Storm Watch, 28 June 2010 and BP's Deepwater Oil Spill Open Thread

Alex again has potential for disruption, although probably more on clean-up operations than on Deepwater Horizon oil spill capturing and the drilling of relief wells. Since Sunday was a low news day for Deepwater Horizon, we will use this as our open thread today.-Gail

4pm ET Update
Alex is well over water, but not organizing as fast as virtually everybody was expecting. Latest winds are in the 55-60mph range. The computer models have flip-floped again. The Global Forecast System (GFS), which is used as inputs to many of the other models, has dramatically moved south today after an equally dramatic move north yesterday. I expect NHC will not change the track and intensity forecast much from this morning , which makes landfall just south of Brownsville, TX. Watches are up for South Texas and northern Mexico.

As for impacts, not much to change from this morning. Apache, Exxon Mobil, and Anadarko have started evacuating personnel, but as noted, we (Kinetic Analysis Corporation) aren't forecasting significant damage from this storm, only a brief reduction of output by 10-25% for a few days this week due to precautionary shutdowns, with full production restored by this weekend. We also don't expect significant impacts on the Deepwater Horizon well capping operations, however, waves will interfere with clean up as noted this morning.

7am ET Situation
Alex has moved back over water, in the Gulf of Campeche, and has begun to build in intensity. The primary dynamic computer model tracks are showing landfalls on the south Texas coast, between Brownsville and Corpus Christi. The official forecast has been creeping northward, and I would expect further northward shifts. But Alex remains a tough storm to forecast. Although the environment remains favorable for hurricane formation, the models (both NMC's and our in house versions) for some reason are not intensifying the storm much. In fact, the HWRF is not even allowing Alex to become a hurricane before landfall. Here's the tracks:

As before, the red line is the Official forecasts, yellow are the NHC HWRF and GFDL, purple are part of our local MM5 "what if" scenarios that are low probability, but to help gauge impacts on the Deepwater Horizon (DH) site. Our impact assessment discussion follows below. Bottom line is that on this track, we expect evacuations of some rigs and platforms off the south coast of Texas, but no significant damage or long term production impact. Waves should not seriously impact the Deepwater Horizon capping operations, but increasing waves may cause problems with the clean up.

Current Production Impacts (as of 7am ET)
PEMEX export operations have slowed, but they did not evacuate any platforms and reported no shutdowns. The storm should not serious impact them - by the time Alex strengthens, it will be far enough away to cause no damage.

Shell and BP are already evacuating non-essential personnel, and preparing evacuations. Shell reports Auger and Brutus platforms are already shut in. Our forecast is for no long term impacts, but for as much as 25% of production to be shut in for up to 5 of days due to precautionary evacuations until the storm passes.

Estimating Production Impact
Assuming it only reaches Category 1 Strength, the biggest uncertainty in predicting production impact is psychological. Other than older systems, platforms can weather a hit by a Cat 1 hurricane with minimal damage. So the key question is if managers will evacuate and shut in as a precaution, and how far away will they do so. Using past years as a guide, as programmed into our computer models, we expect 10-25% shut in for up to 5 days. However, these guys may be extra skiddish - nobody wants to be the next BP. So we'll see how that impacts the decision making process.

Estimating impact of Deepwater Horizon Operations
On these tracks, except than a couple of outliers, there should be minimal impacts on operations, unless (and this is a big unless) they decide to shut down as a precaution. Then, according to Admiral Allen, there would be up to a 14 day disruption. I'm not sure of the specs for the support ships, which probably have lower limits, but the primary drill ship, the Discoverer Enterprise, can continue operations in up to 30 foot waves. Our worst case runs right now are for 25ft waves on site. It's a tough call for the Admiral. If the storm intensifies more than forecast and turns, there won't be much time to shut down and bug out.

Cleanup operations will certainly suffer. Even 3ft waves are bad news for skimmers, making operations difficult or impossible, and we will be seeing those for sure in a day or so along the affected coast. Booms to protect shorelines can be overtopped or damaged, and oil pushed in to sensitive areas. Unfortunately the swell from the storm probably won't cause much mixing and dispersion.

Tracking Resources

Suppose the surrounding shale is marbled with methane hydrates, what would the heat of the flowing oil do to the structural integrity of the well if it’s enough to gasify the hydrates? Other than large quantities of methane coming out the top, would there be any other indicators that this was happening? Would bottom kill still be an option if this was happening at various well depths?

Repeating my questions about the Ixtoc blowout, from the previous open thread:

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 scuttlebutt 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.

what I like about this article is that it was published shortly after IXTOC was plugged

Popular Mechanics May 1980

(note that it is fairly long article but is split up as this is a scan of the original magazine - look carefully and you will see embedded navigation links to the continuing sections)

Well! Extremely interesting article, thanks Onlooker. It not only gives me additional information, it corrects some bad information. It also raises a couple of questions.

Drilling both relief wells began at approximately the same time, apparently.

That article was from the May 1980 issue, as you point out. Relief wells had not arrived at target when the article was written, but by press time, the two relief wells had just arrived at target. I have read that the wild well wasn't killed until about 3 months after that, but I have also read (often) that the wild well gushed for 9 or 10 months. It must have gushed for at least 12 months, perhaps 13 months?

We have read that today, shear rams cannot cut through pipe joints. At the Ixtoc well, more than 30 years ago, the bottom 900 feet was heavier than upper drill pipe, and the rams couldn't cut through that. Is this the case today?

Still no info about what happened in the months after the relief wells arrived at target. Intriguing.

count -- Pure unsupported scuttlebutt I recall from the time: PEMEX refused to use foreign experts on the problem. They went with local contractors that had no experience dealing with such a situation.

Deleted further unsupported scuttlebutt that now seems in error according to Popular Mechanics article.

I knew someone who was there. They were going to pull the bit and there was not enough mud to fill the hole. The local engineer said use sea water. They did and the well came in at the worst time. The drill collars were across the BPs. (Thick 900'bottom section.) Some one got the idea to just drop the collars in the hole. Good idea but the drill collar clamp was not removed and it hung the collars up in the BOPs. And there they were.

2nd well started drilling in July. That info from here:

I find it odd that the story moves on to "Operation Sombrero" and how great B&R was, but nothing else about Ixtoc.

I wish I knew more, or had even paid attention more at the time. I know Dad was down there & could not get out of saturation for my wedding, that was about all I cared about at the time.

Dad has been gone 4 yrs now, and I wish every day that he was here to talk to about this.

Thanks, gmf.

I get a "not able to locate that URL" now, but I'll try again later.

Sorry about the link. The URL is way long, so google

Offshore pioneers: Brown & Root and the history of offshore oil and gas

You can read the book on google books. Pictures of Ixtoc 1 and the Sombrero built by B&R.

I " roughnecked" on what I think was the first "offshore drilling platform." Built by Brown and Root for Saltdome Oil later bought by Texas Oil and Gas later bought by someone else. The platform was off Freeport Texas. I also worked on the first so caslled "deepwater sunken barge rigs" Ocean Drillin Exploration Co "Odeco" first drilling barge "The Mr Charlie" Also did stuck pipe work on early "Jackup barges" also on platforms with converted LSTs for drilling tenders. I remember spending Hurricane Flossie in September 1956 on the ODECO drilling barge "The John Hayword" in about 30' of water off Cocodrie LA.Flossie formed up close in Gulf some where and sneaked up on everyone. Didn't blame ODECO for not gatting crews off just didn't have sufficent notice.

Kerr McGee was another early pioneer in "offshore drilling"

Sidebar The John Hayward drawworks on the drilloing floor was powerd by a DC Electric motor from the USN Submarine Finback.Several other rigs had old drawworks that were built to be driven by stean power. CheapThey could be bought for junk prices Old steam rig "Jaw clutches worked just as well with electricity

this is awesome , this kind of expierience must be unique in the world.

i think im not apreaciating TOD as it should be.

i mean this heres Millenia of experience

Who: BP Senior Vice President Kent Wells

What: Technical Briefing on Relief Wells and Status Update on Subsea
Containment Efforts

When: Monday, June 28, 2010, 9:30 a.m. CDT, 3:30 p.m. BST

I imagine BST is British Standard Time. ZULU + 1 hour? Of course if I say it as BS time you know what I thought.

Nearly. BST = British Summer Time (1 hour ahead of GMT/UTC/Zulu). Not to be confused with BST = Bering Straits Time (GMT -11)

A brief wire service report from

HOUSTON — BP says the rig drilling the relief well that's the best hope of stopping the Gulf oil spill has made it within about 20 feet horizontally of the blown-out well that's gushing crude.

BP Senior Vice President Kent Wells said Monday that the rig is going to drill an additional 900 feet down before crews cut in sideways and start pumping in heavy mud to try to stop the flow from the damaged well. It's currently about 16,770 feet down.

Wells says BP is moving extremely cautiously to make sure everything is lined up correctly and the relief well is still on target to be finished by early August. A second well is being drilled as a backup.

Wells says the company has a high degree of confidence in the relief wells.

20 feet makes you just want to reach out and squeeze that sucker closed, but 900 feet vertical makes me wonder about the geometry.

And a fearless prediction from elsewhere:

BP Plc may complete within two and a half weeks the first of two relief wells aimed at ending the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the London-based Times reported.

Does make you wonder whether the August completion date is 'over - abundantly cautious'.

Haven't seen the transcript but will they need to set another casing string prior to intersection ?

Also sure seems a lot more sure just to tag the original well then perforate versus mill. Must be an area / pressure drop tradeoff.

I thought I read that the "annulus" or some kind of link on the original well between the 9 5/8 and 7 5/8 or whatever was "missing". I wonder if they need to replace that with cement or something. Or maybe they coudl intersect there.

I still wonder if they intersect at an angle, would it mean they'd need less mud, ie the relief well would have a stack of mud pushing down on it, and thus pushing down into the open 1st well, or maybe that's just all wrong.

I'll look at BP's site for his talk. I saw 2 presentations late last night, so those might be the ones. They indicated 17,200 feet not 17,700....I hope they can get this wrapped up soon.

Does it really take a full day to pull the drill string and measure electromagnetically and then put the drill string back?

brian - An annulus isn't some thing. It's more of a non-thing actually. An annulus is the space between to boundary. There is the annular space between the rock and the last liner. This is the area where the cmt was pumped into. This is the cmt that would have isolated the producing reservoir from the production csg. It's the failure of this annular cmt that may have led to the blow out. Then there is the annular space between that liner and the long string csg run inside of it. This is one of the unknown: is some of the flow coming up this annulus or is all of it coming up the inside of the long production csg. Or a combination of both. If the RW cuts thru the entire set of csg it will penetrate three separate potential flow paths: the hole annulus, the liner/csg annulus and the inside of the long csg string. If they do cut all three areas where will the mud go when they start pumping? That's just one of a number of uncertainties.

From 16,000'+ it can take 6 to 10 hrs to pull pipe. then maybe a few hours to hook up the tools. Then another 6 to 10 hrs to RIH (run in hole). So yep...the roundtrip and tool connection could take the better part of 24 hrs. And that's if nothing goes wrong. Like someone dropping the tool and breaking it when they are lifting it up to the drill floor. Seen that done more than once. I've seen drill pipe dropped when they started to RIH with it. Took 4 days to fish out the DP. Your basic sh*t happens moments.

Won't matter at what angle the well hits with regards to the mud volumn needed. But lots of other uncertainites as I described above.

Wow, how do they answer these questions then? I kind of assumed the RW was a done deal technology wise. They somehow need to seal off that space to make sure gas isn't coming in?

If they intersect low enough and eventually cement it down to the reservoir, would that seal this by definition? Hopefully.

Thanks for your detailed response.

brian -- the basic problem with any cmt effort is that the well can't be flowing. The cmt needs a good 24 hrs to set. And yes, they are going to have to make some very quick decisions on the fly when the intersect. As others have said: there is a plan. And the plan might change significantly in a matter of minutes.

I posted this once before about somewhat similar situation a relief well was use to kill a well that was flowing was killed. Several years ago Shell was drilling a 25000’ well in N Mississippi. They had about 14000’ of 9 &5/8 set and I am not sure about how much liner they had. They were about 20000 and took a kick. Got it closed in OK. Had 19lb mud. Had 2100 lbs at surface. Very little loss of mud when well kicked. Calculated bottom hole pressure was about 23000 lbs. Somewhere along they had an underground Blow out. 9 5/8 had burst at about 4500ft. The gas had a high H2S content. They then drilled directional well aim at the 9and 5 at 13000’ My older brother was Tool Pusher on rig drilling relief well. When the well reached proper depth calculation was they had gone 3ft to one side of the other well’s casing. They pulled back up went back down and bracketed it 1 ft the other way. Pulled back up and drilled back back down and bumped the 9 and 5 in the other well. They then drilled down alongside it for 200 ft. Slumberger ran Geophones down and Bro said you could hear the gas whistling past. They then ran a directional perforating gun in hole and perforated the 9 5/8 string on the other well. I saw a picture of the Halliburton rig up. I don’t know how many trucks about 10 acres of them. They were going to pump cement at the rate of 48 bbls per minute. This 9 5/8 casing had a capacity of about 80 bbls per 1000’ less the volume of the dill pipe. So they were probably filling up at least a thousand ‘per minute. The cement was weighted with galena (ground up lead ore) and weighted to about 23# the same technique can be followed on this blow out. Tap into casing about a thousand ‘ above the bottom shoot it full of enough holes to insure that it the cement will go both up and down, and start pumping cement in at a pressure plus hydrostatic at enough to overcome pressure on bottom. Continue to hold this pressure until cement sets. The difference in killing this flow and killing the blowout with a top kill is the cement on BP well may be pumped in at a sufficient pressure to “squeeze” the flow back into the formation. By tapping in this deep the capacity of drill pipe to that depth can be displaced then the top rams closed on the drill pipe and the weighted cement pumped in at the necessary pressure to kill well.
The Engineers calculated that this rate of pumping would force the cement thru the perfs and go up and down. Held pressure let cement set. Ran geophones back in Silence of a dead well bore. This was in the 70s and I am sure they have even more accurate measuring tools than they did then. You can bet your house first born son and all future earnings that one thing BP and MMS knows is the exact location of the bottom of that blowout well. The casing does not need to be milled thru just run a directional perf gun in and shoot it full of hole. No hill for a stepper.

Because of the high H2S content of the gas Shell had contingency plan to evacuate the City of Jackson Ms

Isn't there supposed to be a barrier (or two or three) in that liner when the size steps down the deeper the well goes which would keep the flow in the drill string only? Or did the ones installed fail and if so why? I recall someone saying that. the liner in this situation is actually the casing right next to the bare rock, not a liner inside a casing.

The Bloomberg article says not 20 feet, but 200 feet. Which is way more in line with hundreds to go vertically.

"The relief well is within 200 horizontal feet of the ruptured one and is being guided toward it by means of electromagnetic and sonar ranging devices, the newspaper said."

I heard about 200 feet on CoastToCoastAM recently too, where they said it would be about a month to go that distance since they are finessing it on over.

