BP's Deepwater Oil Spill - Storm Threat, Current Production, and Other News - and Open Thread 2

This thread is being closed. Please comment on http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6664.

The storm moving through the Gulf of Mexico is becoming more of a concern. It was upgraded to a tropical depression late Friday afternoon, and there is a possibility of a second storm forming out further east. Chuck Watson is providing updates on the storm on his post below. Under the fold I talk about the latest on the storm and the latest on the cap redeployment and capture.

Admiral Allen has indicated that evacuation decisions are based on predictions of when gale force winds, of about 40 knots, might hit. The federal on-scene co-ordinator makes a decision about five days, or 120 hours before gale force winds are expected to hit. The five day cone of the storm center gives a rough idea as to where this might be. Chuck Watson will be providing a map later today giving a 40 knot "cone" forecast, which is really the area of concern. I have put a red square roughly where the Deepwater Horizon site is, as a point of reference.

The actual time it is expected to take to disconnect different kinds of equipment varies. According to Admiral Allen, the time needed to "secure and evade, including 24 hours for transit" is 114 hours for the Discoverer Enterprise and 54 hours for the Q4000. With both of the ships removed, the oil and gas being emitted (estimated at 35,000 to 60,000 barrels a day) would flow directly into the Gulf of Mexico, without any containment.

Work on relief wells would need to be discontinued, pushing back the date of completion. Since taking down, evacuating, return transit, and setting back up takes several days minimum, and forecasting isn't very good several days in advance, there may be several interruptions this summer for storms, or possibilities of storms, some of which are false alarms. Each evacuation will delay the relief well effort, and lead to more oil being spilled, which is not captured by ships.

Other Briefing News

Also in the briefing, the Admiral explained the location of the initial well and the relief well (RW) (one relative to the other) in a little more detail. Now that the initial location of the well has been established, the RW is drilling back downwards. But every so often it will stop and:

This is where they withdraw the drill pipe and put down an electrical cable into the end of the wellbore, and they put out an electrical signal, and they actually could pick up the magnetic field around the wellbore. This tells them how close they are getting.

They have made contact with this electromagnetic field. What they will do is continue to drill down in short intervals, withdraw the pipe, put that sensing device down, and slowly close on the wellbore to the point where they're ready to do the intercept drilling.

This last part takes some time, because they only do several hundred feet at a time, withdraw the drill pipe, and then put the sensor down to figure out how close they're coming. After a series of these readings, they can have a very precise idea of how close they are to the wellbore and then how to actually turn the drill in and make the intercept. But then we'll get much slower, because they have to basically drill, withdraw the drill pipe and put the sensor down.

They also have a vessel standing by that's full of mud on the top, in the event they get really close, they could potentially knick the wellbore they could actually put mud down to control any hydrocarbons that might come out.

Regarding the longer-term containment, we should by next week have the additional vessel in place to start producing off of the kill line. That's the other line that's available to bring oil to the surface. That will bring us the three production vessels and the 53,000-barrel capacity we were looking for by the end of June.

In the change to a new cap that is planned for next week, there are three different designs that are being considered for installation. The ROVs are currently hooking up the hoses to the new distribution system that will ultimately feed four risers.

Recovery Operation

The recovery operation has returned to collecting about 24 kbd:

• For the first 12 hours on June 25 (midnight to noon), approximately 7,870 barrels of oil were collected and approximately 4,230 barrels of oil and 27.5 million cubic feet of natural gas were flared.

• On June 24, total oil recovered was approx. 23,725 barrels:

• approx. 15,785 barrels of oil were collected,
• approx. 7,940 barrels of oil were flared,
• and approx. 54.7 million cubic feet of natural gas were flared.

Effect of Cap Replacement

A couple of days ago, the cap was off, and put back on. When the view from the cameras is examined, the pictures are a little different from earlier. The camera on the Enterprise ROV2, for example at 9:50 pm on June 24 is showing no oil leaking from under the cap.

View of the cap 9:50 pm June 24, showing no leak on the Enterprise ROV side of the cap.

In contrast there is still some volume leaking on the Skandi ROV2 side of the cap – but the body of the cap can be clearly seen, suggesting that the draw-off of the oil and gas is reaching the totality of the flow.

View of the cap and leak from the opposite side (Skandi ROV2) where the body of the cap can be clearly be seen, suggesting that almost all of the flow is now being captured, since the oil and gas leaking out are much reduced in flow.

However both these views do not show what is happening at the top of the cap, where the vents are that allow oil and gas to escape from the top of the cap. But this suggests that the well flow is coming more under control, and that as the four new riser pipes are put into place, and more flow is extracted through the choke and kill lines, that the leak into the Gulf can be reduced to almost zero, which will then happen as the new cap is put into place next week (assuming no hurricane interruption).

I need the link to the RW diagrams. I have a friend (retired petroleum engineer) that is interested.

Hank, not sure, but this is the only one I've seen:


did you see my post giving two reference links below?


On the last thread, bmaz asked: "Lotus, is that you - my old friend from Folo? If so, Marcy and I have missed you."

HEY, dear ol' bmaz! Yep, the very one. What tipped you off, the Pogo sensibility? I've been quietly savoring your contributions here and ask you to please pass along my greetings to Marcy.


"So what happened to me? Well, the truth is, addictiveness runs in my family, I’m our test case on blogging, and it proved a bad one: sucked all my time and attention right up and became impervious to my attempts at self-regulation. So tomorrow after Sunday Dinnah, I’ll be going cold turkey."

My expert diagnosis is that you traded one for another. Thank goodness.

My expert diagnosis is that you traded one for another

I fear so, mon. (But here I don't have to be the poster and can sit back and drink in all the brilliant company wot knows stuff I don't! Ahhhhh.)

P.S. Thanks for the Chopin.

Sorry to butt in, but I couldn't resist the Pogo reference.

So I'd like to ask the question: "What if the hippopotamese don't like graham crackies??!!". Probably only Walt knows.

valverx: Very swampistic of you to butt in. Everyone "butts in" in the Swamp. Including me.

Besides, who wouldn't like graham crackies?!

lotus and all: When I posted "Thanks for the relief after yesterday's scorched earth bizzaro fugue. We in dire need." here's what I meant to post first: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CzRQyt0aTHA

And then, the second, less politically correct, youtube.

I think my Prof. Goose comment would make a little more sense if I had the youtubes right.

[Edited for clarity and other stuff.]

Speaking of butting in, I was always fond of Fido the Dancing Goat (no young'uns, that's not a Conan O'brien character). Heard a rumor that he's retired somewhere in the Caribbean.

Outstanding!! We really have missed you, good to see things look well for you. By the bye, I think Skilling and related honest services cases decided the other day provide some interesting implications for Scruggs and son. Still think Dicky's goose will remain cooked though; just not enough headway to make there (not to mention the matter and nature of his guilty plea). Will relate your greetings to Marcy, please visit us at Emptywheel every now and then.

please visit us at Emptywheel every now and then

Oh, I do -- quietly. Have to admit, what's happening to my Gulf has completely commandeered all my focus these last couple of months, so I've been derelict on other developments (well, couldn't ignore McChrystal's self-immolation for a day or two there). I really should snap to it on the honest-services stories at least. We'll see what they mean for Dickie . . . I'm still mad they didn't nail Ed Peters and P.L. Blake though, dammit.

Maybe Tom will get around to that book someday.


Yep, I am rather sick about what is going on down in your home area as well. And I don't see anything good coming of it anytime soon either unfortunately. Very depressing.

via aliilaali
Drilling titles:

Drilling super on a job I was on used to say, when he saw 'em pull up in a brand new shiny pickup, that's when he knew he had them.

Drilling Fluids Technician, formally Mud engineer. Gets blame for any down hole problems, mostly since usually no one else on site understands mud flow properties so makes an easy target. I know because I was one.

thanks for this

Carried over from thread 1.

kalliergo on June 26, 2010 - 3:14pm: "I haven't heard any convincing reasons why the well couldn't be killed by injecting depleted uranium BB's through the choke and kill lines, but I wouldn't expect anyone to even try to formulate an argument against the idea if I hadn't presented a reasonably-conceived and organized proposal."

You are too intelligent to suggest another "Top Kill" approach due to the suspect integrity of the BOP and first 1,000 or so feet of the hole. I wish it were within my ability to present a detailed proposal. The best I can offer up is a layman's observation that appears to remain valid.

"If you think a big boom is the answer, you should either suggest a way to do it or consult with experts who can create a proposal. There's no reason to argue *against* something when no argument *for* it is presented."

I take exception to your characterization, I never suggested "a big boom is the answer." If you really believe millions of gallons of oil gushing out of a man-made hole doesn't present an argument for at least a serious analysis, then I don't know what planet you must be living on.

The observation stands.

kal and gf: Y'all gots no imagination, man. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ueuauKKjPZI

As the extreme skiers around here say, "Go Big or Go Home!"

You're a born sh*t disturber. Musta been a hoot on the bench.

kal: Sigh, you know, there's so much sh*t to disturb and so little time to do it.

Carried over from thread 1.
snakehead on June 26, 2010 - 4:14pm:

My backup plan to RW1 would be RW2. My backup plan to RW2 would be RW3. Yes, I'd rather take the chance that the flow will continue longer than blow any hope of containment away forever if Plan A doesn't work.

You are making the unsubstantiated assumption a controlled detonation would "blow any hope of containment..."

As to it not being your place, I'm aware that neither of us can actually engineer one. But a solution that's proposed without consideration of possible consequences and then leapfrogged over stuff that's been shown to work? No, thanks.

I know it may seem like leapfrogging, but I'm certainly not suggesting any lack of serious consideration. Just the reverse, controlled detonation needs to be studied and let the facts fall where they may. Rule it out, rule it in but don't ignore it or allow personal bias to cloud your reason. That's all I'm suggesting.

Observation still standing...

Where you got the notion that my position is that it should never ever be considered is beyond me.

However, am I considering the possibility that a "controlled detonation" could blow any hope of containment? Yes. I am.

I'm also taking into account that no matter how carefully assessed, planned and executed, a fat tail event could occur, and it if did the results could be far worse than trying RW2 or RW3 first.

Last ditch, as far I'm concerned.

snakehead, you asked:
"Where you got the notion that my position is that it should never ever be considered is beyond me.(?)"

You wrote: "But a solution that's proposed without
consideration of possible consequences..."

Is what I responded to... I certainly think consideration of all possible consequences is necessary. I'm just not the person who can do it.

Observation unscathed.

What kalliergo and oilfield brat said. I'm out.

One more reply: In my discussion with you, I was considering conventional explosives. Make it a nuke and the potential consequences could be exponentially even worse. The Russians shut down four of five gas wells using nukes. One failed. These were on dry land. How'd you like radioactive oil and methane escaping? Think RW2 and RW3 might be a better idea? I do.

