Deepwater Oil Spill - Problems with the LMRP Cap - and Open Thread

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BP issued a press release this morning that read:

NEW ORLEANS -- This morning at approximately 8:45 a.m. CDT, a discharge of liquids was observed from a diverter valve on the drill ship Discoverer Enterprise, which is on station at the MC252 well-site. As a precautionary measure, the lower marine riser package (LMRP) containment cap system, attached to the Discover Enterprise, has been moved off the Deepwater Horizon's failed blow-out preventer to ensure the safety of operations and allow the unexpected release of liquids to be analyzed.

Capture of oil and gas through the LMRP cap is therefore temporarily suspended until such time that the cap can be re-installed. Capture of oil and gas through the BOP's choke line to the Q4000 vessel on the surface continues.

LMRP cap floating free 4 pm June 23, 2010 (Enterprise ROV2)

Unfortunately the severe weather in the area today is not helping the effort either.

Due to severe weather conditions expected across southeast Louisiana today, June 23, regularly scheduled cleanup and response efforts may be impacted/halted as weather systems move through the area. These efforts include controlled burns, dispersant flights, and booming operations. Source efforts and some skimming vessels may be operating as long as conditions do not exceed their operating limits. Protective boom is in place along many miles of Louisiana’s coastline. Crews will resume cleanups as soon as safely possible. Safety of all personnel is important to the success of this operation.

At a press briefing in Washington on the event Admiral Allen blamed the event on an ROV hitting one of the valves on the vent at the top of the cap and causing it to close. With the vent closed the pressure under the cap would increase (since the flow would have a smaller area to escape through). That increase in pressure was enough to reverse the flow through one of the lines that send warm water down to the cap to keep it warm enough that hydrates don’t form.

It appears, from Joel Achenbach's Washington Post report that oil and gas was found coming out of a line that was pumping the water down, which raises a little question over the flow circuit being used that would allow that to happen? That discovery led to the cap being removed from the well for inspection. Any gas outlet at the surface would pose increased risk to those running the operation and had to be dealt with immediately.

The current plan is to replace the cap later this afternoon, presuming that the blockage has been removed. Unfortunately, without the pressure gage recordings from inside the cap it is not possible to know if the pressure build-up was gradual, which could be explained by this deposition of material in the flow path, or if it was a step-function which would more likely result if an ROV had nudged a valve closed.

As I mentioned earlier, the alternate hypothesis is that there has been some crystal growth within the flow path through the cap, which caused crystals to grow, constricting the channel and thus raising the pressure in the cap itself. The pressure jump cannot have been too rapid if the indication of the problem came from the backup of oil and gas out of a water line. And crystals can form either quickly, in large size, or more slowly and insidiously.

Barium Sulfate Crystals growing in a 3-inch I.D. pipe that carried oil from the deposits under the North Sea. (Scale is in cm) (Growths of this size can occur in less than 24 hours).

That having been said, and recognizing that Occam’s Razor may well cut my hypothetical throat one of these days, the transcript of the press conference is now available. The Admiral clearly blames the ROV for the incident:

Out of abundance of caution the Discover Enterprise removed the containment cap with the riser pipe and moved away until they could assess the condition.

They have indicated that the problem was a Remotely Operated Vehicle that had been around the (inaudible) package that bumped into one of those vents that allows the excess oil to come out. They actually closed it thereby creating pressure and the backflow potentially off the water vent.

They are checking the containment cap right now that there are no hydrates in the containment cap. They will attempt to reinstall the containment cap and begin producing later on today. If there are hydrates they will probably have to rerun the pipeline, and that will take a considerable amount longer.

At present it appears that they are lowering the cap back into position. The specific event was described as follows:

My understanding was they noticed there was some kind of a burp in the line where there was either natural gas or some reason. They thought they had product—or hydrocarbons coming up through the water line that's usually meant to carry hot water down, which is to heat the pipe, as you know to do away with the hydrate problem.

When they thought that that line might have been compromised, or they have the chance that they might have hydrocarbons coming up through that vent into the Discover Enterprise, which is flaring right now, over an abundance of caution they elected to remove the cap and move the riser pipe and the cap away.

When they moved it away then it's open to seawater. And they said if there is any product there you have the chance for hydrates to form. So before they decide to move it back in they have to check and see if there are any hydrates there. If there are hydrates they are probably going to have to pull the drill pipe and reinsert it once the hydrates are cleared.

And again, the initial indications were that one of the vents, which is allowing the oil to vent so the cap will stay on will somehow might have been dislodged by coming in contact with our ROV. But I think they are trying to validate that right now. They do know that one of the vents was shut when they set the second ROV down to take a look. That's all we have right now. We're continuing to look into it.

But then there was also this

they found this out after the fact when they set their ROV down after they had removed the containment cap that it appeared that one of the vents had been closed. Now the assumption is that was a result of an ROV bumping into it and actually closing the vent. We don't know that for sure. I think we're still developing the facts associated with it. I don't think it's any problem in putting on an exact timeline when we get all that stuff together.

The Admiral also updated the schedule for drawing oil from the BOP through the kill line. The riser to carry that has been installed, and they are now hoping to have that hooked up to a second vessel by next Tuesday. This will increase the production capacity from the well to 53,000 bd.

Given the concern that has been expressed about hazardous vapors being given off over the clean-up site, the Admiral also brought an OSHA representative to the meeting, and he noted:

We have been taking samples again, of worker chemical exposures. Again, on the beaches, in the swamps, on the boats, everywhere that workers are. And I will just let you know, we can discuss this a little more, that we have found no exposure levels to any chemicals that are of any concern.

The main problem we've been seeing down there, the main concern that we've had for worker health and safety has to do with heat. As you know, people are working in very high heat conditions. Very often they are also working with Tyvek suits with chemical protective suits, gloves, which exacerbates the heat problem.

Finally there was this interesting teaser about the possibility of running the production from the well to an existing platform.

I believe BP is in discussion with other industry producers that have rigs in the area that might be useful for that. I don't think they concluded those yet. I just mentioned it yesterday because I was asked about whether or not there were any redundancies or any recourse if we had a hurricane or heavy weather that allowed us to move—or required us to move all of the vessels from the scene.

This would be one way if you are actually connected to another drill site, you would not have to rely on service vessels.

There is more on what would be involved at Upstreamonline (who asked the question).

new stuff in this introductory comment, 23 JUN 10.

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8. Yes, HO and others have put up many counterarguments to the "DougR" comment. There are many many links, but the first one was here: If you ask in the thread nicely, they will also point you to others.

Heard this second hand but another contributor why the primary cement job failed in addition to the comments on centralization, inadequate cure time and difficulties bumping the plug.

Apparently the Deepwater Horizon had a set of the 'Axiom' shale shakers. They were set to to wall strengthening mode which means all the lost circulation materials (LCM) are never screened out of the mud system - the LCM just returns the wellbore. BP is a champion of this wellbore strengthening technique as it allows them to drill overbalanced without the losing drilling mud to the formation (expensive and causes formation damage)or in underbalanced mode without taking fluids.

You can think of the wellbore strengthening as a temporary 'casing' consisting of LCM materials.

The downside is that this creates a very thick mudcake at the borehole wall.

Various studies have been done that demonstrate that thick mudcake does not allow cement to bond to the formation wall. Mitigating techniques such as scratchers or cement spacers are only partially effective. So what you end up with is the formation wall, a thick layer of mudcake, cement and the casing.

The shear strength of the mudcake is very low of course so when the wellbore pressure was underbalanced, gas had no problem pushing the mudcake aside and escaping into the 7 x 9 5/8 annulus causing the blowout.

Apparently some of the solid control gurus are having a conference later this summer on the safety aspects of the wellbore strengthening technique.

wing -- Very nice details. Exactly what the MMS needs to evaluate what happened. BTW - when I've had excessive cake from LCM I've run scrapers prior to running csg. Granted sorta messy if LC kicks back in.

Prior to running the long string, the wellbore was underreamed below the 9 5/8 liner. I don't recall the timeline but if it was just before running the long string wouldn't that take care of an excessive mud cake?

One of the Skandi Neptune cams shows the cap back on the BOP

Seems to be securely on now. Leaking a lot more oil though.

None is being captured yet.

From a previous thread:

wildbourgman on June 23, 2010 - 7:29pm

I know that MMS agreed to let BP use this form of testing. I don't know how well it predicted failures. I do know that it's better than years of cheating that took place before in shallow water, inland water and on land when (they got around to testing). I have talked to Company reps on land rigs that called a third party to test the BOP's, they showed up with the pressure charts already completed with out any testing and wanted to get his field ticket signed. That was the way things were and still are in many places.

As for as your later question about testing the cement job. Positive pressure testing the production casing tells you if your casing, casing seals and your shoe tract are holding. It does not tell you how well your cement job is, because you should be isolated from that cement job. On a production casing string the only test you have to tell you about your cement job is the Cement bond log. A negative test can tell you if the well will flow on the annulus through the cement and the casing seals, but if the well doesn't flow that does not mean your cement job is trouble free and providing zonal isolation.

All that is stuff I didn't know/had not gleaned.

"they showed up with the pressure charts already completed with out any testing"

Informative, although dispiriting. Thanks, Wild.

TOD just got a shout out on Countdown with Keith Olbermann on MSNBC

There goes the bandwidth. Contribute, please.

Done! (Finally.)

I didn't get to see it yet--DVR'ed at home though. Can anyone speak to how "dougr"-ish it was?

(EDIT: here's the link to the discussion on Olbermann's show with Bob Kavnar (h/t bbfellow, thanks!): )

I missed the first half of tonight's show, but last night Keith repeated the misunderstanding from Adm. Allen's remarks that 'now the entire wellhead is said to be leaning over at 10 to 15 degrees!'

There may already be a clip online, but I'm downloading last night's show and will post an exact transcript.

Hello, New user here, but long-time lurker, since TOD's inception. Become PO-aware via the usual suspects: Ruppert, Heinberg, Deffeyes et al.

Believe it or not, this was the full "dougr": KO did a segment in regards to worst-case scenarios and specifically quoted from one of dougr's posts (I regret to say I forget which one), mentioning the possibility of sea floor cracks and such. Also discussed was the tilting BOP (10-12 degrees said) and the ROV incident. Then there was discussion with some industry guy who generally concurred with the post.

KO mentioned TOD by name, and referred to dougr as a poster who "seemed rather familiar with drilling", or similar words.

Fun stuff. I truly appreciate all the info from this site...back to lurkin' and learnin'

Isn't BP's honesty refreshing?
I'm sure none of their corporate culture extends to everything they say or do though. Everything they submitted about Deepwater Horizon before the "mishap" is certainly 100% truthful and accurate...right?
All their specs were up to snuff and followed to the letter...right?
Everything they've said after the "mishap" is reliable...right?

Yes, BP sucks. Stuff along the Gulf coast sucks. "Mishap" in "", meaning what? Obama engineered this to get cap and trade done? Or do you have some other theory? What's your point?

BP is treating it with such little urgency that apparently it's only a "mishap" to them and they would prefer it if everyone thought of it as a mere mishap rather than an escalating catastrophe caused by their criminal negligence.

Uhh, just what do you think BP should be doing right now to demonstrate this this urgency you want them to show? They're drilling two relief wells, they're collecting at least some of the oil through a fabricated collection device, what else should they be doing? Screaming and running around like decapitated poultry?

According to there are "Total active response vessels: more than 6,210" and "Overall personnel responding: more than 35,000 personnel responding"

Kevin Costner's team says "we've come a long way in a short time"

Admiral Robert Papp, Commandant of Coast Guard, said "‘Every day is a Monday down here.’ People aren’t getting weekends; they are working 14, 15, 20-hour days in some cases, and just really working their hearts out for the citizens of the Gulf region and for our country to make sure this very challenging situation is taken care of."

Today, 63 pelicans are being flown from New Orleans airport to Rockport airport, Texas (RKP), then being driven to Aransas National Wildlife Refuge.

About 70,000 claims have been opened, from which more than $118 million have been disbursed. No claims have been denied to date. There are 730 claims adjusters on the ground.

It doesn't sound like there is any lack of urgency to me.

Wouldn't be surprised if those propagating wild doomsday scenarios end up causing a few suicides. People are really terrified and in despair.

It is extraordinarily cruel.

Emphatically agreed.


Near the end of the video you linked, Mrs. Arnesen says:

"...if this stuff is not stopped guys, this is going to go global. It will destroy one-third of the world's water. Bank on it..."

Do you think statements like that undermine her credibility?

(edited - added the missing "think")

Mr. Batterload,

I'd put Mrs. Arnesen's credibility up against BP's anytime.
Can you not separate her opinion from her facts presented throughout her speech?

If this much oil is washing up as far away as Pensacola right now, how much faith can one have in BP's "estimates" of flow from the gusher caused by their own criminal negligence?

"Aerial video footage taken by personnel aboard an Escambia County Sheriff's Office helicopter helps to illustrate the extent of the oil and tar that blanketed Pensacola Beach on Wednesday."

Next will come the Gulf Stream.

dougr, you're a rock star, dude! Nice work. You're a master. The best doomsdayer out there! You've raised the genre up a notch or two with that one. I want your autograph!

I've been a "rockstar" a couple times before. It's no biggie. I didn't like all the traveling and finagling the details the first time.

I didn't like the black sedan parked outside my house at all hours of the night the 2nd time. Whenever I went out to ask if they needed anything the driver would speed away...once 1/4 mile up my street backward at about 40 mph so I couldn't get the license. After that little trick they drove off long before I could get close. They either got tired after a couple months or got stealthier with the surveillance.
I almost expect to see them again soon.

"I almost expect to see them again soon."

I wouldn't be a bit surprised, if I were you.

You're well on your way to the same sort of dubious distinction BP has attained: earning contempt and disdain from across the ideological and political spectrum.

Indeed, your wild rants must offend *anyone* who cares about truth. If the unfounded lunacy is actually a twisted, deliberate exercise in self-promotion, as some evidence tends to suggest, it is not only offensive but outrageous.

dougr, you keep attacking BP's estimates of the flow, questioning their credibility and calling BP liars because you say their estimates have been way off.

On June 14 you wrote, "over 4 1/4 million gallons/day...or over 100,000 barrels", but when your calculations were corrected, your estimate worked out to around 50,000 gallons/day. If your own estimates have been exaggerated by a factor of two, what does that say about your own credibility compared to BP?

Edit to add: And where are you getting these "BP estimates" anyway, I didn't know they were making their own estimates. Links please.

It's 50,000 to 60,000 barrels a day, where have you been.

The highest estimated figure in the latest press release dated 10th June from the Flow Rate Technical Group (FRTG), who are the people calculating the flow for the Unified Command is 40,000 barrels per day.

A more detailed version of the report can be read here


Doug got famous at the expense of TOD's good reputation - no doubt about that. Every article that discusses the post puts TOD front and center. That's a great shame.

