BP's Deepwater Horizon - More Insights Relating to DougR's Comment and Flow Rates

I thought I would combine a couple of shorter posts, relating to the same general topic--the issue of whether the Deepwater Horizon spill could be much worse than is being reported. I hope this isn't too confusing. The two posts are

1. Estimated Oil Flow Rates From the BP Mississippi Canyon Block 252 “Macondo” Well by Oil Drum staff member Art Berman, and

2. BP's Responses to Questions Raised by Commenter "Shelburn" by guest poster Shelburn

Neither of these authors find evidence that the spill could be much worse than is being reported. Shelburn asks readers what additional questions we should be asking BP.

Estimated Oil Flow Rates From the BP Mississippi Canyon Block 252 “Macondo” Well

by Art Berman (aeberman)

Estimates of flow rates for the BP Mississippi Canyon Block 252 “Macondo” well now range from 1,000-100,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd). Initial estimates were 1,000 bopd. These increased to 3,000 bopd and then to 5,000 bopd. Now the U.S. Geological Survey believes the well is flowing 20,000-40,000 bopd but other experts believe that flow rates may be as high as 60,000 bopd. Some have even suggested rates as high as 100,000 bopd, and others as high as 250,000 bopd. The purpose of this post is to provide a calibration framework for what flow rates are probable.

More than 8,700 wells drilled in the Gulf of Mexico since 1996 were evaluated using publicly-available production data from the Minerals Management Service (MMS). Wells in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico dominate the highest flow rates in this data set. Approximately 4,000 wells have been drilled in water depths more than 1000 ft, and more than 700 in more than 5,000 ft of water during the past 20 years. The Macondo well was drilled in 5,067 ft of water to a total depth of 18,360 ft below sea level.

Historical Context for High Flow Rates in the Gulf of Mexico

The highest flow rate for a single well in the Gulf of Mexico is 46,467 bopd (Figure 1) based on the daily average of the peak month of production.

The mean of the 50 wells with the highest oil flow rates is 27,753 bopd . A probability plot (Figure 2) of these wells indicates that the most likely case is about 27,000 bopd (P50). There is a 10% probability (P10) that a well will produce approximately 37,000 bopd, and a 90% probability (P90) that it will be about 20,000 bopd.

There is no historical precedent for a single well producing more than 100,000 bopd. Among historical blowouts, the highest flow rates known are approximately 100,000 bopd at the Spindletop Field in Texas in 1901, the Midway-Sunset Field in California in 1910, the Long Beach Field in California in 1910, and the Lake Maracaibo Field in 1922. These were all open-hole completions drilled without casing or drilling fluid so they represent maximum unconstrained flow rates.

The BP “Worst Case Scenario” Document

An internal BP “worst-case scenario” document released June 20 has been mis-interpreted by some to indicate that the company believes that flow rates as high as 100,000 bopd are possible. The document states that the probable range is 5,000-40,000 bopd. It further states that the maximum theoretical rate is 60,000 bopd. It is important to note that these values represent unconstrained, open-flow rates that might be expected after removing the BOP from the well, and are estimated to be at least 10,000 bopd more than present flow. The 100,000 bopd rate assumes that flow is occurring within the production and casing and around the annulus. It again is an unconstrained rate.

The Most Likely Case

We know that the well is producing at least 25,000 bopd because that much has been collected in a single day. It is impossible to know the flow rate until the well is brought under control and rates and pressures can be measured. It is possible that the welll is flowing at a rate 25% higher rate than any well drilled to date (60,000 bopd) in the Gulf of Mexico, but it is not likely. It is less likely that it is flowing at 110% of the rate of the highest rate well so far (100,000 bopd). It is reasonable that it may be among the highest rate wells, and was initially flowing at 40,000-50,000 bopd.

BP's Responses to Questions Raised by Commenter "Shelburn"

by commenter shelburn

A few days ago Gail posted a copy of a comment I had made the day before as the main posting. It was titled, BP's Deepwater Oil Spill - Response to DougR's Concerns - and Open Thread http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6655 and http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6659

In that thread, as a side issue I took BP and the government to task for not releasing more technical information and listed about 10 hypothetical questions I would like to ask BP based on the content of the posting about DougR’s claims that the BOP was in immediate danger of tipping over and causing catastrophic damage.

I was quite surprise when yesterday Gail informed me that TOD had received a response, well, a partial response, to the list of questions. Below is the Unified Area Command response:

Subject: RE: Response to DougR's Concerns


In your site's June 25 post discussing the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6659 guestblogger “shelburn” asked a number of questions. We passed these on to BP and have obtained answers for some of them and thought you would like to share them with your readers:

Q: has the inclination of the BOP changed?
A: No

Q: Are you concerned about the structural integrity of the BOP, wellhead or LMRP?
A: No

Q: What are the ROVs doing when they are looking at the seabed?

A: There are a number of ROVs at work at the site so it depends on which ROV the viewer is referring to. As we prepare to set new equipment and flexible hosing on the seafloor, however, ROVs are often used for route planning. During those exercises the ROVs are used to scan the seafloor to ensure that there are safe and stable places to position equipment and flexible hosing.

Q: Is there any indication of seabed movement at the base of the BOP?
A: No.

If you have any additional questions please let us know.

Tech. Sgt. Alec Lloyd
Unified Area Command
Deepwater Horizon Response

I was surprised there was a response as, to the best of my knowledge, BP has not previously responded to any internet websites or blogs.

I would have hoped for a more complete and technically oriented response but at the same time am highly encouraged by the fact there was any response at all, and that they answered the most critical questions to refute the wild speculations by DougR that was causing considerable stress to Gulf Coast residents.

The most important fact is that there is no, absolutely no, evidence of washout, subsidence or leakage around the wellhead and blowout preventer (BOP). Without that all DougR’s his arguments fall completely apart.

It is interesting the questions they didn't answer. They dropped "casing" from the list of items of structural integrity. It is almost a clear answer that they are concerned about the casing integrity - no real news there for readers of The Oil Drum. Along the same line they did not respond to any other questions about downhole leakage. This is a list of my questions they did not answer:

Describe the “disk failure” at 1,000 feet.

Are you concerned about the structural integrity of the casing?

Describe the formation levels.

What are the current pressure readings inside the BOP?, the historical readings?

What is the little black box the ROVs place on the riser?

Personally, I was most interested in the historical pressure readings at various levels in the BOP and still hope that information will be made public.

I would like to thank BP for this amount of information they did release and encourage them to enlarge the information exchange.

To that end I would suggest The Oil Drum posters to compile a list of technical questions we would like to ask BP. Maybe through the comments section we could narrow down a list of 20 or so questions that The Oil Drum feels that BP could answer that would be most beneficial to transmitting factual data to the general public. Having watched the main stream media mangling of what information they are given, just possibly, having some technical information go through the Oil Drum “review process” would generate a higher quality of communication than we have seen to date.

We know that BP, for legal reasons, is not going to comment about what caused the original blowout or steps that were taken onboard the Deepwater Horizon, and for proprietary reasons they may be reluctant to discuss specifics of various formations. But it would seem that most other data, subsequent to the sinking of the Deepwater Horizon, would be available.

I must have missed your response to shelburn's critique of your nonsense.

I notice two "404 not found"s and a six-minute YouTube video with nothing to bolster any claim of anything whatever. Perhaps you need some rest.

Doug, you're a good egg and I share a lot of your concerns. BP's response to Shelburn is a pack of lies, period. That said, we'll have to wait on events. No purpose served by further discussion until they fail to kill it.

Avon says: "BP's response to Shelburn is a pack of lies, period."
Yes, it is, and why certain people keep beating this dead horse is beyond me. What's the point of posting BP's pretense anyway?

Not all expert opinion (opinion being a pivotal word) is here on TOD, there is plenty of serious discussion coming out of university lists, discussions that include people with duel affiliations of university and oil industry.... dougr's comments have been considered and taken seriously on several academic boards, especially in light of BP's silence. Strangely, only here have I read his posting/opinions ridiculed to the point of absurdity. Why does dougr have to be 100% correct on all counts anyway? Certainly BP hasn't. It's enough that he has offered alternative perspective while BP and the government were simply throwing out rose petals and looking to "kick ass." Like it or not, agree with it or not, dougr's perspective has been considered by a wide range of people with relevant expertise. By the way, I've read far more dire forecasts on other lists, but even so, those forecasts were followed by discussion without ridicule. One has to be suspicious of ridicule, I think... it usually comes with an agenda.

I also think Avon was correct in saying we simply have to wait, because in truth, I don't think anyone really knows for certain what to expect. And those with more information are not particularly forthcoming.

"Doug, you're a good egg......" This comes across as a pulp/paper mill comment. The initial smell and anything lingering is a real caught in the elevator **who-done-it**. If Ma or Pa works at the mill then it smells like bacon and eggs.


Thanks for your post from before.

Here, Avon has it right: We just are not getting any new information, and BP lies like a rug. So we will simply see as things unfold.

It is certainly a shame that we are getting no independent measurement of events in the GoM. I suppose that and BPs "ponies and balloons" show of Gulf clean-up in themselves really tell you all you need to know.

Recently, no less than Bill Clinton has gone on TV to soften up the public to the scheme of blowing up the well. He's backed off from Matt Simmons' implication that the explosion has to be nuclear--creating more wiggle-room, as it were. Somebody very big does not--or no longer--thinks the relief wells will work.

This is hardly reassuring, but does stand as support for your original post.

We just are not getting any new information, and BP lies like a rug

Heh heh, I can see that BP is in a no win situation. If they answer any question that you don't like, they lie.. If they don't answer the question, they are stonwalling. If you like their answer, then spin it to the doomsday scenario.. What exactly is your purpose here?? Oildrum is obviously not a site that try to spin the doom and gloom.. And folks here seems to really try to get to the bottom of the technical issue. I thought BP up to this point has been mostly o.k. with their information espeically the technical info. A lot of schedule info are too optimistic but none of them are outright lie. I also try to catch Adm Allen briefing whenever it is available and he come across as having real command of issues. There are thousand of reporter and clean up workers in GOM now, it take a real conspiracy to lie about the condition without getting expose.

There are thousand of reporter and clean up workers in GOM now, it take a real conspiracy to lie about the condition without getting expose.

No reporters or clean up workers on the rigs, everyone else sworn to secrecy which is boilerplate for all of us who do contract G&G or drilling.

I don't know what Oil Drum is for. It used to be a forum to discuss peak oil. Rembrant Koppelar's monthly data was and is a must read. I like to keep tabs on megaprojects. All that changed (temporarily) on April 20. Drillers Club and gCaptain were redhot in the beginning, before BP was forced to spill their guts to the Waxman Committee staff. I played a role however small in demanding disclosure of BP internal emails and documents. Still waiting for the wireline logs.

Each of us comes here with an unique purpose vis a vis Macondo. Personally, I don't give a hoot about skimmers, beach tourism, oily air, seafood, sport fishing, dead birds, or gigantic underwater plumes. I don't care whether BP spins off its US refineries and runs off to Barbados with their remaining loot.

I care about deepwater E&P in the Gulf of Mexico. Until and unless the blowout is shut in, and the Obama Administration lifts their moratorium, we stand to lose rigs, crews, operators, finance, and a bunch of small service companies. That's the real unfolding disaster.

My purpose (waning rapidly) was to guage the complexity of RW operations and, in view of what I've seen and surmized, to warn people that this is going to take many months to kill several subsurface horizons.

I don't mind being proven wrong.

"Personally, I don't give a hoot about skimmers, beach tourism, oily air, seafood, sport fishing, dead birds, or gigantic underwater plumes."


to warn people that this is going to take many months to kill several subsurface horizons.

What's your motivation for promoting that particular meme? Is it just a simple case of inciting panic to somehow make yourself some money from your investments? Why does that seem to be a common theme among people pushing the wild doomsday scenarios? Well, except for dougr, he believes there are government agents following him as stated in an earlier comment.

You are just flat out making shit up.

Okay, we don't like each other. Irrelevant to the subject matter. Stacked pay is a reality. Lost circulation and stuck tools are undisputed, documented facts. I know enough about the trend to say that updip migration is possible. I believe there is seafloor venting about three miles from the wellhead.

This is no looming catastrophe, just means they will have to take more time, drill more relief wells and kill several horizons, in my opinion. Got it? An opinion. Not asking you or anyone else to agree with me.

BP has nothing to say to us. Nothing.

We want independent observations and measurements from people who aren't liars. We want those people allowed in to observe and measure.

If BP wanted a different outcome they could have told the truth. They didn't. Draw your own conclusions about that.

The US Department of Interior has fined BP $5.2 million for submitting "false, inaccurate, or misleading" reports for energy output on tribal lands in Colorado.

Upstream staff 30 June 2010 14:29 GMT

It was the first big fine levied by the Interior Department's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation & Enforcement, formerly known as the Minerals Management Service.

"It is simply unacceptable for companies to repeatedly misreport production, particularly when it interferes with the auditing process," Michael R. Bromwich, the director of the BOE, said

Email me at dougrtod at y mail com will ya!

I'd be more worried if the bullseyes mentioned were the same ones. They aren't.

This shows the relative position of the two bullseyes:

Top Bullseye

The June 10 reading was taken at the Bullseye below the flex joint that connects the riser to the BOP (screencap from YouTube video):

Middle Bullseye

Being mounted on top or below the flex joint is irrelevant. The Flex joint itself is a solid cast of forged metal.

It simply allows the riser adapter to swivel several degrees.

The Flex Joint is solid metal attached to the BOP.

The only way that would lean is if the BOP itself leans.