Ok, now I'm really out.

You are making the unsubstantiated assumption a controlled detonation would "blow any hope of containment..."

You might want to at least consider the past expereince with actual underground nuclear explosions. (Wikipedia isn't always totally reliable but they do provide references to follow.) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Underground_nuclear_testing

To quote from the wiki discription of the results of an underground nuke:

"...Although not observed in every explosion, four distinct zones (including the melt cavity) have been described in the surrounding rock. The crushed zone, about two times the radius of the cavity, consists of rock that has lost all of its former integrity. The cracked zone, about three times the cavity radius, consists of rock with radial and concentric fissures. Finally, the zone of irreversible strain consists of rock deformed by the pressure...(snip)....Several minutes to days later, once the heat dissipates enough, the steam condenses, and the pressure in the cavity has fallen below the level needed to support the overburden, the rock above the void falls into the cavity, creating a rubble chimney. Depending on various factors, including the yield and characteristics of the burial, this collapse may extend to the surface...."

"Crushed zone"..."rock that has lost all its former integrety"..."radial and concentric fissures"...and "rubble zones"...doesn't sound like a great way to seal things up. Instead it sounds like a classic lost circulation zone, which is the last thing we need here.

Granted, these tests were much shallower than one would do for the DWH well. But that just reinforces what I said on the previous thread. To have any chance of success a nuclear explosion would need to be placed very deep. That means drilling something very similar to the relief wells which we are already doing. But relief wells are proven to work, and the potential downside of RW's is way less than bombs.

Also you need to explain where you are going to get the bomb? To my knowledge neither Schlumberger or Halliburton include nuclear bombs in their downhole services catalog. You'll need one small enough to fit down a borehole. It needs to reliable under the temperature and pressure down hole (a premature detonation would not be a good thing). It needs to be powerfull enough to do the job but not so powerfull as to blow a crater in the sea floor. I'm sure Los Alamos could design, build, and test one and have it ready in say...a couple of years or so?

Dude, you need to do a serious reality check, IMHO.

Sorry, I should have posted this first as this was my original post that started this tread...

greenfloyd wrote:
I have yet to see any salient, verifiable fact that mitigates against using a limited, highly controlled detonation to close-in this well and stop the gusher. The only argument I've seen that makes sense, albeit self-serving to BP, is that it would close the well to production. I'd hate us to be in a postion, at any point, and realize this all could have been stopped weeks ago.

If you show me a plan that implodes, rather than explodes the well, I'm all ears. Plugging the well through a kill process plugs the sippy straw, and preserves formation structural integrity. I can't see how an explosion can increase control of the situation, as crappy as the situation is.

OK. Last comment on this, for the moment.

"I never suggested 'a big boom is the answer.'"

Well, at the least, you seem quite interested in the possibility.

"If you really believe millions of gallons of oil gushing out of a man-made hole doesn't present an argument for at least a serious analysis, then I don't know what planet you must be living on."

GF, I can barely begin to tell you how that f*cking gusher angers and hurts me. I would happily consider any rational option to stop it. That definitely includes the use of explosives.

I think that option *has* been analyzed here, repeatedly over the past few weeks, and has mostly been rejected. It has been rejected for a number of reasons, but primarily because trying and failing could very easily leave us with a much worse situation and fewer choices in dealing with it. That has been pointed out to you, more than once, in this thread.

Please search recent threads for earlier discussions of this issue. If you find reasons to reconsider shutting in the well with explosives, tell us what they are. Otherwise, I don't think serious people are going to take the idea seriously. At least not until multiple RW attempts fail conclusively.

kalliergo on June 26, 2010 - 6:01pm:
I think that option *has* been analyzed here, repeatedly over the past few weeks, and has mostly been rejected. It has been rejected for a number of reasons, but primarily because trying and failing could very easily leave us with a much worse situation and fewer choices in dealing with it. That has been pointed out to you, more than once, in this thread.

Then your primary conclusion is illogical. Repeating it does not change it. As far as I can tell we simply do not know if a controlled detonation would or could make the situation worse, or reduce any of our choices. We just don't know. I think we need to know, now!

Please search recent threads for earlier discussions of this issue. If you find reasons to reconsider shutting in the well with explosives, tell us what they are. Otherwise, I don't think serious people are going to take the idea seriously. At least not until multiple RW attempts fail conclusively.

The reason and there is only one reason to suggest a controlled detonation, is clear to the entire world to see. "Plug the damn hole!" as President Obmam said. I've read most of the material on TOD and a lot elsewhere. I'm certainly no expert, but I do consider my self a "serious person" and a relatively well-informed person. Waiting to refute my observation with hard fact until we fail is unacceptable. (As I've pointed out in previous threads on the subject, it would come as no big shock to find out later this idea has or is under intense scrutiny and may already have been rejected on some relavant and major fact. If so I'd like to see that, think we all have a right to know. Or, perhaps it is a viable contingency, right now? I think we have a right to know.)

Observation remains valid.

The observation stands.

Your observation, if I recall correctly, was only that you hadn't seen facts that convinced you a bomb wouldn't work. That's just an irritating way to say, "I haven't done my homework".

Underground, explosives shred steel pipe and fracture rock, creating more leaks. That is why they aren't used to seal an oil well. Is that enough of a salient fact for you?

oilfield brat on June 26, 2010 - 6:06pm: "Your observation, if I recall correctly, was only that you hadn't seen facts that convinced you a bomb wouldn't work. That's just an irritating way to say, "I haven't done my homework".

Save the homework for the geologists with full access to all the geologic information. but, please forgive the irritation of my observation.

Underground, explosives shred steel pipe and fracture rock, creating more leaks. That is why they aren't used to seal an oil well. Is that enough of a salient fact for you?

Respectfully, no. Unless you can swear to being a qualified geologist who has studied, with peers, all the relevant facts before coming to those particular conclusions, in this particular case. This is not just an "oil well" and it's obvious it has caught everybody flat-footed. If it's within tolerance, destroying some pipe or fracturing some rock is irrelevant.

The observation stands.

Again, from before. No oralloy available, was reprocessed into reactor fuel. A device to go down a hole like that would be like the Russian one,long and thin, just like a gun device. You need orally not plutonium for a gun. Your lead times will be crazy, years. 3 devices, 1 to make a dent in Nevada, 1 to use, 1 spare. Reservoir will be empty before you are ready to shut it off. Oh, even if you went bang tomorrow, if it does not shut off 100% the first time you have absolutely no way of plugging any other way as you have WAY too much damage down there. Now, please can we chuck this whole nuke idea in a bin.


notanoilman on June 26, 2010 - 7:03pm
Thank you. No oralloy may, or may not be a limiting factor. At any rate until it's documented and reported that there is just no way to obtain whatever is needed, be it from our own US stockpiles or any other nation or nations, your argument, can not be taken as refuting my original observation.

That does not make you wrong, but as some one else put it, you are putting the cart in front of the horse.

Observation still there.

You're still on this?

Forest, trees.

It's not the best idea. Do you grasp why it isn't? I can't recall what the original idea was. Do you understand why so many TOD members are negative about nuking the GOM as an alternative to RWs? Or not?

Snakehead, can you swear that you are a qualified botanist who has studied, with peers, all the relevant uses of forests and trees in endless loop rhetorical contests?

Tonight? Yes.

you forgot to post "observation" status

You're right.

Observation off.

snakehead: "Do you understand why so many TOD members are negative about nuking the GOM as an alternative to RWs? Or not?"

I did NOT suggest "nuking the GOM" or any interference with the RWs operation.

Do you understand how that kind of phrasing and mis-characterization might be harmful to the truth? You do want the truth, don't you?

I don't wish to irritate any of you any further so I'll make this my last comment in this thread. Unless anyone can refute my original observation:

I have yet to see any sailent, verifiable fact that mitigates against using a limited, highly controlled detonation to close-in this well and stop the gusher. The only argument I've seen that makes sense, albeit self-serving to BP, is that it would close the well to production. I'd hate us to be in a postion, at any point, and realize this all could have been stopped weeks ago.

I guess you don't, then.

Good night.

I think the problem here, greenfloyd, is that you're trying to define "controlled" in a way that isn't explained.

So explain. What do you mean by controlled, and please indicate the type of explosive, and the conditions of the rock before and after the explosion, and how you know it wouldn't result in more oil flow?

is that it would close the well to production
The well, and the relief wells, will never be used for production.

...mitigates against using a limited, highly controlled detonation to close-in this well and stop the gusher
I think that's the point, no one knows, but they do know RW's. I dont work at Los Alamos, and I don't think anyone else here does? so we don't know, without that kind of deep technical knowledge we cant help. sorry.

Now if you had asked why the RW's arent using an under pressure coiled tubing drilling unit which operates at high speed, or the merits of a high speed casing installation method tested in the N.Sea we might have something to talk about.

Ohh, BTW that was a joke.

NOAM, that is one of the more elegant rebuttals I've seen. Sometimes I forget how many of those damn things we blew up.

I am beginning to wonder if the only way to get it into the 'nuke it' crowd that it is a really bad idea is with a number 12 adjusting tool.


Is that a 12 inch crescent wrench? Cause if it is, I would use 15 inch. More leverage. Gets the work done using less energy.

Nice photos. Lots of radial joints.

Any idea what depth the explosions were - ballpark?

Alaska Geo posted this link above:


it's a good article about the underground tests

Floyd. Chu, Hawking, The ghosts of Einstein, Fermi, Teller, Sakharov, Pauling, and Oppenheimer, would probably kick your butt for even suggesting so. We know much. How to make good efficient nukes and keep them at the ready. We know how to kill very efficiently with them. We know crap about nuclear device geology. Yeah the Russians this and the Russians that. If it worked so good, where in the hell are those Russians? You think Putin would give up a chance to save the world? He wouldn't touch nuclear devices short of WW III to save his life. Why? Risk. Call it risk management, gut feeling, common sense or probability and statistics. There is too much unknown. There is risk of losing control of the reservoir, not the well. The downsides would never justify the upside. There is not enough time anyways, especially versus the much greater known of relief wells. That is not me talking that is Chu, Hawking, The ghosts of Einstein, Fermi, Teller, Sakahrov, Pauling, and Oppenheimer. I admit dead men cannot speak, but I'll take asking their replacements. According to what I have seen and heard they did and they said hell no. So unless you are one of those guys I mentioned, give it a rest.

For passingby

I can understand how the ice cream references can get old. Been a running gag for a while. Been a little surprised by how folks have run with it. Certainly not a serious angle for sure. Can't speak for others but I've always resorted to humor to take the edge off of serious situations. The seriousness fills me every morning when I have a chat with one of my gaugers. His nephew was killed in the explosion two weeks after his adult son was killed in an auto accident. He never mentions it and I never ask. But my imagination makes me think I still hear the sorrow in his voice. And I’ve seen enough mutilated hands and feet in the oil patch as well as a crushed lifeless body on a drill floor 30 years ago. So I don’t think I’ll be able to avoid humor at times. Just a basic defensive reaction many of us use as a crutch from time to time.