The RW was reported to be within 200' of the WW some days ago.

John Wright - the Boots & Coots guy - said they were 55' away in the video of Wells' visit to DDIII, posted 6/27 but filmed earlier than that judging from the clear weather and the shallower RW depth quoted.

According to the video explaining ranging, the plan is to get within a safe distance, pass by the WW, and then go down parallel to it.

The technician, who has knowledge of the effort, said he was optimistic that the relief-well procedure would succeed, in part because the frictional pressure of the mud in the well bore would contribute to its ability to overcome the pressure of the oil. But he said BP would improve its chances for success if it waited for the second relief well to be completed, so that it could pump twice as much mud into “a well that’s this powerful, this productive and this problematic.”

BP Discussing a Backup Strategy to Contain Oil,

"Although the environment remains favorable for hurricane formation, the models (both NMC's and our in house versions) for some reason are not intensifying the storm much."

CNN reported this AM winds by Thursday of 110mph, gusts to 130.

(CNN) -- Tropical Storm Alex could strengthen into a hurricane Monday but is heading away from the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the National Hurricane Center said.
The storm could become a major hurricane and could make landfall anywhere from Port Lavaca, Texas, to Tampico, Mexico, the center said Monday.

Forecast(as of 4AM CDT) shows only 8% chance of of cat 3 or higher on Thursday(56% of becoming hurricane). Could ..might..may...

After following discussions over at Storm2k for a couple of years, the intensity forecasts are inaccurate. The 3-day track is usually accurate but can also be off significantly. Over the years, the models have improved for track but lag still for intensity.

The hurricane center also made some progress with intensity predictions last year.

For instance, it set an accuracy record with the 120-hour forecast period, with an average error of about 19 mph in projecting storm strength. Last year the average error for that period was about 20 mph.

Just the same, overall, predicting intensity remains an area where forecasters continue to struggle.

“There has been virtually no net change in error over the past 15 years, although forecasts during the current decade have been more skillful than those of the previous one,” James Franklin, branch chief over the center's hurricane specialists, wrote in the report.


As of 9am, winds were up to 50 knots, so it is intensifying fairly fast. The fact that the models are not building bigger storm means that either they are picking up something we humans are not, or they are not simulating this storm well. My guess is the latter - that means the track forecast is of lower confidence than usual.

Number three this morning at high tide Gulf Shores AL 7AM. The bulldozer were working furiously erecting sand berms to save the Buffett concert stage.


From a fresh bucket -

That's a pretty impressive washout, TF. Do y'all often have them that bad? I'm on the east coast of central Florida and have only seen that here rarely -- after hurricanes or big nor'easters.

Once a year. The problem is the natural replenishment is contaminated and we never get all of it back. Check out the movie. I think we are at the seawall soon, washouts are progressive in nature.

Edit: Once a year + tropical activity.

Well, prepare the folks for more shocks: our seawalls have been known to wash out too. I'm sorry, man.

Seawalls are actually not too hard to replace. A 75 million dollar 30 story condo is another thing all together.

I believe a landowner should be pretty free to do as they please with their land on the condition of more than incidental harm to neighbors.

1) there is a certain idiocy to building a structure within the natural fluctuation zone of a beach or river. slightly less so is building on a flood plain or below the expected storm surge level on a coast.

2) General society enables and even encourages such activity by subsidized flood insurance and protecting private land from washouts.

A $75 million condo should be insured at market rates and if the beach washes away, the owner has a choice of spending the money to protect it or letting it fall in.

There've been numerous coastal studies made that show that building seawalls results in an erosion and shrinkage of the beach in front of them. NC bans seawalls on the coast for that reason, in fact, and has restrictions on how close permanent structures can be built to high tide.

Basically, if you're building on a shoreline, put lots of distance between the building and high tide. A seawall, or any permanent structure designed to stop further beach erosion, just moves the problem further down the coast.

It is bigger than that. From Dauphin Island to The Apalachicola Peninsula in Florida most beaches have been dredging during the off season to replenish the beach. With modern surveying and demand, folks do not give up even an inch around here. So they try to make nature fit them. Then after they make their choice, they come looking to the rest of us when they get destroyed. Yes it is the government getting into the insurance business. Where is the tea party on that one?

There was the novel court case earlier this year where property owners along the beach tried to argue their land was 'taken' when the beach in front of their condo was 'replenished' by the county/state and since some of it was off their property it became public property.

Folks gain and lose beach front here all the time. In Alabama, the current beach front owner gets any new land to the high tide line for free, but more often folks lose beach and miss out.

The last time I was in the North Carolina Outer Banks, which must be at least 15 years ago, construction was not allowed past the dune line. This policy made much more sense than Maryland's policy, which granted Mother Nature no such respect.

No sandbags, either. They forced removal last year.

Maybe set up a little blog. And do daily photos. Just so we can get a sense of the flow of time and the problem of beach erosion.

Not sure which is worse. Oil on the sand. Or no sand at all!

There is a system at Fort Walton Beach on Eglin AFB that has been monitoring the beach and bars daily for about ten years. It covers about 2km along Santa Rosa Island just east of the Navarre bridge. Unfortunately, the website is not publicly accessible.

Been doing this for weeks. Erosion is the most recent problem. This erosion has been an issue for four days. Check out my first bucket. I have earlier flickr's, but maybe three days content. My photobucket passed 500,000 hits for the month over the weekend, largely due to this board. I started on the fifth.

Do you have a facebook page or a blog?

The photobucket setup can be clumsy for sharing,imo.

e.g. the photos at the same location on different days would do well in a group of their own.

That only happens by chance, and I did for the erosion. Once you hit the seawall, the game changes anyway and you can tell. You will see water and no sand. I try to find a new shot every time. I try to insert the viewer in the moment. I had mastered my own website before. Takes too long to maintain. I like the no maintenance of photobucket. It is just my photojournalism feed. I give the photos to my local paper too, and they give me credentials. I am not paid. I do not want my own stuff, been there, done that. To hard too to pull the plug. Before I do a website again, I would write some stories for the paper. I am done forever with that. Facebook is a time virus. Here, I come, I go, I come, I never come back. You never finish Facebook.

"Facebook is a time virus." OK. Must share:

I have a question concerning relief wells, pressure etc.

Now, I think I read (on here) the pressure is about 5,000 psi at the BOP...does that mean the 20 inch pipe coming out of the BOP? If so that 20" pipe has an area of about 300 square inches so the total "lift" there is 1.5 million pounds. The formation is also lifting the column of oil into the BOP which weighs a certain amount.

So the goal of the relief well is to put 1.5 million more pounds of weight into the wellbore column by using mud which is much more dense than oil.

What is the volume of the wellbore? When they say "36 inch casing", does that mean the top 1000 feet or whatever are 36 inches? Or does the next casing also go all the way to the top and so on, so that the total "well" is really only 7 inches across all the way to the top.

Assuming it's 7 5/8 or whatever inches all the way to the top, that's only 30 square inches * 12,000 feet of well or 30,000 cubic feet. Assuming 6.5 gallons per cubic foot about 200,000 gallons.

This 200,000 gallons has to provide a net weight increase of 1.5 million pounds compared to the oil it in order to totally kill it they'd need mud which weighted about 7.5 pounds more per gallon than oil?

Is this right? Or are the pipes at the top much wider than 7.5 inches or so...are they really 36 inches.

brian -- the pressure at the well head isn't the critical factor for the bottom kill. BP measured the reservoir pressure at around 11,900 psi. This is the pressure that the mud column needs to balance against. Here's a handy way to convert mud weight to pressure: pressure (psi) = mud weight (#/gallon) * 0.052 * mud column height (feet). Knowing any two variables you can calc the third. As you can see the csg diameter is not a factor...the calc works the same for all csg sizes. I think the total csg volume below the well head is around 1,200 bbls. Also remember the blow out well has only 13,000' of csg below the well head...don't have that 5,000' of head potential from the riser. OTOH, the water column pressure is about 2,300 psi so that reduces the amount of head that needs to be added by the mud column. You can calc the mud weight needed for a 13,000' column to balance that 11,900 psi reservoir pressure.

But they may need to pump a good bit more than 1,200 bbls to stop the flow. The flowing oil will cut the effective weight of the mud column. Might take 5,000 bbls...might take 30,000 bbls. Time will tell.

Thank you for that. If you include the 2300 water pressure and have a height of 12,000 feet ( I think they said they were going to 17,000 now) then you'd need about 16 pounds per gallon mud weight. Is that doable?

I think the .052 is just the ratio of gallons per cubic foot / 144 or

I think by your answer that the casing is a straight tube of whatever diameter, it isn't wider at the top, like I thought was possible.

How do they get the mud down the hole? Do they pump it into the wellbore from sea level or have some kind of device that goes to the bottom of the relief well and have the mud come out of that?

Also I had thought that possibly the relief well's mud weight would also be pushing down on the original well, is that so? Or does it hit it more horizontally?

Thank you again.

You got it brian. The RW rig has some big mud pumps. They actually add the equivalent of around 0.3 psi to the effective mud weight (called ECD: effective circulating density). But you lose that gain as soon as the pumps are shut off. Not sure but I think you might be confusing the original top kill method (trying to pump mud down from the top of the wird well) with the RW effort. The top kill didn't work: couldn't get the mud down deep enough to get sufficient head. The RW will cut the blow out well close to the reservoir depth and pump mud down it's drill pipe and then back up the blow out well in order to establish the necessary heavy mud column.

Wouldn't the RW need to somehow plug the original well so that the mud pumped down doesn't flow out the top until they get sufficient "head" to kill the flow? Or maybe you have to start with even heavier mud weights (or ECD) since you will lose some to the flow and maybe some to the formation before the head builds up. Sounds to me like the first few hours of killing might be pretty hairy with risk to the RW.

NASA -- you're correct. That's why they may have to pump many times the csg volume to kill the flow. The oil will keep flowing even when much of the csg is filled with the kill pill. Very hairy indeed.

Rockman would they be better waiting till both relief wells are complete, then pumping kill mud in from 2 sources?

I think you are getting close to the right answer, but going about it by the long away around. To calculate the mud weight required you don't need to know the volume of the hole, only the pressure of the formation and the depth.

A request:

Watching the ROV videos over the last days there seem to be two ROVs around which are not on the BP published list.

Could someone in the known please post a current list of all ROV video streams (their Akamai addresses)?


I noticed that too, but also see that the Viking Poseidon is not transmitting on either of its two ROVs. VP also is not visible on the Live Ships GoM display as all the others are.

Viking Poseidon is docked in Galveston, per last report on 6/25/2010; see and click on the map position.

These are the feeds that I know about: Ocean Intervention III – ROV 1 Ocean Intervention III - ROV2 Viking Poseidon - ROV 1 Viking Poseidon – ROV 2 Boa Deep C – ROV 1 Boa Deep C – ROV 2 Skandi – ROV 1 Skandi – ROV 2 Enterprise - ROV 1 Enterprise - ROV 2 Q4000 - ROV 1 Q4000 - ROV 2

I've been monitoring the ROVs (and recording feeds when I can). When have you seen the unknown ROVs?

Someone posted this early on, don't know if any have changed since then.

# bp "official" ones, mixed content

# BP mystery dish feed

# Oceaneering / Oceaneering International III (Maxx 3), probably others

# Subsea 7 / MSV Skandi Neptune Hercules-14 Program 1
# Subsea 7 / MSV Skandi Neptune Hercules-6 Program 1

# ? Veolia / XLX 36

# unknown, oceaneering or mixed?

On the two oddballs over in the right column are duplicates of two of the 'official' 12, don't know why.

Thanks. Tested. Those show the officially known ones and lots of their duplicates and no feed from the unknown ROVs.

Still asking for more ...

Thanks, unfortunately that list has only the official ROV feeds plus a lot of duplicates of those and some dead ones.

Currently there are two ROVs working to install a line on a manifold (with lots of problems) but the feeds show only the video of one, Enterprise 2.

If anyone has feeds additional to the 12 BP posted please post them here.

I don't know if there are some that are not being shown, now, or not. But I can tell you that when I have sat in IRC chat and watched the feeds I noticed that many people often incorrectly claimed that there were ROVs down there that didn't have feeds when in fact they did.

Currently there are two ROVs working to install a line on a manifold (with lots of problems) but the feeds show only the video of one, Enterprise 2.

The other ROVs working on the manifold line are the Boa Deep C ROV2 (feed was down for a while and now it's back up) and the Ocean Intervention 3 ROV1.

I have at times seen one feed lag behind by up to two minutes - it's pretty obvious in a situation like two ROVs each watching the other while working on the same piece of equipment. But that only works when there's something easily identifiable shown in 2 feeds at the same time. Without something to use for context, that amount of delay can make it seem like there are more ROVs than there actually are.

It's also possible that with all the URL guessing/scanning going on somebody found some feeds from unrelated worksites back to onshore offices. You'd be amazed at the private/secret stuff on the web that's got no passwords or encryption, but instead rely on nothing more than 'security through obscurity'.

Biloxi Sun Herald:

BILOXI, Miss. — Gov. Haley Barbour rushed back to Mississippi from Washington early on Friday upon news that large amounts of oil is threatening the Coast, and said his national political work is not distracting him from guiding the Magnolia State through the BP disaster.

Barbour on Thursday held Washington fund-raisers for the Republican Governors Association, which he heads, and for one of his political action committees, which is raising money for GOP congressional candidates. His fund-raising is receiving some national media attention and feuling [sic] speculation that he is already gearing up for a run for president in 2012. ...

“The most important thing right now is the 2010 elections,” Barbour said. ...

Well, maybe the most important thing to Bawss Hawgg Haley Bahbuh. Not sure everybody on the Coast would strictly agree just now.

Has anyone had a first hand account of what happened when the rig went up? I found a web-site from Australian TV that talks to fisherman who were there.

MICHAEL USHER: This is the one you were on? I'd like to, thank you. Remarkably, that night, fishing buddies Albert, Wes, Dustin and Ryan were moored right beneath that enormous platform. It was their favourite spot for yellowfin tuna.

(FISHERMAN) WES: There was this loud hissing noise, it was really loud, so loud where we were we couldn't hear each other, couldn't talk to each other.

(FISHERMAN) ALBERT: It was like a freight train.

(FISHERMAN) WES: It was just so loud, you, we , could feel it - we could feel the heat, the explosion was just tremendous.

MIKE WILLIAMS: I heard this awful hissing noise, this whoosh. And at the height of the hiss, a huge explosion. It's just take-your-breath-away type explosions, shake-your-body-to-the-core explosions. Take your vision away, from the percussion, explosions.

Any experts have ideas of what might of happened?

That's Mike Williams from CBS's "60 Minutes" interview about 6-7 weeks ago. Either Scott Pelley on that program or maybe Anderson Cooper of CNN(? -- can't remember now) interviewed the fishing buddies too.

This story was beat to death the first 7-10 days after the incident. Check TOD archives, it's all there.

