Deepwater Oil Spill - Problems with the LMRP Cap - and Open Thread 2

Because of the large number of comments, this thread is being closed. Please comment on

BP issued a press release Wednesday 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.

UPDATE: The cap is back on

For the last 12 hours on June 23 (noon to midnight), approximately 2,800 barrels of oil were collected and approximately 3,910 barrels of oil and 16.9 million cubic feet of natural gas were flared. The LMRP cap was successfully reinstalled on the Deepwater Horizon's failed blow-out preventer at approximately 1830 CDT on June 23.

On June 23, total oil recovered was approx. 16,830 barrels:
• approx. 8,300 barrels of oil were collected,
• approx. 8,530 barrels of oil were flared,
• and approx. 36.7 million cubic feet of natural gas were flared.
• Total oil recovered from both the LMRP Cap and Q4000 systems since they were implemented is approx. 342,500 barrels. An additional 22,000 barrels were collected from the RIT tool earlier in May bringing the total recovered to approx. 364,500 barrels.

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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Edit from previous closed thread:

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."

[Edit add: I'm aware of new motion. But I didn't want to go too deeply into the legal weeds on a Peak Oil web site. But clarification is appreciated, syncro.]

What is the new motion? Do you have a link to text/story?

Im sorry. Just found the story on

They're moving to suspend the implementation of the TRO (temporary restraining order) while the government appeals. In other words, even though the court agreed that irreparable harm would be done if TRO were not granted, and that plaintiffs have a good case, the court should not grant a TRO (by definition, a delayed TRO is not a TRO).

It's a kneejerk motion filing. Most courts would not grant it. And the Appeals Court would be loath to grant a stay, because the case is based on a determination of facts, not law (most Appeals Courts consider law only, not facts, leaving that domain to the trial judge).

Nice to see a lawyer agree that this whole thing is kneejerk and is not based on any facts and apparently not any law either. "We are the Government and we can do what we want because we want it" seems to be the central argument. There is zero logic in saying NOT shutting down drilling in the GOM will cause irreparable harm. But there is some argument to the contrary, shutting down production will cause irreparable harm to many people and businesses in the GOM offshore oil patch. There is no way BP is going to be able to pay all that lost revenue and income. There is no proof that BP's screwup will be repeated by any other producer, in fact BPs screwup and the resulting fallout, fines and damages will make other producers EXTRA careful. I guess next time we have a disaster we'll shut down whatever industry caused that. This is a very slippery slope to setting a really bad precedent for the Gov't to use to hammer anyone who causes significant environmental damages, with the term "significant" decided by a Gov't agency. Very scary.

NASA: Please be careful here. Neither the Judge nor any of the lawyers on this site said that evidence does not exist for a moratorium. Nor did we say that all moratoriums are illegal as a matter of law. Salazar's lawyers just didn't prove their case in this particular hearing. But, with another "New and Improved" moratorium, they can, if they choose, try again with a presentation of more solid facts or a modification of their position. The law and the Judge's decision are more subtle and nuanced than your description. BTW, Salazar's lawyers can also appeal this particular ruling at the same time. "It ain't over 'til it's over." — American philosopher

So... the government should do what?

Are you OK with what BP has done to the Gulf? To the surrounding culture, and wildlife? Should the government just stay out of the way - let whatever happens, happen? Without offering some sort of alternative that is essentially your message.

You know, when Obama did nothing it was "Obama is a wimp". Now its "knee jerk reaction". I'll tell you what a knee jerk reaction would have been. Day one, close the entire offshore industry down.

One of my earliest memories is playing with ghost crabs on Dauphin Island. I've spent more time on the Gulf than I can reckon. Growing up in N.O., it's life, culture, and weather shaped me in ways an outlander cannot understand.

God damn, God damn BP-- and the government-- and society-- and us-- for raping the Gulf. It makes me physically ill. I'm still in protracted mourning for N.O. And now the Gulf is gone.


So emotionally overwhelmed I had to walk away from the computer a bit.

The point of this thread is trying to figure out what the courts will do. Not venting my anger or my grief. As for offering an alternative, we're under hurricane warning, cat 5, to put in Gulf terms. The storm is coming, and the things we should have done to prepare for it should have been done a long time ago. There aren't many significant options now. Our greatest hope now is that we'll ride it out and survive.

To be honest, I think one of the reasons I'm following the legal twists and turns is to give myself a defense against anger and grief. It's easier to talk about civil procedure or wellhead pressure or pipe diameter than it is to contemplate the awful reality of our loss.

Sorry for the rant. I'll go back to being a lawyer now.

I don't know if it helps, retiredL, but there're a few million of us out here feeling exactly what you do. Gotta rant pretty often these days, sometimes even online. Go right ahead on . . .

We oohed and we aahhed
we drove our racing cars
and ate our last few jars of caviar
and somewhere out there in the stars
a keen eyed lookout spied a flickering light
...our last hurrah...

We have amused ourselves to death

se morio

rl: I posted this last night for people I know in NO. I'm reposting it for you:

And this a few nights ago:

And for Rockman and anyone else who "grew up in Nawlins":

I'm so very sorry.

And teach your students well.

My heart goes out to folks. I spent 5 quality years in coastal Mississippi. We'd head out to Horn Island on our catamaran, throw for mullet, roast them in a campfire on the beach, and fall asleep on the trampoline to the sounds and smells of birds and ocean waves.

Eventually there will be mass migrations away from the coastline as the economy breaks down from a loss of the natural resource base. I can't believe how short-sighted the government is in allowing BP to remain in charge of the clean-up, between the prioritization based on shallow-spill mitigation plans, lack of protection of workers, especially respirator masks, use of dispersants when they are probably the wrong thing to do, and failure to tell the truth about VOCs and other toxic impacts, so populations can start to prepare themselves to leave.

IMHO, let BP fix the well, after all they now seem to be making progress and they KNOW how to do it. The Government should be in charge of the cleanup since they have a lot more resources. But from what I see and hear the Government is making less progress than BP. I surely don't want political engineering on fixing the leak like is going on with the cleanup. A lot of good ideas are getting rejected.

All evidence I've seen points to BP not knowing what to do nor how to do it. Are you in some parallel universe?

An obvious reason for the request to shut down further production is that another leak even of smaller proportions at this juncture while the Gulf is filling with a soup of toxins is something the government and ecosystem simply couldn't handle.

A BP exec was on TV this evening claiming that the odds of the current catastrophe occuring "to any oil company" were very small, and completely unpredictable. Really? Here in my universe the odds appeared to have been 1 in 1 of this happening sooner or later.

"...we are expendable to these people..."

Those are powerful words, are they not?

"It's easier to talk about civil procedure or wellhead pressure or pipe diameter than it is to contemplate the awful reality of our loss."

Amen, RetiredL. You have lots of company there, no doubt. Those of us who do not live on the Gulf can only imagine what those of you who do are going through. But the horror is too much to contemplate even from a distance sometimes. The whole country is with you.

Well said. Your emotion is shared by this son of the coast. I shudder to think of what a tidal surge filled with oil, will do to the Atchafalaya Basin...........Sabine Lake...........etc.

Thank you for putting all of our feelings to words....


It is a nightmare, of Biblical proportions...the thought of living without the company of sea-birds should have been written by the Book of Job author.. Especially knowing that they were boiled alive in oil in the 100 degree temperatures down here.

What's most disturbing, however is the fact that a hand full of decision makers at BP and perhaps elsewhere, are unguarded. They are "sitting pelicans," so to speak. They open their doors to any journalist that stumbles by.

Point is: If the courts, over the next 20 years, can't prove negligence without their testimony, then the liability cap is $75M... No witnesses, no decision in favor of the plantiffs, taxpayers ultimately pay the bill.

Sad, Sad.

God damn, God damn BP-- and the government-- and society-- and us-- for raping the Gulf.

Better say

God damn, God damn BP-- and the oil industry-- for raping the Gulf-- and the government-- and society-- and us-- for not stopping them before their behavior got really out of control.

Believing that one's job is so important that everyone must accept your risky behavior is a special hubris of resource extractors and financial speculators.

When the population was smaller, the damage was elsewhere for almost everyone. But now ...

Believing that one's job is so important that everyone must accept your risky behavior is a special hubris of resource extractors and financial speculators.

If you think that attitude is unique to them, you've never driven in rush hour traffic.

No they should follow the legal precedents and Federal Rules of Procedure that apply to filing a request for and arguing an injunction. The damage to the Gulf is done but damage to the legal system doesn't have to be, you don't get injunctions based on who you are, you get it on the facts of the case. And any appeal is based on points of law not the facts of the case. You also should NOT punish the other workers in the GOM who still have jobs with this injunction. The economic damages are already huge, why add to them, unless of course to create a great dependency on handouts thus "buying" back some of the disfavor for inaction? What happens when BP's money runs out, do they then try to ding the taxpayers for supporting the folks who are still unemployed? Additionally, the other operators know they are under intense supervision now. Best I've been able to tell reading TOD,no other operators on the GOM are as "stupid" as BP was. So what EXACTLY were the factual grounds for this injunction and how do they stand versus the arguments against them.

By the way I think some of the "unemployment" is a bit bogus when several places I've seen stateed that anyone with something that floats can make $1000+ a day skimming oil, running supplies to the skimmers, etc.

Best I've been able to tell reading TOD,no other operators on the GOM are as "stupid" as BP was.

Curiously, if anything I get almost exactly the opposite impression. There has been almost deafening silence on this. Apart from a few glib quotes from Shell.

The same contractors that BP used are used by the other players. Look at the names. Transocean, Cameron, Haliburton. They are three most often cited. Often the story comes down to the "company man" on the rig. Man singular. The rest are contractors. Quite a a number of poor decisions came down to BP managment decisions, but there is still scant evidence that the other players don't work in a very similar manner.

Much has been made of the continuous production liner in this well. A design with essentially no redundancy. And somehow there is an implicit idea that this is something peculiar to BP. Nobody I have seen has asked MMS to provide a breakdown on well designs, and tell us how many other exisitng wells, or approved wells, have this same design. That would be a very interesting number. Naming names would be very revealing. To imagine that BP is the only company that has been doing this is naive.

Other questions. The casing centralisers. Haliburton made a recommendation. BP didn't follow it. Rockman has described some weeks ago how negotiation over the number used is common, and how it is rare that a well is cemented according to the contractors ambit suggestion. Again - how many other wells already constructed or under construction used fewer than the contractor recommended number of centralisers for each cement job? MMS will know. Nobody seems to have asked (at least not publicly) and we don't know. And so it goes.

There is certainly some evidence that BP has been squeezing costs under Hayward. But why does anyone think that this is especially different to other players?

There is a faulty logic at play in some of the blame pointing too. BP are cited for an excessive number of safety violations. This is bad. But the logic seems to be that since BP have this huge excess, the other players must be so much better than BP, and therefore blameless. However BP's violations are almost all related to refinery operations. One suspects that if we were to remove these from the comparison, and look only to offshore drilling operations we might get a much more even spread. None of this is to say that BP are somehow less to blame for their actions and attitiudes. But what it does is to point out is that there is an unjustified assumption that the other players are so much better that we can roll on as we were.

No doubt the moratorium is knee jerk, and there is bad behaviour involved in its genesis. But by the same token, there almost certainly needs to be a clear statement and plan to significantly reduce the risks. And this will take time. The worst thing to happen is to implement knee jerk technical rules. Such action almost always ends up with more, rather than fewer, problems.

There is no easy answer. BP might carry the can for failings on this accident, but the whole industry carries a much greater responsibility for the entrenched attitudes to safety, and in particular the manner in which the MMS has been perverted. There is a simmering mess here, and it needs sorting out.

Here's another important piece of the puzzle, and I agree with you, Francis. I remember having discussions regarding ocean drilling in the 1980s regarding the possibility of ecological catastrophe. And since that time, we have drilled deeper and deeper in riskier and riskier settings, for more and more oil, with massive increases in technology, size of rigs, and complexity. But the years have passed, and we stopped even being concerned about the potential risk, because no significant drilling accidents occurred. So we all forgot about the potential, and got used to the fact that technology is safe and assured and able to be extended without limits. I still can't believe the timing of our President's declaration last month of the safety of deep water drilling. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised at the timing; we are starting to get really desperate at this point, and thus engaging in a new level of risk. In retrospect, my surprise is that we didn't have a significant accident decades sooner. The prolonged period of safe drilling speaks well to our technological prowess and scientific know-how. But we have reached our limits. This is not just a spill, or a leak. It is a blowout of a large, very gassy oil field in deep water for which we have no ready solutions. Our fossil fuel treasure has allowed us to pretend to control nature through technology, when in fact, the technology was just another way to maximize power, and Mother Nature was just biding her time, letting us think that we had control. In the end, we are a part of nature, not its owner.

This accident is a wake up call to us regarding our technological hubris, the limits to growth, and the possibility that our civilization is going to have to contract in response to declining energy inputs. At this point, I am ready to call complexity our fifth horseman of the apocalypse.

ON the whole I agree with your comment, wanted to add: None occured in the US... but surely they have occured in other places. What would make anyone think that the US is immune, especially as from what I read on here we don't seem to have the same sort of regulation that you get in more developed, responsible areas of the world like... um... Brazil?!

its not a question of what BP has done . What makes you think the other companies will do anything risky at this point.

We have check and balances in our system and the feds have just been checked this time. You are not kink obama so go prove your case. Do not make it a back door attempt to raise the price of oil without passing cap and trade.

The plaintiffs are back in court claiming Salazar has violated the injunction. A bizarre argument i think. They set a telephone hearing for 10:15 that should be ending now:

But the Louisiana companies that build ships and provide services to the oil platforms who brought the lawsuit interpreted Salazar's public statements as attempting to make an end-run around Feldman's order.

"It's the same moratorium," said Todd Hornbeck, chief executive officer of Hornbeck Offshore Services LLC, the lead plaintiff in the suit.

Immediately after the congressional hearing, Hornbeck Offshore went back to court and asked Feldman for an order to enforce the preliminary injunction.

Hornbeck said that Salazar engaged in "direct defiance" of Feldman's initial order with his statements in Congress referencing "the moratorium in place," and concerns that "this moratorium stays in place."

The company argued that there is no moratorium in place.

"The preliminary injunction order is in full force and effect, and is the law of this case. Nevertheless, defendants have chosen to ignore and disobey it," Hornbeck's court filings read. "Secretary Salazar's statements are in direct violation of the court's preliminary injunction order ... which immediately prohibited defendants from enforcing the moratorium."

Hornbeck notes the federal government has yet to appeal Feldman's decision, and that's the proper forum for its grievances.

Carl Rosenblum, the lead attorney for Hornbeck, said Feldman has scheduled an emergency telephone hearing for 10:15 a.m. today. The call is not open to the public.

Werhan said that Feldman's drilling decision is actually quite limited, and presents the government with an opportunity to fine-tune the moratorium.

"He did not decide that the government couldn't issue a moratorium. He decided that the moratorium that the government imposed was not sufficiently supported by the reasons and the evidence," Werhan said.
Looks like they're taking RetiredL's interpretation from the other day that the decision will block any blanket moratorium now. But it seems like that position is untenable for the reasons discussed yesterday:


In administrative matters, Werhan said, it's common for the agency to tinker with its policy until it's palatable. In this case, the Interior Department could offer the court more evidence and stronger reasoning for the moratorium, or it could modify the moratorium to address the economic considerations that Hornbeck and the state of Louisiana have raised. Werhan believes that the latter is the most likely.

Werhan was surprised at Hornbeck's court filing. "It seems like they're almost trying to get the judge to enjoin the department from modifying the moratorium, which seems to me implausible," he said. "The outcomes in a case like this are not all-or-nothing. The government can keep coming back to the problem and revising its approach until it satisfies its policy concerns, and it gives the court a reasonable approach within its statutory authority."

Keith Werhan is a constitutional law professor at Tulane University.

Well, i screwed that posting up, sorry.

I'm really sorry, I doubly screwed that up. That article was from yesterday evening. Too much distraction here!

The Govt. has asked for a stay of the injunction pending appeal, and it appears the court did not rule on the plaintiff's motion seeking to stop Salazr from issuing a revised moratorium.

However, the 5th Cir. has the same problem as the 6th cir. but worse. Too many judges with oil co conflicts. They might not even be able to assemble a 3 judge panel to hear the appeal, and even if they did and if someone then moved for an en banc hearing, it would be a real problem:

"But Carl Tobias, a constitutional law professor at University of Richmond in Virginia, said that the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals could have some of the same problems with conflicts of interest that U.S. District Court in New Orleans has had in assembling a three-judge panel to hear the case. Seven of 12 district court judges in New Orleans have recused themselves from hearing BP oil cases because they own energy stocks or have family members working on oil spill litigation. Tobias predicts that the judges of the Fifth Circuit, which represents the oil states of Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi, will have the same issues."

There will indeed be such issues in the 5th; see the ongoing issues in Comer v. Murphy Oil where they literally stated (wrongfully I would argue - see the dissents) that they could not even muster a quorum for an en banc consideration.

As to the ongoing discussion you and Synchro are having, I disagree with what seems to be the general acceptance of propriety of Feldman's decision. It was most definitely not within Feldman's permitted scope of review to either weigh the evidence in the agency record or substitute his decision for that of the agency. Yet that is exactly what he did on both counts. The general stnadard for review of agency decisions, in lay terms, is whether or not there is some evidence in the record the agency relied on that supports the decision. It is not was there sufficient evidence, it is not was there a preponderance of the evidence, it is not whether there was clear and convincing evidence. It is simply was there any evidence that the decision/action of the agency was reasonably related to a legitimate goal. The agency record below, which contained the 30 day commission materials and much more, contained much more than the nominal support needed for the agency decision to be upheld, and this is doubly true under the extra presumptions of regularity given the decision when it come to appellate injunctive relief considerations. The recitation of facts in several different portions of Judge Feldman's own opinion itself demonstrates more than sufficient factual support such that the agency decision should have been upheld.

The foregoing is not a comment on whether I think Salazar/Interior should have entered the moratorium in the least, simply an explanation of the legal reasoning as to why it should have been upheld on review by Feldman once it was. I am no technical oil drilling expert, but I have a lot of experience in legal issues (well over two decades) including more than a few appeals from administrative agency decisions. What Feldman did in going behind the agency and substituting his decision for that of the agency's (irrespective of his self serving claims to the contrary) was very much contrary to the standards of review he was tasked with and flies in the face of every ounce of experience I have in these issues.

"What Feldman did in going behind the agency and substituting his decision for that of the agency's (irrespective of his self serving claims to the contrary) was very much contrary to the standards of review he was tasked with and flies in the face of every ounce of experience I have in these issues."

That was my initial take as well. Especially to do it that way under the circumstances of a national emergency. But I think the judge covered himself. If you look at footnote 10, he is rejecting the govt's evidence as "corrupt" and submitted in such a manner as to perpetrate a fraud on the court. He takes care to point out repeatedly that the govt. failed to offer any (competent) evidence in support of the moratorium.

Once the report was rejected, what evidence was left?

The judge is definitely giving a more rigorous review than the traditional toothless rationally related review, but he is covering himself by claiming there is no competent evidence, or at least insufficient evidence, rather than weighing the evidence.

And it would appear that he decided to do so after concluding that the blanket moratorium was just too weakly justified to warrant the economic impact on the affected parties. I tend to agree with that. It is indeed a weighing of the merits outside the decision, but he covers himself in the opinion. Rationality review with teeth. My guess is the opinion has a decent chance of surviving on appeal, especially in the 5th cir. It's Salzar's fault for deceptively making it look like the scientists back the moratorium when they did not. It taints the entire report as evidence. Rockamn was all over that when it came out.

syncro: That was my take too. None = Not Sufficient because Interior's evidence was not credible. The Judge does not have to accept the reliability of Interior's evidence. He is free to rejected in part or whole based upon his judgment of its credibility. Judge Feldman rejected the Interior's evidence in total. And that's why I've said Salazar can try again. But one thing I know: Once a Judge starts to distrust what you have presented, you're going to have a very unsatisfactory experience with that judge.

Maybe would survive in the 5th, I have no experience there; if that is the case though, I still argue that is an incorrect application of the standard. Out here in the 9th, I am pretty sure it would not fly for a second. The relative characteristics of the corcuits I will leave for another day (although it is always a pretty fascinating discussion in a way). Here, it strikes me that Feldman took one small portion of the report, in fact it was not even the report itself, but a statement by Salazar in a separate executive summary of the report stating the report had been approved by seven peer review experts who agreed with the Secretary's conclusion of a six month moratorium. Five of the seven later said they agreed with the report, but not the blanket six month moratorium conclusion which Salazar made based on the report (but which was not directly in the report). So the whole extensive 30 day report is in the record and cannot be, and is not, tainted by any mischaracterization of the seven expert's review. My point is there is a wealth of evidence in the report and record which could, and indeed arguably does, support the moratorium. Feldman I believe has wrongfully dismissed all that based on the the basis of a non-dispositive discrepancy regarding five of seven so called peer review experts. Simply put, I still maintain there is credible evidence in the record (contra Feldman) that gives the nominal support necessary to uphold the agency action. Again, in doing so, I take no position on the propriety of the moratorium itself. I more fully explained it in this post here: which may, or may not, add anything to what we have already discussed. Hey, judges do the darndest things sometimes (juries even far more so), but I was honestly shocked at Feldman's opinion. Undoubtedly the 5th will tell me I am an idiot....

"Out here in the 9th, I am pretty sure it would not fly for a second." Well, when I look for excellence in jurisprudence I need look no FURTHER than the court (9th Circuit) that has had MORE cases overturned than all the rest COMBINED>. Of course to be the most liberal court in the land does require a certain modicum of fairy dust applied to everything and/or something else that might or might not be illegal to ingest. :)

Yes, quite right, red. Given the composition and tendencies of SCOTUS over the past three decades, the Ninth Circuit's record of reversals is, indeed, a sign of jurisprudential excellence.

It's nice to live in one of the pockets where fairy dust is at least as common as teabagger twitter and Randian ranting. I'll take the fairy dust, any day.

Couldn't the government argue that the current BOPs have too high a failure rate. Instead of a 6 month moratorium, couldn't they create a new rule that says no new drilling can be done until such time that a BOP with test results proving it's relilability and ability to cut through any drill pipe etc. That would probably give them > 6 months.

we can not until we retrieve the BOP determine if the BOP failed or something else happened. iT has design parameters which may have been exceeded.

From what I hear, Salazar ordered all govt. agencies, including the Coast Guard, to ignore the TRO and enforce the moratorium.

If that's so, all he's doing is getting the trial judge angry. Bad course of action. What would be compelling him to burn bridges in that way? Who has his boot on Salazar's neck?

rL: Perhaps, Salazar just finished reading American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House.

[For those of you who are not legal geeks: President Jackson once told SCOTUS Chief Justice Marshall: "You made the order; you enforce it."]

I think you may be right about Salazar's brinkmanship, but I've heard Jackson's position on the Cherokee question was a little more nuanced:

"the decision of the supreme court has fell still born, and they find that they cannot coerce Georgia to yield to its mandate."

He must mean that a second moratorium is coming so don't take the judge's ruling as the final word. There will be a moratorium of some sort eventually.

I agree it would be idiotic to be telling agencies to ignore the judge's ruling. I can't imagine he's that stupid.

syncro and all: Sweet Jesus, this is only the opening volley in the entire BP legal drama and already we're nine miles into the legal sagebrush.....

By the way, the government just effectively tanked its own application for stay in the 5th by telling the hot judge(s) it is fully complying with Feldman's order pending separate action.

Is Salazar simply trying to flush out some corruption in circuit cout judges?


Sure looks chaotic over there! How can they argue both that there are grounds for a stay, but they can also issue new moratorium despite the injunction? There are some narrow grounds to do that, I suppose, but it highlights how weak the available argument for a stay was.

I guess they rush out the new moratorium now and ultimately render the old one and the injunction technically moot.

I would not want to take the appeal of the injunction all the way to a hearing if they're just going to roll out a new moratorium. But they probably have to file it or they look silly (which they do any way at this point).

Looks like Feldman is going to get what he wants out of this. A narrower moratorium to lessen the economic impact. Touche'

"How can they argue both that there are grounds for a stay, but they can also issue new moratorium despite the injunction? "

I think everyone in this discussion is assuming *way* too much subservience to the judiciary on the part of the administration.