For some unexplained reason I have the urge to sing “Don’t cry for me, Argentina”. Weird, eh?

Hatch green chiles to me, where I'm from, (lately), is what your Bell Bottom ice cream is to, err. wait, Blue Bell ice cream, is to you.

Rockman, first, all respect to your gauger regarding his nephew and son. It's hard to say anything funny about that.

Second, I'll be the first to admit to sometimes inappropriate, insensitive remarks. I've known some people who's twisted sense of humour could make you laugh in spite of yourself, at the most inappropriate things. If I've learned nothing else from them, (and I've learned plenty else, in all honesty), they taught me that it doesn't hurt to laugh. Except when your sides start hurtin', but even that's more bearable than focusing too much on tragedy, I reckon.

I'm more comfortable with the inappropriately laughing side of me than the dark, dwelling side, by a long shot, from what I've seen of both.

Actually moto I toned it down a good bit compared to what you would hear on a rig. I think it falls into the nature of whistling past the grave yard. The more scary/sad the more we tend to joke about it. As I said a while back after a time you just can’t take feeling bad anymore so you pretend to laugh.

WARNING: VERY DARK HUMOR FOLLOWS. A really horrible example from many years ago: what do you call a floor hand laying in front of the door after his arms and legs have been cut off: Matt. And that was one of the less offensive ones I could think of. The period of morning lasts a week or two. Yes….DWH jokes started circulating not too long after the explosion. Basically just your typical macho BS.

Rockman: On your point about humor: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CzRQyt0aTHA

Was in my local fine grocery yesterday and saw a rare (in Phoenix anyway) half gal tub of Blue Bell Pecan Pralines & Cream. Am now getting fat rapidly in honor of the Oil Drummers (and as we speak I might add).

Rockman :

Reverting to your extensive experience I have a few questions and observations.

What is the anticipated procedure immediately after a Relief Well (RW) penetrates the well bore of a blowing well?


They will have to attempt to kill the well by pumping mud up the blowing well and control flow/shut off returns to the RW mud tanks so as to supply maximum flow rate of mud to kill the blowing well. Would this be right?

Wouldn’t it be wise to hold off penetrating with Relief well 1 (RW1)? Then complete drilling the second relief well (RW 2) and penetrate the well bore approximately simultaneously so as to be able to pump the maximum volume of mud to overcome the contamination of the mud that will occur from the producing oil and gas?

Would they have a pill of LCM handy should they get a drop in pressure indicating possible loss of circulation to a loss of circulation zone ( which they reported they had when drilling earlier ) in either RW1 or RW2 or in RW1 and RW2 simultaneously?

How would they know when would be the right time to pump the Cement Pill?

BP Well 252 A?

There was an interesting question raised in an earlier post. They had drilled an earlier well 252 and cemented and moved off. Was it abandoned? Have you information of the well plan or configuration of it? Was this well used for RW1? I picture them reentering it to save all the top hole time for conductor and two casing strings. If not, why not? Did it encounter loss of circulation in the anticipated producing formation or higher?

Charles -- I hate to speculate right now. Haven’t seen any details so I’m not even sure what they plan to penetrate first. Just pure speculation: they may just try to clip the well bore/casing annulus for info. Is the well flowing up the annulus? Note they plan to cut the well bore above the reservoir. Two extreme possibilities. The reservoir may not be in communication with this section and they won’t see any kick. Maybe even lose a little mud to it. Or it kicks the hell out them because this interval is in direct communication with 11,900 psi. Thus the next step could be 180 degrees from the plan. No pressure and they might want to squeeze it with cmt to make sure it holds as they go forward. If pressured then maybe pump the kill pill. Then trying to predict where they go next adds that many more permutations. They certainly have specific expectations. But if they are as clever as I suspect they’ll be planning to throw those expectations away at any moment.

I wouldn't expect them to pump cmt until the flow is killed. Cmt takes many hours to cure so it has to stay immobile for that time to have any effect

Old military saying: 'no plan withstands contact with the enemy'.


"Plans are worthless, but planning is everything."
-Dwight D. Eisenhower

Thanks. Very inciteful. I never realized they could/would aim for the annulus first to try to get the picture and then proceed depending on what they find; blow? loss of circulation? or who knows?

why 2 wells?
Probably more reasons than I can think of right now but here goes:
1. In case they screw up one.Possibilities: On the way down the first one they could encounter a loss of circulation zone. Then they are cutting/milling through casing ,right? there could be major hazards of sticking the mill etc.Thus they have a "back up".

(Have u info on the first well they have drilled and moved off already - M252 - A? where can we find such info? From their RW diagram I learnt that they did not use it as the RW, but, want to know depth etc and did they have loss of circulation? blow ? stuck pipe?)

2. They can pump the mud twice as fast if and when both wells have penetrated the well bore.
3. If both penetrating one rig can have lighter mud and LCM ready to go . Other rig can have heavier mud and cmt ready to go down.
4.The Gov't of the US said they shall!

could you comment.

Charles - 2 wells: there are dozens of potential causes for the first RW not reaching its target: from a csg string collapsing to something as simple/stupid as a floor hand accidentally dropping a wrench down the hole. Early on we had a spirited debate on TOD re: 2,3 or more RW’s.

I’m not sure they drilled the A well…it might have just been a proposed location. But the blow out well did greatly improve their learning curve as to how to best drill a well in this area. A double penetration: maybe they’re thinking about that but I would be very surprised. They can pump a large volume of mud down one RW. The bigger question right now IMHO is exactly where they need to pump it.

A possible reason for 2 relief wells is that killing the Ixtoc I blowout was first attempted with one well, which had little effect, necessitating a second well. Perhaps someone figured, no reason to wait for failure of the first well before beginning to drill another.


Any idea what the kill mud weight will be? I speculate 13.7 ppg just based on wild well static weight without a riser. Also: the reservoir is perhaps drawn down so when it approaches static, the mud weight will vary a lot? Probably doesn't matter to us but it's nice to watch things unfold with numbers in mind. Sorry if it's already been discussed. Too bad there's no book: relief wells for dummies.

Here is the current NHC forecast track for Alex for anyone interested. The track image above was from this morning. Fortunately, the track has continued to move farther south and west during the day.


motownmutt, the door slammed on the last thread, narrowly missing my reply to you.

Gotcha beat, mtm. My last shampoo was on April 28, 2007, the day I read this Matthew Parris column in ToL:

... In 1996 I wrote a weekly humorous column on these pages. Returning from an expedition where we could hardly wash for weeks, I reported that my hair had become progressively greasier, and then — to my surprise — begun to get less greasy again. I recorded my hunch that it might not be necessary to wash your hair with shampoo, soap or any kind of de-greasant. Pointing out that cats and monkeys never use shampoo yet do not seem to suffer from oily fur, I suggested that if humans, too, stopped stripping our hair of natural oils, our scalps might stop pumping them out. I promised readers I would try this. Maybe they thought I was joking.

Today, after ten years of washing my hair with fresh, warm water alone — ten years during which no kind of de-greasant has touched my scalp — I can report back. Readers, if only you could all run your fingers through my hair: as light and fluffy as a kitten’s coat. And (to answer your unspoken question) not at all smelly — snuffle your noses in it, do — because I rinse my hair daily under the shower. Do you soap up your kneecaps every day? No. Are they oily or smelly? I doubt it. Exposed to light and air, human skin and hair find their own balance, the oil-glands secreting just enough to protect. It is our habit of stripping this viciously from our scalps that panics the glands into overproduction — that is why your first few weeks will be an uncomfortably greasy time. But persist, and you’ll come out the other side with less dandruff than when you were shampooing, and less greasy hair than the second day after you quit.

Think of the money, think of the pollution, our nation could save. No wonder everyone’s going bald. One day I shall be hailed as a lonely prophet of the nonsense of shampoo. ...

Try it. You'll like it. (I never did hit the greasies -- maybe because I'd used only shampoo, not the rest of the "haircare suite," before.)

But, I sweat. I'm barely presentable for an hour or two after I get out of the shower, as it is. (I hate to admit this, in case someone's lookin' for a hired shrill.)

I will note this, tho: I was recently in Georgia, and found the well water there most agreeable. I've been in the desert for the last decade, so still haven't figured a plan of action to deal with this Florida situation. But not shampooing doesn't figure very prominently, so far. Who knows? Things change.

My uncle never shampooed after he was 28. Hair fell out from some medicine and never grew back. Soaped his head though.

Are you photographing your monitor? :^)

So many unknowns. The folks postulating that fluid under pressure might be migrating through fractures... But there are other possibilities and we just don't know. Depending on where and how there might be failures in the casing or other parts of the well, there could be suction rather than penetration. Anyone remember Julius Sumner Miller? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCcZyW-6-5o

Thank you for that great video. That was fun.

Thanks. Two u tubes for my grand kids!! I really enjoyed the refresher too!

From retiredL in previous thread:

Very good points; but also consider that the government's main piece of evidence was known to be unreliable-- altered by the government to reach a conclusion opposite to its original one. So, strike one; the government tampered with the evidence. Strike two, the evidence in its original unaltered form supported the oil workers, not the government; even though the original report (as far as I can tell) was not submitted, the court knew its import. Strike three, the government told its employees to ignore the TRO and keep working, and had to be slapped down.

So, beyond the bare legal bones, you have the judiciary seeing the government in this instance as deliberately untrustworthy and willfully disobedient. Even though they don't put it in the opinions, things like that carry a great deal of weight with judges.

Please excuse the continuing baseball analogy, but you also have to consider the home crowd. The 5th is a moderately conservative bench with its headquarters in an oil state. A number of the more conservative judges did not like President Obama's calling out the judiciary in the state of the union address. Even with the best of intentions, they're going to approach the government's pleadings with a very small chip on their shoulder.

Also, I'm pretty sure one of the thoughts kicking around the judges' heads is, "Why the moratorium? Why don't you just do the inspection jobs the law requires you to do?" Or, in legal terms, a carefully tailored remedy already exists for this problem-- why a moratorium?

If people didn't disagree, a lawyer's life wouldn't be any fun at all.