What Happened? Here is the Cliff Notes version...based on reading TOD and other sites since the day of the incident

At this point in time it looks like a bad cement job compounded by other bad drilling decisions by BP which lead to a uncontrolled well blowout when the BOP didn't work correctly (NOTE- the BOP "failure" awaits cannot be evaluated until they can retrieve it when the well is killed). The gas/oil came up the drill string/riser and there was an ignition source. Then... BOOM! Big Fire, 11 folks killed, huge mess, lost oil platform worth millions, much harm to environment, people's livelihood and BP's corporate image and value.

One of these days when/if the court cases are settled and all the data and records of testimony is available we may know exactly what happened.

red -- if you care to dig back thru TOD the first 10 days or so after the blow out much of this info was covered at that time. A good bit of observations from witnesses near by at the time. Here's a trick to make it easier: find a TOD member that's posting about this subject and then go to their posts section. It will be a lot easier to follow that particular thread.

Can you tell I am a newbie!!! thanks for the update

The fishing trip of a lifetime.
The four men who were fishing under the Deepwater Horizon the night of the disaster tell their story with pics and video:

New Kent Wells update with detailed drawings of relief well process of locating and closing in on the target well.

This is from an briefing this morning. They should have a transcript posted later today here:

Flash video discussion of this by Kent Wells posted Sunday:

Kent Wells also says rough seas may delay their hooking up the Helix Producer. If they get 10-12' waves, they'll need to wait for a calming-down. Will need three days for the hookup:

I was hoping they could get it on today or tomorrow.

What is the liklihood of 10' waves if the hurricane is going 100 mph 500 miles away? Is it a given or it uncertain?

I think maybe they should get it on there today or tomorrow see if it works, and then if waves are a problem, disconnect. They wouldn't have lost anything. Plus they'd get an additional half million gallons of oil out of the gulf.

and a video of Wells' visit to DDIII, also posted Sunday, including brief interviews with Boots & Coots' John Wright and other BP and Transocean personnel on the rig and in the Houston center.

6/27 Relief Well Overview

DDIII is a new rig - RW1 is the second well it has drilled. As someone who has never been, and will never be, on an oil rig, I found it interesting to get a brief glimpse of the work areas and the sizeable array of mud pumps.

Worth watching, answers a lot of peoples questions.


Good Grief!

BP Spam! All the screens, flat TV's, bright and shiny youmg people, lots of buzzwords. Lots of shiny machines. "Confidence!"

The message is, "Don't lose faith in technology, America!!!"

(Technology caused the blowout but who cares?)

Somebody probably gets paid $100,000 a year to make that chart ...

If you read Rockman and some of the other pros it seems that it was not technology but people ignoring the technology.


notanoilman --

well put....the problems with cmting are well known in the industry was human error here....cmting is not an exact cannot model it or guarantee a good cmt job...that why you run a cmt job and verify it with a leak-off cannot make a law to guarantee a good cmt run a cmt job ...verify it ..if its not run another squeeze and verify ....if its still not good you run another cmt job and verify keep at it till you get a good result with a leak-off test.....that's just the nature of the beast.....

same goes with monitoring return....everyone on the rig including the cook knows you need to monitor returns is an established precaution that is already laid out in law by law is needed this was neglected here ..we will never know....IMHO this will be chalked off to the fact it was time to rig down and move and it was a busy time and shit just happened....there are at least 3 ppl in different locations that should have picked up the ridiculously high returns cannot regulate this any better than telling the 3 concerned ppl "you life depends on it" law works better than self preservation IMHO.....

BOP tech is something we can improve on ....again not a secret within the industry .....

RMBR we have drilled deeper wells than this....we have drilled more difficult wells than this....we have drilled more dangerous wells than this....all 3 hold true for 100's of wells...IMHO the routineness of this well led to complacency and thus led to disaster.

If you're right and this is the best we can do and nothing the govt. does do can or will make it better, then maybe it's a good idea to just ban off shore drilling now and be done with it.

But i disagree with you. For example, if requiring two independent barriers had been the law, they never would have displaced the riser mud the way they did.

I get your point. But I disagree that beter regs and better enforecement cna't lower the risk.

As someone who has never been, and will never be, on an oil rig, I found it interesting to get a brief glimpse of the work areas and the sizeable array of mud pumps.

Same here. Looked incredibly spiffy. With that gorgeous weather and the wonderful shots of the spill site in the background, it made me literally yearn to be there. (Of course, it wasn't shot in Smell-O-Rama...) Spectacular footage of the Q4000 madly burning oil and gas.

If only BP did everything else as well as it did that video.

LMRP is bobbing up and down. Looks like they are trying to reseal.


Why do they have to go another 900 feet if they're at 16,600..I know it's better to be lower to get more weight on it, but the Coastguard guy said 16.7-17 and BP had a diagram on their site (in video) that said "target intersection 17,200".

Also if they intersect at an angle, the weight of the relief well's mud could also push down on the first well, couldn't it? If they intersect horizontal, I would think that would not be the case.

Do they have to "case" the area down from 16,000 feet (where the last casing ended I think) before they can penetrate the first well's casing?

Does it take a long time to actually "penetrate" the hardened steel casing from the first well?

I hope they can finish before a hurricane comes and delays them 2 weeks.

See the Kent Wells update links above:

Brian, the angle they intersect at really and truly has zero to do with the pressure or weight applied. Just like if you stick a pin into a bicycle tire, the angle you stick it in at has no effect on how fast the air comes out.

Or picture it this way: Imagine there's a tall pipe full of water (or oil, or whatever), and you have the unpleasant job off holding it all in by putting your hand tightly onto the bottom. The taller the column of water, the harder it is. But it doesn't matter at all if you add a bend or two at the bottom and try to hold at a different angle -- the pressure is the same.

In introductory courses to advanced mechanics there is a problem that might help visualize this:

Question: What effect does the reservoir volume play in the the pressure exerted on a dam?

Very much simplified answer:

As expected, you imagine a very small volume of water which is stationary and in order for this to be true all the forces must balance, so by N3 adjacent small volumes push back with equal and opposite forces.

When you sum all the small volumes you get to the boundaries, (or the reservoir walls,) where again there exists a balancing force. The only place where there is not a balancing force is at the surface, and as a result the pressure felt by the original small volume is the sum of the weights of all the small volumes directly above.

In other words the only parameter that contributes to the pressure is the depth of the reservoir, the volume and shape play no part.


In truth, the real model of the blowout, (or a reservoir,) is very much more complicated, but I think my description might help people with a less technical background visualize the mechanics.

idle thoughts

just had a little morning conversation with our corner gas station guy...happens to be a BP station....nice folks...always a friendly hello....a candy or two for the kids ....always willing to reach in the cupboards to pluck out the freshest copenhagen for the regulars...willing to let the regulars walk off with a free soda refill if the checkout line is too long to settle the buck or so later on .....i mean all kinds of nice for the regulars....i asked him about his business.....he said its down to the tune of 35% ....he's already had to let one guy go and is thinking of cutting hours for another guy....seems like independent BP gas station owners are beginning to take a hammering on account of the spill....IMO gas is gas....can't seem to follow this moral outrage at small business owners who happen to fly the BP logo on their station as part of the franchise agreement....seems like quiet a few are avoiding BP by choice including my own mom ....

just thought i'd put this out.....what if certain producers came out with certified onshore gas...kinda like the organic food would certainly have to be a little more expensive much premium would folks be willing to pay for the fell good factor in this process on top of the regular gas price...assuming a 50 gal tank the price difference would be

@ a nickel more/gal ( $ 2.50 more than normal on a 50 gal fill-up)
@ a dime more/gal ( @ 5.00 more than normal on a50 gal fill-up)
@ a quarter more/gal ($12.50 more than normal on a 50 gal full-up)

would people pay more to get certified on-shore gas ....maybe the new line of fuel can be called dolphin gas or a similar feel good name...would people put money where their mouths are on this....i doubt it ...outrage is best when it don;t cost none....

I have to try extra hard to even burn through an 8 gallon tank in two months. The egomaniac psychopaths driving something with a 50 gal tank can go suck it.

I presume you aren't calling people who need a larger vehicle for work or who live in a rural area "egomaniac psychopaths," are you?

LOL.. another smart car owner on here I see :-)

and I am sure he is not calling anyone who needs to drive a large vehicle a egomaniac...
but you have to admit that the people who NEED them are a very small percentage of the people that drive them, especially in the city where the smart car is best.

OTOH, thanks to all those SUV and luxury road boat drivers in San Francisco, I can park my smart almost anywhere, for free. ;^)

what if certain producers came out with certified onshore gas...kinda like the organic food industry.....

lol, funny one :-)

@ a nickel more/gal ( $ 2.50 more than normal on a 50 gal fill-up)
@ a dime more/gal ( @ 5.00 more than normal on a50 gal fill-up)
@ a quarter more/gal ($12.50 more than normal on a 50 gal full-up)

Sounds like you are not ready to pay that much more for your bio "50 gal fill-up".

What the US should do is to get away from its third world gas tax level, and add something like $2 tax on a gallon (at least)

Too late ? Yeah indeed might be way too late ...

ali -- Your idea reminds me of a story from decades ago. Some gas stations were offering pink compressed air for their customers. The idea was that the attendant would shoot a little pink cloud into the air before charging the tires. That way the customers got a sense of getting something substantial for nothing. Did this really happen or is it from a very old dream I once had?

I also recall some old timer offering his opinion that the stations made a mistake of getting rid of the glass top pumps. For all you children out there the early gas pumps had a big glass container on top of the pump. The gasoline would be pumped into the clear container and then drained into the car's tank. That way the customer could get a sense of what 5 or 10 gallons of gas looks like. How many folks today, when they drop 20 gallons into their car, envision 4 of those big 5 gallon water bottles when they are doing it?

Wasn't that Phillips - "Pink Air in Sixty-Six?

FINA had pink air. And it was featured in the B-52s tune "Planet Claire".

RM -- my old man talks about those glass top pumps....he never got over those ....he's always suspicious of the new ones and their volumetrics ..."what are they trying to hide" he always grumbles......kinda funny IMO for a guy who spent 45 yrs as a drilling engg all over the world but i reckon old age is as old age does ...never saw one in action myself but I think we can include glass tops in our dolphin unleaded and dolphin premium gas ....maybe put a little green coloring in the gas as out dear customers paying the extra money can not only see the gas but it will be green gas (figuratively and literally)...make the feel good factor go the extra yard....

kinda slow out in our office today we just had a little straw poll in our office to see who would be willing to pay a little more for onshore gas .....the response was split along gender lines roughly....the fairer sex more willing to shell out a nickel or a dime if they had the option....males as usual stick with the "gas is gas" line.....

"(figuratively and literally)"

Are you joking or what ?

Tar sands ARE onshore gas sources (and becoming the major oil source for the US), you consider them green ?

You think there is onshore gas for a nickel a gallon more available as much as you want ?

Again, what the US needs is to get away from its third world tax level, and put a $3 tax per gallon.

What ? The US is already a thirld world shithole, populated by moronic airheads ?

Yeah, probably true ...

All those in favor of throwing Arthur off the marketing committee raise your hands. Sorry just don't have what it takes to lead the American sheeple.

Arthur's definitely off the team! Who ever heard of marketing claims bearing any resemblance to cold, hard reality? Their job is to make reality less intrusive, not address it.

Arthur -- (figuratively and literally)

figuratively- as in there are enough ppl out there who will consider onshore gas to be greener in light of the GOM spill -- just as bottled water to the sheeple is safer than tap water when every study since fire was invented says otherwise.

literally - as in the green color would make the gas green physically

anyways my intent with this post was not to touch frayed nerves but instead was to point out by skipping a BP station folks are not punishing BP but a member of their own in corner BP station....the owner lives in my community...hires locally within the community....dishes out a few hundred bucks every so often for a community event as a sponsor (writes it off as a tax credit end of year but hey, better those few hundred bucks go in my community than to IRS) and yet some fool(s) from our community had to nerve to spray some nasty graffiti at the station windows i'm not saying every BP station owner is that involved in his/her community but almost every BP station owner is a small bizness owner who had about as much to do with the oil spill as your local county sheriff

sheeple oh sheeple whenst will thou wisen up

Didn't understand anything, so what ya mean is that there is plenty of clean on shore oil, and the real reason for deep water drilling is just to make the whole thing more adventurous ?

just as bottled water to the sheeple is safer than tap water when every study since fire was invented says otherwise


I have drunk, or rather tried to, tap water in Houston. It was awful, even more chlorine in it than in swimming pool water. I have had tap water during a training course, in the UK, that left me with severe diarrhoea and I had to switch to bottled. Around here, the tap water that leaves the water works is as good as any drinking water. By the time it gets to the tap there is no end of probable containments. Leaky pipes, with a stop start water supply, bring in ground contamination to the mains. In some places storage is not guaranteed hygienic. I will stick to bottled for drinking but not the high priced waters but the filtered and sterilized water that I get in those 19 litre things (don't know what you call them in the USA). Sorry,but I really don't fancy amoebic dysentery or any of the other nasties. OTOH I do not know why we need good drinking water to wash cars and laundry, water gardens, flush loos etc. The tapwater should only be safe enough for general use then use a filter for drinking grade.


A tablespoon of tequila works for me in Mexican water (emergency only), yet still hydrates me. Makes it tough to brush your teeth though.

maybe put a little green coloring in the gas as well

And a couple of plastic goldfish.

When I was little, my granddaddy's country store had two of those glass-tops. Their gurgling -- so way up there above the tallest person -- startled and fascinated me: wonderful!

Years later, I'd see one repurposed in someone's living room as a fishbowl. My. What would my granddaddy have made of that?

EDITORS PLEASE NOTE If the message is too long please delete. Though written with a strong bias it could be useful to the latest nebies IMHO.

A letter to the editors of the Wall Street Journal:

In response to Tony Hayward's June 4 op-ed "What BP Is Doing about the Gulf Gusher": It is time that the publicity spin that
BP is putting on this disaster is put into perspective. What is alarming about the content of the article is not so much what it
says, but what it does not say.

Mr. Haywood, chief executive officer of British Petroleum, asks, "How could this happen?" The answer has largely to do with
BP's inability to follow its existing well-construction policies and those of the industry generally.
The BP testimony to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce on May 25 says it all, but perhaps that material needs
to be explained. From looking at that evidence, this is what we know:

1) When cementing the production casing the cementing crew, which was being supervised by BP, had difficulty landing the
top plug into the casing shoe. This was the first "red flag" because a satisfactory cement job to the production string is
fundamental to the safe operation on a go forward basis. The fact that the cement job did not go as planned should have
caused the testing operation that followed to be carefully scrutinized, it clearly was not.

2) As is normal practice, the integrity of the pressure tight seal was tested by pressuring up on the casing and observing the
pressure response. If pressure bleeds off there is clearly a problem with the pressure integrity of the shoe, However, industry
practice dictates that a positive test, that is no pressure drop, is not diagnostic, simply because the reservoir pressure is
sufficient to retain the pressure being applied. A negative test is useful because it is diagnostic of a failed cement job. In this
case the test was positive.