Diagram of the BOP

Cut out of the the Flex Joint

From the manufacturer's brochure:

The FlexJoint is composed of a large-diameter spherical elastromeric element inside of a forged housing (meaning it is a solid piece of metal), with customer-specified end connectors. When installed at the top and/or bottom terminations of a riser system, the FlexJoint allows for large angular deflections (of the riser - not the BOP or the FlexJoint) and accommodates all loads and motion even during severe storms.

Explanation of the the inner parts of the flex joint - shows the elastromeric element that allows for angular deflections of the end connectors

"The only way that would lean is if the BOP itself leans."

The specs reads that the flex joint takes the load. You've painted yourself into this corner (with DougR I might add) so how do you plan on escaping?

How much do you really know about the flex joint?

I have spent a good time discussing it with those who know the technical information.

The joint allows for the angular rotations of the shaft.

It is a solid casing attached to the BOP.

If this where a tensioner/joint slip system like diagrammed here http://www.freepatentsonline.com/6530430.html then it would make sense for the bullseye measurement to be off it where mounted above and below the joint.

Again this is a solid casing. The lean allowed comes from the elastromeric element inside of the casing which allows the riser shaft to move.

The specs read:

Elastor Element: In addition to accommodating angular displacement, the elastomer element assembly retains interal pressures and tensions and transfers to both compressive loads in the elastomer layers. Angular movement is accomplished trough pure shear which is distrubuted in each elastomer layer. Shear and compressions stresses in each elastomer bonded layer are distrubuted by the steel reinforcement.

Refer to the diagram. The Elastor element is location inside of the housing and allows the shaft inside of the FlexJoint to move. The solid casing is forged metal and does not title on angles. Only the shaft.

What were the readings from the bullseyes before the blowout/fire/sinking?

Do you have any video/screencaps of the bullseyes before the blowout?

Was the BOP stack/LMRP/flexjoint exactly vertical, at 0*, when originally installed at the wellhead and up until the blowout?

And the top bulls eye is mounted on the part that is designed to move. so movement of the ball would be expected and not related to the bulls eye on the BOP assembly itself.


He's playing semantics by dismissing anyone who says 'flexjoint' when referring to the bullseye mounted to the 'riser adapter'.

to Alex: the term 'flexjoint' applies to the base and the adapter. The adapter on top is an integral part of the flexjoint, they are not field-serviceable separately - it's one unit, and you know damn well that when someone says 'flexjoint' they mean the whole thing. There is a bullseye on the base, and another one on the adapter. You know this but are playing silly games to push a fantasy scenario. Stop it. You don't know what the reading was from the flexjoint base before the blowout, a reading from today is irrelevant. You don't know what the reading was from the bullseye below the BOP on the wellhead before the blowout, a current reading from that bullseye is also irrelevant without a comparative reading from before any potential damage occurred. And the bullseye mounted to the adapter isn't relevant to jack, since there is no longer anything hanging off the upper flange.

comfy --

right on ....no one has a datum for reference ...the pre-blowout readings are not known to any1 but BP....the idea for these bulls eyes is not to measure tilt from true vertical but to provide incremental leaning as observed over the drill program....I can confidently say no one in the history of drilling has ever known a true vertical BOP.....if we start measuring inclination from true vertical then every BOP in the world is suspect....except its not because these readings are meant to be compared against the datum established when the BOP is first sunk.....

No.. If the bullseye is mounted as shown in this diagram, which is where it appears to me that it is mounted then that part of the flex joint does not move.

Alex, you are reading the diagram wrong. The bullseye is drawn just above the tip of the upper red arrow, on the part of the Flexjoint that moves. The photo on the other end of that arrow is even more clear, the bullseye is clearly sticking out from the upper half of the Flexjoint, above the black skirt (the donut the upper half sticks up through) that covers the lower half.

If that is the case the diagram is wrong..

In fact you state so your self here: http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6644#comment-664348

The top bulls eye appears to be connected to the actuator assembly on the (presumably) EDS system attached to the part of the flexjoint that is supposed to move. Your arrow points to the top of the body of the flexjoint that is not supposed to move. Move the head of the arrow up about half way to the inlaid image of the ball for the correct position.

If the bullseye is mounted on the top of the Flex joint where the arrow is point (and that is my assumption) that doesn't move.

Alex, I think you've got me confused with aethervox or NAOM.

There is a small error in the drawing, the arrow needs to point a little higher. Everything above the tip of the arrow moves, right? You seem to be saying different, but I may not be understanding correctly.

Let's make sure we are on the same page. Look at the cutaway picture you posted at 6:31. It it shows two pieces, a lower one that is like a big bowl that bolts down to the LMRP/BOP, and an upper piece like a weird pipe that bolts up to the riser. The two pieces make contact in the middle in a ball and socket joint (with a big hole through it for the drill pipe), and the joint is surrounded by the brown elastomer which acts as a compression cuff around the joint. The ball and socket joint is what allows the top of the Flexjoint to tilt when the riser pulls on it. Is that what you are seeing?

I pointed to that comment thread because to make it clear what your where referring to.

Are we on the same page?

Same page regarding which parts move. Different page regarding where the bullseye is mounted.

This new picture shows the bullseye mounted on the (rubber?) skirt at the top of the Flexjoint lower half. The prior drawing and photo show it mounted on a bracket attached to the upper riser connector, a few inches above where you have drawn it here. If it was mounted in this lower spot, it could get crushed if the riser connector tilts toward it, right?

The upper bullseye is on the part that tilts, because you need to be able to measure the tilt angle.


This is what I am seeing as far as bullseye mounting.

Does anyone have a different shot of the top of the LMRP so Alex can see that he could pass his arm between the bullseye and the lower part of the Flexjoint?

edit for clarity

I may be wrong.. but I don't see any bracket. It appears to be mounted directly to the flex joint (part that does not move)

Also, if it where mounted via a bracket to the part that swivels... it would need to be several inches above the flex joint to allow for a 20 degree lean of the swivel.

I don't see clearance to allow for that.

In this link you can watch "BP Cleaning and Reading the Bullseye on the BOP", which toward the end has a closeup of the top Bullseye and it's bracket which is clearly attached to the flexible outlet pipe of the flexjoint. Then just to confirm this you can watch "BP getting the top hat back on" which shows a side end on view of the top bullseye attached to the flexible outlet pipe.


It all makes sense. Bottom Bullseye to indicate verticality of wellhead. Another Bullseye at the top of the BOP but below Flexjoint to indicate verticality of BOP and a top Bullseye monted on flexible part of Flexjoint to indicate lateral loading on flexjoint from the riser.

Thank you for your pictures, diagrams and links, they are very useful.

Thank you for the video.

I stand corrected about the placement of the Top Bullseye. There is a definite depth perception / optical illusion in the cleaning videos and screen shots above.

Here are the corrections

Top of BOP Diagram With Bullseye Locations

Top of BOP with Bullseye Location Marked Screen Shot

No problems Alex. Here's a another video of the top bullseye. This time it is high definition, one of those that was given to the Flow Rate Technical Group.


Spot on Alex, that was what I was trying to get over earlier. In the video, above, you can see the parallax between the bulls eye and the joint. Thanks for updating the drawing.


What were the bullseye readings before the blowout, Alex? Hello? Is this thing on?

What were the bullseye readings before the blowout, Alex? Hello? Is this thing on?

Seriously, Is that a trick question?


About a month ago, the Bots installed a "Bull's Eye Level" to measure the lean of the BOP/LMRP

You've been mislead, Alex. It has been reported more than once on TOD that the bullseyes are original on the BOP stack, not recent additions.

Regardless of the the reading at the point of origin... There is an increase of lean on the same bullseye below the flex joint of 1.5 degrees between June 15th and June 8th.

Added "below the flex joint"

Late to the party, alas. The photos from June 15 and June 28 are very curious.

It's a shame that Higgins obscured the photo with a red dot, but the screen shot from June 28 looks remarkably like the one from June 10, which is shown here: http://blog.alexanderhiggins.com/2010/06/11/confirmed-gulf-oil-spill-bop... . That is to say, the red dot is in EXACTLY the same position as the ball in the June 10 photo. This suggests that by Higgins' own photos, there is NO change between June 10 and June 28.

The screen shot from June 15 is harder to explain. Higgins says it's the middle level. I don't know what it means. Was the BOP momentarily more upright on June 15? Does this have something to do with mechanical loading? Or is there a fourth level that I don't know about?

I did find some evidence of change on YouTube.
The image on the left is from June 10. The date on the image on the right is illegible, but it was posted on June 18. They ARE both the same bullseye level. There is apparently a change from about at least 2.5 degrees to less than 2 degrees in 8 days. Of course, that small change could be in response to mechanical loading from the top hat.

As for the top level, there's no doubt that it IS mounted on the movable part of the flex joint, and Higgins unfortunately doesn't seem to have any idea what the joint does.

1) I did not obscure the video with the red dot. That was done by the OP. See my comment requesting the original video.

2) The bullseyes you post here are the bottom bullseyes, not the middle bullseyes.

3) It is clear I do know what the joint does, see several comments and diagrams discussing the same.

I was mistaken about where the bullseye was mounted due to depth perception illusion. Again see my comment with the the latest BOP diagram with the correct locations of the bullseye location.

4) Your images being of the bottom bulleseye and your are suggesting that the bottom bullseye is moving due to top hat load? Absurd. You are suggesting that the ~1.5 degree difference in the middle bullseye is from the same?

5) Your own bullseye photos here is here again supports that the the lean has changed by about .75 degrees between the 10th and the 18th, be that the data the image on the right was posted.


Q: has the inclination of the BOP changed?
A: No

This is not a clear picture of the BOP falling down. According to the bottom level, it "fell" UP, not down--and then by only 1/2 degree. At the middle level, if you take the data at face value, it fell up, then down again to precisely the same angle. Inconsistent, alarming maybe, but I'm not totally sure it's not just a piece of scuzz on the level, or perhaps a different bullseye level altogether. It would be nice to see the whole video.

I'm not so sure loading doesn't play any part in the tilt. The cap weighs some tons, and on top of that are a manifold and a mile of pipe.

Alexander, your blog has attracted a great deal of attention because of your live video feeds. You have built a huge story about sensational claims such as a tilt of 11 degrees and more, and failing fast. Considering that you don't seem to have a technical background and have made a lot of basic errors, maybe you should express a little less certainty in your blogs. Scaring people needlessly is really not in the public interest, especially if it turns out you're wrong.

Scaring people needlessly is really not in the public interest, especially if it turns out you're wrong

If I am wrong then no one gets hurt.

If I am right then a disaster can be prevented

If that where the case it is likely that we would still be getting told there is only 5,000 barrels of oil per day leaking into the Gulf. It was my blog post that was submitted to NPR.. you know the rest.

I should stop sounding the alarm that oil as shown by USF, Roffs, and/or SkyTruth has been reported is either in/near or likely in/near places that Government refuses to acknowledge such the Florida Keys, Gulf Stream, and up the East Coast of Florida.

Ditto on the Florida Officials telling the public it is safe to swim in the water based on "visual inspection" leading to women and children swimming in waters on oil infested beaches, with a visible sheen in the water and skimmers collecting oil 50 to 100 feet off the coast while scientists and doctors warn against it.

Perhaps you are right, but then again "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing" Edmund Burke

Yes you are correct the top bullseye is clearly mounted on the outlet pipe ie the part that flexes. I would guess that the elastomer is now permanently deformed from having to act as the anchor swivel of the blazing DWH rig and then supporting the weight of the crimped riser. I wonder if it is still pressure tight?

"Has anyone here noticed?"

I did and I think many more did including UC and BP. I think they took a more tactful approach. My inclination after reading was; About half a bubble off.

From the author of the website I referred to above...a reasoned response:

While there maybe a swivel joint here, it appears that joint is for the pipe coming out of the top of the BOP and not the BOP itself.

It appears that the level is attached to the BOP and not the swivel joint.

It would also make no sense to me that BP would install a level on such a joint that could swing a few degrees knowing there was a lean on the blowout preventer and that the limit of the level was only up to 5 degrees.

It would also not make sense for BP to come back later to clean it and then measure it knowing the measurement would not provide an accurate measurement to any degree of certainty.

I wasn't referring to the BOP being a half bubble off. Personally I think there's lots going on down there that doesn't make sense to you.

How do you come up with swivel when the correct terminology is ***flex***? If there is a flex joint designed in the system then it should flex or allow for flex and it makes perfect sense to most here. It's possible the BOP is bent a few degrees. If the casing to the BOP was bent when the DWH sank and the sight glass shows the BOP leaning at 2-3 degrees upon first inspection after the DWH sank and BP does the same inspection daily for weeks on end and it still reads 2-3 degrees what could it possibly mean other than nothings changed in that area.

I haven't read you gloom and doom post because what you post here makes any additional comments irrevelant. Your attempts to instill fear come across as someone ill informed and demonic. I can't imagine your responses if you actually knew the truth.

Shelburn stated he agreed with your assesment of BP not being forthright on the information provided. Based on what you have stated if they gave you info they believed to be accurate and it turned out to be unfounded then you would probably accuse them of lying. Everything to you is lose-lose.

Angular movement, swivel, flex, you are arguing semantics when the concept is entirely the same.

It can be said that shaft / riser inside the FlexJoint is allowed to swivel.

The FlexJoint allows for the shaft inside of the casing to tilt.

The Casing itself is a solid cast of metal and does not move.

Why would BP install a level where it would be subjected to 10-20 degrees of tilting?

Why would BP install a level where it would be subjected to 10-20 degrees of tilting?

Odd question. Simple answer, they want to be able to measure how much it is tilting. Why? I'd say so they can tell if it is getting close to its maximum movement, and/or to tell how much the casing and drill pipe inside it are being bent.