From my reading of the record, this characterization is not correct. The "government's main piece of evidence" was a study and report done by the 30 day commission (National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling). The report and data are not challenged by the five, for lack of a better term, controverting experts at all. What they objected to was solely the six month moratorium recommended by Salazar in the executive summary to the study and report and the implication that they all unanimously agreed with such a full six month moratorium. Even at that, the experts disagreed in varying degrees and ways from little disagreement at all with the six month moratorium to distinct disagreement. But the study, data and report itself stand unchallenged and is most definitely in the agency record behind the agency decision for moratorium. For the same reason, I believe your "strike two" conclusion is not borne out by the full record either. The government did not "tamper" with any evidence, although it is quite fair to say that Salazar's exec summary was misrepresentative, whether intentional or unintentional; either way that is dispositive of nothing as to the standard of review Feldman was required to apply and follow.

And there is the distinct problem I have with Feldman's opinion. There most certainly was competent evidence in the agency record that could support the agency decision; and that is the relevant standard. Period. Should have been the end of the story; but Feldman took it upon himself to twist his opinion to a state to where it was not the end of the story. I HATE, with a passion, the term "activist judging". Seriously. But, if there is such a thing, I believe Feldman engaged in it.

Your "strike three" notation and conclusion is dead on the money though. Man, you just have to wonder about the government's lawyering skills. Either they suck, or the government really does not have their heart in their own moratorium to the extent they peddle in public. It is one or the other though. Jeebus. As to the other "home town" characteristics you attribute to the judicial crew down there, and especially on this issue, I think you are, quite regrettably, again spot on. I hate built in prejudices like that out of the judiciary in any case, anywhere, any time; but it is simply a fact that exists and we have to live with. The 5th is going to be under a lot of scrutiny here. The perception of Judge Feldman's impartiality is pretty damning. He may not have owned stocks or funds in the direct plaintiff companies, but there is no way to say he did not have a cognizable financial interest in the decision point. And the fact he was actively trading in those interested stocks (Exxon) right up to the morning he issued his decision looks very unsavory. If Feldman's status did not lend the "appearance of impropriety" it would be hard to imagine what short of a direct hand to mouth interest would.

It all adds up to me to be a fun show. I have no idea how it will play out, there are goofy facts and tangential pressures at every turn. It will be a barrel of fun to watch though and I very much appreciate the informed and knowledgeable discussion, whether we agree on everything or not.

Feldman used the State Farm case to construe the reasonably related standard as requiring the agency to consider obvious alternatives, such that if they failed to consider one, their action was per se arbitrary. And here the govt. considered no alternatives, and alternatives were available. That is my reading of his holding. That is how he gets around the evidence that was offered. Sure, they showed one way that was reasonable, but there was no evidence that they considered any of the other ways, so they failed to meet the burden.

If that was a correct reading of the law, he would be on solid enough ground to be affirmed.

But state farm does not apply to these facts for reasons i already noted in prior post.

Secondly, with respect to the report, you say:

"What they objected to was solely the six month moratorium recommended by Salazar in the executive summary to the study and report and the implication that they all unanimously agreed with it. "

Absolutely that is what they objected to. And under the judge's analysis, if there was a viable alternative to the 6 month moratorium, they were required to consider it. A majority of the experts favored a more targeted moratorium as adequate to meet the risk, hence there was an alternative, as there was under existing regs, as noted by the judge.

Finally, the judge did say the deceptive executive summary and the failure to disclose the disagreement called the evidentiary value of the entire report into question, but he never said outright he was rejecting it. He did however blast the attorneys in footnote 10 sufficiently to make it clear they had crossed the line in how the matter was handled...by quite a bit.

I agree completely State Farm is not necessarily on point as applied by Feldman. For that and other more general reasons that flow out of the same argument I have consistently made (annoyingly constantly I would imagine), I do not think there is such a "viable alternative" or "discuss alternatives" requirement in the standard. If wrong, and I have no doubt the 5th may find some way to intimate I am, I will begrudgingly have to admit it. I really don't think I am wrong, but readily admit this case may continue to go the opposite way from my thoughts for a variety of unusual factors. One other thing I have not really addressed (but you and the others have to some extent) is the complete lack of deference Feldman gave to the executive branch in what is clearly an emergency situation. Will also be interesting to see how the 5th handles that aspect (and whether or not the administration even competently argues it). All basically saying I agree with you.

A note on the lawyering. As you know, I am rather suspicious of it here. They are engaging, on the one hand, lawyering that borders on so lame they look like they are punting and do not even want their own moratorium and, on the other hand, are engaging in the slimy trying to win. Curious. And not at all unusual for the DOJ of the past 8-10 years. The DOJ has lost pretty much all the good will and instilled credibility and trust they once had. It is rather depressing. But I watch and engage the DOJ on several different levels both professionally and in my blogging venture, and it is a consistent problem across the board.

I am not saying you are wrong, I am saying that the judge used state farm to introduce the viable alternative requirement into the standard. It is not typically part of the analysis, but there are circumstances when the ignored alternative is so obviously better than what the gov. did that it is arbitrary to select what they might have instead.

More to the point, the judge used that as a device to be able to say insufficient showing despite the evid they did submit because they did not consider the alternatives.

I think it is clear the judge misapplied state farm to read that alternative requirement into these facts, particularly b/c this is an emergency situation. The gov. does not have time to weigh alternatives in an emergency and it should be free to choose the safest alternative it wants. And yes, I did harp on how "unusual" it was for a federal judge not to defer to the executive in responding to a crisis. That's why i think there is some hope the 5th will reverse, and if not them, the S.Ct.

Re the DOJ: Look who was running the place (not even an attorney). It became another way to dispense patronage, sometimes under the guise of justice


This is probably the best analysis of the case I've read anywhere.

So there is not much for me to add. Maybe just an observation that the government thought they would easily uphold their position, possibly on the (unstated?) presumption of public good. I am not sure why Salazar over-hyped the summary conclusions of the report, just as it doesn't make clear sense as to why a judge is trading stocks in various oil companies - even after the case was being considered.

However going back to my earlier conclusion (lost somewhere in the many thousands of posts here), the case will likely be overturned, reconsidered, or another type of moratorium will be put in place.

Maybe attacking the judge's stock holdings isn't such a winning argument, here.

I'd just as soon see the cases weighed on their merits, not political hackery.

In general,
Since there's a lot of lawyers present, and legal discussions afoot, I'll apologize for my comment, that I think was deleted, in case any saw it.

I've been frustrated that the only actions our gov't has seen fit to pursue while this disaster is ongoing have amounted to lawyering up tactics, (dramatic effect, as the person I was replying to put it), while seeming to give actual clean up barely a shake. It pisses me off, but I shouldn't have made a cheap shot joke at lawyer's expense, as I know all to well how expensive they can be.

It is NOT attacking the judge's stock holdings; it is asserting that there is the appearance of conflict because of said holdings and trading and, with all due respect, that is ALWAYS pertinent, here or anywhere else in the justice system. In fact it is central to the judicial canons of ethics mandatory upon this judge and is written directly into controlling Federal statutory law.

Can the decision stand on its merits? Could another decent judge who owned no stock whatsoever have issued basically the same decision?

The decision is unusual in that a judge normally would have deferred to the Dept. of Interior's superior expertise in condidering the moratorium, especially during a cirsis.

In order to take the unusual position he did, the judge applied a case requiring the govt. to condider alternatives. It is a dubious application of the law under these facts.

Most judges would have denied the injunction and let the moratorium stand, but there is wiggle room for outcomes like this if there are unusual facts or an unusually active judge.

Unusual facts and/or unusually active may be the case. The situation is unusual. If his decision was based on personal holdings then he's a prick. If it was based on an unusual application of law in the face of what's happening, then possibly he rose above business-as-usual, Interior Department be damned.

syncro: If the decision is unusual and it appears it is, then I might want to look at several influences beyond the boundaries of the case itself. First, I wonder what the general attitude of the judges in this particular District Court division, the judges Judge Feldman associates with on daily basis, is toward government power. Second, what the division's attitude toward the Dept. of the Interior is. Third, I would like to know if Judge Feldman habitually worries about creeping government power in his decisions. Fourth, I would want to know if he has had difficulties with the Department of the Interior on other cases.

I know one judge locally who considers one agency no less than a Beast of the Apocalypse. He hates this agency so much that he refuses to recuse himself even though he and they know perfectly well that he's prejudice. Lawyers from the agency have to file an peremptory Affidavit of Prejudice each and every time.

I am not, repeat not, accusing Judge Feldman of outright prejudice. But all judges have their conscious or subconscious leanings and patterns.

If anther matter on the oil spill lands in front of him, then these concern would come into play again and I would want to look into them.

EL, I don't know where to come down on Feldman. As i mentioned before, I think he was within bounds, but vulnerable to being slapped down on appeal. He did what he did in a manner that judges have used to do the same sort of thing in the past: he established a credible legal basis for departing from traditional analysis in order to alter the outcome. Yes, he was being an activist judge, but within bounds, i think. He not only had a credible legal basis, but also an acceptable excuse or circumstance for going activist.

I will assume for now that his motivation was to save jobs and avoid further, unnecessary harm to the local economy, and that he genuinely believed the blanket moratorium was extreme and caused harm without reducing risk over what more targeted measures would do. The gov. experts backed him up on that. His "excuse" for engaging in activism would thus fit within acceptable "excuses" or circumstances for the rare indulgence in judicial activism: He was seeking to avoid an injustice to a large number of people resulting from the misguided but well intended actions of the govt.

It's really not his call, of course. Also, the stock thing could change my mind. I don't think we have all the facts on that yet. I don't any way!

"His 'excuse' for engaging in activism would fit within acceptable 'excuses' for indulging the sin of judicial activism: He was seeking to avoid an injustice to a large number of people resulting from the misguided but well intended intentions of the govt."

It wouldn't be acceptable to me, in this case, but... As the real lawyers have repeatedly noted, the government has done a really pathetic job here. Either the people handling this at Interior and Justice are *extraordinarily* bad lawyers, or the administration didn't anticipate being challenged (which would be pretty atrocious lawyering in itself), or they really wanted to leave giant holes in their case.

We shall see how that all plays out.

Regardless of the above, it seem clear to me that bmaz is correct in his assertion that Feldman's failure to recuse himself is in violation of the code of conduct for federal judges. I was going to post the link to the Canons and discussion yesterday, but I figured the real lawyers would get around to it soon enough.

For general reference:


Finally, as EL intimated, even really bad federal judges are nearly bullet-proof, if they are insensitive to censure and bad press. Although, G. Thomas Porteous Jr., Feldman's colleague in the Eastern District of Louisiana, isn't feeling all that bullet-proof, right now... maybe we could consolidate the Senate trials... nah.

okay, well a can of worms, it is, then. What are the President's current holdings related to oil companies? Think Vanguard.

As is usual with presidents, Obama's investments are in a blind trust. He doesn't know whether he owns oil stocks or not.

No, he doesn't. But he sure as hell knows what pollsters, Bernanke and Geithner are telling him.

Sure. That's how it works here.

If one wants to be a successful politician, one must serve one's masters while playing to the masses.