3) Again, as is normal industry practice a negative pressure test was run, with pressure released from inside the casing and
the pressure response was measured. In this case evidence has been bought before the committee that there was a 1,400
psi pressure response. This response is highly diagnostic and is therefore the second "red flag" and at this point the BP
supervisors should have concluded that they had what the industry calls a "wet shoe." That is that the cement job had failed to
form a seal at the casing around the reservoir which we know contains high pressure oil and gas.

4) At this point a decision should have been made to do a remedial cement job; this is an expensive operation, but having
seen a 1,400 psi response, there was no choice.

5) The BP engineers then proceeded with the balance of the operation to temporarily abandon the well. This meant replacing
the 14-pound-per-gallon mud that was in the wellbore with 8.5-pound-per-gallon sea water. The denser mud had been, up until
this time, the primary pressure control and was keeping the hydrocarbons in place despite the lack of an adequate cement job
at the casing shoe. Given the two red flags that had been thrown up previously, one would have expected that as a precaution a cement plug
would have been placed somewhere in the wellbore as a secondary pressure seal before this primary pressure control
system (heavy mud) was evacuated from the wellbore. But at the very least the mud replacement operation should have been
heavily scrutinized. Clearly it was not.

6) Evidence provided at the hearing, including the pressure data transmitted from the rig for the last two hours before the
explosion, is diagnostic. At 8:20 p.m. on the day of the explosion the pressure data suggest there was a constant flow of sea
water being pumped into the drill pipe that was displacing the heavier mud system which was the primary pressure control for
the well. The rate going in was 900 gallons per minute, but the flow data of mud coming out was steadily increasing from 900
gallons a minute at 8:20 p.m. to a rate of 1,200 gallons per minute at 8:34 p.m. During this 14-minute period one can conclude
that hydrocarbons were flowing and pushing more fluid from the wellbore than was being pumped in. This is what this data is supposed to monitor, but the well flow evidence would appear to have been ignored, because at this point the BP rig supervisors should have gone to a well kill operation and started to pump heavy mud back into the well bore to restore the primary control mechanism. Instead the mud continued to be evacuated.

7) At 9:08 there was another piece of evidence that is very clear cut. The sea water pump was shut down presumably to check
the well stability. However, with the pump shut down a pressure increase was seen in the standpipe (SPP). This pressure
response has to be associated with the reservoir flowing hydrocarbons and again at this point kill operations should have been
initiated by the BP engineers.

8) From 9:08 p.m. to around 9:30, despite the sea-water pump either running at a constant volume or shut-in, the SPP
continued to increase; again this is evidence that the well is producing hydrocarbons and should have caused a kill operation
to be initiated.

9) At 9:30 p.m. the seawater pump was again shut-in to presumably observe what the well was doing, and again there is a
notable increase in the standpipe pressure.

10) At 9:49 the SPP showed a very large increase and the explosion followed -- this is obviously the point at which the gas
and oil reached the drill floor and found an ignition source.

Mr. Hayward and BP have taken the position that this tragedy is all about a fail-safe blow-out preventer (BOP) failing, but in
reality the BOP is really the backup system, and yes we expect that it will work. However, all of the industry practice and
construction systems are aimed at ensuring that one never has to use that device. Thus the industry has for decades relied on
a dense mud system to keep the hydrocarbons in the reservoir and everything that is done to maintain wellbore integrity is
tested, and where a wellbore integrity test fails, remedial action is taken. This well failed its casing integrity test and nothing was done. The data collected during a critical operation to monitor hydrocarbon inflow was ignored and nothing was done. This spill is about human failure and it is time BP put its hand up and admitted that.

Terry Barr
Samson Oil and Gas
Lakewood, Colo.

That's pretty devastating. I wonder why the drillers who worked for RIG if I'm not mistaken went ahead and withdrew the mud if they thought someone thing was wrong.

brian -- Just my guess but I suspect they were very distracted as they we're rigging down and preparing to get off location. Gets very hectic at that phase with equipment, materials and personnel be shipped off quickly. Also remember they were told they had a good cmt test so they didn't think they had to worry about the well kicking them.

Ultimately though, doesn't transocean have some legal responsibility if they were in charge of drilling? I mean if you're the customer and you ask them, insist, they do something stupid and it's their resopnsibility, they should have told them "no".

Morally BP is at fault, but I would think transocean would be on the hook somewhat, unless they have a clause that says "not responsible for damage caused by following the customer's orders."

I would think transocean would be on the hook somewhat, unless they have a clause that says "not responsible for damage caused by following the customer's orders."

They likely have exactly such a clause, as well as a clause that says if anything goes wrong, BP is not only responsible for everything (except perhaps gross negligence, intentional conduct, etc., by TO), but BP must also defend and indemnify TO from any claims by others resulting from anything going wrong. Haliburton probably has a similar clause for the cement job.

I mean if you're the customer and you ask them, insist, they do something stupid and it's their resopnsibility, they should have told them "no".

Disasters usually happening from a compounding of error. Rarely will you have one decision that leads to the whole thing. More often, you can point to one decision that may have prevented it. But due to the compounding of error, no one could connect the dots, they could not see them clearly enough due to the other errors.

Something of a gray area in some people's mind brian. BP is the operator of the well and thus responsible. But TO owns the rig and employees the hands so they have a responsibility for their safety. But there are often differences of opinions on tech issues. TO was dependent upon BP for the interpretation of the cmt test. But TO is capable of an independent analysis of those results. Let's assume BP convinced TO that the results were valid. But if TO had any lingering doubts about the tests why didn't they have their employees closely monitor the well for signs of a kick? Likewise BP had their personnel as well as subcontractors who should have been watching returns closely. Pressure tests, as well as any other data stream, can be interpreted incorrectly. It's often a judgment call that isn't always clear cut. But not monitoring the well for signs of a kick was not a bad judgment call. It was a violation of ever safe drilling standard IMHO. I have my hands always checking for signs of a well kick even when there isn't a specific reason to do so. And the most important thing you need to understand about such checks...they cost nothing. Perhaps BP pushed the envelope on the cmt pressure test because they didn't want to spend money when it wasn't 100% certain that they needed to do so. Back to those judgment calls. But it wasn't going to cost them anything to check the well for signs of a kick. No one will ever be able to say for sure but had they noticed the well kicking 5 minutes earlier they might have been able to shut the well in. No need to activate the BOP. No 11 dead hands. No ecological nightmare in the GOM. And no one except for the players involved would have never know how close they came the tragedy we're witnessing today. Such close calls happen far more often than the public realizes.

This issue continues to trouble me. There are some clear ethical questions about professional conduct here.

When I used to teach ethics to our software engineering class, I used this example as one of the case studies. It was always sobering to discover what some of the students thought was the "correct" behaviour of the engineers involved.

This is presented as a "how to teach" web page, but you should get the idea. It is worth reading the introduction and skipping past the text to look at the pictures and watch the videos before going back to read the meat.

Look for RM's post detailing the JOA - Joint Operating Agreement.

Rockman, apologies if you've answered this before and I didn't see or don't recall it, but . . .

What's your ballpark estimate of how long cement should need to set? A couple of weeks ago, I found a story quoting a report that, a week or so before the blowout, one of the DWH cement jobs had zero solidity after 24 hours and not much more after 48. How remarkable is that (if any)?

lotus -- I never make those estimates. It's a very technical call I leave to the cement wizards. But obviously longer is better. I've seen cmt jobs that were so screwed up it never set. I've also seen the timing screwed up so bad the cmt set inside the drill pipe before it had been completely pumped down. All the more reason you need to test your cmt very carefully.

'Kay, thanks. Sounds almost as much an art as a science.

and keep samples of the slurry in paper cups, samples taken at various intervals during the cement pumping mode. always check your samples for strength before doing anything to disturb the cement in place, at the very least. or do they not do this anymore?

They still do it on every rig I've been on.

BP stands alone in its own community because of all the bull BP has been putting out.

can't understand why....come time for court....they will have some experienced and senior oil patch folks testify .....and everyone will give their 2 cents along the lines of what Mr. Barr @ Samson O&G has detailed....why can't BP just hunker down...admit multiple process/decision errors ...take it on the chin ....and get down to cleaning up the spill....

"better to have your boss blow his gasket over budget overruns than have your well blow its rig floor" ...Dr. Lee (the late prof emeritus Dr. Lee @ TAMU)

"5) [...] The denser mud had been, up until this time, the primary pressure control and was keeping the hydrocarbons in place despite the lack of an adequate cement job at the casing shoe. Given the two red flags that had been thrown up previously, one would have expected that as a precaution a cement plug would have been placed somewhere in the wellbore as a secondary pressure seal before this primary pressure control system (heavy mud) was evacuated from the wellbore. But at the very least the mud replacement operation should have been
heavily scrutinized. "

There was a period of discussion and indecision on the rig at this point. But doubts were somehow resolved and the risk was apparently completely dismissed because conduct from this point forward is out of sync with that risk and with what the instruments show the well is acutally doing...flowing.

Testimony was that the second negative pressure test was deemed sufficient, that is say that it was deemed not to guve any indication of a bad cement job. But 15-18 bbls. of return whereas BP says on one of its charts that 5 bl. would be normal suggest, from what I have learned here, that someone had to rationalize this result away. The Haliburton hand says at this point they were going to do a third test. He waited 45 mins at a valve control, nothing happened and he went to the floor and the driller and asst./ driller were there talking and told him they were good to go. A decision had been made. No third test was done.

Now this letter brings up a new point, for me:

"the pressure response was measured. In this case evidence has been bought before the committee that there was a 1,400
psi pressure response. This response is highly diagnostic and is therefore the second "red flag" and at this point the BP
supervisors should have concluded that they had what the industry calls a "wet shoe."

I have not heard anyone explain how this 1400 psi response was a red flag. It thought the returns were the red flag. But maybe I missed it.

Bottom line: It appears someone decided to disregard the second pressure test and convinced the crew so thourougly that is was not accurate that they never bothered to check other indicators, including the obvious flow pressures showing something was drastically wrong. I think Rockman said this is ultimately a BP call on what to do in light of negtative pressure tests.

The regulations say if you do one of these tests and they do not come back normal, you have to pressure test the shoe or run a CBL.

Other bottom line: There was a rush to displace the riser mud. The goal of wrapping everything up as quickly as possible is what dictated the manner in which they proceeded. Had they kept the mud in the riser while finishing up with the top plug, it likely would have added a 1/2 day or more, is that correct? And it they did the CBL on top off it, that's another 8-9 hours, insn't it?

Cement remediation in my opinion would have been at least another week because I think the first try would have also failed. Displacing to that depth with seawater was suicidal.

They knew they had a bad cement job:

From TD Forward Plan Review:Production Casing and T&A options

page 10

"Remedial cement job, if required, easier to justify to be left for later"

"Remedial cement job, if required, easier to justify to be left for later"

Do you have a link to that handy?

Displacing to that depth with seawater was suicidal.

They knew they had a bad cement job

The thing about this that strikes me is both you and Rockman say this was suicidal. Yet all indicators are the crew was oblivious to the risks involved in what they were doing (except for the reported argument over displacing the riser mud with seawater that morning).

You have to assume that had "they" been aware of what was really going on, things would have been done differently. It would have been suicidal not to keep an eye out for obvious signs of trouble, after all, instead of dismissing those, too, or missing them.

So that raises the question of where the choke point is between those who made a fateful decision and those who proceeded unaware of the risks entailed in that decision, the assumptions it made and the risks it dismissed. The comment, "I told you the fing rig was going to blow," if it really was made (confirmed by two witnesses so far), would suggest that such a choke point exists. That remark indicates the person who made it was fully aware of the risk and disagreed with the decision to proceed. If the crew had harbored any such doubts, though, wouldn'd their conduct have indicated an apprehension of of the risk? Yet their behavior suggests the opposite. So where would the choke point for that information/decision have been? Or wouldn't there be one and everyone knew the same info all the way down to the roughnecks?

*edit: primarily pertaining to those "below the chokepoint" who proceeded unaware:*

My guess is that mental fatigue probably plays a huge factor in situations like that. The thought of finally getting away from a nightmare well, combined with a sense of frustration at the decisions being called down, and maybe just the courage you get from being around others in the same boat would all factor in to some extent.

The further up the chain of command you go, the less I can understand that lack of discipline.

I was once on a 'nightmare' site for about six weeks, (a little longer than my usual 3 1/2 week shifts), where I recall not being quite as rational as my position called for. Nearly came to blows with the driller one Friday night, when alls I could think of was getting home for the weekend. I'd blame the incident more on my mental state affecting the driller, than anything else, with hindsight.

just a couple pennies from the shallow well of my limited experience.

page 10

page 10

Here it is worded a little different on page 7:

"Remedial cement job, if required, easier to justify to be left for later due to liner top seal acting as a second barrier."

This presentation is not dated.

Someday we may know exactly what was said in that pre-tour safety meeting. Maybe not. Although the drill crew were probably trained in well control to the highest standards in the industry- it was not their job to sit down and calculate formation pressures and equivalent MW as a "theoretical" situation. Did they have access to the opticem report? I doubt if even the Tool Pusher saw this.

I am not convinced that the flow went unnoticed. In time we may know.

So why didn't stand up and say "This is f*cked up!"? Somebody probably had in the past and they were no longer there.

I will quote an old manual that I have had for many years under the chapter titled "Practical Kick Control":

"The fact of the matter is that effective blowout control is a frame of mind. We are tapping tremendous pressures and a small error in judgement can jeopardize the entire operation. We have developed the necessary equipment through superb technology. The mechanics of a blowout have been well defined and are not difficult to understand. Yet we continue to be bounded by three laws of nature:

1. I.W. Law: If anything can go wrong, it will.

2. I.O. Law: If only we had filled the hole properly...

3. Courage Law: Courage is proportional to the square of the distance from the well bore."

Frontier, is TA an acronym for some version of Temporary Abandon?

Exactly: TA = Temporary Abandon
P&A= Plug and abandon

syn -- half guessing but the 1400 psi response indicated that something was pressurizing the csg at a time when it should have seen little or no pressure. hence the "negative pressure" test. But I've never been involved with a neg test so I'm not certain.

Thanks, RM. I need BO to do one of those animations for me so I can understand how these tests work better. Not likely!

I was looking through the BP slide report from the May congressional hearing. On one slide in the box where they provide analysis, they note that mud removal methods may have inhibited monitoring returns, but no explanation was given. In alother slide, they notred that the crew in the mud pit/room was not informed that off-loading of the mud has ceased around 5:00 p.m.

I imagine all of this has already been covered. But it looks like normal monitoring of returns did not take place due to off-loading of the mud. Has that been established? I recall that mud was still going through the proper chanels to permit monitoring. But what was the BP comment about then?

The regulations make it clear that full monitoring of mud and returns is mandatory until the well is sealed. this 1400 psi response was a red flag.

