down down.

If the goo in the bottom of your can is toxic, that's because, as Francis says, some of the pigments always were toxic.

Likewise, when crude oil residues sink to the bottom of the Gulf naturally, they will be slightly toxic mainly because these residual fractions always were, not because of any effect from Corexit. The residues left over after evaporation and bacteria have done their work are mostly asphalt. As I understand, the tar could include small amounts of the heavier PAHs, but this is not as scary as some other pollutants like the PCBs that contaminate soils and bottom sediments around the world. The tar is not very bioactive, and PAHs will eventually biodegrade-some of them very slowly, though.

Really, the key thing is ongoing testing for PAH.

Francis, Gobbet and Nepeta,

A HUGE thank-you for relieving my mind about my Corexit nightmare; I had been envisioning the bottom of the GOM covered in the same thick goop that is at the bottom of my metal canister, and for your very fine and thorough explanations of what Gamsol actually is and how it works and how it differs from Corexit. If I knew how to post a picture here I would have included the horrendous glop of slop at the bottom of the paint-cleaning canister, so be grateful I didn't know how;0)

Yes, oils are certainly very toxic, especially the cadmiums which I am particularly fond of using. And the disposal of these paint products is always a long and laborious process, but thankfully the toxic waste disposal site here is very helpful and there is a separate center where I take the paint product residues. I keep them stored in glass jars and take them over once every couple months. Yes, all this is a good reason to switch to watercolors!

Thanks again for your time and helpfulness.


paint: I have always liked how I can manipulate the watercolors! its really fun and challenging to me! I dont think these new mineral spirits are nearly as bad as that old stuff I used to get. Glad I wasn't painting houses back in the day!!

GWS22B- I sooooo wish I could paint with watercolors! I tried them and they are much too challenging for me- needing to plan things out ahead of time to conserve the whites , etc. is way too restrictive for my personality which can turn on a dime, lol. I found the paints were in control of me- not vice versa. And that won't work for control freaks Like me! Interesting that you feel the opposite about the media. Just goes to show diversity makes the world go round....

Watercolor effects are so soft and beautiful- I do admire watercolor artists who are good at their craft. However, I do hate the toxicity of oils, but love the fact they are so forgiving.

M Onan B: Sand art? Yup, much too fleeting, but I'll use the Vivaldi part any day to create rhythms in my my toxins!

Sand art. It's non-toxic but fleeting (unless uploaded to youtube with some very nice Vivaldi).

Greetings from Florida to Oz and the Kiwis. Nice place ya got here, thanks for having us in.

Well, sounds as if Mississippi's in a pickle or two. Today's Sun Herald reports on the 19 skimmer boats being built on Haley Barbour's orders (the first one delivered three days before BP shut in the well). But now that $8.7 million could, à la the bucks for Bobby Jindal's berms, go to better purposes. Gotta figure out how, though . . .

Meanwhile, my Biloxi-reporter pal emailed Friday,"... I'm hearing from fishermen who have known these waters all their lives and they are seeing underwater clouds and oil. I hear dispersant is still being used on the sly out of boats spraying at night. Who knows. It is just all very insane. ..." But according to the local TV station:

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Is there still oil in Mississippi waters? The head of the Department of Marine Resources, Dr. Bill Walker, says his staff has not been able to find it. Nevertheless, some people still claim there is plenty of oil out there, and because of that, our seafood is not safe to eat.

That's why Dr. Walker is asking anyone who thinks they have seen oil in the Mississippi Sound or state waters to call his office. He issued that challenge several days ago. So we went by his office to see how many calls he has received since then.

"None. Zero," Walker said Friday.

Dr. Walker said it is a vocal minority of fishermen who are still claiming there is oil out there. He didn't want to speculate on why they are making such claims, and why they will not call and tell DMR where they think that oil is.

Walker did say he is more convinced than ever that the oil is gone.

"We are not able to find it and we have some pretty smart people looking for it. But we can't find it. All we are asking is show it to us. We will sample it. You can watch us sample it. We will send it off for analysis."

The article continues that Walker blames perceptions of Gulf seafood on people making "unsubstantiated claims." "They have to know that they are hurting the industry as a whole, and they are not doing the industry or the state any service. They are actually doing a disservice." Says he hopes folks like the ones my friend mentioned will call and let him know where to find what they say they saw. But "Do I think that they will? Probably not." (Sure enough, the video accompanying this story ends by quoting a fisherman who says, basically, he plans neither to put up nor shut up. So there it sits.)

Oh, and because she's hearing of so many people not getting paid, my friend also suspects BP is having cash-flow trouble. (Another good reason not to blow that early funding, Haley?)

In happier news, the WH photographer supplied Panama City that picture it wanted.

I can't overly substantiate this, unfortunately, but allegedly some fishermen and shrimpers have indeed "put up" with evidence of oil to Dr. Walker. According to a pretty reliable (but biased) source, Walker and certain fishermen have had a long-running feud and Walker has engaged in a smear campaign against them.

The fishermen in question recently released videos where they took Dr. Timothy Davis, Department of Health and Human Services, with them on their boat and showed him some evidence of oil. One of the videos is referenced in this article by Riki Ott: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/riki-ott/seafood-safety-and-politi_b_67881....

Again, this "proves" nothing -- just a voice from the other side, which I'm repeating. :)

Thanks, Cap. The one story I saw about Walker earlier didn't inspire much confidence -- but with nothing to go on as to his opponents' reliability either, for me it's a tossup.

