BP's Deepwater Oil Spill - Closing in on the Well - and Open Thread

This thread is being closed. Please comment on http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6674.

Well with Alex trundling off towards Mexico, the second area of concern having dissipated, and the two +3 earthquakes in Iceland being North of the island, or up around Loki, the worry over the impact of natural hazards can be set back just a little today. Which is helpful, given that the relief well is approaching the point where it might soon bring this sorry episode a lot closer to the end game.

Total recovery from the BP site has been relatively consistent in the immediately recent past:

For the last 12 hours on June 27 (noon to midnight), approximately 8,340 barrels of oil were collected and approximately 4,100 barrels of oil and 28.8 million cubic feet of natural gas were flared.

On June 27, total oil recovered was approx. 24,450 barrels:
approx. 16,275 barrels of oil were collected,
approx. 8,175 barrels of oil were flared,
and approx. 56.2 million cubic feet of natural gas were flared.

Total oil recovered from both the LMRP Cap and Q4000 systems since they were implemented is approx. 438,000 barrels. An additional 22,000 barrels were collected from the RIT tool earlier in May bringing the total recovered to approx. 460,000 barrel.

Connections for the first free standing riser have been completed and this will be connected to the Helix Producer – “a redundancy measure also taken under the direction of the Federal Government.”

The first relief well has now drilled to a depth of 16,545 ft – which puts it within about 150 ft of the point where the first connection may be tried, so I suspect the drill might be being turned horizontal. (Remember that it has to hit with an accuracy of about an inch). They may be steering it with a device called an Autotrak system where, just behind the drill bit (which is rotating – as are the main pipe segments – yellow in the picture below) a non-rotating piece of equipment is located (blue) that has three small rams that can push out against the well bore and direct the drilling head over in the direction required.

Autotrak assembly (Oil Museum in Stavanger) – you can see one of the pads pushed out as though it was pushing the head over.

This also implies that the last cement job was tested out satisfactorily, after the cement had set.

Update by Gail Tues. am According to Bloomberg, Alex may result in some delays in additional oil collection:

BP needs about three more days to connect a new cap that will feed crude from the leaking Macondo well to the Helix Producer, a vessel that can capture 20,000 barrels to 25,000 more barrels a day beyond the London-based company’s current containment capacity, said senior vice president Kent Wells.

As the work can only be completed in flat seas, Alex could cause a seven-day delay in connecting the Helix, he said. The work was to be completed by July 7, he said yesterday.

The waves may swell to as high as 12 feet in 36 hours, pushing oil into the Gulf Coast wetlands, Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, the U.S. government’s national incident commander, said. Allen said he doesn’t think current operations to capture spilled oil will be affected.

Prof. Goose's comment:

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Thanks for the update on oil collected, which is hopefully more than half of that being leaked.

I understand how sensors in the relief well drill can detect the macondo 252 casing, but exactly how does the drill string flex enough to change direction should the original drill path be off target?

mb -- Michael's link below is an excellent place to start. Re: flexibility...a hint: don't let the various displays fool you. They are seldom drawn to true scale. So the angles seem to be much greater than they really are. Typically the bends are no more than 3 to 7 degrees per 100'.

ROCKMAN, so the odds of this first relief well hitting its target to within 1" are, slim and none?

rechless -- My answer to such questions is always the same: 50/50. Either it will or it won't. LOL. They'll be close but it might take a few pokes to get it just right. Just think of the RW as Goldilocks efforts: some too hot...some too cold. But eventually just right.

Thanks, Rockman - guess that answers the query I threw in. Have to be more patient, I guess! LOL

Interested parties should see Kent Wells' latest video update about the progress of the relief well here: http://bp.concerts.com/gom/kwellsreliefwells062710.htm

There is reason for hope: the man drilling this well has completed 40 relief wells in his career -- and all 40 were successful.

I put the level of import of this relief well as equivalent to winning in Iraq or Afghanistan, and I am many generations Army.


Not to go off on a tangent, but I don’t know what would be considered a “win” in either place, and I’ve studied every war America has ever been involved in.

Petey, I'd take "nobody else dies of combat" as a "win." (But yes, no need to explore this topic right now.)

I said would be like winning, not like we won or will win. It is a statement about feelings not politics. A win might mean obtaining some real hope for Afghans on their own. Who knows? Vietnam seems much better now. In the long run THEY won didn't they? If they won then in the long run didn't we win? Again politics and words. I was going for a VE day feeling.

To win in either Afghanistan or Iraq the U.S. would first have to reinstitute the Selective Service Draft and station a few million soldiers in the two countries, as we did in Japan and Germany after World War II. Obama lacks the guts to call for more troops, so Afghanistan will end up as Vietnam did, but I think we'll occupy Iraq until its oil is all or almost all pumped out. Note that we still have fairly large numbers of troops in Japan, Germany, and Korea.

The U.S. looks like an empire, talks like an empire, and Obama probably sees himself as Emperor Obama the First. Cheer up: Politics is going to get much much uglier in the 2012-2020 timeframe.

Obama lacks the guts to call for more troops,...

who has the guts to call for a war surtax to pay for it all ?

That's right. Most of it has been funded with debt. Check out this chart.


Winning will mean making the last payment on that debt a little bit sooner. Not much else.

That's right. Most of it has been funded with debt. Check out this chart.

---------------- ---
A particularly misleading (intentionally?) chart. All the deficits/spending on the chart belong to the Dem Congress, as the 2008-2011 budgets are theirs. Average deficit of the Republican Congress, 1995-2007 was $105 billion. Dem Congress deficits, 2008-2010 average $1.305 Trillion. All the TARP, failed pork-stims, bailouts, takeovers, etc were Dem congress actions. The Dem congress and POTUS have been disasterous, including this Dem owned environmental disaster.

The chart accurately reflects the deficit incurred to finance the wars. No sacrafice was called for, it's done on borrowed money.

And the chart is accurate in reflecting the costs of the tax cuts from the prior admin. listed. BTW, they were passed (by dems and repubs) despite the known fact that doing so would mean we would not have adequate revenue coming in to pay our bills. So we ran huge deficits instead to finance them (on the discredited claim that tax cuts for the wealthy would stimulate the economy and pay for themselves - look at the chart to see how that worked out).

The tax cuts are showing going out to 2019, but they "sunset" this year, therefore they go away and the chart is now bogus.

Yes, they do expire because that was the only way to get them passed through reconciliation on a simple majority.

Are you saying that if the republicans re-take congress in the fall they are going to let those tax cuts expire? I doubt they would do that.

But it seems like you are right that the chart does not reflect the tax cuts ending. I don't know how much residual debt they leave once expired. But good point.

p.s. i think we're wandering a bit far off oil topics.

syncro wrote:

The chart accurately reflects the deficit incurred to finance the wars. No sacrafice was called for, it's done on borrowed money.

And the chart is accurate in reflecting the costs of the tax cuts from the prior admin. listed.

That is not true, as an examination of the facts shows.

The chart is a total fiction -- the notion that the deficit is a result of "Bush tax cuts" and "war spending" is contradicted by the facts.

Here are the facts.

- Total taxes collected under Bush INCREASED by $2.644 TRILLION versus the total taxes collected under Clinton -- despite the fact that tax RATES were cut under Bush.

Let me repeat that fact: total federal taxes collected during the 8 years Bush was in office INCREASED -- they did not FALL -- they increased by $2.644 trillion.

(Yes, there are economists who argue that the increase would have been even larger if the tax rate had not been cut -- and they may be right, though some economists argue the opposite. But the point is that tax collections in total certainly did not FALL for Bush’s 8 years in office -- quite the opposite.)

- Total national defense spending under Bush increased by $1.48 trillion versus the 8 years under Clinton. Note that this includes not only the two wars but also the purchase of new weapons systems like the F-35 and the F-22.

- So under Bush, the total increase in taxes collected EXCEEDS the total increase in defense spending by nearly $1.2 TRILLION.

Repeat: tax collections increased by an amount much greater than defense spending increased.

- The real BUDGET-BUSTING, deficit-producer was the fact that Total NON-DEFENSE spending under Bush increased by *$4.99 trillion* versus the prior 8 years under Clinton.

All of the data is available at the Federal government's budget web site here:

See tables 2.1 and 2.3.

This is the public record.

Bush’s non-defense spending increases were *massive* and *fiscally irresponsible* and largely the reason the voters handed the Republicans their heads in the 2006 and 2008 elections. The fact that Obama has turned out to be an even bigger spender is a real disappointment.

The left has been busy promulgating the myth that Bush was a pro-big-business, laissez-faire advocate, war monger who gutted our nation’s finances to pay for two unnecessary wars while cutting taxes for “the rich”. The truth is that at the end of the day, increases in tax collections greatly exceeded the cost of these two wars -- and it was Bush’s expansion of the welfare state that really helped create our deficit problems. Bush was a big spending fiscal *liberal* -- not any sort of advocate of limited government.

It is also a fact that at the end of the Bush administration, the top 25% of the nation's wage earners were paying an even larger percentage of the federal income taxes collected than they were before Bush took office. So much for "tax cuts for the rich" -- the "rich" are still paying the great majority of the taxes in this country.

Bush deserves to be slammed and condemned for this fiscally reckless expansion of Federal spending -- but Obama is even worse, and demands even greater condemnation.

Bush deserves to be slammed and condemned for this fiscally reckless expansion of Federal spending -- but Obama is even worse, and demands even greater condemnation.

Equal condemnation applies to Congress as they must originate (House) and approve (Senate) all spending before the President sees it. Whether the House or Senate leadership was Republican or Democrat, Bush never saw any spending he would veto.

When Clinton was President with a Republican Congress, deficits came down.


And I see no reason why Federal spending cannot be returned to the balanced-budget levels achieved under Clinton. If it were, we'd now be running a large surplus, paying down our debt, and could even begin addressing the runaway entitlement programs. But as it is, we are now spending our grandchildren's money.

Average deficit of the Republican Congress, 1995-2007 was $105 billion.

um.............budget deficits do not include off budget items, the main component of which is ..................drum roll please..........afganistan and search for wmds.

budgets mean nothing, take a look at the actual debt.

elwoodelmore wrote:

um.............budget deficits do not include off budget items, the main component of which is ..................drum roll please..........afganistan and search for wmds.

Do you have any evidence to support this claim?

I find it highly unlikely that the Federal government under Bush -- in the face of an overwhelmingly hostile main stream media and Democrat political opposition -- was spending significant amounts of money on Afghanistan and the "search for wmds" and keeping it from the public.

But if you can link to some supporting data, I'd sure take a look at it.

TARP belongs to Bush.

Thanks for posting this link. I was obviously wrong on the trajectory of the well that I posted earlier, though in self-defense I was basing that on one of the Admiral's comments - going horizontal for the initial ranging didn't make much sense, and the video shows that it was wrong.

Clearly they are now getting quite close to contact, especially since this is now 2 days old.

I heard this AM on NPR that they are going to drill another 900 ft. vertically, 20 ft. from the blowout.


A difference in detail between the BP video and what I think I have been reading on TOD: Precision for BP seems to mean within 5 feet. But on TOD it means within an inch.

Your trajectory is different, but not in a way that they identified as being important. It may be more of an artistic detail in the graphics than a technical detail that is important for success.

But the precision --- what is going on there?

This Kent Wells video is also informative, and was also posted on 6/27. It goes into a bit more detail on the ranging exercises and includes clips from an animation used to communicate intent with the oil rig crew.

Relief Well Overview and Ranging Animation.

...the man drilling this well has completed 40 relief wells in his career -- and all 40 were successful.

I don't know if that is cheap insurance, in this case it appears so. But forty for forty is valid protection and another well is the only solution we're discussing after over two months.
Someone would have to show me how and why a mandatory relief well would be economically prohibitive even if the odds of success aren't 100%.

Redundancy is never free. However, degree of complexity-risk and consequence of failure mean the burden to anticipate in these endeavors and environments is explicit:
We can't afford not to do it.

If not now, we won't see another deep water failure and still accept drilling without a simultaneous relief well. The question is, will it take another failure or will we insure now?

math -- I assume there are two basic arguments to not drilling a standby relief well. First, the RW has the same odds of blowing out as the initial well if it's drilled concurrant with the test well. Secondly, a blow out could happen at 2,000' or 18,000'. So do you just let the rig sit there doing nothing until you know how deep the trouble is? Maybe yes, actually. Having a designated rig on standby wouldn't be to expensive if the costs were shared by every operator drilling at the time. I estimated it could run around $25,000 per day per operator. Given a typical DW runs around $800,000 to $1 million a day it wouldn't add too much percentage wise to each well's costs. If this is what it takes to keep the operators turning to the right they would go for it IMHO.

rockmann- what would cause a blow out at 2000 ft. Hitting an oil reservoir that they didn't know was there?