But I have to take his side on one issue: BP was very sneaky about the flow rates. No, they didn't post their own estimates (they let NOAA do that, without ever disputing them) but they stated repeatedly that they did not even care what the flow was - they were here for the long term and no matter what the flow, they would fix it. That bothered me from the start because it seems that many engineering decisions taken would depend critically on the rates. My thought was that they had a team working on rates and just didn't share them with us for legal reasons. Fine - but please can they just say that?

So you're the lone viewer of K Olbermann. I knew he had a least one.

New Drilling Agency Will Have Investigative Arm
WASHINGTON — The new director of the federal agency that oversees offshore oil drilling told a Senate panel on Wednesday that he would create an investigative unit to root out corruption and speed reorganization of the office.

Michael R. Bromwich, who was appointed director of the Minerals Management Service last week, said in testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee that the new investigations team would report directly to him and would work closely with the Interior Department’s inspector general’s office, which has issued several tough reports on misconduct at the minerals service in the last decade....

"Michael R. Bromwich, who was appointed director of the Minerals Management Service last week, said in testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee that the new investigations team would report directly to him and would work closely with the Interior Department’s inspector general’s office, which has issued several tough reports on misconduct at the minerals service in the last decade...."

So where has the Interior Department's inspector general's office been through all the MMS corruption that is common knowledge to many people?

A new group of lazy unaccountable bureaucrats alledgedly watching other lazy unaccountable bureaucrats. More political posturing. More taxpayer money wasted.

Everytime government screws up, government gets bigger. Nobody gets fired, more people get hired to watch the people who should have been fired.

Sounds almost exactly like many of the private businesses I've worked for. Perhaps the rot goes a lot deeper than just 'da gummint'?

So where has the Interior Department's inspector general's office been through all the MMS corruption that is common knowledge to many people?

The reason it is common knowledge to many people is because the Interior Department's inspector general's office investigated and announced the corruption they found.

Some people were fired and disciplined but they never said how many or who.

>> TOD just got a shout out on Countdown with Keith Olbermann on MSNBC.

Prepare yourself for server overload and 50 million people asking the same ridiculous questions over and over and over again...

Perhaps a FAQ page for issues in regards to the oil spill might be necessary.

Oh, I'm sticking around for this. :)
I have money (10 gal. of the Blue Bell flavor of your choice) on at least 50 inane questions.

Save some capital for Gail and Professor Goose. TOD could see the 400 post cutoff fly by a whole lot quicker.

OK, Here is a dumb question, Is Blue Bell(Ice Cream?)the SAME company who makes Blue Bunny?

NO. According to their website, Blue Bunny is a product of Wells Dairy.

The old oil hands on this forum have educated me about this topic; I didn't realize how privileged I am to just walk into a grocery store and buy a pint or quart of Bluebell. Made in Brenham, TX (a suburb of Houston), it is essentially a local phenomenon. They advertise on Texas television networks with a happy singing cow.

The folk in the town of brenham would

The folk in the town of Brenham would *NOT* be happy to hear you call them 'a suburb of Houston'. There out in the beginnings of the hill country. Coupla hours from the northern part of Houston. Definitely in the country - not the city....That's why them cow's is so happy!

It might be a good idea to put a link to the FAQ page in the repeated top comment post.

Cheryl, thank you for reminding me. I've been meaning to do that for a week.

The lines in the "FAQs and Dead Horses" section are still not wrapping as displayed by IE8, BTW.

Not to dissuade you from donating (because who knows how long this increased traffic is going to last...which is a good thing as we get to educate, but tough because it didn't come gradually), but we don't get much of a bump out of TV show shout outs--at least not as much as you'd think. Think about it, how many times have you actually gotten up from watching a tv show, remembered a web address, and then gone to your computer and gone to that site without getting distracted by something else? :)

what will actually do it is if bloggers/websites watching KO write about it, then that will drive traffic. (that's why we try to (and ask you to as well) seed stuff on other web sites and such...much more chance of getting reciprocal traffic.)

Here is the link to the segment:

It is a discussion of dougr post (with Olbermann reading quotes from the post).

Is dougR an oil industry expert? This was in the link above.

Good question. If memory serves he mentioned his credentials in a post that followed in that thread or another. You just have to judge the information as well as the criticisms for yourself with the available evidence.

Other than that, buy a gallon of ice cream and pay Rockman's sugar deficit. :)

Is dougR an oil industry expert?

If he is, he's an oil industry expert who first made that post (in two parts, using a different handle, "SHR," identified as "Forum Administrator") on a site called Godlike Productions, which says up top it's for "UFOs, Conspiracy Theorists, Lunatic Fringe," and which has a lengthy disclaimer at the bottom of each page that says, in part:

This website exists for entertainment purposes only. The reader is responsible for discerning the validity, factuality or implications of information posted here, be it fictional or based on real events....Not all posts on this website are intended as truthful or factual assertion by their authors. Some users of this website are participating in internet role playing, with or without the use of an avatar. NO post on this website should be considered factual information on face value alone....

[boldface in original]

Sorry, should have posted this reply with the link up-thread. Thanks Prof for adding it above in your edit.

Oh no, i would have thought he would have known better than to glorify a doomsday scenario. It was a good one, though. Well written and seemingly authoritative, and posted on this site, so it MUST be true! Maybe it will force them to shoot it down by disclosing more info on the condition of the well. When info is so tight, it provides fertile ground for wild speculation.

So dougr has hit it big. He got the traction with everything he wove into that tale!

Question concerning the BOP.

Would it be possible to redesign the system to use a shaped charge as the energy source to actuate the BOP ram instead of high pressure hydraulics? This would have to work in conjunction with some type of locking device once activated.

This would replace the hydraulic system with all of its potential problems.

It would seem that this would also greatly simplify the control scheme for the device.


It wouldn't be a shaped charge but a gas generator. It may be difficult to use propellant to generate high enough pressure to compete with hydraulics, which is the most space efficient way to create high levels of force at a distance.

It sounds like a doable idea and probably exhists already - a gas generator pressurizing a large cylinder which in terms runs a hydraulics system at much higher pressure. Perhaps the reason they don't use it is reliabiliy under water?

Unless you mean a shaped charge to cut the pipe?

Well actually you can use explosives as a gas generator, or as a direct forcing component. And they are capable of far higher pressures than hydraulics could ever manage.

As for reliability, they would have a much higher reliability and safety factor. The only obvious downside would probably be legal, someone somewhere would have some red tape.

Thought that does occur is that with careful design you could arrange for the explosive to also temporarily stop the flow, long enough for the jaws to close. Maybe the pressure pulse down the well would be a bad idea though?

If I understand the usage correctly, you could only use the charges on the actual shears. The blind rams and test rams will need to be actuated more than once.

The pipe is busted and they don't know where. Think rotten garden hose. If they stop the flow, it will just "flow" somewhere else - under the seabed(?)and out. So they want it to flow out of the BOP, until they drill down the relief wells and plug it at the bottom.

Rockman: I think I got this right.... LOL.. Ice cream anyone?


So, I've been wondering the last few days about this, and (using your rotten garden hose analogy), what if the hose is rotten below the intercept point(s) of the relief wells?

Also, what if it is so far down that there isn't enough pipe to contain sufficient mud to hold the flow?

I've said it before, and I still think that Mr. Murphy owns this well.

Anyone up for a small wager, say a pint of Blue Bell Vanilla Bean, it is worse than they have let on? I say December before we see this thing capped.


I think that's why they're aiming for fairly low on the well; to avoid any of the 'rotten' areas they suspect are present.

Your comment about there not being enough well length to contain the mud needed to seal isn't something I'd thought about though. Can the well be sealed by pumping mud/cement into the reservoir itself?

Robert, what you have to keep in mind is that the BOP's are often actuated. They are funtion and pressure tested and they are closed for multiple periodic operations except for the actual drilling process. In my view of your idea a shaped charged would force the ram closed, but what would open it? How would you recommend multiple closers and opennings with a system like this.

I'm thinking your view is that we only use the BOP for preventing blowouts, but it's a tool in the well drilling and completion process that actually gets used for many other operational purposes.

Idea: Split the BOP functions into "operational" and "emergency" units. The emergency unit gets the explosive actuator; the operational ones get hydraulic.

SO something that sits one or two miles on the bottom of the ocean for months at a time has an "emergency unit" that has no way of testing it while it's on the job. Even the testing you could do, would only be as good as it's last test. I don't think so.
Keep trying maybe you guys will get one to stick.

There will be a lot of interest in the possible failure modes of the BOP and how some of these might be overcome with different design solutions. One single point of failure that has been mentioned is a loss of hydraulics. To compensate, you might need to duplicate systems and this can consume a lot of space and create a lot of spaghetti. Gas generators might have a role to play as a compact emergency backup power source.

It's true they can't be non-destructively tested, but neither can the airbags on my car. There are many safety systems with similar properties that require destructive tests -- we rely on the statistical patterns of behavior indicated by our test results. Burst panels are another example.

Even a successful, non-destructive test does not guarantee that the device will work the next time we try. Probabilities are all we ever have. We try to stack the odds in our favor.

I think this is a good idea. It's incredible that they've designed a BOP to fail open so easily, given the nuclear-meltdown scale of consequences. It should be required that at least one shear ram operates automatically in the event of total electrical power and hydraulic pressure loss.

To do this, add an emergency gas generator unit. It's attached directly and robustly to the ram cylinder. It has a purely mechanical fuze sensing pressure loss in the hydraulic accumulator(s), an electric holdback, and a remove-before-flight safety. When all are gone, it blocks the hydraulic inlet and then fills the ram with high-pressure gas. Someone up-thread thought hydraulics have more pressure than explosively-created gas, but obviously that's not true... just look up rifle bore pressures. The ram is designed to jam closed when activated with that much pressure, as the pressure would quickly subside.

SO something that sits one or two miles on the bottom of the ocean for months at a time has an "emergency unit" that has no way of testing it while it's on the job.

Sorta like an automobile airbag, only underwater?

It was interesting to note that the cap did look like it lost the seals - there was a pattern of axial screws which seems to have once held something below the flange of the cap, but was now bare.

Earlier in the day ROV's were pulling off rubber rings that were held on metal ring. Looks like a piece of one still might be hanging. They may have been more trouble than they were worth.One had been torn before. Maybe it contributed to difficulty in getting cap level and caused the irregular leak pattern seen before.

That was were the rubber seal was.
They did not have BIG washers so the rubber pull through. :-)

At what point does public physical and mental health needs become addressed? We have folks going through PTSD around here, and the only thing the city offered was a concert that the locals were excluded from. I even volunteered to work at the 'free' concert. Before the time was even up (8 minutes) scalpers had them on Ebay. In lots of 20 on a 4 ticket limit. Forget my entertainment. Capt Kruse succumbed to what I believe was PTSD induced suicide. Not a doctor, but I am a combat vet.

RIP Capt. Kruse

The feds held a conference/workshop event in N.O., run by Emory, yesterday and today to determine how best to address this issue. I posted a link to it. If it actually resulted in something with utility instead of simply generating more meetings, maybe something will come of it before it's too late.

Hi guys. Awesome website, thank you for hosting it.

I've been lurking here for several weeks and am very impressed with the knowledge and talent that reside here.

I hope this question isn't a stupid one, but I haven't seen it addressed anywhere.

With all the gushing and release of pressure from the well, has anyone yet estimated how much pressure has been released from the well?
Where does all that released pressure go? Does it expand the atmosphere, cause the sea levels to rise slightly?

I mean, it has to go somewhere right? The way I see it, the Earths atmosphere is a lot like a balloon, push your finger on one side, the balloon bulges on the other side.

Again, I hope it's not a stupid question since it's my first.


Hey Red....Boots show up yet? He should have been knocking on your pearly gates a month or so ago. LOL.
Technically you correct but the scale is off the charts. I wouldn't even try to guess the millionth of a percent or so it might represent. But if you confine your thoughts to the csg environment then you've got some significant pressure changes. That's why there's concern about secondary csg and cmt failures.

Hi Rockman.

Nope, haven't seen Boots, but Puss just passed by a little while

I hear what you're saying but my train of thought is that all this gas is expanding massively as it rises to the surface, so a barrel of gas is really a lot more than a barrel once it's in the atmosphere.

Also, I'm currently haunting the Tampa Bay area and I haven't had a headache in over 25 years, but the past week, I've had one constantly.


You might have caught the reference but others might not get the joke. Back in the early days when Red was running his wild well control business his two top hand were Boots and Coots. Rumor was that when Red let his son take over the biz B&C became unhappy and started there own well control company called Boots & Coots. Boots passed on to that big BOP in the sky a short while back. Hence the pearly gate reference.

Rockman, I'm not in the awl bidness but I did have an outside director on my Board of Directors who also was on Boots & Coots' Board. We would all get together at for a Christmas party weekend and pheasant hunt each year hosted by our shared Director. Hands down, they had the best war stories. Also, some of the best darn shots with 12-guages I've ever hunted with.

Not really sure it would work this way, but it seems that gas, under pressure, will dissolve into the water. Think fizzy sodas and the like. Some of the gas would thus become part of the water, and take up no additional space. At sufficient depth, and pressure, and temparature, it will 'freeze out' as cathrates.

Does anyone know what percentage would make it to the surface? Was there a big, bubbly area, near the rig? Just wondering about that.


I'll take a stab: The pressure goes into accelerating mass out of the reservoir; think of it as converting potential energy into kinetic energy. Eventually the reservoir pressure will come into equilibrium with the ambient pressure at the sea floor, but this could take months or years.

That kinetic energy gets back into potential energy as the oil raises up - and ofcourse some of it will get converted to thermal.

Yes, please, lets revisit and give all proper consideration to all the nuclear actuated spinning battle ship screws, the giant reservoir tipped condoms, the supertanker merry-go-round skimmers, nuke it till it quits, stick a giant inflatable pickle in the hole, sprinkle hay on it, circulate the Gulf of Mexico through a centrifuge for 30,000 years, hit the magic button, wave the magic wand and call Harry Potter solutions that the misguided and obstinate experts doing the math (cyherin') and physics (figgerin") have neglected. Sheeeeeesh!

You forgot to mention my favorite: the Nanobots. "It'll work, dudes!"

Also, Magic Infinitely-Skinny Umbrellas that can be routed past the BOP rams and down into the reservoir.

And the pave the Gulf with millions of tons of cement solution.

Cement? Heck, if we could get a good substrate under it, it's already getting tarred.

The Penguin has such an umbrella, and yet no - he too, with the proverbial, "can't even get a bat signal returned."

Catch the entire mess in a stainless steel Klein Bottle.

You forgot sharks with laser beams on their fricken heads.

(necessary edit by PG)


You forgot to note the use of "gizintas."

Hey now, there's a lot of uninformed people out here. in your spare time that you have to complain about them make some concise (two or three sentance) answers to some of the dumb questions and post them to the FAQ board. This is how we educate people.

I still say the inflatable pickle idea would have worked...

Here's my suggestion; since a lot of the suggested techniques have the same or similar reasons for their infeasability, just number them. Why won't a bomb work? See #2 in FAQ's Why won't a water weenie work? see #4.