As I pointed out before, we are in the new Bush-Yoo-Obama-Holder Era of the Nearly Unlimited Unitary Executive. Just as the Justice Dept. under both administrations has nearly-openly flaunted unfavorable rulings on, e.g., detainees and habeas, I expect that, in this case, Salazar et al. will dance, dodge and evade exactly as much as they want, make a show of compliance when it suits them, and tune the whole performance to the perceived requirements of political reality.

And I very much doubt that the courts are going to push a showdown with the government over this, even if an individual DC judge is annoyed.

Obama and Salazar have all of the maneuvering room they could need, providing they also have the insight and skill to use it effectively.

EL --Watching the debate over the moratorium and the judge's ruling it seems as though we've moved into another universe. A parallel universe but still a different one. Granted the BP accident has resulted in well founded concerns about drilling practices in the GOM. The moratorium won't stop the blow out from spewing more destruction to the GOM. It won't bring the 11 dead hands back to life. It has no impact on BP's financial liabilities.

In effect the gov't, in their argument to defend the moratorium, is saying that they are uncertain they have met their stated obligation: to ensure acceptable levels of safety in OCS operations. They are saying that the BP accident shows that either MMS regulations were either insufficient in nature or not sufficiently enforced. By admitting they can't guarantee the safe operation of the existing drilling efforts they are essentially admitting they weren't doing their job before the blow out. Or they could argue that their regs were adequate and that enforcement was handled properly but it was BP's poor operational decisions that caused the accident. But if they take that tack the moratorium only makes sense, IMHO, if they show other operators are following the same flawed procedures. If so then all the MMS need do is review the procedures operators are planning to employ and pass judgment on them individually. If the MMS doesn't approve of the operator's plan then their drill permit is pulled immediately. In that sense it doesn't matter what caused the BP blow out: if operators are using safe drilling practices, in the eyes of the MMS, then why shouldn't they keep drilling. And if the MMS argues they don't know what safe drilling practices should be then why are they in charge of the process in the first place?

The other apparent weak point in the moratorium is its restriction to DW wells. Granted fighting an uncontrolled oil/NG flow in 5,000' water depth greatly exceeds the effort that would be needed in a blow out in 200' of water. But a similar blow out in 200' of water could dump 50,000 bopd into the GOM for a period of time before it was capped. In fact, most in the oil patch would agree, IMHO, that the quality of the equipment/personnel used in DW drilling typically exceeds that used in wells drilled on the shelf. Not only that but those operators that drill on the shelf are much smaller than BP and don't have resources anywhere close to that of BP. And the shallow water wells are subject to the same regs as DW wells and those rules are enforced by the very same folks that oversaw the BP well.

From that perspective the battle over the moratorium has nothing to do with BP directly. It's an appraisal of how well the gov't has been doing its job. And the gov't is arguing that they haven't been doing a good job and the judge is ruling they have. IMHO the world has truly turned weird.

It isn't really that weird.

They are arguing that the spill revealed that they had inherited a broken agency with broken regulations and they can't fix it well enough to assure public safety overnight. Agree or disagree on the merits, it isn't an inherently illogical argument.

Exempting the shallow water drilling is something of a stretch but they do have all the statements about how hard everything is at that depth and how none of this has ever been tried before at such depth which tend to support making a distinction.

wrb --But there's the rub: the spill did 't prove the MMS regs or enforcement were inadequate. It may have been 100% BP error. Since the MMS hasn't determined the cause of the accident no one can say definatively it was in any part the govt's fault. Folks can trash the MMS all they want but know one has yet shown the MMS shares any of the responsibility yet. Lots of conjector for sure but where's the beef?

As far as shallow water being a stretch please note that the worse blow out related oil spills on record, prior to the BP accident, were from shallow water wells. I don't think the BP well breaking the water depth record makes a shallow water spill less of a worry for the general public.

Rockman: I understand exactly what you're saying. Here's a brief, non-legal summary leaving out the gory details of what happened. Government issues order. People affected go to judge saying: "BS. Order is baseless. Government just can't issue orders willy-nilly because they feel like it." Judge looks at government's evidence and says: "You're right. No believable evidence. Get this piece of crap outta here." All the government has to do is produce some, not very much, just some evidence the plan is based on something believable and order would stand. (You'll never see this on TV. ZZZZZ....)

Here's what confuses most people: This was not a trial. It was a very specialized legal hearing with special rules to overturn an administrative order. Executive branch administrative orders are given great deference in court by judges (another branch) because of the separation of powers in the US Constitution. But it's the courts' constitutional duty to protect people against the arbitrary use of power by the government. It's that damn, irritating Constitution again. And, if you want to go there, go to law school 'cause we're headin' out deep into the 200+ years of deep legal sage brush where there ain't no Blue Bell... ever.

Edited for clarity.

EL: nice job! Even a feller such as I can understand that. Appreciate it.

Well said EL. Was there any evidence presented to the judge regarding the economic impact? But following your Constitutional argument wouldn't the loss of $10+ billion of economic activity and tens of thousands of job add weight that point? It would be denying folks that benefit without due process. That might not be the proper legal term but I think you'll get my point. BP likewise has damaged folks economy in S La. I haven't seen a number yet on that loss but certainly into the billions by now. But the moratorium could cause as large or even larger negative impact on the same region.

But here's a different angle I haven't seen yet: the moratorium really only affects existing drilling permits that have been approved. Any new drill permit would require submitting a POE...Plan of Exploration. The MMS under long ago set rules has 180 days to approve or deny a POE. No approved drill permit. Thus even without moratorium the gov't is under no obligation to issue new drill permits for 6 months regardless of any judge's ruling. Also, I'm not sure it would be ruled as non-compliance with the judge's ruling but I think the MMS could issue new BOP testing procedures for all drill rigs operating in the OCS literally overnight. It could easy take many months to comply with the new regs. Given what we're seeing with the inability (due to the failed BOP) to prevent the damage being done in the GOM what judge would rule against such a change in regs? There's no room for debate on this issue: the BOP failed. Either the BOP design wasn't sufficient or it wasn't tested/maintained properly. In either case it would seem the gov't would have a very strong case to require all existing BOP's regs to be revised.

With all due respect, economic impact was not, and is not, within the purview of Judge Feldman on a simple appeal for injunctive relief from an agency decision. This was not a trial, and there was no evidence appropriate save for that contained in the agency record below.

But this was not an appeal for injunctive relief from an agency decision. This was a request for a special form of preliminary injunction, a temporary restraining order. As EL explained so well yesterday, you have to make a showing of irreparable harm, which in this case was the economic impact of the moratorium. So economic impact is central to the whole question.

And it was that context that made this so fascinating to watch. It allowed Feldman to turn that hearing into a direct rebuke of the president and the Sec. of interior, with their help of course.

I haven't read all the papers, but given the drubbing he took from Feldman in his opinion, I really would not want to appeal that ruling to the 5th cir., not as Secretary of the Interior. Not only will he have to defend the judge's allegations that he intentionally misled the court and that his evidence sucked, he could very well lose and have the appellate court write a stinging, odorous rebuke as well. The political motivation would sure be there.

I bet the judges on the 5th cir. are watching all of this with amusement.

Oh, I understand that completely. But that only comes into play if the underlying relief is grantable in the first place. I still take the position it was not because there was more than sufficient evidence in the record. As EL phrased it herein, "all the executive branch had to do is present just a teenie-wennie bit, a smidgen, of believable evidence to the court in support of the moratorium to win". I believe that burden to have been more than met and, that being the case, the burden of the petitioner or demonstrating irreparable harm is irrelevant.

" I believe that burden to have been more than met and, that being the case, the burden of the petitioner or demonstrating irreparable harm is irrelevant."

It's is hard to say without having the record to review. You're probably right. Especially in the context of a crisis/emergency. But you have to ask why aren't they running to the 5th cir. and having it tossed pronto. Because if the judge is off base, he's way off base. (Did they have to bring that motion for a stay to make it ripe for appeal? If not, why go to him and not the 5th cir.?)

I also do not subscribe to the theory that decisions are made in a vacuum. The moratorium is expected to cost 50,000+ jobs and billions of dollars to the local economy. That's the judge's community, already suffering. And he seems to sincerely believe the moratorium will do so unnecessarily without really reducing risk. (Irrelevant for the decision, but not his motivations.) Consider also the game playing with the report: the scientists opposed a moratorium and said it was unnecessary yet Salzar offers their report as evidence that it is necessary without disclosing that? Can you ever expect to win when you cross a judge like that, and this judge surely felt crossed.

So he did what many judges before him have done and he killed the moratorium on narrow, technical grounds. Insufficient showing to meet burden.

Legally, he hung his hat on this:

"The Supreme Court has explained that:

'Normally, an agency rule would be arbitrary and
capricious if the agency has relied on factors which
Congress has not intended it to consider, entirely failed
to consider an important aspect of the problem, offered
an explanation for its decision that runs counter to the
evidence before the agency, or is so implausible that it
could not be ascribed to a difference in view or the
product of agency expertise. The reviewing court should
not attempt itself to make up for such deficiencies . .
. . [But the court] will, however, ‘uphold a decision of
less than ideal clarity if the agency’s path may be
reasonably discerned.’
State Farm, 463 U.S. at 43 (quoting Bowman Transp. Inc. v.
Arkansas-Best Freight Sys., 419 U.S. 281, 286 (1974)).

In StateFarm, the Supreme Court held the agency’s decision was arbitrary and capricious because the agency had failed to give any
consideration to an obvious alternative. Id. at 46-47. That
rationale resonates in this dispute.

He goes on to discuss how MMS could shut down every DW rig in the Gulf immediately under its existing authority and require each to certify that it has met new safety standards.

It's creative judging for sure, but all in all he is within bounds IMO. The 5th cir., what do you think they will do on the appeal?

bmaz: According to Judge Feldman, the government didn't; therefore, the basis of his, repeat his, ruling. And Feldman is the judge who decided. I have emphasized this point because Peak Oil issues are going to be mostly decided in the courts because judges make decisions. It's what they do. They may not want to. Tough. Do it.

Yes, we have beat poor judge Feldman to a pulp by now. I hope the 5th cir. provides as much fun!

One last point, since I believe 5 of the 7 experts who authored the report were opposed to a moratorium, the judge could have considered that report as evidence that the govt. position was arbitrary since their own experts were opposed to it and felt a more limited moratorium was adequate to meet the risk. When your own experts contradict you, you're in trouble in any case. Throw in some deception by the attorneys, followed by lame excuses, and you're done.

syncro and ALL who think they'll get caught in this legal journey:

Yeah, I'm sure poor ole Judge Feldman lays awake nights worrying about what TOD may says about his legal thinking.

In 1969, when I first tiptoed into Federal District Court, a very veteran lawyer took me aside. He said: "I can explain Federal judges to you quite simply. Sigmund Freud dies and is met by St. Peter at the pearly gates. Peter says: 'Dr. Freud, we have needed you for a long time. You are most welcome here.' Freud responds: 'How could you need me here? This is Heaven after all.' Peter looks at him sadly and says: ' God is suffering from delusions of grandeur. He thinks he's a federal judge.'"

Forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit.

Rockman: All you have said may well be and probably is true. But all the executive branch had to do is present just a teenie-wennie bit, a smidgen, of believable evidence to the court in support of the moratorium to win and, according to Judge Feldman, they didn't. That was his opinion so that's what he wrote in his opinion. You have to give reasons, evidence to the judge. The Judge can only consider what is presented in court. As a judge, you don't go out and investigate the scene of an auto accident or take into account what your neighbor told you at the picnic about the accident. The executive branch (i.e.the cops) investigates the accident and presents it in a formal hearing to the judge. A a judge, you sit there and listen to what's brought to you. You are passive. A very rough and somewhat inaccurate comparison: A baseball umpire doesn't tell the pitcher what pitch to throw. He just judges the location of the pitch that is thrown. He may think: "Boy, it was dumb to throw a knuckle ball on that pitch count to that batter." But he just calls "ball four", which is his opinion. And judges are just like pitchers. They all have different strike zones. Put all this into the context of your daughter's baseball games. And go yell at the umpire. Or something....

[Edit: typo, causing grammar, causing a nap.]

And judges are just like pitchers. They all have different strike zones.

I'm pretty sure you meant to write judges are just like umpires. I like the comparison ?- )

Luke: Thank you. You are right. Sometimes writing comments becomes a blur. At my paying job, I always let docs marinate overnight before one final proof. But here it's just slash and burn and hope for the best. Also, it just a horseshoes comparison. I'm not saying I would have ruled the way Judge Feldman did but he was certainly with some umps strike zone. And Circuit Courts have traditions. Just like the American and National leagues seem to have different strike zones in general. I have no idea what the traditions are in this Circuit. But I can tell you this: They gonna learn what the word "busy" means. Law Clerk Employment Act of 2010.

EL, good post. But your Honor, I object. Courts are part of the government as you know. Who protects the people against the arbitrary use of power by the courts? EG, Bush vs. Gore.

The problem is that the judiciary branch of government is running the biggest self-regulation racket on Earth. Has the absurdity of self-regulation been in the news lately? Ever complain about a lawyer to a state disciplinary counsel or supreme court? Talk about putting the hogs in charge of the corn crib.

While I'm at it, lawyers are members of the judiciary branch of government. That is the source of their power. They violate the separation of powers - the fundamental principle of our federal and state constitutions which lawyers swear to uphold - when they hold legislative or executive office.

Someone posted a comment earlier about a politician being "re-elected lawyer". Lawyers in politics have been so common for so long that we can't see that it is wrong.

If a lawyer wants to be president or senator or governor etc, he must surrender his law license. If he wants to go back to lawyering afterward, he must pass the bar exam again and meet all of the other requirements for a license. That would remove 90% of the rot in this country.

I would take this to court, but am dubious of success.

I've asked several questions on TOD about regulatory matters and competence (for example, to what standard & accreditation was the BOP constructed) and when I linked to our Health & Safety Executive here in the UK and said they are highly qualified and very competent in providing oversight of the industry, someone answered to the effect that (paraphrasing) inteference by regulatory agencies kind of smacks of socialism, as if that's a dirty word.
As a Brit, I find the discussion over the moratorium unfathomable. Surely to goodness if there's even a shred of doubt about the ability of the safety equipment to function correcty in deep waters, or any worries about procedures not being followed correctly, then there should be a halt to activities while the issue is thoroughly investigated by competent people (here in the UK a "competent person" is a phrase in law). My personal opinion (for what it's worth, which I'm sure is not much) is that the government is wholly correct in trying to impose a moratorium. As I understand it, they've told BP they'll have to cover the cost to the rest of the industry.
Apologies if I'm coming across as too opinionated or interfering when I don't even live in the US, but I am genuinely interested in the debate.

Surely to goodness if there's even a shred of doubt about the ability of the safety equipment to function correcty in deep waters, or any worries about procedures not being followed correctly, then there should be a halt to activities while the issue is thoroughly investigated by competent people


Fact 1) Existing procedures allowed a disastrous spill.

Fact 2) No-one appears to know why technically.

With those two facts, all activity needs to be shut down until investigation determines why, and why it may not happen at the next well. If existing system fine, then perhaps simply never allowing BP or any of its spin-off-from-bancruptcy residues to control a drilling operation may be sufficient....

Existing procedures meaning on every single rig, or just BP's DWH?

Is it demonstrable that the procedures on every single rig are likely to cause a disastrous spill?

If every rig was doing what BP was doing, then all of a sudden it seems like the $75Mn cap is all you can legally hold BP to. They were doing the same thing every one else did, with the MMS's blessing.

motown, I'm not a lawyer like Kalliergo and others on this site, but the obvious problem from the government's perspective works as follows:

IF they want their lawsuits against BP to have a chance, they have to show they had a competent MMS in place, and that BP somehow transgressed the rules.

IF they want their moratorium to stand, they have to argue that the MMS was incompetent somehow, letting BP completely off the hook for following or NOT FOLLOWING MMS procedures!


It's that danged ol' Constitution thing going on over here that perhaps gets in the way? We tend to keep the whole crew working and picking up the slack after we fire the one who F#$*+d up.

From outside, it appears there may be significant weaknesses in the ability of that vaunted document to maintain an even balance between the rights of citizens v.s. the rights of non-citizen actors (corporations).

ALL U.S. citizens, and this includes those living and working on the gulf coast.

lg: The weakness isn't in the Constitution. It's in the people who have power.

Agreed, PassingThrough.....

if there's even a shred of doubt about the ability of the safety equipment to function correcty in deep waters

And I'm thinking back to westtexas's repeated comments in the initial aftermath about the Brazilian "show me" rule for deep-water BOPs. It's the absolute minimum base-line for acceptability of this last-ditch line of defence.

Regards Chris (fellow Brit under the influence of temporary and uncharacteristic let's stick-together patriotism,induced by the World Cup)

Chris, it was a great match, wasn't it? Let's hope it isn't temporary, and that we are still sticking together next week.

If Brazil's standard of safe operations is higher, it only seems sensible that it would be adopted. But I don't know that that justifies a moratorium, rather than a timetable of adaptation.

Nobody wants to see this happen again, I'm pretty sure I'm safe making that generalisation.

(and Go U.S.A., as to your footie remarks).

Well, IANAL but here's a practical problem: when I take the car out of the driveway, or step out and take a walk, or leave to ride a bike somewhere, (or if I would take a train, if there were a train), there certainly exists a shred of doubt about whether I will outlive the journey. Life is not absolutely free of risk. And yet I don't make myself a hermit - and most likely neither do you, nor anyone else reading this.

This fight seems to be about how big a shred of doubt; who gets to decide the acceptable size of the shred and impose their whim upon everyone else; and under what rules does that all occur. One problem is that it's always easy to pound the table and claim the only acceptable, moral size is zero - so long as the only apparent cost seems to fall on the despised corporate world that in effect delivers the daily morning news that it's time to get out of bed and go to work. But vengeance is a dish best served cold: once the other costs come back and bite down hard, the songsheet often changes as we're seeing in Louisiana now.

Alas, there are no bright fiery lights in the sky that turn on to announce that the one and only "right answer" has been found, that at last we know just how much precaution is enough. So the argument will last for ever. Break out the popcorn (or whatever people break out in the UK) and watch the show. On the example of the Exxon Valdez, said show will still be running strong 20 years from now. No, it's a bigger mess, so probably even longer.

Meanwhile, if I need to go somewhere, I'll get into the car, or onto the bike, or into the shoes, and go, without fretting all that much. That despite the reality of that little shred of doubt.

With all due respect, PaulS, the whole question of engineering safety is both a relative one and a progressive one. Every now and again a truly large-scale disaster occurs (Chernobyl, Piper Alpha, Challenger, GOM) and we have to stand back and take a cool, objective look at the consequences of not taking the most rigorous action in our attempt to ensure that it doesn't happen again. I take your point about driving cars, but dare I say that most accidents are not caused by engineering failures, but by human error? That's why the Toyota accidents became world-wide news because essentially it appeared that an engineering failure caused the tragic loss of several lives.

PT: You must show your evidence to the judge. The judge won't assume anything. The Judge here said: "You ain't shown me nutin' nowhere nohow," to grossly abuse the Queen's English but to say it in local patois. It's not up to the judge to search under the covers. He is a neutral, disinterested magistrate. We have a different and written Constitution and from it springs a somewhat different legal tradition. Your legal tradition began back in the days of unlimited monarchy and customary "tribal" law. And that leads to a different court tradition. And i have badly compressed these ideas.

EL: No, you haven't badly compressed those ideas. Our Heath & Safety Executive is, in effect, the government. It has wide-ranging statutory powers and can shut down an industrial operation in the blink of an eye. I can't remember a scenario where the Prime Minister has personally intervened in an industrial disaster, let alone been subsequently opposed by a judge. Prime Minister Tony Blair was called to the Hutton Enquiry to give evidence about his personal role in the events that led up to the death of Dr David Kelly (government inspector in Iraq who committed suicide after being accused of misleading the press) and prime Minister Gordon Brown was called to give evidence at the Iraq inquiry. Neither was a Watergate moment, but they showed that we do have judicial checks and balances. The point is that when it comes to industrial disasters, our Health & Safety Executive has statutory power (in the sense that President Obama has executive power) and there is no need for Prime Ministerial intervention.
Can't decide if this is particularly advantageous when it comes to intervention in industrial disasters, but I suspect that it is.

Today you may be right. Tomorrow we may be right. "And so it goes...."

"As a Brit, I find the discussion over the moratorium unfathomable. Surely to goodness if there's even a shred of doubt about the ability of the safety equipment to function correcty in deep waters, or any worries about procedures not being followed correctly, then there should be a halt to activities while the issue is thoroughly investigated by competent people (here in the UK a "competent person" is a phrase in law)."

Then the entire oil industry would have to shut down, and it would never start back up again, since you can't assess procedures if they're not being performed.

Regulating does not work. Regulators cannot be everywhere all the time.

"Regulating does not work. Regulators cannot be everywhere all the time."

Not regulators, rf73B. Regulations.

I meant regulators.

Regulations don't mean squat without regulators enforcing them.

Plans submitted to regulators don't mean squat if regulators aren't following up on them insuring said plans are legitimate and followed.

BP's plan said they could handle 60,000 bbl per day.

BP does not have to cover the cost of the moratorium on other industries. That's the deal they got for setting up the 20 billion dollar escrow account.

Rockman, there are two threads to this that account for the dissonance you see. 1. We can't shut off the flow of oil from off-shore entirely, we depend on it for survival (directly as fuel and because of the economic activity it generates); 2. we can't eliminate the risk entirely in 6 months or 6 years.

Unless we are going to do nothing in response to the spill, which no one seems to accept as a good idea, a line has to be drawn somewhere between shutting down all off-shore and doing nothing.

So who gets to draw that line? It certainly appears that the judge and the administration have different ideas on where to draw it, on what is acceptable risk under the circumstances. But they have different jobs to do, too, so that's understandable.

The administration is tasked with the job of protecting the country, the gulf, the people, and our oil supply. They say the moratorium is necessary to accomplish those goals.

The judge, in considering the request for an injunction, was tasked with the job of weighing the impact of the moratorium on those affected economically by it against the risk the administration lays out (through admissible evidence) and the remedy they propose. Is the risk of sufficient magnitude and the remedy sufficiently (rationally) related to addressing that risk such that it justifies the economic harm to these folks who are affected? It's a narrow question for the judge, one he is loath to second guess the administration on cause he's not supposed to. A walk around inspection, maybe kick the tires, is about it.

If Salzar had done a better job with laying the foundation for the initial moratorium, so that he had good evidence to demonstrate that the risk was real, what the magnitude was and that the remedy was rationally related to addressing it, the administration would have been able to draw that line pretty much were they wanted, and this judge likely would have approved it. And that's how it is supposed to be. The elected executive branch, not the judicial branch, should draw that line normally.

But since they failed to do that, and their opposition to the request for injunction was shoddy and defective (or so the judge says), the judge got to draw the line, or at least reject the administration's line as drawn, likely a temporary situation. But his ruling forced Salzar to retreat, for political reasons more than legal reasons. Salzar is now giving more weight to economic harm and less to lowering the risk of another spill. And that's probably what the judge was figuring was the most he could hope to do, force a redrawing of that line because he did not like the one the administration drew based on the economic impact. He's not supposed to do that normally, but the administration gave him the opening, and arguably he was right on the merits since the administration adopted his position for political reasons anyway.

The law does not care so much about consistency with regard to govt. incompetence before and after a disaster, or whether govt. ends up having to argue it has failed in it's job and that's why the remedy is needed, unless it's directly relevant. - There was a disaster. The govt. is spurred into action. Previously acceptable risk is deemed no longer acceptable. Govt. takes remedial action. - Normally, the court is fine with that scenario so long as the remedy is rationally related to the risk and the magnitude of the risk relative to the impact of those adversely affected.

Well said syn. That's why I try to void characterizing any of the decisions you pose as right or wrong. That determination depends on which party is speaking. For instance, for the great majority of oil companies shutting down all offshore drilling would be beneficial. But not that beneficial for the gov't given the $10 billion/yr they receive from their mineral royalities. There are choices to be made: There is no good/bad choices unless you put them into a context. And the various contexts stretch across a wide field. Or as my pappy was fond of saying: "Sh*t or get off the pot! But for God's sake do something cause I gotta go".

yeah! What Rockman said there.

