BP's Deepwater Oil Spill - Improving the Clean-up - and Open Thread

This thread is being closed. Please comment on http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6636.

One of the more innovative recent technical advances that you have likely never heard of is called Hydro-excavation. It combines the use of a water stream of the sort you find at a car wash (i.e. 2,000 psi water at about 2 gpm) with a vacuum hose attached to a vacuum truck. It turns out to combine into a new tool that is quite effective for disaggregating soil and removing it to leave a relatively dry cavity down to significant depth, quite fast. It has a lot of advantages if you are excavating in an area where there are fiber-optic cables and other underground conduits that might take unkindly to the use of a back-hoe, (including gas lines).

I mention this, because there is a certain amount of the clean-up now going on in the Gulf that can be done with waterjet lances, and some parts of the spill can be cleaned up with suction hoses. (And I have some experience with both, courtesy of helping in the development mentioned in the first paragraph). One of the classes that I have taught involved the use of pressure washers in a demonstration laboratory that supported the class lectures. So I thought I would take a moment to mention some of the things that need to be considered when using pressure wands and suction hoses.

The first obvious, but neglected point, is that the operator rarely can judge exactly where the tip is relative to the surface being cleaned. This is actually quite critical because the average pressure wand comes with a fan tip on the end. The tips come with different angles of dispersion of the jet, and having photographed a fair number, most jets are about 5 degrees broader than the jet pattern stamped into the nozzle. The second point is the one that is usually missed, but which relates to the distance of the nozzle from the surface.

When the jet comes out of a fan jet nozzle, the shape of the nozzle forms the stream into a sheet that gets wider with distance. Because the volume of water coming out at one time doesn’t change, the jet therefore gets thinner the further that it gets away from the jet.

Flash Picture of a fan jet

With a typical nozzle (usually called a tip) the sheet gets thin enough somewhere between 2 and 4 inches that the sheet perforates, and just as with a balloon when it pops, the material pulls back from the hole. In the case of the water sheet, this creates circles of larger droplets that continue to move forward. It is at this point that the jet is at its most effective, in many applications.

However, those droplets that are moving originally at about 550 ft/sec are moving into air that is relatively stationary. It breaks these large droplets up and decelerates them over the next couple of inches. As a result, the jet becomes virtually powerless within about 6-inches of the nozzle. (The distance varies with nozzle manufacturer, design flow rate and operating pressure – but that distance is typical). If you hold the nozzle further away from the target than that you are merely getting the surface wet, and not moving anything but surface dirt.

The problem that you, as an operator, have is that it is very difficult to judge that 6-inches. (Making it easy to “catch the student in error” at the beginning of the lab and reinforce the lesson). So the simple way to resolve the problem, is to touch the target surface before you start, position your feet accordingly, and then back the lance off a little and you are likely to be much more effective.

Having cleaned a wall of my house with an 18-ft extension lance to the normal pressure washer last week, I can also add that trying to maintain a 2-4 inch standoff while holding the lance above your head is an art that has to be learned.

OK, now the next problem is that most of the material being removed is going to be some form of hydrocarbon (oil. Oil emulsion or something similar). Some of these are quite sticky and hard to remove with just water pressure. In this case if the water is heated to about 185 deg F it will cut through and remove those coatings a lot more easily than at a lower temperature. You don’t want to heat it all the way to steam, since that loses the pressure of the jet at the nozzle too quickly, but with hot water the range can be extended.

One other way to extend the range is to use a spinning round jet nozzle (sometimes called a 0 deg tip). There are a number of these on the market and the cone of the jet is created by rapidly spinning the cylindrical jet that comes out of the nozzle. Depending on the quality of the nozzle (and diameter and pressure) these can increase the jet range to a foot or more. If you work out the amount of energy and water required to clean a surface both our group and some folks in Germany have shown that using this rather than a fan-jet can drop the amount of energy and water that you use to clean that surface by up to 90%.

The final point I want to make deals with the use of suction hoses. These are now appearing more frequently in some of the locally made systems being fielded along the Gulf. While the same basic argument about the operator not knowing where the tip is, still applies, there is a different reason as to why this is important.

In most cases the object is to pull a relatively thin film of oil from the surface of the water. The ideal place to hold the end of the hose is just above the oil: water level (less than half-an-inch). The air drawn into the gap helps pull the surface layer into the hose, and you don’t pull in a lot of water.

Unless you have really good control of your position (bearing in mind you are looking along the hose at the water) this is very hard to sense. If you push the hose into the water hardly at all then you pull in too much water and not that much oil.

If you tilt the hose then it tends to pull in a lot of air, and not a whole lot of water or oil.

The best way to control the position is to have the end of the hose attached to a piece of foam that will float and in this way the mouth of the nozzle can be placed where you want it. It is easier to do this if you bend the hose so that most of it is lying on the foam, and not pushing it into the water, but in this way, depending on the amount of oil, you can slide the nozzle up and down in the foam to get the best distance to recover the oil.

That half-inch distance is fairly critical for best performance, especially if you can keep just below it. (Yeah we actually did experiments where we adjusted it).

There are now whole books on this technology, and some safety recommendations on how to use some of the equipment, as the industry continues to grow. Hopefully this has been of some help. What one learns in one application can be quite usefully applied, often in others.

Flow recovery update from the Gulf:

For the first 12 hours on June 20 (midnight to noon), approximately 6,790 barrels of oil were collected and approximately 4,280 barrels of oil and 23.2 million cubic feet of natural gas were flared.

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

Prof. Goose's comment:

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Tropical Weather Discussion excerpt from Crown Weather:

So, bottom line is that the chance for tropical cyclone development in the western Caribbean late this week into this weekend is increasing and I would put the chance of this occurring at 50 percent.

The National Hurricane Center is showing that the likelihood remains less than 30%. At the moment it is the battle of the computer models, and if we have a hurricane in a week it will indicate that the European models were more accurate than the American.

We will want to watch the invest 93L that just formed closely as conditions are just about ideal for development and intensification ATM. Extremely warm seawater temperatures and very low wind shear.

Some of the models are wanting to develop it as a major hurricane right over the spill area... but it is too early to take them as more than a heads up to be watchful.

Joe Bastardi: Hurricane Season Update, and Possible Development Later This Week http://www.accuweather.com/video.asp?channel=vbbastaj


I have been reading TOD for over a month now and I appreciate the skill level of the contributors of this forum.

I have gone through the threads searching in vain so far for specific information about the sinking of the DWH rig.

Based on the pictures of the sister ship, the Nautilus...


... it seems to me that the pontoons would not only be deep enough in the water to use the water as a sort of a shield to slow down any blast-triggered flying projectiles, that the pontoons themselves surely would have been designed to have been blast-hardened to handle the shock-loading of flying projectiles, right?

So are there any articles out there that may have some hard information about exactly how the DWH rig sunk?

Thank you for any assistance of my query, and again, I appreciate your skill levels in the information that you provide to a bewildered public, some of whose minds are about as stuck as the birds stuck in oil in the gulf.

And I sure as hell do hope that we do get to shut down that Gulf Gusher oil volcano asap. The consequences of not doing so are horrific to contemplate.

There's more to this debacle than we know. While the tech savvy — regarding the drilling process — of many commenting here is admirable, the ecological impact analysis seems to be automatically and foolishly lumped in with the doomsday scenarios for the well itself.

I believe we will see a gradually worsening of conditions resulting in the ultimate realization of an ecological disaster of immense proportions. Until now, our expectations have been based on what we have been allowed to see (“out of sight, out of mind” is not a well known phrase for nothing). As long as the volume of oil and dispersants is suspended in the water column or kept from rising into the water column (again, we can't see it, but there have been reports, if I remember correctly, of oil pooling on the sea floor), we have no way to determine the extent, location, or chemical make up of the oil/dispersant stew.

We are going to have to mobilize nationally in order to keep this from becoming a long term, unimaginably large, toxic cesspool. While there's been quite a bit of creative thinking regarding how to stop the flow of oil demonstrated at TOD over the short time I've been reading comments, what we face in the clean-up is even more daunting and the challenges unprecedented — we had better start figuring out what to do to save our Gulf. It's a national food source and a global generator of marine life.

Mr. Obama, I'm speaking to you.

Whatever the programs aimed at remediating the damage, they will most certainly require manpower, and lots of it. Will the currently unemployed find work in the clean-up? If so, will the social benefits of a clean-up be recognized at their full value and provide a living wage to those involved? Will the powers that be allow and enable the great transfer of wealth that will be necessary to protect this resource?

The answer is no, they will not.

The most simplistic reason that will be put forth will be that we “need the oil.” Oil production is and will remain our first priority in the Gulf. Economic strain will be a supporting argument (please note that in our current Corporatist system, the beneficiaries of deregulation, tax cuts, and lax enforcement haven't had any noticeable economic strain). Tony Hayward and his ilk will never lose a dime of their fortunes to the benefit of the “little” people.

The larger reason we won't make the rational investment in clean-up is that we are already eyeball deep in two wars for resources. We can't make war without oil, and we will make war to get it (Eisenhower warned us about this self-propagating, bloodthirsty monster).

The Gulf is toast, because we have lost our Constitutional Republic to a Corporatist cabal, and the interests of that cabal are not the interests of We, the People.

Hard times been a long time coming, harder times ahead.

The Gulf is toast, because we have lost our Constitutional Republic to a Corporatist cabal, and the interests of that cabal are not the interests of We, the People.

Reminds me of the outrage some had when the oil came onshore on Padre Island from Ixtoc. Everyone was pissed at the Mexican government. The tourist hotels put out mats begging those with oil on their feet to wipe it off, lest the carpets in the hotel become stained with Mexican tar. How much did Mexico contribute to the cleanup of American beaches and sensitive areas? None. How many years before most of the wildlife along the shoreline was back to normal? About two. And that was in the heavily hit areas.

Keep the marshes and especially the estuaries protected. Screw protecting the beaches and just clean up the stuff after it gets there -- that said, channel the oil - it's a better use of the resources you do have.

The first hurricane after this is fixed will do some interesting cleanup.

wow!!! fantastic

R2-3D, you are a scallywag!

We DEMAND 110% doom here ... and your post failed the test miserably.

Actually, as long as this leak is fixed in the next few weeks, I doubt that much pollution will remain in say 5 years time.

The world is exposed to all sorts of pollution incidents, and most (not all) simply fade away with the passage of a relatively short time.

Oil in weather swept deep ocean is one thing - heavy metals ash on agricultural land is something else entirely.

ok, let's go on this way!

MetaMeme, you seem to think everything is knowable. What you don't seem to understand is that every now and then something falls off the charts.

I suspect you'll look quite stupid in a short while.

We shall see.

About four miles North of where I sit typing this, there are areas near the Tiki resort where after a big storm like Dolly or Ike, the sand washes away to expose a layer of asphalt saturated sand that still remains from Ixtoc 31 years ago. It never goes away completely. I read somewhere a diver around Veracruz saw blobs of semisolid tar/asphalt about the size of cattle. He stuck a knife in and it came out covered in tar. Ah yes here it is in a sidebar off of the main article: http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=51843

That article is not exactly a doomsday scenario.

From the sidebar you mentioned:

Tunnell recently asked a friend that was on the same 2002 cruise to search for the blobs again, but "he couldn't find anything".

'Well, what happened to all of [the oil]?' For the most part, I think it's gone and we won't find much.

I never mentioned a doomsday scenario. Sounds like you're ok with a major environmental disaster as long as it's not your idea of a doomsday scenario? Sounds like you work for BP. A hell of a bad mess is a hell of a bad mess. I was here in 1979 when the oil was on the beach. It's 100% worse than no oil on the beach with or without a doomsday scenario. As I say, it's still here on the beach 31 years later, under the sand in the form of asphalt. Clams that you see burrowed on the rest of the beach are not present in that area. That part of the beach is eroding heavily while other areas are accreting sand. They have to truck in sand regularly to keep the hotel there above the tide line. Clearly we're kidding ourselves that we have our tech developed to the point where this is a failsafe process.

Ever tried to verbally tell a friend how to find a dive site without GPS? I'll wager it's still there.

"This week Tunnel is flying back to Veracruz himself to see what remnants - if any - are still present. "We're going to do a really good search to see if there's any left or if they're all gone, just to fill in the story," he said."

When I snorkeled the Gulf circa 1983, there were tons of blindingly colorful and beautiful fish everywhere in the reefs. When I went back to the same spot in 2005, few fish, crumbling to non-existent reef.

Petey's post suffers from excess hyperbole, IMHO, but he makes an assertion that bears consideration (both retrospectively and prospectively):

"...the ecological impact analysis seems to be automatically and foolishly lumped in with the doomsday scenarios for the well itself."

I think a review of responses (especially by our oilpatch folks and certain of the "hard science" people) to expressions of concern for the Gulf ecosystem, provides some evidence that he is correct. There does seem to be a tendency toward offhanded and facile dismissal of questions of serious and long-term environmental damage, and a sometimes cavalier tone to the dismissals.

Just a reminder: Ecosystems are far more complex than the systems we all work with every day, however complicated those may be. Ecosystems can be extremely robust; they can also be very fragile indeed. And we know less about their overall operation, much less, than we do about the systems we design, or the chemistry, physics or biology we can study in controlled investigations.

A little more respect for uncertainty might be wise. It's good science.

I most heartily agree.

Clean up? I am so disgusted with this so-called clean up operation I can't tell you.

First I do not care about numbers of anything deployed. 1400 boats, 3 million feet of boom etc. If it is not deployed properly nor managed properly or lacking proper oversight we are wasting manpower and equipment.

Then there is Kevin Costner.... So how many of his wackymaggies were purchased? At what cost? At only 250gpm? Give me a break We were using oil/water separators back in the 90s that were doing a minimum of 500gpm and today we have them at 5000gpm +. Eh...where are those right now?

Secondly this Unified Area Committee approach to command,control and oversight is for the birds. Why does BP have any veto power over the USCG regarding response? You might as well have the Marx Bothers managing the spill recovery part.

Third the States of LA, MS, AL, Fl and there respective Governors have to be kidding me? Gosh are these guys State Executives or bobble tops? I have to wonder who is advising who? I have a copy of Louisiana's OCPR plan to respond to the Horizon spill. Its nothing more than a confused guidance document proving that no one at OCPR has much oil spill response experience.

This spill needs to be Federalized with the USCG firmly at the helm. Oversight of spill operations needs to be brought to bare near shore and coastal like now.

Fourth, this political bull of wavering the Jones Act so foreign response vessels can enter US waters is political bull-sheet-rock. We do not need foreign spill response assets as in vessel near shore or coastal. They can very well response over the 3 mile exclusion of the Jones Act. Just as the MODU Deep Sea's being a Marshall Island flagged is doing right now.

This is nothing more than a political talking point while many US OSRO's who cannot meet the OPA 90 Insurance and financial requirements cannot deploy to this event and so some backwards cowboy wants a waiver to the Jones Act?

What we need is the proper command and control regarding spill containment and recovery using pragmatic experienced folk. Just laying down a strand of boom ain't containment in my book and popping a skimmer that is wrongly transverse a spill limiting effective recovery is not efficient usage of the skimmers recovery potential. After reviewing many overflight photos of skimming operations I am not buying these recovery rates being published by the JIC. Look this is not rocket science. Its simple you lay boom wrong its useless. You don't use a skimmer properly you limit its potential.

Containment and recovery is difficult enough especially in open waters I will not mention near shore and coastal. While proper deployment using multiple techniques is very necessary. Along with continued OVERSIGHT OVERSIGHT and OVERSIGHT.

Just frustrating....

I thought they were adopting an Incident Command Structure, (possibly based on wildland firefighting operations?), that I've seen utilized on a couple multi-agency incidents, (the incidents I worked on were far smaller in scope than the DWH incident, Capitol Hill anthrax remediation and Columbia recovery). I don't know if the "Unified Command" is the same idea, but it seems like it's been pretty poorly executed, at least from my admittedly not on the scene perspective. I think we all share your frustration.

One thing the coordinating agencies did right on the shuttle recovery effort, in my mind, is to put the local Texas Forest Service at the top of the command structure, if I remember right. Someone else who was involved might remember the details better, but it seemed to me like the federal agencies were acting at the direction of the Forest Service, who was coordinating the daily activities. I think resource allocation decisions are made better by those agencies closest to the action.

I could be way off on this, but I had the same thought when I watched Haiti's earthquake relief efforts. A local charity here working in Haiti was the first relief planes to get in, because they had a 20 year history of boots on the ground, far out-delivering efforts by the UN and world relief fund, exactly because they knew best the logistics.

Not sure if that's worth 2 cents or not, but that's just what I got for now.

We'll get through this, one foot in front of the other.

Speaking from the other side of the planet, I find this very interesting, but will note a few other issues.

Columbia was a federal problem, and did not involve any local interests. Many people were unaware of the huge effort being mounted to find the debris. Being a confirmed space geek I was following Columbia with the same interest I am following DWH. But most people had no idea.

The big difference here is that there are so many competing interests. The disaster crosses state boundaries, has massive local costs and implications, and there is an election brewing. The political forces that drive lots of competing interests to cause all sorts of interference are massive. Politicians are under huge pressure to be seen to be "doing something" and doing it for the benefit of their constituents. There are no votes in standing back and letting the best suited and experienced run things. Making noise, and being seen to control and micro-manage things are what people expect. And this engenders distrust, and things get worse.

Sadly, what one learns is that a politician is the last person you want anywhere near anything that requires critical thought.

As Chris Masters observed decades ago, once a politician has learnt to count votes, he has all the mathematical skills he will ever need. Disasters like this prove the point all to well.

I've thought of the distinction, and am sadly aware of the drag-inducing political forces involved. Having seen well-run multi-agency efforts, (probably not the norm, outside of my limited experiences), I wanted to at least cite some examples, even if it's just peeing in the wind.

As for my vote, it'll go to those who demonstrate wise resource allocation. We have a latent workforce here in the U.S., many willing to help. Right now, my perception is the top down approach is unsatisfactory and ineffective.

A governor on a boat is worth more than a guy on the golf courses and another at the yacht races combined, to the present efforts.

Well said and true, Petey. Don't mind those who think it is too strong. You can't make it too strong. After thirty years of brainwashing by the neocons and their allies in the media, most of the body politic is incapable of seeing what is going on, even when it is happening to them (Tea Party).

Some of those who comment here have been well paid all these years and can't accept that there is anything wrong. For example, those who would repeal the Jones Act. They believe in offshoring our jobs because of neocon propaganda, and because it is not likely to happen to them.

Hi there Pete

First off is that you are right that we have little idea the extent to which this will affect the environment. Crude is so varied and even these days I get a sample I can be surprised by how little the toxicity of the water is affected once well separated. What I do know is that the metals will accumulate over time in most of the fish. Basically I would not reccomend eating any fish from the whole of the Atlantic even 10 years from now.