And a lot of them got to wikipedia

wouldn´t it be nice if some oilexperts would help with that Articel ?

Oilexperts have left the building. Good luck.

Syncro: Thank you for your comments on the previous thread. You're analysis reminded me of the criteria for federal injunctions. They differ in some ways from state TROs, etc. Keep posting please. Whether people like it or not, a number of issues will be resolved in court. In the end, what BP and the entire oil patch, for that matter, eventually look like when all of this is over will mostly be shaped by the federal court system. And that shape in turn will affect the journey of Peak Oil. It's better resolved in the courts than in the streets.

To me, Judge Feldman's opinion is not prejudiced and is not pro oil patch. He is simply demanding adherence to long established standards and burdens of proof. My only issue with Judge Feldman is the "appearance of a conflict" issue. But then to a hammer all problems look like a nail.

Thank you, EL, for your really nice compliment. I enjoy your posts very much as well. As boring and ugly as law can be, it can also be very interesting to watch the raw battles between important competing socital interests play out ... with the winner declared according to the values and priorities reflected in our laws, which are passed by people we elect. Or so we're told. :~D

But i came here because i worked in the oil field for a spell, as a roughneck (chain hand)and on seismic crews in the mountain states, and Alaska, including up in the arctic and to prudho bay. I have also done some horizontal boring, under rivers and such. I really enjoy the technical side, but lack experience/education. So of course I love TOD.

syncro: As the other two branches of government become less able to make a decision for too many reasons to discuss here, Congress seems to have decided to default the solutions off to the judiciary. Having had a little experience at the trial court judge level, I know that a trial judge must make a decision. Let me repeat: Make a decision. No choice. And frequently if the case is not properly presented to the judge, then an awkward decision can result. (I think Judge Feldman was in that position.) Information and time are limited. The first job of a judge is to make a decision, right or wrong. And that's why I think Peak Oil (and Peak Water) will probably take their general shape and may even find their specific remedies through the court system because the other two branches will duck the hard choices—Congress through division and the executive through avoidance. It will not be pretty. But, then again, not much is. "And so it goes...."

"And so it goes...."

Sounds like the management in my old company - lay them end-to-end and they still won't reach a decision! ;^)

Phil: "And so it goes..." is the repeated phrase at end of each chapter describing some human inflicted horror in Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children's Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death (1969). It is not a wildly optimistic novel. However,the novel does feature Montana Wildhack, a porn star.

Montana Wildhack, memorably portrayed in the (quite good) film version by Valerie Perrine.

kal: Just to head deeply into the off thread weeds: Just the name "Montana Wildhack" is enough to make Vonnegut an immortal.

Most social engineering in the US is done through the federal court system: abortion, integration, etc. etc. I agree wholeheartedly that the main path of Peak Oil/Water reform will be through the courts.

Which raises another issue: personality. As I said in another thread, I know Marty Feldman, and I know that he doesn't suffer fools at all. He probably got the request for the TRO by rotation, and not by judge shopping, but I was struck with the fact that Judge Feldman would be particularly hostile to Sec. Salazar's sloppiness. It's quite possible another judge would have given the govt. a second crack at writing an order, but that didn't happen in this case. Judge Feldman's red light went on when he saw the govt. ignoring its own procedures and doctoring the expert report.

It made me wonder how much personality has played in this story-- from the supervisor on the rig, to the BP CEO, to President Obama and Sec. Salazar. An amazing number of business and governmental decisions happen simply because people like each other, not because they agree.

Have Peak Oil proponents identified sympathetic judges, legislators, executives? Is there a "face" for the movement, someone to tell the story?

retiredL: Which raises another odd question. Why didn't Interior find out this Judge's rep and perhaps ask for a short delay to tailor their sloppy response to fit his known rep? Good God, Salazar's boys look like arrogant and amateur. "If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." — Red Adair

According to Huffington Post, the gov't position is being narrowed. The gov't has been concerned about some areas where the pressures are not fully known. It is complicated by differences in areas of some fields. There will be more areas opened up shortly, but not all until the complicated answers to this problem are found.

Hello everyone.. .yes.. I just created a membership... have been reading the Oil drum for several weeks now..

I hope I can ask a newbie question (hopefully not a stupid one) without getting flamed too much.

Someone commented on a thread yesterday about the safety record of production platforms.. and how they have fail safe shutdown systems for events like hurricanes...

For a complete new guy.. could someone explain the way a production well works.. and how those safety systems work. Is there a valve "down hole" that can shut the well to eliminate the pressure at the well head?

Also... how is a well like the WW that has been shut in.. then opened to turn it into a production well?
And finnaly, the reason I ask these questions... What would have happened if this well had not failed when it did? I mean .. with all the problems we now think we know about the well design and poor cementing on the lower plug.. what if it had held just long enough for them to put in a top plug and leave the well... What would have happened when they went back to it in the future to open it up to make it into a production well?? Could the failed lower plug then have caused a blowout at that point?
The reason I ask... could there be many other wells... now currently capped... that could potentially be disasters waiting to happen when they are re opened?

Thanks to everyone who contributes to this forum for the great information.


"What would have happened if this well had not failed when it did? I mean .. with all the problems we now think we know about the well design and poor cementing on the lower plug.. what if it had held just long enough for them to put in a top plug and leave the well... What would have happened when they went back to it in the future to open it up to make it into a production well?? Could the failed lower plug then have caused a blowout at that point?
The reason I ask... could there be many other wells... now currently capped... that could potentially be disasters waiting to happen when they are re opened?"

Let me start with these questions first. Had the plan been for the rig to stay on location and complete the well it's very possible that enough hydrostatic pressure would have been exerted on the well to stil have well control through out the completion process. Maybe they would have performed the CBL and found a bad cement job and then they would have fixed that problem and nothing else would have happened. So just having the rig stay on location to complete the well and maybe this disaster doesn't happen.

When you say the "lower plug" I'm not certain what your taling about. Most people now think the the wells flow path for the blowout is in the annulus. Plugs are inside the casing the annulus is the outside of the production casing, so plugs are probably not in play in my view.

Had the Horizon got away from the location without the blowout happenig to them, it's possible that the well would have blown out while no rig was on location. If the other rig would have started work on the well it could have happened to them too, unless they were able to put heavy brine fluid in the well at the beginning of the completion process.

Had the well made it all the way through the completion process and the wellhead was attached, in my view as soon as the well was brought on line the annular pressure would have been an issue because the wellhead was attached there would not have been a blowout, unless the excessive pressure commuinicated among all the casing strings. That is the point where a underground blowout with a surface breach at the mud line could have destroyed the entire wellbore.

For the most part wells are completed once they get to this point they don't temporarily abandon them and come back later to be "re opened". Most of the companies I work with use the same rig to drill and complete. Wells that's already producing don't get reopened and most well in the GOM have multiple barriers unlike the BP Horizon well.

If your confused by my answers don't feel like the lone wolf because I just read it and now I'm even confused, so next time ask less questions! Ha!

wildman, all good questions. Lots of ifs and possibilities.

For info, there are some number of folks in the war room that think the well is flowing mainly up the drill pipe because of the high flow rate and for several other reasons. There may be some flow up the annulus also but not the main flow. The kill pumping schedule is giving a clue that busting into the casing to fill the wellbore is a first must. Reason for these opinions is the fact that there was only a guide shoe not a float shoe. Then there were flapper valves in the float collar that took an excessive number of attempts to shear the rod that held the flappers open. Then there was the heavier than mud cement slurry and a rather long rat hole that could have facilitated the slurry swapping out with the mud or at least severely contaminating the cement in the bottom of the well, and then of course the poor set time for the cement coupled with the testing that they did before 24 hrs(slurry tests showed no compressive strength at 24 hrs). I think there is also some planning to intersect above the reservoir(18000 ft plus or minus) and above a lost circulation zone encountered while drilling the BO well.

Thank you. Much appreciated.

Thanks for answering my newbie questions...

Those of us that are new to this are struggling with the oil field terminology more than the technology.. ;-)

So what I get from the answers is that most wells are drilled then put right into production... that makes sense in that most wells are drilled into known reserves.
But some wells, like this one, are exploratory to find the new reserves and are then capped off until a later time.

My original questions were brought on by the thoughts that there may be more "faulty" wells out in the gulf. And your answers lead me to believe that had this well been PROPERLY constructed and closed off, that it would not have been a problem later on. However, there is a possibility that this well could have been closed off, the rig moved on, and later leaking thru bad cement to the space between the casing and the walls of the drill hole could cause a leak into the sea floor and ultimately a collapse of the well head.

THat leads me back to my original thinking that there could be other wells in the gulf that might be in trouble, possibly even leaking and spewing oil into the gulf that we don't know about. I can't believe that this well was the ONLY one where corners were cut or that critical tests were not run for long enough. Yes this was BP's well and all the other companies might want us to think that their practices are far Superior to BP's... but the reality is more likely that they all cut corners to some extent or another.

SO... do these exploratory wells get left with some instrumentation that would show problems later on? Are they periodically inspected?
Again... could there be other ticking time bombs out there?

With all that said.. and framed in the context of the moratorium on deep water drilling putting people out of work... should we enforce the moratorium until new safety standards can be worked out... and at the same time keep the oil field working by having the drill ships and crews go back and open / test any wells that have been capped off / abandoned?

Again.. thanks for putting up with my newbie banter... and I apologize in advance if anything I say offends anyone on this board :-)

TVeng, Here's a good link about a drilling and production spar called Perdido:

To say these things are BIG would be an understatement:

I subscribe to E&P magazine and WorldOil and have for years, so am somewhat accustomed to the lingo, but this site still has much to teach even me. I think even RockMan would admit he's learned one or two things here as well. ;)

They all will have a "Christmas Tree", which will have various valves and instruments. All production wells have a production choke. Most modern production wells have an automatic variable choke with hydraulic, electric, or pneumatic actuation although some still have a fixed choke or simply an orifice to restrict the flow.

Some subsea completions have a topsides choke only, some have a variable choke subsea, and some have a fixed choke subsea and a variable choke topsides, which is the arrangement favored by many Statoil rigs.

After the choke the fluid will go through a series of pressurized vessels known as separators. Gas will be pulled off the top of these vessels, oil from the middle and water from the bottom. Wells will have one, two or even three of these separators in descending pressure to separate and move the various hydrocarbons.

Gas will be dried to "pipeline grade", compressed and shipped off via pipeline spur if the quantity warrants. Otherwise, it will be flared. Oil will be shipped via pipeline spur or in the case of an FPSO it will be offloaded to tankers.

That's a grossly oversimplified description, but it's fairly accurate.

The solution to stopping the flow of oil is a very simple tool. the plumbing industry has a rubber diaphram called a water wiene, that when filled with air. it expands to block a pipe so we can fill the pipe with water to do a leak test. an air hose with a wiene on the end is pushed down to the level where pipe ends and open oil resevoir connects. the weine is filled with air and blocks the pipe at a safe level
the pipe that is going to the surface which is said now is fragil and could not take a pressure stop. being below that area the pipe can be sealed with no pressure on the pipe above going to the surface.

In the drilling industry it is called a packer and would work very well if you had anyway to get it through the BOP and into a well bore - but you can't get it through the BOP and if the well is leaking through the annulus as many believe it is then it wouldn't have any way to stop the flow if you could get through the BOP. Like plugging a small pipe inside a larger pipe when the flow is on the outside of the small pipe.

Suggest you review some of the previous threads and find a casing diagram. There are several around and a picture of the "plumbing" might show yopu why it wouldn't work.

You obviously never tried to stick a wet noodle up a wildcats arse.

This question actually me made me go look up the the psi of a municipal water system . 50 - 100.

Boy do I need a hobby.

I've only seen those rubber inflatable things used on drain lines, not service lines, (correct me if I'm wrong). I've used 'em on a 2 story house with I think a 2 1/2" drain line for leak testing. I think that's well below 50-70 psi. But it is essentially the same thing as a packer, if I remember right, (no telling), in its application.

Donner - actually I once did try. But I don't drink that much any more.

Here's a longer (44 min) presentation by Jeremy Jackson:

Brave New Ocean

Does anyone know which ROV hit the valve? Just curious.

Around midnight, Discoverer Enterprise #1 was descending along the riser, and inspecting the flanges. I stopped watching before it got all the way down to the cap, don't know if it was related or not. But Enterprise 1 & 2 were the ones that put the cap back on, unassisted - maybe that was a case of 'you broke it, you get to fix it'?

I do not think this was caused by the Discoverer Enterprise #1 riser inspection. The inspection continued down, and at about the intersection of riser sections 7 and 8 the oil plume did become evident (as the riser is above the LMRP cap).

The riser inspection became more difficult as it continued down, and they even missed the connection between sections 6 and 7, because it was getting hard to see.

The ROV continued down and inspected the intersection of riser sections 3 and 4. The ROV did attempt to go further down, but visibility was so poor, the ROV backed off. During this short period of time, the ROV did get close to the riser, but it did not seem to make contact.

The ROV did go of horizontally, and did not descend down further, which makes the possibility of the enterprise ROV 1 inspection activity causing this incident low.

A shout out to the cleanup crew at the main beach in Gulf Shores. We got bombed again today, but the crew had a contaminated beach 98% clean in a couple of hours. They have become much more efficient. I imagine this pattern of getting bombed and then a quick clean up will continue for some time. They wave and act friendly now, unlike before.

From today's bucket.

The Myth of Sysiphus

This time of year that beach should be PACKED full of tourists. Do you know how much of an impact this disaster has had on the hotels and beachfront restaurants in lost revenue?

Is it more or less than a hurricane?

I'm guessing less.

From the previous thread ( It bears repeating.

Gobbet on June 23, 2010
Skimming rate-- the unnoticed scandal

In its permit application, BP claimed that its contractors had a skimming capability of 400,000 bpd, or approximately 10 times the volume of the DWH spill. But these contractors actually delivered--in early May, before the stormy weather of mid to late May--only around 1,000 bpd, That's right, 1/400th of the claimed capacity.

This should have been the big story of the cleanup failure. The contractors claimed to have, but did not actually have, the capacity to control a big spill by skimming. Here is about the only competent article on the issue:

So the cleanup effort was doomed from the start. There was no chance of keeping the oil away from the shore. I don't know when that dawned on BP and the feds. Tony Hayward may have been sincere in his early claim that the damage would be minimal. What, me worry? Our guys can skim 400,000 barrels a day!

How many lifeboats did the Titanic have?

PF - I beleive they had exactly enough to take care of the survivors. Do I get a prize now? Maybe a Blue Bell of The Month subscription.

nope. enough for 52% of the passengers.

(you've got enough frickin Blue Bell as it is, you addict!) :)

He said they had enough to hold all the survivors. You aren't reading it with the proper amount of snark!

"enough for 52% of the passengers." What about the crew?

Wrong! There were nowhere near enough lifeboats for all passengers and crew. Lifeboats were seen as superfluous for an unsinkable ship.

hence "enough" for the SURVIVORS

Fourteen regular lifeboats, four collapsible lifeboats and two 'emergency cutters' for a total of 20 boats.