We are country folks around here. The more scientists they send and claim something, the less likely segments of the populace believe them. Maybe such logic is faulty when it comes to things such as evolution, but perhaps it is helpful in this situation. Combined with the perception, whether real or imagined, of unfair response and compensation, the government could not sell us that The University of Alabama's football team is going to have a good year and they are coming off a 'Legendary' season. The only folks I have met that are pushing seafood are the seafood crowd and the 'can't hurt me' crowd. The rest are waiting for Obama to leave office first. This entire post is opinion and speculation, something us rednecks pride ourselves in around here.

You would think if the president wanted to prove the water safe to swim in he would at least chose the Gulf for his dip.

I'm pretty sure the Presidential Fish Taco wasn't fresh caught.

NOAA says the oil from BP’s blown-out well is a light crude that biodegrades quickly.
Dr. George Crozier, director of the Dauphin Island Sea Lab in Alabama, a top marine scientist in the Gulf now contradicts :

"The second thing, this was some of the crudest stuff I've ever seen and there was methane gas.
One of the clichés that came as a shock to me was 'water and oil don't mix.'
That's true if it's vegetable oil. It's not true of crude oil.
Crude oil is composed of three to four broad classes (of components) and the worst of them are soluble in water.
As soon as the stuff hit the water 5,000 feet below the surface, benzene and other toxic materials in this family are going into solution the moment it hit the ocean 5,000 feet down.
So a lot of that didn't get to the surface, so it wasn't measured at the surface."
"The good news is the things that were soluble are not bio-accumulated," he said. "They will kill eggs and larvae."

My questions :
1) How crude is the spilled oil indeed ?
2) And how huge is the amount of methane in it indeed ?
3) I´ve heard, that BP does the watertesting around the well, not NOAA.
Is that true ? Are there any test scores available ?

Greenfloyed asked for point 3 also :
greenfloyd on August 14, 2010 - 12:01am Permalink | Subthread | Parent | Parent subthread | Comments top
"For information about validated environmental air and water sampling results, visit www.epa.gov/bpspill ... "
The link is working now. However, nothing in there about water-sampling around the wellhead...

Near Ambient Pressure test


There is a near-ambient pressure test being conducted on the well to continually measure the pressure in the blowout preventer and the capping stack as responders prepare for the final stages of the relief well. Transmitters measure the pressure in the well bore above the cement plug, as monitored at the capping stack. The differential drop in pressure on the morning of Aug. 14 was planned and expected – necessary for a scientific testing subset as part of the ongoing pressure tests.

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I was hoping one of the industry experts here would comment on this report.

It looks like the pressure is going down slowly. Due to leaks in the stacking cap, perhaps? And if that's the case how can you do a proper test? Fluid could leak out faster than it's leaking in (masking the fact that it is leaking in.)

Easier to read like this :-)

So they went down to near ambient pressure. (ambient - pressure due to seawater at 5000 feet below surface.)

How did they do this?

My guess from yesterday:
Helix Producer has a free standing riser line to the CDP manifold.

Q 4000 has a riser to the CDP manifold.

The CDP manifold has connections to the choke and to the kill line of the old bop.

Fill the Q-4000 risers with mud, fill the Helix Producer riser with seawater. Close the valve on the bop that had the q-4000 mudline connection. Open the valve on the bop that has the seawater riser connection.

There you are at ambient pressure in the well. Measure displacement from overpressure in the well by measuring returns on the seawater riser.

If returns are too much or pressure increases too much close seawater-line valve, open mud-line valve.

(There are more complicate and likely safer ways to do this when using the cross-lines in the CDP manifold, essentially forming a u-tube between Q-4000 and the Helix Producer. With a u-tube through the CDP manifold one could actually construct any pressure on the well between 100% mud vs. 100% seawater in the relevant riser by pumping seawater and mud between them and opening the right valves to the bop on specific pressure points one wants to test. The general principle is the same - exchange the exposure of the bop/well between two risers with different pressure in each of them.)

If you have questions, please contact the BP representative at the UAC Joint Information Center: (713) 323-1670.

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Updated graph:

Maybe also of interest: Thadmirals's directive to BP:

It smells a bit like they could want to put on a new BOP before starting with the bottom kill.

It smells a bit like they could want to put on a new BOP before starting with the bottom kill.

If only to fix von Altendorf's wagon . . .

Thanks for this Phil. I'd note that Macondo was also a bit slow to take off on the MSM. The two main issues that Montaro raises are:

1) What is a proportionate response to such events?

2) How many blowouts are there each year, and how often does the BOP actually contain the event.

and further

3) What is an acceptable price to pay for energy supplies that are the lifeblood of industrial society?

A cross cultural study of Australian and American responses to these events would be of interest, is this mature versus juvenile or timid versus strong? Or something else, I don't know.

Australian's hardly batted an eyelid at our very substantial spill. Proportionate response is probably somewhere between these two extremes.. but that doesn't narrow it down very much!

I often wonder what would have happened if it was a family name oil company in Australia whether there would have been more publicity. Nobody has ever heard of PTTEP and you can't boycott their service stations. Bashing the big oil companies when they screw things up is very popular but nobody pays any attention to how the rest (the majority) get things done.

If you are going to have an oil spill, off the north-west coast of Western Australia with 2 people per million square kilometres who are both miners anyway is about as remote from public care as you can get. A low risk place to do business it seems.