What if you didn't drill them concurrently but with say a two week lag. How likely is it under those circumstances that the RW will encounter something that the initial well didn't encounter.

crazy -- if you include onshore blow outs most incidents have occurred at such shallow depths. Blow outs all start the same way regardless of depth: the mud weight in the hole isn't high enough to counterbalnce the reservoir pressure. That would include 2,000' reservoirs with only 600 psi in them. Remember there have been many homes blown up by leaking residential NG lines. And those lines are typically less than 80 psi. Shallow NG sands are common offshore. So common that you're required to run special high quality seismic surveys before you can get a drill permit. Just today I'm letting a contract to run such "shallow hazard surveys" on 3 new lease blocks we've just taken on the GOM shelf. The seismic component (called a "sparker survey") can give direct indication of these shallow NG sands. Back in the early 70's Mobil had a floating rig that drilled into such a reservoir. It began leaking NG up outside of the wellhead/BOP. The NG aerated the water column and the subsequent loss of buoyancy caused the rig to sink.

For BP to get the drill permits for the RW"s the hazard surveys that were initially run were studied to make sure they wouldn't hit such a potential shallow blow out zone.

Rockmann thanks for taking the time to respond- much appreciated.

would hitting the kind of NG formations be a major issue with respect to the environmental damage. I fully appreciated it could be tragic for the folks drilling. I guess my thinking along with all those who recommend the drilling of a relief well - is that there has to be an alternative to having to wait five months to cut off a blow out. That RW that was started not simultaneously but say with a 2-4 delay would at least ensure that if there was a blow out it would be cut off within a month?

IMO the cost of this second well should be paid for by a tax on all imported and domestic oil. I actually think the price paid by consumer will be lower with the tax since it will make drilling for offshore oil more politically feasible and oil being a relatively inelastic commodity the little extra production will probably result in lower prices. The alternative is that all oil prices have to rise to cover the increased safety costs resulting in windfalls for existing producers - domestic and foreign.

crazy -- Unfortunately when your dealing with a blow out in the water often the only fix will be a RW. Obviously that's especially true when drilling in such deep water. There is no alternative that we can count on in such situations. All the more reason to make sure we're following the safest drilling procedures and have the best BOP designs inplace and properly tested. Sorta like bailing out of an airplane when your primary and secondary chutes don't work: there is no good alternative...you're dead.

Warning: Long and redundant!

OK, I envision the RW to be part of the drilling package and in fact the RW is done first with the sole but limited purpose to access and kill the main well.
EX: The hazard surveys for both would be done prior to drilling. However, the RW would be drilled first, only be partially complete as it would only be used to access the 2nd (production) well. Further, it could be used at any time during the life of the production well.

The RW would be proximate to the main well and though abandoned to free up the rig, within 7-10 days (or less) it could complete it's mission after a failure of the 2nd well.
Think of it as a built in rescue plan, as a space shuttle on the ground (just in case). While not purely redundant or immediate, the RW would limit the disaster if it was 95% complete (relative to the other pipe). This seems a minimal compromise for any production well until experience has proved conditions other than a RW will work.
So, survey for two and only drill the RW & secure it as a RW. Not in tandem but to mitigate the time a RW would take to kill the primary well. Move on, drill the main well and if she fails you know the RW is good to go in X number of days.
The secondary parachute isn't there for nothing. In place,"in case the primary fails". Yes, you're still falling...in anticipation of #2 working. Can a 2nd chute can fail? Sure, and the odds of success favor their use.

I have read the following

Using the world’s most authoritative database of oil rig accidents, a Norwegian company, Det Norske Veritas, focused on some 15,000 wells drilled off North America and in the North Sea from 1980 to 2006.

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

from this source http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/21/us/21blowout.html?pagewanted=2 and suggest that the BOP is a quite unimportant device simply because they are seldom used and then they are used they are very unreliable. With my very limited knowledge I draw the conclusion that blowouts are prevented by something else maybe like good drilling practice or good education.

karl -- Exactly. I made the joke before about BOP not being the last line of defense but the worse line of defense. But a serious and potentially deadly joke. Having been in many situations where my well being depended on a BOP functioning properly I've never thought of them as protective shield. Just the last order given that tells you run like hell.

Rockman--I've only been reading here on TOD for the last several weeks. I profess to know nothing about about driling for oil, either on-shore or off-shore. However, as a retired engineer from the defense industry, there are occasional moments when technical discussions about the BP disaster in the GOM have at least tickled my grey matter.

With all of the reliance upon the BOP as the savior of last resort and it's apparent history of unreliability, I've wondered if there are serious efforts in the industry to re-design the BOP and add more redundancy and/or other failsafe features.

In the defense industry, when we were faced with complex performance problems or exhorbitant production costs, we often used DFMAs (Design For Manufacturing & Assembly) as a means of effecting a redesign that not only reduced production cost it often eliminated critical performance problems on very complex weapon systems. For example, in the 1990s, the production cost of a single Tomahawk Cruise Missile was reduced from the $1M range to almost a $500K range, just by using the DFMA processes. While I did not participate in that redesign effort, I did facilitate other workshops that led to similar results with equally complex problems.

My recommendation to the oil drilling industry, would be to retain the services of some very competent Lean Manufacturing and/or Six Sigma Experts who are trained and certified to conduct DFMAs. I would set as goals for the re-design of BOPs as a 20-30% in following areas; parts count (reduced probability of human error during assembly), production time and overall production costs. Those savings would allow for adding required redundancies and failsafe mechanisms.

Hope that you do not find this off topic, coming from someone who last found underground fluids by tearing into the sprinkler system with a Bobcat.

haha, I like your advice; in spite of this coming from someone who last found subsurface natural gas with a pick ax.

Good point girene. I suspect the BOP deficency has been tolerated because we haven't had events with such public notariety as we have now. For instance how many folks here can give the body count of the last 3 BOP failures in the GOM? In the oil patch we know the names of all the dead. The last company man I knew who died was trying to manually activate the BOP when it blew. Happened about 40 miles from a rig I was on at the time. Made the local papers, of course. I would guess that 99.9% of the Americab public never saw the story. We've see the widows and children at the memorial services. Obvious the potential for failure is always in the back of our minds. Now the public gets to share the same concerns.

I can't help but expect to see a new generation of Deep Water BOP's come out if this incident. Now the effort can be justifed. Before the collateral damage was acceptable. Not now. And trust me: the hands who work the rigs don't regret the attention.


Residential NG lines run 8 oz, or 0.5 lb per square inch pressure. Plumbers in the past used water column inches to measure in-house pressures, 0.5 lbs is about 13.8 inches of H2O. The purpose of the regulator on your gas meter is to lower the transmission line pressure to the residential line pressure. And to shut off flow if pressure falls too low, to avoid pilot lights going out, allowing unburned gas to accumulate.

I live in an Oil and Gas patch, drilled first in the 1900-1920 era, but still being drilled today. Near one of the largest mountain-top removal strip mines, too. Just lucky?! It's all in what you're used to, I guess.


Back in the early 70's Mobil had a floating rig that drilled into such a reservoir. It began leaking NG up outside of the wellhead/BOP. The NG aerated the water column and the subsequent loss of buoyancy caused the rig to sink.

Hi ROCKMAN. I'm just another computer person, no connection with O+G industry, but a colleague who in a previous life was a geologist & worked on high pressure wells told me about seeing a safety briefing which included film from the last chopper off the rig, which then sank in gasified water just as you described. She couldn't remember any other details except that it would have been a Mobil rig -- it must have been this incident! Just wondering if you've any pointers (e.g. rig name? year?) that might help me turn up that film clip online somewhere?

"if it's drilled concurrant with the test well"

But if it is drilled with a lag. There should be the same advantage of knowing what lies ahead (below) that one has when drilling a relief well fully after the fact. I have no basis for judging how much lag is good amount. The way this relief well was done was with a lag of approx 13000 ft. It could have been drilled with a lag of 4000 ft by spudding it when the test well was at 4000 ft below sea bottom. Or maybe sooner after the spudding of the test well to get a faster response. Spudding the two wells at the same time bad idea per your reasoning.

The issue of when to drill a relief well touches upon something that has been on my mind for several weeks. Perhaps requiring a relief well bored simultaneously with every new test well is a means toward resuming drilling sooner than waiting for a complete new set of regulations (six month moratorium plus six months of posturing by the politicos?)

The pattern of BP's actions (and your comments over the past weeks) point toward drilling relief wells as the only action to control an underwater blowout that has a substantial chance of success. Most of BP's antics with silos designed in ignorance of methane hydrate formation, attempts to stick a hose into the end of the flowing riser pipe, underwater saws that don't work etc. seem more like made-for-TV reality show diversions rather than serious efforts to control the spill, and lead me to conclude that BP decided in the first week that the well would gush until a relief well controlled it.

How far apart do the two wells need to be at the point of entry into the sea floor? If the standby relief well lags the primary well by 1000-2000 feet doesn't that provide real time data as to the strata encountered and thus negate the likelihood of a blowout in the relief well? Given this scenario why is the probability of a blowout in the relief well the same as for the primary well as you indicate?

"First, the RW has the same odds of blowing out as the initial well if it's drilled concurrant with the test well."

Hey Rock, that's no problem, just drill a relief well for the relief well, right? And a relief well for the relief well relief well.

You have an uncanny talent for effortlessly plucking out the fatal flaw in what otherwise appears to be a pretty good argument, and doing it in a most agreeable manner.

You are drilling two wells. You won't know which one is the relief well until you have problems with one of them.

Note that this also doubles your chance of having problems while shortening the response time when problems arise.

after viewing the vid, i am reminded of many of aramco's press releases. much is subject to interpretation.

listening carefully, i heard "drilling success" , what exactly does that mean ?

what exactly does intersection mean ?

does it mean breaching the casing, or is close - close enough ?

at the time of the video i heard a mention of being (then) 55 feet away, an objective of being within 5 feet( 5 feet, plus or minus what?) and a diagram showing a separation about equal to the diameter of the casing.

of course, the video is purposely vague, lots of contingencies, an overall superficial pr presentation. and speaking of superficial, this may be a superficial intersection. i love word play.

Kent wells audio update mentions replacing the LMRP with a "sealing cap" with a flange connection. Looks like the overshoot tool we saw under construction earlier is not going to be used. Mentions using jacks to straighten the flex joint.

Maybe they'll finish it off early. Then again maybe not. NYTimes has this article on "backups to backups". http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/29/us/29wells.html?hp.

How plausible is the idea that the bottom of the wellbore may be damaged?

You mean like the BOP is a backup? I know they can do other things, but the relief well is who you are marrying, the other things are just dates.

After they drill another +/- 900 feet they still need to run and cement 9 7/8 liner prior to intersection.

Typically that will take 5 days.

So not as close as it looks.

Add to that the time for the additional ranging tests...

Mr. Wells said that the first well had closed within about 20 feet horizontally of the damaged well, and that crews would be conducting 8 to 12 more magnetic ranging tests — each of which takes about half a day — to determine the precise location of the metal casing pipe in the damaged well bore. The goal is to continue to drill the relief well in parallel with the damaged well to within about 200 feet vertically of the interception point, and within five feet horizontally. Then the remaining 200 feet will be drilled, and a milling device will be used to cut into the casing pipe of the runaway well.

From the NYTimes article linked above by shrimppop.

Reuters: Analysis: Doing nothing might have been best for oil spill

From E L's link:

"One of the problems with this spill is that it has gone from the environmental arena into the economic and political arena, so if you ask how bad it is, that depends on which perspective you're coming from," said Martin Preston, an expert in marine pollution, earth and ocean sciences from Britain's Liverpool University.

"Economically, clearly the impact has been very large, but environmentally the jury is still out. One of the tensions between environment and politics is that politicians cannot be seen to be doing nothing, even though doing nothing is sometimes the best option."

Thus, my question on the Storm Watch thread: Couldn't hurricanes help more than Corexit?

You mean like never having permitted the site type of do nothing? I am in the should have fire boomed the site and let it burn camp myself, but even the experts admit all that is Monday Morning QB'ing and the should haves are more about the hours and days leading up to the incident. I wish they could run a poll here, as I get the feeling most here think the dispersants are a bad move. We are trying, BP are the ones that should try harder. Now we have to trial and error our way through the cleanup. That is really all we have. It would be an impossible sell to tell these Creoles around here to stay at the house with no job, guns, and lots of alcohol. More will die from this event from gunshots than other way, save for the 11. 4 out of 5 will be self-inflicted, but there is a social aspect to the response, and it does include a significant body count.