Rockman: And "sh*t or get off the pot" is why most of the Peak Oil conflict will end up in court because the courts must make a decision when an issue is brought to them. And the Executive and the Congress can just find excuses not to make decisions and posture. Not the courts. And the Executive and Congress know this. "So let's stick the judges with this mess." It ain't gonna be pretty.


Just a question here. Isn't shutting down and doing nothing the same thing for the folks down there?

It ends up that way for them. But those are the two extreme choices for the people who have to decide what to do about the spill and the risk of another one.

Is a moratorium the best way to go? I really don't know. Since we can't eliminate the risk and we already know what it is, any moratorium should be geared toward reducing that risk. The focus should be on doing everything that can reasonalby be done to reduce risk as much as we reasonabbly can in the short run.

The reality is, we're still stuck with this risk for awhile. No two ways about that. This is what it means to be an oil-based society. The Gulf is exhibit A. The chaos in D.C. is exhibit B. And all of us screaming that nothing is going right is Exhibit C.

syncro: And the fact that this thread is a mile long is Exhibit D (and I just added to it.)

Yes, but mine are way worse. Your short explanation of the ruling was great. Did you see the article on Feldman. It talks about his stock. He has none. And it has his pic, but if he was appointed by reagan 27 years ago, it may not be current:


Much of the sensational reporting on Feldman’s investments was based on outdated information. The Judge was blasted for owning stock in Transocean, Ltd and Halliburton, two of the major companies involved in the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Feldman owned those stocks in 2008; however, he sold those shares long before issuing his ruling this week. In fact, this updated information will be released in the next report on his stock holdings.

If Feldman held financial interests in any of companies involved in the lawsuit or the Deepwater Horizon rig, he would not have been allowed the take the case. The 5th District Court uses a sophisticated computer system to check whether judges have a conflict of interest in any legal proceeding. This system automatically determines whether a judge needs to be recused from a particular case. In this lawsuit, Feldman was allowed to take the case because he did not own any stock related to the parties involved.

And if the MMS argues they don't know what safe drilling practices should be then why are they in charge of the process in the first place?

That's a doozy, right there.

Here are the new rules in place for all operators in federal waters. Why is an additional moratorium on DW drilling needed in addition to these new requirements? Would it be appropriate to allow DW drilling to continue based on satisfying these additional safety requirements and additional federal oversight until new design requirements are created and implemented?


NTL No. 2010-N05 Effective Date: June 8, 2010

Increased Safety Measures for Energy Development on the OCS

Background and Purpose

This Notice to Lessees and Operators (NTL) implements certain safety measures outlined in the report entitled “Increased Safety Measures for Energy Development on the Outer Continental Shelf” (Safety Measures Report), dated May 27, 2010. The President requested that the Department of the Interior develop this report as a result of the Deepwater Horizon incident on April 20, 2010.


on June 2, 2010, the Secretary directed the Director, Minerals Management Service, to adopt the recommendations contained in the Safety Measures Report and to implement them as soon as possible.
This NTL addresses recommendations of the Safety Measures Report that warrant immediate implementation. The following paragraphs identify the specific recommendations from the Report and provide guidance to lessees and operators on the requirements they must meet. These recommendations apply to all activities on the OCS, including deepwater activity suspended under the Notice to Lessees to Implement the Presidential Directive to Impose a Moratorium on all New Deepwater Wells (NTL No. 2010-N04 - Moratorium NTL), and shallow water operations (under 500 feet in depth).

Summary from press release here:

Deepwater Drilling Moratorium Remains in Place, Shallow Water Drilling May Continue in Compliance with Stronger Safety Requirements


The Safety NTL issued today implements the seven safety requirements that Secretary Salazar’s 30 day safety report to the President determined could be implemented immediately. Under the NTL, lessees and operators are required to:

  • Show certification by the operator’s Chief Executive Officer that they are conducting their operations in compliance with all operating regulations and that they have tested their drilling equipment, ensured that personnel are properly trained, and reviewed their procedures to ensure the safety of personnel and protection of the environment;
  • Provide certification from a Professional Engineer – before beginning any new drilling operations using either a surface or subsea blowout preventer (BOP) stack – of all well casing and cement design requirements, including that there are at least two independent tested barriers for the well, and adhere to new casing installation procedures;
  • Provide independent third-party verification, before drilling any new well, that the BOP will operate properly with the drilling rig equipment and is compatible with the specific well location, borehole design and drilling plan;
  • Provide independent third-party verification that shows that the blind-shear rams installed on the surface or subsea BOP stack are capable of shearing the drill pipe in the hole under maximum anticipated surface pressures;
  • Adhere to new inspection and reporting requirements for BOP and well control system configuration, BOP and well control test results, BOP and loss of well control events, and BOP and loss of well control system downtime;
  • Receive independent third-party verification, before spudding a new well, of re-certification of BOP equipment used on all floating drilling rigs to ensure that the devices will operate as originally designed, and that any modifications or upgrades conducted after delivery have not compromised the design or operation of the BOP;
  • Have a secondary control system for subsea BOP stacks with remote operated vehicle (ROV) intervention capabilities, including the ability to close one set of blind-shear rams and one set of pipe rams. The subsea BOP system must have an emergency shut-in system in the event of lost power, as well as a deadman system and an autoshear system;
  • Conduct ROV Hot Stab Function Testing of the ROV Intervention Panel on subsurface BOP stacks; and
  • Provide documentation that the BOP has been maintained according to the regulations.

Drilling operations that are not subject to the deepwater drilling moratorium must fulfill their BOP reporting requirements by June 17 and submit the required safety certifications by June 28. Failure to provide required certifications will result in the issuance of an incident of non-compliance and may result in a shut-in order.

Excellent question, since this seems to cover the bases. Maybe the moratorium has political purposes. It could be nothing more than an ill-conceived response that the administration hoped would be seen by the public as masterful action.

A LEGAL QUESTION: What are the ramifications for a certification from the CEO as required in the first bullet above in the new NTL? Is it reasonable for a CEO to be required to actually "certify" that all employees under him are working in full compliance of all regulations? The NTL doesn't say that the required procedures should be in place or company policy should require etc etc. It seems to me to be an unreasonable requirement.

Should the CEO of an Airline Company certify that every pilot will in every instance follow regulations? How about the President of the USA certifying that every staff member will not leak classified info to the press under penalty of imprisonment and horrendous fines. Or, every member of Congress certifying their staff will or will not do something.

It's insane to me.

ExDrllgMgr wrote:

Is it reasonable for a CEO to be required to actually "certify" that all employees under him are working in full compliance of all regulations? . . .

It's insane to me.

I agree.

No one -- not even a CEO -- is omniscient.

EDM: This certification idea was used after the Enron debacle where the defense was: "Sure the books were cooked, sure I ran the company, but I never had time to read the financial statements. So you can't hold me responsible for something I didn't read?" It eliminates the very successful: "Who me? Never heard of it in my company?" dodge. The CEO can't then dodge the responsibility for running the ship. The Navy, I think, may Court-martial the captain of a ship if a problem occurs even is if he had no way of knowing about the problem on his ship. I have seen several poster defend Tony Hayward by saying; "He was all the way over there in England when this happened. How could you say he's responsible for the blow out? Leave him alone. (Sniff.)" Ya Take The Big Bonuses, Ya Pay the Big Price When Things Go Wrong.

E L wrote:

The CEO can't then dodge the responsibility for running the ship. The Navy, I think, may Court-martial the captain of a ship if a problem occurs even is if he had no way of knowing about the problem on his ship.

If a major incident occurs -- such as running the ship aground -- the Navy may well relieve a captain of his command even if he was asleep in his quarters at the time.

But no -- the Navy does not require that the captain of a vessel certify that all the men aboard always follow all regulations. In fact, the Navy knows full well that regulations will be violated from time to time and gives the Captain wide latitude in how to punish those violations.

BP has over 80,000 employees world wide. There is no way the CEO can have sufficient knowledge of all their activities on a daily basis to issue any sort of "certification" that they are all complying with regulations.

I think the 'common sense' read on the CEO 'certification', would be STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURE that complies with ALL Federal Law is being employed.The CEO is safe if an employee 'takes it on himself' to willfully flaunt Company Policy.

MWS: The law does it all the time. Since time "longer than the memory of man runneth" under common English law, partners are liable for the acts of other partners even when they knew nothing about the act or wouldn't have approved if they had known. The partner signs a "certification" of mutual responsibility when he/she joins even if he doesn't want to. He signs the "certification" from the very beginning by law. In a criminal conspiracy, one member can be convicted of 1st degree murder even though he was 5.000 miles away, specifically said "don't do it", and even tried to leave the conspiracy. Each member of the conspiracy signs the "certification" for every other member's conduct. And now the same responsibility is being placed on CEOs. I could cite 500 other examples under the law of attributive responsibility dating back to 1066.

BOPs that actually prevent blowouts, a good idea. But it doesn't address the actual drilling procedures that led to the blowout, if I understand what some have speculated.

Question for Rockman, WildBourgman, ExDrillMgr, alilial, others: Would monitoring the returns have given the drillers information that would have helped them prevent the blowout, even in the event of a cementing failure?

No matter how good the BOP is made, it sounds to me like there was something that could've been done to prevent the accident, if the drillers had minded their returns. Outside of all the legal mumbo jumbo, what should have they done if they had noticed the well coming at them in time to do something?

On a rig with competent hands, one would certainly say the BO was preventable. It may not have been the hands fault. It's possible the levels were noticed and reported but then discounted by the supervisors. I do feel, however, that in a non SHTF scenario, the well could have been shut in after properly spacing out, closing the rams, monitoring the pressures and volumes, and then taking the proper kill procedures. In the above case, there would have been no massive gas release up the riser, no explosion etc. I can't guarantee that with the absence of a locking ring on the seals, that annulus pressure wouldn't have built up, unseated the seals, and the rupture discs blown out causing a release to the outer casings and possibly an underground blowout. If the supervisors understood what was happening to them early on, I feel they could have overcome the well control problem without a catastrophe.

I would like to hear the opinions of some of the other drillers on here.

A Personal Note (but related to Peak Oil & BP Spill)

I read EVERY post on BP's spill for the first 56 or 57 days. A group of us got close to Sec. Salazar with the case for more relief wells. Failed.

I has several other pressures for my time and energy so I took "time off" for work that can have a longer range impact. I will be back "part-time" I think.

A well known international organization is preparing a blueprint, with numerical analysis (i.e. more than hand waving) on slowing Climate Change and the related economic benefits of doing so. This is done nation by nation or region by region and I will be listed as a contributor. Deadline this November. My involvement is related to a chain of events that started on TOD.

A well known national organization is now preparing a plan to get the USA off oil ASAP, as much as possible. I was asked to contribute, but I offered more than they anticipated >;-)

They were unaware or very vaguely aware of the efforts of the international organization and I have proposed some complimentary efforts.

Also trying to work the National Security angle of Efficient Non-Oil Transportation in other venues.

Sorry to be vague, but there are issues of confidentiality.

Best Hopes,


Been wondering where you were, has the oil started showing up in the debris at Mothers?

Alan, a very big thank you for your efforts.

Exciting news, Alan. You (and others on TOD) bring much needed knowledge, experience and thoughtfulness to the climate and energy issues we are grappling with. Working together is the way ahead. Yes, a big thank you!

What og and songster said, Alan -- how terrific to have this project to call out your best. Bravos to all of you.

The only way to get a senator to take your side on anything is to make a big campaign contribution, or make a credible threat that you'll be making a big contribution to his opponent. All of these things must be done through intermediaries, to preserve plausible deniability the integrity of the process.

A well known national organization is now preparing a plan to get the USA off oil ASAP, as much as possible. I was asked to contribute, but I offered more than they anticipated >;-)


Your talents are being put to good use. I'm glad that you are part of something that will make a difference to all of us.

Since there was some discussion in the previous thread about the 2 drill pipes in the cutoff riser, I thought I would repost Fmagyar's screenshot.

so the inner pipe(s) is either 2 4 inch pipes or 1 8 inch pipe, how big is the drill pipe supposed to be?

If it is a single pipe, which seems most probable, it is 9-7/8" liner or casing pipe.


If it's part of the tapered liner, then the CRAW should be transferred to another ship and sent on a mission to figure out how much of the liner string was ejected. If enough liner was ejected (adding credence to Simmons' statements) then the relief well could be aiming for an empty hole in the rock, and the active steering, which depends on the conductivity of the steel will be of no help.

You don't need to be an oil field expert to have that raise the hairs on the back of your neck.

If it's two drill pipes, that suggests that the rams cut the pipe, then cycled open so that part of the downhole string was ejected into the riser. That's very strange BOP behavior, which must be explained before another exploratory well is drilled in the GOM.

(DISCLAIMER: Olberman staff: I'm NOT an industry expert. I'm just a simple country engineer who spends way too much time at TOD.)

Agreed, but from the same position. Be nice to get an expert view. I'm less concerned about the effects on a relief well, I think they should be capable of hitting even an uncased hole these days though perhaps with some delay, and having no casing would mainly affect the quantity of kill mud required. 'course i'm just supposing.

Watched that live. This is the down stream end of the riser section ie the furthest away from the BOP. I seem to recall that as the ROV moved about, what looked like two pipes at first was actually just one. The shearing action had deformed the pipe before cutting through it.

3 possibilities:

1. Its a single pipe crushed. 12.78 returned to round makes it about 8" diameter or liner size.

2. 2 drill pipes with the second coming from below.

3. 2 drill pipes with the second coming from above. Possibly while the rig was still attached the riser buckled snapping the brittle DP, then pulling it taught again allowing the broken piece to fall onto the partially activated rams.

If you measure the perimiters of the 21" riser and the crushed pipe, and then compare the ratios, I think you'll find that the crushed pipe is close to 10". One method is to print out the image, tape it to a drawing board, set pins in the outline of each pipe and pass a thread around the pins to get the measurement.

When you took the pictures in context the day the shear was accomplished, I believe we saw "two" DP below the foldover crimp on the riser above the flex joint; but only one DP topside of the foldover crimp on the riser.

According to Adm Allen during one of his recent briefings, the section of cutoff riser - complete with kink - that was sheared off above the LMRP has been raised from the seafloor and will be taken to New Orleans for use in the ongoing investigation. A poster in an earlier thread mentioned seeing it in a basket in a ROV shot.

So by now somebody may know if that picture reveals one crushed pipe or two separate pipes.

Note in the left internal pipe, if you blow up the original, it looks like female threads inside.


To me the right half is total flattened and the steel has been rapped over itself. For this to happen the pipe would have had to have been split vertically before it was cut by the CRAW.

The Left side is still round and the outline of the steel wall is not as defined as the right hand side.

My feelings are the casing has collapsed under pressure in the classic fig 8 shape, trapping the 5 1/2" drill pipe on one side. When the CRAW cut through the left side he drill pipe helped it to maintain shape, it may have actually cut a tool joint as it does look like a thread but I would not like to speculate on how a thread could be exposed.

The right hand side was then folded under itself. This fold and the fact on the roundness of the left side shorten the final length, and therefore we end up with the 12.78" instead for the more theoretical 15" of a flattened 9 7/8" casing.

What annoys me is that if this is on deck then BP know exactly what is there. The amount they cut most likely contains the joint number and or lenght that is painted on every joint. If they left it on the sea bed then they are hiding information until a latter date.

Ed Markey has sent a lengthy letter to Tony Hayward which should really start the rumour mill rumbling.

Chairman Asks About Well Integrity, Design of Relief Wells, Timeframe, Sea Floor Leaks

The letter focuses on several main lines of inquiry,

--Relief well design and timeframe, notably on the designs of the casing and cementing of the relief wells and the blowout preventers for the relief wells. In a June 15th hearing in the Energy and Environment Subcommittee, BP’s Lamar McKay said that “the design of the relief well is very, very similar to the original well.” In the letter, Rep. Markey writes: “In light of the well-documented and extensive problems associated with the original well’s design, this statement is worrisome to contemplate.”

--Condition of the wellbore. Admiral Allen expressed concern last week that there may be damage to the wellbore, and the integrity of the well has been a consistent concern since the failure of the so-called “top kill” procedure.

--Reports of sea floor leaks. Rep. Markey also asks about whether there are additional leaks around the main well site, as that may impact any final efforts to seal the well and prevent further leakage of oil.

--Other potential oil and gas reservoirs. Rep. Markey asks BP to provide all geological information about the well to determine if there are other reservoirs of oil and gas aside from the main one 18,000 feet below the surface, as their presence, coupled with damage to the wellbore, could also complicate the relief well efforts.

MMS is now Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement

From the hearing yesterday Salazar placed repeated emphasis on lease holders oil spill response plans / capability as a major reason for the moratorium.

Towards the end of the hearing sen. Murkowski's (of Alaska} questioning of Salazar made it obvious there is no infrastructure built up to support a off shore spill response plan...

Shell in Alaska

What a BOEMRE!

Did anyone look at the acronym?


Anything other than MMS. I think MMS is now as toxic as BP ...

Heading Out -

I've been continually intrigued by that photo of barium sulfate crystals choking off that pipe, and even more intrigued by the comment that such crystal growth can take place in as little as 24 hours.

By now the oil industry must have sufficient knowledge of barium sulfate chemistry and related data to determine under what physical/chemical conditions rapid barium sulfate crystal growth will occur. Do I understand correctly that the source of barium ions in such cases are the drilling muds or other oil field chemicals, some of which contain barium sulfate?

Perhaps this possibility can be dismissed out of hand, but I am wondering if it would be feasible to deliberately encourage the rapid growth of barium sulfate crystals in the BOP by somehow injecting various solutions containing barium and sulfate ions. The first counter argument that comes to mind is that the high velocity through the ruptures in the top of the BOP would simply blow away any nascent crystal growth. But there is a good reason why that might not be so: crystal growth taking place on the inner surface of a pipe entails the laying down of crystalline precipitates, molecule by molecule. This surface is well with the relatively quiescent boundary layer. This is why very stubborn calcium carbonate scale can form inside pipes with very high fluid velocities.

There are probably a host of practical reasons why this can't be done, but I was just wondering if anyone has even considered this possibility, among all the other hare-brained schemes that have been tossed about.

They don't want to stop the flow from the top. Something they know, that we don't know, scared the crap out of them about the top kill. So any idea put forward about stopping up the well from the top, will not make it past that fact.

what about for future situations where a bop is not operating properly. what about using crystals / hydrates / something that can be encouraged to form and therefore plug?

Will someone tell me why this won't work from the top?

The following is a public government document, not copyrighted:

(ed by PG, there's NO NEED to paste a ten page document in here. provide the link: and be done with it.)

Looks like the Committee is now asking the same questions I have been asking on TOD for the past week.

Looks like they read Dougr's doomsday post!

"4) Please provide documents related to stopping a worst-case scenario blowout: "

I am sure that defense lawyers for BP, Transocenan, etc. are doing everything possible to prevent the release of the data Congress is asking for.

No doubt these interested parties have their operatives working for them on places like TOD.

No question about it. Agents of various powers are amongst us at all times. Most are cool. But watch out for the Martians, they do justice by combat.

Men in black?

Snort. Didn't you see the guy on the right in the photo that comfy posted last night?

With all due respect, Markey's a little behind the curve on some of this. Furthermore the way some of the questions are phrased seems like a setup, e.g, 3(c), "Has BP surveyed the vicinity of the well to look for any leaks from the sea floor? If so, what area was surveyed? Please provide all measurements, images, and other documents related to any survey(s) to identify hydrocarbon leakage from the sea floor. If no survey has been performed, why not?" There's well sourced, recent information about that available at

There is nothing "well sourced" or "recent" about that site.

The last post (as of this second) is June 20, 2010,

That group have no access to BP information, especially technical data that is not released to the general public.

FYI, the site lists there current background / status as follows:


A team of University of Georgia marine scientists is conducting research on the huge underwater oil plume that was discovered in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion. Throughout a two-week cruise in the Gulf of Mexico, they are posting regular updates and photos to this blog.

The team now on board the R/V F.G. Walton Smith is led by Samantha Joye, UGA professor of marine sciences, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. Joye was a member of the NOAA-supported expedition that discovered the deepwater plumes thousands of feet below the surface in the Gulf of Mexico, about two weeks ago.

The group sailed from Gulfport, Miss., on Tuesday, May 25, on a scientific mission to characterize and visualize the largest of the underwater oil plumes, estimated to be more than 15 miles long, 5 miles wide and some 300 feet thick at depths ranging from approximately 2,300 feet to 4,200 feet. This plume is currently located to the south/southwest of the Deepwater Horizon site.

“Nothing like these plumes has ever been seen before,” said Joye. “This is the first time such a buoyant plume has been document in a cold, pelagic environment.” Ocean temperatures range from 8 degrees C at the bottom of the plume to about 15 degrees C at the top.

Scientists on the UGA-led cruise are using a suite of instrumentation that includes sophisticated sonar equipment and an in situ camera system. The team will sample water throughout the plume for chemical and microbial analyses. They will also conduct mapping surveys in a radial grid around the spill site to document whether other such plumes exist.

In addition to UGA marine scientists, the team includes researchers from University of Southern Mississippi, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, and University of California – Santa Barbara.

The expedition is funded by the National Science Foundation.

I'd say that's well sourced. First hand observation by a research team with scientific credentials, from a major institution. You're suggesting that 1) only BP's data should be taken seriously and 2) that June 20, 2010 is not recent. In addition you neglected to include the unequivocal answer to a question about this specific issue that's on that blog page, which has been posted here several times:

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

No, we have not seen any evidence of fractures in the seafloor near the riser pipe."

Is there any reason you are so opposed to these questions being asked of BP under oath?

I was not aware of any third party (beside the USCG) being given access to wellbore data.

Can you confirm that such data have been given to the source you cite?

If they have the data, why not put it on their website and let all of us see it?

Quit going tangential, please. Respond to what I've posted, not to what you imagine I've posted. I have absolutely nothing against BP being forced to dump all the data they have into the laps of investigators who, unfortunately, seem to have crafted their investigation around Dougr's post. If BP has data about the integrity of the sea floor around the well, I'm quite sure we'd all like to see it. But there's been no indication thus far from credible sources who have observed it that the sea floor is cracked.

And please can the immature McCarthyesque innuendo, too.

What is the location of the riser pipe.

The riser pipe is now underneath the LMRP and tophat. It's what the oil is spewing from.

The riser pipe is now underneath the LMRP and tophat. It's what the oil is spewing from.

So you say, admit at least that you could be wrong, that there's a slim, but none zero chance it could be near Waycross.

I was there 20 years ago and didn't see it.

However, the NWO is tricky. The video we're watching could be a ruse, just a soundstage trick. The real riser pipe could be in Waycross, blown there by the 1200000 psi methane asphalt volcano eruption that they won't tell us about.

Iffen it's in Waycross, it's in good hands.

I grew up reading Walt Kelly. God, how I miss him. He'd have explained this whole spill thing mess by now. Where did you find the illustration? Google images is a garble to search. [I always knew you were OK, lotus.]

Edited for clarity.

I think some confusion exists when people talk about the ROV site and the Simmons site. Many would like the Simmons site? to be investigated.

I don't think that Simmons has revealed the precise location or info about who to contact to find out, or what the results were of the testing to determine if it's oil from the Macondo reservoir. Surely he wouldn't make that claim without some kind of decent data being around.

The Simmons site is a parallel universe. He could give you the exact coordinates, but you wouldn't be able to understand them because they are written in an alien numbering system.

Fabric Chimney:
My friend Larry Carter called me with this idea, and a request to post it for comments. It is something I considered too, though not quite in the same way Larry suggested...I was thinking of rubberized, impermeable fabric, while larry was thinking of tight-weave polypropylene fabric. The "chimney" would be ~100-300 feet in diameter, big enough to capture the entire plume. It could even be big enoughto accomodate the ROVs continuing to work, in principle; it need not go all the way to the seabed provided the lower lip is below the outlet. Most or all of the methane would continue to dissolve in the sea water on the way up if it is permeable? One brings the plume to the surface in one place, so that it can be efficiently skimmed? Not sure if it could work in conjunction with the existing LMRP/Q4000 recovery efforts? The beauty of this is that this could be slipped over a wold well pretty easily...comments, please!