Losing pressure because why? Mud pumps off or on?

Speculation: I think they're bringing down a flexible production riser.


Was the riser you suspect is being brought down white, PVC looking with at least one joint (at least I saw one). I caught a quick glimpse of the bottom of the pipe. It had a round, flat sort of thingey at the end.

PS: Is your name really 'avonaltendorf?' I love it! Where does the "a" at the beginning come from? Oh, that's your first initial! So, 'of the old village,' right?

The riser you are asking about is not new, it has been there since before the new sealing stack was put in place. It is the Helix Producer riser. It was originally installed to add to the production capacity. It barely had time to do much production before the well was shut in.

The riser is anchored to the ocean floor using that big round blue and yellow thing that looks (to me) like a table set out for a very big party. That is a pile anchor, sunk deep into the ocean floor. It has a big hook in the center, connected to a huge chain, which is, in turn, connected to the bottom of the riser.

See Moon's comment above, for a realistic speculation on how the Helix Producer and its riser are possibly being used in conjunction with the Q4000 riser to manage the pressure testing on the well.

In 1/4 of the Gulf of Mexico seafood is still testing positive everyday for oil and is unfit for human consumption.


I looked at the link but can't find that data, i.e. how much sampling is being done, how many samples were analyzed, how many had oil, how many were unfit for human consumption? Can you point me further?


To be technical about it, that shows fishery closures. There's no data via the map about current seafood testing. Obviously fisheries are closed for a reason but one doesn't translate directly to the other. If anybody can find current data about seafood test results, I'd appreciate a link.

It was stated with no oil on the surface it was strictly the testing of catches that would say whether or not the area would be opened.

Right, but *what percent* of each sample being tested is unsafe? Is it changing over time? What's their benchmark? Etc.

It was stated [such-and-so]

No passive verbs, please. Who stated that, where and when?

I googled news on seafood testing, and found a NOAA description of fishery closures as due to a potential risk, not necessarily an actual risk. Not specific at all.

From http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/08/13/seafood-open-gulf-waters-safe-eat

Seafood from open waters is safe to eat. Here are the facts:

1.Every seafood sample from reopened waters has passed testing.
2.When waters were impacted by oil or at risk of being impacted by oil, they were closed to fisherman.
3.Areas considered for reopening must be free of oil before testing even starts.
4.Dispersants were not applied in areas that are opened for fishing, and tests of reopened waters do not show the presence of any dispersants.
5.FDA and NOAA test samples for oil and dispersants, and every sample from reopened waters has passed those tests.


I also did some googling and came up with this, a month old so perhaps the testing is better now.


According to this site, the first test given to the seafood by the FDA and NOAA is the 'smell test.' That's right, they have people with good noses smell the fish for the odor of oil. For some reason that makes me laugh. Rather absurd, no? If it passes the smell test it is then tested for chemicals found in oil, mostly PAHs. However, back in July seafood was not being tested for dispersant because there was no test already designed for that. They did say that a test was in the process of being designed, so perhaps it is being used now.

Most folks are on the 'see what happens to the brave' plan around here. That is why I think they will wait until Obama leaves office. Again, this entire post is just my opinion.

If you can smell the oil on it then why waste chemical tests on it? Reserve the tests for the samples that seem ok but maybe are not.


True enough. I just think it's a funny image, although I read an FDA guy said that the 'smell test' is a way they also check wine.

That's exactly what they do, NAOM. I believe that 70% of the sniff testers have to pass a sample for it to be able to go on to the chemical tests. If it doesn't hit the 70% benchmark, the area stays closed.

nepeta, here's NPR's Aug. 3 "Talk of the Nation" interview (tape and transcript) with the head of the NOAA seafood-testing program and a Gulf shrimper:


Thanks, lotus. I had run into this NPR interview. I think it's where I got the info on 'sniff tests' for wine. I sure wouldn't want to work as a 'sniffer.' Can you imagine 8-hour days of sniffing raw fish? And you're right, I'm not into sushi either.

Ooo, nepeta, tradeja my liver-and-onions for your sushi? Heck, I'll even go ya meatloaf.

Shoot lotus! I'll take that there liver and onions! Put some bacon in there.....mmmmmm!! Heck Yes. Heh! Heh!

Not so fast -- han' over that California roll, GWS!

I'm out! Geez. Dang it.


Deleted: repeat.

A million barrels, a billion barrels, what's the difference? I emailed the author.

Bolton: Gulf of Mexico spill is bad, but do we know how bad?

Like you, I am confused by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. What appeared to be one of the greatest environmental disasters of all time now has many people starting to question whether it's really that bad.

An estimated 4.9 billion barrels of crude oil went into Gulf waters and much of it has seemingly disappeared. The predictions of oil-soaked beaches in Alabama and Florida have never come to be. Neither have the predictions of devastated fish stocks and wildlife along the Alabama and Florida coasts.

Got his data from Wolf Blitzer, most likely.

Aside from that loud thunk, an interesting column, isn't it, westexas?

... George Crozier, a biologist from the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, has been causing quite a stir as he speaks to civic groups in South Alabama in recent weeks. His initial message in the early stages of the disaster was one of gloom and doom. He is now saying he believes the spill is having far less environmental impact than he thought it would. He even says he believes he helped contribute to the problems with his dire assessments. ...

Months ago, I was convinced that the Gulf of Mexico had been ruined for my lifetime and the lifetime of my grandchildren. Now I am not so sure what to believe.