Maybe doing nothing would have been better, at least they wouldn't have to take drug tests or be out in that mess every day.

And the men? How are they dealing with their own anger?

"My husband's talking about finding BP CEOs and hurting them, even if
he has to go to prison forever. He's not thinking clearly.

The oil
...spill has completely consumed him."
"They can't smoke pot anymore. It's just a part of the culture, all
the fishermen do it, but now they have to take drug tests to get the
cleanup work. So now they goin' drinkin'."

"My husband's goin' drinkin'. My husband comes home and screams at
me. The food's not good enough, the floors aren't clean enough. That's
why I'm here, for him to take it out on me."


I feel everybody's pain, being an open minded old softie adept at putting myself in other people's shoes.

Maybe it is a bit old fashioned redneckish of me, but I believe that if an occasional corporate executive were to meet a violent end at the hands of a mob we would ALL be much better off.

I can't recall ever hearing about one having to do any genuine hard time, and even short sentences in country club prisons are rare.i KNOW PEOPLE IN JAIL AT THIS VERY MINUTE who will pull longer sentences for slapping thier wife, selling a little pot, or breaking into a house or two and stealing personal property than ANY corporate theft/white collar crime/malfeasance sentence I have heard of;and these corporate types are often ultimately responsible for great loss of life.

The upside potential of being a corporate pirate or reckless driver is virtually unlimited, but the downside?


"in this country, it is wise to kill an admiral from time to time to encourage the others"
Voltaire "Candide"


Their legal costs are higher....?

mac -- I suspect you're familiar with that old story from Georgia. When the judge was presented with the charges of the murder case his first question was: "But did he deserve killin'?"

I'm thinking this sounds more like TX or OK. The GA judge would probably ask why was he still alive.

mac, i don't typically go in for hyperbole and scapegoating, or balming one group or person for all the woes of the world.

But your post strikes a cord and raises an issue central to resolving problems like Peak Oil and AGW and why our govt. simply can't or won't deal with them (or even this spill) effectively.

It is the one issue that could perhaps unite hippies and tea partiers alike. So I am hopeful the pendulum will start swinging the other way. But clearly corporations have become too powerful and have no accountability.

The corps. have corrupted our system so thoroughly it cannot adequately function. MMS is a perfect example. Compare that piece of crap and how poorly it prepared the nation for a giant spill it should have known was coming eventually to the first-class system the Netherlands have. One set-up puts corp. profit at the top. The other puts the public interest first.

Can we even expect the govt. to be able to deal with such pressing issues that affect people's ability to survive when it is so beholden to massive corporate power. The two recent total breakdowns in the system, this spill and the financial meltdown, put that into doubt. Nothing was done until disaster struck. And even then, no one was really held accountable. On wall street they got bonuses instead, paid for by us. Other people's money will be used to pay the massive BP fines as well. Granny won't be getting her dividend check for awhile.

And you or I stand a better chance of going to jail for reckless driving than anyone at BP does of facing criminal charges for letting that well become an instrument of death and destruction through cost-cutting and profit-driven decisions they damn well knew raised the risk beyond anything that can be seriously called industry standard or best practices. It's is hard to fathom how out of whack the system really is. Recall the sepectacle of one elected rep. apologizing to BP on national TV. He is not a fringe person, either, as he will be in charge of the committee that has jurisdiction over this spill and dealing with the aftermath if the coming election results in a change in power. That helps put it into perspective. And it infects both political parties, BTW, not just one.

Having lived and worked there I think you are giving the Dutch a bit too much credit(I love them but...).I would have loved to actually see them deal with a spill like this in the Dutch North Sea.
I would think that after watching the health care issues and inability of either party to deal with entitlement reform the last 30 years or so;issues that have been and are based on more reliable predictions than either peak oil curve shapes or global temperature increase timing and magnitude you would know the limits of both our democratic system and most other government systems throughout the world system.Id' be careful to blame just our banks. Lots of other countries and populations have over-leveraged. Many of the countries we like to cite as modes are facing long term issues worse than we face.
Things will work out...not as smoothly as many like but with a gazillion special interests here and abroad that is what can be expected.

The Dutch have the govt. owned skimmers, a much better plan for dealing with a spill and the law that the oil companies have 24 hours to effectively deal with a spill or the govt. will take over.

We had no effective skimming strategy or plan, inadequate equipment, a cut-and-paste excuse for a plan to deal with the spill and a govt. that seemed impotent to do anything.

"Id' be careful to blame just our banks."

I don't think banks pledge allegiance to any authority other than profit so I am not sure what you mean by this.

"Things will work out."

Sure, the pipe will hang straight in the hole under gravity. Don't worry about that pressure test, it wasn't required any way. I've heard that logic before. Hey, in case you missed it, things did not work out. That's my point. Things were let go until we reached the point of disaster, literally, and lots of innocent people suffered. All of us, some much more than others, not to mention the envoronmental costs. Both disasters were predicted well in advance.

Anyway, this stuff raises my blood pressure too much. Small doses are all i can take.

P.S. BTW, thanks for your comments, my frustration is from the circumstances, not from you.

The Dutch have the govt. owned skimmers, a much better plan for dealing with a spill and the law that the oil companies have 24 hours to effectively deal with a spill or the govt. will take over.

Only if they have proper number of skimmers (and for that matter all other resource). It really doesn't matter if government or private sector own the skimmers. The key is that the number of skimmers is enough to handle the problem at hand.. The slow response of this clean up is not because BP doesn't want to be doing better or coast guard is incompetent. The issue is that the response plan is so out of wack compare to the actual problem.

"The slow response of this clean up is not because BP doesn't want to be doing better or coast guard is incompetent. The issue is that the response plan is so out of wack compare to the actual problem."

Yes, BP did not come up with a real, serious, workable plan. That is obvious to everyone now. They came up with a cut-and-paste excuse for a plan, and the govt' was just fine with that. "Whatever you say, Mr. Mega Bucks Campaign Contributor." We are left with the resulting disaster. That's my point.

To say BP is trying its best now to work with what it has is missing the point.

Obviously, you can think what you want. What you have described is not a BP issue nor is it an issue limited to the realm of for profit organizations of a particular size. My personal opinion is that,given, the myriad juridictions, the size of the spill, and the multiple agencies this has actually been handled better than I would have expected.
We will see how the RW goes.

The thread started as a comment about corporate accountability and how if the people dragged a CEO or two out into the street, things would change fast, whereas, under the current situation, there is no accountability, so nothing changes and we get to pick up the pieces afterward.

I followed up expressing that the underlying point raises a real concern because recent history suggests that the govt. is unable to protect people from disasters that result from irresponsible corp. behavior because the govt. is too beholden to those entities to effectively regulate them and hold them accountable.

As that applies to the spill, I agree that the people involved are doing a good job with what they had to work with. But had BP been required to provide a real plan and appropriate resources, and not a cut-and-paste fake plan and grossly inadequate resources, we would be much better off in terms of the overall impact of this spill and the amount of damage it causes. That's what the law said should have been done. It was because of a lack of corporate accountability that we are stuck with the far inferior, ad hoc plan. And innocent people will pay the price for that even if BP does not. Apply the same logic to the BOP and lax regulations and maybe we never would have had the blow-out. That is not a big leap of logic.

Apply that failure of govt. to peak oil or global warming, and you have to wonder about its competence to even deal with the problems. Politically, it can barely even ackowledge the problems exist, let alone do anything meaningful about them. And that's because of the disproportinate influence moneyed corp. interests wield in D.C. and the lack of accountability due to an endless stream of cash to lobbyists and campaigns. (Maybe a street lynching is the cure for that, one person jokingly speculated.)

But I agree with you that they are doing what they can under the sorry circumstances, and many are undoubtedly doing an outstanding job. If only the people in charge had performed as admirably.

The US Govt is known for incompetence, dysfunction, waste, corruption, and corrupting whatever it touches.
There is no need to blame the drillers or corporations, the US govt is plenty incompetent and negligent when no big corporations or money is involved.
In this case, our greedy Govt gots $Trillions from offshore drilling fees and taxes, and they took the money and looked the other way.
Remember that our MMS Oked ALL the BP drilling/casing plans.
Americans went to sleep on April 19 trusting that their Govt was doing it's job to protect America's waters/shores, had the proper regulations in place, enforced them, and had plans/equipment/procedures to contain and handle any spill.
Our Govt failed us again, as it always does.
Just don't put all the bile and blame on business which brings all our prosperity/goods/services, and give a pass to this govt which has laid $14 Trillion of debt on us and our kids, and spent $3.8 trillion last year yet failed to prevent or deal with this accident.

In this case, our greedy Govt gots $Trillions from offshore drilling fees and taxes, and they took the money and looked the other way.

So you think the American people should just give their oil to BP for free! I see where you're coming from, amerman.

And yes, I agree that when you design an agency to fail, it will fail. When you run for office on a platform that says govt. does not work, and then proceed to make it not work, and disasters then happen, yes, that's a big disappointing failure.

But we went to the moon. We won world wars. We advanced science, medicine and technology to a degree and at a pace unimaginable. And without the US govt., it not would have happened. I think we can handle off-shore drilling better than what led to this turn of events, and, as this event teaches, govt. needs to take an assertive role in that.

Yes, BP did not come up with a real, serious, workable plan.

And it is not just BP..All E&P drilling in GOM has the same plan (as confirmed in one of the congressional hearing with other big oil CEO), contract the same skimmers, and have the same warehouses of booms etc. And MMS approved all their plan and coast guard drill only focus on a single state spill (Adm Allen was the commander for the last full scale drill and he mentioned more than one time that this spill exceeded their plan).. So the fault lie in the systems (both the industry and the government). No one take the blowout seriously and no one take the doomsday scenario (we are nowhere near the doomsday scenario..if the well flow freely with a subsea blowout, we would have no way of capping and collect any oil.. ) seriously. I think one of the big thing coming out of this spill is that resource needed to contain the oil will be positioned. And may be permanent structure will be builded to protect the gulf in case of the next serious spill (not the foo foo dam that La government want to build but something that is engineered and actually work)..

MMS puts corp interests above public interest:


[Edited to hide lack ability to read other post clearly.]

new poster. Have not seen reference to Piper Alpha http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piper_Alpha. Great tragedy, 167 men died.

Memorial to the disaster in Hazlehead Park, Aberdeen.
The Cullen Inquiry was set up in November 1988 to establish the cause of the disaster. In November 1990, it concluded that the initial condensate leak was the result of maintenance work being carried out simultaneously on a pump and related safety valve. The enquiry was critical of Piper Alpha's operator, Occidental, which was found guilty of having inadequate maintenance and safety procedures. But no criminal charges were ever brought against it.[14]
The second phase of the enquiry made 106 recommendations for changes to North Sea safety procedures, all of which were accepted by industry.[15] Most significant of these recommendations was that the responsibility for enforcing safety in the North Sea should be moved from the Department of Energy to the Health and Safety Executive, as having both production and safety overseen by the same agency was a conflict of interest.[16]
Survivors and relatives of those who died went on to form the Piper Alpha Families and Survivors Association, which campaigns on North Sea safety issues.[17]

In the economic collapse of 1873 they did drag bankers out of their offices and hang them in Manhattan.

Seem some of the current execs have forgotten that lesson, or the public never learned it in public schools.

"putting myself in other people's shoes"

That's good to see/hear. My kids and I were discussing the fact that the Gulf Coast culture has another aspect that isn't really considered in assessing potential reactions. This part of the country largely retains the agrarian mentality. That means the same thinking that those rude ex-felon and debtor colonials indulged in. It also provides a significantly disproportionate membership of the military and, unfortunately, disproportionate casualties. Throw in a few coonasses whose swamp land has disappeared, out of work shrimpers, small farmers whose crops may be damaged and small businesses in a state of collapse and someone just might have p****d off the wrong group of people. When I first went to the TOD chat room, before the detention system was put into place, one participant called the Gulf States a 'third world s***hole". I've seen that derogatory term several times in other places. The vets here may recall this little aphorism: "Beware the enlisted man, simple and uneducated though he may be, he is wily and cunning, and bears watching at all times."

And that doesn't count all those people from Mexico and the Carribean that are going to take a hit on this.

If I were a Corporate Pirate, I think I'd stay away from Downtown.

Oh my. These folks could really use some social services of various stripes. No, it wouldn't stop the well and it wouldn't restore the jobs but some kind of supportive therapy could make the interim not so painful.

According to a report I saw on Anderson Cooper 360 last night, it's currently a two month wait for an appointment at some public mental health facilities in Louisiana. They asked BP for money on May 28, but there was no response. There's more information at http://www.nola.com/news/gulf-oil-spill/index.ssf/2010/06/louisiana_rene...