This was four boats more than the British Board of Trade regulations required for a ship of Titanic's size (i.e. any ship over 10,000 tons).

Many rules and regulations were changed after Titanic, including one that required a radio operator be on duty 24/7.

Ha ha! Got you all. Try this one: a plane crashed exactly on the border of Texas and Oklahoma. To which state's morgue do they trasnport the survivors?

A clue: I didn't say they had enough lifeboats for the passengers. I said they had exactly enough for the survivors. Shoot...for a second here I felt like I was listening to a bunch of geologists.

OK: comfy gets the January of my BBIC of the Month subscription.

*sigh* well played sir. well played indeed.

what flavor is it again? :)

It OK goose. Early in my career I learned a geologist was going to have to survive by illusion and misdirection. Kinda like "Look...I think I see a parachute north of the rig" says Rockman as he quickly hides the inconclusive negative pressure test in the back of the file cabinate.

Of course I only use these tricks for the good now. Well...and maybe sometimes to talk someone into drilling my idea.

Naw, it's even worse. I use a similar play on words in my quantitative modeling/methods class--my students would rib me ceaselessly were they to find out that I also fell prey to your misdirection...

It's getting too hot around here for ice cream. Y'all tried Blue Bell fruit bars yet? And I do mean Fruit, big chunks of it. Found them on Grand Isle last year and now I'm addicted.

The survivors are sent to the same morgue as the dead folk, so the former can identify the latter.

Only in Texas noob...after that little necrophilia rumor about the Okies got started.

Opps...may have crossed the line on that one. Just write it off to my nightly B&B on the rocks. Thank goodness the kids are in bed.

It actually took me a minute or so to get the answer. You got me!

hey I know I'm a noob but I was 4 minutes ahead

and survivors aren't taken to morgues! pppppppppttttt

I am making homemade apricot ice cream!

My fave is Mint Chocolate Chip, but for the past year or so that's been as rare as rocking horse sh*t. Been restricted to Vanilla and Cookies n' Cream for too long now.

Actually, there were lifeboats for 1178 of 2223 who embarked, but only 706 survived. Only 18 of 20 lifeboats were successfully launched (two broke away empty), and many lifeboats were launched partially full (one with only 12 aboard). Only 9 passengers were picked up from the water by the partially empty lifeboats, and 3 of these died. A few passengers did successfully climb into the two empty lifeboats, and survive.

"To which state's morgue do they transport the survivors?"

To whichever state's morgue is holding the victims, of course.
(The survivors are needed to identify them!) :-)

Rockman: Washington, D.C.?

Thanks for reposting this, Mr. Fisherman Gobbet raised some important points. I hope some of the investigative reporters visiting TOD will follow up on this and dig in to contractor performance issues.

(EDIT) In reply to the beach-cleanup and BP's capacity. The thread was interrupted by a lot of talk about ice cream and dead bodies.)

The new rule of PR is, if it is impossible for a reporter to establish the facts to the contrary, it flies. In most cases, the industry itself is the best source.

If they ignore the outlandish theories, that means they must be true. If they explicitly deny the outlandish theories, then they are obviously lying, and again, they must be true.

(fritzie, re: your comment last night about our odd sense of humor in the face of such calamity, I think some of it is like whistling through the graveyard. Some of it is that you can either laugh, cry, or get really angry - personally I've done all three. Be glad I didn't link to my video of the gusher set to Yakety Sax!)

Hello Old Fisherman,

In case you missed my answer to your post on skmmers yesterday:

Old Fisherman,

There are not 6 North Sea skimmer ships working in the Gulf.

The CG accepted 6 sweeping arms trough
The 6 arms are being deployed on vessels of opportunity with oil storage capacity. So that computes to 3 US skimming ships.

The skimming capacity of the sweeping arms are clear:
One ship with two skimmers can collect up to 250.000 liters of oil out of the water per hour. That is net oil, so without the water. Their water cut is aprox. 30% in this system.

So, 3 ships with these skimmers, each collecting 250.000 liter of oil per hour, is 750.000 liters times 24 equals 18.000.000 liters per day.
That is approx. 113.000 barrels of oil per day.

Of course is the actual collection rate proportional to the thickness of the oil layer on the water. Some have point out that it will not collect much on areas with oil-sheen only. True, but what other technique would? Yes, 6 arms deployed on 3 ships is of course nearly not enough for the entire spill. What you need is a strategy with all available techniques:

A complete strategy could be as follow:

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

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

It is a fact that a lot of oil is being dispersed in the water column: Also measured oxygen depletion points in this direction. Although nobody knows how much oil is staying under the surface.

So either the ships are being deployed on the wrong areas (mainly oil sheen), or
most of the oil has not surfaced (yet).

Wetter this is caused by the huge usage of dispersant at the well (should BP stop this?), or it is because of the nature of the oil/gas mixture being released on great depths is unknown right now.

Fact is that skimming is the best way to clean up the oil. If you look at the amount of International help including skimmers that has been offered, the CG should accept all skimming devices immediately. Currently they are almost all still under consideration!

Roger from the Netherlands.

Have been reading up on bluefin tuna and wondered when the shoes would start to drop. Here's a big one:

Endangered-Species Status Is Sought for Bluefin Tuna

Article fails to mention the estimate that the population is already down 80% due to overfishing.

From my reading of the various solutions being put forth, the problem seems to be the BOP is in the way of putting anything down the well bore. The ultimate solution is to pump mud at around 18,000 feet and overcome the pressure of the oil and gas. Which is exactly what the relief wells are intended to do.

Ok. Since our goal is to pump mud into the wellbore at depth, then the simpler solution is simply to remove the BOP. Yes, we will have a big increase in flow. But how long would it take for the drill-ship to run down 18,000 foot of drill pipe through the original hole and start pumping kill mud? From my limited experience in off-shore drilling some 30 years ago, tripping into the hole would take less than a day.

The only complication that I see with this plan would be the 3000 feet of drill pipe that was in the hole at the time of the blowout. Is it still hung up in the rams and hanging from them or has it been cut off and fallen to the bottom? If it is still attached to the BOP shear rams, the 3000 feet of drillpipe and BOP can be lifted off by crane and the new drill pipe can be run in and the mud can commence to be pumped in at the depth we want it at.

ok i figured it out the dril pipe is still in the casing how much room is between the drill and the casing and if the drill pipeh has gone down the rubber plug will make it to the bottom and plug the pipe long enough to fill will drillin concrete plugif the y

I'm still curious about that second DP in the riser stub. Initially I bought the theory about DP in the riser snapping (brittleness) in multiple places when the riser bent over and a piece dropping down into the annular area, but I started having doubts about that when CRAW snipped off the riser and we saw identical color flow out of both DP, indicating the second DP is sourcing from more or less the same place as the other, i.e. somewhere below the BOP.

The Northern Bluefin Tuna fishery is a delicate and complicated issue.

No denying that this species has been over fished, and the explosion in popularity of sushi over the past 20 years certainly hasn't helped matters.

However, the reality is this, Northern Bluefin have a migratory pattern that takes them from the South Eastern US, up the coast to Nova Scotia and Nfld, over to Europe and the Med, then back across towards Florida, then north again.

Here in North America, we've actually managed the fishery quite well over the past 30+ years.
In fact, take Nova Scotia for example, the fishermen out of Halifax have a very small fishing season where they can only take 1 single fish per day, over a period of about 3 weeks, or until they catch a total weight of 3500 lbs. With their catch averaging 500-700 lbs, that's about 5 or fish in a single season per boat. There are not 1000's of boats fishing there, barely 100.

These are caught using hand lines with 100lb test. Only 2 or 3 guys per boat, it takes them 2-3 hours just to get the fish in and cooled down before hauling it aboard.

The Japanese buyers are waiting on shore, the Captains radio ahead that they'll be back in a couple hours with a 1000 pounder or whatever. The fishermen can get anywhere from $6000 to $300,000 for that single fish.

Across the pond, it's a wild west orgy that has not been properly using helicopters and spotter planes to locate the schools, the boats rush over with huge nets, encircle the schools and take every damn one.

As you can imagine, the North American fishermen don't feel they should be penalized for this horrible mis-management (and mostly, lack of enforcement) in the eastern Atlantic. Understandable since a single fish can be so lucrative.

If a complete moratorium were in place, our fishermen lose their livelihoods and the Europeans would ignore it and keep on fishing illegally.

That's why it's so complicated an issue. Only a full global enforced response will save this species.

Check this out...(Make sure to click on the Word Doc attachment 'Northern Bluefin Fishery'...that's where the embedded video clip is)

On the linked page, there's an embedded video clip of me in Halifax with a large bluefin on the dock that sold for $37,500. I had the luxury of carving a chunk off this baby and eating it right there on the sashimi I ever had. (LOL, probably cost the fisherman about $300 for the piece I ate)

Also, I wrote a blog post with a short story (satire/spoof) in the spirit of the BP Coffee Spill video, outlining how things would go down if BP owned a restaurant. I think it's pretty funny, perhaps you will too.


Brought forward from earlier thread by eloneilli

Yes, I understand all of this. I'm not sure how it makes my solution impossible. The ideal end game would be the umbrella seals over the end of the casing, not the production pipe.

I don't think you do understand. The production pipe (which is a string of casing) runs the entire 13,000 ft of the well and when you run your "umbrella " to the bottom it will be inside of it with no access to the annullus. You really need to go refer to casing diagrams that have been shown on this web site many times. You claim to be a mechanical engineer and you have been a member here a long time although not posting till recently. I can't imagine an engineer that would have not studied the diagrams carefully.

Offshore Insurance to Shrink as Providers Flee BP-Like Risk

BP Plc’s rig explosion that caused the worst oil spill in U.S. history is set to curtail insurance coverage for offshore drilling, forcing companies to self-insure or exit deepwater fields.

BP’s leak in the Gulf of Mexico is “a market-changing event,” said Dieter Berg, senior executive manager marine at Munich Re, the world’s biggest reinsurer and among those exposed to losses.

“What insurer is going to want to put out $1 billion worth of deepwater insurance and only get paid $5 to $10 million after this? They may as well write a few more hurricane-insurance contracts,” Eck said.

I thought all the big oil boys were self insured.

In BP's case the were also self 'ensured' it seems.

Yep. For this and Rockman's long term contract reason, I think deepwater drilling in the US is dead till way post peak. It's why I suggested BP should cut and run - there's nothing for them in staying there.

As regards elsewhere, I think cooler heads will prevail and minor mods to rules will suffice, enshrined in law. The insurance premiums there won't go through the roof.

If the GoM currently produces 1.3Mbpd of the US 5-6Mbpd production, and the lifetime of each well is low, you have to assume that total US production is going to take a permanent spike downwards. Far from energy independence, the order of the day is going to be big import problems, with Mexico, GoM & Alaska falling off and China able to outbid for closer shipment routes.

Look to an invasion of Venezuela within the foreseeable. It makes much more sense to secure that supply line than go for expeditionary Afghan wars.

Yes the GOM only produces 1.3 MBPD of oil, but as in many mature oil regions natural gas in the GOM is what most of the rigs drill for. Yeah sure, they happily will take oil when found, but natural gas is the dominant Energy resource that will be affected by the deep water moratorium and other reasons not to drill.

The GoM currently produces 1.7 million bpd (surpassing the previous GoM "peak" in June 2002) according to the EIA. All the recent drilling produced a massive unexpected boost that completely blew away the best possible expectations of both the EIA and MMS.

That's if you believe the figures anyway and to be honest - I'm not sure I do.


In the previous thread there was a discusion re: coverting mud weight to pressure. The short hand calc is: Pressure (psi) = 0.052 X mud column height (feet) X mud weight (#/gallon). Given two of the variables and you can calc the third. This calc will likely become the center of attention when the RW begin the kill. And for reference the BP data base indicates they measured actual formation pressure with a wireline tool (the MDT). The pressure was equivalent to 12.6 ppg (they drilled it with a 14.0 ppg or so mud weight). This equates to about 11,900 psi.

Sorry...I don't have the meric version but some clever type can figure the translation out.

Pressure (Pa) = head (m) x density (kg/m³) x gravity (9.81 m/s²)

To the person in the previous thread asking for credible proof of oil rains in Louisiana:

You do not have to look far to see pictures of how bad things are. If you do a search for oil, you'll see plenty. The oil rains are pretty convincing too. Hurricane anybody?

Now, THAT'S alarming.

oh no. Has this ever happened before, anyone know? Could the use of dispersant cause this?

A - It certainly is an oil sheen.

B - It does not show any sign of weathering or emulsion. Any oil from the BP well that was expelled through a mile of water, then either evaporated and precipitated as rain, or picked up by a strong wind and then mixed into a rain cloud would show signs of weathering and emulsion.

C - It doesn't seem similar to any of the oil sheen from pictures of the BP spill. It does look exactly like the sheen you get from spilled motor oil.

I'm going to ring the BS gong on this one. Either it is a deliberate fake or the people taking the video were severely mislead.

or a local BP oil storage tank is gushing up stream somewhere.

Now wouldn't that be the shock of the year!

2 things to note

1/ They do not show the surrounding area so you cannot get any sense of other sources.

2/ There are concentrated patches that look just like sump drippings.


It's all over the news: cars skidding down the highway, swings not squeaking, and worst of all, rainboils.

LMAO at that video....I would be so embarrassed to post that video.

Poor woman has never seen a rainbow.

TinFoilHatGuy should make an extra hat and send it to her.

Oh my. That is possibly the most wonderful video on all the internets; it's not only going in my bookmarks, it's getting saved to disk. A perfect illustration of when a little knowledge is more dangerous than none at all. "Metallic oxide salts"!! ROFL

I can think of so many uses. The most immediate of those would be as a reply to every single one of dougr's comments.

YouTube is already loaded with versions of this vid. I'll betcha someone just changed their car oil, and left the full catch pan out, exposed to a downpour... I don't buy it... not yet anyways. Let the big storms get here first.

oh FFS not here too! ugh

can this be in the giant screww/sharks with nukes book's appendix?

Sorry, but oil on top of running water is not a sign of the oil coming out of the sky.

It's oil/diesel rain alright, right from under the truck you see the front bumper of at the end of the video.

Do you have any?

What utter nonsense.

I would believe this more if it wasn't water running along a road. Every road in the world has oil on it from vehicles, and it gets carried off every time it rains.

Let's see an isolated rainwater basin or rainfall measuring device with oil in it; this video isn't proof of anything.

Looks like rain run-off from a freshly paved parking lot/road to me...I've seen this many times before (worked on county road crews in my youth). Now if I saw a video of oily sheen on automobile windshields, concrete sidewalks, etc. then I'd be more receptive to the idea.

UPDATE 3-US to issue more flexible oil drilling moratorium
* Salazar says new drilling moratorium can be adjusted
* Drilling may be allowed in certain oil reservoirs
* New team to investigate misconduct by gov't, oil workers

By Tom Doggett and Ayesha Rascoe
WASHINGTON, June 23 (Reuters) - The U.S. government will
revise its restrictions on offshore drilling, which could allow
some deepwater oil projects to go forward after a court threw
out the Obama administration's blanket drilling ban, a senior
official said on Wednesday.