No kidding. Maybe five years will tell the story. Maybe not. Anxiety ahead fer sher, but if you'd told me on June 15 that August 15 would look as it does, I couldn't have bought it. But is there a sucker punch hiding somewhere in the Gulf?

I really didn’t want to join into the sea food discussion. But first a very simple question: has there been a report from any official agency that there has been a single sea food sample tested that did not meet edibility standards? There may have been thousand of such samples found…I just don’t look for such info. I have a suspicion that the bulk of the lost income by the GOM fishing industry has been due to the fishing grounds being closed and not from contaminated catches. And that doesn’t mean the closures weren’t necessary and the ultimate blame still doesn’t fall on BP. The question over the dispersants may make such closure all the more justified.

There’s no doubt that a huge quantity of GOM marine life has been killed by the spill. Long term effects would seem likely especially with regards to reproduction. But back to the simple question: has a single load of sea food caught since the spill been rejected because it was tested as not fit for human consumption?

Rockman you bring up an interesting point.

Even if the seafood is safe to eat, bulk purchasers are afraid to buy it. I know from talking to restaurant food purveyors that Gulf seafood has dropped in demand quite a fair bit, and Asian and other companies are doing brisk business. Another lost industry, albeit temporarily,... ipse dixit. I can understand the reluctance given how information has been doled out to the masses about everything. I would be mistrusting simply because many physiological effects in any organism are different according to the route of consumption/absorbing. You could drink rattlesnake venom and it would have little if any effect, but introduce it to your bloodstream, it's a whole different game.

Interesting, I have yet to see any studies of marine life addressing the effects of dispersed oil that has been micro-encapsulated by surfactants and how it pertains to bio accumulations in tissues by way of respiratory systems. I read all the studies of bio-accumulation through the food chain, digestive tracts of fish and such...it leads me to believe there is quite a difference between a fish eating oil and sucking it into their gills, in terms of how it is handled in the organism ingesting it, but that's probably mainly dependent on if it has evolved to encounter hydrocarbons naturally and how much it's used to handling on average.

I am mainly skeptical about the information circulating in the mass media about the safety for several reasons.

If COREXIT products ( 9500A ) are made normally to start breaking down rapidly, but also specifically stated in the application requirements to be applied in droplet form and at the surface of the water, then what was being applied the whole time around the wellhead...?

Things do not add up, at least for me, after everything I have read.

But it would seem that the economic effects on some levels are the same regardless of the factual basis used to justify fears over toxicity.

I guess if you don't mind, then it don't matter.

But unless we all have the proprietary information on certain constituents that have been deemed " secret ", then I am also suspicious. If we knew exactly the formulations of the products, then chemists could easily determine an approximation of how long it actually takes for a micelle to breakdown and release it's oil.

Sulfonic acids have the unique tendency to bind to proteins and carbohydrates tightly and their salts (sulfonates) are used extensively in antibacterial drugs ( sulfa drugs ) just for that reason.

Like I said, I am skeptical about the food being safe to eat, but maybe for no good reason.

Came upon the following news report and thought I would share it.

Seafood Safety in the Gulf
Many fishermen don?t want to risk their reputations on possibly tainted catches.


Dead start-button on that tape, tiny. Can you try it again?

It starts up by itself for me. Can't use play or pause on it. Give it a few seconds and see if it works.

It must not like my Mac. Oh well, thanks for trying.

Hi lotus,

Can I ask what site you use for ROV feeds?

I'm running firefox on mac, never been too happy with the performance I've been getting.

Hi bignerd. I don't watch ROV feeds.

Thanks guys. Except for one shrimper who said he sees oil on one of his shrimp, I haven't seen one report of one tainted load of sea food that hasn't met the same govt standards that have been in place for decades. That shrimper's story: I wouldn't bet lunch on his credibility given that no one else sees the oil on the shrimp.

Again, this isn't to say marine life hasn't been serious harmed especially on the reproduction side of the fence. But so far all the info seen shows the loss to the GOM sea food industry has been from the closing of the fishing areas by the govt. And what about the GOM sea food that did make it to market and wasn't well received: maybe since the govt/MSM kept saying the sea food MIGHT be contaminated played some role in that. Folks can argue whether the fishing ban was prudent or an overreaction. But so far no one has posted one link showing how even one fisherman has lost revenue because of a catch tested as not fit for human consumption. I see it as something of a parallel to the shutdown of the airlines after 9/11. Obvious very prudent initially. But I don't recall how long they were shut down but certainly not for 3 months. And testing sea food for its quality seems a lot easier then securing hundreds of airports in the US. Again, not that the crisis was caused by BP initially but after more than 3 months they are just opening up fishing grounds when there hasn't been one documented case of tainted sea food. Sea food was tested before the spill and sold if it passed. Why wasn't the same rules followed after the spill. And don't say because oil was pouring into the GOM. It's been known for decades that huge volumns of oil contaminated the GOM every year from natural seeps. No one closed the fishing grounds because of that source of pollution. OTOH, it seems the biggest issue on most folks' mind today is the potential danger from the dispersants. But that concern isn't shutting down fishing.

Sniff testing is bullsh*t. Ask any chef worth his salt, and he'll tell you that restaurants get shrimp that smell funny all the time, hell , I used to get Black Tiger shrimps from Thailand all the time, but every once in a while you get some that smells like diesel fuel, or improperly applied water retention chemicals.

All it takes is a few sick diners, a few bad dining experiences, and that's enough to send a restaurant on the death spiral. Has nothing to do with where they get there seafood. The shrimpers and fisherman want to sell the seafood, the restaurants want to buy it, but the middleman, the purveyors like Sysco and IFH, won't grab this hot potato.

What they need to do , is start using UV light to check for hydrocarbons in the seafood they are catching.


I am surprised nobody has yet started developing an alternative testing method for seafood.

...again, I guess If you don't mind , then it don't matter.

As a chef myself, I would be wary...I would be very interested to see a nicely sized black grouper, or a red snapper from the gulf , split head to tail, under UV light.

Just a thought.

I agree Lotus~back in June I thought we'd be seeing sludge type oil in the waters here, and it would be a non-stop event to go out for a swim only to have to turn around due to visible oil etc., in the water. I have been pleasantly surprised by how little oil has actually washed up here and when it did, the vast majority were fingernail size to quarter size tarballs, and on top of that we were only hit (for lack of a better word) twice, and the critters are everywhere as they have been in yrs past. The storm has been good IMO for lowering the water temps and churning up the water, but after about 5 days of rain, and pretty high winds I am having withdrawals. My daily swims, and snorkeling on the wknd are what I do to decompress from the stress of my job. Guess I will have to stock up on more beer and tequila until we get some decent weather, my toesies don't like staying dry this long:)

Tequila seems to have always put ants in my pants, and made me do the hula dance!!! I hope the same is not true for you!Beer is good, in my world anyhow!

Well, in my 20's tequila actually made me mean, I avoided it in my 30's when I had 4 kids (except in mixed drinks), in my 40's now & I enjoy a shot along with 1-2 beer to take the edge off, or in other words it helps me calm down when I want to hurt someone, beer alone doesn't have that effect-just makes me have to pee non-stop!

I'm reminded of the tune
Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off

Careful with the Patrone

Sunday 15th August, 2010

Valuable find made in Taliban territory

In a place where U.S. and other foreign forces are trying to put down a Taliban-led insurgency, a massive oilfield has been discovered.

The field, in the north of the war-ravaged country, is part of a basin which holds an estimated 1.8 billion barrels.

The basin, discovered by international geologists, is between Balkh and Shiberghan provinces.


Wow, the entire basin contains a whole 3 weeks supply for the world. We're saved :-)

Your math checks out if it's "recoverable" (1,800 Million/85 Million bpd = 21 days),
but the article didn't say if it was "Original Oil In Place", or recoverable.

If the quote from this Bloomberg article is correct:

it is "resource", so assume about 1/3 recoverable,
and it's just one week supply.

The USGS says Afghanistan has "more than 150 million" barrels of oil reserves (Million, NOT Billion), so a big increase - but as you point out, still small change w.r.t. the world demand.


Estimated undiscovered oil in "Northern Afghanistan" at 1.5 Billion bbls in 2006.

And thanks snakehead for the original article link.

Wow, the entire basin contains a whole 7 days supply for the world. We're saved :-)

Is this Jawad Omar even faintly reliable anyway I wonder?

I'm reminded of a converstaion a few years ago I had with my farmer friend Bob who raises wheat.

I asked, "Bob, why the heck are you worrying about getting wheat planted on your 3,000 acres. It is hot out here and you are sweating. Your tractor is polluting every hour it is running. The crop you are growing will simply result in more pollutants flowing downstream. And the whole enterprise will only feed the wdorld for 0.002 seconds. Aren't you concerned a bit by the the damage you do to generate such a minor contribution?"

Bob is a thoughtful fellow and went over it all with his family. He also considered that it would cause pollution when his small contribution was transported and processed into different forms of wheat. It does all add up and he was really concerned that he was simply at the beginning of the pollution stream. He is a modestly religious fellow and takes his responsibilities seriously.

One last pass of Roundup took care of that crop. Fallow ground is the best and does no environmental damage, that was his conclusion.

Now I visit and admire the growth rate of Kudzu. It is natural and does not pollute. No one will ever accuse my friend of ever sacraficing Kudzu for food ever again. The vines make great belts and he is selling a few on eBay. No shipping, pick up at the point of sale, and only by foot traffic from withing 15 miles distant. What a beautiful harmony with nature. Luckily there is a government sponsored healthcare program that will cover all of them without any payment.

Valuable for the Afghans, I'm sure you mean, as well as Halliburton of course. By the way, what is a team of international geologists doing in war-torn Afghanistan? These provinces must be relatively quiet and controlled by the government.

Valuable for WHOM?

I think it's too late for RR to cash in.

I'm not a fan, but history is history. The Taliban of 25 years ago weren't perceived as insanely radical and the CCCP had invaded.

The same could be said about the GOP or the democrats, that 25 years ago they weren't as crazy as they are now. But my point is that the more things change, the more they stay the same. You're undoubtably aware of what Charlie Wilson did back then. These tribes and their chiefs are just the flavor of the day, as Karzai in now.

It wouldn't surprise me if, in 25 more years, the present "government" in A-stan has been deposed or collapsed and we're dealing with the Taliban again to "help" them tap that oil reserve, because that site isn't coming out of the ground as long as the Taliban are running around in Ford Ranger pickups shooting anyone who looks sideways at them.
Anyhow, when that happens, I'm sure the oil revenues will completely pay for our "help."

After all, we're there to "help," right?

Not sure if it is the same team or not that discovered a massive deposit of Lithium over there too. Big money for the company that lands that contract.



The remnants of Tropical Depression Five are still spinning over southwestern Georgia, and the storm is headed southwards towards the Gulf of Mexico, where redevelopment into a tropical depression could occur by Tuesday. Latest long range radar out of Mobile, Alabama shows that a band of intense thunderstorms has developed over the northern Gulf of Mexico, and satellite imagery shows that this activity continues to intensify and expand in areal coverage. Most of the heavy rain is offshore, but I expect heavy rains will spread to the Florida Panhandle late this afternoon. These heavy rains will likely spread to coastal regions of Alabama, Mississippi, and Southeast Louisiana by Monday, as the center of ex-TD 5 approaches the coast and the storm begins to wind up again. By Tuesday, the GFS and HWRF models predict that the center will move off the coast, and TD 5 will be reborn again. The system may have enough time over water to become a weak tropical storm before making landfall Tuesday night or Wednesday morning over Southeast Louisiana. Wind shear is currently low, 5 - 10 knots, and is expected to remain low to moderate, 5 - 15 knots, over the next three days, favoring re-development of TD 5. NHC is giving a 20% chance that TD 5 will regenerate into a tropical depression by 8am EDT Tuesday. I think the odds are higher than this, perhaps 40%.

They will probably be asking the fisherman for their checks back............

BP clears itself over oil spill disaster

By Tom McGhie, Mail on Sunday Senior Financial Correspondent
Last updated at 11:00 PM on 14th August 2010

BP has declared itself not guilty of gross negligence over the Gulf of Mexico oil rig disaster after an internal inquiry.

The full results of its probe into the April explosion - which resulted in the deaths of 11 rig workers, the departure of chief executive Tony Hayward and catastrophic pollution across the region - will be revealed next week.

An earlier interim report highlighted seven areas of failure. There will be a final report after the company has recovered the failed blow-out preventer.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/money/article-1303155/BP-clears-oil-spill-dis...

... right after they hang Transocean.

You got it snake. I have a feeling a lot of folks are going to be very upset when this report is released. They are probably going to be the most PO'd because BP may be able to present a viable argument that they were not DIRECTLY responsible for the accident. But at least complicent for sure. I know most won’t like it but take it in before you bolt.

1) The rig exploded. Why? Oil/NG flowed uncontrolled to the drill floor. 2) How did the oil/NG flow to the floor? It came up the casing and the well was NOT SHUT IN to prevent the flow to the floor. 3) Once the flow was coming up through the floor why wasn’t the BOP activated? 4) Why did the BOP fail? 5) How did the oil/NG flow from the reservoir up the csg to the floor? 6) What allowed the oil/NG to escape from the reservoir that was supposedly sealed off by cmt?

Let’s go backwards. 6) The cmt failed. BP was solely responsible for making sure the cmt job was good. Halliburton pumping a bad cmt job is not a rare event. They offer no warranty on their work. It’s the operators responsibility to make sure it works. If the cmt fails Halliburton will do it again and charge the operator for it again…and not offer any warranty again. 5) the displacement of the csg with sea water allowed the flow up the csg. 100% BP decision. 4) Not my area but I think BP and TO shared responsibility for the proper operation of the BOP. 3) BOP activation was the responsibility of the Transocean crew. They can do it on the orders of the BP company man but they also have the authority/responsibility regardless of BP’s interaction. 2) The flow made it to the floor because the TO hands didn’t not recognize the well coming in and thus didn’t have time to shut it in. The drill crew is responsible to monitor mud returns. They are assisted in this effort by the mud engineers who are subcontractors to BP. 1) It was just a question of a combustion source.

Obvious any number of corrective actions could have prevented the accident. Some solely BP’s responsibility…some TO…some jointly. What’s considered “negligent”? I’ll leave that to our resident legal eagles. But BP can rightfully argue that all the mistakes could have been made but if the TO crew had seen the well coming in and shut it in time the explosion would not have occurred. This obviously won’t play well to the public since they’ll be pointing fingers at some of the dead. But the facts are what they are. Folks can discuss what may have been a culture of unsafe practices at BP and be very correct. But the TO hands didn’t work for BP. Whatever bad habits they had were developed while working for TO.

Obviously this is the beginning of a life and death battle between these two companies. It will get very emotional and ugly.

TO witnesses refusing to testify was a singularly bad PR move for that company, I think. Quite a setup. BP cooperated, TO didn't. BP agreed to a $20B contribution. What's TO tossed into the pot? BP may not know how to find its ass when it comes to operations risk remediation but you can bet they've called in the $10k/hr. pros to help with remediation of financial risk.

Rockman, Transocean contract had a clause providing BP would indemnify and hold RIG harmless for blowout. See http://seekingalpha.com/article/220077

Well plan - http://oilgeology.blogspot.com/2010/05/guilty-as-charged.html

Kaluza pleaded 5th amendment at Kenner hearings

Re: the TO get out clause, that'll play out in court. And we'll see what the insurers do and how that ends up if we live that long.

Re: the well plan, BP can point to lots of testing and subsequent decisions by the USG that indicate the casing didn't fail. That piece was written in May.

avon -- Interesting...had not heard of that indemnification. I'll leave it to our resident lawyers if one can indemnify another against reckles behavior. Take the extreme case where there is clear evidence that TO intentionally blew up the rig. Indemnified? Now the other extreme: BP intentionally blew up the rig. I figure the area between the two extremes is where a lot of lawyers will make a lot of money.