Does BP provide any numbers for the amount of oil recovered by "skimming"? I have seen numbers for the volume of "oily water" but that seems to be a rather meaningless figure.


On 6/11, Adm. Allen said the oil-water mix was 10-15% oil. If so, they were skimming around 1000 bbl/day in early May and 1500 bbl/day in mid-June, a bit more today, except the weather will hamper efforts this week. Obviously collection by skimming is trivial compared to the wellhead flow of perhaps 40K or perhaps 15K for the past two weeks We don't know whether the addition of 3 ships with the Dutch skimmer arms has greatly increased the fleet efficiency--journalists want to write about the political blame game but aren't interested in finding out whether the things are actually making a difference.

The paper skimming capacity of the US cleanup contractors' fleet was exaggerated by orders of magnitude. Skimmers are helpless to affect a slick the size we have now, or had in early May for that matter.

Could we use this as the subthread for discussing skimming issues today?

Here are a couple of subthreads from yesterday's open thread with some ideas and links about the skimmer fleet:



From the track I'd venture that the Seacor Venture is skimming right up close to the blowout today.

Either that or she's nervous and pacing.

Lotta ships just arrived including some from Norway.



La Cheval, HOS Silver Arrow & Harvey Thunder too.

Seacor Washington has been in port since mid-morning. Maybe there's no point in trying to skim in 8-9' seas. S. Venture might be laying moorings, that's her day job anyway. Or do you have information about her being outfitted as a skimmer?

Edit: Noka.com/AP story on closing down "nearshore" skimming today:


No inside info. Just noticed these tracks going back and forth, back and forth & figured it for skimming.

Probably wrong

Nola.com article on the red tape theme that has some new information.


As of last week, no Jones Act waivers had been granted. According to the joint information center for the response, six vessels involved in oil containment have applied for Jones Act waivers that are still pending.

This is interesting because Adm. Allen said very recently that no requests had been received. The author links this claim to the government's DWH Response page, but I don't see anything about the Jones Act there. Maybe he called Unified Command.

Just weeks after the oil spill crisis began to unfold in the Gulf of Mexico, the French foreign minister volunteered a fleet of oil skimming boats from a French company, Ecoceane. A month later, in early June, Ecoceane Chief Executive Eric Vial met with BP and Coast Guard officials to present the idea. 
But after that meeting, weeks went by with little contact as oil continued gushing into the Gulf. A frustrated Vial was able to get around the bureacracy last week only when his company sold nine of the oil collection boats to a private contractor in Florida, who could then put the boats to work.

Now these are vessels, not skimming arms, and they return separated water to the sea, so one can see issues with the regulatory system. It is a new technology as described on Ecoceane's website:


I am confused when the author writes, "Vial was able to get around the bureacracy last week only when his company sold nine of the oil collection boats to a private contractor in Florida, who could then put the boats to work." I wonder if the author understands that this is how the totally privatized US system works. The government does not have, and is not supposed to have, extensive cleanup equipment and supplies. These are the responsibility of the spilling company, which it undertakes to meet by retaining cleanup contractors, who own the equipment. The "bureaucracy" doesn't tell them what to buy, although it may tell them that certain equipment may not be used on the water. So if Ecoceane sold skimming boats directly to the contractors, that is the normal process. But has the government told the contractor that the vessels can be used?

Press Briefing by National Incident Commander June 25, 2010

Q: Sir, about the Jones Act, has this been waived? And if so, where are the foreign vessels?

ADMIRAL ALLEN: Oh, there are a lot of foreign vessels operating offshore, Carol. The Jones Act—we have had no request for Jones Act waivers. If the vessels are operating outside state waters, which is three miles and beyond, they don't require a waiver. All that we require is an Affirmation of Reciprocity, so if there ever was a spill in those countries and we want to send skimming equipment, that we would be allowed to do that, as well, and that hasn't become an issue yet, either.

To the extent that there is a waiver required and they come to us, we're more than happy to support it in making that request to CBP. But to date, since they're operating outside three miles, no Jones Act waiver has been required.

"we have had no request for Jones Act waivers", not exactly true, as my previous posts have shown, including the fact that waivers were requested IN CONGRESS! The 3 mile rule is also a red herring, the Jones Act concerns going to PORT, something a ship is likely to do when it has a hold full of oil. Admiral Allen speaks with forked tongue, he'd make a wonderful politician.

There is also this:

Farther down, craigk reports that the Taiwanese would-be skimmer-tanker A-Whale has cleared Key West and entered the Gulf. This vessel has a beam of 200' and the beam is what forms the collection surface. Therefore, if it skims at 1-2 knots like everyone else, it will be able to skim only up to 1 sq. mile of ocean per day. So set aside the grandiose claim that it can process a gaudy 500,000 barrels of oil-water mix per day and remember that <1 sq. mile, or roughly 1/1000 of the slick. Moreover the collection system is a jackleg idea that has not been tested on oil. The Seacor Washington and its two Dutch-armed sisters (nobody seems to know whether they exist, wake up, journos!) have a collection width of 160' each and almost certainly a more efficient collection mechanism. So I question whether the Whale will be able to gather more oil than SW (however much that is, wake up, journos!).

The Whale will face a regulatory challenge regarding returning oily water to the sea. I think it will have to offload seawater constantly in order to maintain a precise amount of ballast. The waterline needs to be kept at the level of the collection slots, or, obviously, it will not be able to skim at all. So (a) they will install pumps to spray the water over the bow, which would qualify according to an EPA ruling or (b) they will be refused permission to skim or (c) the political firestorm will cause the EPA to suspend its rule. Since they were planning to separate the oil only by gravity, the water will be pretty oily, and there will be a vast amount of it owing to the crudeness of the collection device (slots in the hull).

If you Google A-whale, you get a zillion posts on conservative blogs howling about how federal red tape and bureaucratic bungling are going to stop the Taiwanese entrepreneur from saving the Gulf.

So I guess doing nothing but poo poo any idea or help is MUCH BETTER than trying something-even if is does not work and is a failure. I like your reasoning-are you on Obamas staff?

Hi Dave, I still think they are more likely to drill parallel and adjacent to WW with RW and gain access using explosive bolts routinely used to perforate production casing - this based on blogging exchange here with folks who seemed to know what they were talking about. Agree that they are very close now. It would be good for everyone concerned if they kill this sooner rather than later and certainly before the first storm blows through.

If they kill this before this storm hits. I will streak through the town of Gulf Shores and post the video here. Properly pixellated and assuming I have made bail, of course.


Moratorium claims to be considered with others from Gulf of Mexico oil spill

Kenneth Feinberg, administrator of the claims fund for victims of the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster, said Monday that the White House and BP have agreed to give him jurisdiction over claims from individuals and businesses harmed by the Obama administration's six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling.

"Yes, I now have discovered -- I didn't realize this until yesterday -- that the moratorium claims will fall under my jurisdiction," Feinberg said in an interview Monday on CNN.

"That's a huge development, and we didn't know that before?" replied the CNN reporter.

"I didn't either," Feinberg said. ...

"Yes, I now have discovered -- I didn't realize this until yesterday -- that the moratorium claims will fall under my jurisdiction," Feinberg said in an interview Monday on CNN.

Very professional operation they're running there. Of course BP's contribution is only $100million and the moratorium is costing many times that. Maybe he can pay a few day's worth of claims. Not much he can do about the 9-10 ships already heading to Brazil that won't be back for years, if ever. But Soros is pleased so I'm sure the professionals at Obamaland are too.

Oh WildlyRed, I feel for you. If Sarah Palin wins, will your nightmare finally be over?

I doubt it, if she's as incompetent as Obama has been we'd be in for more hell. I was just as harsh on Bushland as Obamaland at the time, competence is king. For instance how would this catastrophe look right now if Rudy Giuliani were running things? How would Katrina have fared in New Orleans if he had been running things there? Whether you could stand a republican or not is irrelevant to me, he clearly showed he could get things done in New York especially after 9/11.

I have a friend who is a flaming liberal and works as a CFO in city government. He had to work for a republican mayor and was ready to quit. After several years under that mayor, he confided to me that the man was a consummate professional and everything ran more smoothly under him. That never stopped him from campaigning for a democrat replacement, who proceeded to bone everything up. To be a liberal means to put hope over experience "A second marriage is the triumph of hope over experience." Samuel Johnson

I am neither liberal nor conservative, but a pragmatist, the worst thing of all to be.

Rudy really was good after 9/11, but from what I have seen since, he would not be a great national leader. He turned out to be a one trick pony for me. Everything was 9/11. I'll leave it at that.

I really liked your story. More competence and less ploitics would do the country great. We should spend more time looking for common goals and common ground than attacking one another to score points.

Can anyone provide more on this, news articles, etc.?

the Corp opened up the Old River Project to flush the Mississippi.


The various Mississippi River control structures above Baton Rouge are meant to regulate the amount of flow down the Atchafalaya River towards Morgan City. There is always a good bit of water allowed that way, but it should be pretty easy to send more, if flushing the Atchafalay Bay was more important than the Delta near Venice. (Much of that flow even goes through a hydroelectic plant.)
The Bonnet Carre Spillway from the Mississippi into Lake Pontchartrain can also be opened - if the river level is high enough - which would provide some back pressure to tides bringing oil into the lake from Lake Borgne & the Gulf. Not sure if the river level is high enough though. There are several other small siphons to divert water out of the Mississippi into various distributaries and wetlands but they are probably too small to make much impact. Still, if there are some that are not open and can be, it would make sense to me to divert water out them.
Then, could the various competing environmental and regulatory groups agree on how much water to send where? For instance, if the fresh water keeps the oil out of somebody's oyster beds but kills the oysters in the process, who pays for the oysters - BP or you and me?

Some of you may know there has been an oil spill in the Red Sea area of Egypt. For those of you who think that BP cover things up should look at the official response from the Egyptian Oil Ministry (The leak came most likely from an EGPC offshore rig, EGPC is 100% Egyptian goverment owned)
Red Sea Oil Spill Not Caused By Rigs, Egypt's Oil Ministry Says
“A rise in temperature during that period led to a shift” that turned “ancient deposits of oil on some islands to a semi- liquid state,” which then flowed into the sea, according to the official account.

Oh look: ol' Baghdad Bob found work.

A graphic was put up here yesterday showing the turns the RW will take shortly on its way to hitting a bullseye on the gusher well. No scale was included, so for the ignorant among us, could you please give us some idea of lengths of run involved between turns. Radius of turns would be interesting to know also. And how do they do make a drill turn like that? Curious to know.

Riden - Yep...those non-true scales can be misleading. Typically the well bore won't be turned much faster than 3 to 10 degrees per hundred feet drilled. The bend rate is called the "dog leg". We may see them using that term soon. Obviously if the dog legs become to severe they risk sticking the drill pipe. And if they can't free the DP they would have to side track the hole and that could take a couple of weeks to getback to where they lost it.

Ridan, here's a good (but silent) animation of how they drill a bending path.

Not sure why they have to do so many more "ranging tests".

Is the final push coming in at an angle?

Also not to beat a dead horse but a point I raised yesterday, if there IS a significant amount of drilling mud in the relief well, ie thousands of feet stacked up, wouldn't that also suppress the first well? The weight of that mud must be borne by something.

Not sure what the delay is in hooking up that second system, how rough are the seas 50 miles out? If they could get that up and running I think they'd have this thing pretty much stopped. They could pull off the cap with the two systems getting 30k bpd and see how much is leaking out. By comparing that to the pictures when everything but 10k (the q 4000) was leaking out (about 2 weeks ago), then you'd get a very good idea of the total spill rate. Although the water might provide more back pressure than the "cap", not sure.

Brian -- there will be about 16,000' of mud column in the RW. The right mud weight will keep the flow from coming up the RW. If they get it right the MW will be balanced by the flow prssure. But that won't change the flow pressure. I'm curious to see if they try to pump anything else but mud into the flow. There are various liquids that can damage the flow capability of the reservoir if they can pump some into it. They did mention early on they ha some "special fluids" that could help the process but gave no details.

I thought mud would go up the original hole (some out the BOP at first) and also be in the RW hole, so basically two columns of mud would be pushing down on the reservoir and they would find some kind of balance.

Is that right?

Then do they take off the BOP and put some kind of cement shute in there to get cement all the way down to the very bottom?


The relief well will have mud to surface right now. At the moment think of the well as a contained system which is holding the mud in.

When they mill through to the M1, it will no longer be closed and the mud will start dropping out of the relief well and they will have to start pumping hard to keep the relief well full. Sorry if I’m putting it a bit simply here.

There are a couple of things they will have to watch out for when they drill into the reservoir. Firstly, the reservoir pressure will be lower than it was originally because of the oil flowing up the M1 and they have to be ready to start pumping in case the mud runs out of the relief well (lost circulation). It will head towards the M1 so it’s not such a bad thing so long as they can keep pumping the relief wellbore full of mud. If this doesn’t happen they have to be careful not to have too much pump pressure and fracture the formation. Unlikely, I think, but they have to be aware of the possibility (which I’m sure they are).

So the mud runs from RW into the first well and then eventually there is so much mud in the first well that it can't "push up" any more...meanwhile there needs to be a full tube of mud in the RW so that oil doesn't come up there.

So in effect both wells are pushing against the reservoir?

Thanks for your info.

How do you control lost circulation in this context?

What I mean is, if they cant get enough mud weight into the damaged well to find a balance point for both wells, then, since they only have a finite amount of mud, surely there is a fairly serious risk of losing control of the relief well?

I imagine they will run another casing string in the RW soon - once they feel they 'can't miss' the BW. That will minimize the chance of losing the RW if they can't keep mud going into it fast enough for them to be able to modify and adapt the mud system.

That correct brian but the wild well will flow until it's csg is full of mud. Think of it as the weak link in the chain. The mud in the RW won't affect the wild flow.

In a normal RW kill they'll fill the wild hole up with heavy mud. And once the flow is stopped they'll pump heavy cmt up the wild hole just like they did the mud. But I doubt they'll try to fill the entire 13,000' of csg with cmt this way. That would be very difficult if not impossible. Once they've killed and cmtd the wild hole BP will have to remove the BOP/wellhead and replace them with new ones. Then they have to go into the original hole and pump more cmt into the original hole. That's SOP in the OCS unless the feds give BP an exemption.

The situation is fucked up ... but ...

A lot of people (who have been paying attention) have learned an awful lot about oil well drilling and wild well control.

Mud weights, downhole logging, casing shoes, liners and hangers, shear and blind rams, annulars, proper cement procedures, bore detectiuon, milling, mud logging, gas separation, casing schedules ...

On one hand the nature story is tragic and heartbreaking.

If the idea is to learn something new .. wow!

If the oilfield industry is sufferning a brain- drain they should look over here. People who are smart to begin with but with a 'get rich quick' educucation by ROCKMAN et al.


You're welcome Steve. I wish I could get my boss/engineer into TOD. He can easily run circles around me on this subject matter. But we're a low manpower shop and he's working 14+ hours per day. I'm lucky in that I'm in front of the computer the same amount of time monitoring field operations which means a lot of "hurry up and wait". Thus it's easy for me to pop in and out of TOD. And watch Frasier reruns. And have an occasional bowl of Blue Bell. And in the last few weeks we've had more oil patch show up and I've learned a few things from them. And then we have all those contributions from other fields. Lately even the legal eagles have brought much to the table. I've always considered that the real power of TOD: diversity.


Question from a couple days ago - couldn't find the answer (but didn't check thread breaks); sorry if it's answered:

We will have two columns: RW and wild well. The wild well needs heavier mud pumped into it than the relief well because it doesn't have a riser. But if they pump that mud in the RW, the mud will surely open the formation. So either they have an inhomogeneous mud weight in the RW or they just shrug and keep pumping huge volumes until the WW fills with the heavy mud (and then what?). Either option seems "difficult". Is there another way it can pan out?

KL -- Difficult may be understatement. My guess is that the MW of the kill pill will be close to the frac gradient at the base of the RW. They might set the last csg in the RW as deep as possible: the shallower rocks have lower FG. But once they set csg the ability to directional drill the RW will become very difficult. I’ve read they will use some very specialized kill mud but haven’t seen those details yet.

Seas are picking up due to Alex, even across the GoM. Here are the current seas at Thunder Horse, about 40 miles SSW of DWH.


Thanks for that. Not sure how "calm" seas have to be or why. I found one site that said 7 feet on friday and 6 on sat-sun. Hopefully that is calm enough to start this thing on the road.
This site makes references to grid lines, I think the well is at 28N 88W. Not sure if those numbers apply that far north and east.


Landfall is tomorrow night so I would think seas would calm down pretty quicky.


I was thinking about the hollering about drilling RWs at the same time as the main well.
Wouldn't that be dangerous?
Is the geology better known once a main well is drilled down to the resevoir?
Also, wouldn't the main well have to have the "electrics" to provide a magnetic field so that the RW driller would know where it is?
What if, and this could be stupid, there was a break between the rock of both wells like a coal mine wall breakthrough and gas was allowed to pass through.

Maude -- see above at 11:14.

Okay, here's a technical question ....

When the RW is at the original casing, a liner will be installed downhole to the point of intersection, correct? This will be cemented and tested, right? Even when the get to the Macondo casing string they will have to take at least a few day to cement properly and test, right?

Okay ... how close to the pay zone do they need to get before they can intercept?

If they have good geology now - they have some leeway as to mud weights due to the impermeability of the caprock - why wouldn't they try to intersect in this area rather than go deeper?

the uncontrolled flow may not be within the wild well casing at that point.

the uncontrolled flow is most likely outside the 7" casing. either up past the 11 7/8" liner shoe, or down past the 7" casing shoe, imo. the the blowout was most likely due to a failure of the cement job,imo.

My first post. A possible solution to stopping the spill has been gnawing at me, but I'm not an engineer and please forgive if the impracticality of my idea is obvious to those more experienced with the nuts and bolts of undersea drilling.

As I understand it, devices like the one pictured below are known as "saddles". This version would be fitted with a butterfly-type valve, and it would be lowered onto the sheared riser with the valve in the open position. After welding the entire perimeter of the lower edge of the saddle to the riser junction, the valve is closed.

It seems that with the valve open it would be relatively easy to position the saddle accurately and get a secure weld. TIA for feedback.

Ideas like this have been discussed over and over on TOD. First problem it would plug with hydrates before you ever got it installed, second if you got it installed successfully it would put undue stress on the already compromised casing and BOP when you shut the valve. Trust me, the best engineering minds in the world are working on the problem and there is no simple answer other than the RW.

Simply stated rule number one in killing wells 101, is get to the bottom of the hole. That is why one of their first actions was to start the relief wells. Everything else was done with just a hope and a prayer.

Check the history of about 500 posts on this forum as to why the well cannot be positively capped.

Welding at this depth is a virtual impossibility. They cannot shut the well at the BOP for fear of damaging the well further or the BOP itself.

They are however doing something very similar. They will soon install a new cap that will clamp tightly to the flange (I understand they have a number of designs being fabricated) and not shut the well, but rather produce through the Enterprise and another drillship (Clear Leader, I think). It should provide a tight seal but will not shut the well because of the concerns above. I do understand that the cap will seal tightly enough to support a column of mud if necessary to aid in the kill.

The Norwegians don't think so

I do agree that it won't happen with BP's blowout.
Regarding the suggestion that started this thread - the need to make a chamber that would fit, and put a MIG torch, etc. inside it in a reasonable amount of time - that ain't gonna happen anytime soon. SINTEF/Statoil/... been working on deepwater welding for decades.

from Nov. 2006:

One does have to use Gas Metal Arc Welding (MIG) and a dry chamber at these depths - a TIG arc is too unstable under these pressures.

The Pipeline Repair System pool (PRS pool) is a joint development between Statoil and Hydro to provide repair...

Dry hyperbaric GMAW technology has been formally qualified for water depths down to 1,000 m and demonstrated and verified to a water depth down to 2,500 m.

The offshore systems and welding technology is part of the PRS pool in Norway and is ready for real applications offshore.

5000 feet is 1524 meters.

A more techy (PDF) paper:

press on with the new caps and RW.

When the butterfly valve you propose is closed all the pressure from the reservoir (11,000psi at the bottom of the bore) will be trapped in the bore. This could the damaged casings and the rock around the drill hole to fracture allowing the oil and gas to leak out uncontrollably.

Stopping the oil coming out the top of the wellhead is a trivial bit of engineering. Preventing it coming out elsewhere is the problem, so for now they prefer that the oil comes mostly out the top of the wellhead where they can gather a lot of it rather than having it erupting out of the seabed in a thousand random streams from fissures in the rocks and mud around the wellhead.

If the borehole and casings take further damage then the relief well(s) being drilled would probably fail; any attempts to stop the oil flowing at the wellhead have to take this into account. They must not risk damage to the already compromised casings.


wt, You should take it over to stopthegusher.com


That is a good thought, unfortunatly not practical. Wet welding by divers becomes increasingly more difficult with depth. Most successful welds are done in less than 100' of water though deeper is possible. The reason for this is due to the compressability of the shielding gas generated by the melting of the flux. The greater the depth, the smaller the shielding bubble. To small and it cannot contain the molten pool. Then we have rapid quenching, the overhead position and hydrogen cracking all of which combine to reduce the overall weld quality.

To extend the depth significantly and increase the weld quality, the weld has to be completed in a dry hyperbaric environment. To do that we build a box that goes around the area to be welded (it can be open bottom or closed) and fill the box with a shielding gas (specific to the process). Divers then crawl into what is usually a uncomfortable space and complete the weld. This affords welds to the practical limits of saturation diving today, which is around 1,000fsw. Deeper is certainly possible (deepest working dive is about 1800fsw) but not generally considered in our ROV age.

I have heard some very limited discussion concerning robotic welding at depth but have not seen anything tried, though thats not to say no one has.

Just thought I would expound on the point.

BP Says Oil Spill Cleanup Operation May Be Delayed by Storm

That article indicates that BP just doesn't have common sense.

They remove the cap during rough weather and now they can't replace it because of rough weather. Duh??

Why couldn't they have waited a few days for Alex to pass to remove "el sombrero"?

How many BP execs does it take to change a light bulb??

(Seriously, I bet if you ask any of them how to change a light bulb, they would probably give you a really weird answer)

Did you read the article? BP hasn't removed the current cap due to rough seas. The rough seas is delaying the hookup of the Helix Producer which is done through the kill lines of the BOP, not the cap.

As weather effects of Alex ripple towards the spill would or should dispersant ops be discontinued?

The "skimmer" 'A Whale' has cleared Key West- what a beast.


Dispersant has only been used at the 5000 ft deep wellhead for some time now. Doubt they would want to stop it. Unfortunately the successful burns have been stopped for awhile. Skimming will be affected.

Sure hope the Whale doesn't get caught up in the bad weather in the southern gulf.

Speaking of drilling the relief well, when it actually comes in contact with the MC well, will it be at a tangent or at a 90-degree angle?

How does the milling bit drill through the casing (and possibly other drill pipe)?

How does the milling bit drill through the casing (and possibly other drill pipe)?

And what kind of telemetry lets them know where the drill bit is once it breaches the casing (in other words, how do they keep from busting on through the whole tube)? Sounds like something that needs very precise telemetry and a very light hand on the stick.

from yesterday's thread re Lawrence Solomon and Dutch Skimmers, I posted a response to Gobbet found at this link:


Re your statement that the distinction between an offer of gift and an offer to sell is a "canard"--my canard I guess. Certainly I agree with you that, in an emergency, you should spend what you need to. I just think it's highly misleading that almost every journalist or blogger who has written about these actions refer to the foreign governments "offering" or "making available" to the "United States" equipment that, in most cases, is actually being offered for sale to BP or its contractors. Refusals and delays should not be assumed always to have been caused by red tape; some of them were probably caused by business decisions by private companies. I think in the early stages BP may have thought its contractors had adequate equipment, and the government at this time was emphasizing that it was BP's job to do the cleanup.

"Refusals and delays should not be assumed always to have been caused by red tape; some of them were probably caused by business decisions by private companies."

To me that is the problem. BP is being allowed to proceed in a business mode on this oil spill. They should have lost all rights to business in this clean up and ordered to get every skimmer available in there when the spill started.

When they murdered those eleven men and started polluting the Gulf and destroying other peoples business they just go on in business mode weighing the cost and effectiveness and getting away with whatever they think they can.

Exactly, get out of business mode and into government mode.

I have read with interest, comments from Dougr, Shelburne, Euan, Rockman, Snakhead, the Tinfoilhatguy, etc. My background is aviation, but I have a lot of technical knowledge in a variety of subjects. Therefore, I have a sound, but basic understanding of the DWH situation.

Let me make a few comments about the cleanup effort and results, and ask a few questions.

It just so happens, that I work at Orange Beach, Alabama, and actually walk the beach at least 4 times per day (3 days per week). No, I am not in a job related to the oil spill, or a company involved with the cleanup.

Let me give all of you some first hand information. Mine will be similar to the tinfoilhatguy, as he lives in Gulf Shores, Alabama, which is adjacent to OB.

We have 2 state parks on the beach, which are serving as staging areas for equipment. On the 3 days per week that I work, I pass them twice per day. There is all kinds of equipment sitting there doing NOTHING. As of Friday evening, there were 3 trailers of Porta-potties sitting idle as well as 6 track hoes and there related 18 wheeler low boys. There are tractors, tents, and workers....standing around.

I have seen some tractors on the road moving the sifter machines. Since the blowout, I have seen crews on our beaches no more than 5 times, and that is counting a day when I saw 1 person in a green vest walking the beach.

The boom system is beyond belief. They have been laid at odd angles, opposite of tide and wind movement. Last week, when it was forecasted to be heavy for us, they were moved to a different location. There are boats and tugs and barges anchored, or moving about for something to do. One tug has been anchored in the same location for almost 2 weeks.

All of this effort seems to be controlled somewhere else, and the local people must have no say in what they need, or how the equipment is used.....a huge waste of manpower and equipment.

One commenter seemed to think that the tourism industry is not that important...whoa...it is...the hotels and condos are not renting. That means there are not guests in the area to buy food at restaurants, or beach items at the stores. How do those unemployed people make their car, truck, or house notes.

An entire industry...fishing...is shut down. The fishermen and their crews are out of business. That means the people who repair their engines, boats, and nets are out of business. Then how do those people make their car, truck or house notes?

Having made my statements about the cleanup and consequences, let me ask a few questions.
How serious was BP's situation in February when their official sent the email that they were having a well control issue.
A friend, knowledgeable in well drilling and production says that he has worked on wells of 30,000 PSI or more. The burst pressure for some of the casing was 8,000 PSI, and the down hole pressure was logged at 13,000 PSI. Could they be in an area of very high pressure?
When the blowout occurred, the 50,000 ton rig lost power and was still connected to the BOP. Could movement of the rig have caused the tilt in the BOP, as well as damage down hole? I know 36" casing is strong, but with a pull with 5,000' of leverage, some damage must have happened, which means the REAL problem now is below the sea floor.
And, just a comment for speculation.......with all the engineering expertise available to BP....if they really wanted to stop the leak, I think they could do it...it's all about $$$$$....they don't want to lose the well. If they can't sell the oil in the economically devastated southern USA, they will sell it somewhere else.

Re: your last comment. The original well is dead. Once it's brought under control it will be capped and filled with concrete. The rock and the casings are too compromised for this well to be brought back into service.

One or both of the relief wells may be be repurposed at a later date to access the oil reservoir. This will not be cheap to do and might not be permitted by the regulators. The oil reservoir will eventually be tapped, if not now then later -- the original well was exploratory, not for immediate production. It could have been brought into production later but it would have been only one of several wells drilled into that reservoir.

There is no miracle solution to stopping the oil flow from the wellhead at any cost. If BP could have stopped the leak by dropping ten billion bucks in bales of 100-dollar bills on top of it then they would have, day two or maybe day three after the Deepwater Horizon sank and the leak began because it would have been a lot cheaper for them in the long run.

Having been in construction and the military, the staging of equipment is very common, especially when alternate demands for that equipment are minimal. The real limiting factor is manpower. It takes time to load a Cat D-5 and move it more than couple of miles. It requires a CDL driver with endorsements and a few hours minimum. Track hoes and loaders too. Also you have many different contractors on-site with assigned areas. That does not restrict command fro moving personnel, just maps out the equipment. Personal support items can also be pre-staged. It really is like fighting a war. In war, "Amateurs study tactics, professionals study logistics." Meet me at Gulf Shores Hooters for a beer soon. We can get pictures for Diverdan and the gang. TFHG.

Edit: This comment is intended to mean for beach operations. Marsh and skimming operations have critical equipment needs last I heard.
The booms are a joke and our officials are in over their heads. So am I.

Media Hack disclaimer, what follows is opinion, not fact.

On the last point: BP is harvesting oil from that well at a severe loss. There is nothing for them to gain by trying to produce it. I think they have already agreed to donate all profits from the collected oil to either the cleanup or related pro-enviromental projects. They could probably seal it from the top, but they don't trust the integrity of all that lies below to hold the pressure.

Its frozen seafood only in Doonesbury:


I have been reading and learning from this wonderful site. I am uncertain if this is the proper forum for this question, but I will try.

I have read this article posted by a German scientist in 2006. Did he predict what we are facing today?

THank you,


I don't think it is real pertinent there Moonbeam, the discussion in the article is about the possibility of mining naturally occurring methyl hydrates and the effects of their release into the world's oceans. Although, some methane is dissoving in the gulf waters as a relult of the BP Gushtrosity, the article is addressing huge reactions related to the total dissolved O2 in the world's oceans.

Thank you, Tunaholic. In a way, it's some comfort.

Moonie -- Interesting article. And such events might take place one day especially if we try to mine such MH. But so far I haven't seen any indication that MH were involved with causing the BP blow out.

Thank you, Rockman. I have daughter living in Palm Harbor, FL. with her hubby.I am worried sick for all effected by this catastrpohy.

btw..how did you know my nickname was Moonie? Your psychic..huh?

God Bless

moonie -- just one of the beneficial side effects of Blue Bell ice cream.

Beware! Beware! Time is short. Eeepa! Eeepa! Eeeeeeepaaaaa! (falls to floor again) Believe me! Believe me!

Homer rolls his father up in the aisle rug and drags him out of the church, still moaning.

Thanks for listening!

Date/Time: 2010:06:29 12:34:48 Gulf Shores Alabama

Like I don't know Matt. Interesting they already canceled Thursday's concert. Correlation maybe but I see no causation. Yet.

You really should get a blog going. This is going to be going on for months and months. You are in a unique position/location to provide daily reporting, and to have an impact, even if the blog is just a collection of your reporting posts and photos to TOD. Then people and the media can find it and review it.

Maybe, but I just think it would take too much time. I bet Gail could pipe in on that one.

I understand. But keep it in mind. I find your reports to be very interesting and informative. I am sure many others would too.

It could end up being an investment in time that would pay off for you.

You could at least put up a Facebook page for your photos and reporting. FB also has a feature called NOTES which will allow you to write longer entries.

Your photos at the same location over time are great. People need to see these things.

I could always backfill with my old Oil Drum Comments right?

and include some of the better comments here. I've been saving a few of them all along.

Bad info spreads so fast & we need more people spreading good info. Most people will never take the time to read here, even if they know about it. That leaves it to those who can/will put in the time to also share the info.

Sure wish my Dad was still here...would save me a lot of time, lol.

Now you're thinking. Once you get it set up, it really need not involve more than a few extra minutes a day to make your reports more accessible to a lot more people by cutting and pasting them to and from TOD. You can link to it in your TOD posts as well.

A blog would be better for showing up on search engines, I think. And if you can operate facebook, you can operate blogger. You have lots of options.

Good luck whatever you decide. Limiting your reports to TOD is really nothing to complain about, that's for sure. I'm glad to get them. But i do see the potential and frankly the need for a blog that could develop some reach and influence, and do a better job than the media educating people on what is really going on in the Gulf.

TFHG, if you want to set up a blog or FB page as a joint effort I would be happy to help.

I have been posting what I consider the better stories on this from early on, so I have lots of links.

gmmf56 @ yahoo.com

Ok bought a wordpress site from godaddy. You guys are so gonna regret this when we all get Gitmo'ed. Does anyone know anything about IP Spoofing? Just kidding not paranoid, everyone is just after me. Details to follow.
BTW I am not bad with Wordpress already and I can find my way around PHP and Linux.

"You guys are so gonna regret this when we all get Gitmo'ed."

No, we're gonna be glad that at least some people on the Gulf are getting the straight story out.

And there isn't enough room at Gitmo, or anywhere else for all the Americans, right, left and center who are pissed off at this mess. Since they can't lock us up, they'll just have to worry about our votes.

Go, HatGuy!

but wordpress sites are FREE!!!??? But I still look forward to seeing your man on the street updates, wherever they get corralled.

Yes, but for $100 I got two years highspeed and my own domain name without Wordpress in my url. I have my own My SQL and tech support. It is a good deal. Most importantly, I get much better reporting, I will show up on Alexa, search engines find you easier, and I can SELL my domain. How do you think the Wall Street Journal does it? Custom modified PHP site with a Wordpress core. You cannot even tell. I am not too shabby in IT, you are not in bad hands here. 20 year man and I kept up on my own.

Remember to add a donations button and then you may get that back with enough over for some Blue Bell ice cream.


I have had one about a year under this ID, never do anything with it of course, too lazy. Good luck to you though, you'll have to let us know. Take LOTS of pictures and even videos, the WSJ will supply their own words. Copyright the pics though, maybe do a watermark so you can bust anyone snagging them. ;)

Watermark, definitely. How about steganography as as well, make it even harder to copy. Another is to drop the resolution or increase the jpeg compression but remember to do that before watermark/steg. You could also add a little edit to the picture for example change a wheel nut to a smiley. You could add a copyleft,under creative commons, to allow use in something like TOD but not WSY (eg share alike non-commercial). Just some ideas.


I have to agree with syncro, and others who've suggested the same, tinfoil. You've already started some good discussions on air quality, worker safety, beach remediation that will be useful to review for the foreseeable future. Set something up on www.wordpress.com, (pretty easy) or even just a www.posterous.com (probably one of the easiest sites to update), of your pictures with descriptions and observations. Once you get the hang of it, I think you'll find it doesn't take much effort.

I've enjoyed your humour, as well as been horrified by the experience you're witnessing.

It's possible it'd be useful for others, and therapeutic* for yourself.

Try out posterous.com, see if it suits ya.

*not that I'd be the one to suggest someone named tinfoilhatguy would be needin' therapy, or anything. I meant therapeutic strictly in the macho sense of the word, like fishin' is therapeutic.

"You've already started some good discussions on air quality, worker safety, beach remediation that will be useful to review for the foreseeable future."

And the presidential visit. And the way he weaves that Jummy Buffet concert in at just the right moment, using it as a mirror to reflect what is going on. That's good stuff.

CDC and IOM Warn of Adverse Psychosocial, Cancer Effects From Gulf Oil Spill

June 28, 2010 — Psychosocial, as well as medical, effects will be important consequences of the Gulf oil spill, according to experts from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico took place on April 20, 2010. At the time, the explosion killed 11 workers and injured 17 others, but the long-term effects of the resulting oil spill remain unclear. As of June 25, 2010, 453 oil exposure complaints had been reported to the American Association of Poison Control Centers. Of these, 174 calls came from Louisiana, 111 from Florida, 95 from Alabama, and 38 from Mississippi. Callers reported symptoms including headaches, throat irritation, nausea, vomiting, eye pain, and dizziness.

Crude oil contains a mixture of volatile hydrocarbon compounds — polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons that typically include the carcinogens benzene, toluene, and xylene. According to the CDC, symptoms of exposure to these compounds include drowsiness, dizziness, rapid or irregular heartbeat, headaches, tremors, confusion, and unconsciousness.


So if I see a CDC van, act like I popped a gasket and maybe they will get some help for my community? If you see me on the news, you know what happened. Don't worry, I will not hurt anyone, just bark like a dog or act all schitzo. Normal stuff for me.
I was wondering whose call that was.

Oh, hell yes, TFHG. Jump up and down and scream like crazy.

Don't even wait for that van. You're in Gulf Shores? Call Jo Bonner's office and tell 'em to send in the healthcare Marines.


Send the bill to BP.

Last time Bonner helped me, it took him a year to tell me he could not help me. My complaint ended up as a federal case. Settled for $5 million. I got little. We won though.

I see. Well, good Congresscritters provide good constituent services. And they have to run every two years. I'm sure you won't forget Bonner's... contribution.

Hang in there.

In another thread there was the question about the max flow rate one might expect from a DW reservoir. Here's a quick and dirty model:

BP released a statement that they anticipated their well would produce at a rate of 15,000 - 20,000 bopd. That would be their max rate that would allow a stable completion. But such a zone could easily flow twice that rate or more if damage was not a potential problem. This is what makes the blow out so unique. It equates to what we would call an "open hole completion". A typical completion would have solid cmt covering the reservoir which in turn would be sealed by steel csg. Then a limited number of small (1") holes would be shot thru the csg/cmt. Anywhere from 6 to 12 such holes per foot is common. BP didn't indicate how many shots they would have used to achieve the estimated flow rate but let's assume they would shoot the entire 60' thick zone at 12 shots per foot. Thus the 15 - 20,000 bopd would have come from 720 one inch holes. That would represent about 600 sq inches of flow channels. Or about 4 sq ft.

The original well bore had a 10" diameter. If you assume the hole hasn't enlarged beyond that initial diameter than the total area open to flow from the reservoir is around 150 sq ft. Or almost 40 times greater than would be open to a convention completion as described above. This greatly increased area is why open hole completions are made: to max flow capability in reservoirs with relatively low flow capabilities. Obviously the BP reservoir isn't such an animal. No engineer would ever propose opening up that much of such a reservoir nor attempt such high flow rates. But that's the very odd nature of the BP blow out: it's a cased hole. That adds great stability to the well bore unlike a typical open hole blow out. An open hole blow out flowing as this one is might have bridged over and killed itself long before now. In essence it's about the worst case scenario one could dream up IMHO.

I think I understand that Rockman so cheers.

Are you saying that bp's worst case blowout scenario of 162,000 barrels per day is now limited because they have a well casing in place?

Link (section 7)

beagle -- I don't know if I would ever offer a limit to max flow rate. I don't know if BP's worst case scenario involved a wild flow from a cased hole. But my point was that a cased hole would, in my mind, allow an even higher flow rate than if the blow out occurred in an uncased hole. That's what I meant about the current situation: I'm not sure I could have intentionally designed a bigger screw up than what we see out there right now.

Rockman: The 162000 was put into the plan before the well was drilled (as was 33 API). As this was pre an exploration well it may have nothing to do with the potential in this well. I am sure they did not know they had only a 60 foot section. That flow number probably came from them looking at other wells in the region and the potential high case or reservoir sands and pulling an upside out of their behinds-- probably assuming an uncased full bore blowout. I guess we will see but I finally made a few calls to retired buddies who actually end up having relatives at the operators and other companies who have this as their prospect. They do not seem to put much stock in all the mega rates and doomsday stuff being put out there. Also weird when in just a couples emails I get to folks who worked with with Hayward and and some of the other guys you see working on this. Not too many degrees of separation.
I could get a fair amount of information but being that I have been away from the area and biz for a long time I have been hesitant to call guys I know ,or knew, with companies that are involved just to swab them for info." Hey this is Diver Dan. Remember me? We worked together but I haven't talked to you in years. Tell me everything about this well".I guess I could fly down to Houston and entice them out to nosh and imbibe and then pump them ..but I guess I will just make my guess based on what I read/see and see what plays out.

Dan - I might as well tell you my general attitude about models/simulation like those run by BP. We had a lively debate on the subject on TOD some months ago. They can certainly add some value. OTOH some folks make the same mistake others do regarding masterbation: if you're not careful you start believing it's the real thing.

"any accident "would be expected to affect a minuscule and insignificant portion" " http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/05/24/AR201005...

so many levels of wtf.

DD, Rockman,

I agree the 162K was a wild upside - they probably thought it was a pointless exercise - never to see the light of day. Here's a question I've been dying to ask someone who knows: given all the info they had about the geology and in particular the reservoir, why did they then permit the relief wells at 240K? Perhaps different design or open hole hazard?

Mr. Rockman I'm trying to understand this about wild well flow dynamics. There has been some talk about that it is bad if they over weight the mud and that it could fracture the rock of the deposit. If this happens could we see higher flow rates and/or higher pressures. If this fracture happens (like fracing a well) would the higher pressure that could be released from the stratum then force the then under weight mud (due to the incresed psi) out of the well trying to be killed. This would surly futher compromise the well and BOP. I think I remember they had pressures over 11,000 psi, that would take some very heavy mud to hold in the balance in the well caseing given the well depth. Please give a run down on what would happen with over weight mud. As I understand the MW that will kill the well is less than two pounds differant than the weight that will fracture the rock that is about 8.8% (14.2 lbs vs 16 lbs) safety margin. With all that has gone wrong with this well should we be ready for something far worse? Might we see a caseing failure and/or a shallow under seabottom failure that would be and unrecoverable blowout?

H - The biggest potential problem with the MW exceeding the “frac gradient” would be lost circulation: instead of the kill pill flowing up the csg it will be pumped into the rock. I think the frac gradient might be a little above 16.0 ppg. But your concern is still valid. I would guess the first LC would happen towards the bottom of the well. But in time if they build the mud column high enough we could see mud lost to shallow failed cmt shoes and/or damaged csg. Intersecting the wild well may be easy compared to the mud pumping effort.

Small holes are created by? Shaped charges?

Tom -- Yep. kinda like an armor piercing round. The charge actually shoots a super hot tongue of gas that melts a hole thru the metal.

A small,nit picky point of correction. The effect of perf guns (and for that matter armor piercing rounds) doesn't melt or burn a hole in the rock. That is a common misconception. The effect is mostly mechanical crushing of the rock. The hollow cone shaped explosive charge accelerates the lining of the cone (often copper) to ultra high velocities. Remember that Energy = mass * velocity squared. The mass of the liner is tiny, but the velocity is huge. Tiny mass times the square of huge velocity means really really huge energy concentrated at a small point. This energy totally shatters the rock in the perf into powder. Think about it, if it melted or burned a hole in the rock, the inside of the perf would be lined with melted rock (glass), which wouldn't make for good permeability. One of the reasons people sometimes perforate with slightly underbalenced mud is that the flow back into the borehole then better cleans the pulverised rock out of the perfs.

"Autotrak assembly (Oil Museum in Stavanger) – you can see one of the pads pushed out as though it was pushing the head over."

Just out of curiosity - what is the minimum radius that the steerable drill string can make from a vertical to horizontal position? Also wonder at the ability to shove casing strings around those corners.

Phil - Not sure what the max dog leg can be this days but you can turn some BHA's at 30 degrees per 100'...maybe a little more. But it's also possible to drill a sharper DL then you can get csg down thru it. And the obvious: the more severe the DL the better chance you'll leave a $500,000 BHA in the bottom of the hole.

Rockman - You use a unit of "degrees per 100'". An angle needs to be defined only in degrees. If you're talking about something per 100', I would think that something would be feet. Or am I missing something?

What is described by "degrees per 100 foot" is a unique curve. The classical method of laying out roadway and railway curves by station unit (100').

Cheryl -- I'm talking about how quickly the angle changes. A hole at a constant 30 degrees is essentially a straight hole that's not vertical. But how do you get a hole to go from vertical to 30 degrees. You have to progressively change the angle as you drill. How quickly you do that is called the "build rate". Can you go from vert to, say 60 degrees in 100' of drilled hole? No...that would require a build rate of 60 degrees per 100'...not possible. But I can do it in 1,200' of hole because would require a build rate of 5 degrees per 100'....easily done. The dog leg isn't the hole angle. It how quickly the hole angle is changing. Too rapid a hole angle change and you can have difficulty getting the csg down as well as risk sticking the drill pipe.

Thanks much, Rockman!

Maybe it would make more sense if he said it has a ~191ft bend radius? See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bend_radius

30 degrees per 100ft = 180 degrees with 600ft of material = a ~191ft radius inside the described circle.

But it's also possible to drill a sharper DL then you can get csg down thru it.

7" (32lb/ft) casing can be bent from vertical to horizontal in about 600' vertical.

I was discussing the oil shale in Colo., Utah, etc. and it was suggested that laser drilling would make it more economically viable. Any insights into whether or not this technology can be used here? what problems might this type of drilling have? What problems won't it solve? Thanks for any help.

A comment from a retired physicist, not an expert.

Laser light, so far as I know, requires clear air or other transparent medium. Safe drilling, OTOH, requires drilling mud in the hole. Laser beam in drilling mud? I don't think so.

Also, for guiding the drilling of a curved well, laser light travels in very straight lines and is only deflected by mirrors or prisms.

I can't think of any problem that a laser beam will solve in drilling, but it will surely introduce a whole bunch of extra problems that drillers are not prepared to deal with.

The folks at Argonne National Labs think they might be able to burn right through the drilling mud with their lasers:


They also think they can drill for oil and gas without a steel casing (!) by melting the rock wall to create a "ceramic sheath." I'm not making this up.

Even if you require a clear area between the laser and the rock, you can still have a mud column sitting up on top of the laser cutting tool. The light is generated on the rig and carried down the borehole by fiberoptics.


Posted in the wrong place.

ROCKMAN: If they are able to seal the leak with the new cap, why is it necessary to kill the well with the relief well? Why not just continue to produce it?

Hurricanes force off all personnel and top vessels, which would include all storage facilities.

Hank - That reservoir is so dmamaged and unstable you wouldn't trust it to produce very well. If it produces a lot of sand with the oil they would have to shut it in and fix at a cost that could easily exceed the cost of a new well. And then there's all the other possible damaged cmt jobs/csg in the hole. It would be like walking thru a mine field: you would just be waiting for it to kill you...again. And that could only be an option if the cappped the well. And there's no sign they'll ever be able to do that 100%.

I apologize if these questions have already been asked, but:

1. When the RW intersects (assuming it does so satisfactorily) and the mud starts flowing into the damaged well, what is to prevent it flowing down and into the reservoir while oil and gas still bubbles up through it...i.e. how do we know (can we assume?) that the column of mud will be fully "filling" the diameter of the damaged well at all times?
2. Is it possible that we could be pumping mud down into the reservoir for a very long time with no return in terms of plugging the well?
3. Is it possible that the psi in the damaged well is of such a level that whatever mud is flowing into it from the RW will just be shot to the top and into the BOP?

Also...I am really interested in getting anyone with any connection to this situation on my morning show here in Maine.

Please contact me if interested.


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

Is it possible that the psi in the damaged well is of such a level that whatever mud is flowing into it from the RW will just be shot to the top and into the BOP?

Your 3rd question answer your first question.. fluid move from high pressure area to low pressure area. The reservoir has higher pressure than the wellbore at the sealevel. So the mud will flow from the RW casing down to the reservor (because of the mud pump in the RW drill ship) and the well pressure will move the mud up through the casing of the blowout well to the top until the pressure created by the mud in the blowout well casing is enough to balance out the reservior casing.
I am really interested in getting anyone with any connection to this situation on my morning show here in Maine.

Why not invite the oil drum editors to your show. They should be able to explain the situation in plain language that layman can understand..

Actually ME that is one possibility. The mud could “invade” the producing reservoir. In general we call it “lost circulation”. But LC could be due to loss up the annulus or into a shale if the mud weight fractures the rock. It’s not going to be easy. If they raise to pump pressure/MW too high they’ll induce LC some where. Not enough mud volume moving and the flowing oil will dilute the mud to the point it won’t develop enough back pressure to kill the well. The csg would only take about 1,200 bbls to fill it. But they may have to pump 20,000 bbls or more to get the job done. But what if the start having LC up shallow where there may be a newly failed cmt shoe. Or a hole in the shallow csg? I hope I’m very wrong but I think BP has been offering a tad too much optimism for the RW. I think the RW will ultimately kill the wild well. But it might as easily take a month as a few days. Just too many unknowns IMHO.

Matt Simmons just restated his same goofy statements on the Hannity radio show. Can't someone who knows about drilling, simple science or common sense explain away his impossible statements? Does he believe these statements, or just making them to suck in MSM and short sell stock?

Again I am wondering about motive.

Hannity will have Simmons on scaring people with seemingly outlandish theories, but after going out on a boat with Kindra Arnesen, they would not air the footage showing how bad things really are.


and then there is this from a couple of weeks ago from a TV program in Australia (called 60 minutes just like the one in America)

They pulled the video from their site ( http://sixtyminutes.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=1068159 ) i.e. they offer video of all of their segments except for this one.

however they did not pull it from their mobile site, which is an apple quick time version

The Poison Tide

BP Told to Alert U.S. to Acts That Deplete Assets (Update2)

Hmmm. What do you make of this, EL?

BP will likely feel obliged to agree, but real compliance is another matter. Holder could compel the desired behavior (and more), no doubt, by filing a complaint (easily amended, if he's not really ready) and getting a court order.

So, is this 11th-dimensional chess?

kal: Just wildly guessing. Keep in mind that further drilling approval in the GOM needs government approval. I also posted about an EPA process called "discretionary debarment" from federal contracts. Given BP's rather iffy financial condition, "discretionary debarment" would probably be a death penalty. Could be notice, as in in due process "notice and a hearing", not to screw around with assets or we might invoke "discretionary debarment" which could require notice. http://www.propublica.org/feature/epa-officials-weighing-sanctions-again... The federal government really holds BP's fate in its hands. The Feds are just not parading its power around in public. Also, note that the story came out under a FOIA request. Many weeks ago I said that there is more going on above sea level than below sea level. For law geeks (no longer referred to as "nut cases"): http://www.creditslips.org/creditslips/2010/06/the-mother-of-all-crossbo...

Edit: I also posted back in the Dark Ages that maybe the reason Hayward and posse were so happy when they emerged from the meeting with Obamma was that they had been promised that the Feds would not invoke "discretionary debarment' or the like as long as BP ponied up $20 billion and behaved itself.

Good guidance.

You motivated me to finally get around to reading the discretionary debarment regs, CFR 2 Parts 180 & 1532:

(PDF) http://www.epa.gov/ogd/sdd/SD%20Regulations.pdf

A formal "Notice of Proposed Debarment" (§180.615) is required.

"...maybe the reason Hayward and posse were so happy when they emerged from the meeting..."

Yes. Perhaps Holder's letter is an informal reminder: "We have you by the..."

Great post by Kilburn on poss. BP BK. Juicy, very ugly stuff. We will be entertained. Too bad the price of a ticket is what's happening to the Gulf and our friends on that coast and in the oilpatch. I'd give up the entertainment if that would go away.

kal: Don't forget that Wall Street buzz says that Exxon and Shell are interested in gobbling up BP if the price is right. The Feds could broker such a move if the predator guaranteed money for blow out damages.

Yeah. I think the Feds might have to make some significant promises of their own to the buyer. Otherwise, it might be substantially cheaper to pick up assets in a fire sale than to buy the company at the prices I'm hearing (£88 billion/$132.5 billion).


Very interesting developments.

One problem at the moment is that no one has a good handle on what the final costs will be. There is obvious concern that assets could get "restructured" out of the reach of the injured parties, hence the Justice Department letters. But the US is holding some good cards here. Discretionary disbarment is an informal proceeding with a low standard of proof. Preponderance of evidence. I don't think the US would be eager to take this step, because it has to keep the oilco, BP or a new buyer, healthy enough to keep paying the bills.

If BP was disbarred and the leases transferred to a new operator, would the revenues be enough to cover the damage? No one knows, and the new operator, of course, would not be responsible for the ongoing costs.

So it may be a case of "too big to disbar." There is something to be said for keeping BP healthy enough to keep writing those checks.

cud: How 'bout: Disbarment with Exxon picking up the leases and bidding on the cheap remains of BP with a side agreement with Feds that Exxon deal with damages in return? Everybody a winna except poor BP.

[Now I'll get off the topic before we annoy some.]

Yes and no. Barring BP from the OCS achieves little. Sort of an empty threat, I think. BP is the largest operator in GOM plus Alaska and it owns platforms, gathering hubs, vessels and pipelines. It would be a complex legal and financial challenge to sell or transfer leases to who? for what price? how quickly?

BP America could be seized for surety (in fact I suggested that two months ago), but you'd end up with a lot of loss-making US refineries and retail distribution, plus endless litigation about BP America's global assets.

BP, Plc (London) owns everything, so finally it's a "great power" problem and we need the Brits as strategic partners in, oh, everything from the Security Council and G-8 to boots on the ground in Afghanistan.

Bankruptcy won't work, either. The only people who suffer in BK are trading counterparties and common shareholders. Price of oil would skyrocket and BP in administration would put a pall over GOM exploration. If we break BP, no one else will dare to invest, insure, or drill in US waters.

There is a logical argument to shut in all US oil production (onshore, too) to husband our remaining reserves for the future, sort of an anti-energy independence policy. US petroleum consumption could be supplied by Arabia, Canada, Russia, maybe Mexico if we help them explore and produce their half of the Perdido Fold Belt PROVIDED Mexico amends its constitution to allow foreign ownership and/or production sharing.

But finally, it's foolish to depend 100% on imports, no matter how friendly Canada and Mexico are. And then there's the problem of conventional gas that's a byproduct of oil. Shutting in GOM would cut US gas supplies.

Bottom line: BP stays in business, doesn't lose any licenses, limps along making payments of $5 billion a year and civil cases drag on through appeals and retrials. Moratorium is lifted soon with a lot of finger-wagging but no radical restructuring of operators or operations. We can't afford it.

avon: According to WSJ and others in various articles, the following are involved in this danse macabre: Goldman, Morgan Stanley, Blackstone Group, Anadarko, Mitsui, Jones Day, US gov, British gov, about five state govs, a pension fund, Exxon and Shell. Bond CDSs put the chance of BP bond failure at about 35%. I'm glad you know what's going to happen.

Obama and Cameron Agree BP Must Not Collapse

The US President and British Prime Minister said that the stricken oil giant should "remain a strong and stable company" after meeting to discuss the environmental disaster on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Toronto. The discussions come amid growing worries that the company could never recover from the Deepwater Horizon disaster, which has left BP facing unquantifiable costs and damaged its strategic ambitions.

The two leaders said that the company should "meet its obligations to cap the leak, clean up the damage and meet legitimate compensation claims," but added that "it was to both countries' advantage for BP to remain a strong and stable company."

"The best laid schemes of mice and men
Go often askew." — Robert Burns

Edit add: "The cost of insuring BP’s debt ended the day at a record, with credit-default swaps increasing 10.5 basis points to 594.5, according to CMA. The previous high was 588.6 basis points on June 25, and the contracts traded at a record of 620 on June 16, according to CMA." http://noir.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=conewsstory&tkr=BP%3AUS&sid=aRnO...

The swap market can be pretty opaque. I saw reports that BP CDS spreads touched 1,000 intraday a few days ago, but I can't find the reference now. CMA, or anyone else for that matter, don't see all the trades.

No one will want to bid on an open-ended liability. Some bidders may want to buy assets only, but the US may try to prevent that, using the threat of disbarment or other actions. So I kind of think we won't see any deals until the well is killed, and there is better information about how expensive all this damage is going to be. But that's also when BP's financial situation could stabilize, and make a deal less likely.

cud: The article I linked to yesterday in Bloomberg (I think) said that Exxon and Shell were waiting for the blow out to be killed before making any move. Morgan Stanley had its finger in this pie too. But who knows? I'm sure that most options I could come up with are being seriously explored by some serious people with some serious money.

BP needs to find the courage to arrange for BP America to file for bankruptcy under chapter 11.

This is BP's only protection against Obama's anti-business administration. It would also limit BP's liability to their North American assets.

BP could then resume business as usual and even payout 50% of its dividend to shareholders.

LOL. If you stick around you will see that TOD is against Business-as-usual and Obama is very pro BAU, hardly different from Bush ...

First time I've heard it referred to as "The Mexican Gulf". Thanks for finding this story. Watch this, if you're so inclined. "It's toxic sludge."

All this talk of pressure... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZO954_SQUY it's just a music video. Thought of the song after much discussion of pressure here on TOD. So...

Financial Times has an article, posted less than an hour ago, about the dog pile between BP, Anadarko and Congress. [FT requests that their articles not be linked or quoted on another web site. But it's a front page, easy to find article.]

dunno if this is related to the FT article you mentioned, but this seems like the relevant bit from Andarko:

Anadarko spokesman, John Christiansen told the paper: "What we knew was that the design, the long string and the use of centralisers all met industry standards if executed correctly."

mm: Here's the absolutely crucial "yeahbut": "'The problems were caused by BP's execution of each of these,' Christiansen [of Anandarko] said." (Reuters is quoting part of FT article.) The "yahbut" would relieve Anadarko of payment for any damages even though they were joint adventurers with BP. BP, 65%; Anadarko, 25%; Mitsui, 10%. Billion are involved. Anadarko would be bust if they had to pay 25%. BP might if they had to pay Anadarko's 25%. Somebody's not gonna come out of this alive.

Edited for clarity.

Moto - I going to make wild speculation as to the motivation behind such a statement that seems to defend BP. The well design was probably signed off on by Anadarko. They may have voiced differing opinions as the program was developed but in the end they signed the AFE (Authorization for Expenditure) which is essentially a contract describing how BP was going to drill and complete the well. That would make it difficult to blame BP for the design. OTOH, at this point the blow out seems to have been caused by poor execution by BP…not a badly designed well (which Anadarko, if not approving, didn’t object by refusing to participate). As I said, just a WAG on my part. But they may be setting the legal trap: a good well design (that Anadarko went along with) but poorly, perhaps negligently, executed.

Rockman: Exactly. See my response to mm. It's what Anadarko says. Plan was fine. Execution by BP was faulty, wrong, blah, blah and another blah.

[Edited to cite correct poster.]

Makes perfect sense. If they signed the authorization, it's a little late now to claim it was a grossly negligent plan.

Proceeding to displace the riser mud after those two tests, and BP acknowledging that someone made a serious error in evaluating the second one, seems like a more productive route.

It sounds from the reference BP makes to that error that it was confined to transocean crew and BP had no part in it. So the crew could get a reslut like they got on that second test and proceed to displace the riser mud without direct input from BP? Would input be from shore or on the rig if there was any?

By the time this is all over, every one will have blamed every one else in the world except Generalissimo Francisco Franco because the Generalissimo is still dead. As is Mistah Kurtz.

EL, you got that right. They still might blame Franco, though. He could have time-traveled.

Don't count on that exclusion :)


Absolutely not. Thinking back to Franco, it seems possible that he is responsible for this.

What size is the casing from the sea floor to the reservoir? The reason I’m asking
Would it be possible to lower casing into the leaking well? My thought the first
Joint of casing would be half the size of the casing at the sea floor with a long
Tapered end [pointed] to give the leaking oil a way out, fill the casing with concrete
It may take 2000-3000ft of casing filled with concrete to overcome 10,000 psi?
[Weight of the concrete and casing] increasing the size of the casing every 1000ft
The last section would end up the same size as the casing at the sea floor.
Thanks for your time

The casing from the seafloor to the to the reservoir is a tapered sting of 9 7/8 and 7 in, but your idea is unworkable because with the current condition of the BOP (pipe jammed in it) and who knows the condition of the casing below that you would never get in there, besides the flow may not even be coming up the inside of the casing, but the annulus.

If they could get anything to the bottom of the well they would have killed it long ago by running tubing to the bottom and pumping in heavy drilling mud. All these mechanical ideas of plugging up the well that have come up here are simply unworkable. Only mud pumped into the bottom will work, hence the relief well.

I can't believe all this happened because one of the richest companies in the world wanted to save money on some pipe. Expensive, highly engineered, job delaying, world-class pipe, but pipe nonetheless. Then you had guys in charge that sound like they were mailing it in. Not running full speed to first base in case the first baseman drops the ball. I could not, hell Irwin Allen could not write this one. Good night, I have to create a website tomorrow.

Has this been discussed? If not, what are the implications?

The gushing BP oil well is a mystery still unfolding, and late last month, a team of scientists from the Energy Department discovered a new twist: Their sophisticated imaging equipment detected not one but two drill pipes, side by side, inside the wreckage of the well's blowout preventer on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico.

BP officials said it was impossible. The Deepwater Horizon rig, which drilled the well, used a single pipe, connected in segments, to bore 13,000 feet below the ocean floor. But when workers cut into the wreckage to install a containment cap this month, sure enough, they found two pipes.

The discovery suggested that the force of the erupting petroleum from BP's well on April 20 was so violent that it sent pipe segments hurtling into the blowout preventer, like derailing freight cars.

It also offered a tantalizing theory for the failure of the well's last line of defense, the powerful pinchers called shear rams inside the blowout preventer that should have cut the pipe and stopped the rising oil and gas from reaching the Deepwater Horizon 5,000 feet above. Drilling experts say those rams, believed to be partially deployed, could have been thwarted by the presence of a second pipe.



This is why BP agreed to the $20 Billion down payment. This well cannot be stopped from gushing. The worst-case scenario is the reality. Goodbye GoM.

I'm worried less and less about the Gulf of Mexico and more and more about the landfill problem we're going to have. All these urine stained Posturepedics gotta go somewhere.

Are you ready to put some money on that statement?

The BP movie http://bp.concerts.com/gom/kwellsreliefwells062710.htm is quite helpful but doesn't discuss the issues involved while and after penetrating the existing casing. How does the drill bit get centered properly so that it doesn't slip? As the hole opens and the oil starts gushing, how do we maintain control? After the hole is complete, do we know we have enough robotic strength to insert the mud pipe?

Secondly, has any more thought been given to the 36ft diameter pipe idea? I emailed jkruger (at) mnconcpipe.org asking for strength data pertaining to such sewer pipes but didn't get a response. I had been thinking about constructing a nuclear containment building over the whole mess but would probably grossly over-engineer the solution. The pipe idea has some promise but, for speed, the segments need to be fabricated locally and not barged down the Mississippi.

Somebody knows something about the relief well. BP shares were up yesterday in a down market and are up 8% this AM in London.

If the relief well comes in, Lloyd's of London needs to ring the Lutine Bell.

Yes..ring it twice.

crunk: According to an article from Bloomberg I linked to above, BP shares yesterday moved up in a down market on take-over rumors involving Exxon, Shell and Morgan Stanley. "Buy on the rumor; sell on the news."