So, if the Toyota has braking issues, the govt will stop the importing of Toyotas and Nissans, but will still allow Hondas.

Well, at least they are trying to address and face up to the flaws in the proposed moratorium. Salzar is now going to consider a risk - criteria approach to lifting the moratorium in some areas:


He suggested some drilling in proven oil fields might move
forward. That would be good news for companies like Petrobras
and Royal Dutch Shell, which were set to delay major projects
on fields that offer the best new source of domestic crude.

"It might be that there are demarcations that can be made
based on reservoirs where we actually do know the pressures and
the risks associated with that versus those reservoirs which
are exploratory in nature," Salazar said.

"We will in the weeks and months ahead take a look at how
it is that the moratorium in place might be refined," he said
Salazar would not say how the new moratorium would get
around the judge's ruling against a blanket ban, but Salazar's
move to include criteria for lifting the ban and possibly
allowing drilling for certain fields may be the answer.

The secretary would not commit to issuing the new drilling
moratorium this week.

"We're working out the specifics. I have a meeting this
afternoon on when we'll do it," he told reporters after the

Same link

"get around the judge's ruling against a blanket ban" Judge Feldman did not prohibit a "blanket ban." Judge Feldman said Salazar did not present sufficient, credible evidence to support a "blanket ban." Judge: "Give me some evidence, Salazar." [syncro is quoting someone else so inaccurate description is not syncro's fault.]

been hearing word of the govt taking this to a higher court or something.....regardless of the moratorium being overturned ....the plain fact is operator is planning any drilling anytime soon right get things moving for a DW well takes about 2 weeks ...mobilizing and logistical and bla if a operator decides tomorrow to resume drilling the bit won't sink in the ground for at least 15 days ......and by that point the govt may have taken up the moratorium to a higher court and the judge may rule in favor of the govt....and the operators might have to cut and run again having wasted a few million bucks with nothing to show for really the govt is still getting what they wanted even with the moratorium over turned .....

just my 2 cents here

ali: Apparently, from a post above by syncro, Salazar is going for a new, revised ban backed (he hopes) by credible evidence which may comply with Judge Feldman's ruling. In Judge's Feldman's opinion, the first ban failed for lack of enough evidence to meet the minimum standards required. So: revised ban, credible evidence. Salazar can just keep doing this till he gets it right... sorta like bunting practice in high school baseball.

Maybe a combination of bunting practice and horseshoes: unlimited attempts and close counts. Feldman is likely to show deference to the government when considering a revised moratorium. The minimum standard, if you're the United States Government, is usually pretty low.

Conversely, the standard for issuing a preliminary injunction is quite high. I'm too tired and lazy to do real research right now, but I believe this is from most recent on-point SCOTUS ruling:

"[Plaintiff] must establish that he is likely to succeed on the merits, that he is likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief, that the balance of equities tips in his favor, and that an injunction is in the public interest."

Winter v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. (No. 07-1239)

A 5-4 written by Roberts.

Salazar's first attempt was so feeble that one might almost imagine that the folks at Interior didn't expect it to be challenged. They probably won't make that mistake twice.

Technically, the new order/moratorium will not comply with the judge's ruling in the sense that he has already ruled and granted the injunction against the old order. I imagine there is some way to have a re-hearing, possibly, based on new facts. But Salzar is treating the two as independent. He is appealing the granting of the injunction of the original order, but he is coming out with a new moratorium as well, and it will comply with the standards that the judge applied to find the prior order, and the defense of that order, utterly lacking in justification.

So, presumably, someone will have to sue to block the new moratorium before it will go before a judge again. It could go before a different judge, depending on where the suit is filed, but probably not. It would probably be the same parties in the same court, probably before the same judge, depending on local rules for assignment of matters.

Salzar seems to be recalibrating, and appropriately so. Politically, the moratorium was becoming a problem even before the judge slapped it down. After the judge called out their poor showing in support of it, and gave Salzar a severe spanking, it looks like they decided it had become politically untenable to continue to maintain a borad, blanket moratorium, and Salzar looked for a way out, a way to more narrowly tailor it, and to threrby lessen the economic impact.

Maybe that's the process working. If inflicting the extra economic damage a broader moratorium entails will not meaningfully reduce the risk of another spill, then why do it. Why make those people suffer for nothing when they've already been hit real hard.

"So, presumably, someone will have to sue to block the new moratorium before it will go before a judge again. It could go before a different judge, depending on where the suit is filed, but probably not. It would probably be the same parties in the same court, probably before the same judge, depending on local rules for assignment of matters."

That's likely correct, I think. Other plaintiffs might file in another DC, but the government would no doubt move to have everything consolidated, which would probably happen.

In any case, I'll be surprised if a halfway-decently crafted moratorium can't escape a preliminary injunction, given the Winter precedent.

Also note the irony of the identity of the respondent (original plaintiff) in that case.

The judge has already asserted jurisdiction, so any new attempt at a moratorium would probably go before the same judge.

The new moratorium would probably not get a clean hearing (a whole new examination of whether there's irreparable harm, immediate need, and a probability of winning on the merits), but a limited hearing (whether the new moratorium is sufficiently different to escape the limits of the existing TRO).

syncro: I went back and did a quick review of the legal documents and Judge Feldman's decision. My summary of Interior's case: "Hi, Judge! I'm Ken Salazar and, you know, I really need this moratorium. So thanks."

[I'm aware of new motion. But I didn't want to go too deeply into the legal weeds on a Peal Oil web site.]

IMO the Executive Branch does not have much leverage here. Nor does Congress for that matter. It is US Public Opinion that is mediating things.

There are so many restrictions on what the government, any branch, can do that it takes a declared emergency, not a perceived one, to enable extreme actions like BO has tried with the drilling ban. If Obama wants to get serious, he will ask Congress to declare an emergency (or he can try to do it on his own - Governors do it all the time). That will set up use of executive orders and the like. Or Congress can try to legislage the problem. Of course, most of the bills would be unconstitutional since they are ex post facto. Also, the cannot enact bills regarding a single individual (though they do it all the time by description), so they cannot single out BP.

The Judge was correct... there was nothing new shown. The problem was, and is, that the MMS was and is overrun with vermin... reconstituted from corporations who are supposed to be regulated by MMS. The famous revolving door is going to be spinning now! Count on it!

Later, when Murphy runs amok, BP PLC will declare bankruptcy and all will be surprised that they have very few real assets. What is being done now is coming from the larger BP entity, voluntarily. And, I am sure, they are protecting themselves from assumption of liability.

Before this is done, I expect that I will be working on the case in some capacity. Not for BP, I would guess.


Can you define "public interest?" I think we've de-regulated industry to the point where our legal terms are close to meaningless.

Well, that's always been a hard one to pin down, and some would even argue that it is impossible to define meaningfully. Yet it is essential to do so, to some degree, to conduct governance and jurisprudence.

West's Law Encyclopedia says:

Anything affecting the rights, health, or finances of the public at large.

Public interest is a common concern among citizens in the management and affairs of local, state, and national government. It does not mean mere curiosity but is a broad term that refers to the body politic and the public weal. A public utility is regulated in the public interest because private individuals rely on such a company for vital services.

But, if you check their Political Dictionary, it gets much, much fuzzier. That's probably OK. The public interest isn't static and unvarying. We need to keep assessing and revising the definition as our needs and circumstances change. Democracy is messy. And it's even messier when power is as unevenly distributed as it is here, and in most other places and times.

I was trying to figure out why they keep putting together new commissions and teams, but then it dawned on me- it's the solution to the unemployment problem! Two birds, one stone ... or something.

Yeah, but the people on the commissions aren't the ones who need the jobs. I want TFHG and his neighbors hired, now!

Here's another view of this sort of busy work, from John Kenneth Galbraith's classic, The Great Crash, 1929 (1954):

The no-business meeting was an almost perfect instrument for the situation in which President Hoover found himself in the autumn of 1929. The modest tax cut apart, the President was clearly averse to any large-scale government action to counter the developing depression. Nor was it very certain, at the time, what could be done. Yet by 1929 popular faith in laissez faire had been greatly weakened. No responsible political leader could safely proclaim a policy of keeping hands off. The no-business meetings at the White house were a practical expression of laissez faire. No positive action resulted. At the same time they gave a sense of truly impressive action. The conventions governing the no-business session insured that there would be no embarrassment arising from the absence of business. Those who attended accepted as a measure of the importance of the meetings the importance of the people attending. The newspapers also co-operated in emphasizing the importance of the sessions. Had they done otherwise they would, of course, have undermined the value of the sessions as news.

In recent times the no-business meeting at the White House – attended by
governors, industrialists, representatives of business, labor, and agriculture – has become an established institution of government. Some device for simulating action, whose action is impossible, is indispensable in a sound and functioning democracy. Mr Hoover in 1929 was a pioneer in this field of public administration.

Karl Denninger, at The Market Ticker ( has lived in Destin, FL for about a decade. Today he wrote an interesting post, with pictures, on the effects of the spill on the beaches in his area. His observations and photos are very interesting. Apparently, the effects are just beginning to be seen, and you can tell he's trying to get his mind around it.

Which leads to this observation:

It's been 66 days, and the oil is just getting to Destin, FL — a distance of 200 miles, or so, by my guesstimation (which has a margin of error of +-200 miles). If the initial flow of oil was light when compared to what has been gushing lately, then on August 25th, things in Destin will reflect the amounts of oil being spilled today. If a hurricane whips up between now and then, there's gonna' be one hell of a mess.

This isn't going away any time soon.

Petey, I like that margin of error!

For the first weeks of the spill, ocean currents contained most of the oil offshore of Mississippi and Louisiana. With the Loop Current breaking up an forming a giant eddy, the oil has been able to spread more in the last couple weeks, and will likely hit more of Florida. The currents change a lot, so good luck extrapolating. You can look at the US Navy predictions to see how complex the near surface flows are:

Judge tosses creationists' effort to offer master's degrees

In 2008, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board rejected the Dallas-based Institute for Creation Research's application to offer master's degrees, which taught science from a biblical perspective. The institute's graduate school sued in 2009, claiming the board violated its constitutional right to free speech and religion.
'Disjointed, incoherent'

U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks of Austin found no merit in the institute's claims and criticized its legal documents as "overly verbose, disjointed, incoherent, maundering and full of irrelevant information."

Anybody been looking at enterprise rov2?

Yeah. What are we looking at?

Rov2 shows the cap, where yellow is the cap body, above the join, and there are triangle fins, like a schoolboy rocket, radiating from around the base of the cap. These help locate it in a sea of oil.

There are also bolt heads on the cap base rim - so the leaks are usually from between the cap and the BOP top.

Be nice if they gave us a 360' and view of the top as well, but that bottom leak is looking MUCH improved.

Yes, Enterprise Rov2 shots are impressive right now.
Cap replaced and flow looking good.

But is that seemingly greatly reduced flow all being collected, or going out another vent somewhere ?

I understood the boost to 53,000bpd was not due till Tuesday ?

Cap is tilted so most is coming from the the other side. Maybe both vents are open.With the 10K BOPD going out the choke line that my account for apparent reduced flow. (Admiral Allens' 35 K BOPD may end up being close to correct.

how much room is between the drill casing and the production casing

Screenshots from two ROVs taken sequentially about 9:45pm CDT:

side_3_300w_945pm.jpg side_2_300w_945pm.jpg

See how little coming out from the one one side of the cap and then the view from the other ROV.

Question for the experts here: Is this simply due to the angle of the cap (high-side and low-side). Or, is something else in play?

View on right seems to show cap tilted badly to one side; in other view seems fairly straight. I can understand that the ROVs' cameras may not be squared with each other. No real reference to go by.

It amazes me how different the two different views look. Both in color and flow intensity.

I have 3 questions.

What is that non moving sludgesicle in front on the Skandi ROV 2?

Why would BP set up their streaming cams so that you can't do a video capture, only screen shots or recording your screen w a webcam? What's up with that?

And why is it that the ONLY webpage in the whole internet that constantly crashes my browser is the website?

hmmm...if TinFoilHatGuy is really a TinFoilHatGuy, then he should probably know, right? Or at least have a theory?


BTW, color differences are related to the type of video sensors used on each ROV's video camera and how they are color balanced. Also, how each stream is encoded can compound the differences. Pretty typical.

Ghost, I can take a crack at one of your questions: As to the browser crashes, many websides are posting their own "video walls" composed of HTML linking to the source ROV feeds (through good folks at Akamai Technologies). As to the code on each webpage: caveat emptor. If one is failing and or crashing, look for another. There are lots of them. Some are transcoding the original source stream into other formats not provided by BP.

I've been using and it is very stable on my browser/PC.

I like this one because it has each feed listed with the platform it comes from:

As I posted in an earlier thread at least one reason that systems are crashing on video wall pages is very simply that the PC is overheating. There is a huge difference in the heat output of modern multi-processor chips depending on what they are doing and multi-video walls can really stress multi-core chips.

Speedfan is a good temperature monitoring tools for Windows and can read the temperature and/or cpu sensors on most motherboards.

Red - regarding "Why would BP set up their streaming cams so that you can't do a video capture, only screen shots or recording your screen w a webcam? What's up with that?"

I've been able to record the streaming cams - you just need the right software. It does take a lot of processing power and you need a good broadband internet connection.

I believe some people are using VLC (available for multiple platforms), or screen recording programs. I'm using Quicktime Pro and Flip4Mac.

Regarding color - no two ROV cameras are alike. Skandi ROV2 had a camera meltdown a couple of days ago and shows everything in blue-greens - kinda like a black-light poster. Some of the others have a distinct green tone.

Why would BP set up their streaming cams so that you can't do a video capture, only screen shots or recording your screen w a webcam? What's up with that?

And why is it that the ONLY webpage in the whole internet that constantly crashes my browser is the website?

First off the BP streams are perfectly recordable. I use VLC

Second you do realise that is not run by BP? However that said if your browser/PC is crashing (as opposed to just slowing to a crawl) I'd first check if the system was over-heating. For instance a friend's PC normally has an idle core temperature of about 30C. After 10 minutes displaying the complete video wall, the temp was at the max safe operating temp of 73C (varies with chips - some higher some lower). After he cleaned out the case vents and fan and installed an extra case fan ( at a cost of about $2) the temp now stabilises at about 55C).

Speedfan is a good temperature monitoring tool for Windows.

Well, the cap is level on the flange/stub; it's the top of the flex joint that's tilted. Just my intuition, but the cap looks to be seated better than it was before, and the flow from the bottom is a lot less than before they pulled it off. Don't know what's going on with the vents though, would be nice to get a look at that.

I'm not an experienced oil guy. However, for people coming here with suggestions that something be inserted or dropped into the well to stop the flow, 1) it can't be top plugged without risking serious consequences to the well structure itself and 2) you've got 13,000 feet of pipe to traverse against ~13,000 psi pressure to plug it at the bottom. And 3) blowing it up means risking uncontrolled flow anywhere it wants to go. Which is why we're all hoping the relief well kills it.