As early as 5:05 p.m., almost 5 hours before the explosion, an unexpected loss of fluid was observed in the riser pipe, suggesting that there were leaks in the annular preventer in the BOP. Four hours before the explosion, during efforts to begin negative pressure testing, the system gained 15 barrels of liquid instead of the 5 barrels that were expected, leading to the possibility that there was an “influx from the well.” A cementer witness stated that the “well continued to flow and spurted.” Having received an unacceptable result from conducting the negative pressure test through the drill pipe, the pressure test was then moved to the kill line where a volume of fluid came out when the line was opened. The kill line was then closed and the procedure was discussed; during this time, pressure began to build in the system to 1400 psi. At this point, the line was opened and pressure on the kill line was bled to 0 psi, while pressure on the drill pipe remained at 1400 psi. BP’s investigator indicated that a “fundamental mistake” may have been made here because this was an “indicator of a very large abnormality.” The kill line then was monitored and by 7:55 p.m. the rig team was “satisfied that [the] test [was] successful.” At that time, the rig started displacing the remaining fluids with seawater, leading to the three flow indicators described above.

further down in that document

Evidence suggests that spacer fluid used during the displacement of drilling fluid with seawater did not rise above the BOP to the level required by the drilling plan; this increased pressure in the drill pipe and may have interfered with later pressure testing. In addition, the method of displacing the drilling mud with seawater may have interfered with the monitoring of the flow levels from the well because the mud was transferred to another boat instead of measured in the mud pits. Moreover, mudloggers were not informed when the offloading of drilling mud to the other boat was stopped.

the 'spacer did not rise above BOP' part, and the 0 vs 1400 psi issue, is illustrated by a good diagram on page 27 of this BP presentation

Thanks very much, Hiver. I really appreciate you taking the time to post that for me. I did find the diagrams but without the report text. Now I see better what the diagram was attempting to depict.

My immediate unthoughtful reaction is that they were trying too hard to get a test that would pass. So they tried two different pressure tests, although I don't get how they missed the 1400 psi. Unifrom testing and test evaluation standards might have prevented that error. It looks like they will require pressure tests and set uniform standards now.

If there was no monitoring of the returns, i guess that was a blatant violation of the regs. Was it another time savings to just off-load it directly? It seems crazy in hindsight. Is that SOP?

You're welcome; least I can do with all that I'm learning here. ;-)

My immediate unthoughtful reaction is that they were trying too hard to get a test that would pass.

I too get a sense that they were just retesting in order to get a 'passable pass' result, but in essence, the first test resulted in excess mud return and “well continued to flow and spurted.” while the second gave a large discrepancy in pressure between the DP and the kill line. Which means the well failed negative pressure tests not once, but TWICE!!

One question that's been on my mind is that some sort of party or celebration was going on with BP bigwigs, and I'm wondering if any alcohol was consumed. Hasn't been mentioned anywhere AFAIK and I don't even know what kind of alcohol policy there is on rigs, but something that IMO should be looked at if only to be excluded.

And that, of course, is on top of the distraction and a**-kissing that often go on when bigwigs are around, you know...

You weren't kidding about the strong bias were you!? I hazard a guess that all the operators will now be looking much more closely at the abilities of the drilling experts provided on the rigs that they hire....

I have a question on monitoring:

There is a tremendous amount of worry over inhalant risks from the gases mixed up in the petroleum, fumes from the burnoff, etc. Has the Deepwater Horizon ICS established any sort of chain of atmospheric monitoring stations to give a constant stream of data over a wide range? This would not seem to be too difficult to implement and this would be great data to publish daily so that the public could be reassured (or forewarned) of potentially hazardous increases in various gas concentrations. The devices to do this are well known to scientific staff and first responder types and are not hard items to find.

Anyone have any thoughts/information on this? I couldn't find anything specific on the Response website. They seem mostly concerned about wildlife at the moment.

Thanks in advance.

Flagg, I've seen some air monitoring info on the EPA's site, but haven't looked at it closely.


Per AIS, Loch Rannoch has moved from her station off Port Fourchon to just south of the City of Ships. Helix Producer is underway and approaching the CoS from the West. Where is Seacor Washington? I'm not very adept with the tool.

Seacor Washington is anchored off Timbalier Bay. Helix Producer is just off the City of Ships, along with Loch Rannoch. How frustrating that they are so near, yet will not be hooked up as originally scheduled.

You can see them at .

If you use the drop-down menu top left on that link, you can see Toisa Pisces, the second planned FPSO, moored over in Corpus Cristi Bay.

Gobbet: " I'm not very adept with the tool."

To find a ship at click on the Vessels tab at the top, then enter the ship name in the search box on the left. Then, when the search results come up, click on the ship's name to go to its own page. From there you can access current track for a 24 hour track (blank if anchored awhile) or click on the itinerary history for a summary of locations over the past weeks.

I usually just google "marinetraffic ship name" to get started. Looks like Seacor Washington is resupplying in Port Fourchon this evening. Wonder how those Koseq arms are working?

Interesting article on whether to use dispersants or not. FWIW this is consistent with my reading of the scientific literature.

Subsea dispersants the right call, EPA administrator believes

And then we have:

"LONDON, June 28 (Reuters) - It might have been better for the environment to have done nothing about the enormous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico except to keep the oil out at sea, British scientists said on Monday.

Marine biology and environmental experts said they feared the aggressive cleanup operation, during which oil has been set alight and oil-dispersing chemicals have been dumped into the sea, might be more damaging than the oil itself.."

Thank you, cousins.

I wonder if any of them went to Edinburg.

"I wonder if any of them went to Edinburg."

Dunno, I guess we could find out pretty easily. Still have family there.

Here's something from homeboys to add to the general atmosphere of cognitive dissonance and rampant confusion surrounding DWH and all its works. From the recent NOLA conference June 22-23 with Institute of Medicine (IOM) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). I'm beginning to think we need to dismiss all the scientists and call in a good exorcist or a team thereof.

"... Exposure Effects May Follow a Latent Period

Scott Barnhart, MD, MPH, from the University of Washington, in Seattle, noted during his presentation that exposure effects from the oil spill may follow a latent period. "Crude oil contains a complex mixture of heavy metals and volatile and nonvolatile polyaromatic hydrocarbons, with the possibility of carcinogens," he said.

According to Dr. Barnhart, exposure can occur through dermal and inhalational routes and possibly through ingesting oil-contaminated foods. Toxicities are dose-dependent and may include neurologic, renal, hepatic, dermatologic, and hematologic effects...."

BP spills coffee (sarcasm)

This is a funny sketch, but IMO this incident should not be treated as a comedy of errors. It is a tragedy. The big guy, too sure of himself, takes a step too far and unleashes a chain of consequences that cannot be stopped, leading to damage that cannot be fixed.

What in the real world corresponds to the paper towel in the sketch? There is no paper towel. And the people trying to control the gusher are not a bunch of bumbling assclowns. They are among the best-qualified people in the world to do this job, working with the best equipment in the world and bottomless funding. BP made a mess that nobody in the world knows how to fix. That's not a comedy.

What is closer to comedy is the millions of blowhards around the country who think that, if they were in charge, it would already have been fixed. "All we need is a little Common Sense and Can-Do Spirit!"

What in the real world corresponds to the paper towel in the sketch?

The fleet of real skimmers that was never brought in.

"Real skimmers"--One of BP's cleanup contractors, Marine Spill Response, lists on their website these fairly large skimmers as part of their normal stockpile of equipment in the northern Gulf:

6-- Stress I Skimmers - 15.8K bbl/day "effective daily recovery capacity"
5-- Transrec 350 - 10.6K bbl/day "effective daily recovery capacity"

Total claimed "recovery capacity" for these eleven vessels of one contractor: 148,400 bbl/day, plus many smaller skimmers. That ought to do the job, on paper. And they are probably less than half of the "real skimmer" fleet.

The other big BP contractor, Seacor Environmental Services, doesn't itemize their stockpile, but assure us that "Maintained to the highest standards, this equipment is ready to respond in an instant to all levels of marine and land-based incidents." I'm sure they are running some big skimmers, since BP claimed their contractors could skim 500,000 bbl/day.

Maybe the European skimmers are much better than US ones, but their performance in open water is likely to be very different from their stated capabilities. I'd love to know how much net oil the Dutch skimmers are collecting.

Even when the slick was only 50 sq. miles, how much of a dent do you make skimming a swath 150' wide while traveling 1.5 knots? Even ten of the Dutch-equipped vessels would skim only a few square miles per day, and the spill expands much faster than that. Now the slick is spread patchily over 1000-1500 sq. mi..

Nope. Skimming isn't a paper towel for a big spill in open water. There is no paper towel.

Well done, Gobbet.

It really is a tragedy that eleven men were murdered for pure greed.

There are no bumbling clowns doing the clean up but the plan of the cleanup was written by a bunch of bumbling clowns who were probably sitting around a table just like that. You can bet it was at least approved by them.

I'd guess there is a time-tested template that is used for every new job. A few site specific modifications are made. The reviewer has seen this same template before, recognizes it, checks the few site specific modifications he or she is used to looking for, and maybe after an iteration or two, it gets approved just like all of the other ones before it.

It was the same process in a couple industries I've worked in. Some reviews come back, but after the contractor learns what the reviewer is looking for, it becomes a matter of routine, and formality.

Unfortunately, we're all too aware of the shortcomings of the plan, and review process in this case. But the process is pretty much the same in many industries. It's the consequences that are so dire, in this particular instance.

A few more oil field accidents. Fortunately none nearly as bad as BP's.

Your provided link appears to required AOL logon credentials to access.
P.S. THANK YOU for your ongoing high quality insight into the DWH issue. RMBB Account +1.

Sorry raptor...wasn't thinking. Too bad...some classic oil field screw ups.

Ask Bill if he has a spare cigar to stick in it.

His decision making skills haven't improved much, apparently.

TFHG hah!

I find this disturbing. What would motivate him to say such a thing?

gmf on June 28, 2010 - 3:43pm:

I find this disturbing. What would motivate him to say such a thing?

That's a very good question. Perhaps the former Commander in Chief knows something we don't?

He sounded like he had little confidence in the current tact and rather confident that the Navy could get the job done, pending a careful study of possible consequences, of course.

Bill Clinton here:

"Geological monster..."

"Navy standing by..."

"Blow up the well..."

... either he knows a whole lot less than most others do, or he knows a whole lot more.

Within three weeks of a RW attempt? With a better containment system a week away? I suspect it's less. Besides, "geological monster" and "blow the well up" don't seem to go hand in hand, do they?

I wonder how many people who advocate "blowing up the well" would fix a leak in their toilet by putting a stick of dynamite down it.

He simply doesn't know what he's talking about. It's scary that someone who was President reaches so quickly for blowing up stuff as an answer.

He didn't. Did you really watch it?

He said the govt. has no tool to fix this. We have to rely on BP. He made reference to the uncertainty about even the relief wells. He said the navy could blow it shut most likely ... meaning if all else failed. But he also said there was real concern about what using expolsives would do to the surrounding geology (in his short-hand way).

syncro on June 28, 2010 - 4:43pm:

He said the govt. has no tool to fix this. We have to rely on BP.

That's a popular misconception, a fallacy. Another 100 feet down the slippery slope.

The Executive and Legislative branches have wide-sweeping powers in time of emergency. Unfortunately, they appear to lack the intelligence and courage to even recognize one when its looking them in the face.

The point he was making was that the only "tool" the govt. had that might work to stop the blow-out was to use Navy ships to seal it with explosives. (Which he alluded might become necessary if nothing else works.) But his point was explaining why the govt. was relying on BP to fix the leak. Because govt. is not equipped to deal with it. No tools/expertise.

I watched it. To his credit he rejected the nuclear option. But he left a distinct impression that blowing it up would be the solution.


Cheryl Rofer on June 28, 2010 - 4:31pm:
I wonder how many people who advocate "blowing up the well" would fix a leak in their toilet by putting a stick of dynamite down it.

I'd guess about zero. But my dear Cheryl Rofer, the Gulf of Mexico isn't your toilet. It's the oil industries' toilet, you silly goose.

Yes, I did watch it. And he seemed to like the idea of blowing it up.

Explosives don't "seal" stuff. They break it up. Wrong in the basic concept.

I wrote more here.

Three knee jerk comments by people who did not take the time to actually watch the video. Which by the way was about kneejerk ilinformed reactions.

The relief wells may not work then we may have to give the job to the NAVY. Clinton ruled out atomic.

Dear olemanagain,

I watched the video.

I hardly consider this "knee-jerk" on day 69, 11 lives and god-knows how much environmental and economic damage... Wish they'd brought the Navy in on 4/21. Letting BP handle it was and still is, a big mistake, imho.

USN could have done better, hired Boots&Coots, commandeered rigs.

Boots and Coots? Boots and Coots? There is no Boots and Coots, there never was a Boots and Coots. Like my Kevin Bacon? Halliburton bought Boots and Coots just before 4/20 didn't they?

Indeed they did. And Goldman Sachs made some suspiciously serendipitous trades too.

subsea on June 28, 2010 - 5:23pm

Indeed they did. And Goldman Sachs made some suspiciously serendipitous trades too.

Yes indeed, and don't forget tarbaby Tony...
Telegraph UK -- BP chief Tony Hayward sold shares weeks before oil spill

and this too...

Why Were Goldman Sachs and Tony Hayward Dumping BP Stock Before Explosion?

Because on 3.31.10 the president announced an offshore drilling proposal?

Cause and effect works much better when the causes precede the effects, at least for my sense of temporal sanity.

3.31.10 Feds announce drilling program
stock market immediately reacts
4.20.10 Something possibly completely unrelated happens

Not saying that someone didn't have an inside line on a well control situation coupled by management friction; just saying someone should consult Occam on this.

Halliburton bought Boots and Coots just before 4/20...

Or about 9 days after the Feds announced a new offshore drilling proposal, is another way to look at it.

Yeah -_I thought it should have been federalized after the Marine Board hearings and the subsequent BS from BP.


Wasn't directed at you. I should have directly aimed my comments Knee jerk was for the anti Clinton tone and erroneous assumptions of other posters on what Clinton said.

I dislike the intrusion of politics into this effort.
TheOilDrum has been a lovely oasis for fact over spin

I understand, thank you.

What would motivate him to say such a thing?

Bad case of camera withdrawal? Basic knuckleheadedness? (And I voted for him, twice.) Feh.

deleted for unnecessary snarkiness...

Thank you...

A radioactive puffy surgeon fish takes its own x-ray. Brightest area is the gullet filled with fresh algae. The rest of the body has absorbed and distributed enough fission product radioactivity to make the entire fish radioactive. The fish was alive and apparently healthy when caught.

Interesting photo, but I don't think it's relevant to this thread which apparently you have not actually read...

Now that's funny, coming from someone whom I gather still thinks a nuke could be a viable option in spite of all the evidence to the contrary.

Yair...unanswered question from previous thread.....When bottom kill from relief well starts it seems necessary that flow through the BOP is limited in some way....maybe another junk shot or they fit a cap and valve arrangement to the cut off riser....whatever.
If the assumption that the well has been left to flow is because of the possibly of compromised casing (at 1000 feet)and/or damaged BOP it would seem there is a high risk period between when the flow stops and the kill mud builds up in the well bore to below that 1000 foot level.
Am I correct in that assumption or missing something here? If this is correct how long is it going to take for the pumps on the relief rig to flow mud into that space?