Doomed in 1 word "currents".

The most troubling for me would be how to secure it. Consider the forces water currents would place on something with that large a cross-section.

Have you ever seen one of those floppy inflatable nylon tube man things with the air blower at the base that they set up next to used car lots to attract attention?

LoL! Just imaging one of those lawn orniments, inflated by a HIGH powered leaf blower! POOF!
Also... imagine what would be required to hold something that big, in place, against the moving currents.. not happenin'

had basicly the same idea, use a ring of steel plates 30-60 feet in the mud 300yards accross bouyoncy rings anchored by wire to the sea floor every 300 yards up

steel plates / a ring of steel plates forming a pipe 300yards accross 30 - 60 feet deep or more into the mud with some form of bouyancy device so it don´t sink deeper as seal and anchor a tube of pipes every 300 yards producing bouyancy anchored in the mud like a tv tower truss only you´d have to make it very flexible so the current may move it around but not move it out of place . you just want to isolate a bit of the gulf from the rest. doesnt need to take preassure, just has to stay in place more or less.

hope my english is up to this.

problem what about the methan going up concentrated in one place ?

and you´ll get a 300 yard ,1 mile high tube of pure oil in the middle of the gulf , how to handle that ?

nice to know im not the only one crazy enough to think this wild

But try to place them in context and in what's actually going on, as opposed to your MacGyver dream solution where you have a 10 megaton bomb, an ice pick, and Commander Spock at your side.

just remembered this from the introduction

I wasn't suggesting that as a solution, I was just trying to provide a visual of the instability problems of a structure like that.

no not you, sorry i understood what u meant. that was a good example.

i belive that the part of the problem concerning realisation of such a chimney could be solved by good engeneers.

by the way , if they can get a good cap working u don´t need the chimney idea, u need it if the well fails. and then it will propably need to cover 1 to 3 miles accross at the oceanbottom, not just 300 yards.

its the problems of the solution that worry me.

i fear if bottom kill doesnt work some totally unusall idea has to be found or the golf will be flooded with oil until natural depletion of the well.

seems likely that theres a problem with integrity of the well and that won´t get better just worse.

theres the fact that the top kill was suspended and BP isn´t giving information nor allowing independent gathering of information about flow or preassure.

and this 40% Methan, i heard 5% is normal. i dont understand the implications, and i have only heard experts say something similar

maybe we really need McGuyver

im not an OIL EXPERT im just a concerned citizen.

I think stabilizing/securing it against underwater currents would be an engineering nightmare, bordering on impossible given the scale we are talking here (5000 feet high, 100 feet in diameter). I also think the intent of a very large diameter( I'm assuming to know the reasoning of the poster) is to prevent clogging due to "methane ice" formation. I don't think icing is an issue (guessing) when you are not in direct contact with sea water that is right around it's freezing point. If that's the case, you could place a sealed cap with a smaller diameter riser up to a pool on the surface that multiple ships could draw the oil from. You could contain the pool with deep booms. The two problems then would be the huge cloud above the pool of methane gas, and having a very large pool of oil on the surface, vulnerable to storms.

The *idea of "containing" such a large "cloud" of Methane leads me to only one vision. A surface explosion, larger than an atomic bomb in blast area.

According to the link below the speed of the ocean currents could be expected to vary from 2 cm sec to 10 cm sec. These movements apply only to the layers mentioned in the source. Surface currents will greatly exceed the speeds in the lower layers and can be calculated according to wind speed and direction. At different depths the directions of currents will change.

It is plain that what you suggest is possible and can be done. I suggest that you keep in mind that the load on the structure will have to account for the fact that the tube, regardless of size will be influenced by the difference in the weight of the water outside the tube and inside the tube as the inside will contain gas and oil. This will cause both an uplift and a squeezing of the tube. I also suggest that the anchors you place in the floor will need to take into account that the tube will likely be blown at an angle to the vertical and will drift with the current possibly in different directions at different depths. The gas at the surface will likely be explosive and located above flammable oil. Wind will likely affect the surface and will cause waves that will overtake the floating support and containment system.

My suggestion is to cap your structure below the several hundrend feet below the surface with a fabric dome and pump from the dome. This way the larger structure is not subject to surface currents.

I also suggest that the diameter of the structure should be considerably less than you envision.
A section of your dome could be of open weave material such as those offered that allow escape of water and trapping of oil. The gas could be vented and flared from the center of the dome.

Your vertical tube could have dynamic design to help in structural integrity by using small vertical steering plates and rudders.

You could use the well for an anchor.

There is no doubt that what you suggest will work. I just question the ability of people to see the importance of seeking new direction. You will notice here that when a new idea is offered, it is attacked rather than supported. I wish you well and look forward to your ideas.

I hope this helps.

It would act like a massive spinniker sail that would require immense structural support. But, the problem is gargantuan and will require a gargantuan remedy. Well containment will require some of the biggest structures ever built by humans to be emplaced in an environment 100% hostile to humans--the bottom of the GOM might as well be the surface of the Moon. And the companents of these gargantuan stuctures will require very large ships to transport them. But nothing is being built. The Exxon Valdez catastrophe still continues today, and we can be certain this will last much longer than that relatively simple event.

It should not be designed as a spinnaker sail. It would be designed as a tethered flag free to follow the current and to capture no current. A spinnaker is designed to capture energy and transmit load. A flag is designed to let the current flow and maintain its integrity.

What is the typical velocity of the currents in the environs of the well? The peak velocity of the loop current? etc. How thick top to bottom is the loop current flow. (I think it does not extend to the deep ocean bottom) Does anyone have some numbers to quantify the scale of the cable stays that would be required? What if the tube were actually two or three miles long and was stayed only at the lower few hundred feet? It would follow a path like that of smoke in the wind above a coal power plant. What would be the forces to keep it deployed? These should be evaluated before passing judgement on this idea. It just might be something that could be used in conjunction with relief well in response to future blowouts. IMHO, sneering at the idea is irrational.

The velocity of the current is 5 to 10 cm sec. The load on the cables is not relevant because the number of cables can be increased. The volume of the tube sets up a relationship that can control the maximum load on the structure. The drag of the material in the water will limit the length. The storms will limit the depth at which it can be from the surface. See my comments above.

It sound like a fabric coffer damm. Coffer damms are used in construction all over the world. They must resist the water pressure. I don't see the fabric resisting much pressure.

What about using a second "top hat/riser system" much like the very first one that was tryed but iced up. It could go around the existing recovery system as a way to augment the existing effort. The new secondarey containment could be heated with the hot water circulate in heat transfer pipes the be ejected into the surrounding water. That would act as a containment and recovery and also help keep the inner recovery system warm without sucking up much sea water.

You need to search "geotube" on google. Dams are frequently made of fabric and in fact are a new innovation.

What are your plans for threading the new top hat over the old one. I think you have an interesting idea.

I'm the guy that came up w/ the hair-brained idea w/ rethinker. I'm really not sure what the diameter of the thing would need to be. I'm sure that it will not take the shape of a cylinder throughout the column unless it is undersized. This thing will waft around w/ the currents along the column w/ a leading edge against the current. Imagine if we could cinch it up at the BOP and allow only oil and NG crystals to enter the tube. The crystals could accumulate at the bottom and simply sit there as the oil pushes it's way up. Now the tube I.D. could be much smaller. As far as the comment IRT pressure, the pressure in the chimney will always equal the pressure on the outside.

The pressure in the chimney will be lower than the pressure outside if the fluid inside is filled with gas and oil of a lower sg. That is the principle of the air lift pump. The equalizing factor will be through the deformation of the fabric. So the fabric is squeezed to make up for the difference in the weight of the inside and outside fluids. Fluids leaking into the chimney from the bottom or sides will also tend to equalize the pressure. It there are moving fluids within fluids, there are pressure differentials.

Thank you manofmetal for staying w/ the thread. I am much better at visualizing solutions than cranking out the calcs. Rethinker is a great go-to guy for converting an idea to a scientific presentation. He is much involved w/ family today and will not be able to chime in till later tonight. I think that if the chimney is not properly cinched up to the BOP, we could get a venturi effect from the rushing oil/crystals that could collapse the thing at the bottom. If the chimney is too large, the lateral current forces will be tough to deal with. Rethinker is toying w/ the idea of a chimney that is much longer that the distance from the sea floor to the surface. Any ideas?

As the oil exits the BOP the velocity will diminish when it encounters the static water. The venturi effect will have some input because no matter what you do, the gas and fluids will have some energy moving into the tube. That can be counterbalanced by making the first portion of the tube rigid and larger than the second portion of the tube.

I am off on personal business, but will return later. Good luck.

Material: same as used for lift bags. Size: original suggestion too big, think more along 10' - 15'. Support: string it along a length of conventional riser pipe. Attached with slip rings at 300'/500' vertical intervals, so the tube can rotate around the riser to deal with water currents. Lift bags at regular intervals keep the tube taut. Would be REALLY nice if there were a way to divert only the gas out to the side a good ways below the surface.

What to do with the crap when it reaches the surface? I dunno... set up a containment area and burn it? Wouldn't it be nice if we'd already invented a way to contain and collect this stuff BEFORE this happened?

There are cross currents that would bend a riser pipe. Perhaps a large cable with your rings. The lift bags could help if the specific gravity of the loaded bag is too much. The discharge of the tube could be into another bag that on occasion is retrieved and pumped. The bag would float on the surface and could be of any size. The strength of the bag would need to be in proportion to the total weight of the load. In breaking seas the bag would need to be retrieved or sunk below wave infuence with sand or stone.

The gas could be vented out the side by sloping the device or placing an obstacle in the tube that leads to another tube and the surface to be dealt with by conventional means.

Another possibility for the gas is to process it on the sea floor. There some fraction of it could be allowed to combine under pressure with the H20, be converted into methane hydrate, then subjected to ultra violet light and allowed to convert to methanol.

My idea was to build a huge layered steel pyramid around the site and go up in layers, tapering to the top.

Basically an upside down cone, stepped pyramid, whatever, made of extremely heavy and thick steel rings.

Kind of like how the Michelin Man was built.

Maybe 6" to a foot thick....the first ring should be about 20-30 feet high with some sort of seal on the bottom to meet the uneven ocean floor. Perhaps a diameter of anywhere from 300 feet or more.

It could be welded in sections on the sea floor.

The second ring would be just slightly smaller in diameter and maybe twice the height as the first ring.

3rd a little smaller and taller and so on, for a total height of maybe 300-500 feet at the tip of the cone....which could be fitted with a new double stacked BOP...attach the riser from there.

The bottom first ring layer would have supports to hold the sections in place, upright until the ring is welded together. The support would serve no further purpose after that point.

All told, millions of tons of steel that could withstand any amount of psi pressure. No anchors needed.

As I understand it the bottom is pudding like silt hundreds of feet deep, so I would expect it to just disappear into the muck as you tried to build it, but lets leave that problem aside for the moment...

Pressure is only 1 problem.

When complete this "cone" will fill with a mixture of oil & gas, both of which are less dense than water and so will create buoyancy which will try to float the whole issue off the bottom.

Assuming the wall thickness of the cone is constant if you double the size of the cone you will square it's surface area, thus square it's weight, but you will cube its volume i.e. the lifting force, so the bigger you make it the worse the problem becomes

I disagree because the top would remain open like a funnel, removing the potential buoyancy during the build out.

But if you're right, okay, then anchor it with 2000 ft beams angled in every possible direction.

The reason I disagree is because I simply can't fathom that the oil filled cavern could created enough buoyancy
to lift something that weighs millions of tons.

Perhaps that's due to my small mind and benzene induced headache.

2000 ft beams driven into the sea floor would require a pile hammer with an energy of at least 1.2 mega tons. Of course we would need to load test the piles to see that they would carry the millions of tons load you calculated.

We could construct the pile hammer with pile leads and hydraulic positioning system to be operated above the surface with ropes and levers. Then we could tie down the structure and actually hammer steel nails into the beams eliminating the need for welding and operation of electrical devices.

If you have any more benzene we could use that for pile hammer fuel and simply pump air to the hammer and allow the benzene to diesel and perhaps double the impact by super charging the pressure to 10000 psi in the hammer.

I think I see where you are comming from. Does any of this help?

Thanx comfy. I liked the recommendation to attach the chimney at intervals to an anchored tether attached to a floating platform on the surface. The chimney would need boom like material at the surface so the oil could be vacuum transfered to a tanker.

i have a question :

the oil bearing layers are supposed to be in about 5500m or about 18000 feet

now i find in this: from Transoceans own website that the drilled to "Working with BP, the Transocean crews on the Deepwater Horizon drilled the well to 35,050 vertical depth and 35,055 feet measured depth (MD), or more than six miles, while operating in 4,130 feet of water."

im confused, was that a diffrent site ?

and if not why did they keep drilling that deep if they allready found oil?

hope this is not a stupid question.

From BP's web site, dated Sept 2009

Amazing what google can find in 0.57 seconds. :)

This announcement is for a Tiber well, different field than Macondo.

HG - yes, that's a different well and not the blow out. As far as drilling deeper you don't stop drilling because you find hydrocarbons. You stop drilling when you tested the interval you had planned to evaluate. Many fields have multiple layers of productive reservoirs stacked on top of each other.

There are no stupid questions. But lots of stupid answer so be careful.

<>Many fields have multiple layers of productive reservoirs stacked on top of each other. <>

What is the procedure for extraction?

kno -- you can actually complete three different reservoirs in one well by running three separate production strings and isolating each completion. That's not done that often onshore any more and is even less common offshore. The reason: if one completion breaks down on, let's say, a dual completion it might damage the other completion or, at the least, make you shut that production in while you fix the broken completion. You can complete one zone and then recomplete the other zone(s) after the first one depletes. But remember time is money and the delay in producing the other zones reduces the rate of return. As an alternative production protocol you may have seen discussions about high extraction rate techniques especially in offshore wells. Though more expensive (and somewhat riskier) these were developed to overcome the time lag problem I described. That's actually a small contributing factor to the severity of the BP blow out. I don't know it for a fact but suspect that was a reason they ran such large csg. (9 5/8' X 7 3/8") instead of 5 1/2" (a common size for production csg). There might still be a huge amount of oil coming out of 5 1/2' but it also probably would have been easier to cement.

thanks i think others with doomesday scenarios might have confused it as well.

twice as deep twice preassure, not problem.

P.S. im reasearching for another forum, need help, theres no hard data available .
except here.

P.P.S in Germany news services and TV basicly ignore the gulf oil spill.

HG -- geology doesn't quite work that way. I don't know what the bottom hole pressure was in that 34,000' hole but it might have only been 50% higher than the BP well. Pressure increases aren't linear with depth. But that's just a little relatively unimportant detail to the current discussion

It was a different well, also drilled by DWH
that went to 35,000 feet.

From your link:

Transocean Ltd. (NYSE: RIG) announced that its ultra-deepwater semisubmersible rig Deepwater Horizon recently drilled the deepest oil and gas well ever while working for BP and its co-owners on the Tiber well in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. Working with BP, the Transocean crews on the Deepwater Horizon drilled the well to 35,050 vertical depth and 35,055 feet measured depth (MD), or more than six miles, while operating in 4,130 feet of water.

The blowout well is Macondo (252), not Tiber,
and the TD is about 18,300. Macondo isn't the
deepest in the GOM by a longshot, nor in the
deepest water.

I was in Orange Beach when oil came ashore there......the water is definitely not normal. I think acid is the wrong word, but it seems to have a viscosity that is not normal. There is also a bubbling effect. Sometimes I think that reports can be over dramatic.....but the Gulf is not normal, that is for sure,

...and not a single cleanup worker in sight.

Do they only work banking hours? This is an outrage!

Why not portable generators on the back of pick up trucks with huge lights and cleanup operations round the clock?

They'd probably get a lot more done per man hour in the cooler nighttime hours anyways.

My God, this is a clusterfvck of epic proportions.

So many new words will be in next years dictionary, top kill etc.

I am going to think hard of a new word for EPIC FAIL

ELEFAIL maybe (el-a-fail) Definition: Extinction Level Event Failure of truly epic proportions, when people cause a massive environmental catastrophe and simply don't give a shit.

to bad I have to work. I could spend all my time here.

Speaking of Dougr, here is the gist of his concern (well, maybe just one of many)

"Eventually even that will be futile as the well casings cannot support the weight of the massive system above with out the cement bond to the earth and that bond is being eroded away. When enough is eroded away the casings will buckle and the BOP will collapse the well."

Any recent evidence that the BOP is become unstable and in danger of toppling over?

No evidence of an increase in the tilt --- or that it is within the permissible range by the flex coupling.

The BOP structure itself is tilting, not just the Flexi joint. This video clearly shows a tilt just above seabed level and the bullseye ball is up against the outer edge, so whatever scale that bullseye is the tilt is in excess of that. The obvious question is, is the BOP itself distorted or is it the Wellhead that it is attached to? No doubt Congressman Markey (and everyone else) would also like to know.

tilt is still at 10-12 degrees?

The bullseye levels come in different ranges. The top two appear to have a 5 degree range. The bottom one is marked with alternating thick and thin circles and appears to be a 3 degree device. (The thin circles represent 1/2 degree increments.)

On the check they did a couple of days ago they looked pretty much the same as these June 10th readings. Perhaps if anything they may have been slightly closer to center, but that could have been the camera angle.

cap -- actually dougr has a valid point but I don't think he knows why. Sure, if the drive pipe (the shallowest of the csg strings) buckles the BOP could becomes even more unstable. I've never seen drive pipe buckle but the BP blow out is a unique event. But what he's actually describing is what we call point loading. One benefit of a good cement job is to evenly distribute the lateral force of the rock pressure over the length of the csg. Voids in the cmt can cause excessive pressure on a short section of the csg (the "point") and cause it to experience a failure (the "loading"). Not enough details to know for sure but point loading could be a problem with the RW depending on exactly where it cuts the blowout well.

Would you happen to know what schedule pipe is used in the well casing? Schd 10, 20, 40 ect ect. Well pipe cost money and the thinner the pipe equals cheaper cost plus more blowouts.

If you check the prices for X-80, etc the one thing they are not is cheap.

Out -- check out ent had a diagram with the pipe schedules on it yesterday.

thanks. Gotcha.

It seems that the point dougr is making is that the cement is eroding, and the BOP is tilting further and further (he says around June 12th that he didn't expect the BOP to remain upright for a week) until it collapses and opens the hole to unabated discharge.

if the tilt has not changed, it damages his theory.

Pure speculation on my part cap but if some of the flow was eroding the cmt then I would guess the cmt is already gone and was probaly gone within 24 hours of whenever that erosion started. Cement is rather stable if it's just sitting there. But it can erode out very quichly even without any abrasives in the flow. Just not designed to deal with such a circumstance from the little I really know about cmt strength.

In addition, Rockman, there are 3 strings of casing--36-in, 28-in and 22-in (shoe at 7,937ft)--all of which are cemented back to surface. Hard to believe that all of those would give.

Yes the BOP itself is tilting, NW 10 degrees best estimate based on several good views of the entire wellhead - BOP from various directions during June 10 inclinometer mission.

Part of the overall tilt is a slight NW kink in 36" casing supporting the BOP, said kink being just above the wellhead bullseye / access valves, extent unknown, plainly visible in closeup views from several directions during wellhead inclinometer readings.

Part of the overall tilt is a slight NW lean in the 36" casing overall indicated on wellhead bullseye, extent unknown.

Between June 10 and 18 the 36" casing lean moved slightly further north, 3 - 4 degrees best estimate, based on comparison of wellhead bullseye video from June 10 and 18, making overall BOP tilt slightly further NW. How / why is open to speculation ...and I don't have a clue.

In reporting this I'm not suggesting any past cause, present risk, nor future implication. I'm merely reporting it.

I have been watching the bullseyes occasionally and hadn't noticed any change from its original tilt.

I assume you are referring to apparent heading of the tilt, not the actual angle of tilt

Or do I have that wrong.

Yes, heading.

A interesting speaker at grassroots movement in LA. This lady, from a commercial fishing family, was aloud to sit in on BP meetings regarding the clean-up

-The Federal Government, Coast Guard and NOAA are taking orders from BP
-BP clean up crew management talking more of cost cutting and information control rather than clean up
-Beaches and marshes are not protected
-People getting sick
-When ever an "official" goes to a beach, BP sends hundreds to the spot and then when the camera leaves so does about 80% of the crew -- It's called "ponies and balloons"
-Took boat out in the gulf and drove through spots with 100 of thousands of dead fish

I have seen the redfish buried on Grand are at There is also a story on the "dog and pony show" that BP put on when Obama visited Grand Isle.

That is so so sad Andy. I just don't know what to say.

But in every catastrophe there is a a glimmer of hope and goodness. Perhaps your site will be able to reach out and attract many more folks to be properly educated and sensitized to the horror that is not just on-going, but chronic, not only in the Gulf of Mexico but all over the planet.

Hopefully so Half Empty......its a very hard news event to cover, and there is a lot if miss-information, as well as many unknowns. I fear the worst is yet to come.

Andy, I have learned more from your images than all the "on the scene" reporters put together. I agree that the worst is yet to come. Knowing that this was all unnecessary makes it the more haunting.

This is not the oil industry "Three Mile Island" - it is the "Chernobyl"

Very dramatic testimony. Hope she stays on them.

I have seen the ponies and baloons and have images see for yourself

Thank you arraya for this post and link. I am just stunned by this, and by Andy's images also. This is truly unacceptable. What to do???

For those interested, An aerial view of a few miles of Pensacola Beach yesterday, after the oil washed up on shore. Just horrible

JessicainPensacola maybe it's just a nasty form of poetic justice for your state's visitor bureau running ads in Texas and Louisiana saying come to "Florida where our beaches have no oil."

Dear JessicainPensacola,
Devastating. I am so sorry, please ignore the smart-asses who deal with this trauma through sarcasm.

Thank you for sharing the video and what appears to me to be the worst inundation of oil on a beach that I've seen yet in this crisis. How did the video come to your attention?

And thanks to FunkensteinJr for posting it to YouTube and who wrote, "Aerial footage of tar on Pensacola Beach from Escambia County Sheriff's Office helicopter."

Thank you Jessica,

I had heard that Pensacola was hit with tarballs.

From the video it is obvious that Pensacola has been hit with sheets of oil :(

I am not an expert, but just to my observation having been watching the top hat repeatedly for days now, this looks like a different top hat. I was never able to see nearly as much of the body of the top hat previously. To me, it looks much fatter than the one removed yesterday. Did anyone else make the same observation? Could it just be capturing more oil and that's why it's more visible? Thank you. has views from both sides of the cap. The oil is billowing fron one side.

Thank you. I can see how from the opposite view, all the oil is billowing up. Isn't this MUCH more crooked than before, leaning way to one side? It seemed to sit pretty flat b/f.

First time poster here...

We had Dr. Branko Babic on our radio show here in northern Maine recently talking about the technology he used to successfully cap the burning oil wells at the end of Hussein/Bush War I. I am by no means an expert, but he claims that a similar top kill would have worked within 8 hours of the initial catastrophe, but that no one at BP would even talk to him. That is what seems to be the recurrent theme...i.e. BP knows best, and will listen to no one else.

So now, I understand, we've got a damaged well casing well below the surface that would prevent any type of top kill from being successful (as a result of the WRONG top kill effort.) So, why can' we just put a large ice-cream-cone shaped device over the whole BOP with a riser pipe at the top end large enough in diameter for crystallization not to matter? It wouldn't have to be all that heavy would it? I mean a cone large enough to cover the entire BOP made up, say of 1" thick aluminum, might do the trick, and still be heavy enough for currents not to affect it...?

Also, we are looking for Gulf Coast eyewitness, engineers, oil people, etc. to come on our show with their perspectives. Please contact me, if interested.

All the best
For the Republic,

Steve Martin
Host, The Aroostook Watchmen Radio Program
WXME-AM 780, Monticello, Maine

+1 for Ice Cream Cone

Points off for being from Maine.