Meet the new boss...

I f'ing *know* you want me to complete that. I also know that there's no need.

You read the posts today from nervousinflorida?

It'll be interesting, in the Chinese sense, to see what a bunch of "civil disobedience" will bring.

(3) A judge should manage investments and other financial interests to minimize the number of cases in which he or she is disqualified. As soon as a judge can do so without serious financial detriment, he or she shall divest himself or herself of investments and other financial interests that might require frequent recusation.

Which is what he done. Now maybe someone could run over and check huffpo and see if the President has similarly divested his investments that might give the appearance of a conflict of interest. I won't wait up.

Since the stocks involved are very liquid, they could have been sold right away. Which they weren't, so there is an apperance of a conflict of interest.

Okay, granted. Was the decision justifiable based on the rule of law?

Your insistence on bringing Obama into this is inapposite. His matters are in a blind trust and there are no inferences, nor evidence, to the contrary. Furthermore, he is not charged with being neutral and impartial in his political position. Comparing that to a federal judge assigned to a case is literally nonsense.

As to Feldman, I am not sure what you are citing but here is the critical statute controlling the situation, and your quote is not even in the relevant ballpark as to the standard:

§ 455. Disqualification of justice, judge, or magistrate judge
How Current is This?
(a) Any justice, judge, or magistrate judge of the United States shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned.
(b) He shall also disqualify himself in the following circumstances:
(1) Where he has a personal bias or prejudice concerning a party, or personal knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts concerning the proceeding;
(2) Where in private practice he served as lawyer in the matter in controversy, or a lawyer with whom he previously practiced law served during such association as a lawyer concerning the matter, or the judge or such lawyer has been a material witness concerning it;
(3) Where he has served in governmental employment and in such capacity participated as counsel, adviser or material witness concerning the proceeding or expressed an opinion concerning the merits of the particular case in controversy;
(4) He knows that he, individually or as a fiduciary, or his spouse or minor child residing in his household, has a financial interest in the subject matter in controversy or in a party to the proceeding, or any other interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding;
(5) He or his spouse, or a person within the third degree of relationship to either of them, or the spouse of such a person:
(i) Is a party to the proceeding, or an officer, director, or trustee of a party;
(ii) Is acting as a lawyer in the proceeding;
(iii) Is known by the judge to have an interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding;
(iv) Is to the judge’s knowledge likely to be a material witness in the proceeding.
(c) A judge should inform himself about his personal and fiduciary financial interests, and make a reasonable effort to inform himself about the personal financial interests of his spouse and minor children residing in his household.
(d) For the purposes of this section the following words or phrases shall have the meaning indicated:
(1) “proceeding” includes pretrial, trial, appellate review, or other stages of litigation;
(2) the degree of relationship is calculated according to the civil law system;
(3) “fiduciary” includes such relationships as executor, administrator, trustee, and guardian;
(4) “financial interest” means ownership of a legal or equitable interest, however small, or a relationship as director, adviser, or other active participant in the affairs of a party, except that:
(i) Ownership in a mutual or common investment fund that holds securities is not a “financial interest” in such securities unless the judge participates in the management of the fund;
(ii) An office in an educational, religious, charitable, fraternal, or civic organization is not a “financial interest” in securities held by the organization;
(iii) The proprietary interest of a policyholder in a mutual insurance company, of a depositor in a mutual savings association, or a similar proprietary interest, is a “financial interest” in the organization only if the outcome of the proceeding could substantially affect the value of the interest;
(iv) Ownership of government securities is a “financial interest” in the issuer only if the outcome of the proceeding could substantially affect the value of the securities.

There is not a chance in hell this does not apply to Feldman; the only question is to what extent the government will pursue this angle and how the 5th Circuit handles it. This is not a career ender for Feldman. Personally I probably would not give him more than a reprimand, but I do have problems with his conduct in not recusing himself; especially in light of the fact he did not disclose on the record either.

bmaz: How do you end a federal judge's career short of congressional impeachment? And a reprimand. Stop or I yell "Stop" again? The old joke: When God has Delusions of Grandeur, He thinks He's a federal judge.

The process involves filing a complaint with the Chief Judge of the circuit. If the Chief Judge finds sufficient cause the matter is referred to a specially formed committee. If that committee agrees there is cause, it is referred to the judicial council for the circuit which then imposes either censure, reprimand, temporary suspension (which actually can be rather long), and/or the transferring of cases on the judge's docket to others on the court; if the circuit judicial conference finds impeachable conduct, the matter is referred to the US Judicial Conference headed by the Chief Justice for determination whether to make such a recommendation to the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee.

So, there are actually quite a few things that can be done punish an offending judge that have at least some teeth short of impeachment. Now the problem is that complaints through this process are almost never acted on at the circuit level, much less further up the chain. So I guess my answer is there is a method; just little hope of it being effective in any given case. And, as I stated above, I would not expect anything to happen to Feldman along those lines here. The only comeuppance he faces, if he faces anything at all, would be reversal on appeal. In the 5th Circuit, even that is probably only even money.

What do you think, RM?

§ 250.442 What are the requirements for a subsea BOP stack?


(e) Before removing the marine riser, you must displace the riser with seawater. You must maintain sufficient hydrostatic pressure or take other suitable precautions to compensate for the reduction in pressure and to maintain a safe and controlled well condition.

With regard to NWH, I would think it would be routine operating practice to keep mud in the riser until after the top plug is poured and cured and pressure tested, and only then displace to seawater. No? Or using heavier mud in the csg?

With regard to the reg above and the other one regarding keeping fluid in the hole sufficient density to overcome formation pressure, has there been any discussion that they should have used heavier mud before displacing the riser?

Have to run out///

syn - My reply to your earlier post:

syn - Going back to the quick calc the MW required to be overbalanced to a 11,900 psi reservoir pressure in a 13,000' hole (remember the riser column is gone) is 17.6 ppg. Thus following those regs not only should BP not have displaced with seawater but should have bumped the MW up from the 14.5 ppg to 17.6 ppg. Now here's the tricky part for BP: maybe they could show plans to do just that. But to get the MW that high would have taken over a 1000 bbls of mud at 17.6 ppg to fill the csg. Common sense would be to displace to the well head with 17.6 ppg, finish setting your plugs and then displace the riser. Displacing with seawater first would not make sense.

But there's an even more critical tech aspect: by running the long string from TD to wellhead there is the annular path that still has the 14.5 ppg mud in it. If you follow what appears to be the letter of the law they were required to replace it with 17.6 ppg mud. The annulus was a potential pathway for fluid to the surface. I've seen nothing to indicated BP cmtd the top end of this annulus. I'm not even sure if it would have been physically possible to replace the annulus mud. Perhaps this was an exception the MMS granted on the long string run. This annular "blind spot" may be the reason most engineers would have gone with a liner instead.

Common sense would be to displace to the well head with 17.6 ppg, finish setting your plugs and then displace the riser. Displacing with seawater first would not make sense.

That sure seems to be what the two applicable reqs would call for on a cursory read.

You would think they would at least do the top plug and let it set up before displacing the riser...unless the top plug does little to help hold pressure. The top of the annulus would have to be sealed too, though?

i guess they were anticipating that the cement alone would hold everything fine and they did not need the mud. But the regs seem to require adequate mud.

"The annulus was a potential pathway for fluid to the surface. I've seen nothing to indicated BP cmtd the top end of this annulus. I'm not even sure if it would have been physically possible to replace the annulus mud. Perhaps this was an exception the MMS granted on the long string run. This annular "blind spot" may be the reason most engineers would have gone with a liner instead."

That's something new. Very interesting.

syn -- they might have sqzd cmt into the top of the csg, They'll sqz the top end of liners that way. I just haven't seen any note that they did cmt the top of the csg annulus. Perhaps that was going to be the last step.

I mentioned it before: after a previous very bad experience I would never leave OBM in a csg string for such a long period of time. But they could have easily displaced with a very heavy (and relatively inexpensive) salt brine in the csg to hold the pressure back.

The regs you site may be the ultimate smoking (and condemning) gun. Especially so if the MMS had changed the regs or gave BP and exception for this well.

Yes, I guess if it turns out to be true, the failure to follow the regs on mud prior to displacing the riser and plugging the well could end up being a smoking gun, but why the heck would they do it then, if it violated the regs and was dangerous? Because of the casing design you suspect?

I can see how it might save some time to displace the riser with sea water early like they did rather than after finishing up with the plugs, etc. Maybe a 1/2 day or so?

[-] [new] ROCKMAN on June 26, 2010 - 11:19am Permalink | Subthread | Parent | Parent subthread | Comments top

squid -- a little help please: I've ben a petroleum geologist for 35 years and have been inolved in the drilling of hundreds of wells. What is a "flap in the well bore"? I've never seen that term before.

BP Cites Broken Disk in 'Top Kill' Failure


WASHINGTON—BP PLC has concluded that its "top-kill" attempt last week to seal its broken well in the Gulf of Mexico may have failed due to a malfunctioning disk inside the well about 1,000 feet below the ocean floor.
Related Video

The disk, part of the subsea safety infrastructure, may have ruptured during the surge of oil and gas up the well on April 20 that led to the explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon rig, BP officials said....

BP Cites Broken Disk


gee... and my sum total of oil drilling knowledge is operating pumps at the local Raceway station...

back to my POINT... dougr made a point that there was nothing in the wellbore preventing up flows... thus his whole scenario is suspect... just saying...

disk... flaps... whatever... according to the two links... BP had SOMETHING in the "pipe" below sea level... and dougr POINTED out they didn't...

unless these links are to totally bogus information...

I don't know if they do or not but the first link you cite is the same exact one that dougr cited in his post.

I was wondering if somebody can answer a question.

Below is a quote from a main article posted here at TOD by Heading Out: BP's Deepwater Oil Spill - Why the Flow Rates are Increasing...

He talks about the eroding channels in the soft oil bearing rock, and how they are getting constantly larger. So when they try to cement the hole, does the cement go down into the channels? If so, what kind of volume would we be talking about? Can somebody please explain how you plug a hole that is not going into solid rock, but into a rock all full of gullies from erosion? Thanks.


simply put, the oil and gas that are flowing out of the rock are bringing small amounts of that rock (in the form of sand) out with them. Rocks that contain lots of oil are not that strong and are easily worn away by the flow of fluid through them.

Let me make an analogy with soil. If I make a hill of soil, and leave it sit for a while there will be a number of rainstorms fall on the soil. Initially the surface will all erode relatively evenly under the diffused flow after the rain, but very quickly weaker parts of the soil will be removed faster and instead of a smooth surface, the soil will be selectively eroded and channels or rills will start to form on the surface.