If the assumption that the well has been left to flow is because of the possibly of compromised casing (at 1000 feet)and/or damaged BOP it would seem there is a high risk period between when the flow stops and the kill mud builds up in the well bore to below that 1000 foot level.

Actually every foot of mud the can get into the well from the bottom will begin to reduce the flow from the bottom, therby reducing the problems that may be at 1000 ft. With a top kill your increasing the pressure since you have to force the fluid back into the formation.

That is why a RW has a much greater chance of working.

The kill mud will be pumped down the drill stem from the bottom of the relief well into near the bottom of the wild well, by the time it builds up to the seafloor -1000 foot level, it is a pretty sure bet that the wild well flow will be killed. If, they experience loss of mud due to casing issues there, they may have to add some heavier mud to the bottom to offset the pressure gradient from the formation to the wild well hole and the plug of mud they have injected to that point, but I would think that by then they will be close enough to success that champaign bottles will be hitting the ice in many places, at least I know one place in Houston where it will!

Yair...Thanks fellers, still hav'nt got my head around this.

BP Oil Spill Costs U.S. State Pensions $1.4 Billion (Correct)

I ran through the specific numbers on a few of the pension funds in a thread a few weeks ago, but when you look fund by fund it's really not nearly as bad as it sounds when the lump sum is quoted stand-alone.

Assuming each fund held on to BP stock all the way down (and if BP went to worthless), it looked like the funds I was taking a look at couldn't possibly lose more than 0.5%-1.5% of their total value. Most of the funds I looked at A) had only about 25% of their investments in stock as a whole, B) have lost larger amounts than that - sometimes much larger amounts, including recently - in market drops without collapsing, and C) have much larger holdings in other oil concerns which for all I know could increase in value if/when/because BP tanks completely. [Edit regarding point C: haven't yet seen one of these articles mention any mitigating gains or potential gains in this fashion, although every pension fund I looked at had much larger holdings in all other oil combined vs. BP.)

That was for the American states' funds and the UN employees' fund (interestingly the most exposed to BP, although they pay out very nearly what they take in annually, and would still be almost $30bn in the black if BP became a penny stock). Some Brits might well be screwed...

IMO not nearly a good argument for not following the letter and spirit of the law on whatever consequences BP has to face. (Not saying E L was making that point, just food for thought...)

BP Sued Over Losses in Employee Pension Plan (Update1)

Yes, I am a newbie.

Even though I live on the flat prairies of Alberta, Canada (2000 miles from the Gulf Of Mexico) I am acutely aware of the impact that this disaster has on the world as a whole.

I want to thank the mods and contributors of TOD who have helped to keep me informed about the technical aspects of this crisis and it's repercussions.

My heart goes out to the people of the Gulf Coast and I thank those of you that live there (and post here) for eye-witness information and pictures.

Thanks again for your site.

I've been to Alberta..... you do things a special way there. I remember areas on our maps being marked, "Out Of Bounds for 20,000 years." Hope it doesn't take BP that long to clean up!

Just watched Kent Wells rig visit video.
I am surprised that they need to do so many ranging wireline runs, I would have thought that they could use the response of the LWD resistivity tool (induction tools are very much sensitive to nearby steel, up to about 10 ft away) to see if they are getting closer or further from the target wellbore. I'm not an expert in vector magnetics, but i did notice that the company that BP are using for the service is owned by our friends Haliburton.

Also, nice little video using an IPhone 3GS to do the same:

Someone was inquiring earlier regarding the "magnetic vectoring" used to detect proximity to the well. The vendor they are using, Magnetic Vectoring LLC, now owned by Haliburton, has several patents on down hole technology where from a beryllium copper, 2 meter, instrument pod they emit a signal at the top and measure field strength at a couple on locations along the pod to determine hole direction. What is patented is their being able to take azimuth measurements accurately to a parallel pipe. This is probably why they are moving in parallel to within 5 inches. Here is a patent for one of Magnetic Vectoring products.

catching up on my reading and came across this article from June 25 (presented without comment)

Avertible Catastrophe
How U.S. labour and ­environmental rules blocked Dutch spill-cleanup technology

also posted this past weekend (if you missed it) a link to a brand new 45 minute documentary on the R/V Walton Smith's (research vessel) oil plume trip earlier this month.

How U.S. labour and ­environmental rules blocked Dutch spill-cleanup technology

Note of caution: The author, Lawrence Solomon, is a global warming skeptic.

Thank you, but the National Post column is full of misinformation.

(1) The Jones Act could have had no bearing on the delay ordering the Dutch Koseq skimmers, because the Dutch did not offer fitted-out vessels as the column suggests, only the skimming arms. Dutch govt. statement:

I have followed this story closely and it has always been about arms rather than boats.

(2) "use at no charge"-- false. The "offer" was not a gift to the US but an offer to sell. BP purchased the 3 sets of arms:

(3) Skimmers were rejected "despite BP's desire to bring in the equipment." Whoa, where did that come from? Anyone have a link? I've tried to read all the MSM coverage of this topic and never heard that. Did some blogger make it up? Could be true-- on the other hand, maybe BP in the early stages thought its contractors had the skimming covered and didn't want to spend more millions.

(4) "giving each Dutch ship more cleanup capacity than all the ships that the U.S. was then employing in the Gulf to combat the spill." I made this mistake myself earlier-- confusing claimed capability with actual collection. The claim of 350-400 cubic meters per hour would be 30,000 bbl per 12-hour day for one ship. Well, BP's contractors have dozens of skimmers that claim a capability of 10-15,000 bbl/day. It's just that the amount of net oil they actually collect is relatively trivial. So how are the Koseq skimmers faring after 10-14 days in the Gulf? Nobody's asking but me. IHowever, it's a safe bet that they haven't scarfed up a half-million or a million barrels. My post from just above:

Generally, I think the attempt to blame the failure of the skimming effort on red tape is bogus. However, the columnist is right about the EPA rule against dumping oil-polluted water, and he explains well why it is an idiotic rule to apply during a runaway spill. EPA has modified the rule to say that oily water may be dumped in front of the collection device, but they should have suspended or abolished the rule.

I don't think the failure of the skimming operation has been because of red tape. I think it was a business decision reached by number crunchers figuring out it was cheaper to clean up beaches and hope most of the oil degraded in the open ocean.

Great Job, Gobbet. Am really glad you have the resources/inclination/spunk/capacity/articulateness/... to keep on this Skimming Issue. It truly is an (as yet) undiscovered by MSM scandal.

One minor correction though.

So how are the Koseq skimmers faring after 10-14 days in the Gulf? Nobody's asking but me.
Others (on TOD) have been pretty consistently asking as well.

Nonetheless, Great Job. Keep it up.

Old Fisherman, sorry I got cranky with you yesterday, I had a hangover from another thread.

I share your concern about the impacts on the Gulf. I grew up fishing in the marshes and out around the rigs, my first work as a deckhand was hauling rigs around off Southwest Pass. These days I'm more likely to be chasing birds, from Cameron to Grand Isle, so this oil is hurting places, wildlife, and people I love.

I share your frustration, too. Even the biggest skimmer fleet in history is not enough to protect us. I think I'm a little more impressed with the size and number of ships out there, but I agree it's still not enough to prevent more damage to our coast.

I believe you have been concerned about why we haven't gotten every single skimmer on the planet into the Gulf. I found a May 5th report from Marine Spill Response Corporation, the major BP contractor, that sheds a little light on that. Basically, they have to leave some skimmers in other ports and drilling areas in case of accidents there. The Coast Guard and other states have been granting waivers to release substantial resources, but they can't send them all without shutting down operations all over the country. The report is trying to reassure MSRC's other clients:

"While a number of major assets have been redeployed from the East Coast, we remain in compliance with planning regulations, but clearly at lower levels than normal. On the West Coast, no major assets have been redeployed, but we have deployed personnel. We remain within Federal and State planning requirements with the exception of dispersant regulatory requirements in Washington State... In addition to personnel, we have deployed all dispersant inventories from the West Coast but have done this with the knowledge of the States of Washington and California regulatory authorities.

link here:

This may seem like bureaucratic BS, but I think the intent is to be responsible.

Speaking of bureaucratic BS, did anyone read the CYA advisory from Jeffrey D. Wiese, Associate Administrator for Pipeline Safety of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA)? Posted by railsplitter a couple of days ago.

Basically it says that if pipeline operators send resources to help with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the PHMSA will cut them no slack. They are still expected to maintain their spill-fighting capacities at mandated levels.

In other words, don't help out with the oil spill (since it's unlikely anyone carries surplus capacity).

This timid attitude is typical of small-minded government employees protecting their own patch, never mind there's a national emergency on the go.

"Grant a temporary waiver? Sorry. It's more than me job's worth, mate."

From Advisory Bulletin (ADB-10-05) dated 06/28/2010: assessment of the resources’ remaining capability given the ongoing relocation of resources to the Gulf. PHMSA will not consider it “practicable” to list resources for responding to a worst case discharge, if such resources are, or are requested to be, relocated to respond to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill until such resources are returned. ...Operators must conduct this review and submit any updates to their oil spill response plans as set forth in the applicable regulations within 30 days.

Glad other agencies aren't that "helpful".

Gobbet: on your point #3, I spent an hour or so scouring the Dutch press a couple weeks ago, after some antigovernment idealogues jumped all over the claim that EPA regs prevented accepting the Koseqs. I found a Dutch blog to that effect as the only source that looked primary. Could probably find it again if it really mattered...

Gobbet, nice research, thank you for posting it.

I only wish the media was doing more reporting on the size and effectiveness of the skimmer fleet, and less fantasizing about the Jones Act. Thad Allen has been saying for weeks that it does not apply to skimmers, period.

Here is his latest statement: “Currently 15 foreign-flagged vessels are involved in the largest response to an oil spill in U.S. history. No Jones Act waivers have been granted because none of these vessels have required such a waiver to conduct their operations as part of the response in the Gulf of Mexico."

source here, with more details:

further to the Skimmer Netherlands discussion and the link I posted yesterday, this from Radio Netherlands on May 4:

It would seem to me that because of politics and bureaucracy it was almost a month before this offer was accepted.

The attached chart is from the US State Department dated June 25, 2010 and summarizes offers of help and status. The discussion about whether or not the offers are free or come with a price tag is a canard, sort of like discussing with the fire department the cost of dispatching a second brigade as a block of row houses is ablaze.


this carefully worded June 14 press release (almost 8 weeks into the crisis) from the Department of State provides additional insight.


I've been trying to get a handle on the reported large capacities of the skimmers reported in BP's drilling plans.

Going by the stats on

In the 10 day's from June 17th to June 27th they've increased the number of skimmers from 445 to more than 650.

The stated amount of oily water collected on the June 17th stood at 22.2 million gallons, and on June 27th at nearly 28 million gallons. I'm taking it for granted that these are totals to date and not daily totals. If my understanding is correct this would put the 10 day increase at 6 million gallons of oily water collected.

And if what I think I've read here that the amount of actual oil in the oily water mix is at 15%. That would seem to put the collection of the entire fleet at about 2,142 barrels of oil skimmed per day.

Doesn't seem like very much! I think someone said a couple weeks ago that it was about 1,500 barrels a day.

So in the 10 day's I'm comparing they've increased the number of skimmers from 445 to more than 650 and increased the amount of oil collected from 1,500 barrels to 2,142 barrels a day.

Somebody please tell me I'm way off!


Judging from the inability to skim a 10 foot by 10 miles slick in two days after being spotted and reported, I would take a stab that they can get about 10%. I also think that is generous. Skimming does not work well with dispersed oil. Is it dispersed because of Corexit or because of the depth, I do not know.


A BP presentation from March 2010 -- a month before the Deepwater Horizon disaster—spelled out the company’s “key sources of growth” beyond 2015. First on the list?

Expanding deepwater.”

The document also includes a bar graph that proclaims BP as the “leading deepwater company” based on 2009 production numbers. According to the graph, BP produced the equivalent of 150 million more barrels of oil per day than did its closest rival, Shell.

BP’s document also shows that the company spent less on production costs than its competitors. In a June 15 hearing before lawmakers, some of those same oil companies told Congress that BP did not follow design standards that they considered to be the industry norm. ...

Biggest "Er, nebbermind" since AOL-TimeWarner?

Does anyone know what the 6" Flexible Jumper Operation conducted by Boa Deep C ROV-2 is?

They've been busy for a couple of days. There seems to be electricity involved. Is this perhaps what sends the signal through the casing for the RW to pick up?

I believe it is setting up a manifold to take oil from the kill and choke valves of the BOP as well as two valves from the new LMRP and send it to four risers that will supply the tankers.

Haven't seen a lot of talk about MMS's Oil Spill Risk Analyses, this one for example:

A little update on the moratorium appeal with some info from the govt's brief:


The US government on Friday filed a request with the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to stay a lower court's injunction against a six-month deepwater drilling moratorium.

"The district court committed legal error and abused its discretion in issuing its preliminary injunction order," according to the filing.

On June 22, Federal Court Judge Martin Feldman ruled that the federal government's decision to ban drilling activity in water deeper than 500 feet for six months was "arbitrary and capricious" and would lead to irreparable harm to companies operating in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico.


In its arguments for a stay, the government said the "district court
second-guessed [the Department of the Interior's] decisions and held that the challenged suspensions were 'blanket, generic, indeed punitive.' The district court erred, and Interior respectfully requests that this court issue a stay of the district court's order."

The filing also argues that the court "overruled those decisions and
substituted its own views about the proper balance of risk and cost."
The government says in its filing that the deepwater suspensions "are
crucially important to protect human health and the environment from another deepwater drilling disaster while Interior investigates the Deepwater Horizon event and acts to prevent another similar disaster from happening."


The motion for a stay is accompanied by a declaration from Walter
Cruickshank, deputy director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management in which he says that an injunction "will allow risky drilling in deepwater conditions to resume, relying on blowout preventers resting on the seafloor hundreds of thousands of feet below the surface, difficult to access in the event they fail to function as intended."

He added: "If [the government] is denied the ability to suspend
operations while enhanced technology is installed and tough regulatory
standards are put in place, it has no means of insisting that its lessees operate with a greater margin of safety than BP and Transocean did."

That last statement is not true, the existing regs provide a basis to shut all DW rigs to accomplish that goal, but only on an individual basis I believe. A moratroium would be easier to administer, and quicker to implement probably. It's not significant in terms of the pending appeal.

"preventers resting on the seafloor hundreds of thousands of feet below the surface,"

Now that is deep water drilling.

So we're drilling in the Marianas Trench now? I smell a typo. Hundreds *or* thousands maybe?

That last statement is not true

Now that is deep water drilling

Gawddammit, Salazar, can't y'all stop horsing around and get your damn heads cut in?! Criminey.

"blowout preventers resting on the seafloor hundreds of thousands of feet below the surface"

Guessing hopefully: a typo, "of" for "or"?