I'm glad to be able to finally contribute some expertise on this site. Until now I've just been reading while getting my eyes crossed. I am an environmental chemist up in Northern Alberta, what I specialize in is measuring the toxicity in water for the oil field messes and if anyone is still reading this I have found for the best separation of the nastier samples I recommend dropping the pH down to around 4 really makes a difference.

Welcome, OT! Glad to have your expertise.

Now if we can just find a meteorologist who can whip us up a batch of acid rain... ;)

What metals and concentrations do you typically see in oil? Assuming we could capture more, could it be treated with chelates or something to bind the metals?


Looks like it may be a slow news day so here's a rehash about failed cement jobs. real examples seem to hit home better than hypotheticals so here's exactly what happened on one of my wells this weekend.

We set csg at 13,800' and pumped cmt down the drill pipe and back up between the csg and the rocks. Let the cmt cure for the appropriate amount of time. We then revved the mud pumps up to make the 15.3 #/gallon have the equivalent pressure of 18.0 ppg. This would be the safety margin when we drilled ahead. After holding this pressure for 15 minutes it began to bled off down to a 16.4 ppg equivalent. Conclusion: easy...the cmt failed. Next step: go in hole and pump more cmt and then test it again. BTW...no cement bond log was run. I didn't need it...there's no potential oil zones over the cmtd interval that I have to worry about isolating. I never use CBL's to determine if my cmt will hold...always do a pressure test.

Halliburton designed the cmt job and pumped it. Did they go to my company man looking all apologetic and humble? No...they just gave him the bill for the failed cmt job as well as the costs estimate for the re-cementing effort that we are going to have to pay for (as well as the extra day rig costs). They didn't even bring him a box of donuts: a standard mea culpa in the patch. The fact: cmt jobs fail. It is not uncommon for it to happen even when everything is done properly. That's why you do a pressure test. That's why you always have the re-cementing equipment standing by. As we move towards the investigation the subject of this smoking gun (the bad cmt job by the most evil company on earth) will come up again. Try to not let it distract you from the real issue IMHO: poor procedures by BP in evaluating the cmt integrity.

While you're on the topic, can you elaborate on the arguments over putting in a liner and putting in the tapered casing? We know that the liner would be hung, thus perhaps helping to have one more seal (the liner hanger) but BP chose to run the tapered casing to surface. The concept of not using a liner for production; this is something that's not discussed. Also, the tapered casing instead of just one diameter casing, could you explain the logic behind that? (I like to think I know the reasons, but fear I wouldn't explain it well enough) Could you take a whack at these minor differences in well design that apparently made a lot of difference?

R2 -- A little far from my knowledge base to offer a detailed xpnanation but all my engineers would ahve gone with a liner. And I've seen no logical explanation for running a tapered string but it might have been to aid an effort to drill the well deeper at a later time. So some rumor like that early on.

Csg design in general: I've sat in more meetings than I care to remember listening to engineers argue about csg design. I usually just focus on not nodding off. As has been said: get 3 experts to study a problem and you'll get 4 or 5 answers. BP csg desing may have made the post-blow out situation worse. I'll let others argue that. But the well didin't blow out due to the csg design IMHO. It blew out because the cmt failed when they displaced the heavy drill mud with se water. Had that not happened I doubt we would be discussing csg design today.

Rock, you might have answered this previously but how far does the cement go? e.g. does it go all the way back up to the last lot of cemented casing or 20' or 100' or far enough so you think it will hold?


It just depends Tony. Sometimes just a few hundred feet up and sometimes they circulate cmt out the top of the casing for completely coverage. Unfortunately the longer the cmt run the more problems you tend to have so sometimes running an excess is worse than not running enough. It all depends upon the particulars of the situation.

I'm concerned about the decision making in re. cement jobs. It seems that the cement needs to fill the annular region outside the casing and contacting the bare rock well-wall up to a place where there is known to be a layer of sturdy, non-porous rock. So, if the data gathered while drilling indicates that the well bottom is currently in loose sand, it is not a good time to attempt a cement job. Is this correct? Realistic? Should not cement jobs be done whenever a layer of solid sturdy rock is found? Maybe an argument is made that cement jobs are too costly. Maybe there were no layers of solid sturdy rock in this well. This may sound like an opinion, but really, please treat it as a question. There is a lot of talk about stricter regulation, but I wonder about the technical/scientific basis. Without technical/scientific understanding how can regulators justify their decisions?

Second question. Wall Street Journal in writing about long string design recently noted in passing that the first use of the technique was in July 2003. I would say this indicates that no one in the industry, expert or nube, has so much as a decade of experience with this design. Thinking back to what I know about the history of design of steam pressure boiler in 19th century, it took a lot more than a decade to work out proper design rules. Similarly for steel bridges, especially with tension members. But it may not be true that long string design was first used in 2003. Can you confirm WSJ statement?

Very good my little geek grasshopper. Engineers get very mad at geologists when they try to get them set the bottom of the csg in a sand. They would always like a good 100' of hard shale to set in just as you surmised. There's another good reason: after you let the cmt cure they go back down hole and drill out the cmt as well as about 10' of new formation before they do the pressure test. Thus another good reason to avoid setting in a sand.

Justify? Justify! We don't need no stinkin' justification...we got badges, amigo.

I'll just repeat what most of my engineers say: they don't need more experience in the BP csg design: they didn't like it in 2003...they don't like it now...and they probably never will. But opinions will vary, of course.


RM, I take it this was a liner job with the liner run on drillpipe. And the next cmt you would pump would be at the top of the liner as a squeeze job? That would require a trip to pick up a RTTS tool. After the squeeze there would be some cmt to drill out and the liner top tested again. I add this to your description for the newbies that may get confused. As you have said previously, the liner is much safer but may be more expensive depending on the cement job success.

ExDrllgMgr, liner top squeezes are very rare in the GOM, due to the wide use of liner top packers. The only people that squeeze liner tops are the few Operators that don't run liner top packers and the rare Operator that has a liner top packer failure to seal. Just an FYI!

"The only people that squeeze liner tops are the few Operators that don't run liner top packers."

I would sure like to see some data on that statement. Could be that the few operators that don't run liner top packers are the ones that stay out of trouble too. I admit there are pros and cons but I'm from the old school of wanting to know what I'm dealing with when safety is at stake rather than setting a packer and forgetting about it. Then there's the problem of having to drill out a liner packer because the test failed. Ugh! To each his own, I guess.

First off, had the Horizon ran a liner with liner packer we wouldn't be talking right now.

I only have 17 years in the oilfield but I've never seen a liner packer get drilled out because a test failed. I don't recall liner packers failing to test either. If the liner packer does fail you squeeze the liner top as normal or you set another packer on top of it, but you don't drill it out.


When you mention having to "squeeze" the cement after a failed test, are you talking about trying to push cement into the plug to fill in whatever void/channel there was that caused the failure in the first place?

That's correct Bendal. In a bad case when you can't get it to sqz past the cmt that's in place you have to blow holes (perforate) the csg to get the sqz in.


Do you think that a cement company not being liable for re-cementing and then charging may make them a little unconcerned about 1st time success? That it may be a contributing factor to failed cement jobs. Would making them responsible for the first re-cement make for better results?


not -- In general all the hands try for a good cmt job. If nothing else keeping their jobs with the cmt company is important to them. Probably not a factor IMHO. Like I said...cmt jobs fail all the time even when you do it right. You can make the cmt company (or any other subcontractor including the drilling company) responsible for the results. This is called a "turn key" deal. The job is done for a fixed price and if the subcontractor has to pay more then it's on him. In fact, on my well the drilling contractor is working on a turn key. The re-cement cost is on him...not me. But there's no free lunch: a turn key deal will cost more than doing it on "day work". Consider it an insurance premium. If the project goes without a hitch the contractor makes some extra money. Things go really bad and the contractor might actually lose a good chunk of money.

In the offshore arena especially deep water whether or not a cement service company or any service company pays for failures mostly depends on the rig count. If the rig count is high and/or climbing then service companies are less likely to discount work where a customer is unsatisfied. If the rig count is down and/or falling then the service companies are more likely to discount bad work.

It's all part of a negotiation.

And if not a discount a really nice deer hunting trip come fall. Blue Bell included, of course.

ROCKMAN, I understand your issue with trusting CBL's, but in the situation that BP was in pressure test mainly tell you if your casing, your floats, and your casing seals have integrity. Pressure test on a closed system tells you little to nothing about your cement job. On a production string the CBL and negative test is the only test I know of to test your cement job. You have indicators before and during the cementing process, but what else is there to test cement jobs after the job? Negative test in certian situations and CBLS are about it. I would go with the CBL first and if it was good I would then do the negative and positive test. LOT and FIT test are not applicable to production strings.

I've seen times where a LOT or FIT failed due to higher expectations of a certain geological formations frac gradient than was actually to be found. In these weak formations the operator squeezed, until they surrendered, then they eventually changed the mud and casing program to accomodate natures reality.

I picked this up from http://community.nytimes.com/comments/www.nytimes.com/2010/05/14/us/14ag... , a month or so back.

The proximate cause of this incident is almost certainly a failed primary cementation that resulted in direct and fairly unrestricted hydraulic communication of reservoir fluids (gas and oil) to the uncemented production casing annulus. Zonal isolation is the principal function of a primary cementation, and BP deliberately chose not to evaluate the integrity of that isolation (possibly against the advice of cementing contractor Halliburton), by means of widely-used wireline acoustic logging methods, before commencing to prepare the Macondo well for temporary plugging and abandonment. . .

In the end, Transocean, Halliburton and Cameron (the BOP manufacturer) will be found neither grossly negligent nor principally responsible for this disaster -- culpability will rest entirely with BP, as perpetrators of one of the most colossal and avoidable risk management failures in offshore drilling history.

Sounds pretty much like your current analysis, except that he seems to think more of CBLs than you do; my naive outside view would be that the pressure tests may have been easier for the BP guys to , um , misintepret.

(the bad cmt job by the most evil company on earth)

I knew Goldman Sachs would have to be involved somewhere!

Actually I think Tony Hayward is auditioning for the post of CEO of Goldman Sachs. When the next big Financial Crash happens who better to tell us we're all screwed but them than Hayward.

ROCKMAN said (from previous thread):

"...if Anadarko wins the JOA argument they probably won't have to pay any part of the original well cost. There would also be a good chance that Anadarko could take operatorship away from BP on the future development of the field."

The Pool of Tears
"Curiouser and curiouser!" cried Alice (she was so much surprised, that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English)....

"The Pool of Tears" aka the Oil Patch Doxology ("As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.")

What is the composition of the hydrocarbons coming out from the well?

We know there is a certain amount of methane, but what about the oil?

What is the composition of the crude?

Why is it the oil appear to not all float on top of the sea, but appear to be underwater.

Is it because of the large scale use of dispersants?

Why are we getting credible reports of thick oil slicks now coming on shore --- with the oil under water?


"A two-inch layer of submerged oil is coating portions of the Gulf seafloor off the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge: a week after a smothering layer of floating crude washed ashore there. This scenario is being played out all along the Gulf shoreline."

No, the experts here will tell you that it's science fiction and in any case you don't have to worry about it...the first hurricane will fix everything ... see above http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6631#comment-656265

What is the specific gravity (API) of the oil with methane?

Without methane?

Does the depth / pressure / temperature mean the methane rather than "boil off" turns into hydrates and change the specific gravity of the oil?

Why is it not floating?

From the gulf oil Blog

The specific gravity of oil is irrelevant to this discussion. This is not oil like you buy at the auto supply store. Think of it as gas-saturated oil that has been shot out of a deep sea cannon under intense pressure – it’s like putting olive oil in a spray can, pressurizing it and pushing the spray button. What comes out when you push that button? A mist of olive oil. This well is leaking a mist of oil that is settling out in the deep sea.

Thanks for the link. Noted, a minor and temporary anxiety reducer: "(17) Have you seen any evidence of other sources of oil such as might indicate fractures in the sea floor near to the site of the wellhead explosion? No, we have not seen any evidence of fractures in the seafloor near the riser pipe."

Is there any reason why you are going to so much trouble to ensure that there can be no questions raised as to the wellbore's integrity?

Ask away. But you might want to look at an answer about the sea floor. It's from a scientist with actual first hand observational experience. It's just above here.

Guess what, further below is the Official NOAA interim report.

Hardly irrelevant if we are asking whether the oil slick that is on the surface is in fact, all that is there.

Why are we seeing undersea oil if the specific gravity of whatever is there is not close to the same as water?

HO, "Having cleaned a wall of my house with an 18-ft extension lance to the normal pressure washer last week, I can also add that trying to maintain a 2-4 inch standoff while holding the lance above your head is an art that has to be learned."

Why did you not make a Heath Robinson standoff that you could attach to the end of the lance to maintain the ideal standoff without much effort? I would have thought a paint roller extension or wire coat hanger plus gaffer/duck tape would have sufficed:-)

I was hoping the government would announce say a $1m prize for a development to remove oil from sand that could be used by unskilled operators and was cheap to manufacture... entrants would have to demonstrate a working prototype to filter out the "noise" and "nuclear exploding battleship" solutions. As this is widely considerd the worst environmental tragedy in the US let's get some significant advances in clean-up solutions as well as better drilling regulations.

Best Hopes for better solutions.

Sand is easy to clean, marshland and sea bed, not so easy.............what would be much worse than a hurricane is a tropical depression or even enhanced wave action from a distant storm that would just push all of the oil onto the low-lying land. But if the recovery efforts are stopped for several weeks due to a storm....can you imagine the increased flow?

Back to NOLA tommorrow for oil and unbearable heat. Its going to be a heck of a summer.....

But . . but . . .but . . .

. . . a hurricane would clean it all up!

But . . but . . .but . . .

. . . a hurricane would clean it all up!

Be careful of what you wish for! ;-)

What are you, a hatted cat?

It doesn't clean it up as much as it gets sequestered under sand stirred up by the storm.

In the carbon footprint discussion, sequestering carbon is talked about all the time. Covering up the beached tar with sand is what a high wave action will do. If the oil is still floating, then you have a different issue. It's the timing of the storm that makes all the difference between disastrous spread and sequestration.

I did think about it, but firstly it would add weight, and secondly I was adjusting the angle of the jet as I worked different parts of the siding. The full extension was only for a relatively short part of the wall, and then I could shorten it as I worked down. It also helped that I could see the jet, since the nozzles wore out faster than I had expected. (I wasn't using the spinning jet because the lance extension wouldn't fit one, and the job was small enough that it wasn't worth the effort to get something made up).

Truly unhappy mates with a painful future (AP):

"Anadarko said the joint operating agreement makes BP responsible to co-owners for any damage due to gross negligence or willful misconduct.

In a statement on Monday to the London Stock Exchange, BP countered that all the partners shared in liability for damage resulting from exploration in Mississippi Canyon Block 252."


Edit: Oh, for a peek at the Joint Operating Agreement.

Further Edit: Typed 'peak' at first. Need professional help.

Relief Well Effort:
It's difficult to find info on the RW effort on BP's site. Think I heard that RW-1 was within 200 ft of target, over or just before, this weekend? {I know it takes a lot longer to drill when target is close) However, given the 200' distance, would it not be reasonable to expect a first kill attempt by the end of June? I'm perhaps rushing things, and the fact that failure in this process (at least on the 1st or 2nd attempt at "punch thru" is likely) maybe we won't be told much until there's a positive report?

If I understand it correctly --- once they get that close, the next job is to get everything else ready (casing, etc.) so the well can be used.

It cannot be used before all that other stuff is done.

ski -- I think that was 200' horizontally. Maybe another 2,500' or so of hole to drill. And maybe one more csg set. And I think the latest plan is to drill past the blowout hole, measure exactly where it is using magnetometer, plug back and re-drill to the intersept. But plans do change.

Hey, Rockman,

How do they steer the drill bit?

Petey -- I find a good hard slap on the side of the head works well. No...wait...that's with geologists...not drill pipe. Actually one basic technique is really simple: imagine you pushing a stick along a layer of sand the ground. The stick is straight to it goes straight. Now use a stick with a bend on the end of it. Push it and it turns in the direction of the bend. Want the stick to go in the opposite direction? Just flip it over and push.

The bottom hole drilling assembly (BHA) has such a "bent sub" on the bottom. There are electronic instruments in the BHA that indicate the orientation of the sub so it can be pointed in the direction you want it to go. The drill pipe doesn't rotate in this situation. The bit turns via a "mud motor": the drilling mud flowing thru the drill pipe turns only the drill bit. We call this "sliding". But what if you want to go straight? Simple: rotate the drill pipe as you go forward. This way the bend is constantly going thru a 360 degree cycle so there is no prejudice to direction. We call this "rotating". When the RW gets close we may see a lot of reference to "sliding" and "rotating". There are other steering system designs but in the end they work pretty much the same: point the bit in the right direction and the rest will follow.

But remember Mother Nature is always in charge. You can angle the drill pipe to go right and it might go left. There's is always a directional plan. And then there's what Mother will allow.

Thanks. As usual good info. One additional q, if you have the time: Does rotating result in a larger diameter well bore (not crucial to the events now happening, just curious).

petey -- a little bigger but I didn't mention the bent sub is only off plumb around 3 to 5 degrees. Thus not too big a wobble while rotating.

One would guess they won't be so stingy with the centralizers on these RWs... Or one would hope... And that they'll take time to clean out any cuttings that might be lying on the bottom of the hole as it goes horizontal.


To expand somewhat on your explanation and maybe a little clarification. The system Rockman described is a conventional downhole mud motor. The historic "bent sub" is actual an integral part of the motor.

The type of directional drilling system being used on the two relief wells, as also was used on the original wellbore is a "rotary steerable" system. No "sliding" is required as the BHA is rotated continously. There is an inclinometer behind the bit that allows real time sensing so that the well bore can be monitored real time relative to the desired well path. There is two way communication between the rotary steerable and the surface through mud pulses. "Deflection" is added on the fly, meaning that if the build is not aggressive enough you can add it as necessary and the rotary steerable will make the necessary bend angle internally needed without a requirement for stopping. This allows the directional driller to "paint the line" in regard to well path. It is the rotary steerable technology that has allowed them to make as fast a progress that they have over the past few weeks. Conventional mud motors and "sliding" directional technology would have taken much longer.

put my 2 cents in the basket here as well...

there are many advantages for a rotary steerable as opposed to a mud motor....since there is no sliding there are many advantages interns of

1- better hydraulic performance interms of leading to better lift for cuttings to surface and such
2- better weight transfer leading to higer penetration rates
3- reduced well bore tortuosity -- resulting in a cleaner wellbore with better LWD/MWD data
4- better downhole positioning
5- lesser BHA trips for correction runs
6- issues like ledging are minimized which are really the bane far as bent-sbus are concerned with high dogs in current applications

AutoTrack (BHI), PowerDrive (SLB) and Geo_pilot (Sperry) are three big ones ....

although certain hybrid systems are available too ....something like BHI VertiTrack is a true vertical drilling system that runs a mud motor but uses three expendable pads (aligned at 120 degrees all around) in the BHA just behind the stator to realign the wellbore to true vertical by using hydraulics to push out one or a combination of pads to realign slowly....but then this is strictly a vertical bore application...

there are also closed loop steerable systems available where top drive torque is not sufficient .....