Hillside rill channels formed as initially diffuse rainwater water flow concentrates and erodes channels

These are larger than the passageways around the individual grains of soil, and so it is easier for the water to flow in these channels, and so more water collects in them and moves through them. As it does, because the fluid can easily get around the soil particles, and this was a weaker area already, more soil is removed, and the channels get deeper. This is known as concentrating the flow and means that, over time the channels grow bigger, the fluid flows faster, and it has a greater potential for erosion.

This also happens when oil and gas start to flow from a reservoir.

Lyn - I think I follow you. When we’re talking about erosion (we call it “wash out” ) don’t picture gullies. Just envision a hole whose diameter is increasing. So instead of the original annulus distance of, let’s say, 4” it’s now 8”. So it just takes more cmt. The cmt volume is easy…just pump a lot more than you think you have hole. But it’s probably going to be a lot more complex. First, they can only cmt a hole that isn’t flowing. It can take 15 to 24 hours for the cmt to get hard. So they have to kill the flow first. But even then pumping the cmt in could be difficult. For instance the wash out may have weakened the rock and it may get WO by the cmt flow. Rock mixing with the cmt will make it difficult/impossible for it to harden properly.

So many what ifs…so many.

Thanks squid. I know the oil field terminology is alien to most. But it gets even more confusing when new terms are made up. Again, a little confusing when you say that BP claimed they “ had SOMETHING in the "pipe" below sea level... and dougr POINTED out they didn't…”. Still confused: the links you post both refer to the presence of rupture discs in the well bore. So if these links are not bogus as you imply then you seem to be contradicting dougr’s claim. What am I missing?

I think this is what they were doing in regard to discs:


Does anyone have a copy of the drawing, so we less-knowledgeable types can visualize this? I *think* I understand, from the description, how a "failure" here might have affected the top kill, but...

Edit to correct typographical stuttering.

Here's one ..

http://www.energy.gov/open/documents/3.1_Item_2_Macondo_Well_07_Jun_1900... (pdf)

Shelburn had an excellent post sometime yesterday about the disks - he included the above link.

He also referred to them in his rebuttal to dougr

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.

Another, stylized, diagram is at http://media.nola.com/2010_gulf_oil_spill/photo/oil-halliburton-cement-0...

Find out the latest alerts and read the latest articles at NATIONAL EMERGENCY MAGAZINE (where DougR got his information that was reported on MSNBC - from an article written by SHR):


So, you are implying that dougr and SHR are not one in the same?

INTRIGUING! ...Though, I would argue, wholly irrelevant. Have you read the stuff at that godlikeproductions site? Please, for the love of The FSM, let it go. :D And, equally, pardon my inebriation.

I'm getting a little buzzed myself, WT. I agree. Let it go.

Yeah, that's partly why I'm gettin' bevvied tonight. Like you and others stated, there's no need to post articles here that speculate on worst case scenarios because most folks here understand what those are -- and obviously those worry me. So I'm gettin' shnockered tonight. Sh*tfaced in the face of what may come, though I hope such don't happen. There's still a good chance the storm won't push all that crap inland. If a bad storm or hurricane comes through, it will take way too long for them to set back up and get working again. If I were one to pray, that's what I would pray for. Let these folks work.

I'm highly unlikely to pray myself. But if I were, I'd pray the same.

Heh, yes, I have (only recently) read stuff at that site.

But I never had it so how can I let it go. Just curious after the recent discussion here. That's all. RangeGuide was a bit pointed about it in his (inappropriate, probably?) post.

If they are, then they are. If they aren't then DougR copped the piece and posted it here. I'm kind of puzzled by why this matters so much. The contents are the contents, yes? It's been under discussion rather extensively. If he copped it and didn't give credit, he's sleazy. If he's SHR, then he's been a little deceptive about things. But in either case, it's what's in it that has to be considered. In my opinion. It's not a purloined memo from BP. Unless SHR/DougR (or whoever) wrote it can be identified as a widely respected engineer, it's not authoritative in either case.

RangeGuide appears to have a MySpace page here:


He also seems to share at least part of his identity with an individual calling himself "Elder Hale," of Ringgold, Georgia, who is the registrant of the domain nationalemergency.info.

"Elder" also appears as "Burk-Elder: Hale, Third" on this page:


...which informs us

Burk-Elder: Hale, Third represents a collaboration of 5,000+ private scientists and researchers that are taking the latest understanding in quantum and hyper physics and developing the knowledge into useful and viable alternatives for sustainability of the environment and preservation of life for all life-forms. Much of the technology is drawn from the Ancient texts passed down for thousands of years to a select few who have been entrusted with the technology. The scope of the technological applications covers every conceivable area for sustainability of the environment and preservation of life for all life-forms but has focused mainly on water technology to produce the most hydrating water in the world. Elder is the Aetheric Energy Research & Development Consultant for Phoenix Voyage.

In his registration info for the nationalemergency.info domain, Elder lists an e-mail address at rangeguide.net. The registrant for rangeguide.net is listed as "Burk Hale, Inc.," also of Ringgold, GA.

The URL http://www.rangeguide.net takes us to the site for "Range Guide Gold & Mineral Satellite Mapping Services," where this blurb, below a graphic with the caption "Hydrocarbon Intensity Scale," appears on the top page:

Above is a small reproduction of a reverse black-body map. The finished map is extremely high resolution, and appears 3D because of the way our Geostar technician layers the finished data for printing. The pixels are microscopic, and if you wish to see a larger map (click on the image below). The super-high resolution map sample does not do the finished map justice regarding precision. This is a 4 mile reverse black body image overlayed on a 7.5 minute series quadrangle. To see and download the Range Guide satellite mapping brochure, CLICK HERE (72MB). We provide the world's only mapping services that detect "haloing" and translate it into accurate gold survey maps (precious metals), thanks to Bill Spurlock. Elder is an authorized dealer for Geostar maps from Bill Spurlock.

Contact Elder for Mountain Guide or Mapping Services: 406-223-5042

Click here for Range Guide First Aid Supplies & Products. Elder has been a Mountain Guide for 30 years, and developer of some of the best health products in the world, and other technologies.

I haven't explored further than this, but, if I get really bored...

That's just... mean. LOL. Why are you so afraid of the truth???!?

But since you've done such a good job of setting the mood, there are two leftover scraps from a previous thread I thought deserved a nod.


I don't think BP has any idea how big this oil reservoir is. I have a strong belief it is abiotic oil.

Here is a good article on it.


Oh boy.


Me? If BP said the sun will rise tomorrow I'll not believe them until I see the sun with my own eyes.

There's a difference: some people are pointing to BP's claim that the sun will rise tomorrow, and claiming that is irrefutable proof that the sun has been destroyed, and citing measurements from an outdoor light meter that show it really is dark outside right now to back it up.


I don't think BP has any idea how big this oil reservoir is. I have a strong belief it is abiotic oil.

Here is a good article on it.


I read it. We're probably doomed. What percentage of your neighbors do you think *wouldn't* be taken in by such a skillfully-composed con job?

The debate about abiotic oil reminds me of another famous debate. Even though there is a lot of money backing the anti-abiotic crowd I think it is going to end the same way.

Some truly revolutionary scientific theories may take years or decades to win general acceptance among scientists. This is certainly true of plate tectonics, one of the most important and far-ranging geological theories of all time; when first proposed, it was ridiculed, but steadily accumulating evidence finally prompted its acceptance, with immense consequences for geology, geophysics, oceanography, and paleontology. And the man who first proposed this theory was a brilliant interdisciplinary scientist, Alfred Wegener.

In 1915 the first edition of The Origin of Continents and Oceans.

Reaction to Wegener's theory was almost uniformly hostile, and often exceptionally harsh............................

By the late 1960s, plate tectonics was well supported and accepted by almost all geologists.

The notion that our current theory as to the origin of hydrocarbon deposits will eventually be proven wrong in favor of a theory similar to 'abiotic oil' is as ridiculous as thinking that one day we will discover the true shape of planet Earth is a square.


My only thought on abiotic oil is, I wish it would hurry up and refill the reservoirs of my old tired stripper wells. :)

Hmph. I see they're in need of a proofreader. My guess is that it should be one who has blazing hair.

I know Thud said 40 knots but NOAA uses 40 mph. Other than that I like this map better.

It gives more detail about the probabilities.

now if only we had a way to demob the fleet, and still collect the oil... Any sci-fi writers care to take up the cause?

Does anyone know if the oil has actually entered the loop currant? I keep finding conflicting reports. Also, I'm wondering what affect could this storm have on the movement of the oil. Anyone have any information (or care to make an educated guess?)

According to official reports no detectable oil has entered the loop current, and the offshore NOAA map has been suspended. I am sure molecules have made it, but I am also guessing you inhale some of my molecules with every breath. I would watch for shore fall in the Keys as a indicator of risk, unless you are on the Gulf side of Florida. In any case Florida has problems. Don't feel bad, I live in Gulf Shores AL.

See, "...the offshore NOAA map has been suspended." Humph. So, two questions.
Who else tracks its proximity to the current, anyone? I mean, if the media is not allowed down there...but I digress. Isn't there a desalinization plant in Tampa? Might that plant have to be shut down if its intakes start sucking in oil, et al?

They are using satellite and ship board monitoring. There have been reports of submarine monitoring, but obviously such resources are very limited. Do not worry about Tampa water, oily water for Tampa's water means the alert level just went up. You will know about it. Drink the bottled stuff for now if you are worried, or switch to beer.
The media is not restricted from down there as far as the loop current goes. There is just NOTHING to see. Maybe FOX News can build a sub. Shawn Hannity could be the Captain.

Ha! Cap'n Pawn Vannity. Good one. ...But ["switch to beer"] how *dare* you inseminate that I'm a drunktard, sir.
The Tampa plant must have procedures in place for when foreign materials get in the system, so yeah, I shouldn't worry.
And I'm in GA, so no worries about water...aside from the sodium fluoride.
http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/reregistration/REDs/sodium-fluoride-red.pdf >>pg 16 - "...has a high order of toxicity via the oral route of exposure (Toxicity Category II)..." pg 19 - "...a drinking water exposure and risk assessment has not been performed." & so on.
...Beg your pardon while I down another beer. :)

I figured the Whiskey Tango was for WT initials, ex-military style, so the whiskey part was not necessarily self descriptive. Good luck from Alabama's Ground Zero.

No ex-mil, though I'm an Oath Keeper & 3%er. The term's undoubtedly self-descriptive -- time and circumstances permitting. And good luck in AL, kind neighbor. Please keep up the edutainment; it's appreciated.

Hello TinFoilHatGuy,
First thank you for your informative on-the-ground reporting, you are a true citizen-journalist.

On currents and oil,

Glider Launched to Map Currents in Gulf of Mexico

The Glider was launched on June 7 so hopefully we will have more detail on things very soon. Although the mission is planned to last up to 4 months. This device is designed to "measure temperature, salinity, ocean currents and fluorescence, which can be used to detect the presence of sub-surface oil plumes.