Let's see 200,000 feet is 37 miles deep. Still the lithosphere, but yes a BOP there would be hard to access. I once read where a federal law on taxes was wrong for years because of a comma. Fruit trees were meant to be taxed and that what was voted and approved. The clerk entered fruit, trees, greatly increasing the amount of taxed goods. It was not even questioned until a merchant figured it out.

What is the normal process for updating The Code of Federal Regulations? I can see that they want to update 30 CFR 250, and they've already listed some ideas in the DOI report(pdf). Why not just update the code, and then come up with a realistic timetable for leasees to comply? The whole "stop work" order just sounds like bureaucratic spaghetti with no meatballs.

Meanwhile, the oil companies move on, Gulf Coast workers lose work, the DOI loses revenue, and future technology gets developed elsewhere, where they're actually permitted to drill for a living.

Hope that doesn't sound too naive, but it's how things look from my perspective.

It looks like things are headed in the direction you suggest.

The answer to the WHY is that people want to err on the side of caution and step back to re-asses the risks and how to minimize them. That makes a lot of sense for those whose livilihoods and local economy will not be impacted, which is most people by far. But closer examination of the risks and costs do suggest an arbitrary time-based moratorium is not the way to go because of the cost and because we're just going right back to drilling off-shore anyway, without being able to really eliminate the primary risk.

But these new proposed regs are interesting. They seem to reveal what the govt. thinks went wrong. Oddly, no requirement for two shears in the BOP even though that's where industry standard is headed for DW, or has mostly arrived. Why? For the 5 rigs out there with only one?

Here are the main ones, i left out the BOP stuff:

Establish new fluid displacement procedures (immediately)

Establish new deepwater well-control procedure requirements (emergency rulemaking)

Establish new casing and cementing design requirements – two independent tested barriers (immediately)

Establish new casing installation procedures (immediately)

Develop formal personnel training requirements for casing and cementing operations (rulemaking)

Develop additional requirements for casing installation (rulemaking)

Enforce tighter primary cementing practices (rulemaking)

Develop additional requirements for evaluation of cement integrity (immediately)

Study Wild-Well intervention techniques and capabilities (immediately)

Order compliance verification for existing regulations and April 30, 2010, National Safety Alert (immediately

syncro, from page 3 of 44:

Requirement of new safety features on BOPs and related backup and safety equipment including: a requirement that BOPs have two sets of blind shear rams spaced at least four feet apart to prevent BOP failure if a drill pipe or drill tool is across on set of rams during an emergency; requirements for emergency back-up control systems; and requirements for remote operating vehicle capabilities. The Department will develop new surface and subsea testing requirements to verify reliability of these capabilities.

Thanks, Count! Thankfully i wan't getting paid to review that document. I wonder why they left that out of the summary.

That's the odd thing moto. Based on the MMS regs that syn pulled up the feds had to authority to go onto every rig the day after the blow out and conduct immediate inspections. Not only did they have the power to shut any rig down on the spot they also could have changed safety requirements. Operators would have to comply immediately. Syn pulled those MMS regs right out of the book. So unless they've been changed there was no need for a blanket moratorium. But perhaps the feds didn't want to pass judement on individual rigs. What if they passed a rig and then it had a blow out. Remember at the moment it appears that the cause for the BP blow out was human error and not mechanical. The BOP failure is a different matter. If the feds weren't satisfied with the BOP condition on any individual rig they had the power to shut it down on the spot. But again, what if all the BOP's passed inspection yet still failed? How would the feds look then?

I think you make some very good points on why it did not make sense to use the existing authority. It still would have been more accurate to state in the court filing that the existing path is inadequate and explain why, not claim that it does not exist (since the judge noted that it does).

As for the areas the new regs are going to address, does this one copied below prohibit use of similar casing design with what we have here, or is this focus just on maintaining two barriers? Wasn't that industry standart anyway, two independent barriers?

Establish new casing and cementing design requirements – two independent tested barriers (immediately)

I think part of the problem was what do they inspect them against? Do they inspect against the old regs and get a blowout because there was something in the regs that needed changing? Do they wing it on trying to implement new inspections as they go along? Do they wait until there has been a review of the regs then inspect against that? We may feel it is human error but is that the full story? Maybe the regs need a Rockman Inc to avoid human error to be included? Too many unknowns. Remember that the legal side and the regulations are being processed at the same time so one can overtake the other.


These areas they are proposing indicate they know right where they need to make new performance based regs.

Better cementing - various ways to achieve this

Better testing of cement job - right now, what testing is required? I don't think any by the regs. The negative pressure tests they did do were not required. And the procedures were not consistent on the two tests they did. Nor where there guidelines on what a "pass" is. 15 bbls returns were declared a pass by BP for reasons I still don't understand.

Better monitoring of returns - They will spell out better what this means. Right now, they just say the well has to be monitored at all times, and they specifry monitoring equipment but not procedures.

Better BOP performance

No more displacing riser mud with seawater with only one barrier in place and questionable test results on that barrier.

They also need a monitoring process to ensure that those things are done AT THE TIME. Making sure all the books are done may show what was not done right but it is the man who walks softly and carries the big stick that is needed. Pretty much all those things were a know, they have to be made to do it. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? I think the various issues you raise are ones that make a moratorium preferable over inspection, they do not know what to inspect against. I also agree with Rockman that the oil companies will be trying their hardest to make sure everything is safe at the moment, no-one wants that again. Oh, and I cannot figure out why getting more out than was pumped in could be considered Ok either - why did they accept it?



Also, remember that the MMS regulations have the force and effect of law (the agency has delegated authority pursuant to the enabling legislation) and that means that changes to the regs need to follow established procedure, in order to comply with the Constitutional requirement for due process.

Looking at the list syncro provided, it's clear that the items marked "immediate" are ones the agency believes it can implement pursuant to existing rules. Those marked "emergency rulemaking" are considered appropriate for an abbreviated rulemaking process, which typically takes less time and provides for shorter public comment periods, fewer hearings, etc. The others will be subject to the ordinary, sometimes quite slow, rulemaking procedures.

I expect that the complexity surrounding these circumstances is one of the reasons they decided to go with a blanket, time-specific moratorium. I have no idea (other than my cynical guesses) why they did such an atrocious job documenting the moratorium and responding to the request for an emergency injunction.

Haven't read the appeal brief, yet, but the quotes and excerpts seen here and in the news don't suggest that the lawyering at Interior/Justice is improving all that fast.

also seems a little like the gov't goin' after the little guy, to hold Hornbeck's statements to investors against them, about how they planned to mitigate the financial damages the government is causing. Again, just from my humble POV.

Transcript of an interview by's Glenn Greenwald of Mac McClelland, who has been covering the spill for Mother Jones and has done some of the scariest reporting of BP's apparent control over media access and the inadequacy of the cleanup operations (the transcript is appallingly incompetent, but it gives you the gist):

Audio (MP3):


So the people down here who live here and whose lives are totally altered are also very concerned that the response isn't enough. isn't fast enough, and most importantly, nobody's watching, because nobody believes that BP has the citizens and the environment at the top of their priority list. So they really want someone who does those things at the top of their priority list paying attention and being in charge and that does not appear to be happening.

Got some updates. The Jimmy Buffett concert has been postponed. They announced it about 4 PM. Called that one @ 8AM. Scooped the local news by hours. You guys are getting information first, even before the news. I guess they heard about lifeguard stand 3. Look at it now. They look like they really want #3 to make it.

I guess the powers that be read this board. Not just shovels cleaning the sand, now they are using squeegees.

I am now calling water to the seawall by Thursday 9 AM. We shall see and I will let you know.

This morning's joint Allen & Napolitano press briefing in New Orleans is now up on C-SPAN - 6/28 briefing.

Not much new was said ..


- work on preparations for connecting Helix Producer will have to cease if the seas reach 5'-6'. (current predictions are for 10'-12')
- in anticipation of increasing seas, an earlier-than-needed lightering for DE was completed yesterday. DE can now collect oil for another eight days.
- as noted elsewhere, the third ranging exercise has begun in the RW.
- an apparent question about the use of explosives brought a slight smile in response and a comment about the need to thoroughly explore the ramifications of any "kinetic action" on surrounding geology and that it wasn't a current option.


- we have ..
- we are ...
- we will ...
- we care ...

more 'new news'- About a month ago, the Bots installed a "Bull's Eye Level" to measure the lean of the BOP/LMRP. Over time, it got gunked over with all kinds of sediment and gack. So, they broke out the scrub brush! What they found wasn't good.

That bullseye is on the top of the swivel joint at the top of the BOP. The swivel joint can tilt several degrees without a problem. You are not seeing the lean of the BOP itself.

Based upon my observations, my broad but limited education, and opinion of scientist on the matter, this may be worse than a cat 3 over the well and up the slot. If you look at my pictures today, the dilution levels and dispersion was obvious. I am guessing as much oil is hitting our beaches as has before, it is just much more diluted when it hits the shore. The rain is a huge help. It does wash out things, I have seen it with my own eyes. Three times we were supposed to get hit and it rained hard and no problem. Twice the wind was blowing directly onshore. Rain is our best boom by far. I would rate its effectiveness at near 100%. In fact, why the hell can't we flood on purpose to chase away the oil. I guess we do not control water like that and it is too scare to do that. I know the Corp opened up the Old River Project to flush the Mississippi.
This storm is bringing the erosion, waves, and widely dispersed but hard to clean oil. Without the rain a direct hit would give, we might get the oil and none of the flushing. The observation that the rain really makes such a difference has been my biggest surprise over this incident so far.

Not sure about that Foil.....I have seen a lot of oil come in at Grand Isle after three days of thunderstorms and SE winds, much more than has hit Alabama by a long shot. Maybe you were just lucky? Or there isn't as much out there? I haven't a clue.

How far is Grand Isle from fresh inland waters?

Because of salt water intrusion fron oil industry cuts in the marsh, real fresh water marsh is fairly far a way.......its mostly a mix of salt and fresh water, but its the wetlands nearby in Barratarria Bay for example that are getting heavy oil in some places and dispersed oil (I suppose) too-- these are mostly salt water, just look at a map you can see the pass that the water shoots through. No one is testing Florida they allow people to swim based on visual analysis of the water.....that is incredible to me.

Because of salt water intrusion fron oil industry cuts in the marsh, real fresh water marsh is fairly far a way.......its mostly a mix of salt and fresh water, but its the wetlands nearby in Barratarria Bay for example that are getting heavy oil in some places and dispersed oil (I suppose) too-- these are mostly salt water, just look at a map you can see the pass that the water shoots through. No one is testing Florida they allow people to swim based on visual analysis of the water.....that is incredible to me.

Nature may have the final word. Or at least the next major word. Check out the Enterprise ROV1 webcam.

Something strange seems to be going on there. As of this writing (9:56 p.m. EDST), there is less obvious flow. Is this thing blowing itself down? Is BP pumping more from up top? What gives?

On the other hand, some of the other cameras show more flow...

I am only going to make a suggestion, it helps not to watch the video too much. I think sometimes you start 'seeing' things. Maybe some type of hallucination caused by seeing a near endless loop of video. Clockwork Orange stuff. Sounds worse than it is. I had to stop, but I get CIA signals. It might not effect you. Good luck.

You mean that those aren'tCIA signals that I've been picking up?

The cap has been moving a lot today and I figured it was from waves. Here is an ROV that seems to be trying to stop the lean so much.

Did not mean clips. They are short and to the point. They are the way to do it.

They were just talking about this on CNN. Didn't catch all of the details, but it is part of the plan. Either they are hooking it up to another ship or something similar....

Crude oil warnings.
Commonly contains methane, ethane,
benzene, propane, butane, hexane,
heptane, pentane, hydrogen sulfide.

Vapors can cause headaches, dizziness, anesthetic effect,
and other central nervous effects.
The hydrogen sulphide can be capable of inducing coma.
Inhaled vapors can cause broncho-pneumonia,
pulmonary edema, or other effects.

Exposure Limits:
Normal Hexane: 50 ppm
Benzene: 5 ppm TWA for 8 hrs/day
Total organic vapor: 100 ppm, based on Naphtha.
Hydrogen Sulphide: 10 ppm

Use NIOSH-approved respiratory protection as required
to prevent over-exposure to oil mist, vapor, or fumes.
Eliminate ignition sources. Ground handling equipment.
Very hot surfaces might ignite liquid product or vapors.
Emptied containers can contain explosive vapors.

Is this your field or a 30 second paste job. If you are in field I have questions. If not you might want to think of some questions. I am here at Alabama ground zero. The air quality is an issue. Much bigger risks abound right now. Most are economic. Hunger and homelessness kills too. We already have had 1 boat Captain suicide. Judging from the last hurricane, it would not surprise me if we hit 100. Shall I go on?

The U.S. and BP owe the Gulf victims every available
financial and logistic relief; both now, and for years
yet unknown. Most urgently in a war to stop the flows.

But we also owe people the truth, unlike the uninformed
responders at the Trade Center. My list of risk was a
limited caution; not the whole story.

The invading enemy is not just oil; it's a brew from
marine biomass transformed over eonic times, under
heat and pressure; a fossil mix with many components.

Those, like BP, who conceal the dangers from those
working hard, and in good faith, will pay a price eventually.
If a hurricane storms the shores with a mist of
chemicals, you don't want your family to be there.
But find out for yourself; call BP.

My comments are not good for business, nor stress,
nor sanity; but how much silence do you want ?

I am from Alabama and I will not try science with you, I'll go Creole. Since I am one, I am allowed to. I ain't skeerd. The relief well, that does make me skeerd.

Actually, air quality and suicide are not mutually exclusive. Neurobehavioral effects are known consequences of hydrocarbon toxicity. See

Especially this

Also this (where I got the links originally)

idle thoughts on Alex

not a ocean expert or meteorologist but do have a little understanding of oil behaviour in waters based on some good booming school in norway and other odds and ends.....

Alex is the worst kind of storm for the oil one on the MSM seems to pointing this out....there has been a collective sigh of relief that its not headed to the wellsite...

the projected paths so far are close enough to cause rough seas to disrupt the oil collection process will move the oil further inland......whatever boom is deployed (both the absorbent kind and the containing kind) will be rendered further ineffective due to wave action ....not that it was doing a good job earlier but it was doing something.....

more importantly Alex is far enough that the churning and chopping action of the waves will not be significant to the extent that it might help break up the big globs of oil like a hurricane would.

Alex is a bum deal on both accounts....again not an expert here the drilling business and not in the weather or ocean business ....this is more of an informed conjecture on my part ...

Ya, I was thinking the same thing. Any storms that go south of the leakage are going to cause winds and surf to push the oil further north and inland. Perhaps, MSM is hoping this won't happen and therefore does not want to bring up the subject and depress people further.

Alex is a a pretty broad beast with the spiralling arms already reaching right to the middle of the GOM. As I am checking the NOAA Hurricane Center page now, a huge eye has just popped a bit north of their Tropical Forecast points. This thing could hit the Texas coastline as a cat 2/3.

Perhaps, MSM is hoping this won't happen and therefore does not want to bring up the subject and depress people further.