Yes unless the relief wells work, we have a even bigger problem.


To continue, there's been no, as in zero, substantiated evidence that the sea floor around the riser is cracked. The claim that BP drilled the well without a casing is sheer bunk. The claim that the PSI is 40,000 or 70,000 or any other spectacular figure is nonsense. No huge lake of undersea oil has been found despite claims to the contrary. The "rocks with holes" claim is false. Barrels are not gallons and vice versa; since the MSM is still getting that wrong, it'll pay to double-check figures. The well isn't 40,000 feet deep. The total depth including ~5,000 ft. of water is 18360 feet. And no one's proven that Godzilla's on the scene.

No Godzilla? But Santa just arrived with a nuke in his sleigh. So there.

I wish Oil Drum would put that on top of every page. Heck, every website everywhere.

First time poster here. I've lurked on TOD for a while now and especially over the last couple of months, but haven't managed to read all the posts. I like Snakehead's sentiments, but have a question. Wasn't there an ROV link posted here a about week or so ago which showed oil leaking from cracks on the seabed? That's what it looked like to me anyway. Sorry I can't find the link now.

You mean the one showing a 'fractured rock' in a location where there are no rocks on the bottom because if there were any rocks they'd sink down into the 1000' layer of mud and muck?

I'm not sure whether you're being sarcastic or saying that the video was a spoof. Over the last month or two there have been various items of equipment and a couple of baskets on the sea bed so it's not exactly as unstable as quicksand is it?

They are using mud mats.

Thanks Beagle should have thought of that myself.

Does anyone remember the video?

Yeah, I saved it. Check this out, dated 6/20:

(17) Have you seen any evidence of other sources of oil such as might indicate fractures in the sea floor near to the site of the wellhead explosion?

No, we have not seen any evidence of fractures in the seafloor near the riser pipe. Dr. Samantha Joye, Professor of Marine Sciences, just back from a research expedition.

BOB: Did you see what happened when an ROV dropped a wrench into the clay goo with no mud mats in place? TOD had some hilarious comments.

How come they don't use a larger diameter riser
pipe to reduce pressure on the well and LMRP
connection, thus slowing the leaks, and getting
more product up instead of leaked. Also wouldn't
it stop the hydrates from plugging the riser.
It all looks like a mickey mouse operation.
Why couldn't they have hooked lines to the BOP
kill connections, etc, right away and moved in
seperators to get product used instead of leaking.Ed

Far better experts here (I'm no expert at all), but as I understand the math from previous threads, the limit on the LMRP is not the diameter of the pipe but the amount of top-side processing. There are two choke at the top of the pipe which are how they are controlling the flow. The last I checked on the DOE spreadsheets released on June 18th, each of the two chokes were open about 2" each. The exisitng pipe (6" I think) could handle a lot more capacity if there was a way to process it top-side. In other words, the approx. 18k barrels limit is a result of the processing ability of the DE, not the capacity of the LMRP and its riser pipe.

Why couldn't they have regular seperators
and equipment on standby to hook up and be
able to handle the volume.

If bottom kill fails they must do that anyway,
and drill many wells into the field to remove gas and
oil and relieve the pressure. Then with pressure
down they can control this well. Just as easy to
fill tankers and pipelines with our oil as opposed
to terrorist oil. And a lot shorter haul..........

I know this is more scary to oil companies,gov, and greenies,
than the leaking oil as it would depress prices, profits and
the quarter of the taxes paid.And show up the oil shortage scam
and cut down the pressure for the cap/trade scam.Ed

You might check out previous threads where this was discussed (early last week I think).

I'm parroting the discussion here so pardon if I get some of this summary wrong. Others here will likely correct me.

As I understand it from these discussions, ships with on-board processing typically don't have much greater capacity than what the DE is capable of now. Linking multiple ships in-line to take the feed from the single rigid riser from the LMRP is both difficult and dangerous.

The LMRP was just the first step. Using the choke line of the BOP with the Evergreen burner on the Q4000 was the second step. Additional steps are being built (started some time ago and just coming on-line in the next weeks.) The existing plans are to add more processing capacity top-side over the next several weeks by using multiple ships through multiple risers (the new risers being built now). The total capacity will come from the aggregation of multiple ships and risers. The issue is that this is going to take some more weeks due to the amount of subsea infrastructure that has to be fabricated, barged out to the site, installed and tested.

Much of this in the later steps are being put in place IN CASE the RWs have problems and/or are delayed.

As a newbie here, I was actually surprised to learn that production in the GOM isn't done on marine production platforms like it is done in the North Sea. Instead, economically-viable amounts of oil and gas are typical sent via a subsea pipelines to facilities on shore. Therefore, ships with on-board processing are only used in exploration and testing and typically aren't designed with the capacity to take the full production of a big well. Also, the set of possible ships that can be used here is further limited by their need to have dynamic positioning capabilities to keep station with the other vessels in this very crowded area.

Yes, this does look about as organized as a rock fight, but, IMHO, the plan for dealing with this mess is basically sound and is probably moving about as fast as it can considering the scope, scale and engineering involved.

No, not near as fast as we all want it to be and, as a result, very frustrating to all. Complex engineering and construction take a certain amount of time to accomplish that can only be compressed so far, unfortunately. In his 1975 book, The Mythical Man-Month, Fred Brooks coined the phase that "Nine women can't make a baby in one month."

But, what do I know. I didn’t even sleep in a Holiday In Express last night (US advertisement joke for our brother and sisters across the pond.)

bb fellow.
Anyone ever call the marine bladder folks who make containers for petrol in sizes up to 50,000 gallons? Building all those risers and platforms sounds like a lot more work.

I'm not from this industry, so please pardon several dumb questions:

Where does the gas get separated so the badder doesn't become a ballon? Assuming you're suggesting filling the bladders subsea, doesn't the gas expand as it rises and burst the bladder (Boyle's Law) and re-spill the bladdered fluids. How would you control a filled bladder as it rises, considering the specific gravity of hydrocarbon fluids, with or without entrained gas (a 50k-gal bladder would have a lot of lift and I picture one rocketing to the surface)? Assuming that you can separate the gas without processing it and the bladder only receives oil, what are the logistics of switching out a bladder subsea when it gets full; when each 50k-gallon bladder would be filled to capacity roughly every 60 minutes (assuming only a 30k barrel/day flow - half of what gets quoted other places)? Don't you have still have to bring the well fluids to the surface, process them, flare the gas and then put the oil in the bladder? Therefore, doesn't a bladder only replace storage capacity (which there is plenty of) and not process capacity (which is the limited-quantity pacing element)?

Only asking; I'm a newbie and here to learn. However, I just can't see how it would work. Frankly, I picture filling water ballons from a fire hose.

No, this time I was speaking about storage once brought to the surface. Sounds like there is plenty of storage from what you say, but it it's more in the way of boats, Boats might be more dangerous than bladders if there's big weather. One crash and the whole sh**eree could blow.

To do it at the sea floor, obviously they'd need a giant balloon that could fold flat with really strong, thick sides that was capable of expanding to at least 100 times its size. (hypothetically speaking, of course.)

And then of course, they'd have to be able to determine the rate of flow, and to figure out when to remove the balloon so it was just 1 percent full. A balloon inside a balloon?

I think I like the idea of a big chimney containing everything better. I'm mostly comic relief, anyway. But I am learning all sorts of interesting things ...

FB, somewhat on topic, and interesting:

Remember the salvage of the "Big Piece" of the RMS Titanic's hull in 1998? It was a 15'x25' section of her hull, complete with four portholes; about 20 tons. The lifting bags were filled with only 5,000 gallons of diesel fuel pumped down to "inflate" the bags. Diesel was lighter than water and only 5k gallons provided 20 tons of lift. See

Let's see, 20 tons = 40,000 pounds, divided by 5,000 gallons = 8 pounds of lift per gallon.

That would be slightly more lift than the weight of the water being displaced; which would mean that diesel is not only lighter than water, it's lighter than air, and lighter than a total vacuum.

Somebody's calculator must be using old Intel math chips... :)

And you'd need a LOT of these in a big stack of pancakes.

Heavy duty lift bags used in salvage ops are filled with diesel fuel, it's lighter than water and doesn't expand on the way to the surface. Large sections of the Titanic were raised with diesel-filled lift bags. If you managed to fill one, it'd go to the surface like it was possessed by a demon, and probably dragging with it anything you tried to use to tie it down.

Like the sunken platform?

I know how to fix it, but no one will listen to me! Here, I drew a picture to show how it works:

And if that won't work, maybe a really really complicated version of the same thing will work. Say, like take that same big valve and attach it to the top of a bank vault. Pump the bank vault full of concrete, and then turn off the big valve. After all, complicated solutions usually work better than simple ones. Right?

You owe me a keyboard, because this one will be shot to hell in the morning unless it likes vodka.

Who's the kinky guy in the latex catsuit?

wow you better get this information out to the people that can make it happen...why have they been so stupid up to no to not think of this....S(!)

That's the problem!! We forgot to call Chance Buckman! He could have whip this well in less than the 121-minute run-time of your basic 1968 Hollywood feature film.

Where is the Duke when we need him?

Dougr's comment page.

The thread mentioned took place on June 12th.

Depending on who he is TOD may have just lost credibility.

Yeah, well. That can be the effect of cleverly constructed disinformation.

We have been very clear from the beginning, as was Olbermann, that this was a pseudonymous commenter's post, not anyone affiliated with this website.

So, if we lost credibility because of hosting that comment, it is likely with someone not paying much attention, and therefore not all that great of a loss.

I'd suggest that if they paid attention to the way the post was pulled apart and knocked down, TOD would have gained credibility. Its a pity journalists don't do a thorough job anymore - but then again this site wouldn't be needed if they did.

We have been very clear from the beginning, as was Olbermann, that this was a pseudonymous commenter's post, not anyone affiliated with this website.

Prof. Goose, with deep respect to you and gratitude for this site, the significance of that distinction may be lost on first-time visitors. Most of the recommendations of The Oil Drum I've seen elsewhere say that it's not just the staff but also the commenters who are highly knowledgeable. And the Editorial Comment attached to dougr's comment really doesn't make it clear that the TOD staff isn't endorsing his conclusions. (Nor will the significance of the Godlike Productions connection, mentioned in a couple of the responses, be all that clear.)

Plus which, visitors who come just to read dougr's comment won't know that the comments sections to other posts have called his scenario in question ("pulled apart and knocked down," as garyp says); most of the responses on the Permalink page--the URL to which is the one being passed around the Web--are positive, and the Editorial Comment doesn't provide any links to the negative ones or to posts giving the staff's opinion of his conclusions.

What's happening now isn't that TOD is losing credibility--most folks who don't read TOD on a regular basis have no basis to evaluate the dougr comment--but rather that his scenario's appearance on TOD has given it credibility, and as a result has scared the bejesus out of those who read or hear about it, especially now that it's gotten into the MSM.

Swift, I respectfully disagree. People are already scared. dougr's comment isn't making that worse - only par for the course. I spent weeks (since Topkill) looking for reasonable information on the web. It was a weblink to dougr's comment in another board that brought me here a few days ago and it was immediately obvious that this blog is credible for a reason.

It also seems to be a haven for free (intelligent) thinking which would be degraded if a user was singled out in the way you suggest. What you see in the responses to dougr's comment is a discussion that not only rebutes intelligently, but also serves to inform and enlighten the noobs like myself. That is, IMHO, a good thing in sum. If new people come here for dougr's comment, and they do not read more, they will do so everywhere they look, and thus will be perpetually scared.

It also seems to be a haven for free (intelligent) thinking which would be degraded if a user was singled out in the way you suggest.

boon, I'm not really suggesting anything in particular; I don't know how it should be handled. I just think it's unfortunate that a doomsday scenario that actually originated on a conspiracy/role-playing site should appear to have originated here and thereby have gained credibility that it may not warrant.

Several extremely smart, steady people, including James Fallows of The Atlantic and digby of Hullabaloo, have been seriously alarmed by the comment. It's not just the panicky freakout types, IOW. And as I say, it's not that easy to find the detailed discussions and rebuttals, or even to realize there are any beyond the mostly positive responses on the Permalink page.

"What's happening now isn't that TOD is losing credibility--most folks who don't read TOD on a regular basis have no basis to evaluate the dougr comment--but rather that his scenario's appearance on TOD has given it credibility..."

I actually believe that *both* things are happening. I've been amazed by the number copies of, and excerpts from, dougr's scenario that have been forwarded to me, and the number of questions I've received about its authority.

I don't have a canned solution to the problem, but, if TOD were my site, I'd be concerned.

Obermann also states dougr "appears to be an oil industry expert" and the TOD is a sounding board for geologists and oil industry experts. I would really like to know the plausibility of his post . What is his/her background?

Curiously although dougr has been registered since 2005 he had made only three posts (1 in 2005, 2 in 2008) prior to the June 13th post.

i wasn't bothered with replying to dougr's post when i read it and can't be bothered now ....but even a sophomore petroleum engineering student can poke enough holes in his post that the post would look like a slice of swiss cheese....

there are problems and there are outside possibilities with this well ....but when this guy suggests is ridiculous ....maybe the well will rupture open , the boogie monster will come out and fling boogers at the ROV's

ali: You need to get out more. It's flying monkeys.

Look up this thread for the yutub link for the same "rain" at

Jalopnik: It's Raining Oil In Louisiana? Louisiana residents 45 miles off the Gulf of Mexico claim to have videotaped an oily substance raining down.

(big snip)

Updated: According to a statement issued to Jalopnik from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, "EPA has no data, information or scientific basis that suggests that oil mixed with dispersant could possibly evaporate from the Gulf into the water cycle."

... until "TS Celia" picks it up and sprays it around.

Apparently it won't be via evaporation. Could hellacious winds pick it up and blow it onshore?

An analysis on the effects of a hurricane on the oil by Dr. Jeff Masters (weather underground):

How exactly do Louisiana resident live 45 miles off shore?

I think they meant 45 miles inshore. Although when the water comes up on the coast your house can be miles offshore for awhile.

Ya know, based on the amount of Petrol we use in the US., at least 10% of all of the oil ever excavated (save reserves) has already run into the waterways.

Anyway, I have no good video, but last night it poured rain up here in the north country, and for a few minutes, I thought my house was on fire. It smelled like a burning landfill outside. ; )

Here goes... first post.
Philisophically, what would happen at this stage of the 'game' if there were a possible way to reconnect the 'original' riser pipe (had it not been destroyed)
Would a method of coupling a new riser (same as what was there) to the existing riser stub, be adventageous to maintaining control of the flow? If it were possible to couple without creating any additional back pressure, or creating flow resistance, would this be acceptable for capture? If we were to assume this could be done, in such a manner that a near perfect seal were created by the coupling, while allowing for a kick to seperate the coupling, and yet easily re-coupled (prevent a kick from causing damage), jets installed to deter hydrates, plus whatever other detection needed... would this be good?
If so... I need specs on the current condition of the damaged riser stub, and drill position. (working space) If enough space exists around the drill to a depth of several inches, I have a machine tool design that can re couple the damage riser. Looking for constructive critism on my design. (hint: it's tapered, fluted, vented, and ported, and can open the damage to the riser stub, creating a sealed path, all in one shot)
I've studied this for weeks now, and am looking for specs as accurate as I can get. looking for working tolerances

The problem is not getting a solid seal at the BOP/LMRP, that could be done relatively easily (well - a few days work).