Thanks. Sorry about the nuke comment but to me it is just crazy. Forgive the old tinfoil? Call it oil induced stress. The idea is crazy, not you. God bless you.

Hey TinFoilHatGuy,
Don't give it an other thought. I feel the stress too, I'm sure we all do. It's seems almost primordial, evolution in reverse, I think someone aptly called it. I just think it's important to keep an open mind and let the facts guide us toward victory over this damn monster. As Randi Rhodes, the talk show host, says, "Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but nobody is entitled to their own facts."

Keep up the good work Tin, persevere.

I'm more interested in what their plans are to keep oil out of the water systems for the big power plants.

A month ago one of the web sites said they were "planning now" & that their facility has "extensive plans for emergencies and environmental issues".

The "plan" is to have the booms that are now in place to keep oil spills in to keep oil out.

There are several huge plants in the Tampa/Clearwater area. I get my power from one in Biloxi that gets its water from the Back Bay. Can't find any info on their plans for oil in the Bay.

If the drinking water goes, the National Guard that is left keeping security after the mandatory evacuation can use generators if necessary.

Tin, scroll through this list; the initial sheen is probably way past Jacksonville already.


So what are your plans? Do you think there's a future for you in Guf Shores? Do you think your health is safe if you stay?

Old stomping grounds for me, spent some time hunting the audacious and for me nonexistent Alabama Beach Mouse (and getting a tan) around Bon Secour; friends had inholding there.

My plan is is simple. When my 78 year old aunt or any one of the respiratorially distressed folks I monitor start having problems, I am outta here. The only future I have in Gulf Shores is if I get a telecommute job. Otherwise, off to work and school I go. I want my PhD too. It's time.

Educated guess here, based on watching satellite radar images and current charts for several weeks. A very thin streak of oil may have been picked up by the Loop Current three weeks ago, but it was too small to trace by satellite past Dry Tortugas. A large slick sat west of Tampa for a couple weeks, then got pulled into Eddy Franklin (the eddy that is breaking off from the main Loop Current) which is circling near the center of the gulf. This oil showed up on the NOAA spill page http://gomex.erma.noaa.gov/erma.html#x=-90.42000&y=28.03000&z=6&layers=497 until a week ago but it was far offshore. Currents can change quickly, but there is no sign of significant oil heading towards the Loop Current now.

Roffer is mapping currents and predicting spill trajectory again, it's good to compare his maps with NOAA's. He has kept track of the oil in Eddy Franklin that has (literally) slipped off NOAA's radar, and thinks some could be pulled into the Loop Current soon:


Here is the link if people want to see the current image as the forecasts are updated:


This is probably what the DWH Incident Command will watch to see when it touches the DWH operations area.


RW diagram gets updates weekly (or daily?)

Link to website:

http://www.youtube.com/v/xSrRqrr1A98&hl=en_GB&fs=1&showinfo=0 I went on a fly-over exactly the same day that this video was shot.... I can tell you that I smelled the oil at 3,000 feet.

Air is a fluid too right? The surface of the earth is just a midpoint for much of this stuff.

Rockman, thank you for the reply.

I have a question about properties of methane-oil mixtures. Sorry if it is in wrong thread.

First, sorry about mixing imperial and metric units, went to school in Europe

Amounts of oil collected and flared and natural gas flared suggests that the leaking oil is 25-40% natural gas by mass. This leads to my question about plumes:

I found a quote about gas/oil properties:
"Unexpectedly high solubility levels (0.5–1.5 grams of oil per liter of methane—at laboratory temperature and pressure) were measured at moderate conditions (50–200°C and 5076–14504 psi)" in a study:

Solubility of crude oil in methane as a function of pressure and temperature
Organic Geochemistry
Volume 4, Issues 3-4, June 1983, Pages 201-221

So, as the oil-methane solution rises from 150atm and 100degC at the bottom, towards lower T and p, at some moment methane and oil are not soluble anymore and the methane must quite drastically "fizz" out of solution and then expand at the normal gas law rates. This must stir the oil quite a bit and this will occur at a 'predictable' depth. Could one expect plumes at this depth?

At the surface the volume ratio of gas to oil is 400:1. For sake of argument at 500m (50 atm), volume ratio would be 8:1, and "just below" methane would be dissolved. This in-situ expansion should break up oil quite a bit, and subsequent expansion of methane bubbles could spread the oil droplets around.

Then a few more questions:

1. Is 25% gas in oil a lot?
2. Would this sudden "appearance" of gas beyond normal expansion affect the intensity of an initial "kick" or is it bread and butter of deep drilling?
3. Pure curiosity: Can blowup flow speed exceed speed of sound?
4. Under what kind of pressure is the top of the riser kept, to keep the gas flow to reasonable values? - the amount of gas flared amounts to 600 cu.ft. per second at sea level pressure and this flow through a one foot pipe seems fast...

Another comment is about falling riser breaking BOP. I can not imagine designers of BOPs not taking this mode of failure into account.

Another comment is about falling riser breaking BOP. I can not imagine designers of BOPs not taking this mode of failure into account.

The riser acted as an anchor chain when the Deepwater Horizon lost maneuvering power after the blowout, and the BOP and well casing were the anchor. The DH weighed at least 50,000 US tons, and gained a lot more weight as it filled with water until it sank. Any damage to the wellhead would have been from the 45 million+ kilogram DH rig jerking against the top of the BOP where the riser connected, not from the relatively small mass of the riser itself, 290 US tons.

It looks like the engineers anticipated the loads on the wellhead pretty well.

Why did't the equip. specified below catch the loss of fluid or gas in the mud as they were displacing the riser?

§ 250.514 Well-control fluids, equipment, and operations.

(a) Well-control fluids, equipment, and operations shall be designed, utilized, maintained, and/or tested as necessary to control the well in foreseeable conditions and circumstances, including subfreezing conditions. The well shall be continuously monitored during well-completion operations and shall not be left unattended at any time unless the well is shut in and secured.

(b) The following well-control-fluid equipment shall be installed, maintained, and utilized:


(2) A well-control, fluid-volume measuring device for determining fluid volumes when filling the hole on trips; and

(3) A recording mud-pit-level indicator to determine mud-pit-volume gains and losses. This indicator shall include both a visual and an audible warning device.

§ 250.457 What equipment is required to monitor drilling fluids?

Once you establish drilling fluid returns, you must install and maintain the following drilling fluid-system monitoring equipment throughout subsequent drilling operations. This equipment must have the following indicators on the rig floor:

(a) Pit level indicator to determine drilling fluid-pit volume gains and losses. This indicator must include both a visual and an audible warning device;

(b) Volume measuring device to accurately determine drilling fluid volumes required to fill the hole on trips;

(c) Return indicator devices that indicate the relationship between drilling fluid-return flow rate and pump discharge rate. This indicator must include both a visual and an audible warning device; and

(d) Gas-detecting equipment to monitor the drilling fluid returns. The indicator may be located in the drilling fluid-logging compartment or on the rig floor. If the indicators are only in the logging compartment, you must continually man the equipment and have a means of immediate communication with the rig floor. If the indicators are on the rig floor only, you must install an audible alarm.

Laughing to keep from crying.

Ya know, syncro, I spent a million hours of my life dealing with some of the impenetrable gobbledygook that makes up the FCC & FAA titles in the CFR. Seldom, if ever, did I read anything so straightforward, comprehensible and unambiguous.

The folks at MMS may have been utterly derelict in their duty to supervise and inspect, and they may have been playing footsie and worse with the operators, but them's some purty clear regs.

I would *not* want to be one of the defendants being deposed or examined in court about failure to comply with these requirements on the DWH.

Wow. No wonder Rockman and Ali have been so scathingly blunt.

I second that, from having to wade my way through FDA CFR gobbledygook and don't get me started about predicate rules.

Yup it is clear these regs were written for the layman/industry. Many are written in question form, "What Do I need to Do to if XYZ?"

I would *not* want to be one of the defendants being deposed or examined in court about failure to comply with these requirements on the DWH.

I would like to establish that they did not comply first, or course. Has that been established for this equip and monitoring? I have numerous other regs, too, where it appears there are violations based on the info thus far. Certainly enough to establish negligence per se and I possibly causation with the assistance of presumptions.

It looks like a sloppy operation given the engineering e-mails, the testimony from the hearing, cut corners, broken regulations, blown up rig, "I told you this was f**ing going to happen!", etc. But i have nothing to compare it to.

"Has that been established for this equip and monitoring?"

I think the evidence we've seen suggests that the required equipment was there. It also suggests that mud returns were not being appropriately monitored.

I don't think we, as a conscientious kangaroo court, could get beyond reasonable doubt, with what we have so far, but we're at least really, really close to a preponderance of the evidence, unless the defense has some humdingers up its sleeve.

Rockman? Ali?

If you're making a list, based on the appearance of things so far I would guess it will be a lot less work if you list the regs they didn't break. :(

All equipment was there.

Per BP May 24 presentation:

"Mud offload to Bankston ends at 17:17
• Mudloggers not informed that offloading had ceased"

Has it ever been established why the equip./alarms did not pick up what was happening? Or would it not have done so under normal, fully compliant conditions?

I have no doubts the alarms sounded. We have to wait to hear the mudloggers testimony. I have no doubt there were alarms at the RTOC in Houston as well. Perhaps they did continue to raise the alarm level to "shut that damn noise" - I think that there is more to this story. If a mudlogger sat through the pre-tour safety meeting and witnessed the discussion, I doubt they would have ignored alarms.

The two mudloggers on DWH missing presumed dead.

"Blair Manuel farmed for decades before moving to oil rigs. Nearly three decades younger than Blair Manuel, Gordon Jones was a scratch golfer, his father Keith recalled. And Gordon eventually hoped to parlay that athletic ability and his conversational skills into a sales position with M-I SWACO."

M I Swaco= Mud Engineers- most likely were frantically trying to get a kill pill made along with the derrickman.

Mudloggers = Sperry Sun (per Transocean investigation presentation) They survived.

Sure is boring over here. Nothing like being captive on sat. nt.

So i thought i'd look for some worst case scenarios for a thrill:

No skimmers in sight as oil floods into Mississippi waters

GULFPORT, Miss. — A morning flight over the Mississippi Sound showed long, wide ribbons of orange-colored oil for as far as the eye could see and acres of both heavy and light sheen moving into the Sound between the barrier islands. What was missing was any sign of skimming operations from Horn Island to Pass Christian.

U.S. Rep. Gene Taylor got off the flight angry.

"It’s criminal what’s going on out there," Taylor said minutes later. "This doesn’t have to happen.”