Top kill probably would have had a better chance had it been tried earlier. Erosion certainly made the leak worse in the first days and weeks, but there's no way to know if it would have been successful. I know BP had to design, engineer and construct the top kill manifold and other equipment even to try. I think anyone who says they know that the design and manufacturing process was slowed down or that the equipment could have been deployed earlier is only speculating.

he claims that a similar top kill would have worked within 8 hours of the initial catastrophe, but that no one at BP would even talk to him

And what if BP already has someone on staff that know more than he does? I think the problem of listening to all these experts on TV and radio (especially those that has solution but no one from BP call variation) is that a lot of them are self promoting and ego are talking aloud. How do we even know he know what he claimed? He didn't have any access to the well data, so how good is his "method" will do in this particular well?

If we step back and look at who has the most incentive to cap this well, I think you will come to the conclusion that it is BP. Their existance as a company depend of capping the well asap. The verify first thing they did is to hire those firm with the best well killing credential and they will run the show.

Listen fruitcake,

This is the guy who was successful in capping half the burning wells in Kuwait. You'd think BP would have at least have been willing to listen.

How did BP's self-absorbed genius in top killing the well work for us?

This is the company with the worst safety record in the history of modern oil and we are going to give them that type of pass? Not me, sorry.

If BP already has somebody on staff that knows more than Babic, I am wondering what he is doing with his time, and our precious Gulf....

I'd like to know a bit more about Branko Babic than what you've provided us, MEpatriot.

A quick search gives me a very short article on him that doesn't make any sense.

Branko Babic is the inventor of polystyrene concrete, which is created by mixing together expanded polystyrene beads one mm in diameter and large quantities of air.

That's not going to be very helpful under a mile of water. Or anywhere. Doesn't sound like concrete to me.

The Wikipedia article on the Kuwaiti oil fires doesn't mention Babic's invention as being responsible for putting out the fires. Admittedly, Wikipedia isn't perfect, but could you give us a link to a reputable article that confirms Babic's claims?

I've never heard of this Babic fellow, but I personally know several of the guys that were working for Boot & Coots and Wild Well Control in Kuwait. They killed hundreds of wells that were burning by snuffing the fires, cutting off the damaged xmas trees and installing new ones--sometimes more than one a day. Pressures and flow rates of the Kuwaiti wells didn't come near those of this blowout. Yeah, they did some top kills too, but not under 5,000 ft of water.

I've never heard of this Babic fellow, but I personally know several of the guys that were working for Boot & Coots and Wild Well Control in Kuwait. They killed hundreds of wells that were burning by snuffing the fires, cutting off the damaged xmas trees and installing new ones--sometimes more than one a day. Pressures and flow rates of the Kuwaiti wells didn't come near those of this blowout. Yeah, they did some top kills too, but not under 5,000 ft of water.
BTW, you can bet your sweet a** that these two companies are being consulted on everything BP tries.

He was a guest on 6-16. Check the archives at He gives his background when he comes on, about 20 minutes in....

Cheryl: That is light weight concrete used in building construction I believe. Used in the floors. Not sure as to the relevance concerning well blow outs in Kuwait.

Never mind, I've read some of the others of MEpatriot's posts...[rolls eyes]

Right. Seen that reaction many times before. People will roll their eyes when confronted with worldviews they can't accept or with evidence that disturbs their cozy paradigms.

Truth is, this "accident" or whatever term you want to use for it, IS ALREADY BEING USED TO ROB US OF MORE OF OUR FREEDOMS, and to make us even more dependent on Big Brother (and foreign oil sources) for our energy needs.

Cap & Trade here we come! Yippeeee!

"Under my plan for a cap & trade system, energy prices would necessarily skyrocket"
--Barry Soetoro, aka Barack Hussein Obama

I, for one, would like to talk to some of the well control hands who worked with him so I could get his REAL credentials.

I really didn't want to jump into this debate but felt the urge to say the obvious. Granted, I'm not a wild well control expert by any means. But I have seen that John Wayne movie many times and none of the techniques for killing an onshore blow out have any bearing on what needs to be done in the GOM right now. Maybe this fellow can be fully certified as the world's best onshore wild well killer. But that doesn't mean he's any more qualified to walk my dog or stop the BP blow out.

Just my silly opinion.

If BP already has somebody on staff that knows more than Babic, I am wondering what he is doing with his time, and our precious Gulf....

Aren't they drilling the relieved well and trying to cap the oil with the LMRP? Do we know enough to say what they are doing is the best out there? no, we don't. But BP incentive it to cap the well as much as they can.. If the guys is really as an expert as you claimed him to be, BP would have seeked his help the day after the spill. Do you think you know the industry better?

"This is the company with the worst safety record in the history of modern oil and we are going to give them that type of pass? Not me, sorry."

heh heh What pass are we giving them? they are going to be punish servely. BP is raising 50B to pay for the spill and probably a few folks will go to jail and Tony Hayward probably will loss his job along with some folks along the engineering and exploration chain. But the need to punish those that are responsible does not affect the needs to think objectively..

"BP is raising 50B to pay..."

Money like that can buy a lot of influence.

On a thread last Monday, I posted that BP on Friday said they were going to issue bonds and take out bank loans in the amount, I think, of $25 billion on Monday. On Monday they said: "Never mind." Elsewhere on this thread, a commenter quotes today's BP CDSs costs. BP would choke on the interest rates right now. Mister Market ain't smilin' at ole BP.

That could probably work, but all you are doing it transferring the blowout from the seabed where it is relatively safe to the surface. In the process the gas expands buy a factor of 150 and the result is the same sort of uncontrolled gas and oil flow that killed 11 people and destroyed the Deepwater Horizon.

The flow must be controlled which means there has to be a way to divert the excess you can't process and the only safe place to do that is near the seabed.

Right on. Excellent point.

This is, of course, assuming BP finally has their act together enough to handle the flow they tapped into when it reaches the top of the riser at the level of the original drilling platform.

If they never had that capability, what the heck were they permitted for?

Actually ME this well was never going to be produced thru the riser or processed on the drill rig. Eventually a pipeline would have been laid from the well head to a processing facility many miles away. The processing facility would have been designed to handle the anticipated flow. That's why they were in the process of temp abandoning the well: they would come back a few years later and complete it.

Ah, thank you, Rockman.

I think I had heard that before somewhere.

Still, you'd think they could figure a way to take that flow from my inverted ice-cream cone SOMEWHERE where it could be more easily handled (and be less environmentally catastrophic) than 5000 feet below the Gulf of Mexico...?

Me -- I think that's been the huge lesson the BP blow out has taught folks: they never developed a plan/equipment for dealing with a failed BOP in 5,000' of water. I would imagine because the idea was so scary they didn't think it would ever be needed. That no one would ever take any chance that such an event might occur. Obviously they were wrong. Beside a new generation of DW BOP probably already on someone's drawing board I would suspect they are also designing some method to make capture much easier should the impossible happen again. To be honest I doubt the new engineering will be too difficult. Just a matter of doing what they didn't think they had to do before.



Within 8 hours of the initial catastrophe they were still working on SAR. Nobody in their right mind would start moving huge ships into position next to a burning rig during a rescue operation to start the top kill.

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:

George Soros, the Democrats and the spill: What do they all have in common?

from page two of the article:
Soros would love to see domestic offshore drilling shut down and those three dozen deep-water rigs sitting idle shipped off to the coast of Brazil. He has a huge investment in both Petrobras and the Democrats. He expects a return on all his investments.

There may be some truth to that for sure, but it is Glenn Beckese for, "let's not talk too much about the REALLY BIG FISH like the Rockefellers and their fellow travelers." It wasn't George Soros who founded the U.N. and whose family bought out the Congress, federal judges, etc., in the 1890s. Standard Oil and the "Seven Sisters" oil companies (that came out of the Standard Oil "break up" of 1911) are still a much bigger problem to freedom, and energy independence for every person on Earth than BP-- as bad as they are.

The Hegelian Dialectic is undoubtedly in play BIG TIME with this current crisis in the Gulf. BP is the convenient whipping boy at present, but if they can finalize the entire NWO agenda as a result of this preventable crisis, they will. AND, you can bet that even if BP goes bankrupt that the Heywards of the world will be very well compensated.

As usual, only the little people (BP pensioners and investors, and the people of the Gulf) will pay....

Soros is a pretty big fish now.

BP is the convenient whipping boy at present, but if they can finalize the entire NWO agenda as a result of this preventable crisis, they will.


* LOLed so hard I fell out of my chair and ended up upside down. Hoo.

It wasn't George Soros who founded the U.N.

Are we (esp. outside the US) supposed to take seriously anything from someone who would post that???? LOL.

Are you arguing the point as to who founded the U.N.?

It amazes me how many otherwise intelligent people believe that a global government would fare better than the nationally-centralized behemoth governments we already have.

Further concentrations of power in unelected bureaucrats at the that sure sounds like the ticket for human progress.

My point here is that this crisis will be used (ala Rahm Emmanuel's stated M.O.) to bring about "changes you couldn't otherwise have made," similarly to the ways all such big "crises" are used. I betcha this "change" ain't going to be towards more liberty and freedom, either in energy policy, or in personal freedom/mobility, etc.. How much you wanna bet?

So your saying Soros funded the enviro-commandos that Rush told us about? The ones that blew up the rig and caused the spill so that they could stop offshore drilling in order to prevent a spill from ever happening?

Wow! Curioser and curioser...

I don't listen / read Rush so have no idea what you're talking about valver. I just found the article interesting and posted it here for comments. I had already heard/read that the moratorium would benefit Petrobras, which does happen to have a major stake by Soros, who does happen to have the Democrats in his hip pocket. Also, realize that Petrobras has contracts in hand to drill off the coast of Cuba, so our moratorium won't protect pristine Florida beaches after all.


I do listen to Rush, and he was joking about the fact that immediately after the sinking of the Deepwater Horizon, Obama said that he was sending SWAT teams to the gulf. Since SWAT normally stands for "Special Weapons and Tactics", Obama probably meant to say something like "special response and inspection teams", but this gave Rush an opening for some humor, where in fact, he jokingly blamed the sinking on the TEA parties.

This is what Rush actually said:

"Ladies and gentlemen, I didn't hear this myself, but I have been informed that President Obama is sending SWAT teams to the Gulf oil rigs. SWAT teams? I'm waiting on audio sound bite confirmation of this, but why in the world would you send SWAT teams to Gulf oil rigs? Oh, I know! Obama probably thinks the tea party blew up the rig. That's what it is. (laughing) Yes. Of course the tea party did it! (laughing) Seriously, you know, this rig... We had this call from a guy out there who said nobody's talking about whether this was an act of sabotage because I guess they can't prove it, but they're going to send SWAT teams down there? He was going to send a SWAT team to the rig that blew up or are you going to send a SWAT team to other rigs? What's going on here? Remember, this rig blew April 21st, which is one day prior to "Erf" Day.

"I have a story here from Reuters, September 24th, 2008 (shuffling paper) right here in my formerly nicotine-stained fingers: "Nobel Peace Prize winner and environmental crusader Al Gore urged young people on Wednesday to engage in civil disobedience to stop the construction of coal plants without the ability to store carbon." So you got the guru here urging civil disobedience, you got the regime sending SWAT teams down there to all the rigs in the Gulf. They're sending SWAT teams to all the rigs in the Gulf! Whoa ho-ho-ho. So obviously Obama thinks the tea partiers are expert scuba divers as well or maybe they have their own fleet of underwater submarines that can go deep enough to go undetected, set explosives, and hightail it back to the protests in Ohio, or wherever they (laughing) happen to be.

There is what Rush said, and then there is what Rush "remembers" saying. You'll find the latter on his site; not so much of the former.

Actually, the comment played by Schultz is further down the page in the link I provided, and if you compare the transcript to the audio played by Schultz, you'll notice that Schultz's team edited Rush's comments (I've highlighted the edited comments in bold text):

"I want to get back to the timing of the blowing up, the explosion out there in the Gulf of Mexico of this oil rig. Since they're sending SWAT teams down there now this changes the whole perspective of this. Now, lest we forget, ladies and gentlemen, the carbon tax bill, cap and trade that was scheduled to be announced on Earth Day. I remember that. And then it was postponed for a couple of days later after Earth Day, and then of course immigration has now moved in front of it. But this bill, the cap-and-trade bill, was strongly criticized by hardcore environmentalist wackos because it supposedly allowed more offshore drilling and nuclear plants, nuclear plant investment. So, since they're sending SWAT teams down there, folks, since they're sending SWAT teams to inspect the other rigs, what better way to head off more oil drilling, nuclear plants, than by blowing up a rig? I'm just noting the timing here."

I find it interesting that Schultz removed all of Rush's references to SWAT teams.

Remember, it was Obama who used the term "SWAT teams" just a few hours before Rush began that day's broadcast. Since SWAT teams are normally used in the event of some kind of criminal activity, Obama's use of the term implied concern for something more than an accident. It would therefore not be out of line for Rush to speculate as to what kind of criminal activity it might be, as well as what might be a motive.

A day or two later, when it became obvious that Obama had sent inspectors and not SWAT teams, it was clear that Obama had simply misspoken.

[Additional comment added]

It is not a case of Rush "remembering", but a transcript of the April 29 show posted on that date. The Schultz piece is from the next day, April 30.

So the whole spiel about blowing up rigs was just a long comedy sketch about Obama saying "SWAT teams"? A bit overdone, but OK, I'll buy that.

But this is better comedy:

You do survive these things. I'm not advocating don't care about it hitting the shore or coast and whatever you can do to keep it out of there is fine and dandy, but the ocean will take care of this on its own if it was left alone and was left out there. It's natural. It's as natural as the ocean water is. (interruption) Well, the turtles may take a hit for a while, but so what? So do we! Hell, remember that story we had at the beginning of the show: The barred owl that flew into the windshield of the Wentzville, Missouri, fire truck, and they got to the fire and the thing was still hanging on out there. It had a broken wing and they took it to some animal veterinary sanctuary or hospital or something. Just give it a pain pill! Why not? That's what they had for us, and we don't even launch ourselves into the windshields of fire trucks.

deleted - didnt read prev-post correctly.

something weird here snakehead, your tinyurl link goes to but the proper link shows up when I hit reply.

Here's your REAL link no reason to use tinyurl on this site at all.

[EDIT] hmm looks like you already fixed it?

Yeah, caught and fixed. Thanks.

I really don't care if they drill or not, just if they do they pay for the damage. Just require proper insurance.

Oleman, who drill where? When Ixtoc 1 blew up, the Mexican oil company paid not ONE THIN DIME to the Unidos Estados (that's U.S). Do you actually believe Castro's BROTHER will pay one centavo to us? We're all stuck in the same petri dish, but some have a better ladder out than others...

ole: "Just require proper insurance." And if the insurer goes broke, who you gonna call then? AIG?

Continuing discussion of the skimming debacle from previous threads. At the bottom I repeat my post about the role of BP's cleanup contractors and the pathetically low level of oil collection..

1. Finally, the Baltimore Sun has given us a pretty well-reported article about "foreign aid" and how the Dutch Koseq skimmer arms were refused/acquired.,0,1300000.s...

New info. in that article:
(A) The Koseq skimming arms were purchased by BP and not contributed by the Netherlands government as previously implied. This reinforces my suspicion that it was BP who actually refused the initial offer. However, the reporter (no byline!) doesn't get to the bottom of that.
(B) The Jones Act specifically exempts "oil spill response vessels," so all the political spin on this point (adopted by MSM outlets including ABC News) is complete hogwash.
(C) A Coast Guard spokesman is quoted as saying that environmental regulations had nothing to do with the delay. This statement, if true, would include the EPA ban on dumping polluted water.

2. BP's site has a good video on the deployment of the first three Costner centrifuges.
They are mounted on a single tank barge (Energy 8001) that will "milk" a herd of skimmers of their oil-water mix. This doesn't sound very helpful--all it does is allow the tank barge to stay on station much longer than it otherwise wouid. I guess it frees another tank barge from the duty of alternating on that station. If there is a shortage of these vessels, it would mean that skimmers have to plod back to port with their tanks full of mostly seawater. A key point is the machines aren't meeting the EPA standard of 15 ppm oil in the returned water, so they have to add a filtering process for the effluent. I don't understand why that standard hasn't been relaxed for the cleanup--it would make all the skimmers much more efficient.

3. Still no journalist has thought to inquire how many BOPD are being collected by the ships with Koseq skimmer arms. I see on the MarineTraffic site that the Seacor Washington has been skimming every day close to the spill site.

4. News from Pensacola is that most of the terrible beach oiling from Tuesday night has been washed away by tides and the main oil slick has retreated for the time being. The beaches will be cleaned up. However, some oil got into Perdido and Pensacola passes and Pensacola Bay. Looking ahead, the forecast map shows the Chandeleurs being hit from the Gulf side in the next couple of days. Is there enough beach there to hold most of the oil, or does the high tide go right over into the marshy stuff? Bobby Jindal will be howling.

Skimming rate-- the unnoticed scandal

I posted this a couple of threads ago and it received a couple of comments.

42,000 bpd-- current median flow estimate.
25,000 bpd-- current capture rate
5,000 bpd-- current rate of in situ burning.
1,500 bpd-- current rate of skimming.*
unknown-- rate of bacterial digestion.
unknown-- evaporation rate.

*Assuming 12% oil in the collected oil-water mix (per Allen's estimate).

The Old Fisherman asked about the Dutch skimmers. When I first raised this issue two or three days ago, I qualified it by saying that we don't know whether the Koseq skimming arms have changed the fleet efficiency significantly. Various journalists and bloggers wrote about "Obama" or the EPA being to blame for the delay in accepting the Koseq arms, but no one has bothered to find out who actually declined the offer--it could as well have been BP or their contractors. Also no one has bothered to find out how much oil the Seacor Washington and the other Koseq-armed ship have been able to collect per day. Why hasn't a journalist inquired? Many, including myself, had thought these skimmers could make a huge difference. Have they or not?

Whatever that volume is, it is lumped into the reported "gallons of an oil-water mix" on the government's response page. According to a comment by Allen at a briefing about a week ago, "We usually get a 10-15% return on that" (quoted from memory, I'll try to find it"). But if one ship is collecting 500 bpd of actual oil, that would raise the fleet's collection rate by 1/3.

In early June, the fleet of 400+ skimmers was collecting on average 500K gallons of oil-water mix per day, which amounted to around 1,500 bpd of actual oil. In early May, a much smaller fleet was collecting 1,000 bpd of oil. That fleet I suppose represented mostly the efforts of BP's cleanup contractors.

The press has almost completely ignored the role of contractors. The way the system is supposed to work is this. Each oil company pays retainer fees to large cleanup contractors, allowing them to stockpile resources in areas where oil might be spilled. Then when a company spills, they expect the contractors to do the cleanup on what I suppose is a cost-plus basis. Neither the oil companies nor the government have substantial resources for cleanup. It is the contractors who are supposed to have these capabilities.

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!

Gobbet, I'm going to need some better proof on this quote:
(B) The Jones Act specifically exempts "oil spill response vessels", than a lawyer's word.

Or perhaps they don't know what the law says in Congress? For instance this quote clearly shows that someone was testifying IN CONGRESS not to allow the Jones Act to be waived for this purpose. Also , why would a law written in 1920 even MENTION oil spill response vessels, which clearly DID NOT EXIST!!

In testimony last week to Congress, Ken Wells, CEO of the Offshore Marine Service Association, said the oil spill response threatens to "degrade" the Jones Act, even though the dozen or so foreign boats currently on the scene have American crews.

"We find that many of these vessels are blatantly ignoring the Jones Act," Mr. Wells testified. "Worse, we find that the agency charged with enforcing the Jones Act has failed to live up to its responsibilities to enforce the law and to interpret the law as Congress intended."


Red, I'm not a lawyer, much less a specialist on the Jones Act. Perhaps someone can search the text of the law for the word "oil." Probably it is in an amendment, since, as you say, the legislation dates from 1920.

As to what is going on in Congress. I don't want to wax political on this site, but I think everyone can see that the GOP is making a coordinated effort to blame the federal government, insofar as possible, for the incident itself and for the failure to defend the shoreline. Harping on the Jones Act is part of that effort. So it follows that a Republican senator (KBH of TX) would introduce a bill to waive the Jones Act even if the Jones Act has had no effect on the spill response. Because of where she gets her news and views, she may actually believe that the JA has been crippling the effort. Since a waiver bill was introduced, those who have a $$$ interest in preserving the JA, like Mr. Wells, naturally would want to speak against waiver. He doesn't want low-cost foreign competition taking over tasks like shuttling crews, groceries, and drilling mud to the rigs and the fleet for the duration of the crisis.

OK, here's the section of the Jones Act that exempts skimmers and tankers during a spill:

"§ 55113. Use of foreign documented oil spill response vessels "Notwithstanding any other provision of law, an oil spill response vessel documented under the laws of a foreign country may operate in waters of the United States on an emergency and temporary basis, for the purpose of recovering, transporting, and unloading in a United States port oil discharged as a result of an oil spill in or near those waters. . . ."

And the JA obviously does not apply to vessels in the City of Ships that might be engaged in processing, storage, etc., but are not carrying goods to and from US ports. So that's why there have been no requests for waiver of the Jones Act. When Sen. LeMieux says "We continue to hear reports," he is correct, but these reports are being generated directly or indirectly by members of his own political organization. And the MSM are too dumb to clear the air. Again, I apologize for introducing politics here, but in this case the uproar is grounded entirely in politics, not at all in the reality on the ground.

Thanks for the link, now let's examine the WHOLE thing shall we?
"§ 55113. Use of foreign documented oil spill response vessels "Notwithstanding any other provision of law, an oil spill response vessel documented under the laws of a foreign country may operate in waters of the United States on an emergency and temporary basis, for the purpose of recovering, transporting,
and unloading in a United States port oil discharged as a result of an oil spill in or near those waters, if--
"(1) an adequate number and type of oil spill response vessels documented under the laws of the United States cannot be engaged to recover oil from an oil spill in or near those waters in a timely manner, as determined by the Federal On-Scene Coordinator for a discharge or threat of a discharge of oil; and
"(2) the foreign country has by its laws accorded to vessels of the United States the same privileges accorded to vessels of the foreign country under this section.

So the argument has been going something like this, "You can't bring those damn feriners here to take our jobs as long as there is a boat that can float that can carry my union "employees", (you know the ones who all refused to go out at the beginning of this because of 'weather' and were embarrassed by thousands of shrimpers who went out instead)". Take a look at the testimony I posted before. The Jones Act waiver was necessary to stop THAT argument, which as I posted was made before CONGRESS, where in fact they were discussing EXACTLY this point! The built-in waiver wasn't available because the legal eagles found a caveat, which they employed to the detriment of the entire Gulf! Yes this is politics, and more. At least one of the political parties is trying to make things better, the other is only worried about protecting a constituency. Point, set, match.

Sorry about the delay in responding, I have an actual life outside TOD.

Obviously point (1) is satisfied because of the pathetic performance of the skimming fleet in capturing only around 1/30th of the oil spilled. This should have been evident to all within 10 days or so of the sinking of the DWH. Point (2) is unknown to me, but I'd suppose we have those reciprocal agreements. Again there have been zero requests for specific waivers, so I doubt any needed vessels have encountered this stumbling block.

What is your evidence for "legal eagles" having stymied the acquisition of any vessel useful to the response? If there is no evidence, why would you believe that such things have happened?

It seems pretty apparent that BP and the US government are thrashing around with containment options that will at best provide a partial solution. From a layman's point of view it is pretty apparent that the existing drill pipe and containment sleeve is seriously compromised.

It is unlikely that this spill will come under control until the Relief Well is implemented. I haven't seen any reports of progress on the relief well since June 21. How much progress have they made in the last 3 days?

The silence is deafening.

No need for a hearing aid, the relief drill is ahead of schedule.

Remember, Hayward and his ilk are just the scapegoat cover boys for the real owners; the institutional investors.

More detail:

Right. Let's talk about Peter Sutherland, shall we? Chairman of the Board at BOTH Goldman Sachs, International, AND B.P....

How convenient...

AND, he is the U.N. Special Representative for Migration and Development. I suppose we may soon need his expertise in "migrating" lots of people, dontcha think?

Probably engineered the whole Macondo disaster to buy cheap beachfront. When are you going to bring up the martial law FEMA camps stuff?


Carl-Henric Svanberg is the current chairman at BP.

Lloyd Blankfein is chairman at Goldman Sachs.