The problem is that if you were to make a solid connection with a new riser (actually an 8 inch pipe can handle all the flow), what you are doing is transferring a blowout from the seabed where it is relatively safe to the surface, including a 150 times expansion of the gas, and you now have an uncontrolled blowout at the surface which is exactly what caused the explosion, fire, fatalities and eventual sinking of the DWH.

If you you try to control the flow then you have the same situation as putting a second BOP on the top of the existing one and that was canceled due to fears of making the situation worse.


Do they have seperators and equipment that
goes on the seafloor, that can handle that volumne
and the expanding gas, and getting both oil
and gas into pipelines extended to them at
this area.Ed

Major processing equipment is large and complex and requires a lot of maintenance and tweaking so it is on a production facility or occasionally a ship (FPSO).

There are very few vessels like the Discoverer Enterprise that are both dynamically positioned (so they can stay positioned in water too deep to anchor in) and have processing equipment onboard. These vessels are designed for short term testing and most, like the DE, are only designed for 15,000 to 20,000 bpd.

A production facility that can handle a lot more volume, like the BP Thunder Horse, are custom built and installed. They are not portable, they can not be moved to a new location. They usually take over 10 years to design, build and install from the original field discovery.

The Q4000 was jury rigged to allow it to burn off up to 10,000 bpd and BP is bringing in other vessels from Europe to increase the overall capacity.

shelburn, I have some silly questions (do I ever have any other kind?)

Pressure below the BOP restrictions is ~4400psia, building more head pressure than that is risky due to the casing integrity (or is it? pressures were much higher early on, yes?). What kind of pressure can commonly available riser handle? What would happen if you were able to maintain 4400psi in the riser all the way to the surface, what would that do to the overall flow volume? Is there any type of poppet valve available that could vent off riser pressure above the target 4400psi (paging valverx!)? Throttling the flow at the surface to stay within the processing capacity would send any excess out the relief valve while maintaining the target backpressure.

After re reading the above link, I have to ask...
Would a perfect seal be good during negative pressure, but allow for ANY possitive pressure to be vented off, out the side, and excessive positive pressure backing off the seal instantly? I could be wrong, but that would sound ideal to me. Let 'em suck it as hard as they can and not get water, yet any kick will "pop" the seal and bypass the riser, out to.. oh say .. where it's going now? The concept is that the ideal seal only occurs under negative pressure. As if the TH had a flat surface to seal against, but can pop of in the event of a kick.
My idea could even provide for exactly that, within the TH.

*edit spelling

We've gone over this lots of times.

I contend that a sealed connection to the BOP, in combination with a fast acting, remote controlled underwater diverter valve offers the best combination of efficiency and control.

It puts the actual flow to the surface under firm topside control, while allowing as much of the oil as possible to be collected an any given time, limited by topside collection capacity and safety considerations.

If the well behaves well (which it appears to be doing), the oil collection fraction will be limited by topside capacity. If the well misbehaves, a fast acting diverter will dump excess into the gulf.

I think it is a better alternative to a current unsealed system, where a leak into the water is a necessary operating principal at all times.

Again, another company, not under threat of criminal prosecution, civil litigation and financial bankruptcy would likely make a different risk/benefit calculation than BP has done.

What happens if your "fast-acting diverter valve" jams shut? The people running this operation don't have a spare drillship to take over if the Enterprise gets sunk by an unconstrained pressure pulse coming up that hard connection.


I am with you 100%, that a direct, sealed, connection is the way to go. I am surmising that this will likely be attempted when there is sufficient processing capacity on the surface. IMVHO, I believe that this is the limiting factor.

Considering the limitations of working via UROVs, I took the time to write up a theory, procedure and a set of drawings that could accomplish the connection and avoid an overpressure and hydrate situation. It also addresses visibility and any alignment issues. I sent this to OEG, who is fielding any suggestions. I do not envy their job, but if anyone wants to take a crack at a suggestion, go for it.

My experience in the patch is zero except for an extended stint in aerial remote sensing, but I have a lot of experience in control of high pressure liquids and gases. Thankfully, none of it was with a supercritical mixture.

I do not expect any feedback from them, as that might expose situations or conditions that might affect the bajillion lawsuits coming up, (to say nothing of the likely volume) but at least I tried.

I would like to end with a question. Can an O & G guru shoot down my (and Dimitry's) direct connection theory?

If there is a reason why this should never be attempted (above caveats noted, and yes, I have read all the threads), I will be happy to suffer the singe marks if I can learn something.

Otherwise, it seems to me that BP has been negligent in not mobilizing sufficient processing capacity sooner.

IIRC, they will soon (two weeks?) have ~80 KPBD capacity on site, so time will tell.

(sigh) tunnel-vision in comments is so ..... government-ish.

Replacing the nonsense they have now with a new watertight riser more or less like the original one (yes at the flange) has merit.

How to prevent it from being another at-the-rig blowout situation? Simple. Put a variable sub-sea vent in it, oh say about 100 foot depth, whatever. Then venting to the sea is an emergency-only situation, not the every day situation we have now.

I understand there is now plan to do an at-the-flange water-tight cap of some sort. 'bout damn time. In my not-so-humble opinion this well has been a clusterf*&% from the get-go, continuing right on through BP's post-blowout response. It's time for BP to be run out of America on a rail as they say.

These are my opinions. It does no good to debate someone's opinions. Debate is suitable for facts, not opinions.

rf, you start your comment with an insult and end it telling us not to debate you. If you don't want others to challenge your comments, what on earth are you doing posting on The Oil Drum?????

Great idea though, vent that blowout a hundred feet below the surface and it ought to spread out enough to incinerate the whole darn drill ship when it sparks.

shelburn, assuming a riser with a tight seal on the BOP, what would be wrong with letting the entire flow come up the riser and blast into the atmosphere where it could burn off? No need for any personnel to be nearby. It should be safe, barring any sea monsters catching a ride up.

It should not be hard to keep the flame from blowing itself out, if that is even a possibility. The city of ships could be reduced to a one horse town. Converting the entire blowout to combustion products in the atmosphere, even if some of them are toxic, would IMHO be far less damaging than allowing so much of it to enter the water.

FYI - there as "a rat" in separate.

And I think there is a 'rat' in these mickey mouse
operations and the governments lack of ensuring
proper well casing setups at those high pressures.
When oil people are buying lib politcos, supporting
greenie oil shortage scams, supporting cap and trade,
it makes all of this suspect. Why not produce, instead
of leak and burn. That is why we asked if they had
separators that could handle the job like on other
producing wells. Ed

They can unbolt the stub now and bolt on a new riser.

With an underwater diverter valve.

If they chose to do it.

Could the diverter then be hooked to
conventional separators and pipelines,
and handle all of the flow? Ed

The diverter's purpose is to divert the oil back into the Gulf IF they don't have the topside processing capacity or in an emergency. During nominal operations, assuming they have assembled topside capacity to process 60 kbd flow from this well, it would be closed.

I see the Wall Street Journal is reporting (type the title into the search engine to get the article from behind the pay wall)

BP Relied on Faulty U.S. Data

BP PLC and other big oil companies based their plans for responding to a big oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico on U.S. government projections that gave very low odds of oil hitting shore, even in the case of a spill much larger than the current one.

The government models, which have not been updated since 2004, assumed that most of the oil would rapidly evaporate or get broken up by waves or weather. In the weeks since the Deepwater Horizon caught fire and sank, real life has proven these models wrong.

. . .

BP has come under heavy fire from Congress and environmental groups for its lack of readiness to handle a worst-case spill. But that criticism has overlooked a key fact: BP was required by federal regulators to base its preparations on Interior Department models that were last updated in 2004.

. . .

That model projected that a spill of oil on the surface in the Mississippi Canyon area, located 68 miles offshore, would have just an 11% chance of making landfall in Plaquemines Parish, La., after 30 days. In reality, Plaquemines, the area hardest hit by the current spill, got its first tar balls 22 days after the explosion.

The bulk of the Gulf Coast, according to the model which projects spill trajectories for 30 days maximum, would not see oil reach shore even with a catastrophic offshore spill.

It's clear that our tax dollars were not at work in a way they should have been. An illuminating article, a clear picture of the bureaucratic misfeasance we've come to expect, this time tragic and with catastrophic long term consequences for an ecosystem and millions of people. The USG is on the hook and bureaucratic crap continues, with preventing residents from acting in their own interests as a priority.

However, BP's had 862 OSHA violations in the last 3 years with 760 classified as "egregious willful" in their refinery business and 15 people were killed at Texas City in 2005. Macondo killed 11, plus one more who shot himself. We've discovered fatal shortcuts, risk taking, oversights and mistakes that had nothing to do with MMS.

Neither the USG or BP should get a pass and both are on the hook. Potential penalties for BP are clear. But what the hell do we do about the USG?

Did I see what appeared to be two (2) parallel side-by-side pipes (drill pipe,it looked like) in the cut-off riser? Or did I imagine it? What is that second pipe? Has that been answered? Did I miss it?

I promise to tell an amusing story if somebody helps me figure this out.

Can't remember who first posted this, but what looks like two pipes is likely the 9 7/8 pipe (drill pipe?) crushed into a figure 8 by the shears when the riser was cut off. The explanation was that the inner pipe is a harder steel than the 22 inch riser and resisted crushing; instead it folded inward at the contact points until they touched.

Not sure I'm giving you the clearest explanation, but I have seen this figure 8 form when cutting smaller tubing. If you do a screen capture, then scale the dimensions of the two sides of the inner pipe, what you see is consistent with about a 10 inch original diameter inside the 22 inch riser.

Hi all,
With all the attention ROVs have been getting I thought I'd educate myself. Here's a couple links I found informative and even enjoyable.

ROV Committee of the Marine Technology Society

This 1980 photo of a Diver handing a wrench to an RCV 150 while an RCV 225 observes is a perfect illustration of the "passing of the baton" from man to machine(source

Here's what I call The Dance of the Seaeye Falcon


An adjustable wrench...hahahahahahaha

...and how exactly will the ROV adjust it?

You have a good eye for detail, and you are easily amused...

Hurricane affected by oil sheen?

From this article:

From a purely physical standpoint, there are plausible scenarios that could either support enhancement or suppression of tropical activity. There are several arguments that support the likelihood of increased activity as a result of the spill:
• The sheen at the surface will absorbing[sic] more solar radiation, in the process increasing water temperature and leading toward a higher probability of hurricane formation over warm waters.
• The sheen is not one contiguous mass; so there will still be plenty of opportunity for an active pattern to emerge.

There are arguments as well for less activity as a result of the spill:
• The sheen will be thick enough at the surface to prevent significant evaporative convection of surface waters, thereby reducing fuel for storms to form/strengthen.
• Thin streams of oil associated with the sheen can break or disrupt a system moving across the Gulf.

Interesting concept. Your ideas?

I would cancel all skimmer ops immediately so they won't interfere with the experiment. Of course the wild card in this is the dispersant. We'd have to find a way to hold the Corexit constant statistically since BP doesn't appear to be willing to stop it and the USG must be backing them up. Then and only then could we determine with a reasonable degree of confidence which way it went.

I am the one who uncovered the 2 year old BP sonar oil flow meter documents. Today, I got tired of waiting on the media, and spoke with an Expro sonar oil flow meter engineer at his office in Wallingford, Connecticut. Expro's corporate office in Houston referred me to him for my sub sea sonar metering questions. I told them I was an engineering student.

He had no clue about what was on their website video, about installing sonar flow meters at 10,000 feet and said all their meters were for above ground operations. After I read him some of the press release for Expro's presentations in Calgary and Newfoundland a few weeks ago, about those same deep sea, clamp-on sonar meters installed at 10,000 feet, he said, well maybe they have some in development for the North Sea with BP, but that I would have to talk to BP about it. He said they were really nice people, but agreed that the only use BP would have for a meter at the Macondo geyser site in the Gulf, would be to guarantee that they pay the maximum fines. Hard to deny that.

He said he hasn't been paying that much attention to what was going on in the Gulf and gets his news from USA Today. I don't know which is worse – if that is true, or false. You would hope that someone so involved in the high tech development for the oil drilling industry would have more interest in the future of his own career.
He did confirm that there is no difference in flying the ROV's at any depth, as long as the equipment is rated for the pressure environment. It is the same video game for the operators on the surface at 100 ft., or at 10,000 ft. He said they could still weld at that depth, but had no idea about how they would be removing the bolts and replacing the flange on top of the BOP, or why it could not have been done sooner. So, I was right that once a BOP fails, depth is irrelevant. It just takes longer cables to get the equipment up and down.

So the moratorium is arbitrary and capricious, according to the Transocean stock-owning judge who profited by his decision? How did Louisiana get to be known as the most corrupt state? All the oil companies were just busted for filing fraudulent spill response plans and continue to demonstrate that they still don''t have a clue about what to do after the fact.

" How did Louisiana get to be known as the most corrupt state? "

Better hope Alan doesn't see that!

Seriously, if you look at public and private corruption stats, there are plenty of states as bad as Louisiana, and a lot are worse. The only time we jump to the top of the charts is when you chart corruption convictions per capita. Smaller states with effective prosecutors always suffer in that comparison. Not sayin' we couldn't do better, but this is just one of the reputations Louisiana has got but don't deserve.

My experience growing up there was that, beyond "normal" corruption, N.O. and La. suffered a corruption spike when oil money began to flow in: everyone wanted a piece of it, especially government officials. Then, when it began to taper off, people began to turn to other ways of making money quickly; fishing for "square grouper" (drug smuggling), importing toxic wasted to be dumped in-state (at one time, La. was the leader in the industry); and tourism, which tends to create an economy of waiters, janitors, and escorts. Then, finally, gambling.

Another part of the Big Oil story: massive corruption and destruction of local values and culture. People are willing to ignore it as long as the get a piece of the pie.

By the time he was forty, my brother-in-law could go fishing over where he learned to play baseball, due to wetlands erosion (caused to no small extent by oil companies digging access canals). I asked him why no one complained that their communities were being erased: "Because they pay us" was the answer.

eye: You just might want to review syncro's explanation of Judge Feldman's decision on previous threads yesterday before you spew about him. There are links on previous threads to all the pertinent filings and the judge's decision. Most can be found through The Google and on One of the discussions was about the "appearance of conflict." In addition, you just don't waltz into a federal judge's hearing with a charming smile on our face and say: "Hi! I'm Ken Salazar and, you know. I really, really be this ban. That's my case. Thanks for your cooperation, Judge." The Judge did not prohibit Salazar for trying again with a detailed presentation of sufficient of evidence to meet the long acknowledges legal requirements for a judge to uphold this order.