A scientist onboard, Mike Carron with the Northern Gulf Institute, said with this scenario, there will be oil on the beaches of the mainland.

“There’s oil in the Sound and there was no skimming,” Carron said. “No coordinated effort.”


More from that story:

Taylor slipped a note to a fellow passenger.

It said: “I’m having a Katrina flashback. I haven’t seen this much stupidity, wasted effort, money and wasted resources, since then.”

Back on land in Gulfport, Taylor let loose.

“A lot of people are getting paid to say, ‘Look! There’s oil’ and not doing anything about it,” Taylor said. “There shouldn’t be a drop of oil in the Sound. There are enough boats running around.

“Nobody’s in charge,” Taylor said. “Everybody’s in charge, so no one’s in charge.

“If the president can’t find anyone who can do this job,” he said, “let me do it.”

Note that Taylor is a Democrat and that a quick review of reportage indicates that his initial response to the spill was rather less dramatic:

"I believe, having gone through Katrina, this isn't Katrina," he continued. "It is obviously something that none of us wish had happened, but it is not Armageddon."

Taylor and Rep. Jo Bonner, R-Mobile, flew over the oil slick in a Coast Guard airplane on Saturday afternoon.

"The oil is naturally breaking up as it gets closer to shore," he said.

Taylor described some areas containing crude oil looking like "chocolate milk."

"The good news is that the farther you get from the site where the rig had been it is naturally dispersing between the sunlight and waves," said Taylor.

Taylor said he didn't see any oil in marsh areas during the flight that was about 1,000 feet in altitude.

Taylor said he thinks a team effort is the best method for a cleanup, when asked if authority over the spill should be nationalized.


Note that Taylor is a Democrat and that a quick review of reportage indicates that his initial response to the spill was rather less dramatic:

That was back on May 1; the spill had barely begun.

Right. I was contrasting his initial response, which may offer some insight into his general tendencies and inclinations in these matters, to his apparent anger at the SNAFU that has developed.

From the previous thread. Worth repeating here.

Colorado Bob on June 26, 2010 - 12:45pm

A super-tanker skimmer known as the A Whale, capable of collecting 500,000 barrels of oily water a day, is en route to the Gulf, but its owners have not been assured that it can join the surface clean-up effort. Some members of Congress have criticized the administration for not moving faster to ask for international skimming fleets to help corral more of the slick. (http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2010/0626/Gulf-oil-spill-Could-toxic-storm-...)

Gobbet on June 26, 2010 - 2:30pm Permalink | Subthread | Comments top
The Japanese-owned supertanker A Whale, converted to serve as a skimmer, is en route to the Gulf from Norfolk. Text, video, and still pics here:

More on A Whale - http://www.dailypress.com/news/oil-spill/dp-nws-oil-skimmer-20100625,0,3072230.story

Regardless if the super tanker works or not, one can only expect it to get "approval" to go to work. If it doesn't work, well it certainly was worth a shot. The President (via the Admiral) has reacted extremely poorly by refusing any experienced North Sea experienced skimmers. (aside from the token 6 skimmer arms allowed ONLY after protest on TOD, btw). Refusing, or even delaying, A Whale (for ANY reason, however "legal") in a time of crisis would be bordering on reckless, malicious criminal disregard for the welfare of American people.

The tantamount refusal (for ANY reason) to allow ANY skimming potential into the operation (regardless whether it was BP or the government) is even a worse scandal than the spill. The spill was at least an accident. No one did it deliberately. Skimming is the first and is the most effective means of mitigating any oil spill.

Ditto Costner's machines, and Troy Aikman/Drew Breeze machines, (shown on CNN) or ... anything else that picks up oil. If they don't work, ... well they just don't work. But they can't work if not even allowed to try. And, really can they make it worse?

Thanks to CB for bring A Whale to our attention. And especially kudos to Gobbet for keeping this skimming scandal in the forefront. Maybe MSM will catch on one day and ask the Admiral jfor a daily report on ust how much is getting skimmed.

They quit eating them and now they are skimming with them? Kidding aside, I hope this helps. God bless.

Before you wear yourself out with all the boldface and italics you could do some fact checking, OF.

From Mexico -- Two skimmers and 13,780 feet of boom (accepted in early May).

From Norway -- Eight skimming systems (accepted in early May).

From Netherlands -- Three sets of Koseq Rigid Sweeping Arms, which attach to the sides of ships and gather oil (accepted on May 23).

This is from PolitiFact, out of St Petersburg, Florida: http://www.politifact.com/florida/statements/2010/jun/16/george-lemieux/...

Bedtime thought on the American Dream:


One more post. The reg. below is going to be a big issue.

They did the two negative pressure tests, returning 23 and 15 barrels respectively. The haliburton hand says they were going to do a third test, but there is confusion about that. His attorney claims BP disregarded these tests knowingly and recklessly (of course, but it is impt. to know the claims).

In any event, from what i have read here, those quantities (at least the 23 bl., do not constitute "passing" the test. However, the testimony from some of the crew was that they deemed the second one a "pass." BP apparently called for the second test after the first one came back.

Why? Well, the regs below say if you do a neg. pressure test and it gives possible indication of bad cement, you have to run other tests, like a CBL. It appears that rather than do that, BP wanted a second test it could deem a pass so it would not have to do these tests.

Is 15 barrels lost return a pass?


§ 250.428 What must I do in certain cementing and casing situations?

The table in this section describes actions that lessees must take when certain situations occur during casing and cementing activities.


(c) Have indication of inadequate cement job (such as lost returns, cement channeling, or failure of equipment)

(1) Pressure test the casing shoe; (2) Run a temperature survey; (3) Run a cement bond log; or (4) Use a combination of these techniques.


Can't find mention of this on here, please delete if old news!

From the Sunday Times here in the UK, front page story this morning..

(Summary) BP is on track to plug the leaking well within two weeks. Operation is further ahead than has been disclosed. Sources in Houston say it could be finished mid-July. The first well has progressed faster than expected, less than 1000 ft to go. BP declined to comment but is expected to give an update next week

Links are always appreciated, but registration is required in this case to read the story. A less churlish paper might have the story soon.

Peak Oil and the Deepwater Horizon

First it makes me sad to see whats happening in the Gulf.

The USA deserved The GOM oil spill, no thats wrong America deseved the GOM oil spill MOST.
Europe deseves a deepwater oilspill , Russia does ,Japan ,China,India, ... .

USA deserves it most because it has the largest per Capita oil consumtion in the world, by a fat margin.

I have read here TOD how people try to find someone to blame. Theres very few voices who look into the mirror. Big fuelguzzling Cars, Airconditioning throwaway houses with thin walls and big heating systems .... the american way of life and the right to waste recources.

if people would stop wasting , there wouldn´t be peak oil, its a terrible waste to burn oil, its the best recource to produce plastic, which lasts for thousends of years. and its a waste to use plastics for oneway products.

Energie is aboundend in the world , every square yard gets on average 1Kw from the sun.

So we can´t say theres no alternative to oil, its NOT either oil or caveman.

its just cheap in the short run

Therefore because americans want cheap oil , america deserves this Oil desaster.

the pelicanes, baby dolphins all wildlife plants the whole biosphere of the GOM and the atlantic doent deserve it, they are the victims. The american people are not the victims, they are the criminals.

BP was just trying to give them what they Wanted, cheap oil, therefore BP was trying to cut costs of the immensly expensive deepwaterdrilling.

and its good it happened in the Gulf of Mexico, right in front of the American People.
Because now the american People can see taste and smell the results of their oil addiction.
Because America has the resources to combat the oil spill , to close down the gusher or contain it.

Imagine what would be if it happened 75 miles of Kamerun or Angola in Africa.
It would just go on until people noticed in europe and america because the whole atlantic is dead.

I belive trying to look for someone to blame is easy, look into the mirror.

Therefore stop trying to look fore a scapegoat ,

start looking for a solution.

theres plan A : reliefwells and plugging with cement while catching as much oil as possible. Thats good. But not enough.

First try to find a emergency plan C better then blowing up the seafloor with a Nuke
in case of the wellhead dissapearing for whatever reason.

trying to find the reason ahead of time is just a waste of time, finding a solution ahead of time is smart.

imagine you got 100 billion dollars, use it to stop oil reaching the waters of the GOM.

and finally, im very sorry this happened, sorry for nature and sorry for all the people.

Dear Hauke Gebhardt,
While I think you make valid points about American consumer culture, you are even more irritating than me when you suggest that anyone "deserves" this deadly disaster...

We are, and have been for a very longtime, up against global energy companies run by mad dog capitalists rooted in old money that's long been empowered by corrupt political and economic systems here and abroad. "Same as it ever was"

I also believe you are probably right about location and response. Which gives rise to a big concern I have about these DW rigs now in the GoM that some companies want to move and operate elsewheres. Obviously to avoid new and tougher regulation in US waters.

ROV feeds show the outflow from under the LMRP cap is looking really heavy at the moment

Compare the current status (multi-feed) http://blog.alexanderhiggins.com/bp-live-oil-spill-cam.html with the commentary and pics in the header of this topic - and the difference is very clear.

Maybe there's another cap-crisis in the offing here, anyway just thought I'd mention this for the experts and ROV-watchers to take a look

Regards Chris

@ tinfoilhatguy and stevemersey from previous post:

Now I see what you guys are concerned about. You've noticed that a garden hose starts whipping around like an angry snake when you turn the water on full blast, and you're worried that the same thing could be happening with the oil well blowout.

That snakelike action happens under water too. I've seen the hose do it when filling the swimming pool.

But if you observe closely, you'll notice that the hose is actually moving BACKWARDS to counter the force of the water shooting forwards (Newton: To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction). The hose nozzle tries to move back but can't because the bulk of the hose is behind it, so it turns sideways. This sends the stream of water into a different direction, causing the nozzle to flip around, which sends the stream in a different direction, causing... etc ad infinitum.

Meanwhile, back at the well head, the escaping stream of oil is doing the same thing. It's forcing the BOP *down* onto the well head. The well head is a rigid structure of concentric steel pipes concreted together sunk into the sea floor, not a flexible rubber pipe free to move, so there's no way it will permit the BOP to move sideways like a hose nozzle. If there was any sideways force on the BOP you'd see oil shooting sideways to counterbalance it (Newton again), but nothing of the kind has been observed.

Given the massive construction of the BOP and well head, the forces involved are quite puny. They might cause the BOP to vibrate slightly. You might hear a low-pitched thrumming noise if the ROVs had an audio track.

Those believing they have seen rocks on the seafloor are right. Well almost.


"... subsea staging area." Even money that this turns into "BP FAKING IT!" on sites like AboveTopSecret.

'Junk Shot Ops'? What??

Going mainstream, crop damage, "signs point to BP's use of aerosolized Corexit brought inland by the ocean winds or rain."