Yeah, yeah, yeah...rotary steerables are great but where's the excitement in letting the computer do all the work. Sure the computer usaually does a better job. I'm just old school and like the extar pressure of making the steering calls myself. Just one more justification for drowning my anxieties with a big bowl of Blue Bell.

Aha, here's a good but silent animation of vertical-to-lateral drilling. If only we had Rockman's drawled voiceover (with adequate pauses for Blue Bell-slurping).

Very nice lotus...thanks.

NEWBIES: watch the Lotus flic. Beside an intro to horizontal drilling it gives a good view of cementing csg.


One DOES NOT "slurp" Blue Bell!

I know nothing except the fact of my ignorance. Socrates



IsorryIsorryIsorrysorrysorry. (Dare one inquire why not? Whut doth one doeth?)


I prefer to savor every spoon full. But, to each their own.

Drive slow, save money and enjoy the ride, or race to each red light.

I know nothing except the fact of my ignorance. Socrates



here are a few geologist one-liners for all rock hounds

1- Geologists have their "faults"
2- Never lend a geologist money. They consider a million years ago
to be Recent.
3- A geologist is the only person who can can talk to a woman boss and use the words "dike" "thrust" "bed" "orogeny" "cleavage" and "subduction" in the same sentence without facing a civil suit.

and my personal fav --

A man goes into a restaruant, sits down and starts reading the menu. The menu
Broiled Accountant $5.95 per plate
Fried Engineer $7.95 per plate
Toasted Teacher $7.95 per plate
Grilled Geologist $25.95 per plate

The man calls a waiter over and asks "Hey, why does the Grilled Geologist cost
so much more?"

The waiter says, " Are you kidding? Do you know how hard it is
to clean one of them?!?!"


Swift Loris,

Tooooo funny.

OK, back to the blowout.

I know nothing except the fact of my ignorance. Socrates



Tooooo funny.

Deleted it; didn't want him to choke on his Blue Bell.

How 'bout you whisper it to those who missed it in a rolling blackout? Pretty please?

How 'bout you whisper it to those who missed it in a rolling blackout? Pretty please?

I won't repeat it, but let's just say--with reference to aliilaali's #3 above--I was wondering how I could become Rockman's boss. (A bit naughty in the original, but flattering.)

For most application on land the conventional motor does just fine. A lot of offshore applications as well. But to get the fast P-Rate needed to get to the target on this bitch -we need rotary steerables. They may be using a conventional motor once they get near the target, maybe someday we will hear the "rest of the story".

Calling a set is not that big a deal- standing on the rig floor making the set is the challenge with a conventional motor. Using weight and differential - rocking the table to get the string moving, etc. Nothing like having a bit take a bite and make about 3 wraps downhole. You sit there and wait until everything unwinds. Then after waiting - it doesn't unwind - so you have to pick up- work the pipe and try to get a toolface.

In the present situation we need rotary steerables at high rate of penetration zeroing in on the target. The computer does not steer the motor- the deflection is made on the fly using the inclination at the bit for reference. This is compared to a conventional motor where you get your deflection based on what you anticipate the motor yield in deg/100'. You get your survey 50 feet behind what you have already drilled and have to calculate what you think you will get on the next set. Thats all fine and good until you get a change in formation as you mention "Mother Nature"

One issue with rotary steerable is cost- not relevent in the present situation.

Of the three, my experience was with "Point the Bit". I am more in the geological side of things now.

Rockman and Petey - I found a good description late last night at Pirate4x4.Com Bulletin Board. Several other very informative posts in there also; HighToy for ROVs, and B.A.R.K for drilling info.

Just a warning - there are several NSFW other threads and areas on the site, but this one stays pretty well on track other than some rough language.

Cheers :^)

They were 200 ft laterally, but still need to drill a couple thousand feet or so vertically. Often headlines in the media are very misleading.

often entire articles are misleading.

In my admittedly limited life experience with actual knowledge of events reported in the media, they have always gotten some major facts completely wrong. My conclusion has always been to approach anything in a general public media story with much skepticism. Multiple sources and common sense are rarely employed in "news" gathering/reporting.

Your figures are correct; as near as I can tell the stories trace back to this little Reuters update, http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE65H5FI20100620

* As of June 18, the first well had been drilled to 10,677 feet, or 2 miles, beneath the seabed. The second well had reached 4,662 feet, or eight-tenths of a mile.

* The first well also was within 200 feet of the side of the blown-out well, but had to continue drilling down to find the right intersect point.

* The Macondo well was drilled to 13,000 feet, or 2.4 miles, beneath the seabed.

For unknown reasons, a lot stories seemed to pick up the 200 ft horizontal and ignore the vertical number. And for other unknown reasons, they seem to be stuck on June 18, maybe there'll be an update sometime today.

"And for other unknown reasons, they seem to be stuck on June 18, maybe there'll be an update sometime today."

Maybe they are taking great care with the cementing and giving it lots of time and tests:-)

There will probably not be much info until the well is killed. You had the press on DD2 the last few days and the stories were almost predictable in the ignorance of the reporters stories. One wrote of a "Tourpusher". It was almost a waste of energy in jet fuel to get those guys access to the most intense oil and gas operation in the history of the industry.

Note that they landed on DD2 and not on DD3. Part of the deal was probably "You let those guys on here(DD3) and we are going to pick off bottom and circulate until they get there asses out of here" Job one on those rigs is to focus- not escort a distracting band of reporters around.

In regards to operations they are at present most certainly making a triangulation pass of the existing wellbore getting a fix on it's magnetic bearing. At some point they will begin to close in on the target once they have a good understanding of the geometry of the two wellbores. The precision of this operation is absolute without room for error. At 17000 feet there is probably 2 to 3 feet of pipe compression to deal with as well as pipe strap error.

Deleted Re-post. Slow internet today.

It is kinda hidden, others have already posted where you can find info for the RW's.

On the BP site goto BP Global -> GOM Response -> Response in detail -> Subsea Response -> How a relief well works

The PDF on the page is updated frequently(Last updated 20/06/2010), but the file name changes over time so you need to goto the site to get the updated link.

You know what I find odd in the discussions on any proposed solution to to clean the spill? It is the analogy with solutions for peak-oil; there is probably not a silver bullet! We're going to need a myriad of different solutions.

There is nothing special about the skimmers. It's just proven technology which works very efficient, especially with thick layers of oil. Some might say that it will not collect so much on areas with oil-sheen only. True, but what other technique would? Yes, 6 arms deployed on 3 ships is not enough for the entire spill. What you need is a strategy with all available techniques:

A complete strategy could be as follow:

1) Start building sand-dikes in front of specific areas you want to protect, such as marshes. It will take time, but this will give a superb defense.
2) Do not use dispersant at the well. Let the oil float to the surface.
3) Use planes to detect the oil that has surfaced. Focus on the coastlines.
4) Direct small oil tankers equipped with skimmers to the oil. Of course you need more as the spill grows.
5) As a last line of defense, use aerial dispersant nearer to the coast if you are to late to skim it up.
6) Use the small boats who are pulling booms, or with small skimmers, in the estuaries and canals when you are to late to stop it before it enters.
7) Manually suck up oil with specialized vacuums or Costner's devices.
8) In less sensitive areas (beaches) you can either scoop up the oil, or even use soil-washing.
9) In sensitive areas, such as marches, preventing oil from coming in is paramount. Because you cannot clean marshes without destroying them. If the oil does come in, one should let nature bio degrade it. Experience shows that will take between 10 and 15 years.

This all will of course not magically save the Gulf. But it will minimize the impact on the sensitive areas.

Roger from the Netherlands

Have a look at information about salt marshes and what happens if you block them with a sand barrier.
Also, read about why they are using the dispersant at the well and the LMRP.


Enlighten me on why it would be more preferable to let the oil in the marshes then to block them temporally with a sand barrier.

And also on why it would be wiser to disperse the oil in the water column than to let it rise to the surface and clean it up from there?

After we've spent a few billion cleaning the marshes and beaches, wave them goodbye because they are about to go underwater for a very long time.

The beaches will not go under water. Why is it so hard to have a discussion?

Well, anyhow, the facts are as follow, the sand dikes will be build:


I’d like to take a moment here to thank you, Roger, for your efforts to bring forth logical ideas in order to make a real difference in the outcomes here. Please don’t get disheartened, and keep trying.

And while I’m at it, I am so sorry for the losses of those of you down on the GOM coastline. The impact of the loss of one’s natural resource base? Difficult to value affectively. And that recognition and valuing needs to occur before we can rationally and logically deal with the cognitive issues of how to fix this. Cognitively we know what’s going to happen and that its going to bad. Affectively, not so much?

The real ecological disaster here is the destruction of the estuarine systems along the gulf. Toxic effects of a spill remain on rocky coasts in the Prince William Sound after 20 years. Marshes/estuarine systems/mangroves are perhaps even more valuable to an economy. Cleveland again on the real value of the marshes of Louisiana to the economy:


I would add that emergy valuation has been done previously on a mangrove system and yields a snapshot of the embodied energy. 84 ha is about 200 acres . . .

“Example of Emdollar Evaluation, an Environmental Lawsuit:
A landowner destroyed 84 hectares of mangrove ecosystems and their water exchange pattern in Lee County Florida. Environmental protection agencies engaged him in a regulatory lawsuit in which the value of the mangroves was in debate. The market value of the fish and mangrove wood was in the thousand dollar range. Market evaluations are usually smaller than emdollar evaluations, because economic values only cover the services involved.
The Florida State Environmental Protection lawyers asked for an emdollar evaluation. The annual emergy previously harnessed by mangrove production was in the million emdollar dollar range, just from a partial analysis in mangroves that required 30 years to develop, the natural capital stored was 30 times greater. After two formal depositions, the landowner settled out of court.
Table 2. Annual Emergy Uses by 84 ha of Mangroves in Lee County, Florida . . .”


Barring any better short-term solutions, I agree, Roger. Build barriers where possible for short term protection. If we can’t get the wells stopped, the marshes are dead anyway, with no way to fix it. But avoid massive engineering solutions (reroute the Mississippi River? OMG). Stop the dispersants, focus on the marshes, preferentially let the oil come up on the beaches where we can use manual means and vacuuming and letting nature clean up the rest. Roger, you’ve got it going on, don’t give up on us stupid Americans, please? This is the really important piece of the whole picture, because if the estuarine systems go, the Gulf is dead.


Thanks for your sensible response, I needed that. I won't give up. And the Americans are not stupid. Maybe I should learn to ignore replies in which no scientific approach is noticeable ;-)

Indeed there must be focus on the protection of the salt marshes and the estuaries. Look at the amount of shells, the fish nurseries, the migrating and domestic birds, the amount of biomass created there. They form the cradle of live and a massive input for many ecosystems in the Gulf.

Restoration of the Gulf after the spill will take much longer when these areas are seriously affected or even worse, destroyed.

With limited resources available, a comprehensive strategy is even more important.

Let's discuss on how to optimize the strategy and how to put the limited recourses to work as efficiently as possible.


My two cents:

Roger's ideas are generally good ones. We should do everything we can to keep the oil out of the marshes, because there are no easy solutions possible aftwerward.

Cleaning oil in marshland is difficult because of scale and structure.

Scale plays in because of the fact that coastal marshes are much larger than beaches. For example oil contacts the exposed sediments of a beach for only a few dozen meters inland from the water – up to the tideline, then a little further due to absorbtion. The sediments of a marsh are still underwater where the marshland meets the ocean, and the oil can continue drifting into the marsh on the surface of the water for dozens of kilometers “inland” – this in addition to the offshore submerged sediments affected for both the beach and the marsh. 12 m x 12 km << 12 km x 12 km. We won’t see 12km deep contamination even from a spill like this. The difference in area between beaches and marshes is still so great that it’s arguably more efficient to haul in sand to build a new beach from scratch in front of a marsh inlet then dig it up and haul it away a few months later, than it would be to clean out the marsh. This is the idea behind sand berms proposed for oil spill mitigation. The idea has never really been tested, and probably won’t be fully implemented in time to help much this time, but might still be worth a try.

Structure is important because a marsh soil is not made up of the same materials as a beach. There is relatively little sand in marsh soils. Almost all of its soil solids are trapped silt, and so much organic matter that it rots away and subsides if not replenished over time. Any soil dredging equipment must handle reeds and roots as well as mud. (I’m not sure how hydro-excavation performs for that application.) Dredging is itself problematic because successful recovery of a marsh ecosystem depends on the marsh hydrology, which is changed by dredging. And because of the large amount of organic matter and trapped silt - the bulk of the soil volume – ecosystem recovery is ultimately required to keep landmasses in the marsh from physically sinking. The end situation is not just “no recovery = no marsh” but “no recovery = no landmass”.

In many cases, “cleaning” a marsh will mean dredging out the affected area and writing it off. It may be more desirable to burn off the surface oil, and spray COREXIT and other cleaning agents on the rest. In the short term, this will do just as much damage to the foliage as leaving the oil. However, it will not alter the marsh hydrology, and will do less harm to the subsoil. There will be no saving the plants with such a scheme; but, by allowing a faster ecological recovery than is possible with dredging, you just might save the marsh.

We should forget large scale solutions that revolve around marsh soil excavation. Sand berms are a good idea, but they're taking forever and would need to be removed almost as quickly as they would need to be built. We should also be more open to the use of dispersants in the marsh.


I hope something works. Here is an interesting tidbit from the EPA website titled "Exemption of Oil and Gas Exploration and Production Wastes from Federal Hazardous Waste Regulations", url is
http://www.epa.gov/waste/nonhaz/industrial/special/oil/oil-gas.pdf . Written in the 90's but still up on the EPA site. Wow. Wonder if these policies are still active?

On the last thread, (a) Ridan (citing nakedcapitalism without a link) and (b) PQ17 (linking Alex Kearns) either (a) quoted or (b) wildly claimed as corroboration of Matt Simmons' wild claims, a good chunk of Ben Raines' column in yesterday's Mobile Press-Register. I linked that column (and reproduced its striking photograph of an oiled American flag and defunct speckled crab) here yesterday morning.

Rather than properly crediting Raines, Kearns refers to him merely as "a researcher" before plagiarizing his work at length (and for good measure, using his photograph without credit). I don't know whether "George Washington" at nakedcapitalism, Ridan, or PQ17 knew better when they posted, but all be advised.

May I suggest that our moderators henceforth treat links to Alex Kearns as grounds for deleting a TOD comment (and considering the commenter's banning)?

From previous thread @ Ridan:

A two-inch layer of submerged oil is coating portions of the Gulf seafloor off the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge: a week after a smothering layer of floating crude washed ashore there. This scenario is being played out all along the Gulf shoreline.

Collecting in pockets and troughs in waist-deep water, the underwater oil is looser and stickier than the tarballs that cover the beach. The consistency is more like a thick liquid, albeit one made up of thousands of small globs. ... There are a number of patches of submerged oil 40 to 100 feet off the beach, apparently collecting along rip currents and sandbars.

It is important to note this is "waist-deep water." So we are not talking of Matt Simmons's deep-water lake of oil. These are the gobs and blobs of oil a journalist noted when he went diving in the oil slick some weeks ago. They hang in the water just under the slick.

Think of a bottle of salad oil. If you shake it vigorously it forms a white emulsion. If you shake it gently it forms a layer of oil globules just below the oil/water interface.

These globules are part of the surface slick shaken loose by wave action and nothing to do with the "vast underwater plumes of oil" some believe in. They seem to form fairly localised patches. They probably clump together like trash and plastic bags collecting in odd corners after the wind blows.

Banning people from commenting here because of something you don't like?

You know, it amazing that in this day and age people today still want Mark Twain books banned from public libraries.

When the "something you don't like" is dreck that harms TOD's hard-won reputation for integrity (AKA "low noise-to-signal ratio"), then yes, repeat offenders deserve banning. Issue a warning first, but if they can't/won't get it, put them out with the trash.

lotus now have a easily won reputation for censorship and the pursuit of a decidedly suspicious agenda.

Tell us what it is that you want?

Who sponsors your posts?

I agree completely. Ban lotus.


I understand your concern.

I have seen dougr's post from a while back re-posted in a number of places and TOD is cited as the source.

I've spent a good part of the afternoon trying to tell people that they might want to re-evaluate a post by someone who links to godlikeproductions, alexander higgins or keeps insisting that the YouTube video from last week shows oil leaking out of rock formations on the bottom of the GOM as seen by the ROV.

I could post some wild-ass doomsday crap here and it could be repeated with "this if from TOD, so it must be right". Most people are too lazy to come here and see it de-bunked.

I am so grateful that this site exists and there are people here that are working so hard to shoot down the bs and help people like me understand as much as possible.

I caught a post on some site or other today that quoted the 2.5B barrel reservoir size nonsense and attributed it to TOD.

Seems like a member for 4 weeks and some days have a vested interest in ensuring that the highest level of sanctions be applied to forward their agenda.

What is the agenda of "lotus" that make it so important to shut down other views?

Doesn't seem like "lotus" have any interest in TOD issues prior to Deepwater Horizon.

I "sponsor" my comments and didn't know of TOD until BP led me to it (the one thing I thank them for). Now stop being a pill.

Lotus, I welcome your criticism, and I would never suggest that you be banned.

BTW, nakedcapitalism is a respected blog that has been cited here numerous times.

Ridan, please reread my comment. I didn't suggest that you be banned either. I suggested that henceforth comments linking Alex Kearns be deleted and that the moderators consider banning repeat-offenders who've been warned. Subject-matter isn't the issue; promulgating plagiarism is.

(By the way, earlier this afternoon I heard from Ben Raines directly that he found it "a little stunning to see how blatantly she [Alex Kearns] stole" his work.)

P.S. I read nakedcapitalism regularly.

If plagiarism is so important to you, then your purpose is served by pointing to the original source.

The source was quoted by PQ17 in good faith, and therefore, PQ17 believes that I am not obligated to check to see if the source I quoted from is in fact, plagiarized.