Bedtime blues lullaby for New Orleans:

I am the one who uncovered the 2 year old BP sonar oil meter documents. Today, I got tired of waiting on the media, and spoke with an Expro sonar oil flow meter engineer at his office in Wallingford, Connecticut. Expro's corporate office in Houston referred me to him for my sub sea sonar metering questions. I told them I was an engineering student.

He had no clue about what was on their website video, about installing sonar flow meters at 10,000 feet and said all their meters were for above ground operations. After I read him some of the press release for Expro's presentations in Calgary and Newfoundland a few weeks ago, about those same deep sea, clamp-on sonar oil flow meters installed at 10,000 feet. He said, maybe they have some in development for the North Sea with BP, but that I would have to talk to BP about it. He said they were really nice people, but agreed that the only use BP would have for a flow meter at the Macondo geyser site in the Gulf would be to guarantee that they pay the maximum fines and royalties. Hard to deny that.

He said he hasn't been paying that much attention to what was going on in the Gulf and gets his news from USA Today. I don't know which is worse – if that is true, or false. You would hope that someone so involved in the high tech development for the oil drilling industry would have more interest in the future of his own career.

He did confirm that there is no difference in flying the ROV's at any depth, as long as the equipment is rated for the pressure environment. It is still the same video game for the operators on the surface at 100 ft., or at 10,000 ft. He said they could still weld at that depth, but had no idea about how they would be removing the bolts and replacing the flange on top of the BOP, or why it could not have been done sooner. So, I was right that once a BOP fails, depth is irrelevant. It just takes longer cables for getting equipment up and down.

So the moratorium is arbitrary and capricious, according to the Transocean stock-owning judge who profited by his decision? How did Louisiana get to be known as the most corrupt state? All the oil companies were just busted for filing fraudulent spill response plans and continue to demonstrate that they still don''t have a clue about what to do after the fact.

Good innuendoprop. Pick one possibly true fact about the judge, that he owns stock in one of these players, and base your predisposed judgement about his decision solely on that. OK, I grok your agenda.

Check out Gail's post above re: compliance with MMS regs.

I agree with you about USA Today.

now you guys are grokking?

The moratorium appears to be a political stunt designed to show the public Obama is taking action. Doing something. A bone to feed the environmentalists. However the reality of the first two months make me declare Obama to be a failure. Failure to recognize early how bold of a response was needed to contain this oil. Failure to realize how incompetent BP was and still is. In fact the government agencies seem to be teaming with BP now to cover up how bad it is and how lousy their response has been.

I just listened to Wednesday's Rachel Maddow podcast. A person named Kerry Sanders, a "reporter", told her and us that the relief well will intersect the wild well because the drillbit contains "a magnet designed to seek the metal of the pipe." My strong impression is, he thinks this would work like a refrigerator magnet seeking a refrigerator.

Oh, really?

It's an oversimplification, but that's the jist of it.

Basically, you can put an electric charge on the outer wall of the existing well. I don't know how good your physics is, but just in case anyone reading isn't aware - any electrical charge creates a field effect - it's not quite the same as a magnetic field, but it's close enough that people often conflate the two.

Obviously, this won't be strong enough to pull the relief well, but from what I gather they're talking about using a probe on the relief well to take field measurements, which they can then use to steer the well as they dig it.

It's a similar concept to radio triangulation, and nowhere near as science-fiction as it might sound. The problem is that media will try to dumb things down for their readers - and often take it a little too far.

Edit : Apologies if you already understood that... I wasn't sure if the tone of the post was being used to attack the way the media dumbs things down (and yes, I'm aware that my post does this too - albeit to a lesser extent), or wether it was intended to attack the idea itself. :S

Your understanding is the same as my understanding. I intended to emphasize the dumbing down aspect of the segment.

Mon cher --I'm not sure that induced field couldn't pull the RW towards the csg. There have been instances where just the magnetic field around a carton of Blue Bell ice cream drew me to it dispite my best efforts. Perhaps my body mass played a contributing role.

More CNN tomfoolery.

Where do they get their journalists from? Check for a pulse on the sidewalk? If you have one, you're hired?

First sentence:

"A tropical storm that has dumped heavy rain on parts of the Caribbean has a MEDIUM CHANCE of forming"

Last sentence:

"He cautioned that the CHANCES of it becoming a hurricane ARE SLIM."

The Onion has more credibility...

(CNN) -- A tropical storm that has dumped heavy rain on parts of the Caribbean has a medium chance of forming into a much stronger storm and could head into the oil-tainted Gulf of Mexico by next week.

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center said there was a 30 percent chance that the storm, now moving in a northwesterly direction, would develop further. It was too early to predict whether it would intensify or reach areas of the Gulf Coast, but even a tropical depression could cause significant disruption to oil-affected areas.

High winds and seas could distribute the oil -- still gushing from a blown deepwater well -- over a wider area and storm surges could wash more oil ashore, according to a fact sheet prepared by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

"It's incredibly disorganized," said National Hurricane Center spokesman Dennis Feltgen. He cautioned that the chances of it becoming a hurricane are slim.

I think you might want to consider a little deeper research, yourself.

If you visit the National Hurricane Center's web site, you will learn that a three-color code is used for the systems depicted on the maps. The colors and keys are:

Yellow = Low (less than 30% chance of "tropical cyclone" formation within 48 hours)

Orange = Medium (30%-50% chance)

Red = High (>50% chance)

The system being discussed in the CNN piece you mocked is depicted on the map in orange, indicating a "medium" chance of cyclone formation, just as was reported (at the moment, the forecast says 40%).

The quote by Feltgen refers to the possibility of the storm reaching "hurricane" strength. A hurricane is the most severe form of tropical cyclone in the Atlantic/Caribbean/Gulf of Mexico. Depending upon location and strength, tropical cyclones may be called hurricanes, typhoons, tropical storms, tropical depressions, etc.


So which one is it?

A slim chance of becoming a much stronger storm or a medium chance of it becoming a hurricane?

Don't make me float over there and haunt you by spilling your bourbon.



Oh, all right. To protect my Jack Daniel's...

There's a *medium* chance of this particular wave becoming a tropical cyclone (a tropical depression or storm) in the next 48 hours, but a slim chance of it becoming a hurricane.

And it can all change with the next forecast, and often does.

Edit: tropical not topical. Well, both, actually.

Here is an good explanation of the different levels of tropical storms and how they form. It's long winded, but extremely informative.

That CNN piece deserves to be - uh - held up to gentle ridicule. Words have meaning, and within meteorology, "Tropical Storm" has a specific meaning.

The system being discussed (and being called a tropical storm by CNN) has not yet reached tropical depression status. It isn't being tracked by the National Hurricane Center, as they only track and issue advisories on actual storms, and the ability to predict where a hypothetical TS or hurricane will go is almost zero until the storm actually forms and its track can be extrapolated from its location at formation and the conditions around it.

CNN just fell into the trap of using "storm" in its popular sense. Actually, what rolled through Chicago yesterday probably rivaled what's going on in the Caribbean just now.

House votes to give subpoena power for spill panel

The vote Wednesday was 420-1, with Republican Rep. Ron Paul of Texas casting the only no vote.

CNN ... Coast Guard: BP delayed access to site for flow-rate estimates

Deepwater oil drilling under scrutiny as Brazil's Petrobas delays flotation

Brazil's national oil company Petrobras has surprised investors by postponing its $25bn (£16.86bn) stock market flotation, potentially delaying its efforts to extract oil from deepwater reserves off the coast.

The Petrobras stock offering, which had been scheduled for July, will now be delayed by two months until September.

CB: I wonder whether the delay to that date has anything to do with the timing of the relief wells.

I am so glad you guys are joking about the folks that think this is the end of the world. Makes me feel lots better.

And if I am still around when the end of the world DOES come, and I am one of the only folks who know about it, I'm not saying a word. That would be irresponsible.

I wouldn't feel good about keeping quiet, though. I'd have to answer to Her later for something akin to insider trading.

Just a type-in thing for the TOD Internet administrators.
As I write New York time is Thur June 24 05:34 The last post was June 24 19:19. Could you please fix, it is difficult to follow these re-initiated threads. Not complaining just advising. GreenAS.

This comment string is like that, probably only because people are hitting "reply" instead of going to the bottom to click on "comment" to start a new thread. ...But most often it's the top threads are in chronological order, and then folks later have a chance to comment or add comments referencing the top thread. Too many references back, otherwise. It works pretty well, unless someone brings up a whole new subject in a reply.

I LOVE this one.

“Any coward can fight a battle when he's sure of winning, but give me the man who has pluck to fight when he's sure of losing. That's my way, sir; and there are many victories worse than a defeat.”
—George Eliot

"I don't try to describe the future. I try to prevent it."
--Ray Bradbury

comphy: "Prediction is very hard, especially about the future" - Yogi Berra "And you can look it up." — Casey Stengel

Does anyone know of any other oil well in North America producing 60,00 bopd? Is this the largest producer here?

Does anyone know if the output of the well was measured yesterday while the cap was off?

Vidrine's been put on administrative leave....Can somebody copy this post to the newer thread later?

The article repeats the following claim

Just hours before the disaster, Vidrine overruled objections from representatives of rig owner Transocean about how to complete the well, Douglas Brown, the chief mechanic on the vessel, told US Coast Guard and Interior Department investigators in May.

But does not state that both Transocean OIM Jimmy Harrel and Senior Toolpusher Miles Ezell (who were at the full meeting unlike Douglas Brown) both testified that Brown's version of the story wss incorrect. In fact they stated that BP accepted Harrel's plan to add a negative pressure test prior to the displacement.

Now Harrel and Ezell might both be lying under oath but they were very firm that BP did not over-rule them and if anything it was the other way round.

BP is the largest producer of oil and gas from the US Gulf of Mexico, producing over 400,000 barrels of oil and gas a day from operated fields including Thunder Horse, Atlantis and Mad Dog and interests in non-operated fields including Mars and Ursa. BP is the largest leaseholder in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico with more than 650 leases in waters deeper than 1,250 feet.

Andy Inglis, BP's chief executive of Exploration and Production, said: "Through our entry into Brazil, BP will add a major position in another attractive deepwater basin. Together with the additional new access in the Gulf of Mexico, it further underlines our global position as the leading deepwater international oil company."

In the US Gulf of Mexico deepwater, BP will gain a high quality portfolio with interests in some 240 leases, with a particular focus on the emerging Paleogene play in the ultra-deepwater. The addition of Devon’s 30 per cent interest in the major Paleogene discovery Kaskida will give BP a 100 per cent interest in the project. The assets also include interests in four producing oil fields: Zia, Magnolia, Merganser, and Nansen.

And bad news comin'....

The Macondo blowout looks set to curtail insurance coverage for offshore drilling, forcing companies to self-insure or exit deep-water fields.

Deleted - posted in wrong thread.

The Macondo blowout looks set to curtail insurance coverage for offshore drilling, forcing companies to self-insure or exit deep-water fields.

Hmmm. The US media, Obama have had a GREAT time whining, screaming and shouting about this incident.

Maybe a more restrained - some might say, more adult - response would have been wiser.

The US, like all of us, needs crude oil.

Closing down your oil sources - and/or scaring off companies & staff who can work on them - may turn out to be a painful & expensive mistake longer term.

The US is not the only place in the world which can use oil field staff and equipment.

if you cant afford to fix it dont f#%$ with it

Actually there have already been some major changes in insurance coverage offshore since those damaging hurricanes: higher rates, increased deductibles, caps per incident, caps per area. The area caps are to most dangerous: once a certain liability limit has been reached in an area then they write no more coverage at any price. Even worse: operators in an area may have, let's say, $100 million coverage for each of their platforms. So technically they are insured. But there are 20 platforms in the area representing a $2 billion liability. But the insurance coverage stops at $1 billion per incident in that area. So if all the platforms get wiped out there's $1 billion not covered. And if one such platform failure result in a $500 million spill clean up and the company is small and goes bankrupt due to insufficient ins. coverage then the gov't will have cover the costs. I haven't seen anyone estimate the magnitude of this covered but not really covered liability. Many companies are thus self insured even though it looks like they are covered. Obviously we can expect more major changes by the ins. industry after the BP accident.

"Hmmm. The US media, Obama have had a GREAT time whining, screaming and shouting about this incident."


What part of the world would not do the same thing with a disaster of this magnitude?

This spill is enough now to cover the English Channel. What would be the English and French media and heads of state response in the same situation if they stood on their shores and all they could see was oil?

I do tend to agree with you and the response of the moratorium was over the top, they should have just applied to BP only then made sure with inspections the others drilling that deep were not making the mistakes BP did. After all BP is the largest leaseholder in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico with more than 650 leases in waters deeper than 1,250 feet.

I have read several comments qasking about the white blobs that float around. Various theories in reply. But, if these are frozen methane bubbles - where are they coming from?

A very interesting question that have not been raised:

How much insurance coverage do each of the major players (BP, Transocean, etc.) carry?

Who is going to be footing some of the bill?

Q: Admiral, yesterday you had mentioned the possibility of running a pipeline from the Macondo blowout to another platform, another installation somewhere in that area. I was wondering if you had any more specifics about I guess what would need to be done to make that plan work. As well, have you found any possible targets or platforms that might be able to take the production?

ADMIRAL ALLEN: I believe BP is in discussion with other industry producers that have rigs in the area that might be useful for that. I don't think they concluded those yet. I just mentioned it yesterday because I was asked about whether or not there were any redundancies or any recourse if we had a hurricane or heavy weather that allowed us to move—or required us to move all of the vessels from the scene.

This would be one way if you are actually connected to another drill site, you would not have to rely on service vessels. So when we get more on that we'll report it.


Here is what I don't understand about this. This well has been leaking now for two months and the government is letting BP conduct talks with other well producers in the area about hooking up a line to one of theirs.

This would probably cost BP millions of dollars to use someone elses system. The other producers might even be saying sure hook in but the oil will be ours. After all it is business.

Business is what got BP and us into this mess.

Why aren't these talks being done by the government. Why don't they just go into them and say to oil producers "A" we are going to hook into your line, you shut down whatever you have to and you get the oil and BP will pickup the bill.

Why are we allowing BP to negotiate these terms? Two months and it has not been done yet.

In 1997 on the grand banks well B16-1 from the hibernia sands was brought on at 65000 BBls per day, Reservior at the time was estimated at 65mil BBls. This was thru a 3/4" choke to stay below the bubble piont at depth. AOF ?? pretty high I should think. Very high permiability in this sand. Dont know about Macondo, does anyone have a link to any Open hole logs for MC252??

I am a new user. If the LMRP Cap really will not work for long, setting-up a submerged building that encloses the BOP, with more than just one output pipes available, could allow sharing the flow with more pipes, and create a useful second option for stopping the spill. Would it be feasible? or not? Here more details on this possibility: