BP's Deepwater Oil Spill - Storm Threat and a Little More Progress - and Open Thread

This thread is being closed. Please comment on http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6667.

Chuck Watson is telling us now that while Alex is now weakening as it goes over the Yucatan, we need to keep an eye on it. Some of the models are showing Alex creeping north a bit, before turning back to Mexico. So while the risk to the Deepwater Horizon area is down, it is not gone completely. There may be high waves affecting the near shore area, even if the storm does not come very close.

One thing that a couple of relatively gentle Hurricane seasons lulls us into forgetting is that when the nucleating storms start to crank up, they can come quite regularly for a significant period of time. Back in 2005, for example, the National Hurricane Center ran out of normal alphabetical names for the storms. I mention that because, while Alex, the first storm of the season, is now landing and crossing the Yucatan Peninsula, there is already another area of concern forming in the Atlantic.

BP has finished installing the first free standing riser, which has greater survivability than a fixed riser and will be connected to a third vessel arriving at the site of the wellbore next week, the Helix Producer—a redundancy measure also taken under the direction of the federal government.

Given stated concerns over the use being made of foreign aid, the Coast Guard Joint Command also wants you to know that

To date, the administration has leveraged assets and skills from numerous foreign countries and international organizations as part of this historic, all-hands-on-deck response, including Canada, Germany, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, the United Nations’ International Maritime Organization and the European Union's Monitoring and Information Centre.

The relief well has reached a point where the well needs to be cased and lined, and that is in hand. As the depths get closer to that of the original well (RW at 16,400 ft original well 18,000 ft) I suspect that there may be a little more care than usual taken to ensure that this cement job is good. And once that is complete, then as the drill begins to advance further the “ranging”operation will continue.

End Game in Drilling Relief Wells

I wanted to clarify a little more what I am referring to as the End Game for the drilling of the relief wells. In his remarks the other day, Admiral Allen said:

they're going to try and intercept somewhere around between 16,700 and 17,000 feet. We will confirm that for you and put out a statement tomorrow. They don't have to go clear to the reservoir, which is at 18,000 feet, and what they're going to do is they're going to close in and very slowly close to that point where they will then drill through the wellbore casing, and if they need to, drill through the pipe itself. But you are right; they'll be slightly above the level of the reservoir.

And subsequently he talked about “ranging” to find the exact position of the original well. To do this the relief well has come in relatively horizontally and electrical pulses have been sent down the casing of the original well. I believe that the connections to allow this were being monitored by the Skandi ROV1 until earlier this evening when it moved away.

Skandi ROV1 showing the electrical connections (lhs) to the plate allowing the electrical pulses to be transmitted down the casing.

As the electrical current flow down the casing it will (as Faraday demonstrated, as you no doubt all remember from High School Physics – grin) generate a magnetic field around the path. By including the appropriate instruments on the relief well drill string, it is possible to therefore locate the original well with a much higher degree of precision than from the original dead reckoning of the well location.

Once this has been done, then the well will swing back down to vertical and drill down until it is close to the desired depth, when it will again turn horizontal and drill over to intersect the well. At this point they hope to hit on the centerline of the casing so that they can mill through it, although should they be slightly off they can (as I noted earlier use penetrating charges to create the flow path for the mud to enter the well.

Projected future path of the relief well (Not to scale)

Prof. Goose's comment:

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It is up to this community to enforce the norms we have established here (a high signal to noise ratio), keep. it. up.

Our guide to commenting at TOD can be found here: http://www.theoildrum.com/special/guidelines . Please check it out if you are unfamiliar with it, but it is essentially 1) citations welcome (if not necessary), 2) be kind to others, and 3) be nice to the furniture.

3. We have gotten a lot of queries whether this bump in traffic is adding costs to keep the site functioning. Truth is, yes, we are incurring added expenses from these events. It is also true that we try not to beg from you very often as we are not the types to bother you with constant queries.

That being said, if you are inclined to help out, your support is always welcome and very much appreciated. To those who have already given, thank you very much.

You can find the donate button in the top left hand corner of the main page.

4. If you have come here to vet your plan to kill the well, understand that you will be queried on whether or not you have read the other 10 previous comment threads and all the myriad plans that have already been run by the kind folks in this room; if you have actually read all 10 comment threads and still think your plan has legs, well, then maybe yours really is the one that will save the Gulf of Mexico.

This is not to say that well considered questions about current attempts and modifications to those attempts are not welcome; they are. But try to place them in context and in what's actually going on, as opposed to your MacGyver dream solution where you have a 10 megaton bomb, an ice pick, and Commander Spock at your side.

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or you can get there just via a browser: http://webchat.freenode.net / Just enter a nickname and #theoildrum in the boxes; then when connected type /join #theoildrum)

6. Don't be afraid to go back and read the last couple of open threads yesterday and today before you start on this thread. They are really good, and will likely catch you up if you have been out of the loop for a while. We shut down threads when we get to 300-400 comments, as it's really unmanageable. Lots of good stuff in there though.

S/N getting annoying. Poetry, Internet, personal problems, chat about old friends.

Can you specify a little about what an open thread is? Thanks.

This is really an "oil spill related issues" open thread.

Drumbeat includes more general energy issues related issues. Both the economy and climate change are somewhat related to energy issues, so are included in the discussion there.

Belief systems are included some threads--a few of the Campfire threads, and also some of Drumbeat threads.

But most of the other stuff is pretty iffy. If there are personal things you want to talk about, perhaps you can use e-mails to specific individuals. There is a space on each person's "My Account" page where you can list things about yourself, including your spam protected e-mail address, for example GailTverberg at comcast dot net. If you list your e-mail address there, and some other reader wants to contact you about something, they can figure out how.

Thanks for the clarifications and guidance, Gail. As a noob messer-up, I apologize to all veteran TOD hands and promise to limit my future contributions to any relevant news I spot, perhaps sometimes with lightweight commentary thereon. Otherwise, I'll do my best -- not perfect, but I'll be trying -- to remain a silent student of my elders (however few) and betters (however legion).

Long time reader here... (FWIW, the recent issue at hand finally prompted me to join...)

As someone who has read 99% of the spill related threads (and countless others in the past 3 years), I greatly appreciate the lit references interspersed in a couple of recent threads. Not to worry, I'm not a lit major or an English prof... Marine engineer / biologist here : )

My thought, upon reading those lit references, was that they are poignant reminders to us all that there have been amazingly perceptive and intelligent, prescient in some cases, people who lived in preceding times, that connected the dots and undoubtably foresaw our present*. Whether intentional or unintentional, who knows... Yet, their messages to us, if we allow those messages to be received, are compelling. The vast percentage of those refs posted, IMO, are totally relevant to what we are facing in the GOM, which ties into damn near every facet of our lives, IMO.

I definitely agree with a reduction of S/N though. More than you know. Yet, the unchecked bleeding of the dougr debacle** and nuke this 'n that and repeat offenders*** are unquestionably categories of higher S/N, IMO, than relevant lit quotes, timelessly spoken by our predecessors for educational purposes.

*or they were purely describing the nature of their own times that apply today, but that's another topic entirely
**no disrespect to anyone intended whatsoever and Shelburn's thread rocked / he handled himself eloquently
**same questions presented over and over again from ones who haven't read the preceding 100, much less 2 of any of the earliest background threads

Thanks TOD. You're a goldmine of epic proportions. I can't express my gratitude enough.

P.S. yummm... Dutch Chocolate :)

TOD is the best there is.

Thank you, Gail!

I see Colin is the third storm name for 2010. When I said I wanted Colin to take this incident over, I meant Powell.

use penetrating charges to create the flow path for the mud to enter the well.

Penetrating charges??? Really? Has anyone posted a strat column yet? Any clues to the lithology? How indurated are the sediments? formation properties? I've heard K for the reservoir (~500millidarcies) and that it is a "sandstone" but not much else and really nothing of the overlying pile, except that there are sands, silts, muds. Zippo on the geologico - with exception to the salt diapirism wow factor.

Mud? Only? No golfballs or or tires (tyres) or stainless steel junk?

(IXTOC) In the initial stages of the spill, an estimated 30,000 barrels of oil per day were flowing from the well. In July 1979, the pumping of mud into the well reduced the flow to 20,000 barrels per day, and early in August the pumping of nearly 100,000 steel, iron, and lead balls into the well reduced the flow to 10,000 barrels per day. Pemex claimed that half of the released oil burned when it reached the surface, a third of it evaporated, and the rest was contained or dispersed.[1] Mexican authorities also drilled two relief wells into the main well to lower the pressure of the blowout, however the oil continued to flow for three months following the completion of the first relief well.[2]

1) Emergency Response Division, Office of Response and Restoration, National Ocean Service. "Ixtoc I". IncidentNews. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, US Department of Commerce. http://www.incidentnews.gov/incident/6250. Retrieved 30 May 2010.
2) Robert Campbell (Monday May 24, 2010). "BP's Gulf battle echoes monster '79 Mexico oil spill". Reuters. http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE64N57U20100524. Retrieved 30 May 2010.

Bear in mind that they already have a lot of this information from the initial well, and are going to try and intersect the well above TD. In fact, seeing the two statements juxtaposed, they are nearly down far enough to try now.

But they won't use penetrators unless they come in off-center on the intersection and can't mill through the casing of the original well. They don't need geological data for that, since it is the connection to the flowing well that they want to make, not going out into the formation.

HO, thanks for reminding me to ask what "TD" stands for in the Patch. (Haven't been able to guess yet.)

TD total depth
MD measured depth
SSTVD subsea true vertical depth
BMS below mean sea level

Much thanks, avon (she said, making notes).

penetrating charges to create the flow path for the mud to enter the well.

Penetrating charges??? Really? Has anyone posted a strat column yet? Any clues to the lithology? How indurated are the sediments? formation properties? I've heard K for the reservoir (~500millidarcies) and that it is a "sandstone" but not much else and really nothing of the overlying pile, except that there are sands, silts, muds. Zippo on the geologico - with exception to the salt diapirism wow factor.

I believe in this case the "penetrating charges" are to gain access to the inside of the 7 in casing using perforating gun like used in well completion, only in this case they are shooting into the casing rather than out. The other option will be to mill though the casing.

"formation properties? I've heard K for the reservoir (~500millidarcies) and that it is a "sandstone" but not much else and really nothing of the overlying pile, except that there are sands, silts, "

Here's an interesting intersection between the formation make up and Hurricanes in the Gulf (including Katrina) and Earthquakes in the gulf, Hence the deep down pressure Fluctuations.

Hit the link and scroll down to see a cross section of the Gulf geologically. Check out Fig #4
(It's always Fig #4 ?)

Figure 4. Schematic cross-section showing one possible mechanism for producing the
September 10, 2006 Gulf of Mexico earthquake. Top view: Gulf of Mexico crust and overlying sediments prior to redistribution by hurricane Katrina. During the hurricane, Mississippi River sediments deposited in shallow water near the Gulf Coast were redeposited to deeper Gulf waters. Bottom view: Added delta sediments in the deep Gulf increase the load on the underlying Mesozoic oceanic crust of the Gulf, causing it to flex down. Shallow portions of the crust undergo compression during flexure, producing the earthquake on a steeply-dipping fault plane. The fault may have occurred by reactivation of an older Rift sequence fault.


And some more related notes:


"2006 earthquake

Main article: 2006 Gulf of Mexico earthquake

On September 10, 2006, the U.S. Geological Survey National Earthquake Information Center reported that a strong earthquake, ranking 6.0 on the Richter scale, occurred about 250 miles (400 km) west-southwest of Anna Maria, Florida, around 10:56 AM EDT. The quake was reportedly felt from Louisiana to Florida in the Southeastern United States. There were no reports of major damages, injuries or casualties.[10][11] Items were knocked from shelves and seiches were observed in swimming pools in parts of Florida.[12] The earthquake was described by the USGS as a midplate earthquake, the largest and most widely felt recorded in the past three decades in the region.[12] According to the September 11, 2006 issue of The Tampa Tribune, earthquake tremors were last felt in Florida in 1952, recorded in Quincy, 20 miles (32 km) northwest of Tallahassee."

Anyone else find the irony in the word IXTOC..just move a couple letters around and you have TOXIC.

It struck me as ironic that Macondo was named after a village that blew away, bad name choice.


Not all bad name choices for prospects/installations get karmic come-uppance....but Typhoon does come to mind.

I hearken back to the days of cartoon character names for prospects. (Except Disney characters, of course :-P )

I think Ixtoc is the Mayan God of Fire.

A good read on Ixtoc 1


My Dad was working Bay of Campeche at the time, Alan Anderson was a friend.

gmf, or anyone, I have not been able to find much info about the final months of that saga. Does the oilpatch have good information, lore, or scuttlebut about the endgame? Why did killing the well take so long after the first relief well reached it? Why was the first relief well ineffective? When did drilling the second relief well begin? Etc.

sync, bmaz, retiredL, kal, and all the other nut jobs out there:

Four points: 1. Judge Feldman made a decision. That's his first job. 2. Judge Feldman worked (jammed?) his preferred result into acceptable bounds. That's what judges do. He probably is a limited government type guy by nature and environment. And he swims in his local sea of friends and jobs. 3. Like any other culture, when it comes to censuring one of their own, judges think "Don't spit in the soup. We all gotta eat." (LBJ) 4. Judge Feldman couldn't cares less what we say or even what an appeals court might say. One CA US District Court Judge used to say on the record: "That should make those little skirts upstairs wet their panties. Appeal it." He enjoyed a long, censure-free time on the bench for thirty years. (If kal has been around long enough, he might be able to guess who.)

“The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new.” —Samuel Beckett, Murphy, opening line.

Have a nice, sunny Sunday.

Thank you.

A sunny Sunday, to you as well, E L.


"be careful what you say, my friend,
about folks you don't understand,
some day you might need a man
like Koko Joe".

He made a bad decision, one that did not properly account for the balance of potential benefits vs. potential risks and the overall, long-term public good.

And I love how none of these 'limited government guys', esp. SCOTUS, said boo to the Patriot Act and warrant-less wiretapping, etc.

Limited government for the corporations, zero privacy/limited rights/protections for average Joes.

Hey, keep on defending those folks who do not have your best interests in mind...it's a free country...Hope that nice, Sunday sunshine keeps blowing up your skirt...


He who pays the fiddler calls the tune.

Put up with it or change the system. And the latter option is actually quite difficult to achieve.

Personally, I have got nothing for a judge knowingly subverting the long and well established standard of review, and I frankly don't give a damn about his petty local politics. Secondly, Feldman was required by both statutory and ethical considerations to recuse himself; at a absolute base minimum to disclose his appearances of conflict on the record. Feldman did neither and, in my opinion his decision should be set aside for that alone. Add both factors up and I have such little respect for Feldman and his actions in this case that it probably could not even be measured. This type of arrogance, coupled with politically and financially motivated judging has absolutely no place in the federal judiciary. It is simply not okay, and no excuse, to subvert the process because of the nature of the controversy or the facts on the ground and I find any intimation to the contrary disgusting.

You are certainly free to pass judgment. I was trying to describe what I see happening and characterize whether the judge had crossed traditional lines. I raised those points in the context of the query as to what judicial discipline might be applicable (with regard to the stock I assume).

I maintain that the judge is within bounds with regard to the decision. I have heard conflicting info on the stocks and am reserving judgment until I can find and read a recent story that brings those facts up to date.

I would have to go read State Farm and the other cases to pass judgment on whether the judge engaged in clearly illegitimate hanky panky or legitimate construction and application of the law to get where he got in requiring the govt. to consider an alkternative to the blanket mnoratorium. He did ground his decision in the law. You may disagree with his interpretation, but you have yet to demonstrate that the interpretation was wildly illegitimate. (It very well may be.)

I agree it is not okay to "subvert the process because of the nature of the controversy or the facts on the ground," but it is okay to base a ruling on a good-faith interpretation of existing law, even if it may end up over-turned. I have not seen enough to preclude the conclusion that the judge did what he did in good faith, although I acknowledge that I have not seen enough to establish that he is acting in good faith either.

As for local issues affecting outcome, there are many cases that will be decided one way in the 9th cir. and another way in the 5th cir. without any hanky panky going on. That's the reality. It has to be taken into consideration when evaluating how to handle a case and what a court might do. And judes right in the thick of an area afflicted by a massive disaster are going to have a different perspective than judges sitting thousands of miles away for whom the disaster is an abstraction. Their rulings are inevitably going to reflect that.

I don't disagree with your conclusions, but I don't agree that the predicates for those conclusions have been established yet.

three things as a layman that i am fairly sure of. 1) there is/was a case for recusal, 2) the gov't order was too broad and 3) there will be a more specific gov't order that will pass muster. have a great sunday.

If Feldman had been a trial judge or conducting a de novo review, I would have a lot, and I mean a lot, less problem with his actions. But he was not. Just because a judge can wangle, twist and contort a decision into a form that is marginally legal does not make it proper to me. Legal maybe, but proper no. To my eyes, a judge should apply the best law in the best manner he can without prejudice or concern about extraneous facts. I see no viable way to conclude Feldman did that.

I have read State Farm closely and find it remarkably ill applied by Feldman. First off, obviously, State Farm reaffirms the proper standard of review. Beyond that though, State Farm delves into a situation where the agency in question (NHTSA) completely rescinded a rule deemed by the court in the interest of protecting the public and did so without an arguable basis for completely removing the protection to the public. The Court found such action to be directly contrary to the mission and task of the agency. That logic and framing certainly does not apply to the Interior department's action in the least. In the instant case, Interior was acting exactly within their mission and task to protect the public in relation to mineral exploration and removal, and was not only not rescinding a rule to protect the public, it was seeking a temporary delay in order to determine how to better protect the public. There is simply no way to read State Farm as being consistent with the way Feldman applied it.

And, yes, I have a firm conviction that Feldman's financial holdings clearly presented a situation mandating disclosure on the record and/or recusal. In fact I would argue both, but at a minimum, disclosure. Feldman did neither. I indeed find that unacceptable and grounds for reversal.

Part of what is going on here is the rationality test is felxible enough in its application that you and I can both be right in our characterizations. Maybe describing it as flexible is wrong. Let's say that the descriptions what the inquiry entails are all over the place, ranging, in slightly exagerated form, from a rubber-stamp so long as everything is spelled correctly to a searching and probing inquiry.

From State Farm:
"Expert discretion is the lifeblood of the administrative process, but "unless we make the requirements for administrative action strict and demanding, expertise, the strength of modern government, can become a monster which rules with no practical limits on its discretion." ... We have frequently reiterated that an agency must cogently explain why it has exercised its discretion in a given manner, ... and we reaffirm this principle again today. [Citations omitted.]

Assuming good faith on Feldman's part, let's assume he saw the moratorium as potentially such a monster and took these words of the court to heart. It is his job not to let that monster with no practical limits needlessly do harm to the public. That's what the Supreme Court is telling him there, unless these words are meaningless garbage.

And the experts the govt. submitted, their opinions provided substantial evidence to justify his concern about the moratorium. The judge wasn't just making that up. The experts the govt. relied upon by a substantial majority felt a blanket moratorium went too far, was unnecessary, and there were other options that would address the risk.

Moreover, while you dismiss the evidentiary problems with the defective report as insignificant, I think you are wrong about that. From State Farm:
The short -- and sufficient -- answer to petitioners' submission is that the courts may not accept appellate counsel's post hoc rationalizations for agency action. [citations omitted.] It is well established that an agency's action must be upheld, if at all, on the basis articulated by the agency itself. [citations omitted.]

The agency deceptively passed the report off as supporting the ultimate conclusion that a six month blanket moratorium was warranted when the majority of the experts who participated actually opposed it. The judge would have been well within his bounds to toss the entire thing, or to consider it as evidence that the govt. was acting arbitrarily.

Finally, I concede that the judge has to take State Farm further than it goes in applying it to the facts of this case. (And i think the emergency context wipes out his rational for doing so.) But I do believe there are good-faith grounds for him doing so.

In a nut shell: In State Farm, allowing the agency to withdraw both passive restraints without considering the option of retaining air bag requirement was arbitrary because it put people at risk of harm with no reason given to justify that decision. Here, according to the evidence, a blanket 6 month moratorium causes a lot more harm to the public, and needlessly so, than various obvious alternatives, and no explanation is given justifying the choice.

I think that would qualify as a good faith application of the law to get the result Feldman got. The Supreme Court does put the burden on the agency to provide cogent and complete explanation for its actions sufficient to allow a court to thoroughly review them even if the review itself is narrow.

I agree with you that on appeal Feldman should be overturned for the reasons i gave a few days ago. But there needs to be some room in the law, and there is, for judges like Feldman to apply the rationality test with teeth when necessary in order to prevent harm to the public inflicted by the govt. The appellate courts will sort out when they cross the line in doing so. But the law is not mechanical and i don't think it should be.

[Deleted small % of all the excessive verbiage and citations]

Oh, I agree that there is ground for both of our arguments. Honestly, I don't even think there is that much separation as we get to the same place regarding reversal and for at lest some, although certainly not all, of the same reasons. The interaction is healthy and has helped me greatly to put the matter in its evolving perspective. I do admit there is an issue regarding the way the executive summary of the report (although not the report or its data itself) mischaracterized the opinions of the experts. However, I see that as going to weight, not admissibility. Two of the experts apparently did support the moratorium, one or two more hung up only on the starting depth point. In short, there was expert support although it was certainly not unanimous. Quite frankly, I think Feldman mischaracterized the report and experts arguably as much as Salazar did. Nobody involved in this comes off as clean. And the more I look at it, the worse the lawyering by the DOJ smells. I think we do fundamentally disagree on State Farm though; I continue to maintain it does not reach here because in State Farm the harm consideration as you describe was within the purview of the agency safety determination; here it just is not. Right or wrong, the Interior Department is not charged with economic stewardship of the Gulf region. But that is a fair argument, I can see your position whether I agree or not.

I will not go so far as to say Feldman maliciously twisted this opinion, there is no basis for that. However the appearances are pretty damning on a lot of fronts and I do think it ought to be reversed. I appreciate the discussion.

bmaz, synchro interesting discussion.

(incidentally, bmaz, I misquoted Louisiana canon, instead of Federal codes, yesterday, thanks for pointing that out.)

I did feel like the focus on Feldman's financial holdings were a distraction, which is why I commented on it.

Other than Salazar's sleight of hand misrepresenting the experts' recommendations, (which I find equally as offensive as bmaz does Feldman's nondisclosure/recusal), the report itself is actually a good read on technical safety recommendations for the industry. It's a shame that the safety issues get ignored in the disputes of the legal process, of which clearly there are issues.

I hadn't heard of blind trust for Presidents, which must mean there's forged documents floating around the internet, which isn't unheard of. Salazar has previously voted against ending tax exemptions for the same company that both the President currently holds, according to that possible forgery, and that Feldman just sold off. Big oil is a common thread.

You can argue that it is irrelevant what a political appointee's motivations are, or those of the person who appointed him, but as citizens impacted by far reaching agency actions, we certainly should look to see who stands to gain from our loss, and question if those actions are really in our best interests. Maybe we're just too dumb to know what's good for us, but it seems like you'd better have a convincing argument before you go and bankrupt a whole region for its own good.

The government has made a big show of holding hearings, appointing investigative committees, launching criminal investigations, exacting money from BP. All fine and dandy, and yet, we still have oil spilling in the Gulf. No amount of lawyering seems to be able to do anything about that. That's really at the heart of what eats me about the political/legal wrangling.

It's worse than ambulance chasing, it's a traffic jam of lawyers in front of the damned ambulance.

Thanks, i enjoyed the discussion very much as well.

Last observation, the sum total bottom line of Feldman's ruling was this: Dear Govt., please explain why you are chosing option 1 when your experts and other evid. suggest option 2 would accomplish the same level of risk reduction with less harm to an already battered population. Before we can okay option 1, please explain why these people have to suffer.

That's the sum total of what he said the govt. did not do that it should have done. He is not saying no to a moratorium.

Update: And yes, the lawyering appears to be a problem. A properly prepared record would have included something addressing that, explaining why that choice was needed and not some other. And they would have done something to fix the report and the deceptive conclusion that got so much press and pissed a lot of people off for the apparent duplicity. You prepare something like this assuming it is going to be challenged in court before the worst judge imaginable. Don't you?

A properly prepared record would have included something addressing that, explaining why that choice was needed and not some other.

I don't think the problem is the lawyer. it is a political problem. Adminstration is stuck here. On the one hand they need offshore drilling for US economy (trade deficeit will increase because we will have to import more oil), and gulf coast economic (TX, LA, economic will suffer without deepsea offshore drilling). And then we have the democratic left that want to ban offshoring drilling in the gulf outright and FL would love to see offshore drilling stop.. So what is the administration do in this tough spot. The ideal solution is that we can stop drilling until election is over (you wonder why 6 months and not 3 months and not 9 months...) so the political left and Florida will vote democrate.. And then they can continue drilling after that..

The problem with putting some technical details in the order means a couple things. 1) They will have to lift the ban if industry can meet the requirement (If the requriement is too tough, no one can drill after 6 months then the gulf coast economy is shot so is our deficeit. If the requirement is too soft, offshore drilling will come back too fast before the mid-term election) 2) the democratic left and FL voters will not like the order since it means offshore drilling will be back. The best case scenario is that adminstration just keep appeal the decision.. No one is going to drill anyway given the uncertainty.. This way democrate can get the left and FL to vote this November..

You can look at government action. They can easily draft another order to ban deepsea drilling in a few ordre. We know the industry oil spill respond plan and the resource pre-planned for oil spill is grossly inadequate and this alone should give enough reason to ban all deepsea drilling.. Why bother appeal the decision..

because of the flak over the experts' misrepresentation, I hadn't bothered reading the report, ( http://www.drillcompfluids.com/images/stories/documents/DOI_Report_to_Obama[1].pdf ), until I came across it on another site. That's where the politics/legal wrangling detracted from the overall discussion, in my mind. It was an otherwise well put together report.

You prepare something like this assuming it is going to be challenged in court before the worst judge imaginable. Don't you?

Fortunately, I've managed to stay out of the court systems for a long time now, but the answer is a resounding 'yes'. One thing I've taken away from my experiences in courts is to never trust a lawyer with your well-being. I don't mean that as a dig on all lawyers, I very much enjoy shooting the breeze about law, (or even a game of chess), with the lawyers I've known on a personal level. The cost of leaving it all up to a lawyer, especially from my personal experience, far outweighs the cost of vigorous personal diligence, (and the cost for personal diligence was steep, from my experience).

Again, thanks, both syncro and bmaz, and others, for in-depth analysis.

The first time a F-117 Stealth Fighter crashed the crash area was temporarily declared a National Security Area. Anyone inside the cordon was escorted out. Anyone wishing to enter was kept at gunpoint. Until the wreckage was removed. See the pertinent Aviation Week article from the time...

It is within the bounds of the Executive Branch to employ constructs such as National Security Areas, geographic zones employing Marshall Law, and the like, in cases of National Emergency.

You can take to the bank the fact that if a vehicle existed that was the prototype of the Next Generation Bomber, and it crashed in Dallas, then the appropriate radius of action in Metro Dallas would be evacuated until the classified wreckage was cleared.

Immediately after the 9-11 attacks, the U.S. National Airspace System was ordered to a state called 'Ground Stop'. All civilian air traffic, except for the very few sorties condoned by the USG, was grounded....for four days. This step was unprecedented in the history of the United States. Airline Losses were huge.

Air traffic was grounded over much of Europe due to the airborne ash hazard from the volcano in Iceland. Airline losses were huge.

If this President had some stones, the GOM under U.S. jurisdiction would have been declared a National Security Area for a limited amount of time, the rules of the road would be published and strictly enforced, and the oil companies, their workers, their politicians, and the media would pound sand.

Or, you can kow-tow to corporate politics and jump back into BAU and maybe have another preventable spill...it's just the environment, who gives a flip?

And before any cry babies go on about how authoritarian and fascist this idea is, you do not realize how many of your humans rights you have already lost after 9-11 and you haven't raised a fuss at all....and my proposal would be temporary and with precedent.

Declaring the GOM a National Disaster/Security area would be a temporary action. If the Congress didn't like it, they could start impeachment proceedings if they wanted.

But then again, we never raised much a fuss when a President and his administration lied out their hates to start our war in Iraq. I guess the rules are different for Republican Presidents...

I used to work with a guy who worked on a F117 crash site. Don't know if it was that one or not, but it could've been.

It's going to be a pretty big area, before all's said and done. I honestly don't know what approach they should be taking, but I just wish they'd get more of the stuff out of the water as soon as they can.

ya they grounded the planes but not for 6 months. Even though the risk of another plane being taken over was just as real.

KL - The formula is pressure (psi) = 0.052 * mud weight (#/gallon) * column height (feet). BP got a reservoir pressure from wire line (MDT) of 11,900 psi = 12.6 ppg. So 11,900 psi - 2,300 psi (water column pressure) divided by 0.052 * 13,000’ = 14.2 psi. But they’ll probably pump a higher MW to compensate from the oil mixing with the kill pill. The pump pressure will also add (ECD = effective circulating density) around 0.4 ppg but that goes away when they turn the pumps off. But there’s a balance: too heavy a mud column and they’ll fracture the rock and begin losing mud to the formations.

too heavy a mud column and they’ll fracture the rock and begin losing mud to the formations.

"Fracture"? What is the "rock" there?? What is the formation there? Where is a strat column???

PDV - Sorry don't have that on this puter but someone might put it up for you. The section they'll be drilling into is predominantly shale. The flowing reservoir is a high porosity sandstone. In addition to losing mud into fractured shale they could pump a lot of mud into the reservoir if the MW is too high But there could be some bebfit in LC into the rerservoir if it damages its flow character.

I don't know if you can answer this but what is the composition of the strata of the well?
What do the drilling logs say?

My concern is that what you have at the upper levels is layers of silt mixed with methane hydrates(I believe gas hydrates exists between 5-10,000 feet below the oceans surface) which I suppose over time is compressed into some easily fractured shales.
If there are gas hydrate strata, how thick are they, etc.

One of Robert Bea's comments(I forgot exactly where) was that previously (old school)drillers avoided drilling thru gas hydrates like the plague but recently that changed. He also said he thought gas hydrates may have entered the well.

With respect to the relief well, HO's diagram might work if the intersection of original and relief well were drilled well below in solid non-shale strata. How deep would that be?

If you pumped mud at high pressure into fracturable stata would it actually plug or would is just be a black hole of mud?
It was a little surprising that they stopped the mud operation after such a short amount of time, 12 hours?.

My own guess is that drilling thru 1000 feet gas hydrates and silt is nothing like drilling in firm limestone.

As far as I can see these wells are not so different than cast-in-place piles which have a certain maximum capacity; for example a 20" cast-in-place concrete pile has an ultimate capacity of ~200 tons under 'normal conditions(drilled to rock), here we have a 26" cast-in-place oil well with a 450 ton BOP on top plus a mile of pipe in NOT normal conditions.
I realize that these calculations are better understood by the industry but given the circumstances
of short cuts and bad workmanship I think a back-to-basics review is necessary rather than relying on the patronizing assurances of industry experts.

maj - At the depth of the wild flow it’s predominantly shale. Not sure if the NG at this depth is MH but I doubt it…too hot. But there can be a lot of free methane in the shale. Some of the worse kicks can be from “shale gas”. There’s very little non-shale rock for them to target the intersection. My guess would be that they would prefer to cut shale at the intersect. High MW induced fractures tend not to plug: the pressure just keeps opening up the fracs further. Years ago I had one well that lost 60,000 bbls of OBM like that.

I’m just speculating what’s down below 10,000’. As far as shallow conditions I’ll just wait till we get some more details.

Shallow conditions:

Exercise caution while drilling due to indications of shallow gas and possible water flow.

Hi. I'm a geophysicist with one of the larger oil companies in Houston, and relatively new to TOD. I had a few simmering questions about pressure, which I thought I might pose here.

In his previous post, syncro quoted drilling regs that "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."

This makes sense from a safety and environmental standpoint. You don't want to pollute the Gulf wih oil-based mud when you disconnect the riser. So I assume that they were trying to displace the mud in just the riser, not the entire well column, when the accident occurred. They had placed a plug just below the well head to separate what would become the sea water above from the drilling mud below. Is that correct?

Then why was the drill pipe still in the BOP, extending a long way (1000 ft?) below the mud line? If they wanted to just replace the riser fluid, the end of the drill pipe circulating the fluids should have been above the BOP, right? What am I misunderstanding?

Based on my limited understanding of the situation, three things could have gone wrong in this process. 1) They really were trying to displace the entire column, contrary to regs, and the cmt plugs at TD failed; 2) The plug near the well head failed as the riser fluid was displaced or 3) The annular space outside the casing was never plugged, allowing gas to rise through that path. Which of these failure modes is most likely? According to my calculations, the upper plug would only have to withstand a pressure of 136 psi, assuming a reservoir pressure of 11900 psi, a column height of 13000' below the BOP and 14 ppg mud. 136 psi isn't very much.

Another pressure issue I had pertains to the RWs. Won't it be necessary to obtain a pretty good pressure seal above the BOP before the kill is attempted? The RWs will have a mud column of 18,000 ft from the water surface to just above the reservoir. The kill mud will quickly rise up the wild well and spill out from the BOP unless it is capped. Cement cannot cure while fluids are flowing, correct? How likely will the overshot tool be able to achieve such a seal with the top of the BOP?

What a wonderful service TOD is providing in its coverage of both the current catastrophy, and the longer-term dilemma of peak oil. I'm very happy to have discovered it.

Another pressure issue I had pertains to the RWs. Won't it be necessary to obtain a pretty good pressure seal above the BOP before the kill is attempted? The RWs will have a mud column of 18,000 ft from the water surface to just above the reservoir. The kill mud will quickly rise up the wild well and spill out from the BOP unless it is capped. Cement cannot cure while fluids are flowing, correct? How likely will the overshot tool be able to achieve such a seal with the top of the BOP?

All excellent points, and they've been mentioned by various folks, including Rockman and myself.

So, the punchline question is, Will a kill weight mud that would NOT need for the well to be at least partially capped at the mud line (BOP-LMRP cap junction) would be so high as to most likely fracture the rock around the relief well? Probably. Rockman did the math on this concept with the Leak Off Test of the casing shoe (estimating the fracture pressure from that), but I forget which open thread that's in.

Your guess that the Overshot Tool better damn well make a decent seal comes into play then. The details on how the Overshot Tool will be connected to the BOP are just now coming out.

I believe Rockman's calculations for kill mud allow for the current open flow at the sea floor - if the formation needed 12.6 ppg from the surface it needs 14.2 ppg from the sea floor to balance (numbers from memory - don't have the original comment open). Formation fracture pressures in the general vicinity of the reservoir are about 16 ppg. Assuming that there are no other shallower formations exposed to the failed cement or breached casing with significantly lower fracture pressure the relief well should work. But if there is a failure to water column pressure gradient more than a couple of thousand feet below the sea floor the required kill mud weight will exceed the leak off pressure and they'll have to get exotic with the fluid properties or maybe try to drill the reservoir and 'damage' or flow it hard to cut the flow into the blowout so it can be re-entered or the second relief well can hit it with a lower mud weight and kill it.

Well, you are correct, sir. However, it depends on where the oil is flowing from. Let's take your scenario first.

Start by balancing a 12.6# and an intercept of 18000. Assuming a mudline of 5000 in round numbers.

This gives a pressure of 11793 BHP to balance
(12.6 * 0.052 * 18000 = 11793)

But we have to balance it at the mudline, so we have to do it with only 13000 column of mud and 5000 of water.
Subtracting the pressure from the water first, 2165
(8.33 * 0.052 * 5000 = 2165)
gives 9628

Now we have to balance 9628psi with a 13000ft tall column of mud.
This works out to be 14.24# mud
(14.24ppg * 0.052 * 13000ft = 9628psi)

and since the frac for the shoe is like 15.9# or 16#

you could easily have a 15.5# mud in a safe and controlled condition.

This would work as long as the primary pay sands were in communication with the surface through the inside of the casing.

Here's where it gets tricky.

However, if the cement was bad and the primary flow is outside the cement and outside the casing, it stands to reason that the 14.1# sand at 17720 would continue to flow into the well, diluting the mud and lowering the effective mud weight. You may have to kill that sand too.
Using the same math as above, you'd end up with
12992psi - 2165psi = 10827psi or the pressure you have to balance with 12720' of mud (distance between mudline and top of 14.1 sand)
which gives a 16.36# mud
(16.36ppg * 0.052 * 12720ft = 10827psi)

This is slightly higher than the last leak off test data, but it is close. This led to my comment about needing a partial seal at the mudline. If the partial seal at the mudline gives just a thousand psi of back pressure, this will be over with. That Overshot Tool could do that, easily.

So as long as the oil is only traveling up the inside of the casing, the relief well will tap the outside of the casing and won't encounter any oil flow. Then you perf the casing with a shot from the relief well and the mud will balance.

If the relief well does encounter significant oil flow, most likely the 14.1ppg sand at 17720 will give a problem. That said, that's a thin sand and may have already depressurized. There's an additional 13.0# sand at 17817', but these are the two extremes.

Exactly R2...why I don't go for 5 decimal places. You run a good list of the possible what ifs. It will very interesting to see how they start testing their guesses on what's going on down hole. Unfortunately I doubt they'll feed us the details as they go along.

Geo - Nope, they were displacing the mud from the csg as well as the riser when it kicked. They had not set plugs in the csg at this point. All they had cmtd was the lower section of the production csg. Also, not 100% but I thing they were 3,000’ below the well head with the DP when it blew. The kick could have come up the annulus, the prod csg or both. The plan was to set the top plug after displacing was completed. At this time that appears to have been what caused the blow out: the csg cement had not sufficiently hardened when they reduced the head and thus the reservoir flow up.

You’re right…have to stop the flow before pumping cmt. And yep, going to lose a lot of mud through the BOP when they pump. Another complication: the kill pill will be diluted by the oil flow and make it all the more difficult to get sufficient head. Even though the csg volume is around 1,200 bbls they may have to pump 30,000 bbls or more to kill it. They also may have other specialized kill fluids that might help but I don’t know anything about them.

There...you happy now? Get back on your workstation and find some grease. LOL. And welcome aboard.

Thanks for your reply! It seems that displacing the casing mud was a particularly risky and unnecessary (dare I say reckless?) move. I read your story about how oil-based mud can solidify over time and really jam up a hole. Maybe they should have switched to a water-based mud at that point, and just left it like that until it was reopened for production.

It also seems that they will be walking a tight rope when they try to kill the well. Certainly not a "sure thing," as some have described it. A decent seal with the overshot tool would certainly help.

If there was DP 3000' below the well head, shouldn't we have seen drill pipe in the cut end of the riser?. (I'm refering to the photo which appears to show only liner at the cut.)

I hadn't thought about the 5000' of extra mud column height with the RWs.... Ick.

When they see mud coming out at the BOP, would they then reduce the mud weight they're pumping into the RW to reduce the effect of that extra 5000'? Intuitively, it seems like if you could follow the kill mud with 5000' of seawater (that is, displace the RW riser just down to the sea floor), then it should all balance (ignoring casing failures, BOP backpressure, friction loss, and probably a dozen variables I've never even heard of). But I imagine it's hard to maintain equilibrium even if you do get it balanced just so....

Trying to think through the dynamics, but I haven't learned enough yet to get all the way there.... :(

Rockman wrote:
"So 11,900 psi - 2,300 psi (water column pressure) divided by 0.052 * 13,000’ = 14.2 psi."

Maybe the error was due to Blue Bell brain freeze
Should be 11,900 psi - 2,300 psi (water column pressure) divided by 0.052 / 13,000’ = 14.2 psi.

Thanks Rockman for all the information.

My albatross is the V-door key around my neck

Thanks N90...just a little sloppy...no BBIC today.

'Junk Shot Ops' - they're working with stuff that was sent down in just the past few days, so it's not related to the previous attempt as far as I can see. Has there been any mention of what they might be about to do?

To RockMan,

Prof Goose speaks of a high signal to noise ratio.
What I negatively commented on was the 'noise' that very much OFF TRACK comments that were being posted on a ""KEY TOPIC"" post.

The place for whining,poety,look at me, and I hate Christians, and other OFF TRACK comments needs to go on the daily Drumbeats in their own thread.

This has always been the rule #1 on TOD since way way back.

At one time the Drumbeats were getting so much traffic and the KEY TOPIC posts so little that the moderators and KEY posters were becoming very angry as a result.

Now we see the opposite. Heavy trivial (noise) on the KEY topic posts and less and less commenting on the DBs.

So this comment I am making is in itself a form of 'meta' commenting. IOWs commenting about commenting.

Not to step on toes but again Goose makes it very clear that the MEMBERSHIP should take a serious hand in the area of 'signal/noise'.

When you veer off topic then others follow on and a whole new thread develops that increases the bandwidth and fills the TOPIC post with extraneous matter.

I do not read the DBs too much except when things slow down. Never have a seen a crisis of this magnitude exhibited before on TOD.

We can't afford to be delving into arcane comments and silliness while the whole country is dealing with an affair of this magnitude.

300 comments take quite a while to click thru trying to find comments of real value. Then the Key post is closed and a new one created.

Irregardless of what Don Sailorman stated some time back "this is an open thread" or words to that effect. It doesn't mean that an OPEN TOPIC is open to anything comment one cares to make. It means you can COMMENT since it is OPEN as opposed to when it becomes CLOSED to commenting.

I grew tired long ago of the silliness of many posters and restarted by TODBAN but in an area with limited connectivity it really slows me down and also due to slow responses when clicking thru.

Can we please stay ON TRACK and post the frivolous nonsense to the DBs , as it was intended?

Sorry for starting a brouhaha over this but my patience just wore out.

Not just RM is having a difficult time with concerns. I just buried my mother and now have the onerous task of administering her estate. We all have bad times and humor is many times desired as a remedy. I understand that full well but 'Houson We Have A Problem"...we need good information and also to prepare for the future.

If I wanted poetry I would pull some of my books on it off the shelf.
Ego tripping is a pit many fall into on the net. Posting poetry serves exactly WHAT purpose when a very technical subject is being discussed?

If others wish to continue this discussion then let us take it to a DB.

Sorry to hear about your loss passingby. Never easy. I get all your points. But I leave it to the editors to make those judgement calls. They've slapped my wrist more than once in the past and have always accepted their rulings. As far as my approach we see a lot of cold tech facts here. I do make a point of offering more emotional/personal responses especially offering insight to how folks in the oil patch view the current events. As always I'll follow the lead of the editors. They do all the serious/hard work on TOD and deserve such respect IMHO.

We're all in the oil patch now. Where is a stratigraphic column for this well?

My understanding is that the mudlog has been requested by Senator Markey by July 2. Why this has not been made public- your guess.

The stratigraphic column is most likely a sand and shale sequence, probably of Miocene age. Most zones are positively identified by foraminfera fossils by paleontologists and are named after the species found. (At least back in the day when I was out there.)

In relative terms these are recent sediments- at greater depth are the "named" formations such as the Louann salt and Wilcox.

I would like to SEE a stratigraphic column, a key and rock descriptions. Discussing this without knowing what the rocks are is folly.

most likely a sand and shale sequence, probably of Miocene age. Most zones are positively identified by foraminfera fossils by paleontologists and are named after the species found.

Thank you for that, but I know we can do better than "probably" and "most". "Louann salt" and "Wilcox" fms are a start. More data?

ask BP

Thanksabunch, frontier energy. Maybe I have to visit bldg 20.

I don't have the link but the data is out there on BP's web site as well as on TOD a few weeks ago. Better than a mud log they've posted the electric log over the interval. One thing that surprised me: the reservoir is only 60' thick. The big DW fields commonly have 300' to 500' pay columns.

Can ya help a guy out here? Linky poo if it's not too difficult? I am having a difficult time navigating/finding over there at BP. You say you've seen a stratigraphic column - is that a general column or THE column around the well? Any links? Post it up...

Also I'm not as interested in the reservoir rock(s) as I am the overlying "rocks".

Maybe some of the information in this article will be useful: http://leanenergy.ldeo.columbia.edu/docs/UltraDeep%20Prosp%2010-22-02.pdf It looks like the prospect is in the Mississippi Fold belt with prograding delta systems over turbidite sequences. I've worked these type of sequences in California Cretaceous basins, but maybe one of the geologist familiar with the Gulf Coast stratigraphy and structural elements could fill in the details on the BP prospect.

Apparently you do not understand the question.

Thanks I haven't seen this. This is a Measurement While Drilling log. I'll need to print this out and give a look over. The mudlog would still be useful for the chromatograph analysis.

Re: Markey - I suppose so.

Markey's in the House, not the Senate.

Minus language and some wandering, you approach college level instruction. Have you thought about retiring as a professor?

TFHG -- "Language and some wandering"? Some folks consider those to be my most charming qualities. LOL. I like teaching: nothing like having a captive audience that has to pretend to enjoy my stories. I used to teach young geologists as well as being the earth science show and tell volunteer at Houston's inner city schools. The only complaint I ever got from a few school teachers was that I got the kids too hyper. Can you beleive that...me stirring up things? LOL.

I love your language and wondering. As long as you turn it off for the doctoral committee, you should be fine.

TFHG -- FYI the chemist prof on my Master's committee didn't care much for my "approach" either. But I'm much better now. Then I was young and arrogant. Now I'm old. Still arrogant but much better at hiding it IMHO.

Rockman: "You're a born sh*t disturber." That's what one of those sensitive legal types said about me on the previous posting. Can you believe it? Moi? So I sympathize with you about the unfair, illegal and immoral abuse you receive from overly sensitive school teachers.

EL -- Actually one teacher wasn't too out of line. I told the kids how the could find gold in the dirt on their play ground. You ever see a bunch of 4th graders get gold fever? Not a pretty sight.

Rockman: Did the teachers join the kids?

Not after I explained the low concentration and inability to see it with the naked eye. PO's the kids too.

Peace to you and your mom, passingby. I'm sorry for your loss.

Good points. I get stuff pulled for being off topic, so I guess I can be guilty too. Just remember something. Were the guys that were calling the shots on this incident amateur poets? Probably not, but what if they were? Do you think this would have happened? I am not saying poets are the answer by any means, I am saying if we had more poetic thinking for decision makers, maybe we would not be in this mess. Maybe if folks read more poems and started driving 30 minutes to work instead of an hour, it solves some of our problems. Everything is circular, poetry and art will resurge and play a greater role in our lives.
There has to be some software available so you can block left brain/split brains from right brains like yourself, thus you would not have bottlenecking on your connection speeds. I will see what I can find and see if I can help you. Good luck and bless you from Alabama's ground zero.

Oh yes, condolences.

Condolences. I recently lost a mother as well. Indeed her funeral took place while the rig of the wild well was burning.

As for your concerns, I apologize for my part in O/T comments over the last couple of days - though I can actually understand both sides of this, since the friction created by the dougr controversy seems to have sparked a "group process" of humor and attempts to find balance (which likely got out of hand... indeed, I had concluded that myself yesterday... so stopped commenting).

I am here for serious discussion, learning, and offering what I can to keep things sane and productive. So in that sense I appreciate a meta comment to keep us all on track.

Peace be with you. May you find comfort in your loss.

Peace and comfort be with you too, TheraP. You sure raise the quotient of those around here, for which we all thank you -- and your mom (and dad), too.

Thanks for your kind words. Death can be transforming, and at the risk of seeming off topic, I provide this link:


As I've noted before, if we can face death, we can better prepare for peak oil.

Peace to all.

pb and TP: I second lotus.

(which is becoming an annoying habit... oh, well.)

[hi-fives E L] :~)

"This has always been the rule #1 on TOD since way way back. "
Member for
3 weeks 6 days

Lighten up.

Warf: You're GD is showing again: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVdTQ3OPtGY

Have a nice, sunny Sunday, my friend.

[Edited because I can't type.]

I'm not THAT intimidated :)

Everyone should get a pass on a death. Unless of course, you played a hand in the death, like the Green Devil.

OK, passingby:

Are comments on these topic “comments of real value” or “arcane comments and silliness”, "frivolous nonsense","extraneous matter", and "Ego tripping" according to your rules? And why? Please explain:

1. Comments on the way the judicial system is involved in the blow out, including Judge Feldman’s decision and court procedure?

2. Comments on the way the media is treating the blow out story?

3. Comments on the rules and regulation governing offshore drilling procedure?

4. Comments on the the PR job BP has launched and its effectiveness?

5. Comments on the outlook for BP as an ongoing enterprise with references to stock prices and credit default swaps on BP’s bonds?

6. Comments on the general psychological reaction people have to stress?

7. Comments on the political involvement of Congressional hearings?

8. Comments of the US and British government role in the future of BP and the damage to the Gulf?

9. Comment reflecting individual emotional reactions to the ever increasing damage?

Simply put, what are your parameters for legitimate comments? And why?

Was "I am become death, the destroyer of worlds" (Bhagavad Gita, quoted by J.Robert Oppenheimer, Trinity, 1945) a comment of "real value" according to your standards?

Simply put, what are your parameters for legitimate comments? And why?

Simply put, I understand naught of this discussion. Does more than one user think an Open Thread is a key topic post? Open Thread - says so right in the title. What are anyone's criteria for legitimate comments in open threads?


count: I agree absolutely with you. But this was passingby's second rather long comment on this topic. So I was curious what he thought were appropriate limits for the concept of "Open Thread", if any. And why?

Asked and answered. Perhaps Gail would care to clarify?

Surely you do notice that when these GOM topics are created that quite fast they are CLOSED. Meaning no more comments accepted.

OPEN--post BUT on topic and very little NOISE.


E L,

Well first the 'title' of the Topic Post indicates , vaguely I admit, what the topic is about. In this case storm in the GOM related and whatever 'a little progress' means.

Then you are supposed to read the actual text the the originator inserted which is prior to the comment section. This will give you ideas about what the author found of interest and wishes comments regarding.

You made a fairly lengthy list of 'whatabouts'. Some are possibly OffTrack and some likely OnTrack and some in the gray area .....BUT I submit that poetry and who makes and sells Blue Bell ice cream is certainly way way OffTopic and offtrack. (I prefer the term Off Topic.)

Do the newcomers to TOD understand these rules? Most I doubt do but they have been used since the early beginnings of TOD and I was here back then as a lurker. Only recently have I created an account so 'membership time' is meaningless.

I read for good content and do NOT select topic posts that do not interest me.
I hate to see good bandwidth and good string get mangled due to some newbie who wants to shine his rapidly dimming light and treat us to some mangled prose of his own or others.

If I want English Lit I will go to that type of website. What I desire on TOD is well informed content and meaningful questions. Both from new members and from old members.

For several years TOD has IMO functioned quite well except a few miscreants such as DMatthew and Hothgar who came only to disrupt and post a huge amount of garbage. OilCEO likewise. They were all banned finally as well they should have been.

I dislike the current moderation method. I far more approved the numbering method and that way I could skip the trouble makers and wiseguys.

But overall TOD is doing a very very well job IMO of following the crisis and continuing to put up DBs and Campfires.

I will shortly be sending TOD a $100 for their efforts. Maybe when this heat breaks and I get some breathing room.

Apologies for stepping on any outstretched toes. Thanks for the condolences for my 92 year old mother.

Keep asking and posting good sensible questions and comments.

I will try to not visit this area regarding content again. But it appeared to me that many were unaware of how TOD was set up and its policies are regards Topic Post vs DBs and Campfires.

Again the authors content above the comments section indicates the areas they are exploring and wish for commenting upon.

Note I am a musician and therefore love poetry as a result but just what does THAT have to do with oil and hurricanes? DBs are where to go with that sort of commenting. Something is always raging on the DBs and its fairly wide open. For those who wish to say more than what the topic is about.

Open thread does NOT mean 'open to whatever you got to say'. It means the thread has NOT been closed to comments. If I am wrong on this , and I do not think I am, then some one on the staff please set me straight. After years and years of following the birth of the WWW,forums,blogs and other varieties I do believe I 'have it right'. I have hosted several websites of my own, paid for myself and with my rules. I do not speak of Yahoo Groups, Face Books or Twitter. I mean hard core , down in the dirt forums.

And I found that without a good set of well understood rules and enforced that the websites tended to degenerate badly and I shut them down in frustration.

No one wants to see TOD vanish yet over the years I know some of the staff have had burnout and loss of incentive. I read this on TOD. I know of what they speak.

Right now TOD is fulfilling a very great mission with great skill and devoting great amounts of bandwidth to keep the data flowing. We are now approaching what has been seen afar long ago.

Its here now and its massive. Its sowing destruction up and down the gulf coast and it is very definitely 'oil related'. Good minds and good posts are very important so that we all can profit whether it is chaos coming at us or some solution saves the day finally.

Personally I believe Nature is growing tired of toying with us creatures and will exact a huge penalty upon us. We never seem to learn. Now it is clear what the consequences of such stupidity can bring down on us and our future. It looks very very bleak to me.

If something important breaks? I expect to read it first here on TOD. If I can wade thru the massive postings to find it.


But if something on-topic is expressed in mathematical notation or in poetry rather than in prose, should these be prohibited, in your view?

Your entire meta-discussion was way OT for this thread, so I am flagging it as inappropriate.


post sequence misread

Open thread does NOT mean 'open to whatever you got to say'. It means the thread has NOT been closed to comments. If I am wrong on this , and I do not think I am, then some one on the staff please set me straight.

Check out the title format, passerby. It's "Topic of the Day" -and Open Thread. You overlooked the "and". Below that it says Post a Comment if the thread is still open, or Comments can no longer be added to this story if it is closed. How did you miss that?

Gail wrote earlier today: This is really an "oil spill related issues" open thread. Not a one-topic-only thread, did you not read that?

Your first post today was hard enough to wade through, your second went over the line for me. The people who posted Blue Bell and T S Eliot references have contributed a lot of the signal that drives this site. You haven't, so please stop lecturing them, it just sounds like noise.

As for me, I'm with Rockman: As always I'll follow the lead of the editors. They do all the serious/hard work on TOD and deserve such respect IMHO.

I read your comments. I also read posting guidlines and will adhere to the "signal to noise" guide. I'm new here, and know nothing of oil drilling. So for the near future and beyond, I will be an observer. I will probably ask questions though.

Swamp Music.


The proper word is regardless, not irregardless.

My sympathy on your loss.

When you lose your mother, you become more vulnerable. And that feeling never goes away.

Sorry for your loss, I understand. We laid "Popa Don" (Step-father) to rest in Hondo TX yesterday. Hang in there! Keep up the good work. Don't let the stress get to you, sit down with a hearing ear, you will need it in time.

Nice if true. But then, BP's messaging is so boneheaded, they prolly don't recognize what a risk they're taking here (and with that other "40% ahead of sked" talk they been doing) . . .

LONDON June 27 (Reuters) - BP ... could plug the leaking well in the Gulf of Mexico in mid-July, two weeks earlier than its current guidance of early August, British newspaper The Sunday Times said.

The drilling of relief wells which the company hopes will enable it to finally plug the oil gushing out from the seabed a mile below the surface of the Gulf is progressing faster than expected, sources with knowledge of the operation were reported as telling the newspaper.

A spokesperson for BP declined to comment on the report and referred to a statement issued by the company on Friday which said the two relief wells were still estimated to take approximately three months to complete.

BP began drilling the wells on May 2 and May 16 suggesting the spill could be brought under control at the beginning of August. (Reporting by Sarah Young; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

I've been puzzling about this for the past week, since it was reported that on the 18th or 19th the relief well was within 200 feet horizontal of the original well. Pretty close it seemed. From Adm. Allen via Heading Out in today's intro we have this:

they're going to try and intercept somewhere around between 16,700 and 17,000 feet

Which I think puts them within not much more than a couple hundred feet vertical too. I know they have to go a lot slower at the end to hit the 10 inch target, but at least in gross distance terms the relief well seems close to done drilling.

In my line of business if I thought something would take a month and a half with everything going according to the orderly sequence I've planned I'd try my best not to give any prediction and if I had no choice I'd make it something like "3 months if very lucky." Two reasons:

1) People count on your predictions no matter how you qualify them and will become angry with you and call you incompetent if you don't meet the prediction, no matter how completely the out of your control is the cause of the delay.

2) There is a strong human tendency to give overly optimistic predictions. You can imagine the sequence of events in everything goes to plan and can imagine many ways things can go wrong and prepare for them and estimate the time to remedy. But the calculated length of time that results does not include that thing you completely failed to imagine- and that's the one that gets you.

So I wouldn't be surprised if the announce that they are in next week nor would I be if they are still at it in December.

3) If you make six week prediction people expect it to come to fruition in 4.


they're going to try and intercept somewhere around between 16,700 and 17,000 feet

The 9 7/8" liner shoe is at 17,157 TVD.

I can't imagine the procedure of trying to intercept an out of control well and having to go through TWO strings of casing to get there.

UNLESS... the engineers truly ARE convinced that the oil is coming up the outside of the 7" casing and then going inside the 9 7/8" liner.
Suddenly, this makes a hell of a lot of sense. If this is the case, the drillers wouldn't have to worry about hitting a large washout zone around the 7" casing! (Which was my worry from the start)
Then, they perf the 9 7/8" casing, the kill mud flows in the annular space between the 7 and 9 7/8 in pipe, and there's no worry about the final cement going into that washout below the relief well bit.

I'm very sorry I didn't think of this first. It makes a ton of sense.
It also means the relief well action happens starting Wednesday-Friday.

lotus -- I'm VP Operations for my little company. I'm asked almost daily when X will happen. Long ago I learned to emphasize the difference between "predicting" and "projecting". I never predict anything...including the Sun rising tomorrow. I project. And my projections are pretty accurate. And they stay accurate as long as I alter the projection when the conditions change. BP predicting is playing a fool's game IMHO that I've seen many others come to regret. Right now BP's prediction is that the first RW will interesect in blow out in August. And if they stick the drill pipe in RW #1 that projection will become Sept or Oct. I always qualify my projections with the obvious caveats. IMHO BP would be better served by not ignoring potential problems with the RW in their staements to the public.

Remember BP's "prediction" prior to taking that fatal kick: the well should be temprarially abandoned today awating for the time BP will make 100's of millions in profit. So how's that prediction working for them? LOL.

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

Yessirreebob, chappies, my mode for now is strictly "Hide & Watch."


There's a new 10 minute video out on the bp.com website with Kent Wells giving an update on the relief wells. Well worth watching IMHO!

They're getting close, fingers crossed that this will be 41 out of 41 for John Wright from Boots & Coots:-)

The video feeds of the 12 video cams from the ROVs is at http://mxl.fi/bpfeeds/ and they have a new option for displays with a horizontal resolution of 1280 so you can see all the cameras without having to scroll around on smaller screens.

And Firefox has now been improved with a separate plugin container to make crashes less likely.

And the sun is shining here in London, just don't mention the football.

Fingers crossed here too, tonyw, but from a McClatchy story a couple of days ago, a caution:

While electromagnetic ranging helps, it can be off by as much as 10 percent, according to a study by John W. Wright, one of the world's foremost experts on relief well drilling. Wright's employer, the Houston blowout-killing company Boots & Coots, declined interview requests.

BP, while not being certain, attributes the failure of top kill to a damaged disc. There's been a lot of discussion here about the failed top kill effort and the consensus seemed to be that the casing is damaged and somewhat fragile and that required the top kill effort to be halted. But now I'm wondering about that. What's the possibility that the casing is essentially okay?

Tell you what snake, I don’t know specifically why the top kill didn’t work. I don’t think anyone can make an air tight case at this point. But I’ve seen many wells killed with such a method. This has been when the wild flow was controlled by shutting the well in (as opposed to activating the BOP). Relatively simple process: raise the MW and crank up the pump pressure and it pushes the oil/NG back into the reservoir. But this is done in a closed system. The situation with the BP well involved trying to pump into the BOP which was open to the sea. I think virtually all the mud pumped down went out the BOP opening into the GOM. I’m not sure if there was enough mud pump pressure/volume that could have been applied to overcome this leakage. That’s why I was never very optimistic about their top kill plan. The failed rupture discs may have made it more difficult. But don’t have any experience with that situation so I can’t offer an opinion.

That's interesting, rockman, that you've "seen many wells killed with such a method." A good deal of press analysis described the Top Kill attempt as another page out of the unsuccessful Ixtoc I oil spill "Operation Sombrero" ...which also failed. ...One thing I haven't read much in any press analysis is how other spills have been successfully addressed with the same/ or similar Top Kill methods. Funny how any discussion of smaller spill events is limited, or absent, in the press. I've read A LOT, and have not come across one illustration of a "top hat" method that was successful. Logic tells me that, of course, there have been successful attempts, but I'm still curious as to why the discussion of these smaller, successful attempts is limited.

web -- there could have been a handful of successful "top kills” in other wells since the blow out. But read my words carefully. These kills would have been preformed on shut in wells....not blow outs. The best example would be the BP blow out itself. The cmt failed and the oil/NG rushed up the csg under great pressure. The hands were struggling to shut off the return routes of the flow when the rig exploded. If they had stopped the flow (shut the well in) before the explosion they would have built a heavy kill pill and pumped it down the csg under high pressure. This would have pushed the oil/NG back into the reservoir and they would have established a sufficient head to keep it from flowing again. Then they might have re-cmtd the casing, properly this time, temp abandon the well and come back later and make a small fortune from it.

They might have just been minutes away from shutting the well in before it exploded. And if they had virtually no one except the players involved would have know anything about it. Wells around the world take kicks all the time. And some of those have to be shut in and a kill pill pumped. And, even more rare, a well explodes, hands dies and the environment suffers great harm. Re-read my post and it might make more sense now.

The delay in initiating the top kill did not help. If they had a rig on- site that could have put the kill down the well within the first week they probably could have stoppered it. This with the very small aperture in the BOP.

I wuuld think having a back-up drillship within a day's sail of any DW well would be a good safety precaution.

Oooh!! Oooh!! Jan and Dean, right? "Two Rigs for Every Well"

Sorry. Couldn't help it.

no, you just need an extra one in the gulf area for all drilling operations. Who would pay for that Uncle sam with some kind of use tax.

From what little I can glean on the decisions to stop the top kill effort, it was made, at least in part, by the folks from DOE under Secretary Chu. It may be that they use a different safety factor in evaluating the maximum pressure that they would allow the well to be run up to, relative to that which is more commonly used in the industry. The Government value being higher - thus the allowable operating pressure being lower. So that when that pressure was reached, and the well had not shut down, they stopped the effort.


Bottom line re: casing status is d/k, insufficient data. Pretty much what I figured but I thought I might have missed something.


That 3d Wellbore configuration above is "artist concept" right? That looks like stuck city.

More than likely a gentle closing spiral as determined by ranging.

My understanding from two sources deep in the government is that Chu and a select DOE team were basically running the entire top kill process including notably, as you describe, the decision to terminate. I have heard a lot of grousing about it too in light of the fact there was not a formal designation of Chu and the DOE team being in charge (they would not normally be) and there being no clear command authority chain when what were seen as some questionable decisions made and incorrect information being fed to the public.

Chu will also be playing a prominent role in an upcoming decision making process, one which will decide which of three containment caps will replace the current one. Per Allen's 6/26 briefing .

Just as a note, sometime next week we'll reach a decision threshold with the current containment cap. At that point we'll be a capacity of 53,000 barrels to be able to move to 50 to 80,000 barrel capacity requires us to remove the existing containment cap and put one of three options on that will actually seal that wellhead either over the cut off phalange or by either removing the phalange where the riser pipe was cut and actually bolting on a new one.

Those discussions are underway and will culminate with a meeting next Wednesday that will be chaired by Secretary Salazar, Secretary Chu, government agencies and scientists to take a look at the final plans and to look at next steps moving forward.

Varying in weight from one to something like forty tons, the three potential replacements are: (per Wells' 6/18 technical briefing)
- a cap with a flange-to-flange connection, which would require the riser remnant plus LMRP portion to be unbolted and removed before the new cap could be bolted on
- a cap that would connect under the existing flange
- an overshot tool, that would be lowered some distance over the riser remnant, etc.

He said that they are leaning towards the first, the flange-to-flange connection, at least they were 6/18 .

Does this mean it's safe to say there's closer to 80K bpd rather than 50Kbpd shooting out..?

Please note that it says 'capacity'. It does not say this is what is coming out. I would have thought that having more capacity available than flow is probably a good measure rather than the reverse situation.


The gov't requested BP submit a plan for redundant capacity a couple of weeks ago.

We've seen the need for that redundancy twice recently when the DE had to shut down because of 1. - a fire from lightning and 2. - a displaced containment cap.

Also remember this: The oil collected through the choke and kill lines is pulled from upstream of the BOP. That means the total coming from the top with no abatement is not the same as the simple addition of the flow through the top cap plus the flow through the choke and kill lines.

It's like having a garden hose with a nozzle. If the nozzle is choked back and then a hole develops in the hose, the water coming out the nozzle will decrease, but not by as much as is coming from the hole.

If we know the pressure under the BOP before and after the Q4000 began we could calculate the total flow and therefore the total flow leaking.

Internet kill switch:

Obama Can Shut Down Internet For 4 Months Under New Emergency Powers

‘Kill switch’ bill approved , moves to Senate floor

Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet.com
Friday, June 25, 2010

President Obama will be handed the power to shut down the Internet for at least four months without Congressional oversight if the Senate votes for the infamous Internet ‘kill switch’ bill, which was approved by a key Senate committee yesterday and now moves to the floor.

The Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act, which is being pushed hard by Senator Joe Lieberman, would hand absolute power to the federal government to close down networks, and block incoming Internet traffic from certain countries under a declared national emergency.>>




Obama Can Shut Down Internet For 4 Months Under New Emergency Powers

Boy, now there's a misleading headline. Before falling for it, maybe you should consult Information Week?

The Lieberman-Collins cybersecurity bill passed out of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Thursday to await consideration by the full Senate. But not everyone is satisfied with what it says.

The bill has drawn criticism in some quarters because it supposedly includes provisions for an Internet kill switch -- when the going gets rough, the President supposedly could power down the Net.

Well, it seems there is no Internet kill switch in the bill. Apparently, we have one already.

In an e-mail directed to his media contacts on Friday, Alan Paller, director of research at the SANS Institute, wrote:

There is no kill switch in the Lieberman-Collins Bill (formally known as Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act, S. 3480). But there is one already on the books in the Communications Act of 1934.

The Lieberman-Collins bill just authorizes standard filtering like that done by ISPs every day, but in a nationally-coordinated fashion. The only kill switch appears to be in Sec. 706(c) of the Communications Act of 1934, that already gives the President the power in a time of national security emergency to shut down or disrupt internet traffic. The Lieberman Collins Bill is much more measured and effective.

The relevant sections of both bills are provided below. Read them yourself. ...

Oh. We have one already? Sweet. HAHAHAHAHAhahaha Holy crap.

We have one already?

Apparently we do. But doncha know that "more measured and effective" stuff will come in for further debate (rational and otherwise) before anything changes . . .

The Lieberman-Collins bill just authorizes standard filtering like that done by ISPs every day, but in a nationally-coordinated fashion.

And how is streamlining the censoring of content a good thing? Perhaps we could ask China and Pakistan. The Aussies seem to like those models.

Yes, we've had one for rather a long time, kinda-sorta. And the "kill switch" covers much more than the Internet. From the 1934 Act, as amended (most significantly by the 1996 Telecommunications Act):

[§706] c) Upon proclamation by the President that there exists war or a threat of war, or a state of public peril or disaster or other national emergency, or in order to preserve the neutrality of the United States, the President, if he deems it necessary in the interest of national security or defense, may suspend or amend, for such time as he may see fit, the rules and regulations applicable to any or all stations or devices capable of emitting electromagnetic radiations within the jurisdiction of the United States as prescribed by the Commission, and may cause the closing of any station for radio communication, or any device capable of emitting electromagnetic radiations between 10 kilocycles and 100,000 megacycles, which is suitable for use as a navigational aid beyond five miles, and the removal therefrom of its apparatus and equipment, or he may authorize the use or control of any such station or device and/or its apparatus and equipment, by any department of the Government under such regulations as he may prescribe upon just compensation to the owners. The authority granted to the President, under this subsection, to cause the closing of any station or device and the removal therefrom of its apparatus and equipment, or to authorize the use or control of any station or device and/or its apparatus and equipment, may be exercised in the Canal Zone.

Note that the Canal Zone applicability was approaching sunset when the Act was revisited in '96. ;^)

Trust me on this: For all sorts of reasons, not least of which is the fact that it is the most capable and far-reaching monitoring and surveillance system ever created, the Feds will be very reluctant to shut down the 'net.

that's would cover only wireless stuff. most of the internet is on private carrier. phone lines.

There is too a kill switch in that bill. I just read the thing. They have the duty to protect the internet and can shut it down to protect it.

Shades of 1968. Major Booris, speaking about Ben Tre: "It became necessary to destroy the town to save it" which morphed into "We had to destroy the village in order to save it."

Note: This is not an attempt to relaunch the good old 60s discussion.

Kill switch or not, they would never use it. Much of the nation depends on the internet in order to go about our daily life. It would hurt us way more than anyone else as we use the net more than any other country. Companies all over the world have moved away from private WAN links in favor of VPN connections between branch offices etc. They would be crippled by such a decision. Not to mention the critical infrastructure running over the internet. Things like the power grid and water supplies would be affected by such a decision.

Kill switch or not, they would never use it.

Multiple 9/11 events happen some morning. Simultaneously the largest denial of service attack ever recorded is launched against the root DNS servers. Root-kitted conficker worms wake up, and all those infected computers on business, home, Gov't and private LANs and VPNs start hitting Gov't internet infrastructure in US and allies. SCADA systems are also targeted.

They would hit the switch in a heartbeat, and "detach" the Gov't subnets from private sector and the rest of the internet. That's the only prudent course of action in such a case, and they would do it as they should do it.

Why cut the Internet when you can cut the power? Sure there are UPS backups, but cut enough power and the non-backed up failures would pretty much end things for while anyhow. UPS's need battery power and generators need fuel and maintenance. National Grid power cut would be MUCH worse. Maybe harder to pull off, but much worse. Interconnection helps. I used to work in telecommunications. Maybe six strategic fiber cuts, all distance communications ends in the US for awhile. Internet, voice, private nets, video. The backlog would clog up bottlenecks so the remaining service like satellite would be useless. There is always an easier way to break things if you avoid the obvious.

Garcia fan is right. I never say never, but a kill switch like what the rumors are talking about would shut down almost every large business in America. I have 15 years experience as a software engineer mostly in the financial and medical fields, and I can say without a doubt a shut-down of the internet would result in a shutdown of just about everything.

Not only do the markets depend on internet connections, but a growing amount of medicine and other integral services does too. The paradigm of software service and information distribution has shifted to internet distributed information. This is not people browsing the internet - these are business using the internet to get vital data to their business.

To add on Garcia's point, not only would VPN connections shut down, but so would ASP services. These are services that distribute their information and services via the web. Some of these services include the following in large (and growing) numbers of large businesses in America: medical patient information, pharmacy and insurance information, almost all market data (not just stock pricing, but companies portfolio data is now commonly hosted offsite and obtained via the internet infrastructure). These are just a few... A lot of small to medium banks are moving to the ASP model for customer information as well. This would include your bank account - and as money is now virtual - your money!

IMHO, this "kill switch" discussion is a complete distraction. It can't happen - or if it does the justification for using it would require such an unimaginable extreme situation that the internet is moot anyway.

Your talking rubbish. You cant switch off the internet like a light bulb. Any part of the internet that goes dark, the internet sees as damage and routes around it. Thats how the Internet was designed.

The US can try and take out parts of its own network, the internet will work fine in all other countries.

The Internet is so important for trade and is woven into the fabric of many peoples lives that the impact would be be like shutting down the electric grid. NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN

There may be some politicians that are so dump that they think its possible. But it isnt.

And please WTF has this got todo with the GOM/TOD/OIL etc.

Moderators please delete this whole thread....

I guarantee they will have a plan in place to shut off non-essential, non-governmental internet traffic in the event of a national emergency. For us civilian users, the net would go dark in such a case, while the gubmint would still be online. All they'd have to do is block the right top-level domains and subnets.

I don't even think it needs to be a national emergency, could just be a "transparency emergency", like Wikileaks or some similar site shedding light on some particular nastiness.

"And please WTF has this got todo with the GOM/TOD/OIL etc.

Moderators please delete this whole thread...."

Well, we are on the Internet, here.

1. The United States control a very large portion of the total infrastructure of the 'net, so any shutdown here would very seriously impair functionality everywhere.

2. A relative handful of carriers and ISP's control most of the total bandwidth and most of the last-mile connections. It would be easy (technically and legally—although the legal fight might be a monster) for the USG to effectively shut things down.

3. tabby is certainly correct in her/his assertion that such a shutdown is unlikely in the extreme, except, of course, in extremis.

Relax, folks.

"In all the houses keys to memorizing objects and feelings had been written. But the system demanded so much vigilance and moral strength that many succumbed to the spell of an imaginary reality, one invented by themselves, which was less practical for them but more comforting."
— Gabriel García Márquez (One Hundred Years of Solitude)

i love the paranoia. this or any gov't can do exactly what it wants without a law or any new law. it's already been done. only so many fiber nodes in the world. eom.

Intriguing news from the Times-Pic:

Gov. Bobby Jindal has vetoed a bill that would have required his office and agencies to grant public access to state records related to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. [...]

Jindal for years has lobbied to preserve broad exemptions for the governor's office in Louisiana's public records law. The House bill would have cracked open a category of records related to the Deepwater Horizon disaster and the state's response.

"I'm saddened by his action, but not surprised," said Sen. Robert Adley, R-Benton, who amended Smith's public records bill to include the provision about the oil spill documents. "His excuse is he is afraid that BP would find out something Louisiana did, and I always thought justice was about the truth and facts."

Steve Benen:

In explaining the rationale for the veto, Jindal said Louisiana will likely be in litigation with BP and others, and access to public records "could impact the state's legal position."

I'm not really in a position to know whether that's true or not -- I'm not an attorney -- but if materials would be turned over to BP anyway through the discovery process, I wonder if Jindal might be more worried about what the public learns, not opposing counsel.

Either way, the result is the same -- the public wants access to spill-related records, state lawmakers want transparency when it comes to spill-related records, and Jindal prefers secrecy. In the larger context, it doesn't exactly inspire confidence.

True, but in my observation of Bobby J, 'at's a feature, not a bug.

grant public access to state records related to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Would that would include "proprietary" data such as stratigraphic column and rock and formational descriptions? Also reservoir data? Well logs, seismic, any fence diagrams etc?????

You seem like a nice fellow. Good to insist on rationality, too. Not a chance in hell you'll ever see those logs or a lithology column or seismic or a detailed narrative of how they lost the drill string in a shallow faulted section.

The skimming and recovery efforts have been frustrating to say the least. There have been discussions on this very thing. This recovery effort is frustrated because of a number of factors:

- The spill is in open water, allowing it to spread far and wide.
- The immediate area is off-limits because of the surface traffic.
- It has been pointed out that the thickness of the slick is between one
molecule and a few inches.
- Onshore wind and vave action may then concentrate the oil into a thicker layer,
once it reaches shore.
- Most of the skimming equipment was designed for, or at least works better on, a
thicker layer of oil.
- Most of the skimming equipment has to work in deeper (open) water where the spill
is thinner and the surface area is huge.
- The spill affects a larger geographical area but to a lesser extent than a
localized spill.
- Areas closer (Louisiana) get hit harder because the oil hasn't had much time to
evaporate or biodegrade.
- Areas further away get the harder residue, tar balls and heavy oil.
- Undersea use of dispersant may cause ongoing and future problems with oxygen loss.
- Add your own frustration here...

It has also been pointed out that if the spill was on land or in shallower water it could have been dealt with more effectively. On land, a few acres would have been devastated. Bulldozers would have built a berm around the spill allowing it to be burned or pumped into trucks or other containment.

In a smaller bay or inlet, the whole area could have been contained in a similar manner with a dam or sheet piling or effective floating booms. The result would have been locally devastating with thick oil ruining everything. But, the damage could have been limited to a few acres to a few square miles. Skimmers working inside the containment could have slurped up thick oil by the thousands of barrels.

What is needed is a more effective way of dealing with an oil spill or leak on the high seas.

A flotilla of large skimmers at the source as soon after the spill as possible would have been a good start.

There was a fleet of skimmers on the water promptly. These belong to cleanup contractors kept on retainer by the oil companies collectively. They had a fleet of skimmers already in the Gulf with a claimed capacity to skim around 500,000 bpd.


However, in the period May 3-10, when presumably fully geared up, they were collecting only about 1,000 bpd of net oil. Some of the vessels had a rated capacity of 10,000-15,000 bpd. The problem seems to be that the relationship between rated capacity and actual performance in open water is, "sorry, tee-hee, we had no idea." This was not BP's doing particularly. These private cleanup companies constitute the institutional structure of oil spill response under the US system.

The cleanup effort had no chance to defend the shoreline one the slick spread out way beyond the well site. This is the sad truth that lies beyond all the squabbling and blaming.

While the oil is flowing--which may not be for long, barring big storms--how about some experiments with booming the lee side of the central slick, creating say a 10-mile path for the most efficient skimmers to work in relatively deep oil?

Gobbet -
While the oil is flowing--which may not be for long, barring big storms--how about some experiments with booming the lee side of the central slick, creating say a 10-mile path for the most efficient skimmers to work in relatively deep oil?

You mean they haven't done that YET? It's just the simplest common sense. Is ANYBODY in charge anywhere?

As for the skimming effectiveness falling far short of claims, that IS a failure of BP (and all other offshore oil companies) and even more so MMS to have not verified the capabilities of the cleanup contractors.

I don't know that they haven't tried booming the central slick; I just haven't seen it in photos of the zone. Of course the boom would have to be held in position by boats probably lacking in DP capability--could be tricky-- and would be a hazard to navigation.

I didn't mean to exempt BP from responsibility for the phantom skimming capacity, just pointing out that the whole theoretical response system rested on various capabilities claimed by these contractors. That is the US system that has been in place for a long time.

However, in the period May 3-10, when presumably fully geared up, they were collecting only about 1,000 bpd of net oil. Some of the vessels had a rated capacity of 10,000-15,000 bpd. The problem seems to be that the relationship between rated capacity and actual performance in open water is, "sorry, tee-hee, we had no idea." This was not BP's doing particularly. These private cleanup companies constitute the institutional structure of oil spill response under the US system.

Could the dispersants be to blame there? You can't skim the oil if it's staying at 1000' below..

No, apparently the undersea clouds of oil aren't rising to the surface or attacking the shoreline.

Incidentally, the trajectory forecast maps show a huge amount of oil coming ashore Sun.-Tues., and there's basically nothing to be done about it. More oil in the marshy areas around Barataria Bay and the Chandeleurs to do long-term damage to the wetlands. Lots of oil on the beaches eastward. Here's hoping they can keep most of it out of the bays and estuaries.

The word "leak" is getting more offensive every day.

Long time lurker, new member.
Calling this thing an "OIL SPILL" is like calling the TITANIC a large boat! Psy ops for the general, nonthinking public.

oleman and mothernature: I'm with you on the language issue. Puny words like "spill" and "leak" convey nothing of the enormity of this event, and don't even describe the simple facts of the situation well. I've been calling it "BP blowout"--any other suggestions?
Could be worse though--if this had been a nuclear event, they'd be calling it an "excursion," like a day at the park.
I just hope that it won't ever need to be known as the "BP Die-off."

The word "spill" was wrong from the get go --the politics of language. Calling this a "spill" was an intentional diversion, a kind of "dispersant" word that minimizes the uniqueness of the situation. It was never a "spill" ---it has always been a gusher. The BP blowout is a relentless, polluting gusher.

Another issue I've had is the implied localization of the situation and its impact, calling it a "spill in the Gulf" ...or "the worst environmental disaster to happen in the US" .... no, the BP blowout gusher has always had the hallmark of a global disaster, with far-reaching ramifications. 70 days into this, and it still feels like a global disaster to me.

If you were the skimmer czar, where would you put your boats?

It's an interesting question.

On the one hand, you'd want skimmer boats near the leak where the slick is thickest because that's where they'll scoop the maximum amount of oil. But much of the oil they scoop up would have drifted harmlessly out to sea, so the skimming effort is partly wasted.

On the other hand you want skimmer boats near the wetlands and beaches because that's where the slick does the most damage. But the slick is thinnest far from the leak so the skimmers operate less efficiently.

This is the sort of problem that can only be solved by gathering good data on skimmer performance and running computer models to see which disposition of skimmer boats minimises damage. You'd also include boom performance in your model.

My guess is, you want your biggest, most powerful skimmers out to sea near the leak, and your smaller boats operating inshore.

I just wish that someone in authority was concerned with these sorts of questions.

I just wish that someone in authority was concerned with these sorts of questions.

Don't we all!!!

If you were the skimmer czar, where would you put your boats?

If I were the "skimming czar", Ardie, the hour I realized what a disaster the BP Blowout was (even at 1,000 bpd), I would have been on the horn ordering EVERY POSSIBLE skimming effort available to work.

If I were the "skimming czar", Ardie, the hour I realized local skimming efforts were woefully inadequate I would have asked for ALL skimming capacity available (Dutch, Norwegian, Costner, ...) to come as soon as possible and worry later about if there were too many or too expensive or ineffective or ....

If I were the "skimming czar", Ardie, I would suspend ANY regulation or law (by executive order during a national emergency) that impeded any cleanup effort.

If I were the "skimming czar", Ardie, I would offer a bounty on every barrel of oil recovered (to be paid out of any penalty BP will be assessed).

If I were the "skimming czar", Ardie, I would ...

On the news yesterday evening I watched some people holding hands on the beach in a protest of offshore driling (I think it was). My comment at the time was, "I bet 99% of those people drove to the beach, using petroleum derivatives to get there." I bet they didn't ask where the gasoline came from when they filled their tanks.

This morning I had an idea - Why doesn't some oil company start marketing a "certified onshore only, minimal environmental impact" line of gasoline and lubricants? Sort of like buying organic food. People with an aversion to offshore oil could buy it and be comforted that they were helping their cause. It might cost more per gallon but it would be worth it. They could support "minimal environmental impact" oil.

I bet 99% of those people drove to the beach, using petroleum derivatives to get there

And I bet 99% wish they had a viable alternative like electric cars, adequate bike trails, light rail, subways, clean fuel buses with realtime position indicators at bus stops so people wouldn't have to guess when the bus is coming, comfortable, safe bus stops, etc.

It's all well and good to blame the average schmuck, but these people cannot pull infrastructure out of their ass - it has to be a choice made by people who control the money. They have to get their head right. These people weren't on the beach because they are a bunch of naive hippies, they were there because of the results of this screwed up economic and political system that allows stuff like this in the gulf to happen. I'm sure they care deeply and don't know what else to do other than vote, try to live right, and express their opinions.

I am not against offshore drilling, per se, or nuclear energy, or anything else. I am against a culture of greed and short-sighted policy.

Mr. Bubble wrote:

These people weren't on the beach because they are a bunch of naive hippies, they were there because of the results of this screwed up economic and political system that allows stuff like this in the gulf to happen. . . .I am against a culture of greed and short-sighted policy.

Accidents happen under every kind of system.

The Ixtoc spill happened under Mexico's government-owned oil company, PEMEX. Since PEMEX was owned by the Mexican government, we can assume those running it were motivated purely by brother-love, and not greed, right?

Chernobyly happened under communism, a system where supposedly all greed has been eliminated.

There are also the 7,000 or so people killed in accidents on Aeroflot, the U.S.S.R.'s state-run airline also run by the brother-lovers of the greedless Communist party.

Accidents happen under every kind of system.

I have no idea why you are dragging Mexico or Russia into this. Both are rife with corruption and organized crime and are, frankly, irrelevant to this discussion. I am talking about OUR system. OUR system allowed this to happen through negligence and greed.

If you think this was a one in a million accident, you are either not paying attention or you are being intellectually dishonest. Accidents can happen always, but they are more likely to happen when you value money over things like the environment or human life. I am not taking about the people in the hole, I am talking about people like Hayward and several layers of worthless, do-nothing managers beneath him that failed to spend the tiny fractions of their profits it would have taken to ensure that accidents are truly one in a million and can be effectively cleaned up. The fact that we are fiddling with caps that clog with hydrates and debating about how to protect the shoreline means there was not a plan for such a blow out beyond the blow out preventer AND we now that BP knew that the blow out preventer was damaged. I have heard enough testimony from people involved and from the experts here at TOD to know that BP cut corners. This was about sucking every penny out of the process and not about having your priorities in the right place. I don't have any problem with drilling for oil or with making a buck. I have a problem with people taking chances with other people's lives - like the financial system melt down and like this oil gusher in the gulf. Why do people apologize for this type of behavior? I just don't get it.

This discussion reminds me of an old Polish proverb:

In capitalism man exploits man. In socialism the opposite is true.

The point being when safety is ignored people get hurt. Regardless of the political system. You seem to be saying that this should not happen with our system of rules, regulations and safety practices. That I would have to agree with.

Agreed fully. I keep pointing out that it's not just that the industry "competes", but that it pumps huge amounts of money into the political structure to get government aid and preference, to advertize that they are safe and efficient, to buy scientists and think tanks and academic chairs to back petroleum and the private car. The average schmuck is operating in a rigged system of infrastructure, political responsiveness, debate and intellectual climate.


Unless I can do something meaningful to help, I'm not driving anywhere that I don't have to.

About a month a go there was a video of people singing a boycott BP song on the streets in FL. Part of the group pledging to boycott BP was a bunch of kids in a massive pick-up pulling a pair of jet skis.

Yeah, I'm more of a sea kayaker, wind surfer and sailor type when it comes to water sports. Good honest propulsion. It's fun to go fast sometimes with a loud motor, as long as you don't accept it as some kind of birthright or something.

"minimal environmental impact"?

The problem with "minimal environmental impact" is what kind of accounting do you use? For example in the developed world, governments have a tendency to see nuclear power as a universal panacea for the projected energy gap. In an effort to sell nuclear, for over fifty years, they have been producing economic statistics that compare nuclear favorable with coal. The problem is that they have a tendency not to price in to the equations the more important costs like decommissioning..... etc

The same argument applies to coal and bio-fuels: With coal we have a product that is dirt cheap and plentiful but the price of coal, to the consumer, does not include the environmental effects of what is an incredibly dirty polluting product.

With bio-fuels, you have a product that is ostensible clean, the problem is that this does not take account of environmental damage due to changes in land and water usage,fertilizer production and use, deforestation and a whole host of other nasties.

With renewables it becomes even more murky but the basic premise still applies.

The real problem is not in energy production, but in energy usage. we, both Americans and Europeans are squandering the worlds energy resources at a prodigious and unsustainable rate. Yes, China and India are catching up fast as far as gross consumption is concerned, but their consumption per head of population is tiny in comparison to ours.

"certified onshore only"?

Comparable schemes that attempt to certify the origin of a product have a very poor record. Investing, Manufacturing, Agriculture, Cosmetics and Retail industries have all had recent scandals associated with certification and fraud.

In truth, I would think from reading the recent debates about shale production in New York state, and noting that the real objection to deep water drilling is not so much it's safety record, but how to deal with an accident once it actually happens, it is still an open question which has the greatest overall environmental impact.

Gulf residents please note that I am not trying to minimize the real damage and suffering that has been caused by DWH, I am just trying to compare that damage with the potential damage of, for example, New York having its water supply contaminated with hydrocarbons.

"The problem with "minimal environmental impact" is what kind of accounting do you use?"

None are perfect, but here's a place to start.


We can't avoid being part of the problem. But we can and must minimize our contribution to it while trying to learn as much as we can and organize to change the systems and corporations that perpetuate and profit from the destruction.

"Gulf residents please note that I am not trying to minimize the real damage and suffering that has been caused by DWH, I am just trying to compare that damage with the potential damage of, for example, New York having its water supply contaminated with hydrocarbons."

I would suggest that, depending upon the extent and duration of the damage to the Gulf ecosystem, which we won't be able to assess for some time, the comparison may be quite simple.

Long-term and extensive damage to a key marine environment has implications and ramifications that far outweigh "mere" pollution of the groundwater above the Marcellus shale. Except from a narrow, regional and reductionist-anthropocentric point of view, the Gulf "wins," hands down.

You are probably correct, however I have been looking at past ocean spills and am left with the impression that the real long term damage is done by dispersants.

The idea is kind of half baked and not yet well formed but essentially, looking at the actual effects of the oil: It breaks down,(and/or becomes inert,) fairly quickly. Although there is a die off of marine organism, historically records suggest low level life at the base of the food chain recovers within a year or two, thus setting the foundations for a recovery of larger organisms. Long term damage and low recovery rates are associated with areas where there was a significant use of dispersants.

This suggests that, in the long term, the most effective clean up measures are containment and skimming. The problem is that this is so unsightly, [and expensive,] that the public react very badly; hence the use dispersants.

Apart from the quantities of dispersant that are being used, what is really worrying about DWH is the undersea plumes of oil droplets. Because of the circulation patterns of deep ocean currents, these dead zones of low oxygen, toxic oil droplets and toxic dispersants, could travel, unchanged, for hundreds of years eventually surfacing thousands of miles from the original DWH site.

This then begs the question what is really causing this "Long-term and extensive damage to a key marine environment..."

Is this "long term" damage an unavoidable cause of the blowout or is it the way we are trying to minimize the damage in the eyes of the public?

As I say, you are probably correct and I expect to be shot down in flames, but the premise is still worth airing.

Edited for bad HTML

"...I have been looking at past ocean spills and am left with the impression that the real long term damage is done by dispersants."

I'm not sure about "the real long term damage," but I do think there is reason to be quite concerned about the wildly extravagant application of dispersants we're seeing here. A couple of weeks ago, I posted links to a number of studies that suggest some organisms may be harmed more by dispersed (as in chemically) oil than by the the water accommodated fraction of crude oil alone. If they aren't easy to find in the archives, just do PubMed searches for "dispersed oil" and "Corexit."

It's also not clear how much effect the application of dispersants at the source is having on the development and distribution of the subsea plumes. The very nature of the gusher, at 5K ft. depth, is probably creating unique patterns, all by itself.

Certainly, if large hypoxic areas develop at depth, they are going to persist for a long time. Thermohaline currents are really, really slow.

Finally, I'm not at all sure that the dispersants are helping much with the oil that is coming to the surface. Among other concerns, there are at least a couple of studies out there that show no significant differences in biomass recovery, after 12 weeks, in marsh habitat exposed to dispersed oil versus habitat exposed to plain old WAF. One of the studies, at least, was done on the Louisiana Gulf Coast.

Calling real marine ecologists...

I think I followed your links to the studies indicated, I know I have been looking at this for quite a while. Other interesting searches are to articles related to oil tanker sinkings in the English Channel. In particular it is worth comparing the "Torrey Canyon", with heavy and uncontrolled use of dispersants and the "Amoco_Cadiz" which had a minimal use of dispersants.

The "Amoco_Cadiz" is particularly interesting, to quote from Wikipedia:

At the time, Amoco Cadiz incident resulted in the largest loss of marine life ever recorded from an oil spill. Mortalities of most animals occurred over the two months following the spill. Two weeks following the accident, millions of dead mollusks, sea urchins, and other bottom dwelling organisms washed ashore.

Diving birds constituted the majority of the nearly 20,000 dead birds that were recovered. The oyster mortality from the spill was estimated at 9,000 tons. Fishermen in the area caught fish with skin ulcerations and tumors.

Some of the fish caught in the area reportedly had a strong taste of petroleum. Although echinoderm and small crustacean populations almost completely disappeared, the populations of many species recovered within a year. Cleanup activities on rocky shores, such as pressure-washing, also caused habitat impacts.

The point I would like to draw attention to is that although the initial die off was enormous, populations recovered very quickly.

In a similar vein, I have been trying, without success, to track down what effect, if any, dispersants played in the observed formation of deep sea plumes during the Norwegian experimental release of oil at depth.

I feel we are broadly in agreement about this, there are just too many unknowns to be dumping dispersants in fashion that is currently going on at the DWH site and I second your call for a "real marine biologist"

Tellya what, you may have to go all the way to Accra for 'em, but the world still has some gracious (if not 100% truthful) winners.

When I open TOD now I am getting a sign in request stating this:

Anyone know anything about it?

A username and password are being requested by http://blog.23seven.com. The site says: "23Seven Blog"

A username and password are being requested by http://blog.23seven.com

I just got this too. Not signing in doesn't seem to keep you off TOD, though.

Loading the picture in lotus' recent post needs the credentials - lotus, please fix

Apologies, y'all. I caused that with the Ghanian photo (now fixed). Mistakenly saved it on a private, password-protected blog instead of my public one (which is now on hiatus).

Thanks Lotus. I was just getting ready to do a scan.

lotus: I Googled it and here's what I got: 2009年5月28日 ... Seven高娅媛青岛慈善歌会后续报告☆. -------- (先放张5·23 Seven BLOG PP--。。想你想你想你~~·。。。) Seven走了,心里一直很纠结,一直放不下, .

Interesting blog ya got there.

"Ghanaian," I mean. Sorry.


Our tech support folks agreed that what you are talking about was likely the problem.

It might be worthwhile for users who entered their passwords when this was up to change their passwords.

this is a serious flaw in this forum software, and an easy way to steal passwords.

if u make it a look alike to the oildrum login....

automatic reaction : login

Hauke, I'm not software-adept enough to quite understand what you mean, but I assure you my mistake was completely inadvertent and will have no further effect on anyone here (except maybe to get me thrown off the private blog).

if you do it inadvertently someone can do it on purpose,
including making the popup login look like The oil drum log in page.

therefore the forumsoftware has an opening for stealing login passwords.

this is something for the forum administrators to take care of.

View page source shows a link in the acra link in the post above going to 23seven.com, just cancel the login.

I am getting the same thing and when I try to sign in it just keeps coming back.

I will report this to SuperG (tech support guy) and see if there is anything he can do.

Can someone comment on the "ranging" technique that is used to find the original well? The article says that electrical pulses are sent down the casing on the original well, and that the signal is picked up by sensors in the relief well.

How are the electrical pulses controlled so that they don't just go to ground? A well seems like it would be a perfect electrical ground. Is the casing cement an electric insulator?

and assuming a mag field actually does propagate, how effectively could it be detected by a device inside a steel drill pipe?

ah - just visited the previous open thread - when readings are taken, the drill string is removed and the detector device is sent down the wellbore.

When they are actively drilling, there isn't any steel pipe around the drillhead, just bare naked rock. I believe that's what makes oil exploration so dangerous.

The "passive" approach is to put an electro-magnet that looks for metal, and you can imagine how that might work.

The "active" approach is to put current of electricity in the BOP of the blowout well. You could consider that well is "grounded". True, most of the electricity is dissipated in the near surface sediments, but we're not looking for that. We're looking for the remaining electricity that is making down the steel casing to the deeper sections and going to ground at 18,000 feet, or 13,000 below mud line. There's some that gets there, and when that dissipates, it changes the electronic "halo" around the casing. If you flick the power on and off quickly, that magnetic signal will propagate outward and do so with a distinct signal. You can home in on it, much like you could home in on a pirate radio signal. Since the casing or "antenna" in this case is vertical, you're only looking for the horizontal vector, or compass direction.

The blowout well isn't perfectly vertical. The measured and the vertical depths on the blowout are off by 5 feet. BP knows where that is, but perhaps not to the foot. How accurate is this "active" ranging measurement? From 200 feet away? I don't know. But they have to get the vector correct so they don't miss it by a couple of fee.

Thanks for the added info. I probably should have done a better job in asking my question. I'm clear on the sensor on the relief well side. A couple different types of sensor technologies come to mind that would be quite effective. Basically they're looking for a magnetic field.

My curiosity is on the original well side. If they send an electrical signal down the outermost casing, the electrons will all want to go scurrying off to the earth. Even if there is some residual charge left early on, it must stay for thousands of feet into the ground.

If they send the signal down one of the inner casings, it must be detectable through the outer, grounded casing. That's a perfect Faraday cage - which is how tin foil hats work. ;)

This is a common misconception. Faraday cages do not shield magnetic fields. They shield electrostatic fields. You can prove this to yourself by the simple experiment of wrapping a permanent magnet in tinfoil. You will find that it still attracts magnetic material with undiminished power.

An electromagnetic field (the combination of electrostatic and magnetic occurs when the fields are changing.) Here a Faraday shield can act to reduce the transmission of the field because it shorts out the induced current from the changing magnetic field vector. But it isn't very good, especially at low frequencies. Pulsing a current down the well should provide a quite clear magnetic signature.

Rock formations in general have very high resistance. But of course the seawater, and seawater mud for the first few hundred feet must be rather a challenge. Once past this the challenge is to get any current to flow back at all.

You can image the resistance of a section of strata with a well full of sensors and a string of sensors on the surface (or a second well nearby.) You get a very rough map of resistivity of the section. One interesting application very approriate to TOD is in monitoring producing wells. Especially wells where water injection is used. You can get a good view of both the oil and the water, and, in principle, manage production much more efficiently (and avoid expensive accidents when water is injected to fast.) I know some people who are very enthusiatic about such things. In general however very very few wells are so monitored.

The voltages needed are frightening. The equipment will turn you into a raisin in an eyeblink.

Cable and pipe locators are fairly common. Send a tone on a pipe or cable and it can be heard with the proper sensors.


GWS22B: 'number 12 adjusting tool' 12 lb sledgehammer


By golly, that oughta do it! Heh! Heh!

This is what I see when I come to TOD now. I also do not have editing ability of my post anymore.

I wanted to go back and edit my last post since the link is clickable.


We need a good hurricane, just to 'stir' things up a little. This crap hits some pristine Fla beaches and some real action will be taken.

Panama City, fait accompli.


I'd have opted for them staying pristine.

Uh, action by who?

I am confused a little. What is the theme of your statement? Hope all is well for you today, Tin.

In response to the post above mine, "We need a good hurricane, just to 'stir' things up a little. This crap hits some pristine Fla beaches and some real action will be taken." Panama City Beach is no longer pristine. I wish it still were, but probably not as much as the residents do. I was asking about who would be providing the "real action" and was getting around to what kind of action that might be.

I'm okay today, TFHG. About to leave for Atlanta, about 350 miles WSW.

My father used to own property on Panama City Bay; we'd take his sailboat out to the barrier islands and the state park out there. It was always a beautiful, quiet beach (we'd go in non-peak times) and we always enjoyed it. We also visited the beaches at Port St. Joe all the way to Dauphin Island, so I'm familiar with the area. Now my dad lives in Panacea and he says they're worried the oil will reach them eventually too.

Agreed, this leak is getting boring. We need a hurricane show.

Apparently you live up North somewhere. Freak summer blizzards, tornadoes, and earthquakes are quite entertaining as well. Did you forget about the people, or poor victims as you might call them?

I see the goofy thing in front of the screen. I have reported it to tech support. Hopefully we can get rid of it soon.

In general, you should be able to edit comments until someone responds to them. After that, you need to put in a new comment yourself.

Black and Blue: Beneath the Gulf Oil Spill

Dr. Samantha Joye's very recent Gulf of Mexico research voyage on the R/V Walton Smith

Came across this brand new video documentary of Samantha Joye's very recent research voyage on the Oil Plumes etc.. 4 parts found at this link or on youtube (I've just started watching it and it looks great)


(EDIT) Just finished watching and it is excellent. You actually feel like you were on the Gulf at the Deepwater Horizon site, very well produced and informative.

oilfield brat on June 27, 2010 - 1:47am Permalink | Subthread | Parent | Parent subthread | Comments top
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/...

Comments can no longer be added to this story.

My apologies OB, if my use of emphasis offends you. In return I suggest you read your own link. Of the 3 foreign helpers you mention, as far as I know, the ONLY one currently at work are the Koseg Arms. And the ONLY way we know that reliably is a report on TOD from "Roger" (apparently a principal in the Koseg company). Of the other two the article ONLY says they were "accepted" along with a number of other hedge (as in weasel) words from the State Dept. That's NOT the same as working. For all we know they may have been accepted but still be in some sort of approval or inspection bureaucratic limbo state.

There have been NO reports of any substantive skimmers on tv (CNN or ABC at least). One would think, if anything, the Admiral and BP would be crowing about bringing effective skimmer power to bear. And MSM would be scrambling to show them at work.

Again, and again, the government response regarding oil skimming efforts (clearly and without question the MOST EFFECTIVE means of oil mitigation) has been absymal and seriously derelict. Whether it's politics, unions, legalities, ... makes no difference. The President (via the Admiral) is proving out to be every bit as irresponsible and unreliable as MMS was before the incident.

BP had contracts with oil spill cleanup companies that claimed the ability to skim 500,000 bbl/day.


There have been numerous large-capacity skimmers working the slick since early on. They may not be as good as ships equipped with the Dutch Koseq arms, but they claim a capacity of 10 or 15,000 bbl/day and more. The problem is that these rated capacities are meaningless under open-sea conditions. That may be true for the Dutch arms as well, but no journalist has asked how much net oil they are collecting.

Regarding "foreign aid," it is not a matter of the US "accepting aid" from foreign countries. It is a matter of BP agreeing to purchase goods offered for sale or lease, or Adm. Allen forcing BP to do so.

BP has bought 3 sets of the Koseq arms. You and Sen. LeMieux seem to be claiming that one more set mounted on a Belgian ship rented by BP would make a huge difference added to the current fleet with its rated capacity of (by now) way over 500,000 bpd. Well, let's hear how much actual oil the Koseq-equipped Seacor Washington is collecting. It has been skimming around the well site to 10 days and the slick is still there. Rated capacities mean nothing.

Like you, I would like to hear what's happened to the other two sets of Koseq arms, but the journalists so far aren't interested in finding out. The arms may or may not be at work.

PS the arms collect almost the same amount of oil/water per hour regardless of what ship they are mounted on. Sen. LeMieux is incorrect in his claim that the Belgian ship would be much more efficient than Seacor Washington. The main difference between vessels would be storage capacity or how often the vessel needs to offload. Seacor Washington can hold 600 bbl of net oil, which is 1/3 the amount collected per day by the entire previous fleet of 440 skimmers.

My basic point here is that the failure of the skimming operation should not primarily be blamed on red tape. It's rather that skimming just doesn't seem to work effectively on a large open-sea spill. I hope the Dutch skimmer arms have a real impact. If so, we should be getting more of them.

" Whether it's politics, unions, legalities, ... makes no difference."

Or just plain poster stupidity.

OF, what bothered me about your emphasis was that you were emphasizing stuff that wasn't so. Your main argument seems to be that because you haven't seen TV coverage of big skimmers, they aren't there. But it's easy to find articles, pics, and video of "substantive" skimmers.

Here is the Florida Responder, started work May 6, and is currently off Gulf Shores:
and video of her here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iqD-eC30nxg Big enough? BP hired ten like this in early May.

Coast Guard cutters have also been skimming oil, here is the Elm offloading oil from her barge: http://www.flickr.com/photos/deepwaterhorizonresponse/4685080337/

Here is the 225 ft buoy tender Juniper which is now skimming oil: http://www.uscg.mil/d1/cgcjuniper/

And here is a CBS article, click on the video to see another cutter: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/06/16/eveningnews/main6589400.shtml

Here is C-SPAN video of the Seacor Washington getting ready to head out with those Koseq arms on June 8: http://cspan.org/Watch/Media/2010/06/08/HP/A/34117/CSPAN+Visit+to+Dutch+...

And here are some smaller skimmers, to reassure you that there are a lot of boats working out there:

I agree with you, OF, that there should be more publicity of the skimmer fleet, I just don't agree that if you haven't seen them, then they aren't out there.

I looked at all your links, OB and have to say I'm not very impressed. There really doesn't seem to be much capacity (given the scale of the disaster).

I agree with you, OF, that there should be more publicity of the skimmer fleet, I just don't agree that if you haven't seen them, then they aren't out there.

If they haven't been seen, then how can we know they are there? Just because BP says so? Because the Admiral reassures us?

And if there are so MANY skimmers, why is oil STILL coming on shore? If the floating oil is too thin to skim, then where is the thick oil washing up on shore coming from? Doesn't that say there needs to be MORE skimming effort?

We're 70 days into this. At least 60 of which pretty much everyone knew what the scale of the disaster was going to be. Why has it taken so long to get even such a puny and ineffectual response?

Somebody in the government needs to demand even more skimming effort, a lot more.

Oldfisherman, I'm not surprised that you aren't impressed. If you cared about what was actually going on out in the Gulf, you would have done your own research.

I spoke not clearly, OB. My "not being impressed" had nothing to do with your research, or work at uncovering those links (which I appreciate took some effort).

What I'm NOT impressed with is the amount of skimming power/effort being shown. It's more than sad that it's so pathetically inadequate.

I DO CARE about what's hapening out in the Gulf, probably more than you realize (having spent my entire life at sea, several years of it shrimping the Gulf, a goodly portion of the time spent in Cameron & Morgan City, LA).

A good article on what is going on now.

Found this interesting on the second page.

On Wednesday, BP and the Coast Guard are expected to decide whether to greenlight a project that would remove the containment cap and replace it with a larger cap connected to two flexible riser pipes.

The replacement cap, called an overshot tool, would not sit atop the stump of the original riser pipe, but would bolt directly to the blowout preventer, perhaps creating a better seal.


They're not calling it an "Overshot Tool" for nothing.

Hard Rain's a-gonna fall...

Yesterday I posted this link re. crop damage in Mississippi which may be due to dispersant:

I have sent enquiries to WREG in Memphis, asking for an update (their initial coverage was on June 1st).
Their website also features this disturbing footage of rainwater in River Ridge, Louisiana:

I don't know when the rainwater video was made, but will try to get more info and will post here as soon as I have it.

Rick M in Canada

Just found this article which says that oil in rainfall would be highly unlikely:

But then, blow-outs are next to impossible, too...

Since when are blow-outs next to impossible?

I know the River Ridge & GNO area. The streets flood during heavy rains. All the crap from driveways & street float on the water.

The poster shows grass yellowing near the street...now if the oil was in the rain, wouldn't all of the grass be yellowing?

Every road in the nation has oil on it, especially if vehicles are parked. Rain running off these roads will always carry oil with it; if the rain contains oil, let's see someone's swimming pool or rain gauge with oil in it. Until then, this is just more hysteria that the media is eagerly picking up on.

What do you think they are doing with the sand they collect here in Gulf Shores? They were paying mega bucks to treat it has hazardous waste until someone true genius at command had to order road base and said, "wait a minute." A few simple phone calls to the right people later and the asphalt plants in the area said they would test it. A couple of days later they told operations to send all the oily sand to them they could get. I will be driving on what once be-spoiled our beaches. Talk about lemonade from lemons.

I wonder about salt content. Self de-icing tarmac or pollution hazard?


Ice is not a problem in Alabama, maybe deer will lick the roads and that will help keep the population down. State Farm hates the idea I bet. :)

EPA's been almost unequivocal about the impossibility of oily rain. The other shoe appears to be "aerosolized dispersant" carried inland by winds. Anybody here with expert knowledge about this?

research 'chemical dispersant in rainfall'.

Rick -

See this guy's simple experiment. He's somewhere near Nashville -

A Little Experiment...

I have this old bucket that I fill with water for hand watering small fruits and other things in my yard. Tuesday, I still had a gallon or two of water in it when I was done. I just left it in there. Thursday, I came home, and was getting ready to re-fill it, when I noticed the rainbow sheen of oil.


Thanks for that, Bob

I think the guy is right... people should do their own backyard monitoring for the next few months.
I heard back from a news editor at WREG-TV... he has asked the reporter to provide an update on the crop damage story, so I'm hoping to have more info tomorrow.

GMF, I was joking re blow-outs being next to impossible.
BP wasn't: their Exploration Plan for Mississippi Canyon refers to "the unlikely event of an oil spill..." (Section. 7.0, Oil Spills Information). The EP also states, "a discussion of response to an oil spill... is not required for this Exploration Plan" (7.1.5).
So much for BP prudence and MMS oversight.

Bendal, I grew up in Montreal, and as kids we loved those "rainbow puddles." But I've never seen oil on the scale of what appears to be in that video. Of course someone could dump a few litres of oil just to make a fake video, and there are plenty of bored people out there, but that would be a bit much....

The poster of the video does lots of youtube videos. I know the area and let's just say people don't have much use for "tree-hugging, environmental BS".

People are sloppy with used oil or vehicles leaking oil or other fluids. When I was a kid everyone hosed their lawn clippings down the storm drains. I still see people doing the same with leaf blowers.

A "rainbow sheen" and "granular oil sheen" are proof positive of oil rain? Who knew it was raining oil into the cattle troughs here in Texas 20 years and more before the blowout?

Lots of things can cause a sheen on standing water.

Texas, 20 years ago, oil sheen?

I'm in Canada, farmed for almost 25 years, my wife's family for 60 years.
No oil sheen in our water-troughs that I'm aware of.
We are also hundreds of miles from any oil extraction.

Given the volumes of oil and Corexit in the Gulf, I see little reason to dismiss the possibility of "oil rain."
Indeed, I will be (pleasantly) surprised if a hurricane does not transport these hydrocarbons in ways that we have never seen before.

yep we get it bad in one trough under a cottonwood tree

rusty water gets a rainbow sheen too

RetiredL: Way, way back in history about 2 days ago, I tried to answer a question about how the judiciary would handle the surge in cases from the GOM blow out. You reminded me of the surges in the 60s and 70s. I meant to ask you a question which I will preface. In the Federal Court system at the District Court level where I live, new appointments have not come through the political process. I think about only half the places are filled since 2005 or so. Nothing gets through the Senate. I have a friend who is a US District Court judge and he says they have an unmanageable back log due to vacancies. How's it where you are and most of the Gulf cases will hit? That's a real concern of mine.

That's a big problem, but it's actually been going on for quite a while, at least since the late 1980's. The developing tactic is to appoint magistrates to do a great deal of the routine court work, and to put more pressure on settlement, not trial. Also, the federal court system is slowly and quietly redefining its jurisdiction, so as to limit the number of cases in Federal court.

Regarding any litigation surge, this might happen: Half of the people who can sue won't sue (not worth their time and money); half of what remains, at least, will find that they inadvertently signed over their rights to sue when they took aid from BP; half of that group will settle early; the rest will get folded into a class action law suit.

Why are the comments on MSM sites so stuid ? i have read everything from Obama is dropping acid to forget about the secret information he knew about planning the oil spill to rush limbaugh secretly owns BP.....and with anti immigrant rants sprinkled here and there.....what the hell? If it gets that stupid in here...and they have been slowly migrating here....(guess that includes me) but if it gets that stupid here there will be no place to go to get information.

Perspective: abovetopsecret.com for one. If you want really, really stupid. MSM? You mean the place where a gallon is a barrel and since Obama managed to switch generals in a day or two, why hasn't he fixed the "oil leak" yet? I don't think most MSM aficionados could stand the light here.

not even 5 minutes and i feel dumber than i was before i went to that site....i didn't know that was lava leaking out around the cap...wow...obama lava.

boppo - maybe the short answer is that it works: you paid attention, didn't you. One reason I don't tune into the MSM: they suck me in all too often.

It would interesting to know the methods used to clean the well annulas before concrete is pumped. My experience is that concrete can be easily contaminated. My guess is that total filling of the annulas is more important than the final cured strength. Or, the mud that is pumped before concreting is designed to be compatible with the concrete.


Synthetic oil based mud can't hardly be compatible with cement, can it?

Billy -- typically they have a spacer fluid running ahead of the cmt. Don't know much about those compounds but they are designed to deal with the potential contaminant.

Yair...if they do a junkshot or whatever to slow the flow through the BOP when the well kill (from the relief well) is started won't this subject the BOP and the possibly compromised casing to increased preasure untill the mud builds up in the wellbore to a level below the suspect area...in other words this is a necessary but calculated risk?

In one of his recent tutorial posts Heading Out showed a picture of a wellbore-sized rubber grommet thingie that has these squeegee flanges around it. I understand that they push the rubber thing (up? or down?) the bore to scrape the mud off the walls before cementing. Not sure what kind of fluid replaces the mud for this operation -- plain water perhaps?

There is certainly an effort made to clean up the bore before pumping cement into it and lots of things can interfere, such as produced hydrocarbons, to make the cement fail to stick.

The methods of cleaning the annulas prior to cementation is first circulating the drilling mud and getting the proper mud properties throughout the entire wellbore. Reciprocating and rotating the pipe when possible as a mechanical aid to help ensure good mud removal and no channels in the flowpath. Just Before pumping cement a spacer compatible with both mud and cement is pumped to help clean the wellbore and prep it for cement. When displacing cement you would want to continue the reciprocation and rotation and diplace the cement as fast as possible within predetermined parameters as to not loose circulation.

Quick question about the second negative pressure test they did.

If they got 15 bbl. returns, when BP seems to say 5 would be normal from compression, on what basis did they conclude the test was successful and they could proceed to displace the mud from the riser?

On the basis of 15 bbl., they should have run a CBL per the regs?

Thanks. I ask because i recall you had made some comments suggesting you had considered this issue some time back and i missed that discussion.


I posted this on another thread. When I saw it again, I realized it is a perfect allegory to peak oil. From the movie, "The Gods Must be Crazy." Watch it. It is very funny, yet the story is as serious and important as it gets.

Edit: This is just a small clip, the bottle was thrown from a plane, but they could have dug it up like oil. All parts are free on youtube. Classic worth watching. Actually this clip is better allegory for the SPILL. My gosh. Yep, instead of stopping oil, he returns a discarded Coke bottle. Maybe Thud is definitely not a skinny African, but they both crack me up.

Love that film. Whenever it's mentioned the first scene that pops into my head is from right near the beginning when the narrator is describding the excessive consumption of the modern world. Someone gets in the car, backs out of the driveway, drives down the street maybe 30 feet and grabs the mail out of the box, backs up to the driveway and pulls in.

EDIT: Speaking of mail, some time after I became aware of peak oil, I recognized a progression in how mail was delivered to me. For my first 16 years or so, we lived in a house with a mailbox attached to the railing on the front steps, serviced by a carrier on foot. Then we moved to a different city and for the first year rented a town house which had a block of mailboxes on the street, serviced by a drive-by carrier who could open the panel and the back and deliver the mail for the dozen or so townhouses in that row. Then my folks bought a house elsewhere in town, where we had (and in fact they still have) a single mailbox street-side, serviced by another carrier on wheels who started and stopped every 50 feet or so to drop off each house's mail. Suburb style. Or, in this case, housing development built within the city limits in the 70's style. That seems to be the norm these days.

reflector-44287 has been showing ROV making what looks like some new hydraulic connections. Port A Lock and Port B Unlock..

RollingStone really does some good journalism for being a dirty hippie magazine.

The story they did on off-shore permits in Alaska for BP and Shell is good. I don't feel Salazar is the right guy to be chartering these waters from what i have seen so far. How they handle the Alaska permits should tell a lot about what their priorities and level of competence.


BP's Next Disaster

The Obama administration has been warned by its own scientists that drilling in the Arctic poses a grave risk to the environment. Last September, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration urged the president to halt future leases in the Arctic, warning that federal regulators operating on Bush-era guidelines had "greatly understated" the risks of drilling. Both industry and government, the scientists added, displayed a "lack of preparedness for Arctic spill responses" and had failed to "fully evaluate the potential impacts of worst-case scenarios."

That's putting it mildly. Shell has received all the environmental permits it needs to drill five exploratory wells in the Arctic — but in light of the BP disaster in the Gulf, the documents read like a sick joke. According to the Environmental Assessment that Interior conducted last December on Shell's drilling plan, "A very large spill from a well-control incident is not a reasonably foreseeable event, and therefore, this EA does not analyze the impacts of such a worst-case scenario." The response plan that Shell put together in case of a disaster is equally disturbing: The oil giant says it is only prepared to respond to a spill of 5,500 barrels a day — a fraction of the 60,000 barrels currently estimated to be pouring into the Gulf. Shell, the eighth-largest corporation in the world, has a disturbing record when it comes to the environment: Its operations in Nigeria spilled at least 100,000 barrels of crude last year alone. ....

Shell, in fact, has never conducted an offshore-response drill in the Chukchi Sea. Perhaps that's because there's no proven technology for cleaning up oil in icy water, which can render skimming boats useless — much less to cope with a gusher under the ice. In the worst-case scenario, according to marine scientists, a blowout that takes place in the fall, when the seas are freezing over, could flow unabated until relief wells could be drilled the following summer. In the interim, oil could spread under the sea ice, marring the coastlines of Russia and Canada, and possibly reaching as far as Norway and Greenland. "It could realistically be a circumpolar event," says Steiner.


"Drilling in the Arctic should make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck," says Sylvia Earle, the former chief scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "There are values there that transcend the value of any fossil fuel we can extract — irreplaceable ecosystems that we don't know how to put together again. There are some places you should not drill, period."


Agreed wholeheartedly.

"There are values there that transcend the value of any fossil fuel we can extract — irreplaceable ecosystems that we don't know how to put together again. There are some places you should not drill, period."

What Sylvia said.

At the very least, offshore in the Arctic is a place we have no business drilling, now, certainly not until we have vastly improved our safeguards against events like the oilcano in the Gulf and our ability to respond when they do, as they inevitably will, occur.

On the plus side, the response plan that Shell put together in case of a disaster does have considerations for the Alaskan manatee.

Ah. So, thats where we're sending the ones that are being evacuated from the Gulf.

For the past couple of days BP has been reporting lower oil recovery from the system at the well hole. One wonders if they are finally beginning to get nearly all of the oil? I can't see the live cams so can't assess it for myself. Anyone?

All wells deplete over time and the flow may have decreased some, but it will be a long time before they get all the oil.

Don't think that's the reason in this case - the ROV feeds show very clearly that the amount escaping from under the rim of the LMRP cap has increased dramatically over the last 36 hours or so.

The cap was taken off and replaced Wednesday - after that episode, the leakage was all on one side (the Skandi side from a ROV point of view), with little or nothing coming out from the other side (the Enterprise side). Prof Goose posted some pics and commentary in the header of a previous topic.

Right now there is BIG leakage on both sides - the difference is really obvious from even casual observation. Haven't heard any credible commentary that explains this, or even attempts to do so.

I think the collection amount has decreased because the leakage has increased, and any depletion / pressure-loss in the reservoir is insignificant in comparison

Regards Chris

shouldn't we be pumping oxygen down near the leak? I've seen that the oil eating microbes run out of oxygen and dead zones are created

if we can pump dispersant why can't we pump air/oxygen/whatever mix is appropriate? thx

There's probably no way that enough oxygen could be introduced, in appropriate concentrations at varying depths, and then distributed throughout the many, many miles of plume emanating from the site. We only know where a small fraction of that suspended oil is, or is headed.

In the deeper levels of the column, the water was oxygenated long ago and far away, while it was near the surface in northern latitudes. To the extent that the effects of this gusher include significant O2 depletion, it's going to be decades, or centuries, before that oxygen is replaced. We're probably going to have to live with that and its consequences, whatever those may be.

Some things can't be fixed. One of the very good reasons, IMHO, to work hard to avoid breaking them.

thanks for responding

i guess i have a couple of thoughts/issues

-if you introduce the oxygen near the source then it should more or less follow along with the rest of the plume

-i was thinking one would introduce the oxygen asap after the blowout began as opposed to trying to intersperse the oxygen in miles-long plume now

- not introducing 02 now because we may not have the correct concentration or amount seems short-sighted (any is better than none; either the dead zones are problematic or they aren't)

winterps, there are a lot of things needed to "introduce oxygen" at the depths we're talking about.

"introduce oxygen near the source" - you would need a mile-long pipe and pumps to pump air (not oxygen, air is and contains oxygen) down to those pressures. An enormous amount of energy would be needed. Further, the quantities needed would also be enormous, so you'd probably need more than one pump station.

with billions in damage who cares if we need multiple pump stations or miles of pipe? if they can pump dispersant they can pump O2

This is a great idea, winterps, and I hope someone smarter than me can do some calculations on feasibility. Even though I like it, my gut feeling is that there is way too much water volume involved for pumped oxygen to have much effect. I'm also not crazy about having lots of liquid oxygen brought into the spill area, it's dangerous enough already. Still worth thinking about.

FYI - go back and read these:
How much air to burn all the oil underseas:
pumping oxygenated water:

n.b. those were based on 5,000 bpd numbers mid-May,
so now multiply by 5x or so.

n.b. while some of the oil will float, the methane apparently dissolves - it's of Dr. Joye's concern.

Fate & Behavior of Deepwater Subsea Oil Well Blowouts

I'm too tired to calc the methane based on the Gas Oil Ratios,
but guess is same order of magnitude.

Somewhere I calc'd how much liquid oxygen, it's essentially a big steel mill/coal-to-liquids plant's worth - but no longer available as liquid at the plant output, so shipping as gas is non-feasible.

The injection of oxygen would have an effect, just like in your fish tank - it's just a logistics near-impossibility to do so: 18,000 x 5 = 90,000 large SCUBA air compressors, power for them, boats for them, 3000' hoses for them, bubblers for them...

Going to go to bed and cry a bit ...

thanks for the info, sunnv, depressing to see some numbers put to the problem. Do you think liquid O2 is an option?

What if liquid air was pumped down instead of gaseous air.

"-if you introduce the oxygen near the source then it should more or less follow along with the rest of the plume"

Probably not. WRT the oil plumes, I think gaseous O2 and aerosolized crude oil/crude + Corexit would probably behave very differently in the water column. No reason to expect the O2 to follow any particular plume(s).

The methane is likely to be an even bigger problem, at least closer to the gusher (because of an abundance of aerobic micro-organisms that love to eat it). Maybe it would be possible to introduce O2 in sufficient quantities and in ways that would ameliorate the depletion that could result from the methane levels Kessler's team found (within a 5-mile radius of the well, so far). I don't think it's ever been done, but maybe.

At this point, I don't think anyone is seriously considering deepwater remediation, and I don't think the prospects are good.

It may not be a matter of being short-sighted (at least not right now—the spill response planning and preparation was certainly that). I think it's mostly that everyone is in desperation mode and only the most obvious and immediate work is getting done at all.

As for whether deepwater dead zones would be problematic, they certainly would be for some life-forms. They'd be very bad for giant squid, for instance, which could make them very bad for sperm whales, who like giant squid better than anything else on the menu. The world doesn't have an over-supply of sperm whales.

Kessler wondered, "What is it going to look like two months down the road, six months down the road, two years down the road?" We'll find out.

Surf action is a big oxygenator if not the biggest. Stop the freakin leak and the gulf will heal.

Surf action is not an oxygenator of deep water. As has been pointed out here before, that water was oxygenated long ago and far away, when it was near the surface. To the extent that it suffers oxygen depletion, that depletion is likely to last for a very long time.

You're correct, but there's a reason fish are coming to shore. They know there's oxygen there in the surf and they come there to try to survive. Yes the oxygen depletion at great depth - (>1000') will last a very long time and yes it is a tragedy. I have to think dissolved gases in seawater come out of solution within a relatively short time. I feel upwelling cold water where I am at times, and that has to get replaced with surface water South of me. Big huge tragedy but I have hope. Huge amounts of methane in the gulf make me less hopeful, but then there's the oxygenated Caribbean that feeds into the gulf via the gulfstream. The whole thing makes me sick though.

i get that oxygen might rise faster than oil/methane/corexit but it seems like it wouldn't be that hard to stay under a plume that is miles long

I did some estimates the other day. I personally think it's worth doing.
But it would take somewhere (check my math please someone) on the order of 134 cubic meters of air per second. Delivered to 2500 feet which might not work as well as 5000 feet deep in the water, near the well head. Or double that. A very large effort indeed.

Edit: I must point out that Samantha Joye at Gulf Oil Blog did NOT ponder mixing air or oxygen per se, with plume; only considered mixing naturally more oxygenated surface water with deeper, which she is against, reasonably.

This idea has been past a few times, and I was ready to dismiss it again until I realised that there is indeed well tried remediation technology that does just this. You don't need to get gaseous oxygen down there, just oxygen. The easy way of doing this is with hydrogen peroxide or sodium chlorite. Both are used in on land remediation.

Probably sodium chlorite would be the easy one - it isn't as if the additional sodium and chloride ions are going to affect the sea - but the concomittant oxygen might be a literal lifesaver. Sodium chlorite seems to cost about $600 per ton. It is produced in large commercial quantities because it is used in the paper industry. Purchasing enough to even begin remediation of the GOM would probably drive the price up. However what it does suggest is that at least some action could feasibly be taken if it became necessary.

Some significant R&D would be needed. Sodium chlorite is quite toxic when concentrated, and handling it quite hazardous. But a ship modified to handle it, dilute it, and pump it down into a depleted layer quite feasible. I would posit that it would be much less hazadous than most drilling ops.

I am just wondering about the viability of anaerobic organisms that might come up with the oil. I understand that the likely source of the methane is the anaerobic digestion of oil before it is released. Would not those organisms come up with the oil, and wouldn't they thrive in oxygen-depleted water if there were significant nutrients?

So far, the undersea clouds of oil have enough oxygen-- see Samantha Joye's blog. She is concerned about the potential for depletion and dubious about the feasibility of mechanical remediation.


There seems a reasonable chance that, if the flow can be contained soon, which seems likely, the deep sea damage may not be too great. So far the plumes haven't been tracked any great distance from the wellhead. There's a lot of water out there to dilute the subsea oil. It's the surface and the shoreline where things look really terrible, and still getting worse.

"So far, the undersea clouds of oil have enough oxygen..."

I think that's misleading. Joye has reported that some of the measurements taken have been on the edge of the 2mg/l level at which obligate aerobes are threatened. Further, TDO has been dropping, in some places, as much as 2%/day.

Does "enough" mean sufficient to barely maintain life?

"There seems a reasonable chance that, if the flow can be contained soon, which seems likely, the deep sea damage may not be too great."

I would say that there is that possibility. It is at least as likely that deep sea damage will be profound and long-lasting. We simply don't have nearly enough data or analysis to know.

We do know enough to predict that, in many places, TDO will likely continue to drop for some time. And that recovery is likely to take decades or centuries. During that period, if we are around and capable of conducting the requisite observations and analysis, we may well learn what long-term, sub-critical hypoxia does to the demersal and benthic environments.

We also know that this incident is unprecedented.

Fair enough, we don't know. I prefer to be hopeful if there's reasonable grounds for hope, and nothing to be done by way of remedy.

By "enough oxygen so far" I was referring mainly to Joye's statements that there is enough so far to maintain bacterial respiration and multiplication. So if the flow is contained soon, the undersea oil may get eaten without large volumes of water developing that are toxic to eggs or plankton, whether by oil/dispersant directly or by anoxia. Mobile creatures can largely avoid low-oxygen areas.

But oil on the surface near shore may wipe out a generation of many different creatures that depend on immature forms being carried by tides into the bays and marshes--including those of sea trout, redfish, and shrimp. These rise to the surface to ride the flood tides inshore. Redfish will be spawning soon off the inlets. And of course, the direct destruction of marshes may a bigger long-term issue than a local population setback for critters.

"I prefer to be hopeful if there's reasonable grounds for hope, and nothing to be done by way of remedy."

Yes. I think the human preference, or tendency, toward hopefulness was an adaptive trait through most of our development, but is less so now.

In this case, hoping for the best could be maladaptive because, although there may be little we can do to remedy deepwater hypoxia in the wake of the current gusher, it could lead us to less concern about the consequences of future incidents.

Since it's likely to take a very long time to determine the actual effects of this gusher on the marine ecosystem, we should probably be cautious and err on the side of pessimism as we make decisions about our future course.

I don't expect that we will. I suspect that, as a species, we may be incapable of that. I just think that we should.

That's a smart post, but I wasn't talking about optimism as a basis for decision-making, a la the bosses on the DWH or opponents of CO2 reduction. I was talking about rational hopefulness when nothing can be done. There are clouds of oil droplets deep in the Gulf. Neither optimism nor pessimism will affect how great or how moderate the actual damage from those will be. There's nothing wrong with discussing why it could turn out to be moderate. Actually media coverage of the subsea plumes has represented, not even rational pessimism, but rather ignorant, arm-waving panic.

Picture yesterday of the back of the top cap and a picture today of it from a little different angle. They are still venting a lot out of the top vents and you do see a plume of oil come shooting up now on the back side you did not see yesterday.


todays pic


Worth Watching.

60 Minutes - BP disaster - Deepwater Horizon survivor Mike Williams pt 1

60 Minutes - BP disaster - Deepwater Horizon survivor Mike Williams pt 2

60 Minutes - BP disaster - Deepwater Horizon survivor Mike Williams pt 3

60 Minutes - BP disaster - Deepwater Horizon survivor Mike Williams pt 4

I have some questions concerning the methane content of the oil

"On June 18, oceanographer John Kessler said that the crude gushing from the well contains 40 percent methane, compared to about 5 percent found in typical oil deposits. "

1. Is this information true ? I cant find any definite analysys of the oil beyond the above.
2. How unusal is this.?
3. will this influence the time the oil gets out of the well by its own ?
4. why is no one commenting this ?

I know there are wells which mainly contain gas but i havent found statistics or further information.

The Web is full of bad sites.

It would be nice to get some links for more information then availlable on Wikipedia.

The O/G mix of the recovered product is reported every 12 hours by BP. Currently:

For the last 12 hours on June 26 (noon to midnight), approximately 7,160 barrels of oil were collected and approximately 3,950 barrels of oil and 24.6 million cubic feet of natural gas were flared.

On June 26, total oil recovered was approx. 22,750 barrels:
approx. 14,730 barrels of oil were collected, approx. 8,020 barrels of oil were flared, and approx. 52.9 million cubic feet of natural gas were flared.

That should help. The people who know will, no doubt, comment on how these ratios compare with other GOM reservoirs.

The Formation Volume Factor (FVF) is the ratio of the volume of oil at reservoir conditions versus the volume of oil at standard conditions at the surface, and it usually ranges from about 1.0 to as high as 2.0 (because of gas coming out of solution, shrinking the volume of oil at the surface):


So, the volume of oil tends to shrink, as much as 50%, as the oil moves from reservoir conditions to the surface. Interestingly enough we just ran a Drill Stem Test that tested a onshore shallow oil reservoir at a volumetric rate of about 500 bpd, with a surface gas volume to small to measure, with an initial flowing pressure equal to 50% of the formation pressure. We are happy campers (very low FVF, with very high permeability).

HK -- First, the statement that the flow contains X% NG is meaningless. The oil and NG are measured in two different units (bbls and cubic feet) so you can’t fractionate the composition that way. The typical characterization is to state the amount of NG dissolved in a bbl of oil. If memory serves the original estimate for this reservoir was 3,000 cubic feet of NG per bbl of oil.

There is no such thing as a typical NG concentration in an oil reservoir. It can range from zero to many thousands of cf per bbl. The “gas cut” can change over time especially if the reservoir pressure decreases significantly (research “ bubble point” for more details if you like). This NG cut was talked about a good bit early on. You’re just late to the party. But welcome aboard…the more new folks the better.

was searching the net a bit, googled oil well pressure, the oil drum tech talk was hit nr. 3
i guess i got to search the site more, i had been in tech talk before, have read that article,to bad the article doesnt tell about the relationship of gas content and pressure as the reservoir gets depleted and pressure changes. And i got a big problem thinking in pound and feet, i am metric.

this is really the best site for technical information.

if you had the link to the discussion it would be great because i havent yet found the way to navigate this site

edit : sorry found it its in the discussion underneath the article

HK and Rock,

At the conditions of the wellhead, methane is supercritical liquid. Since most of the gas will be methane, it may make some sense to talk about the volume fraction of oil (or gas) at a depth of 5,000 feet. This is also important when calculating the flow rate of oil (as has been pointed out be several contributors to this forum). Of course, things are completely different at the surface.

The GORs (Gas-to-Oil Ratios) reported for the Macondo field are between 2,000 and 3,000 (cubic feet of gas per barrel of oil). At these ratios, the volume fraction of oil in the liquid that spills out of the wellhead is about 40% and 30% respectively.

according to this interview with Joye up to 100,000x norm in the plumes


I posted above there is a full documentary that has been produced of her recent research voyage

According to John Kessler, nearly one million times normal, in some samples.

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

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

"There is an incredible amount of methane in there," Kessler told reporters in a telephone briefing.

In some areas, the crew of 12 scientists found concentrations that were 100,000 times higher than normal.

"We saw them approach a million times above background concentrations" in some areas, Kessler said.


So what does happen as the oxygen levels plummet?

I understand that the complex organisms (fish) are the first to go, but how long until the methane-eating-bacteria themselves can't function? Does the methane just remain suspended in the water? Does it break down into CO2 and water (??) by itself? Does it eventually bubble to the surface?

Or do an-aerobic bacteria take over? What are the consequences of that?

I don't think anyone knows, although specialists may have a SWAG or two.

There are certainly anaerobes that eat hydrocarbons. Will they be available in sufficient numbers at the right times and places? What might the other (than O2) limiting factors be? Sulfates?

What might be the effects of long-term O2 depletion at depth, given the slooow recharge rate?

The microbiology of this mess is the central focus of Joye's team. First results probably not for a couple of months. More trips monthly for some time.

Methane cathrates (clathrates?) are found under the ocean and in Arctic permafrost. One of the 'tipping points' in global warming science is when ocean water/air temperature becomes warm enough to melt these frozen methane deposits and release them into the atmosphere. It is thought that the Permian extinction was caused by such a warming event. So, to answer your question, I think the methane released by this disaster (better than leak?) will exit the Gulf waters as methane gas. I don't know what's keeping it in the plumes at the moment unless it's still in a semi-solid state due to depth. Btw, to allay any unnecessary fears re the global warming scenario, most scientists think that the methane released due to current global warming won't be a catastrophic release but instead a slow seepage. Not good, but not another Permian extinction.

Methane cathrates (clathrates?) are found under the ocean and in Arctic permafrost. One of the 'tipping points' in global warming science is when ocean water/air temperature becomes warm enough to melt these frozen methane deposits and release them into the atmosphere. It is thought that the Permian extinction was caused by such a warming event. So, to answer your question, I think the methane released by this disaster (better than leak?) will exit the Gulf waters as methane gas. I don't know what's keeping it in the plumes at the moment unless it's still in a semi-solid state due to depth. Btw, to allay any unnecessary fears re the global warming scenario, most scientists think that the methane released due to current global warming won't be a catastrophic release but instead a slow seepage. Not good, but not another Permian extinction.

I would seem to me complex organisms such as the fishes and crustations will become uncomfortable with diminishing O2 levels and migrate to a suitable environment, they are not intelligent beings but they do have enough instinct to seek habitable environs. Less complex organisms that are dependent on water currents for mobility will die if they end up in an oil suspension of a sufficient concentration to support O2 depletion to below their minimum requirment for sustenance. Even more simply, them that can run for their life will, them that can't will just have to take their chances.

I did research on microbial changes to the chemistry in stratified lakes, and I would imagine the process proceeds similarly in a pelagic environment if the conditions allow it.

All bacteria metabolize carbon as food, and respire oxygen from different sources in a succession process. In a lake that stratifies, the bottom (hypolimnion) will essentially be sealed off from mixing with the water column and the microbial succession begins where different types of bacteria first use up the DO, and then utilize oxygen bound in chemical compounds. Once the aerobes use up DO, faculative bacteria start reducing nitrate to nitrite (NO3- to NO2-), and then iron bacteria start reducing ferric FeIII iron to ferrous FeII iron (Mn oxyhydrates get reduced too). By this point, the DO is all depleted and redox potential (Eh) goes negative, indicating anaerobic and chemically reducing conditions. Then anaerobic bacteria will finish off the Fe and Mn oxyhydrates and start reducing sulfate (SO4-2 to sulfide S-2). This is usually the limit of the succession process in lakes, though sometimes bacteria can convert CO2 to CH4 if stagnant conditions last long enough and all the sulfate is depleted.

However, the GOM does not stratify like a lake and the currents seem to be physically dispersing the oil. Because of this mixing, I would think that the sucession process would not likely go to full DO depletion or past the aerobic and faculative nitrate reduction phase. As soon as the plume mixed with DO, the anaerobes would be killed. However, if the plumes somehow become stagnant or confined in an eddy, the process might go anaerobic and form a dead zone. The current GOM dead zones are related to algae crashes from high N and P in the delta runoff (correct? any oceanographers?). And hurricanes would definitely stir the water column.

When the DO gets below about 50% of saturation for the water temperature and depth, fish will start being adversely affected by the reduced DO depending on species tolerance. Some will avoid low DO waters, the less healthy can die. Air breathing zooplankton will also be impaired by lower DO.

"We saw them approach a million times above background concentrations" in some areas, Kessler said.

I will confess to being somewhat annoyed with this quote. It isn't useful, and not something a scientist should be saying. I have no idea what a million times background means. Sure, the implication is that it is bad. But how bad? The critical issue seems to be potential oxygen depletion. But there is no way for anyone to translate this bit of media friendly non-science into a meaningful understanding of how bad things are. It could be anything from "no cause for concern yet" right though to "unavoidable massive dead zone".

Not impressed.

New acronym LBF ( Low Bandwidth Frustration )

Question about the bit on the kill well .

At the point when they finally begin enter the wild well hole , what does the bit look like ?

What cuts that steel casing ?

I thought I just read today somewhere they might use shaped charges or some kind of explosive? Don't quote me on that let me see if I can find it again.

Bob - There are mill bits designed especialy to do just that. It's not an uncommon operation but it's usually down cutting a window from the inside of the csg in order to side track. There are other techniques that might be tried: perforating the blow out csg with shaped charges as well as chemical and water jet cutters. Have to wait and see what they try first.

Rock -
Thanks , been along time since I dropped a button bit on my toe.

We ran a line once north of the Yampa River , in far northwest Colorado, at a place called Ruby Mountain . Just the nub of a very old volcano sticking out of the plain. . The place was surrounded by these sands, and rooster tails of cuttings were flying from that stuff, but as soon as we moved up on to the volcano, well ...... Some of the hardest stuff I ever saw, large nodules of red and blue volcanic glass embedded in the matrix. One guy drilled for 4 hours, and made 3" deep ashtray in the stuff.

I knew I had read it somewhere today, I should have known it was in the first post of the thread............

Once this has been done, then the well will swing back down to vertical and drill down until it is close to the desired depth, when it will again turn horizontal and drill over to intersect the well. At this point they hope to hit on the centerline of the casing so that they can mill through it, although should they be slightly off they can (as I noted earlier use penetrating charges to create the flow path for the mud to enter the well.

hello again....thanks for most of the comments and links to articles/videos. especially the ones that state that bp is criminal/negligent. hope springs eternal! someone mentioned that it will take chemical engineers to "kill" the well....how does that work? the same people that make corexit are responsible for stopping the geyser? http://www.udel.edu/udaily/2010/may/fyrwald051210.html (sorry,i should figure out how to drag links here so you could click on them). what do you make of this man, fyrwald and how dangerous is corexit and why are they still using it against the epa? is the epa that toothless? i found out i get my "energy" from georgia so i'm assuming that i'm not getting it from the crystal river nuclear plant......what happens when oil comes near these plants? will they shut down, will people be without power? should i stock up on candles and progresso? thanks....

Under pressure from Obama, G20 countries agree to reduce fossil fuel subsidies, erasing word 'voluntary': http://bit.ly/G20cut

"In that Macondo forgotten even by the birds, where the dust and the heat had become so strong that it was difficult to breathe, secluded by solitude and love and by the solitude of love in a house where it was almost impossible to sleep because of the noise of the red ants, Aureliano, and Amaranta Úrsula were the only happy beings, and the most happy on the face of the earth."
— Gabriel García Márquez (One Hundred Years of Solitude)


Sounds suspiciously like poetry.

Perhaps it was so dry because the Patriarch, in his autumn, sold the Caribbean to the Americans, who arrived with great suction dredges and nautical engineers who carry off the sea "in numbered pieces to plant it far from the hurricanes in the blood- red dawns of Arizona, they took it away with everything it had inside general sir, with the reflection of our cities, our timid drowned people, our demented dragons," leaving behind a crater.

The Americans do, however, provide wind machines to replace the lost breezes, according to Marquez.

From the last thread -
Solar irrigation ......... Very nice . Tanks are the key to water harvesting as well.
The jack rabbits carry canteens where I live.

Solar dehydration ......... I'll be in touch , here's the folks I'm going to be working with, it's a gas fired operation . They are looking for ways to cut their usage. Going to try record this effort.


When things were rotten: Arctic sees record sea ice shrinkage, headed toward record low volume
On a streetcar named denial, Watts and Goddard assert: "Arctic Basin ice generally looks healthier than 20 years ago."


To paraphrase Tennessee Williams, WattsUpWithThat has always relied on the blindness of strangers.

I think this illustration was telling something about the nay-sayers.

We have a bigger problem now. At least as far as the beach is concerned. Due to the storm and removal from contamination the beach is disappearing. Let me provide some background. Back in the 70's Gulf Shores was a natural beach. No real construction on the beach and the shoreline ebb and flowed, the state would just move the road a little each time they repaved. Well as the land became the most valuable in the state, inches were fought over like it was gold. No more moving anything. Well fine, we had nice beaches. Hurricane would come and go stealing away the beach for a year or two only to have mother nature replenish it. In the '80s & 90's a series of hurricanes/storms hit and washed away the beach again. Impatient as we humans are, it was decided to build a seawall and dredge replacement sand. They used sand from just offshore. It turned out great. One Disneyland Beach and all was well. Another storm, no problem, just dredge again.
I appears that beach loss is happening again and this time there is no replacement sand. How do you replace 15 mile sections of beach 50 feet wide and 8 feet deep. That is about 1.2M yd^3 right? At 20 yds a truck we are talking about what 60000 truckloads? Where do we get the sand? It would have to chosen for its whiteness. There is no sand to get. Picture 1 is from 6/24. Picture 2 is from 6/27.
The beach has receded 50 feet in one week, I am sure much of that is due to Alex. Usually not a big deal but now I estimate we will be to the seawall by the end of next month and Gulf Shores will not have a main public beach. Don't worry though. They also took some sand and built berms to protect the Jimmy Buffet stage. I hope BP and the City does not turn this into another Altamont. With petroleum fumes taking folks out instead of the Hell's Angels. BP is a Green Devil.

Today's bucket - http://s892.photobucket.com/albums/ac126/tinfoilhatguy/Gulf%20Shores%206...

There is no substitute for an on-the-scene-guy. That is the value of the web. Citizen journalism.

You have pointed out a new problem here. What about beaches that depended on dredging to keep the sand pristine and plentiful? And how could one possibly dredge now... maybe for years to come - if every bit of sand dredged must be brought up to the surface through water containing oil droplets (or worse)?

Thanks for the info. I can only imagine the sense of watching this happen, considering what may yet happen, and feeling a sense of foreboding and helplessness. What a tragedy!

Of course things may ultimately improve, to whatever degree, but in the meantime.... how very tragic for all of us, whether we live there or not: It's still our land.

For a decade my parents lived on the East Coast of Fla, though some of that time I was away at school. Nonetheless, I can recall how we counted on the beach. How often we went. How it changed after storms.

Thanks for your reporting!

In the panhandle, hundreds of miles of beaches have been bespoiled and I hope Alex takes less of their beaches. It is a huge problem because many of the beaches in Florida do it now too. If beaches washes out to seawalls and condo foundations, the petroleum will rest on the now submerged shoreline and would have to be removed too. How? Would it not undermine foundations of millions dollar buildings? Petroleum in the first floors? This just keep getting worse and worse....

OTOH I agree that removing lots of sand will deplete the beach on the other the moon and tide can make a big difference. Beaches move in and out naturally in cycles. There are many factors, 3 days seems a bit quick for it to be the cleaning. Keep up the observations and look out for patterns.

Whoops, forgot. Look at the whole length of beach as sand can move from one area to another and back. Also keep an eye out in case the move the stands during cleaning.


NAOM- Would not this replenishing sand be contaminated with petroleum and have to be removed ASAP?
Alex probably did 35 of the feet, but does it matter? Gone is gone. What if another storm hits? I see no upside here.

I was hoping for more response. As the previous poster pointed out, the American people own all property from the high tide line to the GOM. In all 50 states. It is your land that got oiled and removed.

Tin, you're going to have to take a long term view here. No matter whether we get the blowout plugged soon or not, the volume of oil out there sitting in the deep Gulf waters will be coming ashore for months and even years. Think about it. Can we afford the manpower and the beach sand to be scraping off layer after layer, day after day, for years? We're going to have to go to plan B. So how do we deal with ongoing waves of oil contamination day after day for months and perhaps years?

Control of beaches with jetties, berms, and riprap is stupid. In the end, mother nature is going to get even. We are about to lose the race for control.

And although it's not really comforting, the idea that the oil is on the beaches is better than it being in the marshes. Although its headed there, too. If I were you, I'd be implementing plan B right about now.

Contaminated sand replenishment may well be an issue. I have wondered if it is better that the contaminated sand be removed so new oil falls on clean sand or if it is better to leave a layer of contaminated sand to catch more. They need to focus on which is better for the long term clean up not just to make the beaches look cosmetically better for now. I don't know which the answer is and I hope some research has been done.


I say leave it be until it is over, dig it up, and use sand barged in from wherever in the world we have to. Maybe Dubai can cut a deal, I hear they are going under.

Rail to the Mississippi. Maybe. I have a left field idea. Artificial beach. Slightly angled with the shore and easily anchorable. Heavy enough to stay sunk, and light enough to transport. It would have to be concrete, but concrete is too porous. That would have to be dealt with. Maybe a gunnite coating? It would have to have a sand finish and toppable with a little sand. You would hose it down/steam clean and collect the oil that runs down toward the Gulf side. A collection method for water and oil mixture would have to be devised. If and when we take care of the risk, the artificial beach could be relocated to an area that wants a beach and does not have one. Crazy idea? I am only talking about a 1 miles worth for the public beach areas.
The real reason for the artificial beach is not to keep tourists coming. It is to protect the most used areas of the beach. It could work on any beach.

Hmm, maybe not a floating beach but a floating island. Concrete is seal-able, boats are made from it. Bottom section floating caisson, top layer open pond, lower wall on open seaside, sump and drain to sea in the middle. Waves lap over the top carrying oil into the pond. Excess water drains out through sump (Ok, put a Costner machine if you are fussy), oil collects in the pond. Suck oil from pond once enough collects.

Comments, criticism, rip totally apart; be my guest.


Actually, not too bad. You get it built, and I'll be your mate. You know any concrete casters? A concrete skimming island, that works unmanned, but anchored. That is actually in the top ten of workable ideas at first mention. Yep, we need the dream team to bring us back down about now.

Would this be a start? These are in stock.

Or maybe you could bury these separators and let them collect the oil, return the clean water to the GOM. Protect, clean, and host guests with the same unit. Collect the petroleum at night. Use the continual wave motion to ensure constant flow. Instead of being a problem it becomes part of the solution. I need some engineer to tell how bad this idea really is.

It seems kind of obvious that if, on a continuing basis, the sand is scraped up along with the oil, then the beach is going to slowly disappear. In this case, what's needed is more sand. So why isn't BP replacing the sand? Didn't they say they would make you whole, or was that just a talking point to make you feel a little better about a bad situation?

It would take a national if not international search to find a source big enough and then you would have to barge it in I would think. How much sand does the average barge hold?

There probably isn't an easy way to replace the sand they're hauling off. But they should try. At some point the loss of sand will become an issue. They could probably pump new sand in from off shore.

Add this the growing list of unexpected effects of a massive uncontrolled gusher like this: the loss of beaches. Who would have thought.

New sand from offshore? Did you not see TFHG's videos showing a thick layer of dispersant-treated oil covering all the visible sand under the surf? Where do you reckon that oil came from? The layers of oil are getting buried under layers of sand, with new layers of oil washing in for the foreseeable future. All the workable locations to dredge new sand from are covered in oil just like the sand they're hauling off.

And just think, compared to the wetland areas, the beaches are 'easy' to clean up.

tiny tony said it would be "better than before".

It will be for him. You will be able to drill easier with no beach to protect.

Laying down clean sand for the purpose of absorbing more oil seems a little wastefull. There will be a time when doing it makes sense.

No, I am talking about keeping the million dollar buildings standing. The beach will be rebuilt later, next year maybe. Maybe 2012 if there is a 2013. I tell you if things do not start to pick up around here, I am going Mayan religion. Where are those human sacrifices at. I am starting with Hayward, but he has a black heart that does not work very well.


Do me a favor, and join MonkeyFister's experiment -

I'd like to ask you all to start conducting this same, simple experiment, if you live within the "Gulf Moisture Bubble" from the Gulf to the Mid-South, to Georgia.

Take a clean bucket or wash basin, fill it with fresh water daily. Check it every 24-hours, and repeat. Report observations in comments, right here.


Not much of an experiment if there is no control. Maybe Saskatchewan would volunteer to be the control. Also watch out for bug spray, sunscreen, hand lotion, aerial mosquito spraying, diesel exhaust, barbeque smoke, and squashed June bugs.

I'm serious about the diesel fumes, New Orleans had a thin grimy oil stain on everything flat (sidewalks, windowsills, windshields) for a year after Katrina from dump truck exhaust.

OB -
My 5 gallon bucket is 750 miles NW of New Orleans.

A Colossal Fracking Mess
The dirty truth behind the new natural gas. Related: A V.F. video look at a town transformed by fracking.

Read More http://www.vanityfair.com/business/features/2010/06/fracking-in-pennsylv...

WSJ: States Weigh Big Claims Against BP

AP: Oil spill's psychological toll quietly mounts

Bloomberg: BP’s Corner-Cutting Extends to Its Finances: Alice Schroeder

A lot of gunk building up on the cap and oil is really puffing out the back side now.

I get the idea the cap is rocking.


Thanks for the alert, Quantum.

The cap is rocking pretty noticeably. I thought I'd take a look at the weather and sea conditions.

For those who may be interested, the Thunderhorse station in the National Data Buoy system can be monitored here:


Looks calm to me, but I live on the edge of the North Pacific, a misnamed ocean if there ever was one.

Here's the "Deepwater Horizon Decision Support" site:


Edit to change last NOAA reference and link.

Anyone who wants to see how much the earth temperature increases with depth can get a good idea from this article
We used a rule of thumb "1 degree F for every 60 feet deeper" drilling in S Texas and this lines up pretty well with the article. I calc one degree F for ever 63' to 73' using figures from the wiki. I also take it to mean clathrates in formation may not occur much deeper out there than around 3000 feet below ocean floor.

Jumper, here is an article with a methane hydrate phase diagram for a bottom depth of 1200 meters:


Newbie here, first post-a question. Re Alex: As I understand it, at this time, the Discoverer Enterprise is taking o/g from the LMRP cap through a solid riser, and the Q4000 is taking o/g from the BOP's choke line through a flexible riser or hose. Tuesday next, they are planning to attach a new, floating riser that is already in place, to a third vessel (the Helix Producer) which isn't there yet. Providing HP gets there and hooked up before Alex arrives, then if/when Alex does come in, the Helix Producer will be able to move off, leave the new riser floating and then come back to it after the storm. Right? But what about the riser to the DE and the line to the Q4000? If they have to move off, what do they come back to?

I am no expert on anything. However, I did read this article and would like to know if it applies to what we are facing today.

It was written in 2006 by a German scientist.

Thank you


That is the craziest wellbore path I have ever seen.

Are you suggesting that the relief is simply going to be used to deliver heavy mud to the original wellbore? I would have thought that this new well was going to be used to usurp some of the flow pressure (a second path).

I thought we had learned that a top kill with mud was not the answer for the pressure in this reservoir?

Hi tsar1983
You pose good questions. Please be aware that the TOD website came to prominence because of the professional expertise of the founders and their commentors. So.. You really need to read the threads leading up to the present. I promise this journey will take an afternoon at least. Your answers lay there.

An oversimplification of the process is that it is much easier to fill the hole with heavy mud from the bottom rather than the top. When pumping the mud in the top the well is trying to blow it out the top as fast as you pump it in. For a successful top kill you really need to be able to shut it in or at least throttle the output though a choke (that was what the purpose of the junk shot, to throttle the output some).

When you pump the mud from the bottom as least it has to travel 13,000 ft before it blows out the top, so the chances of getting the well bore full of mud thereby creating enough hydrostatic head are much greater.

I thought we had learned that a top kill with mud was not the answer for the pressure in this reservoir?

The pressure in the reservoir is not the problem, but getting a full column of mud is.

Think about it for a sec 1983: if the purpose of the RW was to just capture some of the flowing oil there would still be oil leaking into the GOM from the blow out well until the reservoir depleted...many years from now.

I think the term "relief" well confuses some. I think access well would be a better term.

Rio -- maybe a KTB well would be better: Kill the B*stard

I like it.

New video with BP's Kent Wells about relief well and
ranging, referenced in June 28 press release.


BHA - bottom hole assembly - drill bit + directional assembly + mud motor + control/measurement-while-drilling unit.

slides haven't been posted (yet).

BP depths are given as MD-RKB
Measured Depth - Rotary Kelly Bushing == from the deck of the drilling rig on the drill ship, includes ~5000 feet of water.

TD - total depth

"intercept between 17,000 and 18,000 feet."

Press release:

1st relief well "successfully completed a second ”ranging” run"

Thank you. I found those links very informative,

The other oil companies bosses at Tony Hayward's interrogation in Congress made out that THEIR companies and wells were PERFECT.

However I wonder how many ROVs are quietly checking BOP batteries etc on these 'perfect' wells as we speak.

Does anyone know if ROV availability is currently zero and/or of the charge-out rate has climbed hugely?

(I know that BP are using several ROVs - but some other most exist too)

Also, I bet that safety systems are being very quietly checked/upgraded through the oil industry.

Meta -- just my opinion after dealing with oil companies for 35 years: rigs are safer now then they have even been in the GOM. Whether the public should be satisfied with that level is another question. Most companies do have pretty good safe drilling practices but I promise you that every operated has pounded those procedures into their hands as if there were no tomorrow. The BP blow out stands as much more than a wake up call: it's a loaded gun pointed at every operator's head IMHO. And they all know it.

As far as ROV availablity every DW rig drilling has at least one ROV onboard full time...SOP.

BP oil spill costs hit $100 million/day

LONDON (Reuters) – BP said it had spent $300 million on its Gulf of Mexico oil spill response effort in the past three days, hitting the $100 million/day spend rate for the first time and bringing its total bill to $2.65 billion so far.


Of course I know these figures can be trusted, and I'm thinking that maybe we're all being too mean to BP and other big oil companies. They're really trying. Go ahead, ya big lugs, have at the arctic. We ain't riding horses here after all...

Could somebody shed light on previous RCA's (Root Cause Analysis(-es)) being made available to the offshore O&G industry?

I am curious to know if we can expect BP to release the entirety of their RCA for the DWH blowout based on historical precedent from past failures of other installations/systems.

I've wondered how BP's "Lessons Learned" might differ from Graham-Reilly's. Maybe we'll get to see eventually, ST. I hope so.

EL-- I'm assuming "nut job" is an endearment; otherwise, see Prof. Goose's comments about flaming.

When I read the legal comments, I don't see "nut jobs" commenting, including you. Lawyers are trying to help laymen understand the legal aspects of this disaster, as the engineers and oilfield professionals are trying to help us laypeople understand. Instead of being charged $300 an hour for the dubious privilege of talking to a lawyer, these folks are getting good advice for free.

As for the "get over it" part of the post, that the moratorium decision is a done deal, and in the past, I'll tell you a secret:

***Judge Feldman now has jurisdiction over the oil spill. ***

That doesn't seem to occurred to anyone yet; perhaps, as a country, we're still too tied up in the politics of the thing to see it clearly.

But, if you want us to stop being nut jobs and start being professionals, fine. Billing at $300 an hour, this comment, including research and consideration, took me an hour's time. Where shall I send the bill?

Oh- by the way-- I'm billing you for the secret about Judge Feldman separately. That was shower time. You owe me an additional $500.

Heavy-duty soap, huh?

retiredL: "Nut jobs" is meant in an entirely complimentary fashion because I qualify as one. I could tell you the story about when Dr. Anna Freud publicly diagnosed my entire law school graduating class as text book compulsive neurotics, but I won't take up thread space. I tried to name all the lawyers who seem to inhabit TOD (sorry if I missed any).

And, frankly, any non-lawyer who might be trying to follow what may procedurally occur in this matter, how the government could be pursuing both an appeal of the original moratorium and issuing a modified moratorium at the same time, the detailed deconstruction of Judge Feldman's decision, and the lengthy discourses about how he might differently have applied the standards which govern the hearing would have to be as "nuts" as me trying to follow some of the detailed well construction descriptions and drilling procedures (which I do).

I apologize for not being clear.

By "get over it," which I don't think I said directly, if that was the implication, I meant he was not going to change his decision. He was given a chance, as I recall, and refused to modify his decision.

The other part of "get over it" might have applied to Judge Feldman changing his legal approach because of outside criticism. The appeals court might modify his thinking some but I'm aware of US District Court judges who tend to apply appeals court rulings they do not like in the narrowest way possible. I also am painfully aware of the time when my state Supreme Court applied a US Appellate decision in so a narrow manner so as it render it utterly meaningless (which was their intent).

There are ways and there are ways.

[Edit: Upon further review, I also meant that Judge Feldman did not tailor his decision to please a particular leaning of the appeals court. He wrote what he thought was the right decision considering what was in front of him.]

Shell will not halt deep-water bit
Shell will continue its deep-water drilling to meet rising global oil demand, its chief executive said, despite safety concerns following rival BP's Gulf of Mexico blowout.


snakehead, from your link:

... Responding to criticism, also raised at the Global Forum, that Shell and other oil majors were not doing enough to clean up oil spills in Nigeria, Voser said the situation in Africa's largest oil producer was complex.

"We can contribute in the best way actually by doing our job properly (and) generate revenues for the government, but that has been quite problematic over the last few years because of sabotage and violence (targeting oil companies)," Voser said.

He said last year 98% of Shell's oil spills in the restive Niger delta, Nigeria's top oil producing region, were caused by sabotage and or theft.

Voser said Shell was obliged under Nigerian law to clean up oil spills but would not jeopardise staff safety to accomplish this.

"I will not send people in if they are under threat".

In the Niger Delta, home to Africa's biggest oil and gas industry, oil spills have been left for decades, polluting the air, soil, and water of impoverished communities.

No one knows for sure how much oil has seeped into the rivers and creeks of the Niger Delta, but environmentalists say the impact over time in one of the world's largest wetlands is much worse than in the United States.

I certainly don't know the straight of this, but what an awful situation.

Miami Herald:

As the Atlantic's first tropical storm weakened to a depression, posing little threat to oil spill recovery efforts in the Gulf of Mexico, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist on Sunday announced two new efforts -- funded by oil giant BP -- to keep crude from the state's shores.

The first effort will begin with three barges, and could grow to as many as nine, configured in the shape of a boom to protect Destin Pass in the state's western panhandle. The barges would funnel the oil to an area where it can be skimmed.

Crist said he doesn't know when the state will receive the barges, but added that "We keep asking for more, and as soon as we get more, we'll use it."

The second effort involves creating an underwater "air curtain" of bubbles that would push oil to the surface.

Together, the two projects are expected to cost $500,000, which will be paid for by BP. ...

That's all the story says about the "air curtain." Anybody here know more?

A little more:

Meanwhile, county leaders in the Fort Walton Beach and Destin areas have a creative way to try and blow oil away from their white-sand beaches — an underwater curtain of air. Okaloosa County got $200,000 in emergency funding from oil spill command officials to try out the 200-foot underwater device.

Michael Sole, secretary of Florida’s Department of Environmental Quality, said the air curtain is a tube that blows a curtain of air bubbles to the surface. It is designed to keep the oil away from shore so it can be corralled by skimming boats.

The oil is spewing from a well being drilled for BP PLC and two partners that blew out April 20, setting off an explosion and fire on the oil-drilling rig Deepwater Horizon that eventually sank the rig. Eleven workers were killed in the blast, which has created the biggest ongoing oil disaster in U.S. history.


Thanks, QUS. I'm trying not to bust out laughing (because what do I know?), but it's hard.

Yeah I think someones brother in-law has a bunch of pipe with holes in it sitting in the barn doing nothing.

Welp, I call your theory more plausible than theirs.

Those dang Russian's just can't keep their mouths shut. LOL

British-based BP rushed to deny the report by Russia’s government RIA Novosti news agency that a senior Russian Cabinet official had said Hayward was expected to resign as chief executive.

It quoted Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, who was set to meet Hayward on Monday, as saying that Hayward would introduce his successor.

“Hayward is leaving his post, he will introduce his successor,” Sechin was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti.

BP spokeswoman Carolyn Copland in London said the report “is definitely not correct.” Sheila Williams, also in London, said, “Tony Hayward remains chief executive.”

“They are mistaken,” U.S.-based BP spokesman Mark Proegler said of the Russian report.

Whatever the truth BP would deny it, they wouldn't want a lame duck CEO would they:-)

And again if the Russians want some concessions out of BP then a story like this weakens BP's hand....

Looks like they are getting storm after storm over the well site.


Dunno. At that distance and this weak a storm, maybe that's just cloud cover. We can hope.