BP's Deepwater Oil Spill - Making the Connection- also Hurricane Effects - and Open Thread

This thread is being closed. Please comment on http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6678.

First, a brief note on the impact of Hurricane Alex. While Alex is only a Category 1 hurricane, and well out of the way of the Deepwater Horizon operations, it is still stirring up 3 meter swells, which is about what Chuck Watson forecast. Drillships like Discoverer Enterprise can continue operations in up to 10 meter waves (think North Sea), so they won't have problems. The smaller support ships will be uncomfortable.

As we noted in a previous report, the waves are delaying connecting additional collection capacity, but are not interfering with existing collection or relief well drilling. Alex has completely shut down skimming and other off shore clean up operations. It seems likely to tear up some of the protective booms and spread oil to areas that haven't been oiled. One area of concern is Lake Ponchartrain.

Relief Well Progress

The Deepwater Horizon relief well is approaching the point where it will intersect the original well bore. At the moment production is being maintained through the existing riser remnant and overlying cap and LMRP. The latest figures are:

For the first 12 hours on June 29 (midnight to noon), approximately 8,475 barrels of oil were collected and approximately 4,130 barrels of oil and 28.7 million cubic feet of natural gas were flared.

On June 28, total oil recovered was approx. 23,395 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

Making the Connection

As the well continues to descend there will likely be an increased focus on determining exactly where the two wells lie, one to another. This requires a process that pulls the drill string each time, and so progress is likely to be slow as the relief well (RW) reaches the level at which the entry into the original well will be first tried.

Kent Wells has described the process. But he does not describe how the wells will be connected. And I will make a little more detailed description of a possible way of doing this, that John Wright has used before, at the end of the post.

Note that Kent Wells points out that the ranging runs do not start until the final set of well casing has been set. (And this was completed on June 19th). Once the casing has been set, the procedure calls to drill 275 ft of MD (measured depth), and then pull the drill.

The instrument package is then run into the hole with a Vector Magnetometer, which is mounted on a wire to carry it in and out (known as a wireline). The process of drill and test, using the Magnetometer, continued until the steel casing in the original hole had been detected.

The process is illustrated a little better in the video of the visit to the relief well team:

Once the initial well has been found the procedure changes. Now after the well has drilled down an additional interval (a distance decided by those monitoring progress) instead of pulling the string all the way out and running the wireline in open hole to find the casing, the bit is only retracted to the cased section, and the magnetometer package is wirelined down inside the drill string.

At present they have made two ranging runs, and have found the initial casing, so that then know that they were 55 ft from it, and they have 16 degrees to turn the well through yet to get it parallel to the original. They have decided that this “additional interval” will be 125 ft, and then they will make another ranging run.

But the process is now changed so that in the new run this will be where the instrument is run inside the DP (drill pipe) instead of pulling it to the surface. After making a measurement it is pulled back out on the wireline. And then the drill can advance the hole a little, it then is backed off the bottom, and the magnetometer again is lowered and locates the original casing, this is plotted and the process repeated. Only the wireline was pulled to remove the magnetometer from the well during drilling (to allow mud to the bit to cool it and remove drill cuttings).

Once the RW passes the original well it will be turned to drill parallel with it and drill down its own 10 1/8th inch hole until it reaches a point just above where the 9 7/8th inch casing liner ended at the bottom of the original hole.

With the new well 50 ft above this point, and 5 ft from it, the relief well will be reamed at the bottom using a 12 ¼” reaming bit to widen the well at the bottom.

A 9 7/8” steel liner will then be run into the hole and cemented into place in the relief well, running back up to the 11 7/8” casing that was set at the beginning of the process.

The relief well will then end 50 ft above the bottom of the 9 7/8” liner length in the original well and 5 ft from it. (Remember that there are questions as to whether the oil is flowing up around the outside of the steel tube inside this one, or up the middle of it).