We need to let syn and others read the contract. I've never heard of an indemnification without a long list of exceptions.

I have never considered that Halliburton would have responsibility. As long as they were able to supply the correct blend and pump it as instructed, they are off the hook. The success of a cement job is quite dependent upon the downhole conditions and HAL has no control over that and they explicitly state that they are not responsible for that. They really cannot be. The evaluation of the results are the responsibility of the Operator or the Contractor. Many people have noted on this blog that cement failures are not uncommon. Sometimes it just not go where it is supposed to go or do what it is supposed to do. Squeeze jobs are just a part of the oil and gas business and should be planned for and expected.

Halliburton recommended 21 centralizers, warned BP about cement job.

The pay was less than 100 ft thick. It is at the bottom of the hole. Centralizers there will create the standoff necessary for a cement job. It now appears that the failure was possibly with the cement shoe, not the seal on the backside of the casing. Centralizers would not make any difference in that. The oil bearing formation did not frac "up" before it was drilled into. It was sealed from flowing by a few feet of rock and the mud column. Displacing cement across that part of the bore would have restored the same seal that the rocks once provided before the drill entered the pay. It certainly appears that the problem may have been a cement job that was not allowed to cure long enough. Possibly there was some mixture of mud and cement as they went down the hole and passed the change over of the casing size. The tail end of the job is likely to the least competent and that was what was over the casing shoe. Centralizers would not affect that either.

already posted with different quote

In the best moment of levity I've seen in this crisis so far, this guy, pictured in front of the Oly ROV#1 camera, smirked and threw a cup of liquid on the lens. Awesome.


Washing off the dispersant or oil stuck on the lens.

The view is terrible down there today.

This was a very clear camera view last night.


Why should there be oil on ROV camera lens if well is killed?



All I can see from that is fat pixels. I'll take your word for it. I thought I saw a few earlier when I had the video feeds rolling.

Wasn't that how the bad part of Poltergeist started? With a fuzzy TV? You can keep the worm in Mezcal, it is for tourists anyhow. There is some decent Mezcal out there.

I don't remember the last time I drank Mezcal. But there was hell to pay.

Yeah,look what it did to the worm.


The coordinates are missing from the screen capture.
Is this a shot of the well that BP has the fleet of ships trying to kill,
or a shot of the BOP that is seven miles away that is still leaking?

What other well? ;-)

Actually there are several other wells a Macondo, depending upon which conspiracy theory you read last.
There is the secret 35,000 ft deep well that was drilled to supply more oil than Iran can deliver so that there is no shortage when the attack takes place.
There is the well that was drilled into the cavern that is larger than Mt. Everest and is releasing the Red Methane.
There is the well that was drilled so deep that it cracked the granite beneath the GoM so that the communication is with abiotic oil and will never be stopped until the entire Gulf Coast and Mississippi drainage system is devoured all the way to St. Louis.
There is the Simmons well that is located seven miles away and is still leaking as there have been no efforts by the Coast Guard or BP to put ships or containment efforts to work at that location. Those who claim that there is a leak seven miles away have been terribly negligent in that they have not precisely identified the location so that something can be done to arrest the leak and fine the responsible party.
Then there is the well that BP drilled that had a blow out, put a great deal of oil into the GoM, is now contained, and may be leaking a few gallons of something each day. It is the "coverup" well that is getting the camera coverage so you will not be aware of all the others. Many high priced experts do not want it to be killed and plugged as it would end their careers. BP could have "top killed" it months ago but the government man in charge halted the efforts.

+ the well that was drilled in secret, 500' away, where the ROVs scurry off to and then cut their feeds when they get there. The oil from that one has been stripped of its photons.

Photon stipping is certainly a possibility, especially considering how much money BP claims to have paid out.
There was a post showing the mock up room where all of the coverup underwater footage was shot and, with all of those ships on station out there, one of them simply must be there for the purpose of generating false video to satisfy the courious. How else could they get an eel to swim that close to a spewing well with high methane content in the water. It cannot happen in real life. It must be the same as the bass fishing movies selling a silver wiggler top bait.

The eel trick is easy, all SFX. James Cameron is directing.

Also got a glimpse of the wellhead when Skandi glanced down.

At least give me credit for honest screengrabs, although I stretched the grayscale to see dark tones. In a lot of ROV pix the video is "piled up" in middle gray (no absolute black, no white except the superimposed ID text). To see what's going on I lift the black level and lower the white to expand the available picture content. No false color applied.

It's a mess. Pixels. Can't make out any detail whatsoever.

Yep. Skandi is the only public feed showing us the BOP stack, in low-res without using lights. Very noisy, then compressed. Four other ROVs were at the old BOP and wellhead today. I'm not mad about it. Just reporting the situation.

It would be nice to see the wellhead. Then I could get on with my life, so to speak. Either confirm or rubbish my you-know-what hypothesis about pumping mud.

I'm done, hitting the sack.

They are intentionally pumping negative weight mud into the well, that is the only way it could happen.

Whatever they are sending down the hole, it has been approved by Secretary Chu. Be calm and assured that the Nobel Prize Winner is in charge of delaying the ultimate kill while it is being studied.

Four other ROVs were at the old BOP and wellhead today.