The standard that "lotus" is applying to a blog comment area is far beyond the standards applied at any major academic institution and certainly speak to a twisted and demented understanding of the issue of plagiarism.

To propose banning posters for not checking if their source (cited in good faith) might have plagiarized is the banal exercise of tyranny likely by an individual who practices plagiarism regularly, and evokes glee in how they have yet to be caught.

Whats more, the immaturity and poor judgment of this individual is amply demonstrated by by its resort to niggard details to divert attention from their obnoxious, anti-intellectual, and controlling behavior.

For a new poster that have hardly been active on TOD for 4 weeks and 8 hours, this is almost humorous.

Whatevs. (Except to note that people who refer to themselves in the first- and third-person in. the. same. sentence. are, blessedly, quite rare) I'm done with it.

Now then, how 'bout some good news of Our Tax Dollars at Work?

New Air Conditioning System Has Potential to Slash Energy Usage by Up to 90 Percent

... The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory has invented a new air conditioning process with the potential of using 50 percent to 90 percent less energy than today’s top-of-the-line units. It uses membranes, evaporative cooling and liquid desiccants in a way that has never been done before in the centuries-old science of removing heat from the air.

“The idea is to revolutionize cooling, while removing millions of metric tons of carbon from the air,” NREL mechanical engineer Eric Kozubal, co-inventor of the Desiccant-Enhanced eVaporative air conditioner (DEVap), said.

“We’d been working with membranes, evaporative coolers and desiccants. We saw an opportunity to combine them into a single device for a product with unique capabilities.” ...

Swamp coolers work great in the desert. I don't remember the numbers, but I've heard Florida has the highest average AC usage by quite a bit. Swamp coolers don't work here.

Still, that's great news, for the places they'll be used.

As I read the article it sounds like a super swamp cooler that can operate both in humid environments and high temperatures so it can replace standard air conditioning. Sounds great.

I wonder what controls the 50% to 90% energy savings range?

probably the dessicant. A disposable hanging DampRid bag lasts about 5 days here before it's just a bag of salt water. (I think it's Calcium Chloride, not sure).

"I wonder what controls the 50% to 90% energy savings range?"

It enjoys the enhanced COP that comes from all the free water available for evaporation found some places and pumped everywhere, especially dry and arid climes , instead of a refrigerant cycle.

I disagree with your point of view not on any real basis but just because I don't like it! And since PQ17 has shown this to be a viable tactic, I hereby cite your regdate (4 weeks 7 hours) and my regdate (5 weeks 2 days) which means I WIN and you must be an agent provocateur hired by BP!

I have a question for PQ17: what happens when someone with more seniority than you brushes you off by claiming you haven't been here long enough to be taken seriously?

BP is huge and has vast resources. Is it really beyond belief that they would have the foresight to set up accounts in potentially threatening online communities such as TOD? Wouldn't they be smart enough to do this well in advance of this particular event? Like, say, 51 weeks ago? PQ17 works for BP! BUSTED!!

I hope that after this mess calms down and all us newbies wander off to chase the next shiny object, that the true respected members of TOD will remember which of their peers resorted to a witch hunt as a debate tactic, and remember to deal with them appropriately.

comfy: PQ17 seems to be the unfortunate victim of Last Settler Syndrome. As Casey Stengel used to say: "And you can look it up."

The fact that there are industry people here is what gives the site such a unique insight.

Let's plug the leak we know about, (or the one BP is willing to show us, as some would rather), and then we can lease our own ROV's, (I call the flaming Carville alligator logo for mine), and go find all of the leaks everyone else is convinced are down there. If there's as much as they seem to think, we shouldn't have any trouble getting funding.

This is to officially confirm that 51 weeks ago, BP, in anticipation of the Deep Horizon blouwout, planted this account here.

Seems to be about the only thing they have anticipated.

That's exactly what I would expect a paid provocateur to say.

(See how this works? It's paranoia, plain and simple, and once you decide to take that path everything is suspect and no one can be trusted, even like-minded people you should be cooperating with to solve very real problems. It goes way beyond skepticism which is of course, healthy and helpful.)

I was discussing the Deepwater Horizon event with my uncle the other day, and he asked me two questions, "Won't it just stop gushing?", and, "Why would they drill there in the first place."

Question 2 is simple: These are the last big reserves.

I tried to explain to him that BP (or anyone else), wouldn't have bothered drilling if the well wasn't capable of producing oil in the millions or billions of barrels.

It will stop flowing naturally, but my guess is that there would be tens of millions of barrels of oil in the gulf by that time.

Does anyone know how much had been paid for exploration and drilling up to the point at which the disaster occurred, and how large the recoverable reserve is?

A number being thrown around for recoverable reserves is around 100 mb (million barrels), or enough to meet world demand for about 32 hours.

esso -- Someone mentioned around $140 million spent by the time of the blow out but I've seen no confirmation. But sounds about right for the time they spent on it.

I don't know if this has been posted, but it's a very good, and long, article in the NYT that builds on the WSJ's earlier work on BOP's.

Lapses Found in Oversight of Failsafe Device on Oil Rig

Last year, Transocean commissioned a “strictly confidential” study of the reliability of blowout preventers used by deepwater rigs.

Using the world’s most authoritative database of oil rig accidents, a Norwegian company, Det Norske Veritas, focused on some 15,000 wells drilled off North America and in the North Sea from 1980 to 2006.

It found 11 cases where crews on deepwater rigs had lost control of their wells and then activated blowout preventers to prevent a spill. In only six of those cases were the wells brought under control, leading the researchers to conclude that in actual practice, blowout preventers used by deepwater rigs had a “failure” rate of 45 percent.

And again, it seems to me that the MMS could implement the apparent "Brazil Rule" tomorrow morning (demonstrate that the shear rams can cut through drill pipe, at depth, before spudding a deepwater well).

Agree, this is a surprisingly technical and in-depth article, especially for the MSM. Very nice animation at the front.

If we had only had 2 shear rams, maybe this could have been avoided. But BP and TO said No.

As an Oil Patch type, who only weeks before this disaster defended the offshore oil & gas industry, this 45% statistic is perhaps the most disheartening thing I have read so far about what the industry knew prior to the accident about its ability to control deepwater wells, especially with a single set of shear rams.

I suppose a simplistic analogy would be a car maker selling a car that failed 45% of the time to safely stop when brakes were applied in an emergency situation at highway speeds.

Not to worry, the brakes will work reliably 99.99% of the time under normal driving conditions - just not when its an emergency.

"Sarcasm is the last refuge of a shallow mind" or something like that. I too like sarcasm, as well as satire and allegory.

Brakes on a car don't work when you operate the car very recklessly. Brakes are not a get out of trouble no matter what I do wrong button.

BOP's do not have a stop a Blowout no matter what I did wrong button.

If our focus is only on the easy things (the BOP) then the problems in process and well construction will get overlooked and that will be a shame.

Sorry, but when I read the 45% number, the phrase "Criminally Negligent" came to mind, and I think that Criminally Negligent applies to a lot of people, and not just in the industry.

Mr. Brown recalled Mr. Harrell walking away, grumbling, “Well, I guess that’s what we have those pinchers for.”

A sarcastic and CYA statement - and absolutely true.

The BOP is the last line of defense and finding out that it has a 45% failure rate under combat conditions is a shocker to me. My first offshore diving job was in 1964 and I spent the rest of my working life in the underwater service industry. I wasn't in the drilling side but I was aboard many, many drill rigs and I always accepted that the BOPs would work, if activated in time, and I trusted the survival instinct of the drill floor crew to ensure that happened.

45% failure is totally unacceptable. Yes, it may turn out in this case no one applied the brakes until the car was already going over the cliff but it appears that even if the BOP had been activated in time the result might still have been a blowout, maybe without the loss of life if the emergency disconnect worked.

If DW BOPs fail 45% of the time they are worse than useless. They only give a false sense of security that encourages bad behavior - just as we have seen from BP. The above quote only emphasizes that. Without the fall back of a BOP I doubt BP would have cut as many corners as they did and the series of human errors that caused this incident would probably have been avoided.

Absolutely the entire chain of events leading up to the blowout needs to be examined in detail. There are a number of obvious points in the story line where a different decision would have lead to a different result. As Tony Hayward testified there were a number of failures, but I noted he carefully avoided those items that were direct related to cost cutting by BP.

But if we are going to have BOPs they should be a h*ll of a lot more reliable than 55%.

And the BOP should not depend on the skill and diligence of the people on the rig. No matter how good your management processes are, and no matter how good your selection and training of workers is, eventually they will meet up with a lack of skill or a lack of diligence.

another analogy would be airbags failing to deploy as needed 45% of the time during an accident.

We can analogize this thing to death, but how we look at it makes all the difference in the world. This analogy is how I look at it.

I wouldn't say this is like airbags failing to deploy 45% of the time. It's more like an airbag deployment that didn't save the life of the passenger 45% of the time during head on collisions at 60 miles per hour. To me the blow out is like a head on collision at 60 miles per hour. It should have never come to that point, someone should have slowed down or changed coarse and didn't. The airbag was then deployed, because of willful negligence that cause a crash.

You can't blame the airbag even if it was faulty, because the crash should have been avoided. Find the root cause of the problem first.

I'm not against better BOP's (I live on a deep water drilling rig) and better airbags (I drive) for that matter but those tools won't make us better drillers or drivers.

I do agree with you about better BOP's and better airbags. Coming from a safety background with a history of accedent investigations. Accedents don't happen, mistakes happen. In all of the "accedents" that I have investigated it always comes down to a failure. Mostly a failure of the opperator to use the equipment (or correct equipment) as needed for a given opperation. That is what it sounds like happend on this BP well. Who did or didn't do, who ordered what or not, it all falls back on the human.
Would I want to trust a safety device that has been shown to fail in it's intended use 45% of the time? This sounds like product liability! If you pull the trigger on a gun and kill someone that's your fault. If the gun blows up and kills you, that's the manufactures fault.

Highway safety would improve vastly if we replaced driver side air bags with a sharp metal spike that ejected from the steering column. Now we have an incentive for avoiding collisions! Also, through a Darwinian process, we would eliminate the most dangerous drivers sooner. It would really suck if someone backed into you though.

That's kind of like what we have now with the 45% failure rate BOPs, except that the spike comes out the glove box and kills the passenger, and BP is at the wheel, of course, drunk on that self-regulating profit motive moonshine.

Re. Hazman:

"Coming from a safety background with a history of accedent investigations. Accedents don't happen, mistakes happen."

Just to concur, I've inspected hundreds of safety gear mechanisms on passenger lifts (are they called parachutes in the US? on elevators) and the only one I ever saw that wouldn't have worked correctly was a brand new one that had been installed incorretly by the mechanic. He'd attached the safety rope back to front. That one mistake would almost certainly have resulted in a fatality if the lift gearbox / brake had failed when the lift was high up in the building.
As I think I said in an earier thread, it's never the regulations that are at fault, and very rarely the safety-system design, it's down to the people who are supposed to follow the regulations and install (and maintain) the safety system to the design specifications. Imo.

Parachutes are like BOPs as they are intended to be operated before the accident has happened. 'Open on impact' is not a good idea.


I can't understand why anyone would put faith in government regulators.

They're human with human flaws like ignorance and laziness. They're government employees, so add an extra layer of ignorance and laziness, along with temptation, favors, bribes, etc.

They can't be held legally liable for their ignorance, laziness, oversights, screwups, etc, so the situation gets even worse.

Government regulation is cronyism. Politically connected people can violate regulation after regulation and get away with it, or have regulations changed to suit them.

BP is not a child needing to be watched by mommy all the time, especially when mommy is a lazy irresponsible sleeping-around crack-head drunk.

BP is an adult and fully responsible for it's actions. Government regulation or lack thereof doesn't relieve any burden on BP to operate in a prudent and safe manner.

Determining BP's liability for it's failure to operate in a prudent and safe manner should not focus on government regulation nor lack thereof. Government regulation is always several steps behind, a colossal cronyistic failure, and should never be a yardstick for anything. Childish arguments like "there wasn't a regulation requiring it" or "there wasn't a regulation prohibiting it" should not be allowed as a defense nor mitigating factor in determining said liability.

Determining said liability should focus on best practices in the industry and to what extent BP followed them or ignored them.

BP is not a child needing to be watched by mommy all the time, especially when mommy is a lazy irresponsible sleeping-around crack-head drunk.

BP is an adult and fully responsible for it's actions. Government regulation or lack thereof doesn't relieve any burden on BP to operate in a prudent and safe manner.

You just can't make this stuff up! Government is a crack whore and corporations are fully responsible adults - must be libertarian poetry. There is no difference between corporations and government, they all serve the same power centers, and all you see now is different rivals for power maneuvering for best position now that the morons who run "adult" BP have gone and screwed things up in a big, bad, ugly way. None of the ambitious power addicts wants to be associated with a big loser for fear that it will rub off on them, so they have to act tough. But none of them can actually do much of anything, as the whole power structure depends on continuing to have the oil. And they can keep playing the "small people" for fools as long as fools like you can't figure out that neither corporations nor government is working in your interests. There never was any government regulation, as the MMS was specifically set up to be ineffective - what you see is the result of corporations doing as they please. When it comes to incompetence and human failure, I've never seen better examples than the managers at large corporations.

Let BP hang.

I don't know what your issue is Twilight. I am quite hoping to see damage awards far exceeding the value of BP American operations, whereupon BP American operations would be bankrupted and put out of business, a fitting punishment for their reckless track record, topped off by this horrific human, economic, and ecological disaster.

It is not clear that BP can limit liability to its US subsidiary.

Regardless of where the legal liability may lead, it is clear that BP is rapidly running out of cash to finance the fix, clean up, and hardly have the cash to pay claims.

I seriously don't know where their source of funds is going forward --- unless the capital budget is savaged.

Good to hear - my issue was the absurd characterization of BP as a responsible adult in terms of corporate personhood, compared to the government which is hopeless. It's clear to me anyway that they were unable to behave in a responsible manner, which is why this happened. I disagree with suggestions that this was just an unfortunate accident that happened to an otherwise good corporate citizen. I do not believe corporations are capable of behaving responsibly or self regulating, and must be forced to.

Power corrupts, no exceptions. And it does not matter what the base of the power is, whether corporate or government or any other organization.

I'd give this a +++.

The NYT's description of BOPs as "temperamental" disturbed me. How can a mechanical device be "temperamental"? This personification of a safety device can only detract from the sort of rational thought needed to understand the device's limitations and failures. So if the BOP is in a bad mood on the day you need it, don't expect it to work?

If BOPs are unreliable and prone to failure, the industry, regulators and media need to face that fact, state it plainly, and deal with it. Saying that the machinery has a temperamental personality obscures the issues, and avoids placing responsibility where it may belong.

Does anyone know if this notion of BOPs as "temperamental" comes from industry, or was this language the reporter's invention?

Bedlam, in another lifetime my father's company sold BOP's and spare parts, for surface use. They're actually pretty simple, compared to a lot of machinery, and hard to mess up.

Basically you hook up and apply hydraulic pressure through one port, and it causes a pair of pistons to move in opposing cylinders. Each piston drives a ram shaft that pushes a ram block into the bore. If it's sized right, there's enough force available to close under any foreseeable pressure.

But this is like saying that the blade on a lawnmower is not complicated. It needs to be driven.

The BOP needs to be connected to a control system to provide closing and opening pressure. On a land rig, the BOP stack is operated by a closing system that is probably no more than 150 feet away, and that is available for inspection and repair.

A subsea BOP stack operates in a much harsher environment. The control system has to generate hydraulic pressure at the bottom of the ocean, respond to commands from the surface over a mile overhead, AND be designed to close if the connection is broken. I have been away from that business for a long time, but I do know that a BOP control system costs millions of dollars.

I don't think anybody would ever say that an individual BOP is temperamental. But for economy of expression, people on an offshore rig will often refer to the entire package on the bottom (5 or 6 ram-type BOP's, one or two annular preventers, various remotely operated valves, possibly an emergency disconnect device, and a system to control them all) as the "BOP".

And a system that is so complex might be described as "temperamental" by someone who needs it to work but who doesn't have the authority or the resources to get it fixed just right.

Thanks for calling attention to this westexas. Those nytimes guys and gals did some pretty good reporting, lots of interesting detail. Maybe we should let them post on TOD.

On land wellheads, there is access to the various casing annuli through valves at the base of the wellhead.This is particularly useful in determining pressure buildup on the various annuli, signaling failed cement jobs or failed casing because of corrosion etc, and can be used to lubricate heavy mud into a particular annulus to kill an errant well with pressure on the annulus.

This is not possible on a subsea completion. There are no valves with a path to an annulus, e.g. surface casing or intermediate casing.

This situation has been discussed in prior sessions among the "gurus" of subsea technology and it was always the consensus that bad things could happen because of a shrimp net tangling with a valve or an anchor chain etc etc. It was always my contention that if a cage can be built around a race car to keep a driver alive in a massive fender bender on the track, then a cage could be built to protect any valves on the wellhead but still give access to ROV's.

What say you gurus on this site? Should valve access be required when the new regulations are published?

I think some engineers in Deep Water well design actually believe that BP's lack of cement in most of the Macondo wells casing and liner strings is the new way to combat "casing pressure" problems in the out years after the well is completed and producing. The thought process was to give the pressure an escape route into the earth rather than it migrating to the surface or communicating between casings.

When I first started working in deepwater not having casing valves accessible to ROV's was something that puzzled me too. I just learned that it was what it was and that's not a good way to think, I know!

A really good discussion on the failure of the BOP:


It should have never come to the BOP........................its like saying that a car wreck happened because an emergency brake didn't function.

This was a very useful article. However, it stopped (perhaps due to editing for length) just before answering one more important (I think) question: do the relief well BOPs have one or two blind shear rams?

Can you please put the comments in chronogical order?

The system is not strictly chronologically based, but rather primarily sorted by post and response. It would be much harder to follow it if were sorted on a pure chronological order.

They are originally posted chronologically, but any edits will revise the time of the post, and of course replies to earlier posts would be shown above posts down the thread that were posted earlier.

mastiff, here's the trick:

Simultaneously mash the Command key (if on a Mac) or the Control key (if on a PC) and "f" to trigger the FIND function. When that toolbar appears at the bottom of your screen, type "new" (but in brackets instead of quotes). Refresh the page, and on the handiest comment, click "Comments top" and on the Find toolbar, "Next." Keep mashing Next until you've found all the new comments. Refresh and repeat.

Mastiff, see the bar that says

Permalink | Subthread | Parent | Parent subthread | Comments top

Click on the "Parent" link. It will take you to the original post.

Then click the "Go Back" arrow on your browser or the "Backspace" key to get back to where you were.

Been a reader off and on since 11/07, but had to join to ask this question:
Did anyone notice the two separate flows from the liners after the big scissors cut off the remaining riser before the 'cap' was placed? One flow was brown, the other a totally different color, out of a second tube. I don't know the industry words, but there were two pieces of pipe, side by side, with two different colored flows.

To me, with my infinitesimal amount of knowledge about drilling, save what I saw on Discovery or History re the rigs in Texas, or Dirty Jobs, the two color version would indicate two individual sources, and a pretty well ruptured liner, with ruptures at two different depths, or at least one rupture, and an open end cap to the reservoir.
To my ignorant mind, if there are multiple fractures of the csg, there will be a much more difficult time capping the well from the relieve well as the heavy mud could flow out whatever ruptures there are, making a wellhead weight hard to achieve before the mud leaked away. I am not very buoyed up by this observation.
What say all you toolpushers, mudloggers and such?


Like everyone else I have been watching all the feeds and before that the still images closely, and I have yet to reconcile any of the early feeds with what we are seeing now....

Yes, in the worst case control will be more difficult. But the relief well will start its work from the bottom once intercept is made. That cures many problems.

BTW I have seen so much misinfo and disinfo and garbage on History Channel and DIscovery lately, I advise they are not reliable. In fact they are flagrantly, willfully, defiantly wrong more and more.

Whoops, BOLO for pissed-off Cajuns. NYT:

Panel Is Unlikely to End Deepwater Drilling Ban Early

WASHINGTON — The bipartisan commission named by President Obama in May to study the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and the future of American offshore drilling will hold its first formal meeting in mid-July at the earliest, most likely delaying the delivery of its final report into next year, a co-chairman of the panel said in an interview.

The co-chairman, William K. Reilly, who served as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency under the first President Bush, also said it was unlikely that the panel would recommend the lifting of the six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling before it completes its report. Such a move would require profound changes in industry practice and government oversight that cannot be done that quickly, Mr. Reilly said in his first extensive remarks on the commission’s work. ...

Mr. Reilly said he expected his group to examine the reliability of blowout preventers, the toxicity of dispersants, the quality and frequency of inspections, and the possible need for simultaneous relief wells in deep water. ...

More there.

Becky Mowbray of the Times-Pic:

Judge to rule on whether to issue injunction on deepwater drilling moratorium by noon Wednesday

U.S. District Court Judge Martin Feldman said today that he will decide on whether to issue a preliminary injunction against the six-month deepwater drilling moratorium by noon Wednesday. ...

Actually, he says he'll try to decide by noon tomorrow . . . take that as you will.

That half-inch distance is fairly critical for best performance, especially if you can keep just below it. (Yeah we actually did experiments where we adjusted it).

There is a well known length unit that fills the bill: one centimeter. Maybe an opportunity to introduce metrication into the environmental cleanup industry ;)

On a more serious note:
What thickness(es) of oil layer were you using in your tests? What size(s) (diameter) of hose was used? How choppy was the surface of the water? (less and half-inch I suppose (?)) What did the tests indicate about the rate of capture of oil?

Grin - there is always a debate as to what unit to use, since this was aimed at those working in the Gulf, it seemed that using inches would be the better unit to use.

As for what we were sucking up, this has varied since (as I mentioned at the top of the main post) we have used the technique of combining waterjet and vacuum in a number of different applications, both separately and together. And while we had to measure rates of recovery to do the optimization, I really don't remember the actual values, which largely related to other conditions, but using the styrofoam floats should help with the chop.

HO, California's Empire Mine State Historic Park in Grass Valley has exhibits on the giant water cannon used in gold mining in the Sierras. The photo of the water arcing into the mountainside also appears in the H-X company literature. In Gold Rush days, little thought was given to the effects on the downstream ecology, as the link above describes the operation.

Hydraulicking may indeed have been an efficient mining method, but at what cost to the environment? Hydraulic monitors blasted 1.5 billion cubic yards of soil and rocks from the Sierra hillsides.

Thanks, I have actually visited the site, and even wrote about it in my book .

The Sumpter Gold Dredge did a job on the Sumpter Valley in the Blue Mountains of Oregon back in the last century.

Gah, tough when TOD's servers are chugging and we're all left to peck at our Skinner levers unrequited, innit? Anyhow, new news: AP says Tony's still on the run (BP CEO cancels appearance at major oil conference), and The Guardian has Deepwater Horizon worker claims oil rig leaking weeks before explosion.

Initial results from the eight day cruise of the NOAA RV Thomas Jefferson, ending 6/11, have been posted. This is the mission that Matt Simmons has been referencing in his recent interviews.

Initial Observations

Water samples and the acoustic data are currently being analyzed in further detail. Chemical analysis of the water samples is underway to determine if oil is present in the water, in what concentrations, and to identify the source of any oil that is found.

Initial observations from the mission include:

1. Scientists observed high fluorescence and reduced dissolved oxygen anomalies at around 1100 meters depth, 7.5 nautical miles southwest of the wellhead. Laboratory analysis of water samples from this area is underway to help determine if this is an indication of sub surface oil.

2. Scientists also observed a subtle acoustic anomaly in the same vicinity. Additional analysis of the acoustic data from both NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson and NOAA Ship Gordon Gunter will be needed to make further conclusions. Additional field work is also planned to test this method of using acoustic data to locate underwater oil.

3. The Moving Vessel Profiler, which allows data to be collected throughout the water column while the vessel was underway, was equipped with a special fluorometer. The fluorometer was tuned to crude oil and was used to collect flourometric data from the surface down to about 100 meters deep in shallower water from Mobile, Ala. to Port Fourchon, La. The samples were taken while the boat was underway, with the instrument moving from the surface to the bottom and back to the surface approximately every 1.5 miles. While there are only limited data to which to compare,, the method has been shown to be an effective way to detect water masses with high fluorometry in the coastal zone.

Much of Thomas Jefferson's second mission, currently underway, will be focused on gathering more detailed data in the coastal zone, and collecting supporting data with the conductivity (salinity), temperature and depth (CTD) instrument and water samples to further refine our understanding of potential submerged oil in the coastal zone. Any information on anomalous masses discovered in the coastal zone will be shared with other researchers and emergency responders.

4. Scientists observed several seeps of what appears to be natural gas in an area of known gas seepage, located to the southwest of the spill site.

The TJ left for its second mission on 6/15.

I am a business continuity planner with over 30 years experience in disasters and their impacts. There is an unrecognized and unforeseen impact of the Gulf Oil Spill which has received little or no coverage in the media. It is the potential for major electrical black outs and industrial shut downs due to the contamination of the ocean water that these industries rely upon for cooling the steam, converting it back to water, that runs their turbines. This threat would have impact on thermal electric generation plants, both nuclear and fossil fueled; oil refineries, and other heavy industry. In addition, the desalinization plant in Tampa Bay which produces 19 million gallons of fresh water per day for Tampa residents is also threatened.

Given the huge amounts of oil and tar balls approaching coastal locations, it is hard to imagine a filter system capable of allowing these plants to pump in sufficient clean ocean water to continue to operate. BP and the federal government’s inability to protect fragile coastal wetlands and harbors does not inspire confidence that they will be able to protect these key utilities and industries. The economic impact of these shut downs will be huge and the human impact of a lack of electricity and drinking water in the summer months in the southeast potentially deadly. Contingency plans for this eventuality need to be developed now.

'...The economic impact of these shut downs will be huge and the human impact of a lack of electricity and drinking water in the summer months in the southeast potentially deadly. Contingency plans for this eventuality need to be developed now."

Especially when impacted/potentially impacted areas utilize nuclear plants in generating power. And the location, processing and disposal of marine mortality by-products will complicate this scenario exponentially-as will the potential interruption in processing normal human byproducts and meeting basic human survival needs, especially in congested urban areas. the post-Ike environment in Harris County, Texas and the surrounding areas was a nightmare. It brought home to many distraught consumers how dependent they are on utilities for their day to day existence.

I can understand why the TOD old timers get tetchy and seem to want their lives back. These particular problems are so messy and lack the cool, elegant formulation and solution of the issues arising in the mechanical arena.

*Sigh*. The burdens of leadership. Thank you, TOD.

Seriously... Exactly which communities on the northeastern Gulf Coast are you referring to? I live here - please, elaborate on the whole "lack of electricity and drinking water " scenario.. What, you think we actually USE gulf water in cooling industrial plants- are there even any that are on the coast? (no); or in supplying our drinking water (no); or the loss of electricity - WHAAAATT are you talkin' 'bout, boy???. Dude. Do your homework before going postal with the doomsday speech...

The swiss company HeiQ developed a fabric calld "oilguard" that could help cleaning up the coastline.

physorg news


Sorry - double post

An essay by Ron Paul this morning - see http://www.safehaven.com/article/17232/too-much-government-in-the-gulf

He writes "Many have criticized the federal government in the past weeks for not doing enough. The reality is there is only so much government can do to help, yet a lot they can do to prolong the problem and misdirect the pain. For example, in the interest of "doing something" the administration has enacted a unilateral ban on offshore drilling. This is counterproductive. I am proud to cosponsor legislation to lift that ban. Why punish other oil companies and their hard-working employees who had nothing to do with this disaster, and who have better safety records?"

Why indeed! To me the ban seems like the most prudent thing that the Government has done. We can't really know if any of the other oil companies' wells are safe or about to blow out catastrophically, simply based on the fact that up until now nothing major has happened. This type of complacency was present before the Macondo well blew out. And given similar BOP technologies and cleanup strategies (including walruses), it seems best to stop everything until the system has been better assessed, rather than continue the same type of complacent "oversight".

Up until the Macondo blowout BP had a "better safety record" with this well. The day after, not so good. Simply because accidents haven't happened elsewhere doesn't convince me that these wells have better safety records. Perhaps simply better luck.

We simply don't know if these are safe. At what point do we trust the companies own assessments (or that of the MMS for that matter) and allow them to operate? 45% of a risk of catastrophic blowout? 25%? 5%? How much of a risk of catastrophe is acceptable?

Say this was the Nuclear Power Industry - and some design-flawed common component of all reactors all of a sudden caused a major accident somewhere. Do we continue operating the other nukes with the same design-flawed component, simply because the same accident hasn't happened at these other nukes yet? Is this a better safety record or just dumb luck? Do we continue to operate without looking at what happened in depth so that a major accident doesn't happen elsewhere? No, we shut them all down hopefully, identify if there is a problem, and fix it.

Yet Ron Paul (and many others) feel that we should plow on. This seems hazardous to me.

Casey, I agree.

Ron Paul and his ilk are crazy wrong. Suppose the rest of the industry were allowed to engage in business as usual (BAU) while the investigative commissions did their work under the watchful eye of industry lobbyists. And suppose there was another blowout while the investigation was still in process (with the clean up of this spill no way near complete). Who would excuse the current administration for being so cavalier with our safety? It would not be as if we hadn't had a wake-up call.

And what would be the public relations posture of the oil company that had this second blowout? 'Well, gee. The government said it was OK. We had all the right permits.'

I say again, Ron Paul is crazy wrong.

Casey -- Your post brought to mind a thought I've developed recently.


I'm not debating whether the DW drilling moratorium is right or wrong. I personally don't view the decision as either. The correctness of this option is dependent upon one's position. I simply consider it a choice. The responsibility falls upon the gov't to make this choice. Presumably it has done so with the broadest interest of the American public considered. The rational offered by many is valid IMHO: if we aren't sure exactly what the risk are then we should stop this activity and re-evaluate the situation. But this logic also demands an evaluation of current production in the offshore areas. Today 1.6 million bbl of oil are produced in this area. Some have argued that we didn't really appreciate the risks until the BP blow out. The same can be said of the current production infrastructure. There have been some specific concerns about the safety of other BP producing facilities.

Again, not arguing that on side of the debate is more correct than the other. But if drilling a well that had a spill capability of tens of thousands of bbls/day was considered too risky than what about the risk of platforms with the capability of spilling many hundreds of thousands of bbls per day? An even more pressing question given we've just moved into hurricane season. Just thought this has been one aspect of the situation in the GOM which hasn't been addressed to a significant degree.


Off the topic of the blow out, but could you suggest a website that explains the truth regarding Peak Oil, or perhaps your succinct thought(s)?

I know nothing except the fact of my ignorance. Socrates



Tex -- Peak what??? I think you stummbled into the wronge bar, cowboy.

Check out the left side of the web site. You'll find plenty of background there. I've never had to poke thru there since it's obvious I know everthing about everything. But it will certainly be beneficial to you. You can get into the habit of hanging out in the other sections of TOD too.

My succinct thoughts? PO is real..in the process of developing to a serious stage....and we are hopelessly screwed.


Thank you. Will "Check out the left side of the web site," and I very much appreciate your "succinct thoughts." I see only very dark days ahead and they relate not just to oil.

The Socrates quote defines my knowledge.

I know nothing except the fact of my ignorance. Socrates



Rockman: "and we are hopelessly screwed." And 98.6% of the American public doesn't know or doesn't care. When Peak Oil and Peak Water grab them by the throat and choke them to death, their last words will be "Nobody ever told me." Denial. But then, Rockman, I always am much more optimistic than you are.... Bye the bye, a Professor of Economic at UC said: "By the year 2050, the three most valuable commodities in the US will be amo, can goods, and water."

EL -- "three most valuable commodities in the US will be ammo, can goods, and water." We reached that stage in Texas many decades ago. But in the last few years we've added Blue Bell ice cream to the list. Brenham, Texas has been designated as the "new Alamo".

You ain't got no water, Tex. And Ah do.

EL --That reminds of two old tee shirts. The first was very popular in ski country: "If God had wanted Texans to ski he would have made bullsh*t white." My g/f had another made in Houston before we went to Vail that season: "But God wanted Texans to ski...He gave them oil." Needless to say that led to some interesting interactions when she wore it to the bars at night.

So EL...gas tank empty? That reminds me...I'm a little thristy.

Peak Oil will be tough, but we'll deal with it.

Let's not have any talk of Peak Blue Bell.

For those without the benefit of a Texas education:


from the beautiful town of Brenham, where the
bluebonnet flowers grow.

Great point ROCKMAN, this is something to think about.

I'll one up you here. If Obama was right to enact the deep water moratorium(and I'm not saying he was), then HE SHOULD shut down all deep water producing wells in the GOM, until it's verified that all of the deepwater wells were designed and constructed properly. He should also verify that all safety mechanisms such as subsurface safety control valves function as designed immediately.

Possibly all wells should be shut down, even the GOM shallow water wells. This wouldn't be the stop button just a pause.

then HE SHOULD shut down all deep water producing wells in the GOM

This is a good post as evidence that Obama position is measure, appropriate, and temperate. There is no reason to believe, from the blowout that has happened, that there is any danger of a producing well suffering a blowout. Your position, in contrast to Obama's, is noticeably less tempered. Why not go further and demand that he order the shutdown of all producing wells in the continental USA, leaving only US wells in Hawaii?

Perhaps the economic hurt of this shutdown can be mitigated by hiring all the out of work drillers to do spill clean up.

They have producing wells in Hawaii?

I know they have/had steam wells, but I don't know about Oil and gas.

You see my point.

No oil or gas wells in state of Hawaii, all imported, and all "gas" is propane. There are geothermal wells on the big island "Hawaii".
There were once 6(?)of them, but I think there is only one producing power today (Ormat, 30 megawatts).
Here's a link:

So geek...I take then you have great faith in the BOP's installed on the producing wells? Remember: the same folks make the rules and enforce them for both drilling and producing wells.

That's right ROCKMAN. The Companies involved in the Horizon incident such as Cameron builds many BOP's(wellheads)for producing wells and Halliburton produces subsurface safety valves, heck Transocean and BP drilled a bunch of other wells in other places.

MMS actually had a scandal of sorts in the production realm with Island Operating company.

Maybe we should shut all production in the USA down? Maybe Obama didn't go far enough?

I wonder how high gas prices would get before the newly found environmentalist spirit, turns into "just filler up" again?

Perhaps Ron Paul recognizes a few realities appearing to escape some posters here on TOD: (1) Government is ineffective at everything they attempt to regulate. (2) Government was ineffective at maintaining proper procedure and safety at this well. (3) Government will be ineffective at determining if other wells are following proper procedure and safety. (4) Government will never be effective at maintaining proper procedure and safety. (5) It is not government's job to maintain proper procedure and safety. (6) It is the legal system's job to maintain proper procedure and safety via the deterrent of enormous damage awards when proper procedure and safety are ignored. (7) The yardstick of proper procedure and safety is not government regulations but best practices in the industry.

Government's job not to keep people safe. Government's job is to prosecute the unsafe who damage others.

This arbitrary 6 month moratorium will do nothing to improve proper procedure and safety. It will do nothing to clean up the existing mess. It will do nothing to insure proper procedure and safety in the future.

This arbitrary 6 month moratorium will have no positive result, and it will cause irreparable harm to countless businesses in, related to, and dependent on, the petroleum industry in the Gulf of Mexico area.

As always, government screws up everything they touch.

You make my point about the legal system.

6) It is the legal system's job to maintain proper procedure and safety via the deterrent of enormous damage awards when proper procedure and safety are ignored.

Ya think the legal system has any incentive for accidents to occur? And of course, as Retired Lawyer mentioned in an earlier thread, (Exxon Valdiz?) the legal system is skewed in favor of those with the most money.

If the legal system no longer does it's job, we have arrived at anarchy.

I have seen it, and it is here. What were those ties someone mentioned in reference to the New Orleans Judge?

As always, government screws up everything they touch.

"...government of the people, by the people, and for the people..." Who said that?
Some old dead white guy, I think. How does your position relate to that famous phrase?

We no longer have government of the people, by the people, for the people.

A criminal political-corporate syndicate has replaced that original government. Maybe not dejure, but certainly defacto.

Ron Paul is a Senator, a key part of the government (and has been for some time). If you despise the government, you must also despise Ron Paul. A long serving Senator is the very definition of government, and therefore of the traits you ascribe to it.

Tl: Ron Paul is not a Senator. He's a Representative from TX in the House of Representatives of the US Congress. His son, Rand Paul, is running for the US Senate from KY.

Yup, my bad - but that stupid error does not really change the point I was making. If you are the thing you pretend to oppose, you are a fraud.

rf73b: "(5) It is not government's job to maintain proper procedure and safety. (6) It is the legal system's job to maintain proper procedure and safety via the deterrent of enormous damage awards when proper procedure and safety are ignored."

Oh, darn, I always forget. The Court system was privatized in the '80s. No more third branch of government. Poof! Wasn't that Amendment XXVIII to the US Constitution? I should keep up.

[Pounds head on desk.]

"Perhaps Ron Paul recognizes a few realities appearing to escape some posters here on TOD: (1) Government is ineffective at everything they attempt to regulate."

That might be a high-school nerd's libertarian view of the world, but that view, and the logic behind it, cannot survive even a causal encounter with reality.

There's one reason MMS did not work. It was designed and always run not to work. It turned out just the way they wanted it to. Toothless and ineffective. How clever to use it as an example of why regulation is worthless.

Government may not provide the best possible regulation, but it is way better than self-regulation, as per BP, Goldman Sachs, AIG, Enron, etc.

Most Americans see libertarianism for what it is. Interesting, but kind of wacky in that it produces extreme results, like going back to Jim Crow.

Wasn't "Jim Crow" a government edict?

Self regulation shouldn't be an issue on federal land and in federal waters. MMS could have done it's job, but they didn't, because like most government agencies they grew lazy currupt and complacent. MMS is a government problem not a market problem.

You can't blame the free market for the failure of the regulator and of government. That's having your cake and eating it too. If you want better regulation then find and pay the kinds of people that can provide that. MMS has trouble keeping employees, that's not a market problem that's a government problem within the market. The OCS waters are not private property or private land so Libertarian's like myself can't really complain about chosen common sense regulations. Ok we'll still complain, but we won't have a leg to stand on.

I have worked with some good MMS people and worked with some lazy ones. The good were too few and far between. MMS agents and PE's have to be as smart as the people they regulate. Hell the industry was dam near forced to self regulate because MMS couldn't keep up. I think the last set of regulatory changes was in 1996. Do you know how much has changed since 1996?

As far as Goldman and AIG, big government screwed the pooch on that too. If you don't bail out folks that engage in bad behavior, then you won't get more bad behavior for a long time. Savvy shareholders are good regulators too. You see what happened to Enron for engaged in bad behavior, short sellers crushed them as soon as the news started to go the wrong way. Death to those types of companies regulate far better than a governent that has lobbiest begging them for bailouts.

Goldman Sachs in Talks to Acquire Treasury Department:


I agree with some of what you say, but it misses my point about MMS being designed and run to fail as a real regulatory agency. James Watt set it up. He is the iconic example of putting the fox in charge of the chicken roost. There are some in govt. who view all regulation as bad, so they undermine regulatory oversight and enforcement when they are in office, and put people like James Watt in charge of EPA. Other people in govt. don't do that. They try to make the agencies perform in a regulatory role. Some govt. agencies do a great job of regulations dangerous activity.

Govt. does not work when the people running it don't want it to. It does work when they do.

The banking laws put in place after the depression worked. When they were taken away, we had a disaster. No surprise there. Blaming that on the regulators is illogical. It was the removal of regulation that allowed it to happen. "To big to fail" is not a result of regulation, it is a result of de-regulation.

MMS knew about blow outs and poor BOP performance for decades. It could have ordered a solution. It did not because those were the hay days of Cheney admin. de-regulation, expecially in the oil field. Hands-off. I have every expectation that MMS is going to be a much more effective agency now that it is being rebuilt to do the job it should have been doing by someone who believes govt. has an essential role to play, and now that we have all seen the consequence of doing nothing. If nothing else, the spill demonstrates again (like we need another lesson after the last one) that the anti-regulation, self-regulatory, govt.is always bad no matter what view has been fairly thoroughly discredited. The opinion polls certainly bear that out.

"The banking laws put in place after the depression worked."

I have to disagree, it wasn't banking laws that worked it was a change in people. People were burned and they were not going to get burned again. Banks had to regain trust they would have been forced to change whether the government got on board or not. I grew up seeing elderly people with coffee cans full of cash, stashes under the mattress and a great grand father that had 10 checking and savings accounts all with different banks. Regulation or the lack there of didn't cause that, a frugal "mind set" that decided to not get fooled again caused that.

Too big to fail is a failure of Government, because no one should have been too big to fail. Failure is part of the free market, without it you don't have a free market.

"Too big to fail is a failure of Government, because no one should have been too big to fail. Failure is part of the free market, without it you don't have a free market"

I agree with that 100%. But in my view, regulations are needed to prevent "To big to fail" entities from continuing to arise and dominate. Only then can the market be allowed to take out individual companies without bringing the entire economy down and causing untold suffering for lots of people.

BP is too big to fail, isn't it? People are making that noise.

When I was a much younger man, I had a coach seat on a flight from Tampa to DC, and in the next seat was James Watt. At that time, Watt had already made his asinine comment about depletion of the earth's resources being okay, because the second coming of Jesus was imminent (or some such lunacy). My personal belief, at the time (prior to boarding the flight), was that he was the most dangerous man in American government. I really disliked this dude, and for a moment, I didn't know what to do. The flight wasn't full, so I asked for a window seat. I don't know what would have happened if I had had to sit next him (the sea otter lookin' MF — I sure hope that don't get me banned), as I have a tendency to speak my mind (and speaking your mind to a government official on an airplane, in flight just ain't smart, even back in those days).

The End

"Wasn't "Jim Crow" a government edict?"

Good point! You got me.

I got the "Jim Crow" thing. As a recovering political forum junkee I do realize Rand Paul should have just lied about that "politically speaking". Maybe he's not a liar, isn't that something?

What Rand was saying is that private businesses should have the right to do even stupid things on their own property as long as no one gets hurt.

If I want to open a "Cajun only" bar in North Mississippi(Redneck Country) I will go out of business within days. Me going out of business is my outcome for bad business practices. You don't need regulation or laws for me to realize that "Cajun only" doesn't work in redneck country.

If I walk up to a "whites only" store, I am an adult and I can say F.U. and walk to the nearest store that deserves my money. Why do we all have to be babies?

The same goes with oil, if you don't like the stuff, don't use it. Libertarianism is so much more that what people think. It's about growing up and letting people succeed or fail.

Government's main job should be to protect our freedoms, this blowout is infringing my freedoms, so yes government and regulation has a place and I think I can make a libertarian argument toward that goal. I have been a commercial fishermen in the marsh of coastal Louisiana and this OIL is taking freedom from me so the government has a place in restoring that.

"Maybe he's not a liar, isn't that something?"

Yes. It is something that I definitely admire in him and that stood out for me right away. It's a shame that quality and his sincerity led to such a drumming. I would rather have seen it bring him some good fortune. Now he's going to be one of the most cynical SOBs out there, possibly.

I also greatly admire the aims and values of libertarianism, at least as I understand them. Freedom needs guardians to survive.

"As always, government screws up everything they touch."

Especially when it has been taken over by corporate power.

Hell the government's hands are all over this. MMS. Thing is, the private folks screwed up bad enough to where we now have no choice but to call the government.

Since neocons have been in charge for thirty years, no wonder the government doesn't work.


All governments are run by liars and nothing they say should be believed. I. F. Stone

I know nothing except the fact of my ignorance. Socrates



Hi all,
Ah politics... Must be an election coming up.
Personally I find it rather distasteful that anyone would try to advance any political ambitions or private agendas in the midst of this on-going disaster that has already killed 11 oil rig workers and an as yet unknown number of other living things both below and above the waterline.

No politician is going to save us, no lawyer or CEO.

In the short-term our fate is in the hands of the men and women out there on the water fighting this monster face to face, blow by blow. No words can express my gratitude for their service, sacrifice and courage.

I'm confident that over the long-term great things can come about as a result of this terrible event. But I will not tolerate anyone trying to turn it into a political sideshow.

Ron Paul is exactly right (as is his son, Ayn Paul). It is very simple. If everyone acts in a responsible manner and stops doing bad things, then we can abolish all these silly, intrusive 'laws' and 'regulations'. Everyone will respect each other and work together in an unselfish fashion to generate unbounded wealth for all members of society. The tyrannical system of 'taxes' can be repealed, because we will all realize our duty and responsibility and make voluntary charitable donations instead. A great wave of peace and generosity will sweep the entire planet, clearing the way for all mankind to rise to our true potential.

Also, flying unicorns and leprechauns will return from their banishment in the Underworld and repopulate the Great Plains. Three cheers for Ron & Ayn!!!

That sounds like the Left after the Revolution. :-)

I am part of the Left but I suspect there is no paradise - nowhere and nohow. We will always have problems to struggle with.

And yes, that thought is depressing at times.

I actually think that practically the "ban" serves a simple purpose, intended or not. Every well, not matter how safe, has some risk of blowout. At this time, hopefully all available cleanup resources are occupied with the current spill. Allowing further offshore drilling during this cleanup invites the depressing possibility of TWO blowouts at the same time. We aren't doing very well dealing with only one! Risk doesn't offset the benefit. If all the firetrucks in town are dealing with some huge fire, it's not a good time to try your new BBQ recipe "Gasoline Chicken"

The LA Times on one of the impacts on the Gulf ecosystem - Death by Fire in the Gulf.

By unhappy coincidence, the same convergences of ocean currents that create long mats of sargassum — nurturing countless crabs, slugs and surface fish that are crucial food for turtles, birds and larger fish — also coalesce the oil, creating islands of death sometimes 30 miles long.

"Most of the Gulf of Mexico is a desert. Nothing out there to live on. It's all concentrated in these oases," Witherington said.

"Ordinarily, the sargassum is a nice, golden color. You shake it, and all kinds of life comes out: shrimp, crabs, worms, sea slugs. The place is really just bursting with life. It's the base of the food chain. And these areas we're seeing here by comparison are quite dead," he said.

Hardest hit of all, it appears, are the sea jellies and snails that drift along the gulf's surface, some of the most important food sources for sea turtles.

"These animals drift into the oil lines and it's like flies on fly paper," Witherington said. "As far as I can tell, that whole fauna is just completely wiped out."

I believe Witherington is the author of the lovely book Sea Turtles.

rainyday (and all), a few Sundays ago, Ben Raines focused on the Gulf's sargassum:


Video, story, photo gallery — all excellent. (I always figured sargassum berries for fruit, but turns out they're "swim bladders.")

No one knows what to expect after the oil kills the sargassum, Ben says.

Excellent photos and video indeed ... thanks for the link.

Emory Expert: Psychological Effects of Oil Spill Will Be High
Jim Burress (2010-06-20)

ATLANTA, GA (WABE) - More information on the Institute of Medicine's symposium in New Orleans. (Note: Schedule is provisional and may change prior to the meeting. It is posted for informational purposes only.)

June 22-23, 2010

Hotel Monteleone, Queen Anne Ballroom
New Orleans, Louisiana



The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is unprecedented, and the effects on both the short-term and long-term health of individuals in the affected regions (e.g., workers, volunteers, residents and visitors) is unknown. The United States Government wants to ensure that appropriate monitoring occurs to detect the spill's physical and psychological health effects and to assess the need for, and the organization of, appropriate preventive strategies and healthcare services. Due to uncertainty about the oil spill's short-term and long-term impact on the physical and psychological health of individuals, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services asked the Institute of Medicine to convene a public workshop. The workshop will examine a broad range of health issues related to the oil spill, the use of dispersants or other chemicals used in the response, heat exposure, or other conditions to which workers are exposed.

More at http://www.publicbroadcasting.net/wabe/news.newsmain/article/0/0/1665160...

I have become curious about the little white bits of "string" floating around near the blowout in the ROV pics from yesterday and today June 21. In researching this (Thanks, Google) I have come across something called "lost circulation" - see Wikipedia. With abundant disclaimer that I'm a biologist, not an oilman, I have a theory. Hope others far more expert will comment.

As I understand it, drilling mud is pumped down the well bore to lubricate the spinning drill bit and this mud somehow circulates within the well bore. But the loss of drill fluid or "lost circulation" is a problem because the expensive drilling fluid leaks out into cracks around the bore hole. To counteract this leakage, various additives are added to the fluid, including things like Halliburton PLUG-IT, see also "Pre-treating fluids with lost circulation materials" May4-Halliburton.pdf. Among these additives are any number of fibrous or string-like materials. This makes sense because fibrous materials can plug the little cracks around the well bore and prevent expensive drilling fluid from leaking out into the surrounding rock.

You see where this is going. Are we seeing the regurgitation of these little strings because the pipe is wearing away, and the drilling mud additives (maybe during top kill?) with strings attached are now coming back out of the surrounding rock? Ergo evidence of pipe disappearing. Real experts, please set us all straight on this.

Hey - I am not absolutely certain, but think they are bacteria and microbes.

You can look at them as described here:


"In many places -- the atolls of the Pacific, the shrimp beds of the Eastern Seaboard, the fiords of Norway -- some of the most advanced forms of ocean life are struggling to survive while the most primitive are thriving and spreading. Fish, corals and marine mammals are dying while algae, bacteria and jellyfish are growing unchecked. Where this pattern is most pronounced, scientists evoke a scenario of evolution running in reverse, returning to the primeval seas of hundreds of millions of years ago."

"There are tons and tons of bacteria that live in dead zones," Rabalais said. "You see this white snot-looking stuff all over the bottom."

The evidence that there is an explosion of primitive organisms is worrisome.

As a biologist, I doubt that anything is alive there. These ROV pics are within a few meters of the wellhead blowing oil and methane. Unless the bacteria were growing in the oil/gas deposit itself (is that even possible?), I think these strings are coming from the circumference of the well and being ejected. They were mainly visible last night and this morning, floating more slowly along with a lot of dark oil. I realize there are different cameras, and the well ejecta seem to change over time. Once again the hypothesis is that these strings were once in the drill mud and now are being emitted due to changes in the borehole, such as the loss of pipe. Any petro engineers care to comment on the "string theory" of well pipe damage?

Yes, it is not only possible but common for bacteria to grow in the oil and gas deposit itself, and also around volcanic vents, and many other places.

Sub-surface Oil --- the full NOAA report is here:


NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson
Deepwater Horizon Response
Mission Report
Interim Project Report-Leg 2, June 3-11, 2010

Note: It is a work in progress, no firm conclusion is made.

But do see page 28, 29 about "anomalies"

"CTD casts ~ 5 nmi from the Deepwater Horizon site indicate the presence of a layer at a
depth of ~1100 m with high fluorescence, reduced dissolved oxygen anomalies, and
high optical backscatter. This layer is extremely variable in space and time on time-
scales on the order of days.
These measurements are consistent with reports from other vessels. The source of the
layer requires chemical analysis of the water samples collected to confirm the source.
The presence of bottom-following reflectors may provide a mechanism to locate and
sample these deep anomalies at the well site using acoustic methods, although this
remains to be rigorously tested.
These reflectors may be indicative of the accumulation of dispersed oil or particles at
water-mass boundaries and topographic steering of bottom currents. "

Page 29

We haven't heard the end of the undersea oil issue by a long shot.

Boston.com's "The Big Picture" posted an update today "Oil in the Gulf, two months later". 37 pics, starts with a nice aerial snap of the Q4000 showing multiple water-jets cooling the flare-pipe


Regards Chris

Eloquent. My God, this is sadder than sad.

Fantastic photo gallery: lots of actual information there, along with great beauty and cause for sorrow. Thanks so much for posting this.Using the burn pics as an excuse, I'll just drop this in--

At current 7-day averages, they are burning in situ around 5,000 barrels/day but skimming only 1,500 bpd (based on 12% oil in the oil-water mix). The skimming has increased to only 1.4X the rate of early May. My skim estimate may be low if the Dutch skimmers are performing much better than the other big skimmers.

So this would be 80% of a 40K bpd spill rate. With evaporation and bacterial gobbling, and assuming that optimistic rate estimate, maybe they are close to catching up with the flow. Has anyone estimated the evaporation rate for this particular crude?

Have anyone posted information on the oil from this well?

What is its composition?

As we are talking about brakes and BOPS, I am lead to wonder about air truck brakes. The default position is CLOSED. When one wants to operate the truck, the brakes are opened with air pressure. Should the truck get into an accident or a malfunction happens, the conservative position is assumed. It seems like the conservative position for a BOP should be closed Vs open. Why not handle the BOP in the same manner as the trucks? Use the hydraulics to keep the rams open. If the hydraulics fail, the BOP closes and you get to debug the problem while the well is closed Vs flowing. Why not?

You have a good idea, but in practice, how do you propose to maintain that much potential energy ready to "snap"?

We are talking of a pretty big spring, or what else can we use?

Hydraulic accumulators, and they already use them.

They are supposed to make it possible to fire the shears when there is no flow from the hydraulic pumps.

There are different design. A typical one is a high-pressure cylinder containing a bladder full of gas hooked, during normal operations, to the hydraulic pressure line (maybe with a booster pump) via a one-way valve that allows it to charge but not discharge. The gas is compressed and acts as a spring, discharging the hydraulic fluid through a different valve when fired.

If they are big enough and compressed to a high enough pressure to move what needs to be moved they work.Just a question of size and pressure. I've wondered if the accumulators weren't big enough to handle a non-ideal situation- leaks, a tough segment of pipe or whatever.

Why not! Because who would like to have the drill pipe cut off and loose millions of dollars in the process, just because a possble glitch happened and you lost power for a short time? That's the truth!

Now here is the reason that the Oil companies would give, your drill pripe is your first pathway in fighting "kicks" that can develope into blowouts if not killed or contained. If something happened in a well control situation and your pipe was cut off it makes it much harder to battle your well control situation, without a direct conduit for kill weight mud to be circulated downhole and around the bit. Even in very common gas entrained mud situations if your pipe was severed accidently that could make your situation much worse. There are also times during high pressure pumping operations such as a "frac job" that an inadvertent shear ram closure could kill people and destroy equipment making it a ticking time bomb of it's own accord. "That's all true, but it's not the first and foremost reasoning.

Myself, I would want the control at the hands of a well trained rig employee or employees with a deadman device as a last resort. Hell throw in an acoustic switch if it makes you feel better.

I don't think the government has a choice about much right now. Wonder what deals BP may have in the works with Iraq and/or Iran for their oil? I think shake-down was the right term. But who's foot is on who's neck?

And what is Blue Bell code for anyway? In my present state of hopelessness and paranoia, it would almost seem to be cash.

f-b: It's secret TOD code written by the Enigma Machine and only discoverable by using THE GOOGLE. Shhhh....

Ya think? I'm going to go try that right now!

Or better yet, maybe I'll just hit edit, find, on all these posts. Maybe Rockman has stock in Blue Bell.

Better than cash fritzie. Better than life itself.

If you haven't tried it yet, here are three little words you need to remember in regard to Blue Bell: Southern Blackberry Cobbler.

Blue Bell is ice cream that makes Rockman's socks roll up and down. You can get it fer cheap in Houston or for an-arm-and-a-leg if you order online.

My Dearest lotus: "for an-arm-and-a-leg" I always knew that was something very wrong with Texas Bar-B-Que....

["I can resist anything but temptation." — Oscar Wilde OK. I'll go to my room now.]

Wull, what's wrong with Texas 'cue is that it's cow instead of pig.

But I guess I've started enough kerfuffles here today, so I'll go to my room too. Or anyhow to the kitchen to see what's to eat . . .

lotus - Can't argue with you there. IMHO PORK is the meat! Pulled or otherwise. But I grew up in Nawlins even though I'm a TBC (Texan by Choice).



Blue Bell is code for the most delicious way to not be able to fit in your jeans ever!

If it was as cheap here as RockMan gets it for, I'd weigh 200lbs.

Paralyzing Principle. This article:

talks about the precautionary principle's biggest drawback. The problem is, does a chance that something will go wrong compel us to discard all reason to avoid that chance? I've used the argument myself in discussions with global warming acolytes, asking them just how much money needs to be spent to counter just how great odds of their worst case scenarios happening? They aren't convinced by Pascal's wager either, not understanding the empirical reasoning.

Salient quote: The Gulf oil spill is having all sorts of nasty consequences well beyond damage to the regional environment and economy. Not least, the resulting political panic seems to be rehabilitating the thoroughly discredited theory of regulation known as the precautionary principle.

This principle holds that government should attempt to prevent any risk—regardless of the costs involved, however minor the benefits and even without understanding what those risks really are. Developed in the late 1960s, this theory served as the intellectual architecture for the Environmental Protection Agency, which is still required to eliminate certain environmental risks no matter how expensive or pointless the effort is.

does a chance that something will go wrong compel us to discard all reason to avoid that chance?

"Discard all reason" loads your argument and begs the question to boot. Seems to me the issue is what amount of precaution is reasonable, given the costs, the risk, and the degree of potential harm if what is risked comes to pass. Can't access the WSJ article, so I don't know what definition it uses, but Wikipedia lists a bunch of different ones. Here's the one from the 1992 Rio Conference ("Earth Summit"):

In order to protect the environment, the precautionary approach shall be widely applied by States according to their capabilities. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.

Wikipedia notes that this definition takes costs into account. FWIW, it says it's "one of the primary foundations of the precautionary principle, and globally accepted definitions."

As far as deepwater drilling is concerned, we're not talking just risk of environmental degradation, but of potential large-scale environmental destruction, not to mention the ancillary economic and other damage to the people who depend on that environment. Shouldn't that up the ante?

Looks like 93L is trying to curl-up and form into a tropical storm. It could head more west under high pressure. Keep your fingers crossed.

Another Well Kill Plan to be Vetted

I am in New Orleans and am as desperate as everyone else here to find a new plan to kill the well. I'm also not an engineer so I haven't the skill set to vet new plans although I have reviewed some on this site with great hope and interest and meanwhile have suggested the substitution of the existing BOP, which is apparently not feasible because of the delicate status of the existing casing.

But I have come across a plan by a scientist in Tampa who has a plan but can't get anyone to listen to it. This TOD group seems to have great minds behind it and I thought you might be able to vet the plan and if feasible, perhaps help him present it. The plan appears to pre-date the cutting of the riser but is still viable and/or an option.

So here are two items which describe it:


The "Paralyzing Principal" at work.

He has a good plan for sealing the LMRP cap but that was never the problem. What he didn't do was analyze the whole system to see why a sealed cap going directly to the surface without a form of diverter near the seabed is both unsafe and probably unworkable. In the case of the LMRP cap the "diverter" is the fact that it does not have a tight seal to the riser flange.

The LMRP cap is NOT a pressure seal, it is designed to keep seawater out, not to keep the oil in.

A solid seal with a pipe direct to the surface would just transfer the blowout from the seabed where it is relatively safe to the surface where there could easily be another disaster similar to the original blowout on the DWH.


totally OT

shelburn, you mentioned your first diving job was 1964. I think you may have known my father. If so, I would like to contact you, if you can spare a little time.

gmmf56 @ yahoo.com

When I was a baby diver I had quite a few jobs on floaters. Other than how damn big and intimidating the stack was I distinctly remember how the baseplate/guidebase seemed to constantly be covered with cement returns. We were constantly clearing the cement off of the bullseye attached to the wellhead. This was before ROVs were in common use--only a camera was monitoring the stack and wellhead (running on the guidewires).

My question--was all that cement supposed to escape and make life harder for us lazy divers???

Ever since deep water drilling work went in deeper water than divers could go, the oil companies stopped using so much cement. They actually plan the cement jobs to not allow cement to get to the mudline when the BOP stack is attached.

The answer is Yes the cement was supposed to escape and the new way of planning cement jobs only came about, because there was no more need to screw with the divers anymore, so why bother wasting the cement?

Goosing marlins now that there's no divers to mess with? http://www.lanclip.com/watch-lqhXz6mVPTM/marlin-stuck-in-blowout-prevent...

Thank you for that gem!

Tell me if the guy in the "white hat" is going to push a button any time soon:


Salazar Renames MMS, Adding ‘Regulation and Enforcement’

How do you toughen a regulatory agency under fire for laxness and coziness with the industry it regulates? If you’re Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, you rename it.

The Mineral Management Service is no more. As of today, the agency in charge of overseeing offshore oil exploration–and the ill-fated Deepwater Horizon drilling rig–will be known as the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement. That’s the Bureau of Ocean Energy, or BOE, for short.


I wonder how many of my tax $$$ are going for new signs, cards, stationery, coasters, covers, t-shirts and rain gear?

Snakehead-I hope no tax dollars. Image means nothing in the face of truth. In fact, why pay government PR people $100,000 a year to hide the truth when you could hire an investigator for half that to tell it?

Too late; I'm sure the official seal and the rest of the crap have been ordered. I'll bet the new business cards have an extra "Because We Care" line on them.

next up: BP renames itself Flowery Goodness Energy.

Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, or as us Gulf Coasties like to call it: Big Oil: Expect Major Regulatory Enema.

Hi everyone, thought I would let you guys know we now have an Invest ( beginnings of a tropical cyclone) in the Caribbean Sea. This may or may not strengthen ( but the forecast models as well as the experts seem to think it has a fairly good chance of doing so in the coming days. ( one of the forecast models does indeed have it reaching hurricane status in 3 to 4 days, and yes... 2 of the models do take it into the Gulf. One of which takes it towards Texas..the other of which brings it into La/Miss border. Of course, all these models will change from run to run ( some of the models are ran daily, some ran twice a day. ) The direction the storm system moves is determined by many things, strength..upper level winds..forward motion, wind shear..etc. Certainly not a done deal by any means, but thought I would give everyone here a heads up on what is transpiring..here is the latest picture. http://i228.photobucket.com/albums/ee298/srainhoutx/06212010_2115_goes13... located to the South of Puerto Rico at the present time, and entering an area of very favorable dynamics for strengthening. Hurricane hunter aircraft are planning a mission on Wednesday to check things out. A couple of great internet sites, if you would like to keep up with it on a day to day basis Storm2k.org and Easternuswx.com

Another excellent source for Caribbean weather is Weather Underground, http://www.wunderground.com/tropical/?index_region=at&MR=1 . One of the best features of this page is Dr. Jeff Masters' featured blog, which is rich with technical details and analysis from a veteran hurricane hunter. And down at the bottom, it also contains many links to an amazing variety of other weather information sources. It's certainly worth checking out, IMHO: I look at it several times a day...

We have a followup today to yesterday's questions about "Steven Chu saving the earth" with his national laboratory brain trust, in particular a gamma-ray photo of the BOP's internals. It comes from this morning's NYT article.

Finally, seven long days after the explosion, operators of the underwater robots managed to repair the leak on the blind shear ram and apply 5,000 pounds per square inch of hydraulic pressure on its blades. This was nearly double the pressure it typically takes to shear pipe.

A BP report tersely described the results: “No indication of movement.”

But engineers could not be absolutely sure. Without any way to see into the blowout preventer, engineers had essentially been operating blind, using the rate of oil flow, for example, to deduce the conditions inside.

Help came from Scott Watson, an expert in gamma ray imaging at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Gamma rays, a form of electromagnetic radiation similar to X-rays but higher in energy, might at least penetrate a few inches into the blowout preventer’s thick steel walls. Then engineers might be able to see a device called a wedge lock, which slides into place behind the shear ram to hold it closed.

In mid-May, Mr. Watson ventured to the well site, where robotic submersibles were sent down to the seafloor with cobalt 60, a radioactive isotope that generates gamma rays. The team from Los Alamos was able to get a clear view of only one half of the blind shear ram. But the images showed one wedge lock fully engaged, meaning at least one half of the shear ram had deployed.

“I don’t think anybody who saw the pictures thought it was ambiguous,” Mr. Watson said.

So they actually got a picture, and it was useful.

Also, there seems to be some confirmation here of the leaking hydraulic fluid the Times article mentions.

In respect to the NEW TECH consisting of ahigh pressure water blast combined with a vacuum cleaner-

I hope somebody who is interested in getting the patents nullified on these things will get in touch with me.I am available as an expert witness at a reasonable rate, and can bring along as many elderly mountian orchardists as the judge has time for to testify that they were using this technology as far back as 1950.

We last dragged out the old orchard sprayer to do such a job about four or five years ago.The John Bean "Royal Twenty" pump is powered by a v4 aircooled Wisconson , and delivers up to twenty gallons per minute at 600 to 800 pounds per square inch thru high pressure hose to the "spray gun" which is essentially a solid brass garden hose nozzle about twenty eight inches long wieghing about twelve pounds or so.The tip is a disk(different sizes are available) with a hole plus or minus about a sixteenth of an inch in diameter, and this rig will deliver a fine mist to the very top of a VERY large apple tree thirty feet high.It is absolutely dangerous at very short distances ans people have been seriouslY injured by the high pressure water but I don't know of any fatalities.

When we want to run a water line oR electric line under a road, we excavate a pit large enough to get into it and work on each side side, asnd go to work with the spray gun at short range;after a minute or two, the hole is deep enough to need to add an improvised extension handle, anD longer ones are used as the hole gets longer.The last time I was involved in such a job, it took less than an hour to finish the holewhich was about thirty feet long.

A state trooper passed by and waved at us working without a clue as to what we were up to, but of course he sees us frequently and had no reason to be suspicious as our pits were six feet or more from the roadway.

We use the same rig plus a shovel and a portable gasoline powered trash and mud pump when we repair or modify the extensive buried plumbing and wiring systems found around most working farms
for the very same reasons Heading Out noted;it's fast, it's easy,and it doesn't tear up pipes and wires.

And for us it's also dirt cheap since we already have the old sprayer which is only rarely used these days.( Modern sprayers use an air blast/water mist generated by a big fan driven by a truck engine )The trash pump is a cast off from a construction company and comes in handy on lots of occasions on a farm.The pick up hose works just like a vacuum cleaner suction hose.

I hope the trial is held in a town with lots of interesting things to do and lasts a long time. :)

Me too. :) But first stop the oil.

Evening all,

I'm a PE, been dipping in and out of TOD for a couple of years now, ever since following a link to an article on the decline of the Ghawar field in Saudi. I've been concerned about the Peak Oil issue for a long time, and this site chimed with me, not least because of the quality and style of debate; there are intelligent people posting here who treat each other with a great deal of respect. Long may it continue. I've been stimulated by the gravity of the present catastrophe to make a couple of contributions recently (work+young kids=no computer time!), but am trying to keep my posts purely technical to honour the editor's requests to aim for a high signal to noise ratio (and once I get started on politics I'll get way too noisy…..)

Anyway, a couple of observations on some recent issues that have been discussed :

Well productivity compared to other GOM wells

The Macondo reservoir actually does not seem to be out of the ordinary in quality and there is no need to suspect communication with other deeper zones to explain the currently carried flow rate range. The inflow performance required would be achieved for example by a 60 ft interval with permeability 500 mD, and this is consistent with the likely geological setting (submarine fans can often deposit sands of higher quality than this).

Lower production rates are often quoted for other GOM wells. This is primarily for 2 reasons : i) wells are often tested (if at all) at a rate much lower than their full open flow potential. There are many reasons for this, not least the difficulty of handling high flow rates through surface test separator and flare systems. ii) production wells are designed to flow up carefully configured completion tubing strings which sit inside the production casing and have a smaller id. There are generally very good reservoir / production engineering reasons to constrain well rates to particular levels in order to maximise oil recovery over extended field lifetimes and meet surface facility requirements. If you were to blow the subsea trees off many existing GOM producers and allow them to flow unrestricted up 9 7/8 production casing or annulus, you would observe similarly high rates.

Maximum Flow Rates

For my own amusement I have modelled elements of the Macondo well flow, and have posted on this previously. I have a model of the 6 inch drillpipe riser currently running from BOP to sea level which I have reasonable confidence in (it is quite well constrained by available flow rate, temperature and pressure data). This suggests that the absolute maximum rate achievable would be around 40,000 stb/d based on zero pressure at surface and a small positive pressure in the top hat. A practical rate will be lower, for system stability and to provide surface pressure to drive the separation train.

Models of the wellbore itself are subject to much larger uncertainty, but the models that I have typically suggest a maximum flow rate up an unrestricted production casing annulus of around 50,000 stb/d, or up an unrestricted production casing itself of 80,000 stb/d, both against a flowing well head pressure of 4400 psi. I didn't run both together yet. These are not far from figures I have seen quoted in the public domain. Note that the flowing pressure quoted was for 25th May prior to Top Kill and is almost certainly different now. I would also expect pressure drops that are not catered for in the models at both the reservoir (across the cement job) and at the well head (across the assumed blown casing hanger)

Many are convinced that BP have accurately known the actual flow rate for some time. I'm sure they haven't. They have probably had a range on it based on well models similar to the above and additional well head pressure measurements that we are not party to. But they are not hiding any other fancy technique that the industry does not generally employ. The other approaches attempted by the various study groups suffer from uncertainty ranges at least as large as those that result from well modelling, if not much larger, and I'd be surprised if they are devoting any energy to doing those sorts of calculations themselves. Yet.

How big is Macondo?

Early figures circulating suggested a volume of 100 million barrels. At the recent congressional hearings TH quoted 50 million barrels. It has never been clarified whether these are in place or recoverable volumes. I would expect the 50 million barrel figure to be a recoverable volume; recovery factors in reservoirs of this type are unlikely to exceed 30 - 40% (maybe 50% if you are lucky), and recoverable volumes of less than 25 million barrels are barely material in this deep water setting. This would then have been a relatively minor find, and not the monster that some sources seem to be suggesting.

Reservoir Fluid Composition

The fluids flowing to surface are not simply 'oil' and 'methane'. In the reservoir, the fluid is a blend of hydrocarbon molecules of various sizes from methane (one carbon atom) to long chains of 40 carbon atoms or more. A typical crude of this density might have a molar percentage of say 25 - 30% methane molecules, and progressively lower amounts of the heavier molecular chains. As the temperature and pressure of the mixture is reduced as it flows up the wellbore, some of the lighter components are able to escape the liquid mix and enter a gas phase; at any particular set of conditions, there will be an equilibrium for each component between the liquid and gas phases. The gas being evolved at the seabed will have plenty of longer chain hydrocarbons in it, and the oil will still contain plenty of the lighter molecules.

Thank you for a very informative post.

So based on your estimates, a 100,000bpd and above flow would require... a much bigger hole?

Can you tell us more about the composition of the hydrocarbons in the reservoir?

What happens to the methane /hydrocarbon mix as it escapes and contacts seawater?

Hey BN...

What is this open flow likely to do the reservoir, and how far could whatever reservoir issues there are go?

throwing my 2 cents in the basket here ...without putting too much thought into it there are a few things i can point out here....i think most are valid ....others might think differently ...

1- how can you model a reservoir without knowing the areal extent of the reservoir ....is the assumption here the reservoir is in transient and boundary effects are not felt yet ??

2- the assumption being made here is shallower zones are adding to fluid ....this is the deepest productive zone since you would go up to re-complete ...DW wells are not flexible like onshore wells where you can go up and down to squeeze oil ....so essentially what some on TOD have said (including myself) is that this deepest zone is being supplement by some shallower zone...kinda like what we pete's do sometimes on purpose on dual or triple string completion by running a MMS co-mingling permit...

3- personally i doubt too many wells can produce these rates (unrestricted) with a 60' pay ...but this is just my guess based on what i've seen....hence the ideas being floated about a shallower zone adding to fluid

4- nodal analysis would have been performed on this well ....BP will have guesstimates of production base don that analysis but BP cannot say X bbl is leaking because BP isn't sure and the MSM media will skin them alive if X turned out to be wrong ....but the best approach and i would bet the horse here is that BP has a good nodal analysis here and could give a range if they wanted to ....but will not .....BP has not agreed to any number as yet ....all numbers are govt figures of the academia ...BP itself has not put out any number and that's because it gives them deniability ...

5- the 100 MMSTB reserve figure reported would be the recoverable number and not the possible and probable reserves as reported to MMS.....rmbr it is not in BP's interest to jack this number up even by 1 bbl ....

6- that fluid produced is increasing makes sense and the well flows ..its only natural ...its a cased hole otherwise in all probability it would have caved as discussed by a number of ppl on TOD...

7- i hate to say this ...but crude oil assumes heavier HC's as well....the particular type of oil produced is nto heavy and will have very little %age of heavier HC's...this is what makes GOM DW attractive...

8- also the NG being produced topside is not wet gas ....again a function of the type of crude ...this too is often the case with DW GOM...

A little food for thought>
I've heard on the news several times that all the monies that BP spends on the cleanup, remediation, people payments is tax deductible on future earnings. This doesn't include any fines or assessments for criminal negligence, but includes everything thing that falls under negligence.
A short conversation with my tax person confirmed this and they also stated that there were only very few things that wouldn't fall into the companies tax pot.

Of all the lawsuits directed at BP a very prominent local law firm is filing several suites using the RICO act as part of their argument.
They are saying that there was a deliberate and systematic program to undermine the government authority that regulates them. This was accomplished by the constant wining and dining of the MMS with a lot of trip to Brazil, probably to inspect the beach and the local oiling stations.

UK tax law would be the relevant jurisdiction here as to whether the fines are tax deductible.

RICO is an extremely difficult and costly law to use in a civil proceeding and also very difficult to prove.

Ouch ouch ouch ouch.

I've been sued under civil RICO. It gives the plaintiffs an awesome fishing license and a whole lot of other advantages. Bigger damages too if I remember right (been awhile).

I won via a directed verdict and also won a counter-claim for libel and it was still utter hell.

RICO is very hard to win.

duplicate deleted

It's difficult to understand how the cleanup can proceed effectively when BP is rejecting help (and I'm not sure why they have a say in who can and can't help anyway) unless they are more concerned with the perception than reality. This was reported in the Houston Chronicle Yesterday:


GALVESTON — Sharon Schmaltz can't understand why her wildlife response team, which has responded to 60 oil spills over 25 years, remains on the sidelines during the one of the worst oil spills in U.S. history.

"We are just kind of amazed that they don't need help," said Schmaltz, executive director of Houston-based Wildlife Rehab and Education Center.
The 200-member team of veterinarians and skilled volunteers is ready to roll with specialized equipment that includes vehicles, portable cages, generators and a mountain of portable gear. The center has a 30,000 square-foot warehouse to rehabilitate oiled birds next to its 5,000 square-foot office, but so far no one is asking for help.

Schmaltz says her offers of help were turned down by BP and the Delaware-based contractor in charge of rehabilitating oiled birds.
BP and the contractor, Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research, told Schmaltz that her team's services aren't needed. Better to stay in Texas in case the oil spill gets that far, she said she was told.

IMHO, BP's expertise is well drilling. Their efforts at clean up show that they're pretty much rank amateurs at disaster mitigation, (no offense to those of you who drill for a living).

I would want to be sure that clean up volunteers had at least a 7 hour oil-spill specific HAZWOPER type certification, (ah, gov't regs), or equivalent experience. Volunteer, hell. BP can pay 'em, for the training and the work. That's what the friggin' $20Bn is for, isn't it?

If this isn't exactly why we have fish and wildlife conservation groups, then, well, what for?

Someone can enlighten me, I'm sure, but to me, this is an outrage worthy of pissin' off some folks, if need be.

Here's an excellent video taken by a local reporter on the Gulf Coast of Alabama on Friday, June 19. We're not hearing this information, but the Gulf is now suffering from massive oxygen depletion as the bacteria tries to break down the oil.

Why are we not seeing this on CNBC, ABC, FOX, etc?


I live in Gulf Shores, Alabama. I am writing this post after coming back from the beach. It is true that the minnow/fry schools seems more prevalent than before, resulting in increase in predatory species, but schooling of all types are common in this area. One of my work out partners, Coach Chuck Anderson got caught right in front of the Pink Pony in a school of fish and a shark took his arm. It was years ago, before the spill. Certain areas of the Gulf are suffering oxygen depletion. Some of those areas have existed for years. This event has not helped matters.
In answer to your question, the reason there is not more coverage of this is because we know so little, and we spend 1000% more coverage on land. Not saying it is right, just saying it is so. When my videos and pictures from today are ready, I will post a link.

The first wave is dissolved oxygen depletion killing fish and other aerobic life.

The next phase is the decay of the bacteria and killed life in turn, creating a feast for other microbes.

Take a look at "dead zones" and what happens --- the ecosystem revert to a primitive form --- called evolution going backwards:


"In many places -- the atolls of the Pacific, the shrimp beds of the Eastern Seaboard, the fiords of Norway -- some of the most advanced forms of ocean life are struggling to survive while the most primitive are thriving and spreading. Fish, corals and marine mammals are dying while algae, bacteria and jellyfish are growing unchecked. Where this pattern is most pronounced, scientists evoke a scenario of evolution running in reverse, returning to the primeval seas of hundreds of millions of years ago."

There is much that need to be talked about --- that MSM isn't even cluing in on.

When was the last time the MSM passed on a tragedy? MSM is just a prostitute to our demands. As if the government runs it somehow. I am sure they created American Idol to keep us under control.

And can't or doesn't bother to distinguish barrels from gallons, millions from billions, etc.

I hope someone is gathering any sea creature species that remain alive two by two and constructing a tank for their survival.

Dylan Ratigan took his show (MSNBC 4:00 pm) to the NOAA Research Vessel today. Interviewed the Captain, lost connection. Jeff Corwin came on (may have been a planned segment, dunno) and he spoke with the marine biology prof from U of Southern Mississippi is out in the Gulf tagging small sharks. They discussed the short- and long-term effects of the oil and use of dispersant. Ratigan should have some TV clips on his website tomorrow.

Hi all, long term lurker, first time poster,

This is off-topic for this thread, but I have had a BOP idea.

After just reading about the problems BP technicians had with acquiring and maintaining high pressure hydraulics at the BOP after the accident began. At the same time the hydraulics were losing pressure needed to use either the shear ram or the pinchers, in the shaft inside the casing there was both rapid flow and high pressure.

Is there any history of trying to use the flow/pressure of the blowout itself to create high pressure in a hydraulic system outside the BOP?

Seems like using the movement and pressure of the flow inside the BOP to build up really high pressure in a hydraulic tank, then releasing that pressure to the cylinders associated with the ram/pinchers would be a lot easier than trying to hook up a ROV and use its pressure tanks.

Just a thought. I use hydraulics frequently on a backhoe and am familiar with the advantage of using high pressure on large rams in cylinders to move large levers. I also live in a small old oil patch, and have had a small clean-out rig explode and burn on our farm, shutting down a hundred-year-old oil well. Using the actual flow movement present in the BOP to generate high pressure should be an elegant way to get access to lots of power at any depth.

I know this isn't any help for this emergency, but going forward, maybe it can save a lot of time on the next blowout.


What you are talking about is interesting --- but the problem is, there is no telling what the pressure is from the well, so it cannot be used reliably.

Plus, the pressurized stuff comes with sediment, etc. that can clog up any pressure amplifier needed to work the rams.

So the old fashioned way --- of pressurized tanks on the BOP,is a much more reliable power source.

The ROVs have plenty of power, deepwater work ROVs are essentially 200 to 300 hp mobile hydraulic power packs.

I'm guessing the first one out didn't have an intensifier because it was probably diverted from another job that didn't require it. Most ROVs work at 3,000 psi and the BOP is usually 5,000 psi.

So the BBC's flagship current affairs documentary series Panorama has aired an episode called "BP - In Deep Water" 30 min. which has the interview with the survivor that witnessed the BOP leaking days before the blowout. Here is the show's page with clip's and extras


Not being in the UK I downloaded it. Having only seen the the first 7 min. so far I can say it is similar to the 60 min. show with survivor blow by blow and promises some new details ...

not aware of a u tube or such link for the full show

Is it permissible to give links to torrents on this site ?

I am not sure that the revelations are that stunning --- except by Monday morning Quarterbacking.

The reality is, in most operations, safety equipment maintenance and repair often falls to the lowest of low priorities.

BP came out of a brutal 2008 with severe cost pressures.

It is not so surprising that back ups don't work.

I have personally watched dual feed electricity systems fail, and then the back up generators themselves fail.

Many things cannot be simulated until it actually happens.

We can see in hindsight, the single ram design of the BOP is not so smart --- but that is in hindsight.

Now, if the data (NYT) that the BOPs failed 45% of the time survives analysis.... we got a problem as an industry.

"We can see in hindsight, the single ram design of the BOP is not so smart --- but that is in hindsight."

A system with a single point of failure in such a critical component is not so smart no matter which perspective you are looking at it from.

BOP was not invented until 1922... and for decades after, the industry more often than not, did not bother to use one.

I quite agree. After viewing the entire episode it is after all for UK consumption.They need to get up to speed on this. This disaster has consequences for a large number of pensioner's over there. And there new government is already using it as a reason to backstop there spending cut's

The long shadow of this BOP revelation (NYT)will be following us all around for some time to come

Feb 18: Reuters: BP eyes billions of dollars in bank loans and bonds


Feb 21: Reuters: BP not eyeing major bond raising: sources


Comment: Maybe the water was a tad chilly?

Live Video of one of the ships.

It seemed to start flaring gas and then the sub submerged

Credit Default Swap spreads have tightened to 478.5
basis points, down from a high of over 1000 last week.

Still too high to fund their normal business
requirements. This will have to come down or
there will be a major restructuring.


"The average yield on BP’s bonds has surged to 539 basis points, or 5.39 percentage points, more than benchmark rates, from 41 basis points before the Gulf of Mexico oil rig explosion on April 20, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch index data."

Cash burn is $33m a day or $1b a month for the foreseeable future.

Note relief wells are only $100 or so million (or $200 max) a well.

That means it is all the other costs that are killing them.

If the financing does come through --- it will be secured by key assets, making existing debt and shareholders subordinate.

There is the GM/Chrysler precedent to worry about, which is that even secured claims may not have precedence on a politically well oiled and connected claimant (e.g. UAW), who got senior status far beyond the law and ahead of all the bond holders.

I have a feeling that raising those funds will not be easy --- if it can be done at all without an actual transfer of title to ensure the lenders claims survive what is going to be a very politicized bankruptcy.

I read, but do not have the link, that the $20 billion US relief fund is secured by prime hard BP assets. I think BP can muddle through for a while but not if something else goes wrong in the Gulf. What will sink them in the end are the judgments for now unknown damages. If BP's partners, Anadarko and Mitsui, are released from their contact obligations of 35% to share in the costs, that release would be a severe blow to BP's survival chances. I wonder if British government will save this Jewel in the British Crown in the end.

My usual, daily, risk free analysis about BP's future: "It's too soon to tell." Zhou Enlai/Chou En-Lai, referring to the French Revolution (1789) in conversation with Kissinger.

Some good news at last:

Relief oil well drilling in Gulf of Mexico enters a new phase

Published: Monday, June 21, 2010, 7:12 PM Updated: Monday, June 21, 2010, 7:28 PM

"as BP prepares to try to meet well with well at thousands of feet below the sea floor, the operation changes a bit. Engineers will try to locate their target by sending out an electric current from the relief well that will make contact with the well casing in the damaged well, creating an electromagnetic field between the wells that signals information about direction and distance."


Let everyone at TOD say a silent prayer that this relief well works and the well is killed in the next 4 to 6 weeks.

And no hurricanes in the mean time!

In my travels through Gulf Shores today I came across some cute little rodents eating grass by the path. I took a picture and blew it up. Is this the elusive Alabama Beach Mouse (Peromyscus polionotus ammobates)?

More in my bucket. http://s892.photobucket.com/albums/ac126/tinfoilhatguy/Gulf%20Shores%206...

Many consider the endangered Alabama Beach Mouse a myth, like Bigfoot or the Chupacabra. Maybe this little guy will go eat folks later.


Hey, Tin Man: Love your posts. This cute little guy is a cotton rat, Sigmodon hispidus. They won't eat you, but you can turn the tables if you catch enough of them. As good as bbq'd armadillo, but smaller.

I thought they were big for mice, but I grew up in Asia, with cat sized rats. I will get a photo of a beach mouse one day, they are so dang elusive. I guess that is why they are classified as endangered.

He's cute. But did you have to blow him up? Poor little mouse.

... seriously, would like to see your video links when ready.

I keep my videos in the same bucket as my photos. They will start appearing as they load, just refresh.

Sometimes the Alabama Beach Mouse eats you, and sometimes you eat the Alabama Beach Mouse. I think the Beach Mouse has the upper hand.

This is off-topic but relevant. I’ve been looking at all that mud down there and thinking about where it came from. There have been many mentions of the unconsolidated sediments on the seafloor. Then, sonofsam came up with this one:
“After we've spent a few billion cleaning the marshes and beaches, wave them goodbye because they are about to go underwater for a very long time”.
Very true and not for the reason you might think. The Mississippi River sediment load has decreased.
The Mississippi frequently changes course,
and would have already changed course if it wasn’t for this,
It wants to change course so much that Vidalia, Louisiana makes electricity by letting water OUT of the river.
New ground is appearing, but most of it is near Morgan City.
A few other things come to mind such as the jetties that keep the mouth of the river open to shipping shooting the sediments off the continental slope instead of allowing them to settle out in shallow water. The Mississippi and its tributaries have been straightened, leveed, dredged and jettied so much that it hardly resembles the river before.
The point is this: when the Mississippi abandons one delta lobe and starts another, that lobe begins a slow death of subsidence and consolidation. Much of the land slowly slips beneath the gulf (Parts of New Orleans are below sea level). Some land will probably last until the river comes back that way and begins the process anew. The delta slowly extends seaward as this process is repeated over and over.
Before you turn the flames on about all the canals and other human activity causing the wetland loss, I’m not arguing that they don’t speed up the inevitable. Just remember too that human activity is interfering with Mother Nature by not letting the river have her way. Old River Control, levees and jetties have all upset the balance of wetland formation and destruction by natural forces.

I think BP discovered a big oil field. It seems people didn't notice that.

If I get hit and killed by a car, does it matter if it is a Rolls Royce? Only to my relatives.

In this case that would be the rest of the world's oceans.

Then the world should be raising hell about it. Why has OAS been silent? The EU? Doesn't Copenhagen host the environmental HQ for Europe? Even the hated UN seems eerily silent? Hell, I figured Cuba would be aiming missiles or at least making press releases. Maybe the MSM spin is in full swing. I tend to think that this is a USA problem for now and we do not want help, at least our leaders seem reluctant to get other countries involved. It may not matter much. Go relief well.


The spill spreads:

Shell Tarred by Gulf Spill Pays Up in Bond Sale: Credit Markets

"Investors demanded an extra 110 basis points in yield over U.S. Treasuries to buy the five-year notes from Shell, compared with 89 basis points for existing debt of similar maturity from the company, which is based in The Hague. Debt of Anadarko, owner of a 25 percent stake in BP Plc’s leaking well in the Gulf of Mexico, fell the most since June 9."


Can anyone tell me if there are any substances that could help school children simulate micro experiments as in they act like the crude spill components and the salt water of the Gulf?

I recommend using soy oil and different food colorings to help with visualization. Sea salt is easy to find. I do not think I can I legally send you samples in the mail. I think the real stuff is considered hazardous waste. It might be, but is it really that much worse for you than used motor oil or transmission fluid? Of course, I would not mail those either. Are these high schoolers?

High schoolers to adults. It's sort of a therapy thing.

FRITZIE -- Not sure what properties you're shooting for but mineral oil has some similar charcteristics and is actually edible. And salt water is pretty obvious I suppose.

Thank you!

Use the real deal, in my home town of Houma we have a local councilman that's selling jars of oil from the spill to raise charitable funds. I'm sure Nalco will sell you guys some corexit 9500. They say none of this stuff is bad. They promise!

Virgin olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar. No waste here!

Any one know what there going to do with the Hot Stab Patch Panel rig they just lowered to the sea floor

Cam 6 Boa Deep Sea o rove 1 and 2



I don't know.
The camera on Live feed from Ocean Intervention III : ROV 1 is running.
Those tradesmen are an embarrassment.
Tell the cameraman to turn off the camera.

hehe Someone is reading this blog. The camera just went off.

“They damn near blew up the rig.”
In fact, according to documents in the administration's possession, BP was fighting large cracks at the base of the well for roughly ten days in early February.

See ...

Goldman Sachs sold 4,680,822 shares of BP in the first quarter of 2010. Goldman’s sales were the largest of any firm during that time. Goldman would have pocketed slightly more than $266 million if their holdings were sold at the average price of BP’s stock during the quarter.

Tony Hayward cashed in about a third of his holding in the company one month before a well on the Deepwater Horizon rig burst, causing an environmental disaster.

Jal, I'm not even going to read the link. I'm guessing this has to do with "lost circulation" problems. Exploration drilling means finding out what's down there and when you do that you have loss circulation and sometimes kicks. The only thing the cracks in february had to do with the well when it blew, was that the added cost in February caused the shortcuts in April!

It's not a issue, other than that!

Hope you are right.
The implication/spin that this is taking is different.
That's why I brought it up here ... knowledgeable people in the business.

When you run casing on a section of the well for the most part the problems you had then are behind you for good.

The section they would have had trouble with then more than likely would have been further up the well and would have had no productive capacity to be a part of this problem.

That's what make me so mad. BP ran casing on the Production zone they had a chance to put it behind them. They had almost crossed the dam finish line on that part of the well. All they had to do was not screw up every part of the process and they did exactly that. This blowout isn't because of one mistake it's multiple mistakes that all worked together. I keep wishing I could go back in time and go tell them what was going to happen.

If they run a production liner with a liner top packer problem solved.
If they pump more cement and get good mud removal problem solved.
If they circulate the gas out of the mud and get the mud properties right problem solved.
If they run a CBL and they decide to squeeze a bad cement job, problem solved.
If they had listen to the well when they perfromed multiple negative test, problem solved.

I think the extra centralizers would have helped but that's not a game changer all by itself in my view.

I hope they have all those phone calls on tape.

jal: And now according to Wall Street rumor in the WSJ online and Charlie Gasparino (sp?) Goldman is constructing BP's defense against the circling piranhas. If I were BP, I would be a whole lot more comfortable if Goldman owned a boatload of my stock and hadn't dumped it. What did Goldman know and when did they know it? Follow the money. (Why is it always Watergate deja vue?)

Edit addendum: I wonder if Goldman has a position in Anadarko and/or Mitsui. Conflict sensitivity doesn't seem to be part of Goldman's culture.


I really don't get this one. Here is what I think they're saying:

They were having trouble with mud balance. Tony hears about this and decides: it's a sure fire disaster and sells (but only 30% otherwise it'd be obvious). Decided there was nothing that could be done, even 1 month before the fire. So he up and decides to keep the Horizon there for 20 million (as cover). Drills another few thousand feet into the reservoir (as cover). Put in (semi)expensive production casing (as cover). Skimps on the cement job (after all, it's going to blow anyway). Sends his executives there for a safety party (the ones he doesn't like) because he has a well-developed, British, sense of irony.

I'm not trying to be overly sarcastic - that's the straightforward way of interpreting this speculation.

I asked a cleanup worker today what is being done with the contaminated sand, he told me it is being recycled. I said really, who would want oil contaminated sand? He told me road builders, they use it to make asphalt road topping. I thought about it for a second and it seemed like a good idea to me. Has anyone heard about this? This is a good idea, right? We will not start having major increases in cancer clusters because of this, will we? I would think asphalt road topping is already carcinogenic in most forms. I guess that is why Europe uses cold chemicals.

The tar balls from the gulf are probably safer than tar on the roads.

Hi folks - newbie here

First a big thanks to the everyone on this site for providing an intelligent forum for discussing the gulf event and related topics. I have a deep respect for all of the industry pro's who have provided me with energy all my life.

Two areas I'm curious about:

1. The rig. I would imagine that having a look at the rig would provide forensic evidence regarding the rig fire, and that cameras would be sent down to look at it. Am I wrong about this? Do you just leave it down there and not investigate? Are there pictures of the rig? Also, what are the impact effects of a massive rig like DH hitting the sea floor? Could that damage underground wells in the vicinity or create other relevant damage?

2. The drilling plan states that there are two well sites - "MC252 A" and "MC252 B". The blown out well is apparently "B", and there is a comment on the TOD site that says site "A" was abandoned last July ( comment is here http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6572#comment-643984 ). Is "B" the second attempt? And if so, why was "A" abandoned? Is this why the project was behind schedule and over budget?

Thanks in advance for any light you can shine on these questions.