The Weather Channel has been on this all day, very pessimistic; NBC Nightly News mentioned it tonight as well.

I've been keepin' an eye on the wave action here in southwest Florida, and have had similar thoughts. We've had one morning where the waves briefly came from the Northwest, but mostly they've been from the southwest. I know that means a temporary relief for us here, but also worse conditions for neighbours to the North like tinfoil and andyimages, among many others. I'm new to the area, but the storm that ripped thru here on its way West out into the Gulf last Saturday was a doozy. I've been skittish about lightning since gettin' caught in a storm on Lake Erie in a sailboat as a kid, I sure feel for those workin' out in those conditions.

Other than that, I don't have anything direct to report, just my fervent best regards for all the folks workin' on this, and to those living with its immediate effects. Safety, and Godspeed.

Here's a good site for tracking:

Much comment has been made about oxygen depletion at depth in the oil plumes. It occurs to me there is fairly simple, relatively inexpensive way to offset at least some of the depletion.

Lower a large diameter open pipe (say 36") to mid or lower depth of the plume with the top end held just above water level (say at deck level of the vessel holding the pipe). Then use a high volume low pressure pump(s) (say 10-20,000 gpm) to pump (aerated) surface water into the open top of the pipe. The oxygen laden surface water will discharge mixing into the plume, feeding the oil eating bugs.

No energy eating water pressure to overcome, gravity will do all the work of carrying the water to depth. Unlike pumping air/oxygen itself, which of course would be far better, though require some pretty heavy duty piping/pumps/engineering/equipment ...

This could be done with all off the shelf equipment, other than a pretty sturdy ship to hold the pipe.

Not a panacea but a help anyay.

I think that high pressure dome descending from the Rockies should keep Alex going west. Good thing it will too -whew...

I think someone made me realize I might be at peak TOD. Has anyone heard of this? Like a video game you play for a month then toss aside. If things get real bad, I would have to run. Sure, I could login from another location, but then my content value evaporates. Yep, peak TOD.

I think someone made me realize I might be at peak TOD.

Don't listen to them. You haven't peaked. Your reporting from ground zero on the beach brings an invaluable and unique perspective on the disaster. No one else here has done this. Keep it up, please.

I have been keeping a pretty close eye on this thing since it started and today it really hit me how bad it must be for you people that live down there. It freaks me out living here in Illinois, I can't imagine living it every day 24hrs a day.

Most of folk's problems down here right now are economic. If the relief well fails, you may not have to imagine too hard.

I have a question which may have been addressed in previous threads but I haven't been able to find it. Apologies if I'm not using the proper terminology as this is not my field.

Right now the bulk of oil collected is being captured from the LMRP through a riser that connects to the Enterprise (correct?). In case of evacuation due to hurricane, they'll have to disconnect at the LMRP/cap (correct?) so the oil will then gush 1 mile below sea level. As far as I can make out, the plan is to set up a different type of riser which will allow them to disconnect at 300 ft (correct?), thus saving time/effort/whatever (right?).

So my question is, in that scenario, when they have to abandon recovery operations during a hurricane, what would happen to the gushing oil? Would it be gushing at 300ft or 1 mile?

If it will be gushing at 300ft, with a hurricane and 20+ ft waves, zero skimming, storm surge, plus dislodged booms and/or breached seawalls/berms/whatever, wouldn't that greatly increase the amount of oil that will get washed up ashore? How far inland can the oiled water go?

Apologies if I got any/all of this wrong. Will be very relieved if this is indeed a stupid question. Thanks!!

Part of an answer...

They're installing an autonomous dispersant system on the seafloor. If they have to disconnect in one of the future iterations of the plan, the oil/gas mixture would be mixed in the Combined Dispersant Product (CDP) manifold and released there a mile below the surface - see the diagram from an earlier HO post for an intermediate configuration - .

Allen has said several times that if they have to evacuate they are assuming fourteen days before they are able to collect again. That is a lot of days of gushing oil, with or without dispersants added.

..posting for feedback from those more versed in the drilling world than I:

Soon BP is going to swap to the upgraded cap. They are talking about unbolting the big riser flange and removing the top half with the stub to mount the new one for better sealing. It seems to me that there will be a short section (or two) of drill pipe sticking out when they do. Would it any useful purpose to identify and trim cut to concentric the crimped end of the main remaining drill pipe (after identifying and removing secondary broken section if any) and then insert a probe to ascertain whether the pipe has been deformed: i.e., whether it is in fully open to its depth within the production liner? Is there some useful information that can be gleaned or option opened for a contingency plan by so doing?

As a corollary: Could this drill pipe be experimented on somewhat at this point--by say clamping on to it and slowly briefly (manually?) opening annular(s) and rams to see if it would move yet not removing or otherwise opening to full flow?

Soon BP is going to swap to the upgraded cap. They are talking about unbolting the big riser flange and removing the top half with the stub to mount the new one for better sealing.

I had expected them to drop a cylindrical metal sleeve over the ragged edge of the cut riser, to improve the seal.

No doubt there are obvious reasons why that wouldn't have worked - but dropping a short chunk of pipe over the stub of the riser would seem to be a bit easier that removing bolts with ROVs.

ISTR there is a meeting, tomorrow, to make the decision over 3 methods. The replacement flange may make control much easier but I think the problem may be more in separating the flange than the bolts.


Atlantic Offshore 3-hourly Sea State Analysis map,

Radiofax chart, Sea State Analysis 0N-31N 35W-100W,, updated every 3 hours, refresh for latest.

More Atlantic tropical weather stuff than you could possibly want,

Here are wind and sea conditions at Thunder Horse, about 40 miles SSW of DWH. You can see things starting to pick up here.

Why do I feel like I did when a huge jock at school wanted to kick my tail? The fight lasted about a minute. I stood my ground for a minute, but I played soccer. I flopped. He thought had hurt me bad and ended up taking me to the ER and giving me $100 to keep quiet (said I fell). We became friends and I saw him last year. 31 years later and I still never told him the truth.
Here is the reason I think I might need to practice my flop today:

I see what you mean, TF. Got a lot of hearts in mouths for you out here, you know.

P.S. Over here, we'll do our best to launch y'all's baby turtles right too.

Wildlife officials to move thousands of sea turtle eggs to Florida's east coast

"This plan is painful to everyone," said U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service spokeswoman Bonnie Strawser, who is stationed at the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge in Gulf Shores. "We don't think it's a perfect plan, but it's better than losing 100 percent of them."

Foilhat, according to the chart there was supposed to be a big hit of heavier oil on your area on Sunday as well. The upcoming three days of SW winds should put oil all over the areas near the South Pass, in Bay Jimmy and the rest of Barrataria Bay and all over Grand Isle. It should be all over Dauphin Island now...

Note the dark area of oil just of Grand Isle.....we will see what happens.

Really good composite of all the coastal radar sites here, doesn't cover very far offshore but afaik this view isn't linked from the WUG tropical weather page.

re Lawrence Solomon and Dutch Skimmers, I posted a response to Gobbet buried in the thread above:

BP’s Bond Issue Used to Facilitate Short Trading, FT Reports

[Note: Financial Times does not permit any posting of any article, including even a cite. You may go to FT web site and dig out this article for free. Quite detailed.]

[Add edit] BP Declines as Much as 3.3 Percent in London Trading

[Add edit] Exxon, Shell May Consider Possible Bid for BP, JPMorgan Says

E L,

Financial Times does allow posting "summaries" if you follow their protocol. From FT's terms of use, they allow:

posts of "30 words copied verbatim from an FT article which are inserted into a longer original work" if "you source FT as the author of any article from which you have derived a summary by way of an attribution such as “[journalist name] at the Financial Times reported that”, with a hypertext link from the word “Financial Times” to the original story published on"

Still a bit of a PITA

Links to NOAA Gulf of Mexico oil spill trajectory forecast maps through 7/1:

Looks ugly for 7/1, Caillou Bay east all the way to Freeport.

There's an info box: "The offshore forecast has been temporarily suspended due to small amounts of oil offshore, the absence of recent observations confirming significant amounts of oil in offshore areas, and the large separation between the loop current complex and the oil slick. Forecasts will resume if the threat returns."

I have been thinking.

I live in Germany, in the city of Hamburg.

I feel concerned. I am afraid this might be so big it might hurt my world.

In germany its not news, why not ?

I see the pain of the people, i dont look at the pain of nature , this would be too much.

I see whats trying to be done, it takes time.

this is the limit of hi tech, they dont have a remidy

what can I do ?

how can i help?

I am 7000 miles away.

nothing more can be done ?

I dont believe that.

theres ideas, and the USA got more recources then any other country in the world.

they goto do it, because the rest of us depend on you to find a solution.

theres so much deep sea drilling going on in places that don´t have recources.

i m not an oil expert

i am a artist far far away

i studied chemistry at university and i belive chemistry is art

please excuse my bad spelling and grammar, i never got it right in any language

acctually i dont know it right

i dont want this

physical chemistry is needed to understand whats happening in the resservoir.

Yes, this is a global problem now. Oil reservoir geology at the Macondo
oil sector is a key technology. There might be an expert in some
unlikely place who has some key knowledge.

Even the relief well solution is in some doubt.
Russia has experience with the worst-case solution.
But even that is subject to the geology of this particular well.

Right now, anything that reduces oil flow is crucial.
Some great minds are working on it, but I'm not sure
that they can handle this in a reasonable time.

It might be that the worst could happen (if it can get worse).
Then reaction to that outcome would be the measure of
people in addressing the consequences to future generations.

It seems strange to be writing about catastrophe.
I guess we can work more to avoid the avoidable.

every fucking and non fucking preacher and priest in the USA should say this is the sign of GOD stop using oil.

Take it easy Hauke, you are getting yourself all worked up. You can do no more than the rest of us mere mortals, pay attention, stay informed, take no Bullsh*t from anyone, distrust authority, be intolerant of injustice, call the emperor naked, and to thine own self be true.

Good response, and good to see a post. Is there a new open thread?

hauke - thank you for caring so much! wish everybody else did, too. i don't think we need "calm reassurances" as much as we need positive direction and,yes - the TRUTH! please don't get yourself all worked up and burnt out now - we're in for the long haul. thanks again...

Biden showed up at the gulf for the first time and he says the skimmers are on the way!

PENSACOLA, Florida - Vice President Joe Biden stopped in New Orleans Tuesday for a briefing with National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen before heading to Florida. This is Biden's first trip to the Gulf since the BP oil spill began more than 70 days ago. He travelled to Pensacola where he toured a Coast Guard boat used to clean up oil and also spoke at the Naval Air Station there Tuesday afternoon. Biden said more oil skimmers will be coming to the area soon. Joe Biden's visit was part of a tour of the Gulf Coast oil spill response efforts.

I just watched them bring up a ROV and just a few feet before it hit the surface I saw a large school of fish. It made me feel good.

Cleanup ships idled as storms rattle Gulf region

By MARY FOSTER and TOM BREEN (AP) – 19 minutes ago

GRAND ISLE, La. — The crashing waves and gusting winds churned up by Tropical Storm Alex put the Gulf oil spill largely in Mother Nature's hands Tuesday. Regardless of whether the storm makes things worse or even better, it has turned many people fighting the spill into spectators.

Oil-scooping ships in the Gulf of Mexico steamed to safe refuge because of the rough seas, which likely will last for days. Officials scrambled to reposition boom to protect the coast, and had to remove barges that had been blocking oil from reaching sensitive wetlands.

Those operations could soon get a boost, as the U.S. accepted offers of help from 12 countries and international organizations. Japan, for instance, was sending two skimmers and boom.

Alex is projected to stay far from the spill zone and is not expected to affect recovery efforts at the site of the blown-out well. But the storm's outer edges complicated the cleanup as the oil turned whitecaps red...........................

BP and the Coast Guard are turning away skimmers.

As the BP oil spill continues to wreak havoc on the Gulf of Mexico, companies offering clean-up aid say their efforts are being blocked -- by bureaucratic red tape.

A French company volunteering oil-collection boats was rebuffed by BP and the Coast Guard, reports The New Orleans Times-Picayune, even as local officials complain that not enough vessels have been deployed to collect the oil in the water before it hits land.

Eric Vial, Chief Executive of French oil spill response company Ecoceane, met with BP and Coast Guard officials soon after the spill to volunteer a fleet of oil skimming boats but says weeks flew by without any response.

Vial ultimately sold nine of his boats to a private contractor in Florida to get around a longstanding law called the Jones Act that prevents foreign crews and foreign ships from transporting goods between U.S. ports. After the sale, the boats were no longer considered foreign and could be deployed into the Gulf, reports the Times-Picayune.

Other offers of aid also have been ignored. Fellow oil giant Shell was in talks with BP to loan out the Nanuq, a 300-foot oil recovery boat sitting unused in Alaska, but BP decided it didn't want the help.

Quantum, that Times-Picayune article was poorly researched, like a lot of MSM writing on the spill.

The Jones Act stuff is an urban legend, a tall tale, but it sells papers. Foreign skimmers have been accepted since early May. Adm. Allen has been stating for weeks that skimmers are not subject to the Jones Act, and that if any other ship needs a waiver, they have a fast-track process in place already. Current statement in a comment up above:

There have been short delays from EPA discharge regulations, but those were resolved weeks ago. Old news.

I wish they had a lot more skimming capacity out there, I just don't understand trying to make the situation sound worse than it really is.

It only took 71 days.

WASHINGTON – The United States is accepting help from 12 countries and international organizations in dealing with the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The State Department said in a statement Tuesday that the U.S. is working out the particulars of the help that's been accepted.

The identities of all 12 countries and international organizations were not immediately announced. One country was cited in the State Department statement — Japan, which is providing two high-speed skimmers and fire containment boom.

More than 30 countries and international organizations have offered to help with the spill. The State Department hasn't indicated why some offers have been accepted and others have not.;_ylt=AvT...

Second pipe may have crippled BP well's defense mechanism

Note: I'm already seeing blogland claim it's evidence that Simmons is right.

So if there was a 2nd pipe, would not the cut off riser have at least some of the 2nd pipe? I have not heard a comment that it does. Would be easy to bring that portion of the riser to the surface for examination and determination of where the 2 pipe came from.

Here is another thought on the 2nd pipe

First it seems inconceivable to me that a pipe could be severed by an inline force. bending force -yes- but there is no room to bend in the casing.

The next possibility is that the pipe shears actually cut the pipe at first, but then they were retracted, allowing one pipe to move in parallel to the first pipe, and the the shear closed again on the 2 pipes.

cmet, I have similar thoughts. I posted this on another thread near the end, so re-post here for comment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Darn, this thread is probably closing soon too. Oh well...

The drill pipe would already have been flattened when the riser bent over.
Should be simple enough to figure out if it's two pipes or one. Pi x dia. = circumference. So drill pipe @ 6" dia. would have a circumference of 18.85".
The flattened pipe should measure about half that across the flat part. A bit less actually as it's not totally flattened.
Riser @ 21" dia. not quite round so add an inch or two.
Now look at the pics again. Does the internal pipe occupy about half the diameter, or most of the diameter?