Sutherland is associated with both companies, and is chair of a Goldman subsidiary. He has many other associations, as well. I wonder if you are particularly concerned with, perhaps, the Trilateral Commission and the Bilderbergers. Just wondering...

Thanks kalliergo,

What IS the "association with both companies" then? TIA...

This is what I had:


Peter Sutherland is Chairman of Goldman Sachs International and of BP and is currently UN Special Representative for Migration and Development. Mr. Sutherland also serves on the Board of Directors of The Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc. .. and he is a "special" representative of the United Nations ... HTTP://

Peter Sutherland is associated with the following organizations (this is just a small sample of what he is involved in):

Trilateral Commission (Europe) Chairman; (N*W*O)

World Economic Forum, (N*W*O)

The Federal Trust, President (N*W*O*)
He received The David Rockefeller International Leadership Award (1998)

He is on the steering committee of the Bilderberg Group


He is on the steering committee of the Bilderberg Group

I must say you have won the thread.

Also: Ayn Rand

Since this thread has finally hit on the associations of these fellows I have to add something.
Let's assume that these groups are made up of what can be called the "movers and shakers" of this world...or TPTB.
It would be from their efforts that "things get done". The big things that affect most of the "small people". They create "progress" as well as introduce all those mindless distractions that divert attention from exactly what kind of "progress" they are aiming for.
Currently, we are seeing a clusterf*** of catastrophes that are somehow not being diligently attended to. The Hurricane Katrina aftermath was an excellent relatively recent example of this. The global financial meltdown, the BP oil disaster and the degradation of infrastructure in the US are just a few of the other examples taking place now.
These situations require big money and big planning and big implementation. The "big" (N*W*O*) boys are the the people who are in control of the mechanisms that would address these problems.
After WWII when stability was needed to have a basis for continued "progress" the forerunners of the current "big" (N*W*O*) boys implemented a big plan with big money called the Marshall Plan. They were looking forward.
Looking forward is what these guys do. What they envision as the next BIG things...going forward...dictates their actions.
And there is one "big thing" that these guys are paying attention to which would explain why response to failures and catastrophes has gone very lax lately.
Imagine your house needs a good paint job yet you are aware that there's a reasonable probability that a violent sandstorm packing winds up to 80 mph is going to sweep through your vicinity within a window of time not too far off. Would you be inclined to paint it now or would you wait and see if the sandstorm hits first?

"We know it is coming but we don't know how bad it is going to be..." Dr Richard Fisher, the director of Nasa's Heliophysics division

Your hypothesis seems to be that since we might be going back to the Stone Age, the "big" (N*W*O*) boys are making it possible for self-interested pols and bureaucrats to be inept. Because otherwise, they wouldn't be.

Not that they're actively making it possible. They just aren't holding the reins on them as tightly when it comes to certain things.
Their focus is elsewhere....seedvaults and the like.

Oh for God's sakes. And to think you were taken seriously with that one long posting. Next time you pull a stunt like that, would you kindly warn everyone that you wear a tinfoil hat?

The Space Weather Enterprise Forum brings together the space weather community to share information and ideas among policymakers, senior government leaders, researchers, service provider agencies, private sector service providers, space weather information users, media, and legislators and staff from Capitol Hill to raise awareness of space weather and its effects on society. This year, we will continue this outreach but will sharpen the focus on critical infrastructure protection, with the necessary underpinnings of research, improved products and services, and applications to serve a broad and growing user community. Our ultimate goal is to improve the nation's ability to prepare, avoid, mitigate, respond to and recover from potentially devastating impacts of space weather events on our health, economy, and national security.

tinfoil that.

Senior space agency scientists believe the Earth will be hit with unprecedented levels of magnetic energy from solar flares after the Sun wakes "from a deep slumber" sometime around 2013...

I don't think tinfoil will help with that, actually. Maybe several inches of lead. And seedbanks.

And tinfoil these guys, jackson

Federal Coordinator for Meteorology
Department of Commerce
Department of Defense
Department of Energy
Department of the Interior
Department of State
Department of Transportation
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
National Science Foundation
Office of Science and Technology Policy
Office of Management and Budget
MR. MICHAEL F. BONADONNA, Executive Secretary
Office of the Federal Coordinator for
Meteorological Services and Supporting Research

National Weather Service
Department of Commerce
United States Air Force
Department of Defense
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
National Science Foundation
National Env Satellite, Data, & Information Service
Department of Commerce
Air Force Research Lab
Department of Defense
Naval Research Lab
Department of Defense
United States Navy
Department of Defense
Defense Threat Reduction Agency
Department of Defense
Department of Energy
US Geological Survey
Department of Interior
Federal Aviation Administration
Department of Transportation
National Science Foundation
MR. MICHAEL F. BONADONNA, Executive Secretary
Office of the Federal Coordinator for
Meteorological Services and Supporting Research

I can pull up a list, too. Hundreds of them. Are you here to deliver a warning about the anticipated sunblast, explain that the response to Macondo has been at least semi-haphazard because the NWO is off growing seeds, or what?

I see. So the pols and bureaucrats get a busman's holiday, courtesy of the NWO.

Spin it how you like. It's what the people who run things believe and how they act on it that matters. And they do believe that the Sun will deliver a serious jolt.

Most other people who are aware of it do, too. But the idea that the response to Macondo has been haphazard because the NWO isn't cracking the whip is a rip snorter.

@ Ghost_of_Red_Adair, previous thread:

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 Earth's atmosphere is a lot like a balloon, push your finger on one side, the balloon bulges on the other side.

Back of envelope calculation:

Assume the well has been leaking 25,000 bopd for 60 days.

That's 1.5 million barrels.

The GOR (Gas Oil Ratio) is 2,000 scf/bbl

So 1,500,000 x 2,000 = 3 billion cub ft of gas added to the atmosphere (ignoring what gets flared off)

Earth's Radius = 6,371 km = 21 million' (wikipedia)
Earth's atmosphere = 27,900' thick if at atmospheric pressure (wikipedia)

Surface area = 4 x Pi x R squared

Therefore volume of atmosphere = 4 x Pi x 21 x 21 x 10^12 x 27,900 = 1.5 x 10^20 cub ft.

It has increased by about 20 trillionths. Hardly noticeable.

That truly is comforting. But this...? Not so much....:

Est. barrels of oil in this reservoir: 1 billion, 42 B gallons of oil.

If we don't ever successfully stop this flow, consider the following:

1. 2.5 drops of oil will pollute a gallon of water to EPA "polluted" standards.
2. There are 90,840 drops in a gallon.
3. There are 342,543,511 cubic miles of seawater in the world's oceans.
4. One cubic mile contains 1,101,117,147,428 gallons.
5. One gallon of oil pollutes 36,336 gallons of water to EPA pollution levels.
6. 30.3 million gallons of oil are required to pollute one cubic mile of seawater.
7. 30.3 million gallons X 342,543,511 cubic miles yields: 10,379,052,000 gallons of oil needed to pollute ALL the world's seawater.

That reservoir thus has the capability of polluting ALL THE WATER OF THE WORLD'S OCEANS TO FOUR TIMES THE EPA POLLUTION STANDARDS.

BP says 50M barrels. Double it. Now you're 10 times too high.


Maybe not:

I'm choosing to reserve judgment on anything that comes from BP these days....Seems to me they originally said "only" 1000 bpd were leaking too, right?

You can keep the GW blog stuff for yourself. I visited a couple days ago and two of the sources he cited were Wolf Blitzer, who still doesn't grasp the difference between a barrel and a gallon, and the "expert" Matt Simmons whose wildass claims have been decimated here. Anybody have the distribution chart of GOM well sizes handy?

If i've read the scale correctly, 5.0E+01 million barrels (50,000,000) would be considered a large well for GOM.


I agree, the 50-100m size was reported by BP before this incident, and IMO I don't see why BP would want to low ball that figure.


60 ft sand.

Think that was their P50?

60 ft sand.

Think that was their P50?

60 ft sand.

Think that was their P50?

6. 30.3 million gallons of oil are required to pollute one cubic mile of seawater.
7. 30.3 million gallons X 342,543,511 cubic miles yields: 10,379,052,000 gallons of oil needed to pollute ALL the world's seawater

I think you've dropped a factor of 1 million from your calculation. You meant to write "10,379,052,000 million gallons needed..."

or 10,379,052,000,000,000 gallons.

Ah! Thanks for checking my math. You are right. Not as bad as I thought at all. THANK YOU!!

"Hardly noticeable."

Maybe to you. It's giving me a headache.


So funny you say that

I live in the Tampa area and i haven't had a headache in over 25 years, yet this past week or so, my head has been pounding every day. So wtf is going on in the atmosphere?

I think any increase would be offset by the volume of crap we've shot into space. :)

edit: Oh damn, I forgot about the rather significant amount of micrometeorites/other space debris that rains down on a daily basis...

Unable to find a thread covering this elsewhere, apologise if I've been dense

Re: Quantifying coastal impact
Have there been figures published on quantifying the amount of oil actually making landfall?

For example, using the sampling techniques described here

It strikes me that there is a threshold in terems of tonnes of oil per km
of shoreline below which impact is pretty much trivial, and levels at which it
is unpleasant but recoverable, on up to horrible and long-lasting.

Given that so much of the leaking oil is being skimmed, burned, eaten by bacteria,
dissolved, sunk, headed for Bermuda, or otherwise staying away from land, it seems
to me that the figures for barrels leaking per day at wellhead aren't nearly as meanignful as
the actual number of km of coastline with specific ranges of oil (tonnes per km of coast).
e.g., "none found", <1 tn/km, 1-2 tn/km, 2-4 tn/km, 4-8 tn/km etc.
The slick is huge, and I have no idea whether the alarmists are right because
the entire bazillion gallon leak has ended up on one Pensacola beachfront, or the
more sanguine are right because (say) only 30km of coast have more than 4 tonnes of oil per km so far.
Obviously the numbers will change over time as more oil hits the coast,
but also some remediation efforts will be lowering other values.

I personally imagine that there is probably a wide range, with some very bad, but also
that a very large amount of "contaminated" coastline has a very small amount of contamination.
Is anyone out there doing measurements on this yet?


Suzy Khimm at MoJo:

According to a new NBC News/Journal poll, BP is one of the biggest villains that the organization has ever surveyed:

[O]nly 6 percent have a favorable rating of BP. In the history of the NBC News/Journal poll, Saddam Hussein (3 percent), Fidel Castro (3 percent) and Yasser Arafat (4 percent) have had lower favorable scores, and O.J. Simpson (11 percent) and tobacco-maker Philip Morris (15 percent) have had higher ratings.

BP execs do have a bit of breathing room: Goldman Sachs, the poster child of Wall Street greed, still ranks even lower than the oil company in the Least Popular Corporate Brands contest ...

Should we start a pool on what date BP out-yucks Goldman?


NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- A federal judge in New Orleans has refused to delay his decision to strike down a six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling imposed after the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The Justice Department had asked U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman to stay his ruling while it appeals to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Feldman rejected that request Thursday. Two days earlier, he struck down the Interior Department's decision to halt approval of new permits for deepwater projects and suspend drilling on 33 exploratory wells. The Justice Department says in court papers that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has instructed all employees to not take any action to enforce the moratorium. It also says the department is sending letters to operators who received notices of suspension that those notices have no legal effect at this time.

A little late for those operators that already shut down drilling ops. Same goes for the 6+ drilling rigs that have already left the GOM for overseas contracts. Not much help either for the thousands of workers already laid off. I haven't talked to one service company that plnas to start re-hiring until they are sure the legal battle is over. And none of them seem to think that battle is close to being over.

Well, this would be a good time for the MMS to implement the "Brazil (Show Me) Rule," i.e., make the drilling contractor demonstrate that the shear rams can cut through a length of drill pipe at depth, before spudding.

The number that continues to shock me is the report in the NYT that the BOP failure rate in deepwater blowouts has been 45%

Don't forget a BOP is like car insurance. Yeah, you might be glad it is there, but you sure as hell never want to use it or count on it.

Not me WT. I've had one rule since I started 35 years ago: if someone says they are activating the BOP I would plan to run like hell unless I needed to man my post. It certainly has happened but I've got no firsthand knowledge of a BOP activation that didn't fail to some degree. Just for the amusement of the newbies I'll repeat the story of the only actual nightmare I ever experienced sleeping off shore. Had been on this crappy Russian drill ship for almost 4 weeks in DW off of Africa. They pulled the BOP up because they thought they had shorted out one of the pods. When they took one of the valve housing apart guess what? No valve. The BOP was totally non-functional. We had some nasty kicks during my hitch. A night or two later I had that nightmare which in itself unusual since I'm one of those folks who hardly ever remembers dreaming at all. How real did it feel? I was sleeping in the top bunk and I put both legs thru the ceiling tiles. It actually felt like the ship was rolling over. I already had a mild distrust for BOP before then. Now a good bit more.

Thanks, WT, for your comments - I posted earlier on the same subject, which has a considerable resonance for me.

I'm far-removed from the oil patch - just interested and a long-time reader (occasional poster)- on this site. My professional background is delivery of live internet financial services.....

.....where we have a culture of "test, test, and test again!" Everything that goes into live operation has to go through a perocess that demands the most rigorous and thorough testing - and I can assure you it's a PITA. But the reason is clear - why it's justified is clear - live ops must be 100% reliable and safe for live service.

Obviously. in the world of DW oil extraction, the stakes are orders of magnitude higher - instead of lost business / damaged reputation, it's the lives of personnel, and the macro-economy, macro-ecosystems that are at stake.

But where is that thorough testing? Where are the safeguards that insist that multiple tests, eliminating the possible weak-spots in the implementation plan, and the discipline that ensures the tests are always carried out - moreover, that any legitimately interested party has the right to call off the plan to proceed if they aren't satisfied with testing?

Testing is really valuable - and making it as complete, thoruogh, and live-like as possible, within reasonable constraints, makes a *big* difference to the reliability, safety, and ultimately, the success of the outcome in final live deployment, of my internet apps. These are totally insignificant in comparison to drilling holes in the DW GoM - both costs and risks.....

..... and I can't understand why - apparently - there isn't an even more demanding test process there.

Just my 2 cents - Chris

Hey Rockman

What was the name of that drillship, the Russians only had 3 of them built in Finland with western driling gear, and they were sold to western companies in the late 90's. I worked on one of the same class for several years. Old piece of Sh*t but great crew.

Just some history the for the people that think 5000ft of water is new. At least one of these drill ships could drill in 5000ft water in the late 70's. The Seven Seas drill ship had all the records but was drilling in these water depths and deeper in the early 80's.

Not uncommon for a judge to refuse to stay his own ruling and make you go on up to the circuit court of appeals right away and seek your stay there. Happens all the time. What is interesting is that the government basically by making those admissions of compliance somewhat undercut their own case for stay (to Feldman anyway) because it is at least partially indicates that they could comply without lasting harm. If I really wanted the stay, i would not have done that; not yet anyway, i would have waited to take such actions and make such statements until after a stay had been denied by both Feldman and, more importantly, the 5th Circuit. Some pretty confusing and suspect lawyering being done by the government in this case.

Well, it's pretty clear a narrower moratorium is what's coming.

They're talking about letting them drill in known "safe" areas, no exploratory wells, no areas of known or possible tricky formation with gas hidden all over the place.

So what if next week they say okay, these projects can go forward, these new projects can start, but these can't go until we get a better handle on the BOPs and new preventative corrective measures.

Will the ones they say can continue be able to continue right away? Will the new ones be able to start right away?

My guess is they will try to save around 25-50% of what they were going to shut down before.

syn -- And I'm still not sure the administration couldn't have effectively had their moratorium without calling it that. I'm still can't find the details but I think the MMS had the authority to require new BOP testing procedures at anytime even on wells currently drilling or about to be started. And if they did have that authority they certainly could have designed the new test to take many months. And I'll repeat the fact: the MMS has the right to take 6 months to evaluate any request for a new drilling permit.

I'm again wondering if this isn't a case of the administration not really understanding the circumstances and just what the rules really are. I think it's possible the entire legal battle they're in right now was completely unnecessary. They may have some clever folks in the White House in some fields but they might want to get someone in there who has actually worked in the oil patch. Not me, of course. They couldn't afford the freight bill for my Blue Bell.

Okay, Rockman--let's see if I have this straight. BP's MC252 blowout happens, then the rest of the oil patch starts paying attention and puts on the brakes, saying to themselves, "If we don't put on the brakes now, the MMS (BOE) is going to put them on for us." So, the White House comes in and throws the emergency brake, and we get rear ended anyhow. Is that what you're saying?

No GW...I wouldn't expect the oil patch to put any brakes on because of the BP blow out. We're not in the brake business...we're in the drilling business. I would imagine the operators would double or triple check every procedure they attempted. Many, including me, already do this. Beyond that I'm not quit sure what you're asking.

I live in Wyoming, and I've seen the boom and bust cycle all my life in the drilling business. I have also seen it slow down. What I am asking is if the White House caused more hardship in wanting to shut this down completely as opposed to slowing the entire thing down. Is that clear as mud?

I get you now GW. Too early to tell but I'm starting to get the impression that the 6 month moratorium could end up running a lot longer than 6 months even if the feds turn the companies loose. The GOM DW rigs are already heading overseas. I don't know what the current count is but last I heard it was 6. How ever many rigs end up moving out of the GOM it could be years before they return. Two years ago I mobed a rig from western Africa to Brazil. Just the mob cost $33 million. Those rigs will probably signed into multi-year contracts. Also every service company I know is shutting down yards, shops and in a few cases, whole divisions. You know as well as I do that's how they keep the bottom line up: cut over head. You also know they won't begin to stage back up until they see signs of another boom coming and that could be several years yet.

BTW - Back in 2000 I drilled 4 horizontal wells for Exxon in the shadow of the Pumpkin Buttes just south of Gillette. Thanks to an inexperienced company many my first 10 hitch last 32 days. Most of the time I didn’t have to hang at the rig so I put 5000 miles on the rental truck driving all over WY and the Black Hills. And got paid for it.

Not a whole lot of Blue Bell in WY, eh?

lots of SNIRT though!

We do have Blue Bunny - wanna swap?

Niobrara is heating up east of there.

I didn't see one peep on subpart G Abandonment of Wells 250.110 in the increased safety measures.

This interesting post ties in with something a friend of mine told me recently. This guy is a bigwig in a national science advisory group. He asked, "Who is advising this guy (meaning Obama)?" This question of his was based on a dictat from the White House his agency had recently received that no information from his agency, on no matter what topic, could be issued on the GOM without specific "White House approval."
Too much secrecy?

No doubt a "moratorium" as opposed to achieving the same goals through other means was political window dressing. I don't fault them for that. Who cares if they package it so long as it makes sense and will work.

But Salazar appears to be stumbling badly and has since first sneaking the moratorium into the report without approval of the panel. Every move he makes gets he himself in deeper. That's too bad because it is a distraction and it's completely unnecessary. He has plenty of power and the biggest environmental disaster in history as the backdrop. It should be much smoother sailing for him. Not all of these stops and starts and mid-stream corrections.

Whatever political benefit they got from announcing the moratorium has now been squandered and it's turning into a liability.

syn - I get the window dressing appeal. But did anyone in the WH bother to think about the news story showing oil field workers being kicked out of the homes or cars being repo'd? We've seen how the MSM has a taste for showing the folks who've lost so much from the oil pollution. But did they think the gov of La was going to just sit back and watch his state's already devastated economy take an even bigger hit and not begin yelling from the roof tops. I can't help but think that if the thought did pop up in conversation someone in the WH might have said: "So's just the oil companies getting hurt. And everyone hates them anyway." They don't get it: ExxonMobil, Shell et al aren't going to be hurt...they're corporations...they have no nerve endings. But upwards of as many as 40,000 fairly well paid blue collar workers are now heading to file for unemployment. I grew up in S La: you either fish the GOM for a living or work the oil patch: there are few other options. Between the oil pollution and the moratorium S. La has just become a third world country. No fishing/oil patch income to spend: most of the rest of the businesses in the area will have difficulty staying open. That means more unemployed folks. Folks need to understand how the great majority of the economy down there survives on the fishing and oil industry. To a large degree there is no way to survive in that part of the country with both taken away. The best analogy would be Michigan when the auto industry was doing good. How would their economy be affected if they were forced to stop all auto production for 6 months? The more I think about it the ripple effect will probably be much larger than I had been thinking. There are school districts in S La where the majority of their budget comes from oil patch taxes.

Just another low blood sugar induced afternoon rant...ignore me. On a lighter note I did hear a story about a strip club filing against BP due to their drop in business. Heard that driving in this morning.

Makes sense to me! Dont know about the strippers, but the rest made sense. A slow down in the oil patch always meant a slow down for us construction trash. For sure.

Haley Barbour says the cure is worse than the disease, the moratorium is worse than the spill. That may be a bit out there for a governor to say, but I believe a lot of people feel that way who are directly impacted.

I do think that they considered and cared about the economic impact, as evidenced by obama first demanding that BP pay the wages of the workers, and then getting or earmarking the $100,000,000 for them in the BP settlement.

But it appears they did not really give the economic impact close enough consideration, especially how they could achieve the same risk-reduction goals without killing the economy as much. It's not like they removed all risk with the blanket moratorium or anything.

Of course, at the time they announced moratorium, obama was under attack for not doing enough. All the pundits were saying obamna had to do more or this would be his Katrina and he'd be done. By the time of the hearing on Monday, after he had shed the not-doing-enough criticism, the attacks were that his moratorium did too much.

The nature of the beast is that no matter what he does within the realm of options available, he's going to upset a lot of people. It's an impossible job: stop the flow, clean up the mess, guard against another blowout (the ultimate doomsday scenario), keep everyone employed, remain popular so you don't lose your job.

Let's not underestimate the difficulty of striking just the right balance every time an important and difficult decision has to be made. At least they are willing to make corrections when they do get it wrong. That's important. You can't expect perfection. But i get you, they missed it. It looks like they are trying to correct that now.

Syn - Didn't plan on getting so carried away. But I've driven through S La a thousand times heading to one dock or another. Then I started to picture all the businesses both oil patch and otherwise I would pass. I couldn’t think of one that wasn't going to be impacted negatively to some degree. Everything is going to take some hit: fast foods, car God...WALMART!!! LOL. If you've ever driven through S La you would understand that you feed yourself and family from the Gulf fisheries, the oil patch or growing cane. Or you make a living from the money those folks spend. There is nothing else there; no auto plants, no software companies, no big financial sector. When I estimated the service companies were going to lose $10 - 15 billion I wasn't thinking about the trickle down. In a few months more than half the people in S La I know to some degree will be unemployed. Can anyone match that? I know guys who were making $80,000/yr who’ll might be competing with illegal workers for jobs paying below minimum wage. And it doesn't make me feel better to know that I'll benefit financially from the down turn. But a lot easier to live with the guilt feelings when you still have a pay check coming in.

As I said before it’s not a matter of right or wrong….it’s a choice. I would feel better knowing that choice was made after considering the full impact. I suspect it wasn’t.

It's probably the top spill-related issue at the moment, and very impt., so i don't think you're getting carried away. How to balance environmental harm with economic harm in dealing with the ongoing risk post-spill.

And you paint a compelling picture of why the economic harm is not just an abstraction, but people's lives, not just isolated pockets, but the entire region. We're obviously addicted to oil for more than just for the fuel it offers.

So, while i agree isn't a matter of right or worng, you can still conclude that a prior choice struck the wrong balance and recalibrate accordingly. Or you can conclude that the prior choice went further than necessary to strike the right balance.

I don't think obama ever chose to turn his back on the people affected by the moratorium. But maybe he's realizing now it's going to hurt them more than he figured, and there's room for adjustment to the moratorium to ameliorate that without significantly impacting the risk.

Maybe Obama will replace him like he did the head of the MMS? Can you not find good competent political hacks these days? ;)

this drama surrounding the moratorium is making no sense at all....the judge says no moratorium ....the govt indicates it plans to take it up with a higher court can any operator plan to re-estalish ops in DW when it takes 2 weeks or so to get the logistics and planning ready to make a move at this have an operator spend money to get things going ...maybe a few million only to find out the govt as able to get a judge at a higher court to agree with their moratorium .....all the operator has to show now is a check book that is lighter by a couple of so million dollars with not a foot of crunched rock to show for really the govt is still getting what it wants drilling hook or by crook th govt is getting their wish here......

drilling offshore is either safe or its not safe ....

IMHO it is safe and just maybe a few operators just need to tighten their bootstraps...

but if it is not safe then how does one decide if 495' waters are safe to drill but 505' waters are dangerous to drill ......seems a 6-pack of non-sense to me .....

I have always felt more safe on DW rigs ...knowing the amount of technology and money that goes into keeping things from turning nasty as compared to whenever i'm in shallow waters ....the rigs are rickety ...the crew not always as experienced ....the operators with not deep pockets like BP ....just seems like the govt slapped a moratorium without thinking things through to the end....and are now scrambling to come up with answers and reasoning to justify their potion...

and in the meantime...6 DW rigs are ready to head elsewhere in the world while 3 DW rigs are in the process of being contracted ...that 9 out of 33 gone....

on a side note..
i have been sorely tempted to throw my 2 cents and a little mustard on some comments the past couple of days ...folks been suggesting BOP tests are a sham and independent consultants show up on sites with their pressure tests already completed ....with all due respect but WTF are you talking about seems like it has suddenly become fashionable to take a story heard third or fourth hand in a bar and pass it on as the truth .....or if some jerk did do it once don't kindly pass on such thoughts as though they are the norm ....there are bad cancer biopsy test results and there are bad BOP tests...none of either is a norm.....just my humble opinion here
Lapses Found in Oversight of Failsafe Device on Oil Rig

Last year, Transocean commissioned a “strictly confidential” study of the reliability of blowout preventers used by deepwater rigs. Using the world’s most authoritative database of oil rig accidents, a Norwegian company, Det Norske Veritas, focused on some 15,000 wells drilled off North America and in the North Sea from 1980 to 2006.

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

So 0.07% of wells lost control to the point they needed a BOP. This is too high, if you ask me. Why did they lose control? Human error? Mechanical failure? Well design error? Were these events on a particular operator? Driller? Area?

Why did the 5 BOP's fail to bring the well under control? Requirements did not meet actual conditions? BOP design did not meet requirements? BOP activation was too late? BOP failed to activate? Were the failures of a particular brand/model of BOP?

So, would you buy a car whose brakes failed 45% of the time to safely stop the car in an emergency stop from highway speeds? After all, it's only a very small percentage of the time that the brakes are applied in high speed emergency situations.

As I previously said, I don't know who is worse, the crazy conspiracy theorists or the pathetic excuses for human beings that are the apologists for BP. Given the statistics that are emerging, IMO large sectors of both the offshore industry and the MMS are collectively guilty of criminal negligence.

Not apologizing for anybody. BTW, were any of the BOP "failures" on BP leases?

If 45% of people applying brakes for an emergency stop wind up hitting something even though the brakes worked is that the fault of the brake? Or perhaps the operator (speeding or waited too long to apply brakes), the ABS system (induced skidding), the vehicle that pulled in front of them without allowing room to stop, the tires that came apart when stressed, something else?

I'm just indicating that the quote provided does not give enough information to conclude that the BOP "failed" in it's designed or intended purpose. If it operated as designed and the design is within requirements, then the requirements need changing. More rigorous testing of the requirements won't fix this.

Show that to the judge.

I bet a quart of Blue Bell none of them are headed for Venezuela, that Chavez, he understands "regulation"!!!

Chavez was using an old poorly maintained semi drilling rig. It was drilling a gas well off Venezuela a couple weeks after the DWH incident.

It sank.

Evidently they either killed the well or the BOP worked and everyone got off alive. The one American adviser and one other crew stayed late and had to jump.

ali: You are probably right on the facts. But politicians read polls and want to keep their jobs much like you do. And right now something like 65+% think Obama and the administration aren't doing enough and should "stop this damn leak now." Those people are called voters and what gonna happen in November is they speak. Half the voters smell a conspiracy because that's what they hear. Look at this MEPatriot guy who just shows up here with comment after comment talking about all sorts of evil players involved in a conspiracy. And he has a public airwaves megaphone that people listen to and believe or he wouldn't have any sponsors who pay to the reach his audience. I know this all pisses you off but that's the ocean we swim in. And getting out a Peak Oil message is going to have to face these megaphones. By the bye, did George Soros pay you your bonus yet from the Trilateral Commission slush fund? (Just kidding) But keep trying. It's all we can do.

Even after 9/11 air travel was still statistically one of the safest forms of transportation. Yet the FAA still grounded all commercial air traffic for however long it took to make changes, which worked out to be 3 days. With the wisdom of hindsight, how many planes would have been hijacked on 9/12 if the planes had kept flying? None.

There need to be changes in regs but to put a fixed time span on it, to me, is stupid. It should take as long as it takes, that could have been 3 weeks or 8 months, seems impossible to say how long it will take to fix it before you know what changes need to be made.

EL --

i'm the first one to admit i don't understand the legal aspects of this stuff....but what i do understand is DW ops and this situation is stuck in limbo ....drilling rigs will get contracted elsewhere because drilling contractors can't afford to have a piece of metal sitting idle for 6 months when it can be bringing in around 450,000 $/day elsewhere in the job isn't an issue ...currently i am sinking a well offshore in newfoundland, canada and there plenty other takers for my skill (if at all it comes to that....drill engg's are not effected an iota by this moratorium..infact this moratorium can be extended to 2 yrs and it won't even reflect in my bonus let alone loosing my job) but sadly it doesn't make up for around 50,000 odd folks who stand to loose their jobs in LA and surrounding ROCKMAN pointed out ..its either fishing or offshore drilling that employs most ppl in the region....BP took out fishing and the govt is taking out offshore drilling....what to do ....mortgages have to be payments have to bills gotta be settled....other issues are at stake here....businesses close down in this particular region....local taxes will plummet and so will state tax revenue .....this will effect local districts ....local police precincts...all the way down to the walmart checkout cashier....

i can see the dichotomy here.....the people most effected by this oil-spill are the ones wanting this moratorium to be lifted....but the MSM will loose interest in this in a few more weeks ....relegating this story to a corner of their web page or the newspaper....but the local ppl are in this for the long haul and its easy for rachel maddow to jump ratings by reporting on this now....I will bet you 5 bucks she won't be reporting the consequences of this bullshit when the folks in the region are stuck in limbo for that point a rationalization like "they wanted drilling and now they gotta deal with the consequences" will suffice for the MSM and they will fly off feeling absolved of their duty, to another story ....( i got nothing against maddow ..just using an example here ) ....and ASSHOLES like dougr don't help either .....i have been getting plenty calls from rig hands in LA asking for opportunities .....folks who are experienced enough to be earning 1500 $/day willing to work as righands ...

i apologize ...i am just venting here.....6 good hands i worked with for yrs have called me just today seeking opportunities ....telling me how times have taken a turn for the worse .....we all have just lost the human touch

Yeah, but you were venting with authority and passion. If we're to have any success, we must remember that politics is a little about reason and a whole lot about emotion. retiredL's post earlier brought people much closer to the REALITY of this tragedy than all the cold blooded statistics and formulas and charts and spreadsheets ever or can will. Stalin said: "Kill one is murder. Kill a million is a statistic."

I'm having a hard time seeing how people who make $1500 PER DAY are going to suffer all that greatly from a half year out of work, especially in an area of the country not noted for high cost of living. The people dependent on them spending money, maybe. That's a better argument. No one socked away a little bit for a rainy day..? I live in a large city in the NE where the cost of pretty much everything is higher, and if I had ever made that kind of cheddar I'd imagine I could live for YEARS on my savings before a noticable drop-off in my standard of living.

I'm sorry, but in a country with 10% official unemployment in an economy in which most people with a job aren't making $40K/year, and never have, there's just not going to be all that much sympathy for people who were making $7K/WEEK in the industry that's fouling the GOM.

I find it incredible that so many seem to find the cost of being minimally responsible for a change to be unbearable.


:) ...not everyone on a rig earns 1500 bucks a fact i was specifically talking about the top dawgs on a rig.....i was just trying to make a point that poepl are starting to feel enough heat that the top dawgs on rigs are willing to work as the lowest plebs on rigs right now.....and yes the trickle down economic effect of people who work on rigs is of big economic importance to a state like LA.....LA has ONLY two major and offshore oil and gas...(i suppose an argument could be made for a third imp industry i.e. tourism but that too wont work in the current environment)....most businesses are directly or indirectly liked to either or both.....and now LA has neither...

IMHO the idea that this is a 6 month stoppage is wrong i say the rigs are moving ...6 have been contracted ...another 3 are in the process of being contracted.....they will move to brazil or africa or a DW rig is like a small city block on a takes a firm commitment and a lot of money to move a DW rig that kind of distances.....i would imagine upwards of 25 million all things considered just to move this monster to somewhere like brazil .....and before a drilling contractor will make a move...they will need firm commitment form operators in brazil for atleast 2-3 years of work to justify their once a rig is gone we can kiss it goodbye for a good amount of time.....this means repair yards....service companies .....logistics ...workshops....marine mechanics....helicopter outfits involved in transporting crews on and off rigs...all will just have to close shop i don't understand how the govt is thinking its a 6 month moratorium and at the first week after 6 months all thing will suddenly be rosey again just like that....just my humble opinion....i never said my point of view was not biased....i am after all one of the "dirty lying oil men" the MSM warns ya'll about :)

i can see the dichotomy here........the people most effected by this oil-spill are the ones wanting this moratorium to be lifted....but the MSM will loose interest in this in a few more weeks ....

Yes, it is the dichotomy that is frustrating the general public. What appeared to be a clear cut problem, a well leaking out of control, and possible solutions seem lost in the mud.

As already pointed out this "Moritorium" was unnecessary and makes the Obama administration look weak and uninformed. Seems they forgot a basic fact, it's the American people who own the submerged lands the DW players now lease. The authority to act on behalf of the people has always been there and is still there.

As millions of Obama supporters cry for the disisive, no nonsense leader needed, instead we get acts of contrition, surrender which only amplify the appearance of confusion and dysfunction in the WH. Appeals, even if lgeally successful will be meaningless.

Rockman: A+++ In legal analysis of the obvious.

[Edit: Delete quote that didn't fit}

Credit markets are signaling that the end is in sight at BP:

"BP’s credit default swaps, meanwhile, continue to swing wider today, up 32 basis points at 555 basis points, according to data from Markit."

By way of comparison,

" Greece's five-year sovereign credit default swaps were quoted at 1,075 basis points shortly before 1345 GMT, compared with 934 basis points Wednesday afternoon, according to data provider CMA DataVision.

That means the annual cost of insuring $10 million of Greek government debt for five years has risen a further $141,000 to $1.075 million, a record.

CMA said that this price implied a 67% probability of default over the next five years. "

BP is still a better risk than Greece. But it is getting there.

PQ17: Thanks for the info. BP seems to be a 37% chance roughly.

Methane in Gulf "astonishingly high": U.S. scientist
(Reuters) - As much as 1 million times the normal level of methane gas has been found in some regions near the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, enough to potentially deplete oxygen and create a dead zone, U.S. scientists said on Tuesday.

Texas A&M University oceanography professor John Kessler, just back from a 10-day research expedition near the BP Plc oil spill in the gulf, says methane gas levels in some areas are "astonishingly high."

Kessler's crew took measurements of both surface and deep water within a 5-mile (8 kilometer) radius of BP's broken wellhead.

Why just a 5 mile radius?

May I suggest a 200 mile radius?

Good idea but seeing as it took them 10 days to cover 79 square miles, I calculate you wouldn't hear back from them till November 2014 as long as they started within the next few days.

I didn't mean every square inch...
I would just like to know the O levels of several random spots over a 200 mile radius

Judge Faces Death Threats After BP Gulf Oil Drilling Moratorium Ruling
THURSDAY, 24 JUNE 2010 12:55

New Orleans--While many Americans undoubtedly agree with the decision of U.S. District Court Judge Martin Feldman to overturn the Obama administration’s moratorium on deep water drilling, not everyone is happy. In fact, the Judge is now receiving death threats in the aftermath of his bold ruling.

Last night, Feldman served as a celebrity judge at a cooking contest at a school gymnasium in Uptown New Orleans. Due to the threats, Feldman was accompanied by a federal marshal security team.

more at

Don't know if it has been commented on or not, but the BP blowout has really caused the true Corporatist/Police State nature of our government to expose the edges of its nasty, toxic, non-person self to the light of day. Watch the video:

Talk about your shakedowns. Sheesh.

Does anyone know what happened to the Constitution?

Cameras at every intersection, yet very few in police stations (should be in every room, all of the time), and almost none in courtrooms. Tell me now, why should we trust our government, and exactly who does it serve?

"OK, here's the section of the Jones Act that exempts skimmers and tankers during a spill:"
And here are those "pesky" details that make it less clear cut:

"(1) an adequate number and type of oil spill response vessels documented under the laws of the United States cannot be engaged to recover oil from an oil spill in or near those waters in a timely manner, as determined by the Federal On-Scene Coordinator for a discharge or threat of a discharge of oil; and
(2) the foreign country has by its laws accorded to vessels of the United States the same privileges accorded to vessels of the foreign country under this section."

So it seems as if the Federal Coordinator (Allen?) has to state that lacks "US" resources and that there is legal reciprocity with the foreign countries. Has Allen stated the need for foreign skimmers and does the US have reciprocity with North Sea countries?

I just checked in on the videos; has the cap totally failed? It's not on right, it's coming apart, and the lack of any oil coming out of one side suggests seawater is coming in...

I've been watching it on and off for several hours and it's been like this the entire time. BP's made no visible attempt to do anything about it.

I can see that much less oil is leaking but do not see how that equates to failure. Could you explain?

There are many people here more qualified than me to explain, but as I understand it this cap design was never intended to capture all the oil coming out of the top of the blowout preventer. Paradoxically a steady stream of oil had to be coming out of the bottom of the cap in order for it to work properly; the idea was to prevent infiltration of seawater into the cap. If that cold water gets in it reacts with the methane being release to produce insoluble methane hydrates, which plug up the hole/riser on the top of the cap through which the oil is removed. I don't think it's supposed to look like it does.

JB: Look at the view from the other side. The cap is tilting so the lower half has little or no leakage.Thia does not mean water is getting sucked in the lower side.What is interesting is that it appears the total leaking amount seems quite reduced. Kent Wells, I believe, in his last briefing , said they were looking at ways to increase the Q4000 burn amount and we know they are trying to optimize through the cap. It may be they are getting closer to the total flow and should easily get the total once the kill line is attached to the new system in the next few days.(We can only hope).

The difference in the cap's "spillage" before and after yeaterday's removal/replacement operation is really striking. As I recall, the previous flow was pretty evenly distributed around the circumference of the cap's mouth, so the cap was almost entirely enveloped by oil, but now it appears that about half of the mouth has no flow at all.

I'm guessing that the change is merely the result of how the cap happened to land on the flange when it was replaced, with more of the jet from the riser pipe stub shooting straight up the cap's riser, rather than churning around inside the cap and creating turbulence.

Looks to me like the flow has greatly decreased, perhaps the zone is beginning to deplete at least around the well bore. Or maybe it is starting to bridge off, we can only hope. Sure would like to know what is happening at the surface.

Looks to me like the flow has greatly decreased, perhaps the zone is beginning to deplete at least around the well bore

Anyone know how many vents on top of the cap is still opened? Initially they closed one and left 3 open.. Yesterday's fiasco seems to be one of the remaining 3 was closed by accident..So how many do we have closed now?

There are at least two, and I think three, vents still open. I snapped this about a half-hour ago when Enterprise ROV1 was hovering above the cap. Two streams were coming up from the vents on the left side of the cap.. the vent on the right seemed to be closed ... the fourth vent was not clearly visible, but I have the feeling it was also open.

The flow coming out of the two on the left was quite heavy, perhaps making up for the lack of flow coming out the bottom on that side.

It has always had 2 or 3 vents open. It looks like there is a lot less oil for some reason. Have they started pulling some from the kill line already? Whatever the case it sure LOOKS better.

Hopefully it doesn't look better here because something bad is happening elsewhere..... Nah.

Hard to say whether the combined flow from the two visible vents plus that from the other side is less or not - I'm inclined to say it's about the same.

The most recent word was that they're not scheduled to start the kill-line flow before Tuesday at the earliest.

Thanks of the picture... It is still pretty good news. looks like they find a way to seal the bottom. The implication is that if there is enough "production" capability up on the surface, they would be able to suck up most if not all the oil/ng mixture into the vessels.. At that point for all intent and purpose, the wells is not doing any more damage to the gulf. It should give the clean up and containment folks a chance to catch up and really reduce some of the damage to the shoreline.. I will drink to that..

and the lack of any oil coming out of one side suggests seawater is coming in...

I would think if that were happening it would plug up with hydrates pretty fast unless it is all oil now and little or no gas.

See the top of the cap now and appears that some fluid comming out there. They may have opened vent on top. Could explain reduced flow out the bottom. :(

Nuke the oil well? The Nuclear Option
Given that BP is still sitting on both the detailed situational and geological data, it is difficult to tell from a distance what will or will not work to stop the Deepwater Gulf oil spill, therefore everything should be on the table. Here is an interview with a leading U.S. expert on Peaceful Nuclear Explosives, Dr. Milo D. Nordyke, who suggests that it should be carefully considered under the circumstances.

A lot of work need to go into simulations based on the best geological and wellbore data available to see what are the pros and cons of every conceivable option if the relief wells fail.

Certain government agencies happen to have the world's best databases to predict the likely outcome of the explosion(s), whether conventional or nuclear.

I do have some concern as to what is the strength of the salt dome, and whether or not there is a risk that an explosion will damage the dome (e.g. fracture it downward).

Not a simple problem, and not a lot of time to do the simulations unless the attempt is delayed a long time.

An explosive based solution will require another well --- unless relief well no. 2 is commandeered.

How to get sufficient explosives (whether conventional or nuclear) to do the job is a big problem with conventional, and also with nuclear.

How to modify an existing "off the shelf" warhead, back fill it to ensure a minimal risk of release of radioactive elements, is another problem.

On top of this, there is the technicalities like this being in "international" waters, the Test Ban Treaty, and consent of the neighbors and other nuclear weapons states.

Laurouchepac? Dr. Milo D. Nordyke? Do ya' think he'd be confused with all of the other Dr. Milo Nordyke's running around if he didn't use his middle initial? I see he's with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Professor Emeritus, even.

I'll tell you what. I'll agree to let him blow a nuke in the GoM, if he agrees that he and his family are to be be thrown out of helicopters hovering at high altitude over the well site if something goes wrong.

This suggestion seems to surface every third day or so. The cartoon in the video makes it look so easy, but that's what cartoons do. PQ17 lays out the negatives well.

Nordyke himself says that "it might or might not work." He also says that a special nuke for the pressure and temperature conditions would probably have to be built. That would take time. Plus figuring out optimum placement. The LaRouchies fundamentally don't understand, since their questions imply that they'd like to sail something down the well. Maybe one of the laser-equipped sharks could be persuaded to do a kamikaze mission.

What Nordyke doesn't say is that the nuclear gas stimulation experiments, like Rio Blanco, all produced radioactive gas. Using a nuke would probably contaminate the reservoir, whose geology we still don't know. (I'm looking forward to the next Congressional hearings!) Yeah, it would serve BP right, but contaminating stuff just because you're impressed by a big boom doesn't seem too smart when there are other ways to your goal.

The cartoon in the video makes it look so easy, but that's what cartoons do.

I keep wanting to fake an official .gov cartoon to show a bunch of people praying really hard, then a huge hand coming down from the heavens, reaching through the seafloor, and turning off a hose bibb that supplies oil to the formation from a giant tank. :)

chuckstvns thanks for the very good interview, proving there can be good journalism on this over-sensationalized topic.

Dr. Nordyke makes a persuasive case even though, as he admits, the actual experience is very limited.

Nonetheless, when I look at the surreal circus going on today, then consider the prospect of only a 20% chance rw1 will be successful, I hope and pray a response track has already begun to assemble the people and materials needed to execute this gd monster. The sooner the better.

I have yet to see any fact that would actually mitigate against the use of a limited and highly controlled detonation.

A nuke under water looks nasty, and a sub-surface nuke doesnt look great either.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say its a bad idea.

This (overlong) comment is basically a discussion of the (in)famous DougR posting.

First, I will say that in one area we are in complete agreement. BP and the USCG have been less than forth coming and in doing so have hurt both themselves and the general public as all kinds of wild rumors and technical misinformation abound. Some of this misinformation results in harm to individuals and businesses as people suffer increased stress and tourists cancel vacations.

In this information vacuum it is easy to make wrong assumptions that lead to mistaken conclusions. It can be made worse if you have some degree of technical knowledge and verbiage and use that to make a case for a scenario that doesn’t pass muster with actual engineering analysis but sounds highly authoritative to many people, some TV commentators and various politicians.

What eventually will happen is that the blow out preventer will literally tip over

DougR has made a case that he expects the BOP to tip over. He seems to base this on the following information.

1 – The well is leaking into the sediment below the mudline and that is undermining the foundation holding the BOP upright.

2 – In support of that theory he cites that BP cut off the broken riser to relieve pressure on the well.

3 – Currents are pushing on the BOP stack.

4 – He seems to believe the inclination or tilt of the BOP is increasing.

5 – The BOP, riser and well casing are eroding from the inside due to sand erosion further weakening the structure.

He weaves a visual picture of a 450 ton BOP waving around a hundred feet high supported by a thin piece of liner or well casing. Given that description it is understandable that people will believe the BOP is in immediate danger of collapse.

Looking at this from an engineering view point and using real data instead of conjecture and hyperbole I come to a much different conclusion.

The BOP is not in danger of tipping over.

Let look at each of his points.

1 – His theory seems to be that the well is blowing out the side about 1,000 feet below the mudline. I can understand, given the sparse and misleading information from BP and the USCG, how you could come to that conclusion. But let’s look at the actual make-up of the casing that supports the wellhead and the BOP. Here is the data:

First a 36” casing, up to 2” thick was put down. It extends from the mud line to 255 feet down, as tall as a 25 story building.

Next a 28” casing was run from the mudline to 1,150 feet down, almost the size of the Empire State building.

This was followed by a 22” casing from the mudline 2,870 feet down, twice as deep as the World Trade Center was high.

All three of these casings were completely cemented together and they form a very solid base which is what supports the BOP. I won’t detail the casing string below the 22” but is in the above pdf.

It is hard to envision any way the well would be able to leak out in the sediment between the mudline and the end of the 22” casing which is over a half mile down and well into formations below the mudline. At 1,000 feet there is a 1” thick pipe (the 22” casing) which is 100% cemented to another thick pipe (the 28” casing) which in turn is 100% cemented to the formation. Not much of a leak path there.

The immediate (first 1,000 feet) of well structure that remains is now also undoubtedly compromised.

There is no evidence that the foundation holding the BOP is being undermined or the upper portion of the casing (first 2,870 feet) is damaged. If you watch the leakage from under the LMRP cap you can see the oil and gas immediately start rising up at a pretty good velocity. If there were any oil or gas leaks anywhere near the BOP it would be very obvious as the leaks would look very much like the leakage from the cap and they would be quite visible as they flowed up around the BOP.

There are also occasional video shots of the lower part of the BOP and there is no sign of any seabed disturbance or subsidence. It looks pretty much like the earliest photos BP released.

The well pipes below the sea floor are broken and leaking

What may be helping to confuse the situation is that there are two more concentric “pipes” that run from the wellhead area down into the well.

A 16” casing string is suspended about 160 feet below the mudline and runs down to over a mile below the mudline. This piece of casing is also sealed to the 22” casing and hangs down from there. The “annular” space is inside the 16” casing between it and the liner.

A 9-7/8” liner was installed from the mudline to the bottom of the well. This liner reduces down to 7” before it reaches the bottom. It was through this liner that the well was expected to produce oil and gas.

The 16” casing has three rupture/burst disks subs installed and one of those is at about 980 feet down. It was this “disk” that Admiral Allen was referring to when he said it “failed”. This would indicate the “well pipes below the sea floor are broken and leaking”. But a rupture of that disk does NOT leak directly into the mud. It leaks inside the well casing.

The leak would have to migrate down to the bottom of the 18” casing - 3,902 feet below the mudline before it left the well. I expect that BP thinks they may have underground blowout at that level, which would leak into another formation, not up to the surface unless the cement jobs at the 18” casing or the 22” casing were also bad and those were fully tested and used.

DougR also supports his theory of downhole leaks by stating:

80 Barrels per minute is over 200,000 gallons per hour, over 115,000 barrels per day...did we seen an increase over and above what was already leaking out of 115k bpd?....we did would have been a massive increase in order of multiples and this did not happen.

But three paragraphs above he contradicts himself stating:

Early that afternoon we saw a massive flow burst out of the riser "plume" area


Later on same day we saw a greatly increased flow out of the kink leaks

2 – DougR says BP cut off the riser to relieve the pressure but the timeline of the events indicates otherwise. BP had released the design of the LMRP cap well before they started the Top Kill.

If BP had thought they had a leakage problem requiring a pressure reduction they would never have attempted a top kill. So the that claim they cut the riser to relieve the pressure doesn’t fit the facts, it fits the already announced plan to cut the riser and install the LMRP cap.

3 – There is very little current at 5,000 feet. There may be other forces acting on the BOP, like gravity, but the currents are minimal. It is easy to verify this just by watching the video of the oil leakage.

4 – DougR’s claim is that the inclination of the BOP is increasing. There is no evidence of this.

Early discussions on TOD when BP released the first pictures talked about the fact that the BOP to well head connection appeared bent and the BOP looked tilted. The pictures at that time (very bad quality) seem to show a bend between the base of the wellhead and the bottom of the BOP. I haven’t seen any evidence that this tilt has increased over time or that there is any less mud at the wellhead.

There is a good reason why the BOP wellhead connection could be bent and weakened. For over a day the DWH was without power and the 50,000 ton rig was anchored to the wellhead. The movements of the rig in the surface currents would have put a huge strain on the BOP stack.

Also, when the rig sank and the riser bent over it would also have put stress on the BOP. But the riser doesn’t weigh as much as most people would think as it has floatation on it.

It would be a reasonably easy exercise, if you have all the data, to calculate the force that bending the riser would impart to the BOP and the well head. I’m sure that BP did that calculation and it didn’t deter them from proceeding with the Top Kill.

The LMRP has a flexjoint where it connects to the BOP. I believe that flexjoint is designed to tip up to 7.5 or 10 degrees. Normally the LMRP is under some tension from the riser which tends to hold it straight. Without this support from the riser it will always tip to one side. So the LMRP will always have a substantial inclination, by design.

you may have noticed that some of the ROVs are using an inclinometer...and inclinometer is an instrument that measures "Incline" or tilt. The BOP is not supposed to be tilting...and after the riser clip off operation it has begun to...

The ROVs have been checking the bullseyes regularly, before and after the riser was cut. The box that DougR thinks is an inclinometer is likely some other instrument, probably ultrasonic. That would be backed up by another poster’s observation that they had been cleaning the area where the box was being used. They could be checking the wall thickness at that point or trying to determine fluid flow. Both are more likely that an inclinometer reading.

5 - Erosion

I am convinced the erosion and compromising of the entire system is accelerating and attacking more key structural areas of the well, the blow out preventer and surrounding strata holding it all up and together.

I‘m not sure if DougR is referring to internal pipeline erosion or external foundation erosion and I may be doing him a disservice but there has been enough other discussion about internal erosion to try to correct some misconceptions.

When we have been talking about erosion we are talking about small restrictions that have been eroded where the oil flow has to pass small spaces. The most dramatic example was the increase in the leaks at the riser kink. They started at almost nothing and grew dramatically over time. A similar process was occurring inside the BOP.

There are a lot of variables that effect erosion but the biggest is velocity. The only place that there is erosion in this well is where there are tight restrictions which have high velocity and large pressure reductions. These seem to be inside the BOP and the riser kink when it was still there. The original cross section of the leak path was probably less than 0.20 sq in. With the very high velocity this restriction would have eroded very quickly. The five fold increase in the flow estimate in the first few days of the spill would be consistent with this theory as is the continuing increase in flow estimates. As the restriction enlarges the pressure drops and the erosion slows down. This is also consistent with various pressure readings at the bottom of the BOP, dropping from the “8,000 to 9,000 psi” to 4,400 psi on May 25.

The velocity inside the casing, liner, body of the BOP and the riser is relatively low. I doubt that it would be possible to detect the erosion on the casing or riser with the naked eye. It would take years of flow before there would be enough structural damage from internal erosion to cause any problems.

This is especially true for vertical or near vertical piping. In a horizontal pipe sediment can drop to the bottom and over time wear a groove on the bottom of the pipe, which is not the case here.

All of these things lead to only one place, a fully wide open well bore directly to the oil deposit...after that, it goes into the realm of "the worst things you can think of" The well may come completely apart as the inner liners fail. There is still a very long drill string in the well, that could literally come flying I said...all the worst things you can think of are a possibility, but the very least damaging outcome as bad as it is, is that we are stuck with a wide open gusher blowing out 150,000 barrels a day of raw oil or more.

This statement brings together all DougR’s suppositions. I’m not sure if he is actually that frightened himself or if he just enjoys scaring others, but his conclusions come pretty close to fear mongering.

Besides painting a picture of a completely out of control blowout (which is a true worst case), in his “very least damaging outcome” he pretty much doubles the amount of maximum flow that this well could produce according to analysis that has been presented on TOD by well experts.


If BP and the USG were more inclined to transparency a lot of this aggravation could be avoided. You will never convince the conspiracy theorists, it is a life style they enjoy. But the MSM would not be quite as far out there if they were presented factual information, even if they couldn’t understand it.

Just doing a quick review of this long post I came up with this list of questions BP or the USG could answer that would indicate some transparency.

Have you found any seabed leaks of oil and gas?

Do you believe there are any leaks from the well into other formations?

If so, what formations are most likely?

Has the inclination of the BOP changed?

If so, by how much?

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

Are you concerned about the structural integrity of the BOP?

Are you concerned about the structural integrity of the wellhead?

Are you concerned about the structural integrity of the LMRP?

Are you concerned about the structural integrity of the casing?

Describe the formation levels.

What are the current pressure readings inside the BOP?

What are the historical pressure readings inside the BOP?

Have the ROVs done any excavation at the base of the BOP?

Is there any indication of seabed movement at the base of the BOP?

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

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

I could go on for pages. I understand that BP has legal reasons why they won’t comment on the flow rates or what happened to cause the blowout. But there are reams of information that they could be providing the public.

A similar list of questions was sent to BP by Rep. Markey at the Energy and Commerce Committee of the US House of Representatives on 23rd June.

Their answers are due July 2.

I would like to ask them did you measure the output of that well when you had the cap off yesterday.

SB, I have great respect for your contributions here. And with that in mind, I would wager a similar thesis could have been put forth on April 19th why none of BP's drilling shortcuts could lead to a well blowout. Or, even if impossibly there was a blowout, it could only maximally amount to x,000 bpd at most, which is well under the skimming capacity (400,000? bpd) available for cleanup as sworn to by BP on their application to drill. And no threat to land.

So Dougr just might be fear mongering or ... he might not.

That said, I don't believe the well casing is leaking either. At least not near the the BOP. Maybe 5 or 10k feet down and maybe traveling laterally along a fracture somehow and leaking some distance away but not up near the BOP.

"Have you found any seabed leaks of oil and gas?"

--At a press briefing maybe around a week ago, Adm. Allen said unequivocally that there were no leaks in the seabed around the wellhead, so on that point they have given an answer.

Shelburn, thanks for this very clear and logical presentation, which we know cost you a lot of effort. I just wish all the blatherers on cable news would read it.

Have you found any seabed leaks of oil and gas?

E: 1202672.45
N: 10432446.04

If this is in reference to some of the "seabed oil leak' videos.

I spent half my professional life looking at a lot of ROV videos. I have looked at many that have been posted here. None of them show oil leaking.

Most are thruster wash from either the ROV taking the video or another ROV, a few showed some mud emanating from a disturbed portion of the seabed, most likely a pipe or hose that is part of the recovery equipment that has sunk in the mud and may be vibrating or possibly debris from the sinking of the rig.

Oil and gas have a distinctive way of rising as you can see from the LMRP cap. They come out of the bottom and go straight up unless there is a strong current.

Please see this post:

Please note the coordinates in the pictures and the objects in the area. Please remember that Viking Poseidon #2 drops the first digit of the UTM coordinates (it's always a '1'), and that Viking Poseidon #1 does not. N:0433495/E:203416 reading from VP#2 is the same location as N:10433495/E:1203416 reading from VP#1.

Now that's taken care of, will you please stop posting crap that's provably not true?

Heroic effort for the side of truth

Great post, Shelburn! I think one reason that people freak easily is that nobody that isn't in the awl bidness understands the scale of what is happening down there.

This isn't helped by the fact that nobody can produce a readable to-scale drawing of the well and fit it on a single page. So everything looks more 'fragile' than it really is.

Somebody over on drillingproboards made a comment that if you made the borehole 4" wide like people do in whiteboard drawings, that depicting it propertly would take a roll of paper almost 700 feet long.

Accepting all that you say as true, it remains hard to figure out, for example, why the riser was cut at the top of the BOP (w/ shear on June 3) rather than just being cut clean as far out as possible (near the end where the insertion tube had been put in) and a series of acts to plug and hydraulically crimp (think very dull shear) a distance of the riser pipe at the end of the plug material (so that the pressure of the escaping oil and gas would force the plug material against the crimped section) was not first tried. The riser pipe was not leaking where it was bent just above the BOP. Had its end been closed off, by your argument the well would have been successfully closed off. No more oil into the water.

The argument that has been circulated for cutting off the riser pipe and trying to capture the flow with the loosely fitting cap has been that any attempt to close off the well head (as proper function of the BOP would have done) would only lead to uncontrolled release from outside the well bore due to damage to the well structure.

One can't have it both ways. Either the well and wellhead is integral, and reasonable and serious efforts should have first been made to close it off, or the well structure is substantially damaged and there is some argument for the LMRP cap approach (and collection approaches in general) -- and the damage should be described and revealed and serious thought and resources given to ways to build a structure enclosing the well into the structure of the crust of the earth, or implode it with non-nuclear explosives, etc. because the bottom kill efforts are not at all certain to succeed in a damaged well structure. (Depending, of course, on the nature and extent of the damage. But it is irresponsible to make a policy of hope for relief wells working for bottom kill if there is substantial structural damage.)

Shelburn, Thanks for the time and energy to debunk the BS. I have had a short tour course in DW drilling and construction over the last few weeks here at TOD. It's difficult for the amateur to understand when they are given the truth but conspiracy puts a twist on this event that makes it unmanagable. I don't think the media would be accepting of the truth. My case in point is watching 6-12 ROV feeds at once will cause a person to halucinate. Mix in a little conspiracy and there goes the lab. Without the conspiracy this would get very boring and become the mundane everyday job. If there is no chaos or death the media will have no purpose for the info.

I have watched the quality of TOD decline (increase in number of totally uninformed) since I first posted and it's difficult sometimes figuring out who is on the backside of the posts. For the most part it's easier to know who are the pros and it's refreshing to see a post that hopefully takes the gas out of the BS. If nothing else it relieves my level of frustration.

The twist to all this is when we (the general public) get information from the pros that's bogus or lacks credibility i.e. BPs junior engineer commenting on the cement job and states he expected the casing to hang straight in the hole. Comments such as this from BP or any other person of authority in this incident derails any credible comment or statement that may seem the least bit vague or misleading. Anyone who's ever set a fence post in a crooked hole knows what happens to the cement.

I have crooked fence poles - so no problem.

check out the RV Endeavor (mapping the oil plumes) it's just about completed a perfect circle around the Deepwater site (at about a 5 mile radius)

live track

screen shot

Wow, what's with the reduced flow of oil out the bottom of the top cap? Is it leaking out somewhere else?

They may have opened a vent, but as far as I know, no one reported seeing that. I'm puzzled because it seems there is danger of water intruding with oil/gas only coming out a fraction of the diameter.

Rapid response:
I am a retired Oilwell drilling and production engineer.
Regarding an oil spill of the magnitude of the current Deep Well Blowout in the Gulf I would like someone to discuss response readiness and current regulations. I am specifically interested in the legal responsibility of the Oil Company/Operator of the drilling of an exploratory well under license from the authority whether such authority be State or federal or both. The subject is specifically their response readiness . What is there declared and approved preparedness and readiness to drill a relief well should they lose control at the well head as in this case.
While the well is blowing they have been drilling two potential relief wells and according to the Globe and Mail, Toronto of Saturday they are 60 metres from their target with one of them and well ahead of schedule thankfully.
In Canada, where I live, there is currently an exploratory well in 7000 ft of water being drilled by the operator Chevron off Newfoundland.They have declared their readiness is that they have two floating semi submersible drilling rigs rigs on call from the Gulf Coast . Once called one or both would be two weeks sailing time away from the location, WEATHER PERMITTING!
For the Gulf well the authorities insisted they drill two relief wells, not one. Why? Is this like trying to close the barn door much too long after the horse has escaped.
Why don’t we demand a pilot relief well be drilled to a designed depth and would be cased and cemented prior to starting the licensed exploratory well .This relief well could be set up with a Blow Out Preventer and simply ready for riser hook up and bit reentry for deepening should it be needed.
If not needed as a relief well then this second well could be completed like the first. Thus is would be an economic bonus producing from the same oil/gas bearing formation formation as the discovery well.

As a disclaimer I don't put any stock in HuffPo or similar sources, but there's a piece of this article I'd like to hear more about. A level-headed response, which is why I'm asking here at TOD.
FTA: "Upon using a GPS and depth finder system, experts have discovered a large gas bubble, 15 to 20 miles wide and tens of feet high, under the ocean floor." It further states, "Some speculate that the pressure of the methane at the base of the well head, deep under the ocean floor, may be as high as 100,000 psi..."

Where can I find proof of that bubble's existence? And 100k psi? Who here would speculate that? Why or why not?

As always, thanks in advance.

EDIT: FTA: "Evidence of fissures opening up on the seabed have been captured by the robotic midget submarines working to repair and contain the ruptured well."
Robotic midget submarines! :D Reminds me of Dr. Theopolis from Buck Rogers.

There's quite a bit of that post to pick at, but this, upon which the impending doom thesis rests, "Evidence of fissures opening up on the seabed have been captured by the robotic midget submarines working to repair and contain the ruptured well" is bunk. Untrue. Thad Allen shot that down unequivocally. But forget what Thad Allen says. Go to and look at question 17 and the answer to it. The answer's coming from Dr. Samantha Joye, Professor of Marine Sciences. Just returned from an expedition on a research vessel. Elsewhere on this page you'll find a comment by a smart and experienced TOD member "shelburne" who's in total concurrence after looking at the video "proof". Find his relevant post and check out his experience.

"Ruptured well". I have an idea about how to fix this. A giant truss. Comfy, can you illustrate?

Joye's response was very brief:

"(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."

A follow up might be how close to the riser pipe did Pelican travel?

Hundreds of millions of dollars per year from the oil industry find their way via political direction to marine research institutions. I am not suggesting that the scientists are compromising their research but given a difficult issue I could envision a response that would be tilted.

I note that Joye makes extensive reference to the Unified Command site as a primary source for infomration (that would be the 5,000 bbl/day crowd) and that the Pelican research mission was funded by the administration.

A case in point might be the dispersant working group made up of scientists who determined that they were safe to use, contradicting/compromising earlier statements by those same scientists. Just visit Nalco's website and see how the researchers lined up in support of Corexit.

I would venture that it was close enough for her to be willing and able to make that statement. But you're free to detect some deception there if it pleases you.

Anytime you want you can look at the various feeds and see there's no oil escaping around the base of the BOP - unless you think that that stuff's all faked.

Deception, why would anyone think there has been any deception? We have clearly been receiving the straight goods from the beginning.

This is one of my favorite set of quotations, not from Mandy but from Nancy Kinner (dispersant guru):

May 5, 2010
"In spite of the pressing questions identified by the N.R.C. reports, dispersants have been the subject of few peer-reviewed studies"

June 4, 2010
"“It is the consensus of the group that up to this point, use of dispersants and the effects of dispersing oil into the water column has generally been less environmentally harmful than allowing the oil to migrate on the surface into the sensitive wetlands and near shore coastal habitats,”

The words compromise, research funding and politics come to mind. (a cynic might use more pejorative expressions such as weasel words, pragmatism and wiggle room)

full context at these links

Where can I find proof of that bubble's existence? And 100k psi? Who here would speculate that? Why or why not?

You can't find proof of either, because they are pure fantasy for reasons covered here many times before.

Thanks. The amount of misinformation around this event is disheartening.

At least some is disinformation. BP hasn't been forthcoming and the feds haven't been forthcoming, which leaves the door wide open for posters with an agenda.

and what pray tell is your agenda other than ad hominem dismissal of perspectives that you find to be objectionable?

Here's a look at what the fantasy could look like:

The article is very confused. It seems to go back and forth between a bubble which may be lurking underwater and a bubble underground. I believe that such a "bubble" underground might be considered a natural gas reservoir, but I'll leave that to others, not being a geologist myself.

If there is supposed to be a bubble lurking underwater, it is doing that against all the laws of thermodynamics. I'm working up a post that may be relevant; it's amazing how many people don't understand that stuff mixes. Or that bubbles are buoyant.

This is a small point, but benzene is not a gas. He gives one hydrogen sulfide measurement. If the pressure of the methane at the base of the well head is 100,000 psi and "far too much for current technology to contain," then what is in fact happening with the BOP and the relief wells? The author seems to think that pressure does not transmit in all directions.

I distrust anyone who's got this much wrong. And I think there's other stuff wrong too, like the magical loss of buoyancy for ships within five miles of the bubble. I particularly like the vapor explosion that comes when the methane leaves its hot and secret cavern, allowing seawater to rush in.

In short, this guy doesn't know what he's talking about. And HuffPo editors should be ashamed.

The flow numbers topside are (mostly)back up, "7,215 barrels of oil were collected and approximately 4,040 barrels of oil and 27.2 million cubic feet of natural gas were flared.",

but the Skandi ROV2 seems to be showing something new.

There is now a ~copper colored 'inverted guttering', that seems to be on the cap, as a secondary capture system, and the now reduced plume is going behind that. ( onto who knows where..? )

Does anyone know what that new addition really is ?

There are reports of having capture capability over 50,000bpd within a few days - is this part of that?

Enterprise – ROV 2 (the other side of the cap?) seems to have very low spill rates, so low some have worried about seawater ingress ?

I think you are seeing the roof of the ROV.

National Hurricane Center now show >50% change of tropical depression formation south of Cuba

Hello all! I am really learning a lot from you folks esp Rockman. Gotta say the only GOM rig contact I have was back in the day, making sure my destroyer didn’t hit any of ‘em!(lol). Seriously, up here in Canada, our hearts are going out to everyone affected down there. Screw the Soccer - DWH is all anyone in my town talks about & we’re 800 Km from the nearest salt water. These days I teach high school geography. About a month ago and on their own initiative, the students started a fund raiser to help with the clean up. I don’t know the exact amount, but it’s over 4 digits. After school’s out next week, about 15 senior student grads are driving down to GOM to physically help out. For what its worth, I thought you’d like to know.

These days I teach high school geography. About a month ago and on their own initiative, the students started a fund raiser to help with the clean up. I don’t know the exact amount, but it’s over 4 digits. After school’s out next week, about 15 senior student grads are driving down to GOM to physically help out. For what its worth, I thought you’d like to know.

That's amazing, Hughie. Bless their hearts, and yours.

Hughie: Keep us posted. We have a lot of members from the effected areas and you give them a sense of what a descent community is all about. I hope you have read retiredL's posting above. Some people are really hurt beyond common imagination. Something important is dying. Thank you.

We in Louisiana appreciate it, I just hope that your students learn something that they can use later in life from this bureacracy that they will find when they get here. It seems as if the federal government is trying to slow down the efforts even more than BP.

Mix government bureaucracy with Big oil bureaucracy and you certainly have a big problem getting anything done.

Skandi ROV1 just had a good amount of swirling 'smoke' from the bottom, but it seems to settle down quickly.
Is that venting gas, which then absorbs into the water (rather like steam into air )

Texas A&M University oceanography professor John Kessler, just back from a 10-day research expedition near the BP Plc oil spill in the gulf, says methane gas levels in some areas are "astonishingly high."

Kessler's crew took measurements of both surface and deep water within a 5-mile (8 kilometer) radius of BP's broken wellhead.

"There is an incredible amount of methane in there," Kessler told reporters in a telephone briefing.

In some areas, the crew of 12 scientists found concentrations that were 100,000 times higher than normal.

"We saw them approach a million times above background concentrations" in some areas, Kessler said.

"In some areas,....that were 100,000 time higher than normal."

Could this not be the result of Corexit, causing both methane levels to rise and O2 levels to fall as dispearsed oil is slowly consumed by bacteria?

I'm surprised in the I gotta see for myself attitude or is it just pissin' away grant money? Kessler and crew went looking for methane and found it so what do they want a cookie? So please accept my half***ed apology. I think it's about time someone started counting the dollars spent on redundancy. Is there anyone here other than Reservegurlzrule2 who thinks the GoM isn't highly polluted, especially near the blowout? I think the millions could be better spent on the cleanup.

I had read an earlier comment where a TOD member took issue with stories and information I brought up about fraudulent BOP testing, it's dubious past and it's present. Well I can no longer find the comment, so if anyone posted something like that and you have questions just ask!

Now there was much more to what I said and we can go deeper into that too.

that would be me ......

i don't have any questions....i understand what it takes to make a drill bit go south ....but I have worked exclusively as a drilling/completions engineer in DW all my life.....well 13+ yrs and counting.....I have yet to see/hear about an actual BOP test run the way in a DW environment the way you put it ...where the pressure curve is already plotted out before the rep shows up ...gets the coman to sign off and that's it .....wouldn't happen on my rig but I have not heard of such a thing in DW ops anywhere ....

small 750 HP land rigs running infill drilling programs in a huff and puff mode in certain old plays.....yes I have heard of a few tricks with BOP tests but even then nothing close to what you were I might be wrong here but I don't think I am...

Well if you re-read my old post you would see that I said that in deepwater fraudulent BOP testing is not the norm although it does happen.

My main point was that BP's new BOP testing system was not a short cut or "hurry up" system, it actually gave the process less chance of any funny business.

My anecdotal story was from a land rig, as I said it was. I don't know what you read, but I said that the third party BOP tester had his bop test pressure charts already made when he showed up. I didn't say anything about a "pressure curve" being "plotted" because this is a round chart, on a chart recorder device.

Now as far as land and inland water drilling rigs, most of those rigs in the not too distant past had poor to little proper testing of BOP's.

The OCS shelf still has a high rate of "boiler housing", but the deepwater has very little and the BP Horizon had NONE due to the new system they came up with.

Ali, ask yourself this question. Do you or your counterpart sit on the cement unit 100 percent of the time while BOP testing is being performed? Do you or your countepart monitor the rig floor to make certain that each component that's supposed to be tested, is actually tested? If the answer is no, as it is on most rigs then how do you really know what going on?

Bad weather brewing in the Caribbean. Red level for development of cyclone system, still disorganized and tentative but 60% chance of probability of a tropical cyclone in 48 hours. Roll over the hatched circle area for a word bulletin of the most recent data.

I also like to watch this NOAA site for a rolling 7 hr. overview visual of Gulf/Caribbean weather.

IF - big IF - it heads across the Yucatan it could fizzle out even if it makes TS status and not bother the clean up efforts.

Here hoping

All track projections run into the Yucatan. There has been a trend westward over the last few days. Projections seem to aim it more at Mexico/Texas side.


Track forecast from Europe here is for a curve east:

Do note the guy doing the forecasts is controversial and pugnacious, but he did call it right this past winter.

BP's Admiral continues his negligence by allowing BP to force clean up and other workers to NOT wear masks. This is the same thing that the EPA did in NYC at the WTC clean up. As a result, helpers, police, firemen, and other resuce workers have died. Many are sick.
Watch this video of a New Orleans, fisherwomen (whose family has been in fishing forever) and what BP is forcing on people. BP's Admrial stands by and allows these people to be poisoned. (It is the workers fault for taking the job, but they are desparate for money.)