The Flexjoint is a two piece joint just like your hip joint, as shown in the cross section you were kind enough to post, Alex. The Main Housing is the hip socket, the Riser Adaptor end is the femur, moving freely in the socket, with an elastomer cuff to keep things snug. Together they make the joint (hip bone connected to the leg bone...). The upper bullseye is attached to the adaptor/leg bone, as shown in the picture above in aethervox's comment; it indicates the degree of bend in the joint when compared to the lower bullseye.

I think we all have known that the bottom of the Flexjoint (the Main Housing) is solidly attached to the LMRP/BOP stack. Are you clear, Alex, that the top half of the joint (the Riser Adaptor with its attached bullseye) is the part that flexes? And that this upper bullseye does not indicate the tilt of the BOP?

Edit: Technically the upper half of the Flexjoint contains the concave socket, sitting on a convex rim in the main Housing, but the hip analogy describes the relative movement better.

"Angular movement, swivel, flex, you are arguing semantics when the concept is entirely the same."

No it isn't semantics by simple definition alone you are incorrect. If you think so ask someone (preferably of large stature)to take your hand and turn it clockwise a full 720 degrees. The flex joint could do the same if enough force was applied but much like the joints in your arm the intended design function would be destroyed.

"The Casing itself is a solid cast of metal and does not move."

The bottom flange of the flex joint is connected to the BOP and correct it doesn't move or to say the least it isn't designed to move. The top half of the flex joint does move and is designed to do so until worn or damaged.

"It can be said that shaft / riser inside the FlexJoint is allowed to swivel."

The drill pipe or casing moving through or being installed through the flex joint could swivel, yes I agree. The same could be said for the BOP.

"The FlexJoint allows for the shaft inside of the casing to tilt."

Varying by only a few degrees. But the primary function of the flex joint is to compensate for the flex, sway, movement and weight of the riser connected to the flex joint and extending to the drill ship or rig. The unit terminology and specs reference a flex joint for a specific reason and it isn't semantics.

Again.. the argument is over semantics.

Case in point take the "swivel chair" I am sitting on.

It allows my to rotate my body 360 degrees on a horizontal plane as well as lean up to 10 or 15 degrees on the x,y Cartesian plane.

Drilling industry specific terminology, per your argument, requires it to be called a flex joint.

To the average person the joint on a swivel chair accomplishes the same concept.

Continuing on with that analogy the flex joint is would be the base of the chair (flex joint casing).

I was arguing that the shaft coming out of the top of the joint is where the tilt/angular rotation occurs(the riser adapter beneath the chair).

It's called a flex joint because it's designed to FLEX.

My point isn't semantics and oil field brat made a similar analogy too(or vice versa) re; the hip joint. To the average person who has problems with reading comprehension yes your chair analogy may fly. Have you requested the 720 degree arm twist yet?

The swivel chair is called such because because that's what it does. The base is fixed or on casters and the chair base swivels on a bearing. The tilt forward and backward is controlled by a spring mechanism i.e. two separate features.

If I said it I didn't mean it (Missouri)......industry terminology is usually based on a specific feature, trait or characteristic. If it flexes then it's called a FLEX ?????whatever it happens to be.

There is nothing in the design of the flex joints that I have checked out to indicate the unit is designed for rotation but it is designed for long angular flex from the riser. I haven't read anything to support that it can't rotate. It's specifically designed to prevent the beveled seats from taking a keyed position. I imagine the riser rotating aroung the X-Y axis while the Z axis moves/flexes in the currents could make things a little interesting topside and at the sea floor.

My original point was to highlight your support of DougR's hypothesis and your continued effort to gleen information to support your theory of the BOP that is tilting more every day. In doing so you name parts to fit your theory. Your comments and questions are similar to those in the OJ trial; "Why would BP install a level where it would be subjected to 10-20 degrees of tilting?" I think there's a phrase that applies when asking questions you don't have the answers to in order to make your case.

A phrase? Are you implying I am begging the question?

I am not intending to offer proof of any question that is only evidenced by itself.

Do I misunderstand you? Unlike your implicit suggestion meant to indirectly suggest the idea that I have resorted to circular reasoning I am trying to use explicit process and procedure to state my claim based on reasoning (be it inductive or deductive) and then present the evidence to back it up.

I will then further refine my hypothesis as needed so that my argument or claims can be corroborated but to steal from your very own tactic the bottom line here is this all speculation, from all of us, and that includes your own speculation that the lean of BOP is not increasing.


Of course you are asking a question in which you have no answer or could you begin to answer. Clueless is the first thing that comes to mind. Your desire to create is over the top. Your field of expertise is believing what other uninformed people tell you to support your and DougR's hypothesis.

You have no explicit process or procedure. To prove your bullseye theory and chicken little the sky is falling pooh you bring out a diagram of a flex joint that you can't begin to accurately explain. You then have an Ah Ha moment after someone points to your many hypothetically incorrect assumptions based on ROV video snags in which you are cluless on the angle or orientation of the ROV.

I have posted in the past that I think the safeguard to prevent this from happening again (no there is no insurance for stupidity) is to drill more relief wells in conjunction with the exploratory well in case of a blowout. Happening again i.e. as in a WW gushing while we wait for a RW. It's been pointed out in many of the posts by the pro's why this fix has many flaws. This is one example of the lay persons view and thought process being corrected by the comments by the pros here at TOD. I accept this and have no desire to paint gloom and doom to support my theory. It's simple as education, experience and emphirical evidence/application over hypothesis. There is no logical need for the gloom/doom scare tactics.

I'm not sure if you understand me, do you? I didn't indirectly suggest anything. It was direct and your tactic as is DougR's is to ignore and deflect comments, facts or descrepancies in your logic. The problem with your inductive or deductive reasoning is your purpose is to make everything wrong, bad, faulty or catastrophic and therin lies the fallacy of what you state you are doing. You have chosen (conscious or unconscious) to overlook the good.

I never said the BOP wasn't leaning. In another post I stated the BOP was probably bent. I don't think the BOP is bent (possible, yes) but my intent was to reference the riser from the well head to the BOP. I was addressing the weight of the riser from the flex joint to the DWH drill rig and commenting on the force that was applied to the BOP when the DWH collapsed. The riser weighted approx. 290K tons and I don't know how much weight the flotation device supports but the BOP was subjected to extreme force when the riser collapsed and bent over. My point was to address the structural integrity of the BOP and how it's manufactured.

In regards to your comment that no one is hurt if you are wrong, you are again incorrect. You have no way of knowing the additional stress you may have placed on someone by your gloom and doom comments. Unfortunately this is the world we live in. The desire to know and be present is understandable but to take misinformation present it as factual is simply wrong.

In doing so you name parts to fit your theory

It is both a sound and valid argument to say that if the lean had increased to x degrees and on another day it has increased y degrees that the BOP is falling. So yes I do offer the parts to fit my theory, parts that make my argument both sound and valid.

An increase on the bullseye is a decrease in perpendicularity which clearly is defined as falling.


  • decreasing in amount or degree; "falling temperature"
  • becoming lower or less in degree or value; "a falling market"; "falling incomes"
  • dropping: coming down freely under the influence of gravity; "the eerie whistle of dropping bombs"; "falling rain"

In fact the term "Fall" could be used and it would still be sound and valid.


  • descend in free fall under the influence of gravity; "The branch fell from the tree"; "The unfortunate hiker fell into a crevasse"
  • descend: move downward and lower, but not necessarily all the way; "The temperature is going down"; "The barometer is falling"; "The curtain fell on the diva"; "Her hand went up and then fell again"
  • decrease: decrease in size, extent, or range; "The amount of homework decreased towards the end of the semester"; "The cabin pressure fell dramatically"; "her weight fell to under a hundred pounds"; "his voice fell to a whisper"
  • move in a specified direction; "The line of men fall forward"

It would not be sound to say that the change in the bullseye measurement means the BOP will fall over because that implies that falling MUST lead to a "fall over"

Define:Fall Over http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=r68&rls=org.mozil...

  • fall forward and down; "The old woman went over without a sound"
  • To fall from an upright or standing position to a horizontal or prone position; Of an argument, to fail to be valid; Of a computer program, to crash

None of this would be happening if we'd fought back and stopped them from poisoning us with all that fluoride in our water.

Help! Where am I? Not everyone, but quite a few folks here are making me feel like I've been dropped from an alien space ship into the middle of a Kos flame war. Can't we agree or disagree without calling each other names?

In the weeks that I have been watching the ROVs work, I have seen 4 separate bulls eyes.

Two are at the base.

The other two are attached higher up. Here's a diagram that shows where they are, one attached to the riser pipe, above the flex joint, the other attached to the top of the BOP. (Click on the image for larger size)

BOP Bulls Eyes

I have indicated the ball positions with a red dot, and will be happy to post the original video clips if requested.

Here were the positions of the top two bulls eyes on June 15.

Bulls Eyes June 15

I see very little difference.

The top bulls eye appears to be connected to the actuator assembly on the (presumably) EDS system attached to the part of the flexjoint that is supposed to move. Your arrow points to the top of the body of the flexjoint that is not supposed to move. Move the head of the arrow up about half way to the inlaid image of the ball for the correct position.


Yeah, NAOM is right, aethervox. The upper bullseye is the narrow horizontal rectangle in the drawing just above the tip of your upper arrow. Thank you both for your clear thinking.

Where you say you see little difference

I clearly see an increase of over 1.5 +/- .25 degrees on the Bullseye labeled BELOW the FlexJoint.

June 15th - Lets call it 1.25
June 28th - Lets call it 2.75

Also... Are you sure the Top Bullseye is the same?

I can't make out the ROV coordinates but it appears that they clearly don't match up.

The thing that caught my eye is the your June 28th "Top" Bullseye has the ball to the right of the line while the June 15th "TOP" bullseye is to the left of the line.

The thing that caught my eye is the your June 28th "Top" Bullseye has the ball to the right of the line while the June 15th "TOP" bullseye is to the left of the line.

Keep in mind, Alex, that the top bullseye is on a part that moves every time the LMRP cap shifts.

We can go back and forth about the top bullseye being able to move.

Here is the middle bullseye, from the 15th and the 28th, side by side below the flex joint which show a 1.5 degree increase in lean.

These are the OP's grabs and there is a clear difference.

Again, Alex, you've got me confused with someone else. I haven't made any comments on red dots or metal balls. I was just trying to clear up confusion over the location of the top bullseye.


This is the last I will post on this subject.

@NAOM - The top bulls eye appears to be connected to the actuator assembly on the (presumably) EDS system attached to the part of the flexjoint that is supposed to move. Your arrow points to the top of the body of the flexjoint that is not supposed to move. Move the head of the arrow up about half way to the inlaid image of the ball for the correct position.

Thank you for pointing that out. I'll amend that drawing.

@alexhiggine732 - Here is the middle bullseye, from the 15th and the 28th, side by side below the flex joint which show a 1.5 degree increase in lean. [image snipped] These are the OP's grabs and there is a clear difference.

Unless you know exactly what angle the ROV camera was shooting at in relation to the top of the bulls eye, as well as the spherical distortion of the lens the ROV camera is equipped with, I would not say, with any authority, that there is a clear difference. There may be a one degree difference, and I will keep watching for video of the bullseyes, as well as going back over the many gigabytes of ROV feed I have recorded, so I can get more data points to compare the images over time.

Also, credit, and a link to the photobucket page, for any of my photos and diagrams that you have posted or will post in your blog would be appreciated.

It would be appreciated. I am only after the truth.

I do disagree with the angle argument. That would not move the ball an entire line.

As far as the image, it is linked currently to the photo bucket image on my blog.

If you provide the page url you would like it linked to I will update the image on my blog to the corrected diagram and the page.

Also, you stated you would provide the original video upon request.

I would like it so I can get the original readings, specifically I would like the middle bullseye reading with out the red dot... but would like to post both videos on my blog.

Could you upload them to YouTube?


Lets take odds on how this turns out....

(edit) perhaps there was a silver lining to DougR's post with UC reading TOD and seeing it as a credible medium to address issues and concerns.

I would have liked a question about location, cementing, and any significance of the previous stuck and abandoned segment of drill pipe. Apparently the well was then sidetracked around that, and continued drilling downwards. That was mentioned here:
See the word "abandoned"

(Note: That would be an entirely different section than the pipe remaining in the hole circulating out mud at the time of the accident; presumably the newer, replacement string is the only one now in the BOP package now.)

Shelburn asked for questions to pass along to BP. At this point, it is academic, but I am really curious about the phase composition of the flow. As I mentioned in some of my earliest posts, it is likely that at the reservoir pressure (I've been using 12,000 psi; can they provide better info?) that this reservoir contains a supercritical solution of gas/oil, as a single phase. So one question is:

What was the reservoir temperature and pressure measured before the blow-out?

Most of my other questions would be answered by the BOP pressure/temperature history that Shelburn requested. However, I'm assuming that deep inside BP, there are folks who were hip to the significance of supercritical solutions from the very first; they may in fact know the answer to this one:

At the beginning of the blowout, when flow rates were low enough that most of the pressure drop was due to adiabatic expansion up the drillpipe to the BOP, was the material reaching the BOP still a single phase, or had it phase separated in going from 12000 psi at the reservoir to ~8500 psi behind the BOP?

roger -- BP did get a wireline measurement (MDT) of reservoir pressure. Thatyielded 11,900 psi which is equivalent to 12.6 ppg mud weight. Not sure but I think i recall 185 degrees BH temp. But hopefully some one can offer the link to a BP site that has a good bit of this tech data posted. havne't seen any bubble point data but I suspect all the NG is in solution at reservoir conditions. I've seen NG concentration of 2,000 - 3,000 cu ft per bbl. Just a semi-educated guess but I suspect much of the NG is breaking out of solution by the time it reaches the well head.

Rockman: Look at the bottom of the casing schematic: 262 deg F

Good job FE...wasn't really trusting my old memory.

Thanks RM & FE. That (262F) temperature is consistent with the abnormally low reservoir temperatures seen throughout the gulf, and quite credible. It is also consistent with the 175F temperature I saw for behind the BOP inn early May. In principle, one can use data from the lab to find out whether there is a phase separation going up the drillpipe from the reservoir to the BOP...I suspect it was staying miscible at first, but at some point became two-phase flow.

Hi RR,

To add to the confusion I've also seen a credible 210 F stated on a wellbore schematic in a Halliburton presentation to the Energy and Commerce Committee on June 3rd.

A GOR of 2000 scf/stb and an oil API of around 38 together with a separator gas gravity of 0.78 suggest a border-line volatile oil to me (ie liquid phase in the reservoir with reservoir temperature to the left of the critical temperature of the fluid mixture).

Simple industry correlations suggest bubble point perhaps in the range 6000 - 8000 psi. At flowing pressures at the well head of 4400 psi or less, you would thus expect the gas to start breaking out some distance below the BOP.

Very good of Tech. Sgt. Lloyd and the UC to have responded (and to have recognized the excellent opportunity TOD presents to them).

If I had press credentials, my question might involve their replacement-cap options:

"Please discuss how you have chosen or will choose which new cap to try first-second-third; if you have made that call, what factors played into it? if you haven't, what don't you know yet that you need to know to decide? Thanks."

I think it was very considerate of UC and BP to push Tech. Sgt Loyd out front as shark bait. I'm guessing the Sgt. was the communcations correspondent. I think they missed an important PR moment. Answering NO in the positive to the questions they chose to answer and ignoring the remaing questions without as much as; we are uncertain, we don't know or we will follow up and respond later sheds a poor light on the questions they did answer. Answering, "What is the black box the ROV's place against the BOP" would have shown more credibility. Maybe they thought it was TMI but given that it's been a regular procedure I don't think it's purpose is ROV operator training. Given they answered at all says they are paying attention.

I think overshot is next up and it's should be ready soon. All the prior collection methods were stall tactics/kneejerk while waiting for processing capacity topside. Disaster prepairdness requires training and preparation and BP did neither. I don't think the USCG can crow loudly in this area either.

You with a press pass? You're kidding right! and I'm grinning.

All the prior collection methods were stall tactics/kneejerk while waiting for processing capacity topside.

it can be viewed as stalling tactic or interim solution. All these things we see on the sea floor and production capability take time to fabricate and logistic of moving stuff around also take time. I think a big part of the problem is that BP initial response miscalcualte the size of the spill and the impact (same for the UC initial response). Onc e they are behind, the only option they have is to catch up. Remember the first tophat, they had to reuse the cap from was used in a different well before. Now you have 4 or 5 different engineered top hat on the sea floor.

I'm familiar with the time involved in weldments. My stall/kneejerk comment was based on the fact that if nothing was done while welding was completed on the proper containment vessel then the screech would still be echoing. Yes I agree interim solution is another way to express the events. I would classify it as exceptionally poor planning. If the overshot weldment was sitting on the dock when the blowout occured they couldn't use it because there wasn't a vessel to process or store the oil. They needed to do something to pacify the public and media. Under estimating the flow was/is minor compared to BP's remaining screw ups. I am a layperson when it comes to this (oil) industry. That isn't necessarily true when dealing with the mechanics i.e. pipe, pipe connections, welding, pressure, pressure vessels etc.

To date nothing has been done by the oil industry, USCG or the federal government to prepare for a disaster like this. I seem to remember the last time La. and the gulf states had a disaster the comment was "let us know what you need after it's over/happened."

To date nothing has been done by the oil industry, USCG or the federal government to prepare for a disaster like this

yes, 100% agreed. But who has the foresight to see how big this oil spill can be? It is the same as asking someone to foresee the impact of 9/11 or earthquake in the bay area that collapse the bay bridge or ... You can fill in the blank on things that some government agencies or industry or individual seem to be ill prepared for.. The fact is that we cannot prepare 100% for any and all potential threat.. I am pretty sure one of the change after this spill is the spill response plan. Another change will be the safety protocol. May be some of the steps are mandatory now (circulating mud before cmt job, watch mud return etc. etc.).

Well, at least we got a little dialogue started now. Here's to more-n-better.

You with a press pass? [etc., etc.]

I do not keed. Almost majored in journalism and have palled-around with many local and a few national journos ever since. Heck yeah, I coulda been a contendah . . . if only I could write with a reliably-straight face a little more often than "rarely."

"An internal BP “worst-case scenario” document released June 20 has been mis-interpreted by some to indicate that the company believes that flow rates as high as 100,000 bopd are possible."

What is BP's answer to what is on the whiteboard at 6:43? At 6:35 you hear someone use these same figures.

The video is from NOAA


What effect does the blowing up, burning, sinking of the DWH drill platform and the subsequent jerking around on the attached riser have on the BOP, well head, casing, etc?????

It has effects of deforming and stressing the structure. How many telephone poles have you seen break off a month after a truck hits it. Absolutely it is possible, but out of a million times trying it would stay up longer or fall sooner maybe 990,000 times.

Apples and oranges Tin

Better analogy might be taking a wire coat hanger. How many times and you bend it before it breaks?

Or a muffler. How long will the muffler last after losing a hanger clamp...oh, and the muffler is leaking?

Maybe there are better analogies but the point is we should not be dismissive about the extent of the damage.

No and we should not, but my example gave a .01% chance and that is fairly significant to me. To me a 10% chance would not change anything from wait and see until relief well with containment and cleanup going full guns.

hello...stressed out resident here. won't anybody answer on the nuke power plants closing along the coast due to oil (crystal river)? also to bring up another question we have down here...my son/daughter-in-law are respiratory therapists at largest tampa hospital, they are woefully understaffed and struggling daily to take care of the usual problems. it will be pandemonium! will bp pay for additional medical staff if needed?


what are your plans to keep oil from further DESECRATING FLORIDA BEACHES


what are your plans to measure the PLUMES, WHICH EVERYONE KNOWS EXISTS, in order to track and deal with? we don't want them dispersed - we want them taken out of the water!


what are your plans to implement a decent and moral response to the american people? we do not want to see your tv/newspaper advertising, we do not care what face you put in front of the limited cameras, we do not want to see you on GOOGLE, we do not need your FAKE talking heads telling us what a tremendous job you are doing, we do not want to see you make fools of yourselves (and try to make fools of US)every single time you start talking! i would like to meet the person who thought WALRUSES LIVED IN THE GULF OF MEXICO.

BP is evil. There is no doubt. Nervousfromflorida it is up to the locals to help themselves. Work with your local officials and keep in touch with backup information sources like TOD. I will give you as much lead time as possible. I think by virtue of location, I may be on the edge of the sword here. If I hit the OH CRAP button, my first push will be here. So far, I have not turned the key that opens the door in front of the button.


To add to the chain of comments.

I just drive right on by the BP filling stations.

Its the right of the consumer to vote with his pocket book and I am most certainly going to do so. For the rest of my life as well.

Are you reading this BP? Or the BP shill in the crowd?

Passingby...means I pass them by

Its the right of the consumer to vote with his pocket book and I am most certainly going to do so. For the rest of my life as well.

And you will hurt BP but not filling your car with BP gas? Errrr... Do you know that most BP stations are not owned by BP but by independent business man who has nothing to do with the spill, the spill response and certain know nothing about deepsea drilling.. All you are hurting are your fellow neighbor who want to make a living...


Are you trying to tell me the big BP sign at the filling station has nothing to do with BP?

Its my choice to make and make it I shall and your observations will not deter me, and I hope many others, from voting with their conscience and their pocketbook.

Its come to the point that this is about all the freedom I have. What I purchase.

My small quiet voice protesting on a backwater website has zero effect on BP. My purchases will at least have some slight effect. Its all I can do to protest but protest I shall.

What is the name of YOUR GAME? To chasten those who would do such?

I would like to ask BP for the geology of the well and reservoir. And the question about pressure and temperature of the reservoir is a good one.

"...geology of the well and reservoir...

A couple of weeks ago I had questions on this subject that didn't get fully answered although my math was vetted and seems to be ok.

The Initial Exploration Plan submitted March 2009 stated that "conditions at the proposed drilling location have been evaluated on the basis of a regional shallow hazards survey and study conducted by KC Offshore in 1998....a shallow hazards report for MC252 AND MC296 produced by Fugro GeoServices, Inc in 2003; mapping performed internally in 2008 and 2009 by BP America...using a merged data volume (mosaic) reprocessed by TGS in 2004...site specific Shallow Hazards and Archeological assessment produced by CC Tecnologies..."

The document goes on to state that "the proposed wellbore will not intersect any faults between the seafloor and the depth of the the limit of this investigation at Horizon 6 or 5,328' below bml..." The depth to seafloor is give as 4992'.

The request to set plugs refers to resistivity bridging over at 12900'. 4992+5328+1000(mud, per TOD)=11320. MMS asked if there were any hydrocarbon bearing zones below 12900' in email of 3/10/10.

Do these facts mean that the geological data at the time of the well failure were only good to the 5328'bml? Did BP accumulate data as the well went past the limit approved? Why did MMS have to ask if there were "hydrocarbon bearing zones below 12900" if data had been submitted? Was that just a pro-forma question asked as part of a standard protocol? Does approval have to be granted for drilling to be implemented below the limits set by the initial plan? If so, it seems as though these documents altering the original site clearance narratives would have been examined during the hearings and made public.

If the well had gone wildcat, and this is a common industry practice in deepwater and ultra-deepwater drilling,that issue needs to be examined further as a regulation issue.

The initial exploration plan is available at www.gomr.mms.gov/PI/PDFImages/PLANS/29/29977.pdf and also at

k3 -- the shallow hazard survey is one data set. It's used to determine what problems might exist before the drill permit is granted. This info is rather broad in character and thus doesn't provide great detail about the geology. But as BP drilled the well they acquired much more detailed info about the geology from logging info (wireline logs, log while drilling and mud logging). It's not so much that the MMS had to ask about hydrocarbon presence. The regs require BP to report any and all indications of hydrocarbons. Their presence determines how a well must be sealed. Yes...drill permits are depth specific. Drilling deeper requires supplemental approval.

Not sure what you mean by "going wild cat". Perhaps you mean changing the proposed TD of a well. The BP well was a wild cat (exploratory) well the day it started drilling.

Thanks, Rockman. I've been mulling over your answer since yesterday.

I’ve been thinking about what you said since you answered. In the last relief well thread, a figure of 18000’ for the total well depth was given. I’ll stipulate that 18000’ means below sea level and not mud line and will stand corrected if I am in error. That means they drilled 6680’ past approval level. Without permission. Or with permission but without the public knowing. Of course if the 18000’ figure is bml, we can add the 4992’. And the collapse was at 12900' and they were way past that when Macondo let go.

I think I’ve established I’m not a BP apologist, but I do not understand why the first question from the MSM, MMS and Congress was not “What the HELL were you doing down there?!!!” That absence of inquiry speaks volumes. All the people who were involved in DWH and who may be running similar scams need to 'fess up on currently accepted operating procedures. Based on the discussion of BOP failure rates in another thread, it appears that while BOP failure is a factor, the prime cause of the widespread and continuing death and destruction was going down there knowing the outcome of failure. I've been slow on the uptake with all this because it's mind boggling. I still can't believe what I think I see, which is why this is written at 5:49 AM.

BTW, I used wildcat in the sense of exploratory. I thought they knew what they were after when they went down there and were willing to take the risks associated with that local formation. Didn’t pay off too well, did it?

What makes anyone think BP would answer technical questions honestly that would have an adverse affect on their stock price? Seems kind of naive to me.

For details see the CEO of Bear Sterns before their collapse denying "illegitimate" rumors...


What makes anyone think BP would answer technical questions honestly

Of course they have to answer honestly ... if they give an answer.

However if they don't bother answering then you are stuck.

Of course they have to answer honestly

What planet are you living on? Hafle lied and dissembled under oath.

Art has done a great job of characterizing the flow rates of GOM. I've never seen such a comprehensive view before. But we also need to understand a unique distinction from historical flow rates vs. the BP well. The flow rate of any GOM was determined by two prime factors: its actual physical capability and self imposed limits set by the operator. Wells are seldom produced at their max capability for a variety of reason. But the underlying protocol is to not damage the reservoir or destroy the completion. Excessive rates can easily do either. A GOM well that has been produced at 40,000 bopd could have been able to flow at twice or more that rate if there were no concern about damage.

BP released a statement that they anticipated their well would produce at a rate of 15,000 - 20,000 bopd. That would be their max rate that would allow a stable completion. But such a zone could easily flow twice that rate or more if damage was not a potential problem. This is what makes the blow out so unique. It equates to what we would call an "open hole completion". A typical completion would have solid cmt covering the reservoir which in turn would be sealed by steel csg. Then a limited number of small (1") holes would be shot thru the csg/cmt. Anywhere from 6 to 12 such holes per foot is common. BP didn't indicate how many shots they would have used to achieve the estimated flow rate bit let's assume they would shoot the entire 60' thick zone at 12 shots per foot. Thus the 15 - 20,000 bopd would have come from 720 one inch holes. That would represent about 600 sq inches of flow channels. Or about 4 sq ft.

The original well bore had a 10" diameter. If you assume the hole hasn't enlarged beyond that initial diameter than the total area open to flow from the reservoir is around 150 sq ft. Or almost 40 times greater than would be open to a convention completion as described above. This greatly increased area is why open hole completions are made: to max flow capability in reservoirs with relatively low flow capabilities. Obviously the BP reservoir isn't such an animal. No engineer would ever propose opening up that much of such a reservoir nor attempt such high flow rates. But that's the very odd nature of the BP blow out: it's a cased hole. That adds great stability to the well bore unlike a typical open hole blow out. An open hole blow out flowing as this one is might have bridged over and killed itself long before now. In essence it about the worst case scenario one could dream up IMHO.

Rockman makes an important observation about reservoir management and constrained flow rates. Looking at the highest flow rate wells in the GoM, it is clear that rates increase and decrease during the first several months suggesting that engineers are attempting to determine optimal flow rates.

On average, however, in the first 6 months of production in these highest rate wells, monthly decline is about 15%. This means that, assuming the BP DWH well was initially flowing at 60,000 bopd its rate for Month 3 (that we are now in) should be in the mid-40's.

Yes indeed. An interesting article but I'm afraid that statistics for observed production well rates are not a good analogue for the flow potential of this wild well flowing up large tubulars.

This probably reveals severe intellectual limitation on my part, but the following statement is unintelligible to me:

"A typical completion would have solid cmt covering the reservoir which in turn would be sealed by steel csg. Then a limited number of small (1") holes would be shot thru the csg/cmt. Anywhere from 6 to 12 such holes per foot is common. BP didn't indicate how many shots they would have used to achieve the estimated flow rate bit let's assume they would shoot the entire 60' thick zone at 12 shots per foot. Thus the 15 - 20,000 bopd would have come from 720 one inch holes. That would represent about 600 sq inches of flow channels. Or about 4 sq ft."

I can envisage a vertical hole intercepting a horizontal reservoir. But I am not sure how to envisage "cmt covering the reservoir" and "sealed by steel casing." As I understand it, cement has been squeezed out of the end of the hole, but then what? Does the cement form a glob filling the space between the top and the bottom of the reservoir, or what? And then how is this glob of cement "sealed by steel csg."? Is a hole drilled through the cement and then the hole lined with csg.? If so, I can see shooting holes horizontally through the casing into the reservoir. But if that is not it, I am lost.

Any clarification would be appreciated.

I had the some of the same thoughts as Lucretius. I was thinking before replying so as not to ask too obvious a question. What the hell...

Visualizing this, following the description in the last paragraph, the 10" well bore casing is poking in to the reservoir a distance of 60 feet, and doing the math that gives 157 feet of surface area (the inside of the cylindrical pipe). But to get flow from those 157 square feet wouldn't there have to be holes punched through virtually every square inch of the cylinder? Without any holes punched for production the largest cross sectional area such a casing could present to the reservoir would be the 10 inch bore, assuming it was completely open at the end, or some constricted section of it. That 10 inch bore is one half a square foot. So rather than getting an evenly distributed flow of fluid and gas across a 60 foot path, this well is getting all the flow from a single point or area of the pipe.

I take it then that distributing the uptake of fluid and gas across a larger area of the reservoir improves the character of the delivery and the life of the well. But isn't the maximum delivery possible a function of the 10 inch pipe, so long as it remains structurally complete?

Hi Luc, HK,

A little misleading I fear.

The simplest way of completing a reservoir is not to set a final casing at all; the naked wall of the wellbore is open (an open hole or 'barefoot' completion) and reservoir fluids flow into the well and up the rest of the production string to surface. This is very rarely done for reasons I can explain if needed.

Much more common is to set a final casing string across the reservoir section. You are right, as it stands there is no way for the fluid to flow into and up the well since the casing is cemented in place and has a cement plug at the bottom left over from the cementing process.

For this reason the casing is perforated using shaped charges with a particular shot density as noted by RM. The holes created are very small (like the diameter of a pencil) but the charge punches a tunnel 20 inches or more into the reservoir rock. A perforated completion in a sandstone reservoir can in principle perform just as well or better than a completely naked wellbore; believe it or not, in a well designed job there is no additional pressure drop at the wellbore due to flow into the tunnels and through the small holes in the casing. (A common concept in the industry is 'skin' which describes this additional pressure drop, and skin values of zero are not uncommon).

Part of the reason that the Macondo well rate is high compared to the production well rates listed in the article above is that production wells are generally designed to flow up a production tubing which is set inside the production casing. You would never flow up the casing itself, or its annulus. Production tubings generally have a smaller id and create a larger frictional pressure drop for the fluids on their long journey to surface.

An example would be the Thunder Horse completions which are I believe designed for max flow rates around 50,000 b/d using <6 inch production tubings. A handy diagram is here :


Thanks! I understand about the delivery in production being done through smaller tubing. I was thinking from the perspective of the present, as Rockman described it, and in the context of off the chart suggestions from the fringe that the volume could be 100K bpd. Yes, lots of these details are covered in other TOD posts and I have read many, not all. It's a handy conceit to imagine one could grasp all the concepts and understand what is going on simply by reading. It's what's available.

hk -- I don't have the charts here but you can put 100's of thousands of bbl of oil thru a 10" pipe if the pressure is high enough.

Lucre, With a little searching thru previous TOD posts you can find detailed info to your question. But for now, Think vertical, the cement (cmt) surrounds the casing vertically from a pre determined depth down thru the oil producing zone. this forms a seal/ bond with the surrounding rock and anchors the casing in place.

When the well is ready to start production, the casing (and cmt) is 'perforated' (horizontally) using shaped explosive charges @ the above mentioned 6-12 holes per ft. thru the zone to start the well flowing,
Hope this helps some.


I believe the reason to spread the flow through pipe wall perforations is to protect the fragile surrounding porous rock from fracturing, and to spread the flow over a range of vertical layers; I assume the permeability of the rock is higher horizontally than vertically, in most cases.

Here you go L. We’ll go step by step. The reservoir is relatively flat and 60’ thick. The drill bit cuts a vertical hole about one foot in diameter. The drill pipe is removed and steel casing with a 10” diameter is run thru the reservoir to the bottom of the hole. They then run the drill pipe to the bottom of the hole and start pumping cmt which goes up the space (annulus) between the csg and the reservoir. A cork (packer) around the drill pipe stops the cmt from going up the inside of the casing. So now going from the center of the production csg outward you have the steel csg and then the cmt and then the reservoir. After the cmt hardens they can do a “conventional” completion: they send a perforating gun down the csg on wire line. The shape charges in the perf gun blows those 1” holes thru the steel casing, the cement and into the reservoir. The cmt isolates the reservoir from other rocks exposed in the annulus. Then they can flow just the reservoir contents up the csg.

In the BP well, at the moment, it looks like the cmt didn’t harden properly before BP removed the heavy drill mud from the csg. The reservoir pressure (11,900 psi) pushed the wet cmt back down the annulus with the oil/NN following it. Thus the entire section of the reservoir is flowing down the annulus and back up the csg. This is the 150 sq ft. Compare this area to the 4 sq ft of reservoir that would have been open to flow as I described in my conventional completion model.

So the cement is gone, pushed out of the way into the surrounding rock? That's the missing piece. I get it. Thanks


Cool. Thanks.

Thanks to Gail for the excellent lead articles. I hope a lot of people in the media will read them.

It is easy, when you have lots of folks with knowledge willing to write them.

More questions for unified command:

RE: riser segment that was cut from he top of the BOP.

1) In an image taken by a ROV, there was a figure-8 object visible in the riser. Was that two pieces of drill pipe, or a single crushed segment of liner?

2) If it was drill pipe, is there a theory to explain why it appears there are two segments side-by side?

3) If it was liner, where is the drill pipe, and how much of the liner was ejected though the BOP?

A related question ...

after the riser was cut off and before the containment cap was placed on the LMRP/BOP, it appeared that two distinct flows were coming out - different in apparent color and density. What paths do you think the flows were taking? through the drill pipe? the annulus? a liner?

Some time ago a reporter asked Kent Wells what was in the riser... drill pipe? crushed liner? etc and he replied that he didn't know but was curious to find out. It seems that no reporter has asked the obvious followup question now that the kinked segment of riser has been raised. I know it has been taken to NO for the ongoing investigation, but I find it hard to believe that no one on the lifting vessel took a look inside.

And, fwiw, shortly after the Q4000 began flaring oil & gas, Wells said that he estimated the flow to be around 35,000 bopd. First and only time I've heard a BP guy actually volunteer a flow number estimate.

i would like to throw a few questions towards the TOD question pool...

1- I can understand the particular mechanical setup used in this well was aimed primarily at increasing the longevity of the well but then why include rupture disks in the setup.( both are conflicting decisions )

2- the particular rupture disks used here -- at what pressure were the disks to activate and bleed pressure

3- the BOP pressure history

4- pressure readings during top kill and the top kill attempt after pumping the bridging agents (a significant divergence in both can help get an idea of downhole conditions)

5- the caliper log ....i understand it won't be released in its entirety ....but maybe they can tell us the avg dia for the last section or more importantly the last 500'

6- the sand cut of the fluid being produced topside.

7- how big is the concern with integrity around the csg hangers

8- they ran an approach on this well where mudcake is used to provide structural support at the wellface before cementing (not the best of approaches at best and most operators won't use this but given the problems they ran into in the last section maybe a justification can be made considering the dia in the last section)...did they run a under reamer prior to cementing and what did the return indicate at that point.

9- there was a significant event around 17500' +/- . A little detail of this would be nice

there are other questions but these stand the best chance of getting answered or maybe not...just throwing a few pertinent questions in the pot ...


on a side note : personally i'm genuinely sad that BP took the time out to pour cold water on the dougr theory ....who will provide the hilarity on TOD now...maybe dougr can post something similar again ....I will take the liberty to point dougr a few more ideas to explore

1- the ROV's will be laying down the framework for the new collection system ...plenty of movement and backwash from the ROV's ...lots of mud flying around ....possibly align that with tectonic plate movements ...maybe throw in a subduction zone for BBQ sauce on top

2- giant squids taking an offense with the BOP's or its ROV minions

2- giant squids taking an offense with the BOP's or its ROV minions

There may already be evidence of that from one of the ROV feeds. Not sure if the squid is 'giant' or not, but the ROV was at 2500 ft.


Still PO'ed from when that Capt Nemo guy visited and not the little clownfish.

6- the sand cut of the fluid being produced topside.

Is this the way that you are asking if there is sand in the oil? Where is the sand? How much sand? What damage did the sand do?

Jal --

yup sand cut refers to the amount of sand coming up with the oil on a unit basis....high sand cuts can be indicative of wellface erosion and other problems downhole ...

Tech. Sgt Alec Lloyd...of the Coast Guard..Air Force?
Shouldn't this be an ensign or something else?
Is he in charge of..what exactly?

I did a search of 'deepwater horizon alec lloyd' and got zip except this TOD story.

I realize that checking the origin of this 'official response' shows a lack of decorum but could TOD be yet another victim of the Internet?

A bio of this important person would be helpful.

I found Tech. Sgt. Alec Lloyd who is a photographer with 17th Air Force

Don't know if it is the same one, but one Tech. Sgt Alec Lloyd
was in Battle Creek on June 18.


An Air Force Technical Sergeant is an E-6 with 10-12 years of experience. A Navy Ensign is equivalent to a Second Lieutenant in the Army, the most junior officer rank. Very likely Tech Sgt Lloyd is in the Public Affairs section. His job is dealing with the press, so TOD must rate.

Dave Summers (Heading Out) and I get e-mails about all of the dial-in Press conferences. We are able to ask questions along with the NY Times, the Washington Post, and all of the other big papers. I know I have listened-in to quite a few, but I haven't been asking questions.

While I would almost certainly need TOD experts to interpret any answer:

I think more information about "any diagnostics" that have been run to try and evaluate the condition of the well-bore and casing would be useful.

By "any diagnostics"", I mean not only operations that were primarily diagnostic in nature such as using acoustic or seismographic sensors, but also operations that were primarily remedial but which would still gather diagnostic information, for example information that was gathered during top-kill.

I would also like to make the comment that BP's new openness is probably a result of the collapse in the share price.

This will be my one and only post here. You all seem knowledgeable and not prone to wild speculation so I joined to ask this one question. I have been reading on forums that the methane from the well could be a problem is this true?

(Contributed by Washington's Blog)

Above just appeared in news feeds and will probably be getting quite a few hits as the day goes on. Maybe TOD can check it out and see how accurate it is. I do remember TOD contributers mentioning Washington's blog a while ago.

Just remember if only 1% of the oil makes it to the surface that would mean about 750,000 BOPD of spill(just looking at what has been collected,burned skimmed and still on the surface)....I doubt it.

I put up a short post recently talking about two different researchers (Samantha Joye and John Kessesler) who are looking into very high levels of dissolved methane in the Gulf of Mexico. One of the questions they are looking into is to what extent this can be expected to have an adverse impact on oxygen levels. Theoretically, if there is a big enough impact, the lack of oxygen could create a dead zone.

This is not the entire issue the posts are talking about, I don't think. As far as we can tell, the amount of natural gas that would be coming out would be that that is mixed with oil in the current spill, amounting to about 40% of the total. Some of this natural gas will dissolve in the water (what the researchers are looking at), and some will escape into the air.

By the way, staff member Joules Burn put together a little post (probably meant mostly for Oil Drum staff members) called BP Deepwater Oil Spill: Source for Large Methane Plume Identified, expressing how silly he thinks the idea of a huge methane leak is.

It says:

Working on a tip from the blogosphere, operators of Skandi ROV-2 in the Gulf of Mexico discovered what is potentially the source for the vast plume of methane which was allegedly a contributing factor to the BP Macondo well blowout and the subsequent sinking of the Transocean Deepwater Horizon. This seemingly refutes recent reports that the gas was accidentally released from vast stores of methane trapped at high pressure within "the bowels of the earth".

The Lost Herd.

"There are thousands of them down there", said one anonymous source. BP downplayed the discovery while stressing that they clearly brand all of their herd. The USDA could not be reached for comment. The Sierra Club voiced concern, claiming that one cow was clearly suffering from Corexit ingestion, and also suggesting that seafloor overgrazing could further exacerbate oxygen depletion near the mouth of the Mississippi river.

Live cattle futures were sharply lower in afternoon trading at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

So that's where they've been hiding all the mad cows.


The evil bastards have been asking for it ever since they started the Great Chicago Fire back in 1871. Now they're kicking over our BOP's!

I say kill 'em all, Blue Bell be damned.

Looking at the same 50 maximum production rate wells in the Gulf of Mexico, the median gas/oil ratio is 775 cubic feet of gas per barrel of oil. The highest rate well produced 33.5 MMcfd during its peak month.

It seems as though BP has no intention of shutting in the well and stopping the oil flow. It seems like stopping the oil flow should be the first thing to do. Does anyone know why this is?

Also how are the relief wells supposed to stop the flow? Don't they just add more uncertainty and the possibility of more leaks?

Clearly BP is on a suicide mission and out to destroy the Gulf and their company. They want to wee just how much oil the U.S. beaches can handle.

Diverdan, I think it was more like the Buster Crabbe story. I know you know it. People trust humans and their abilities based upon past successes and failures ever more so than current capabilities even when there is current information available. The exception maybe in sports or Hollywood. Worst of all, we tend to do this more with ourselves than others. Crabbe was dead before he hit the water that day. He should have known it, but no one wants to admit defeat or setback.

Buster Crabbe died on April 23, 1983, aged 75, from a heart attack after tripping over a wastebasket [Wikipedia]

TFHG probably means the Brit, Lionel ("Buster") Crabb (no "e").

Royal Navy diver. Vanished under strange circumstances. See Wikipedia.

Yep, sorry about the extra E.

They found his remains recently. Bizarre huh? Lionel Buster Crabb. I did get him confused with the actor at first. The story hit again when they found some remains. I thought it was a recent textbook case of not following protocol/dive tables and not staying in shape. Instead, he counted on his reputation and own capability that did not help much under the water. I also like the story of Van Zanten at Tenerife. Best pilot in the world overrides two jr officers and causes the largest airline disaster in human history. 2 747's.

Actually the only Buster Crabbe I followed was the one who played Flash Gordon and Buck Rodgers not the special ops guy Crabb.

Not sure of the validity of this ship, but owners claim 15 million gal/day processing of spilled oil, and apparently, it's in the Gulf. Anyone know more?


If you watch the video in that article, you can see that the vents in the hull are not much over a foot high, meaning that the entire ship needs to be ballasted very precisely for them to catch oil. Also, the vents don't present much frontal area, only a fraction of the beam of the ship. Perhaps they intend the bow wave to funnel oil to the vents? Not an impossible design, but it seems a step backward in technology compared to floating booms or arms.

Good point. With such a small % of beam catching oil, it seems it might do more dispersal than collection. Then again, you'd imagine the size and placement of the vents were cut and located to maximize collection vs processing ability vs speed.

To help reduce the number of questions above I would recommend using info from Halliburton's report to the House http://energycommerce.house.gov/documents/20100614/Halliburton.EC.Staff....

For example it reveals

1) Sand #1: 17,821 ft. @ 13.0 ppg pore pressure
Pay Zone: 18083 ft to 18,136 ft. @ 12.6 ppg pore pressure
2) Bottom Hole Static Temperature 210 F
3) Hole section drilled with 8-1/2” bit to 18,360 ft, Caliper hole size range to 11.6”

So I would calculate the pay zone pressure at 12.6 ppg x 18,136 ft / 8.34 ppg for H2O / 2.31 ft per psig = 11,861 psig . Tony Hayward testified before Congress that it was "12,000 psi".

As to the state of the methane, this calculator from the NIST indicates it will be in a supercritical state as it emerges from the BOP with the hydrostatic pressure of the gulf being about 2150 psia


It would not not turn into a gas until the pressure got lower. However, the chart shows its density at the mud line to be about 9 pounds per cubic foot which is extremely low (sea water is about 64 lb/cu ft). I calculate the density to be only 1.2 ppg at the mud line.

In his 5/31/10 video BP's Kent Wells indicated that the "we had surface treating pressures exceeding 10,000 psi" @ 1:35 of the video


They aren't worried about the integrity of the BOP or the top of the well if they were willing to pump at 10,000 psi!

The real questions ought to be about the relief wells. Here is Kent Wells describing the planned relief well operations http://bp.concerts.com/gom/reliefwellgraphics062710.htm


1) Given that you used 16.2 ppg mud for the top kill, it seems that your target for the bottom kill should be to fill well #1 with about 13,000 feet of 16.2 ppg mud plus 5,067' of sea water to develop the equivalent to the original 14.0 ppg head at the 18,000 ft depth of the pay zone. Do you agree?

2) Do you believe the #1 well is flowing up the production casing only, or do you believe there is flow up the annulus? As the interception is made you will first penetrate the 9-7/8" liner of Well #1? If it is not flowing, it should have 14.0 ppg synthetic oil based mud (14.0 SOBM on the DOE drawing http://www.energy.gov/open/documents/3.1_Item_2_Macondo_Well_07_Jun_1900... )

3) If the well is flowing through the 7" shoe and up the production casing, you will need to continue to penetrate through the 7" production casing of Well #1. At that point the mud in the relief well will be mixing with the oil and methane stream, which will dilute the average density of the liquid flowing up the well. How do you intend to get enough mud into Well #1 fast enough to get it to stop flowing (e.g. to a density of 16.2 ppg)?

4) Given that the two wellheads have a 5000 foot difference in elevation, how do you intend to stop the flow from the relief well through Well #1 out into the gulf when you do have its density reach high enough to create 12,000+ psi on the formation? This seems to be a dynamically unstable situation. Comments?

The recent BP information on flows can provide insight on their knowledge of the oil source pressure, flow path, and minimum flow area. This in turn can be used to validate their theoretical flow rate calculations. The questions that beg to be answered in this regard are:

1. What was the "source" pressure used in their theoretical calculations? I assume the sink pressure was the seabed pressure.
2. What was the flow path assumed, source to sink?
3. What was the minimum flow area assumed in the flow path? Based on?
4. What was the GOR assumed?

Armed with this information we can easily validate or challenge the BP estimates.

Not being an oil man I can not repudiate the expected flow estimates based on oil well production history. However, isn't the oil well production limited by the well production equipment; meaning at what rate you can store, transport, etc and thus the well flow choked to maintain that production level? I have the feeling that the BP numbers are not that far off since my own numbers, no matter which way I estimate it (using two phase flow) seem to exceed 100,000 BPD unless the minimum flow area is very small. Note that they have captured something like 45-50K BPD before with oil still flowing down below at the cap. They are getting ready for about 80,000 BPD. This is not a typical production well, I think, it is an uncontrolled flow path from the well source to the ocean? Please educate me if I'm all wet...


They are capturing 24-25K BOPD. At times they get up to 28k for short periods during which very little is still seen coming out of the cap. Adm. Alan estimate of 30-35 k may be correct. We should find out soon enough.
GOR to date is around 2200- 2300 cuft/barrel according to DOE spread sheet. Earlier estimates suggested up to 3000. API around 39 degrees.

which very little is still seen coming out of the cap. Adm. Alan estimate of 30-35 k may be correct

But there are at least 3 vents on top of the cap that is still opened.. I think we may catch more than 1/2 of the oil but not quite close to all..

We will see.

It can be made stable by (1) capping off the BOP with the overshot tool, if that's possible, or (2) allowing the kill mud from the DD3 to seek its own level at the ocean floor, leaving air in the relief well through the water layer. I can't think of any other way to stabilize the fluids enough to set the cement. Does anybody else have any other ideas?

I think that is why they are interested in a bolt on version. Easier to put back pressure on.


At 16.2 ppg the specific gravity is about 2. What would be nice is to get a slug of very high density mud at the bottom of the relief well as they mill through to the flowing oil. Perhaps Sec Chu can get some depleted uranium to add to the mud to bring the SG up to say 4 or 5. Well #1 goes down another 1000 feet (from 17,000 to 18,000), so try using a 1000 foot slug of high density mud as they are making the cut. Then use lighter weight mud (14.0 ppg) for the rest of the volume as it is dense enough to contain the formation pressure. In effect try to re-balance the two legs of the virtual manometer by making Well #1 denser below the interconnection and less dense from the mud line to the surface.

Getting the mud slug into the production liner past the annulus could be quite a challenge, but at least there is a two step process to allow for some preparation.

My guess (based on Occam's Razor) is that there is flow in the production liner only due to a failed 7" shoe. Once the weakest link is broken, the other links will survive. The whole purpose of putting relief valves or rupture discs on pressure vessels is the provide that weakest link. Emergency vents are used for external energy inputs (the fire case being most prominent) which are not present here. The blowout occurred while they had 3300 feet of water, not mud, in the production casing. So the production casing would be the weakest link.

You wouldn't want to make the mud more dense than the cement.

In an earlier post, I had mixed up MPa and bar, and was off by a factor of 10 on the critical pressure of methane...it is actually ~660 psi rather than 6600 psi as I said earlier. Bruce is right, the methane is supercritical at the BOP, but not high enough pressure to form a miscible blend with the oil.

I find it disappointing that dougr obviously spent a lot of time compiling his grand comment that started this whole business off, but has confined himself to brief acerbic comments, since. As far as I can tell, he hasn't addressed any of the issues raised by other commenters, including shelburn, in any detail (and mostly not addressed them at all). I have to say that I was taken in by dougr's apparently thorough treatment of his apparent concerns, but am now inclined to discard them because of his lack of engangement in the discussion. That doesn't mean that he won't be shown to have gotten some things right but I suspect he got more things wrong than right.

Good idea. Discard away. Admiral Kangaroo said the BOP-wellhead was tilted 10 degrees, which confirmed my eyeball estimate from monitoring ROV Inclinometer pix. Discard that because BP denies it. I documented seafloor oil venting at E1202672.45 N10432446.04 Aker Dive 13, June 6, Riser Inspection. Discard that because Comfy sarcastically showed seafloor debris at another location.

I don't blame DougR for being disgusted.

Good idea. Discard away. Admiral Kangaroo said the BOP-wellhead was tilted 10 degrees, which confirmed my eyeball estimate from monitoring ROV Inclinometer pix

heh heh, why should I take your and Dougr "documentation" more serious about BP's or UC's? After all it is internet. You and Dougr can disappear in a jiffy if your "documentation" proved to be false. But if BP and UC's assertion is wrong, at least we can pin someone to it and get an explaination.. Don't take yourselves (or your own ego) too seriously. it is internet after all.. We are all nobody and without credibility until we are proven to know what we are talking about.

We are all nobody and without credibility until we are proven to know what we are talking about.


Alan von Altendorf

I guessed that the first time you pleaded for a well log.

"I don't blame DougR for being disgusted."

Neither do I. When you can't defend your thesis, emoting is a good distraction.

Would you mind posting a like to your documentation? I would like to add it here.. http://blog.alexanderhiggins.com/2010/06/13/bp-gulf-oil-spill-seafloor-o...

"Admiral Kangaroo said the BOP-wellhead was tilted 10 degrees"
Admiral Allen misspoke about the riser angle, not the BOP, later corrected, as you know.

"which confirmed my eyeball estimate from monitoring ROV Inclinometer pix."
You compared different bullseyes at different locations with different scales as if they were the same bullseye, right?

"I documented seafloor oil venting at E1202672.45 N10432446.04 Aker Dive 13, June 6, Riser Inspection.
Not really, Altendorf, as you wrote on June 7, "I don't have proof of oil bubbling up from the seafloor that folks would regard as conclusive. I captured a sequence from the Akers ROV that stared at rising waves of black stuff coming out of the mud...

Right. Don't discard it because Allen was referring to the top section of the flexjoint, discard it because BP lied about something else which proves they are liars. Don't discard eyeball measurements based on a view from a floating camera with no horizon indicator to show you which way is up, discard it because BP lied. Don't discard the visual readings from the "Inclinometer" tool which had no visual readings anywhere on it but rather sent data back to the surface, discard it because BP lied. Gotcha.

You have never through this whole thing documented ANYTHING except an ability to act like a complete sociopath with a vested interest in the biggest, most horrible disaster possible.

Just quit. Enough stupid insults. Time will tell, leave it at that.

Folks, listen up: ridiculing Dougr (who simply reposted what 'SHR' had written on another forum) doesn't make the questions go away.

To LISTEN to SHR (the origin of Dougr's material) - click here:

It's a two hour MUST LISTEN audio. He pulls no punches and explains things pretty clearly.

LISTEN TO IT FIRST and then take issue with it if you wish to.


A full transcript of the audio is here:


A full PDF of what SHR actually wrote initially is here:


It's mischaracterizing him to say that his sole thesis is that the BOP may tip over... in the coming weeks or months.

The valuable part of his presentation is to make it clear to non-engineers that the well casing is ruptured.


A request to all: be familiar with what someone is saying before criticizing their contribution.


There has been a whole lot more civil criticism of Dougr's errors than there has been ridicule. I'm getting pretty tired of folks who whine about the ridicule and don't address the substantial critcism. It's like y'all are throwing up a smokescreen so you can dance around the fatal mistakes in dougr's scenario.

Shelburn in particular has been decent in his assessment of dougr's post, but dougr hasn't had the courtesy, or the courage, to respond. That evasion of responsibility is asking for ridicule, I'm pleasantly surprised there isn't more.

Still people are claiming there is some value in what D posted, as if that makes all the errors OK:

The valuable part of his presentation is to make it clear to non-engineers that the well casing is ruptured.

OK, Bill, exactly where is it ruptured? Exactly how did it rupture? Which parts of the casing are ruptured? How much has the strength of the casing string been compromised, in ballpark terms? And how the heck does dougr or anyone else know that? Did he stick his head down the wellbore? It's just speculation, Bill. Nobody on this planet knows.

Thanks for that, Bill. I didn't know that dougr had plagiarised someone else's work. That may be why he hasn't been able to counter any criticisms. Has anyone thought to ask SHR to respond?

I didn't know that dougr had plagiarised someone else's work. That may be why he hasn't been able to counter any criticisms. Has anyone thought to ask SHR to respond?

FWIW, it's never been made clear, as far as I can tell, whether dougr and SHR are actually two different people rather than two different handles for the same individual. Back on June 21, someone calling himself "h2" left an intriguing comment, which read in part:

I do web development as one of my hats, and I can tell you with almost complete certainty that the same original file was used to create the godlike/SHR and dougr posting. This was based on noting a few things that would be obvious only if you work with this type of software and do postings based on text files pasted into text boxes.

I happened to notice it because I was looking for the original (in order to check the source and quality, and to try to find who actually was saying this, ie, was it an actual insider, or was it simply a decently well crafted internet story) of the dougr and found it as SHR, but it was clear that dougr had not in fact simply copied the original article, either using the browser output or the original html output. Also how the article was introduced here.

Since only one person would have this file, it follows logically that dougr and SHR are the same person....


I'd like to see more detail about how this guy can say both posts were using the same original text file. I've done some web development and can't think of anything that would give you that evidence, unless the source was in HTML and contained XML comments, for example.

However, the fact that dougr has not engaged his critics in any meaningful way suggests that they are not the same person. Or does SHR treat his/her critics in the same way?

Whoever plotted the lognormal chart is incompetent at statistics. You don't pick 50 out of 8000+ and then truncate the rest and call that a probability plot.

So why didn't you plot the top 10 and take the average of those? Just as stupidly arbitrary.

Really makes you wonder.

Also why is the current US Geological Survey Estimates of 20,000 - 40,000 BPD used which can mislead readers into thinking that is the current official US Government estimate?

The official US Government estimate is 35,000 - 60,000 Barrels Per Day and it is not even mentioned.

Whoever plotted the lognormal chart is incompetent at statistics.

Maybes dats dem petroleum geologist types! Crossplots of porosity versus permeability, confusions between economic and flowrate cutoffs, that about as goods a schoolin as they gets Web. Why do you think they needs us analytical types? :>)


i don't think you understand ...read the chart descriptors again .....there are no charts of porosity VS perm ...

one chart lists the peak production rates of well drilled since 96...the author clearly qualifies this by stating minimum fluid rate @ 500 BOPD .....the second chart is the confidence interval matched well potential against peak flow observed.....

both charts are excellent at describing the relevant data if you know how to read them ......

no offense but not knowing about something is one thing...but to rant on something without any background is IMHO plain wrong......both these charts are excellent descriptors of well potential...if at all one feels the strong urge to nitpick ..the 2nd chart should not be called a probability plot but a well potential plot ..other than that IMHO you are out of your range when you criticize these plots because this is a good job if you know how to read these plots....

..the 2nd chart should not be called a probability plot but a well potential plot

If you actually read what I said, that is exactly what I was complaining about. It is not a probability plot but a truncated histogram of the top 50 wells.

Since the truncation is artificial it does not give a true statistical view of the situation, and the likelihood that a specific well fits within the actual probability distribution.

It is sad that something like this gets missed by Gail the Actuary, as she of all people should know the problems of censored and truncated data (it's kind of like doing life expectancies for just people over 75, which of course will be longer than the entire population. that is the kind of problem I am talking about). She should have asked the consultant to redo the plot.

i don't think you understand ...read the chart descriptors again .....there are no charts of porosity VS perm ...

I know. I was making an inside petroleum-geologist joke. Its what us engineers who work with petroleum-geologists do.

one chart lists the peak production rates of well drilled since 96...the author clearly qualifies this by stating minimum fluid rate @ 500 BOPD .....the second chart is the confidence interval matched well potential against peak flow observed.....

Interesting to be sure, but I'm not so sure about calling the probability plot scale a "confidence interval". Read webs explanation for why its bad.

no offense but not knowing about something is one thing...but to rant on something without any background is IMHO plain wrong..

No offense taken...but starting into my 4th decade as a petroleum engineer now, I can read that thing as well as anyone, and web could see what was bad right off the bat and he's just a math guy. :>)



A much talk-about anonymous posting at The Oil Drum, a blog often frequented by petroleum engineers and other oil-industry specialists, captures the fears of many scientists and environmentalists alike:

That the system below the sea floor has serious failures of varying magnitude in the complicated chain, and it is breaking down and it will continue to.

What does this mean? It means they will never cap the gusher after the wellhead. They cannot…the more they try and restrict the oil gushing out the bop [blowout preventer]?…the more it will transfer to the leaks below. Just like a leaky garden hose with a nozzle on it.


Bob Bea, prominent petroleum engineering professor at UC Berkeley and an expert in offshore drilling and government advisor on causes of manmade disasters (like Hurricane Katrina), believes a worst-case scenario is not that far-fetched. In response to a question posed by Mowbray, Bea said, “Yes” — there is reason to think that oil is leaking from the well outside the containment cap.

The likelihood of failure is extremely high. We could have multiple losses of containment, and that’s going to provide much more difficult time of trying to capture this [oil].

The anonymous posting at Oil Drum also postulates that the weakened casing is literally “clinging” to the wellhead via the damaged riser piping — like a clump of soil hanging to an uprooted tree. The commenter theorizes that if the 450 tons of riser containment piping and BOP equipment lean too much, the whole system would crash to the sea fool, ripping away the weakened rock. Moreover, the already weakened sea bottom beyond the wellbore (eroded by up to 100,000 pounds per square inch of corrosive fluid pressure seeking escape upward from the leaks in the undersea piping) would crack wide open like ice on a pond. Should this occur, one of three scenarios may occur (presented here from best-case scenario to worst):

Benign rockslides at nearby canyon walls, coupled with “natural bridge” formation, plug the oil leak.
An exposed reservoir opening bleeds 150,000 barrels of oil a day daily until natural hydrostatic pressures from above and below the surface equalize — think two opposing teams in a tug-of-war running out of energy and calling the game a draw — turning off the leak.
Weakened sand and salt layers above the reservoir simply collapse, turning a wide area of the outer continental shelf sea floor into an underwater sinkhole that could bleed 2 billion to 3 billion barrels of oil into Gulf waters. In addition, seismic-shock tremors roll in all directions for miles, with an unknown effect on other nearby fields, especially BP’s Thunder Horse (18 miles) field and Shell and BP’s Na Kika complex, located in Mississippi Canyon Block 474 (approximately 15 miles south-southeast of the blowout).

The anonymous posting consisted of some accurate information put together in a dramatic and highly manipulative manner so as to claim on the basis of manufactured authority that a disaster was in fact underway and unfolding, one that would unleash a nightmare scenario on the poor folks living along the Gulf.

As previously noted, the most effective hoaxes rely on 100% accurate info presented in a misleading way in order to achieve the desired effect. Here the desired effect was to create a viral doomsday scenario based on fear (and perhaps internet traffic to DougR's disaster sites).

Perhaps DougR won't reveal his identity because it will be tracable to his disaster sites that peddle in dooms day scenarios and the like.

Just because a hoax is based in part on a true or sound possibility does not mean the ultimate premise of the hoax is based on science or is in any way credible. DougR raised some valid concerns and possibilities, but he presented the worst of them as underway and happening beyond any reasonable doubt. No credible evaluation of the post has validated those conclusions even though they do acknowledge that the concerns are valid.

"...the whole system would crash to the sea fool..."

I wanna watch.

Could someone summarize, even very briefly, possible scenarios which way oil flows from the reservoir to BOP? There are three paths: pipe, between pipe and casing and between casing and rock. Oils can cross from one space to another if there is a breach:

- I understand dougr postulates oil goes from casing space into the rock somewhere relatively close to the BOP and all hell will break loose. Most thing he is wrong.
- Optimists hope oil goes up all the way up in the pipe only and bottom kill will work, but even then it is delicate work.
- ???

- What are other options e.g. Where are the possible crossover points between the three spaces and how good/bad these possibilities are from the bottom kill perspective?

Another questions is my personal curiosity

- Is gas content (25-40% by mass) considered high or still normal from the deep well drilling perspective?

- Does it matter? - i.e. the problem happened deep enough that oil and methane were cosoluble?

DougR's post says all hell will break lose if the BOP falls. In my opinion it will make containment efforts harder.

In fact, the rig collapse during IXTOC caused oil to leak in cracks in the seafloor.

They where eventually able to contain it by using two relief wells.
See: http://blog.alexanderhiggins.com/2010/06/28/ixtoc-oil-spill-undeground-b...

No, he says the BOP is failing now and is falling over now, not that it might possibly do so.

I guess if you put that proposition on a long enough time frame, it would be true. Is that 9 weeks, 9 months, 9 years or something else? Whatever it is, there is scant if any evidence to support the claim that the BOP will collapse any time soon or before the relief wells are complete.

As for the cracks in the seabed floor around Ixtoc, they appeared only after the well blew-out through the casing below the seabed after they capped it. The article on your website details that nicely as follows:
Initial efforts to cap the well did not succeed. The Red Adair Co. of Houston, Texas did succeed in closing the well casing and extinguishing the fire, but the well ruptured below the casing and caused a second blowout. Because of the danger to the ships, the fire was relit. Observers noted that the volume of oil and gas was larger and that the fire was brighter than before the attempt.

In September, Brown and Root, Inc. of Houston, Texas constructed a large steel cone, called the Sombrero. The Sombrero would be placed over the IXTOC well and be connected to a separater/diverter to isolate the oil from the water. The first time the Sombrero was taken to the location, it was damaged by high seas and had to be taken back to Houston for repairs. After repairs, the Sombrero was taken back out and installed over the well. The Sombrero did not function properly when it was in place. This was attributed to (1) the turbulence around the well head–which carried the oil around the Sombrero and (2) the escape of some of the oil from cracks in the sea floor that were adjacent to the well’s cracked casing.

Did the BOP tip over in Ixtoc even with the cracks in the seabed floor and the leaking casing? Funny how that topic is avoided even though Ixtoc is offered as proof of DougR's doomsday scenario.

Anyway, my .02. I would have to agree with you, from what the pros have to say, it's one among many concerns to keep an eye on. I don't think anyone disputes that. But DougR has presented no credentials to put his opinion on par with those of his critics at TOD, some of whom have been exceedingly patient and polite in evaluating DougR's conclusions/assumptions.

Yes... he is saying that it is falling over now agreed.

That also implies that it may at some point fall completely.

After the point that the BOP has fallen that's when all hell breaks loose.

Funny how that topic is avoided even though Ixtoc is offered as proof of DougR's doomsday scenario.

IXTOC is offered to show that even with cracks in the seafloor this well can still be capped.

I also don't see the flow increase going from possibly 100,000 BPD today to the numbers offered by the DougR comment as being all that much a "Doomsday" Scenario.

I reserve comment about his critics at on this site.

Folks, listen up: ridiculing Dougr (who simply reposted what 'SHR' had written on another forum) doesn't make the questions go away.

To LISTEN to SHR (the origin of Dougr's material) - click here:

It's a two hour MUST LISTEN audio. He pulls no punches and explains things pretty clearly.

LISTEN TO IT FIRST and then take issue with it if you wish to.


A full transcript of the audio is here:


A full PDF of what SHR actually wrote initially is here:


It's mischaracterizing him to say that his sole thesis is that the BOP may tip over... in the coming weeks or months.

The valuable part of his presentation is to make it clear to non-engineers that the well casing is ruptured.


A request to all: be familiar with what someone is saying before criticizing their contribution.

CC -- The NG concentration is more commonly given as so many cubic feet per bbl of oil. The BP GOR was given to be 2000 - 3000 cu ft per bbl. That’s a pretty good NG yield but not uncommon for the depth and play of the BP well. If you understand the concept of bubble point: the NG is completely dissolved in the oil in the reservoir. But as it rises up the csg and the pressure drops the NG comes out of solution and thus becomes a 2 phase flow.

I didn’t get too involved in the debates over dougr’s comments. But I gathered the debate centered more around what was known vs. what was possible. As far as I could tell he was just offering possibilities. Given the lack of details there was a good bit of leeway in such speculation. Some took his statements as “facts” being presented and thus took exception. Folks took his statements as alarmist. I didn’t have any particular problem with what he offered as possibilities. I’ve been drilling wells for 35 years…onshore and offshore including Deep Water. If folks thought dougr’s “possibilities” were scary I could really scare the bejesus out of them. Given the lack of solid evidence as to what’s happen to the csg/wellhead/BOP I could offer theoretical possibilities that make his thoughts look like a child’s fairy tale. Again, I can’t begin to predict what will happen with the well. But with my experiences I could offer very credible “possibilities”. But I see no real value in offering any such possibilities unless they have chance of being acted upon. But given I see no one on TOD in a position to do so why bother?

Q: has the inclination of the BOP changed?
A: No

That question can be interpreted in so many ways I have no doubt that is why they answered it.

Has the inclination changed from when? This morning he thinks in his head and answers no.

The question should have been what is the inclination reading now, what was it when the BOP was set and what were all the readings up until the last one.

Rockman, thank you for being the voice of reason, as usual. Cheers.

I would greatly appreciate the following questions posed to the UC regarding booming procedures:

1. What actions have been / are planned to reconfigure / perform ('scuse the french) "f***ing proper f***ing booming" (FPFB) techniques??? If so, what are these plans? When and where are they to be implemented? And if no plans for FPFB, why?

I.e., configuring boom in formations as to channel / entrain oil flows at the coasts can be implemented by creating overlapping sections of boom that form "V's" to facilitate collection and / or skimming outboard of the marshes and wetlands? General flow trends (USCG and / or NOAA has this info) can be used to facilitate placement of FPFB. I do understand very well the nature of the area being unimaginably weblike, yet there are main flow paths into those areas where attentions could be focused.

IMO, it makes sense that FPFB "V's" strategically placed in known flow trends will tend to "corral" oily flows that could facilitate easier collection. (Vs. "outlining" coastline / isle perimeters, which IMHO, is ineffective as the approaching currents / waves (+/- perpendicular) to boom just lap the oil over the tops of the boom and then, what laps over the tops either deposits on the beach or tends to backwash back out under the 2 foot (IIRC) curtain ... Outlining boom doesn't attempt to concentrate an oily flow and doesn't use forces of nature to facilitate the collection process either.)

Obviously, I read the Daily Kos post, in which seems like eons ago, regarding FPFB. After posing the question amongst my peers, they seem to be in agreement that FPFB isn't rocket science and many USCG and oilfiend personnel attend boom school where they are presented with FPFB techniques.

Proper booming techniques have been discussed interspersed amongst the TOD threads, yet I haven't heard any evidence of any future FPFB techniques being considered (for new areas and reconfiguring existing ineffectively boomed areas) by those responsible for the clean up.

Thank you TOD. You're the greatest.


I think it goes without saying that anything said by BP is worthless. have you not forgot how these experts raised the flow rate form 1k to 5k to 25k to capturing upwards of 60k barrels a day? Are we all goldfish.

No. Perhaps people should actually listen or read to what has actually been said by whom and about what.

what does one make of this story from the LA Times with the headline:

Second pipe may have crippled BP well's defense mechanism


...The discovery suggested that the force of the erupting petroleum from BP's well on April 20 was so violent that it sent pipe segments hurtling into the blowout preventer, like derailing freight cars.

It also offered a tantalizing theory for the failure of the well's last line of defense, the powerful pinchers called shear rams inside the blowout preventer that should have cut the pipe and stopped the rising oil and gas from reaching the Deepwater Horizon 5,000 feet above. Drilling experts say those rams, believed to be partially deployed, could have been thwarted by the presence of a second pipe.

The doubled-up drill pipe joins a list of clues that is helping scientists understand the complexities of the Deepwater Horizon accident, and from that, craft changes in how deep-water drilling is conducted.

"We still don't really know what's in" the well wreckage, said Energy Secretary Steven Chu


There is a thread elsewhere which described how a round pipe deforms into a B shape as it is sheared. So what looked like two pipes would be the remnants of a single, partially shear pipe. But there does not need to be any doubt. They have recovered the 30 foot section of riser they sheared off from the LMRP, what was in it, one or two pipes? Also, can they now be sure that the reason the shear ram failed is because the joint of the drill pipe was inside it?

Those are two questions that ought to be easy now that they have salvaged the 30 foot section of riser.

BT, Our curiousity and their need to disclose are in different planes and most likely irrevelant.

I'll add my experience on your question. Mild to medium carbon steel plus the other elements that make up this designation are more ductile than high carbon steel. The casing is primarily a medium to low carbon steel while the drill pipe is a high carbon steel. I don't know the specific grade used because there are many and the choice would be determined by duty and service requirements. When carbon is added to steel ductility is reduced and tensile strength is increased. The drill pipe sheared before it would compress (flatten) and the contact points/pressure points of the shear on the drill pipe causes it to crack and fold inward.

BT, I was actually answering Guest_ question and blended your comment also directed toward the question. Two pipe theory isn't important at this date.

You know, I guess I'm maybe a bit dense. I read the posts about figure of 8 and stuff and it's been sitting on my mind ever since, because try as I might, I cannot figure out or imagine how one pipe lying concentrically inside another can be sheared in such a way as to produce 2 cross-sections. So let me think out loud and you guys can tell me where I got it wrong. ;-)

So if I have a DP inside the riser. I'll call the upper end A and bottom end B, with a length of pipe in between (Sorry, no access to graphics here.), the whole thing lying inside the riser, lengthwise.

OK, so now I start to shear it, and I make a clean cut, then I'd get ONE cross section of DP inside the riser. Fine. Suppose the DP buckles and becomes deformed as I cut, and it starts to fold upon itself somehow. Suppose it does a loop. When I cut through the loop, I'd get THREE cross sections (pipe goes down, up, then down again).

Let's say it doesn't do a loop, but just bends into a U, it would still be the same - as you look from A to B, the pipe goes down, up, then down again. Again 3 cross sections.

The only way I can imagine TWO cross sections is either one of the ends A or B, becomes dislodged and whipped into the other side, so that A and B are BOTH below the cut or BOTH above the cut.

Maybe my lack of imagination, but I just don't see how that can physically happen.

So, while waiting for someone to enlighten me, alternatively, I'm thinking, what if those 2 cut ends are NOT the DP at all, but actually sections of the 7 in casing from downhole? What if the DP had already blown up the riser maybe to the rig in the initial explosion, can that happen? Since we have a tapered long string, any broken pieces from the 7 in casing could easily flow up the wider casings up top, with the oil/gas, couldn't it? I'm also thinking it would make sense for those pieces to become lodged at the kink with the bent riser.

I'd like some knowledgeable person to comment on whether those 2 cut ends could be casing blown up from downhole. Please note that I'm exploring possibilities here, not suggesting a particular scenario at all. But If this is indeed one possible explanation, then whether this gives any indication to the likely severity of damage of the well.


I'm also intrigued by reports that gamma ray scans showed 2 pipes inside the BOP, as reported by LA Times. http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/sc-dc-oil-spill-pipes-201...

The gushing BP oil well is a mystery still unfolding, and late last month, a team of scientists from the Energy Department discovered a new twist: Their sophisticated imaging equipment detected not one but two drill pipes, side by side, inside the wreckage of the well's blowout preventer on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico.

I'd very much like to see an additional, preferably official source, for that piece of information, if anyone has it. I reckon this may be informative if verified.

Questions For BP:

  1. BP has denied the existence of underwater plumes of oil. Tony Hayward is quoted as saying underwater plumes don't make sense because oil floats. Yet NOAA and independent scientists have confirmed the plumes do exist however low the concentration. There was also a study entitled Project "Deep Spill" in which BP took part of that shows that a majority of the oil in a deepwater spill does not make it to the surface. Does BP still stand by Tony Haywards statement?
  2. BP has denied the high level of methane concentrations saying that the natural gas rises to the surface enters the air. Yet a study conducted by the Federal Government called Project "Deep Spill", which BP participated in that showed that in a deepwater spill natural gas was dissolved entirely into the water column. Does BP still stand by its statement?
  3. Bloomberg news reported (http://preview.bloomberg.com/news/2010-06-17/bp-struggled-with-cracks-in...) that BP reported to the MMS that it was dealing with a well control event in February due to cracks in the well and that as BP continued to drill BP continued to experience cracks in both the well and the surrounding rocks. Is BP confident that the integrity of the cement used to seal those cracks is still intact?
  4. Findings of an interim investigation released by congress (http://energycommerce.house.gov/documents/20100614/Transocean.DWH.Intern...) state that BP experienced a total of 5 Well control events or blowouts during the drilling of the well between February and April. How bad was the damage to the surrounding rock formation and to the well itself during those well control events or blowouts? Did each event require a separate cementing to seal off the cracks like the February incident?
  5. A series of emails released by congress (http://energycommerce.house.gov/documents/20100530/BP-HZN-CEC018375.pdf) referred to a well control event or blowout on March 10th. The emails and a worker on the rig stated that the well collapsed on the drill at that time? How much damage was caused to the well casing and the surrounding rock formation during that well control event.
  6. In document released by congress (http://globalwarming.house.gov/files/WEB/flowrateBP.pdf) showing that BP had internal worst case estimates of up to 100,000 BPD BP cites an open hole in the well casing and shale collapse as two factors mitigating the flow rate from reaching the worst case scenario numbers. Can BP explain how an open hole in the well casing would mitigate the flow rate if the hydrocarbons are not leaking through the above cracks in the rocks into the formation around the well? Can BP explain how the collapse of the rock formation around the well is mitigating the flow rate?
  7. Secretay Chu recently told the press that they found two pieces of drill pipe inside the BOP and suggested that during the blowout that led to the rig collapse the drill pipe was crushed into pieces like cars on a freight train. BP has publicly stated that was impossible, a statement that directly conflicted Secretary Chu's statements. If Secretary Chu's comments are indeed correct what would the probability be that some of the pieces of the drill pipe punctured the well casing down hole? Also immediately after the shear saw cut the riser there was two pieces of pipe inside the riser as it was being lifted away. If BP is standing by its statement that what Secretary Chu suggested is impossible, can BP explain why there where two pieces of pipe in the riser?
  8. During the IXTOC blowout there was an underground blowout that lead to leaks in cracks in the seafloor when well was capped. Top Kill in essence acted as a cap on the well. Can BP give explanations as to why the top kill would not have caused a similar underground blowout, especially since there appears that much more damage has been done to the DWH well than what was reported to have been done to the IXTOC well prior to the under ground blowout, such as the series of blowouts or well control events that occurred during drilling and cracks in the well and in the surrounding rock formation during the drilling of the well?
  9. NOAA has confirmed 7 leaks on the seafloor near the DWH during the June 3rd-June 11th expedition of the Thomas Jefferson (http://www.noaa.gov/sciencemissions/PDFs/tj_deepwaterhorizon_responsemis...). Can BP say with any degree of certainty that the DWH is not the source of any of those leaks and that the DWH is not communicating with those leaks in any manner that may be making them worse?
  10. BP and the Federal Government have stated publicly that they do not know the condition of the well down hole. Does BP think that it would be prudent to get an accurate analysis condition of the well down hole before attempting a relief well operation, especially in light of some experts estimates that if the relief well blows the amount of oil leaking could be as high as 240,000 BPD and that other experts have stated the improper mud pressure can cause the DWH well to become damaged beyond the point of being able to stop the well from leaking at all?
  11. Thad Allen has told reporters that the Government is exploring plans to install a permanent oil pipeline in case the relief wells fail. How confident is BP that the relief wells will be successful? Can BP give a range of probability of success that the relief wells will stop the leak? What would the tolerance for failure be, eg under what conditions does BP believe the relief wells would not work? Does BP have any alternate suggestions or contingency plans to deal with the scenario that the relief wells fail?
  12. There is a good deal of speculation about the leaning BOP. If the BOP where to fall over could BP describe the consequences of such an event? What are BP's contingency plans if such an event where to occur?
  13. Does BP have any contingency plans for an event in which the BOP comes off the well bore, either by choice or by accident.
  14. What is the purpose of the two devices on this page? http://www.bp.com/sectiongenericarticle.do?categoryId=9033571&contentId=...? Are the captions mislabeled? They read "Capping stack BOP is being readied for shipment out to the MC 252 site. The capping stack BOP will attach to the well bore to be able to stop flow and divert to vessels." Does BP plan on removing the BOP and attaching this device to the well bore> Or is the caption on the BP mislabeled?

These are some of the more pressing issues that I would like BP to answer.

Most if not all of these have been answered on here by petroleum guys, by BP or CG in press briefings, and in the actual hearings.

NOAA has confirmed 7 leaks on the seafloor near the DWH during the June 3rd-June 11th expedition of the Thomas Jefferson

I'm sorry, help me out here. Where in the document you cited does it say 'confirmed 7 leaks on the seafloor'?

Here's the conclusion part:

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.
Onboard data integration and visualization of disparate data, and communication with others on shore played a key role in successful execution of the mission.

The Moving Vessel Profiler allows for very efficient and dense sampling of shallow water (< 100m) and identification of high-fluorescence areas that may indicate the presence of submerged oil.

btw I did read the whole report, in case you're wondering. I'm no expert so would appreciate someone pointing out to me where it says confirmed 7 leaks from seafloor, as I think this would be an important discovery if indeed confirmed by NOAA.

From the report a 3D Mapping of the leaks on the seafloor.

Red and Yellow Cylinders are leaks on the seafloor mapped by Thomas Jefferson.

Purple Cylinders are leaks mapped by Gordon Gunter.

CTD stations showing high fluorescence or possible oil and gas anomalies (brown, green and white spheres).

The Deepwater Horizon well site is red cylinder and distribution of Bottom Following Reflectors is represented by orange lines.

This is a mapping of one of the leaks and more mappings like this are through out the report.

NOAA says the leaks appear to be natural and not from the DWH.


A report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Monday noted research vessels found natural gas seeping from the sea floor several miles away from the well. Those appear to be pre-existing seeps that occur naturally, a NOAA spokeswoman said, and unrelated to the spill.

NOAA says the leaks appear to be natural and not from the DWH.

Thanks. That would be my (non-expert) understanding of the NOAA report as well.

Yes, Hence the question for BP:

Can BP say with any degree of certainty that the DWH is not the source of any of those leaks and that the DWH is not communicating with those leaks in any manner that may be making them worse?

thank you ALEX for your passion/commitment! the thought of those plumes out there scares the bejesus out of me! another nightmare last night - dying dolphins and billy nungasser having a heart attack on 360* looked up coonasses - thought it was an insult, guess not. thinking maybe it's time to hold somebody hostage until this thing is done. seriously! haven't we learned anything from history? RISE UP COONASSES BEFORE YOU'RE TO SICK/WEAK/WHITE-HOT DEPRESSED....don't take it out on your wives, children, dogs or yourselves.....

This comment relates to the bright red curve in the chart above entitled, "Historical Context for High Flow rates in the Gulf of Mexico."

According to the information above it, Macondo was drilled 18,360 feet below the sea floor. How far below the sea floor were the other wells that are graphed?

The evidence is that the riser collapsed shortly after most of the drilling mud/sea water was evacuated by the blowsout, thereby cutting off electro/hydraulic communication with the BOP package from the rig. Anyone know why there weren't riser dump valves placed in the riser string? Or was this another one of BP's great cost cutting ideas.