How far away is the NEW BOP and is it far enough away that the ships had to be repositioned to give the fake coverage of the NEW one? It must be pretty far if it is able to hide the eruptions at the first site they were filming. but that was not the original leak site anyway, accordding to Simmons. All of this covering up must be getting very complex for the BP folks to manage.


With approximately 2500 psia in the BOP, one thing seems certain to me - they are not pumping MUD.

If anything is being pumped, it's a whole lot lighter than mud, since the minimum pressure that can be produced in the BOP is that of an approximately 5000 foot tall column of the substance being pumped.

No, I WILL NOT give you credit for honest screengrabs when you say that right after you post a DISHONEST screengrab! What the hell, man? Here, have a look at an honest, untouched screengrab from the same damn ROV:

No filters applied, at all. No 'stretching' anything. Not even resized. Just as it came out of Media Player Classic's screen capture.

You are a LIAR and a TROLL.

And here, I'll even throw you a sock to chew on (and then yank it away). Yes, this is from Thursday, but isn't that about the time you started whining about leaks at the wellhead?

Look at that giant black plume billowing out! It's leaking! YES! IT'S FINALLY LEAKING AGAIN!!! WOOOT!

Except... that's a shadow. In a still pic it looks damning. In the real-time video, the ominous black plume was absolutely STATIC. Not moving at all. It's a shadow.

Here's my favorite theme music for ROV watching...Benny Hill


It's great if you speed up the videos too.

That's really concerning to me if they have their lens cleaning solution in plastic cups with no lids. Also worrisome if their procedure is to throw it on the camera like a beer in the face of a cheating boyfriend. :)

Sure wish they would put the new comments in the bold blue as before.I hate getting to the end of a scroll and finding my count was off and what did I miss and should I do repeat?

Do a find for the word new in brackets [ ] and the cursor will move to the first new post. Use the "next" option to get to the next one. When you're out of 'em, refresh the browser window and do it again.

Boy, did I have a duh moment on that one.Got it now. Thanks.

deleted for redundancy.

Thanks. I've got a keyboard shortcut paper that I used to have under the keyboard.There were only a few that I used and filed it after awhile.That's why I was shakin' my head after snakehead told me what to do.Damn duh moments.I'm not frustrated considering I got my original investment back,so I'm in it for the run now.

Would someone kindly comment on the video below regarding 2 wells being simulaneously drilled and BP switching their live feed from the actual spill to the second well upon returning to the gulf after the tropical storm (forgot the name already). Forgive me if this has been addressed. And I will warn you, the music played during the video is over the top.


It's baloney. The drilling plan was for two wells but BP drilled one. Not two. They restarted drilling in same well with Deepwater Horizon after Transocean Marianas was damaged.

If you have questions, please contact the BP representative at the UAC Joint Information Center: (713) 323-1670.

15-Aug-10 17:00:00 2479.5

Looks like the test is over. Wonder how it worked out?


What gives you the idea the test is over from that data?

They were putting the results up every two hours and stopped.

I figured the test is over since they quit posting the results.

Maybe the web folks went to bed? In any case the pressure is still near ambient (in fact nearer than it has ever been) at the last recorded value so how can you say the near ambient test is over? From the data it seems clear that pressure is occasionally held level before they then drop it gradually again.

If the pressure had shot up to 4,200 psi in the last reading then I would conclude the "near ambient" test was over. But it didn't.

I will go with the web people went to bed at 5pm Sunday. Sounds good.

If the information was being relayed via BP HQ in London (or at least double-checked by) for any reason then that would be 11pm UK time. Anyway we'll see what's posted today.

Chevron Main Pass Block 41

Royal Dutch Shell Bay Marchand

CORE Report 2007-05 Offshore Technology: Lessons Learned the Hard Way


About 30 percent of Gulf Coast residents are suffering with mental-health issues in the aftermath of the BP oil spill, according to a study by the nonprofit Ochsner Health System in Louisiana.

Ochsner Health System surveyed 406 people in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. It found 12 percent of respondents in Mississippi indicated they were suffering from serious mental illness and 23 percent indicated they were suffering from mild to moderate mental illness in the wake of the oil spill.

“This is all fairly new to us, this technological disaster,” said Jeff Bennett, director of the Gulf Coast Mental Health Center in Gulfport. “We’re familiar with hurricanes — it hits you, and it’s over. A technological disaster comes in stages.

“One of the key things of mental stability is balance, and this leaves people unbalanced.” ...

Interesting how the 30 percent figure seems to track roughly in line with the number of chicken little poster children here. Three in 10 absolutely persistent and unswervingly paranoid. No wonder the government and the corporacrats are reluctant to tell the truth. It hardly matters what they tell us, as the result will always be the same lunatic fringe raving.

And btw, "it's" is the contraction of "it is" or "it has."
If you don't believe me, Google it or look it up in a fracking "book."
(Howe peepel perceeve yoo doez depends on how youze rite and uze graamarz, derp.)

Uncon, what's with this "it's" tirade?

New from Ben Raines:

With oil well capped, scientists begin assessing spill's environmental toll

... The goal is to create an official reckoning of the environmental toll, from the most obvious -- 3,761 dead birds and counting, according to BP -- to losses so subtle that no one is even sure how to measure them. How, for instance, do you attach a dollar sign to trillions of dead planktonic organisms that can be identified only with a microscope? ...

Regarding this Montara oil spill and possible legal issues: Do I smell a FailBOP that was also refurbished in China?