Now what is interesting, and missing from the presentation, is how the connection between the two wells is made. There is also a little discrepancy over where the hole will be reamed and the 9 7/8” casing will be run to. In the animation it is shown as 17,050 ft (above) and in the visit to the rig, at 17,758 ft. (I think, based on looking at the log that that number should be 17,158 ft, for the top of the 7” x 9 7/8” casing, which is the problem length.

So the BP discussion ends with the RW 50 ft above, and 5 ft over from where the problem might be located (at the bottom of the lined well length) where the oil and gas may be seeping up the outside of the production casing and entering the well.

Let’s remember what the well liner and casing look like, down at the bottom of the hole.

So the question is, once the well is at the bottom of the lined section, are they going to:

a) try and drill down into the leaking zone below the last liner section, intersecting this to use the channels created to carry the mud from the RW into the original well.

b) Mill over to the liner segment of the well and through it into the annulus between the production casing and the liner, and try bottom kill from there.

c) Drill further down and over to mill through and access the production casing, and inject the mud into this to kill the well.

I suppose it depends on what they find at the point where they set the casing at the bottom of the next interval. (I had planned to talk about the bits they planned to use for the milling, but 5 ft is a long way between the two wells to establish a connection, though presumably this was the distance that has been used in the past when wells were killed this way. John Wright has previously done this by attaching a milling bit to a mud motor and drilling over into the casing and down along it. These are illustrations from a brochure of previous jobs:

And the illustration of the milling bit (which can make the cut in only a few seconds).

Incidentally the company is now part of Boots and Coots.

Prof. Goose's comment:

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I do not believe this (below) has been referenced yet though there has been plenty of discussion on what the 'two pipes' in the cut-off riser may be. I did see the report in my local Tribune-owned paper over the weekend, but could not find an online reference until today via ZeroHedge.

Second pipe may have crippled BP well's defense mechanism

The discovery joins a list of clues that is helping scientists understand the complexities of the Deepwater Horizon accident, and from that, craft changes in how deep-water drilling is conducted.

Jim Tankersley, Tribune Washington Bureau

4:17 PM PDT, June 29, 2010

Reporting from Washington

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.

But a bit later...

"We still don't really know what's in" the well wreckage, said Energy Secretary Steven Chu, whose team discovered the second pipe using gamma-ray imaging. He added: "If there were two drill pipes down there when the shear rams closed, or two drill pipes below, is it possible that in the initial accident … there was an explosive release of force?…Did it buckle and snap?…The more we know about this, the better we can know what to do next."

So with two DP in the BOP, the shears could not close completely, preventing the Emergency Disconnect sequence completion, too.

Is it possible that DP was blowing upwards with sufficient force that the DP could rupture the casing and open other formation paths? Could this be a path for lost Top Kill mud?

The "two pipe" comment may be (and likely is...) a red herring. As mentioned in an earlier thread the physics of crushing a single pipe can cause the single crushed pipe to assume the shape seen in the videos. I wouldn't put any stock into the suggestion of two drill pipes until the sheared riser has been examined.

The article wasn't really very clear about whether the cut section has been examined yet - which would take about 1min after the section was raised. Does anyone know if they brought it up yet?

discovered the second pipe using gamma-ray imaging

Where's the reference for the gamma-ray imaging result? If true, then the two DP scenario is a fact not conjecure and is indeed interesting.

The second pipe was hiding in the Grassy Knoll.

Green Knoll

"We still don't really know what's in" the well wreckage, said Energy Secretary Steven Chu, whose team discovered the second pipe using gamma-ray imaging. He added: "If there were two drill pipes down there when the shear rams closed, or two drill pipes below, is it possible that in the initial accident … there was an explosive release of force?…Did it buckle and snap?…The more we know about this, the better we can know what to do next."



Joining in on this thread rather late but ...
The photo of the crushed end of the stub of riser with the one, or two drill pipe(s) has been measured using the overall width of the crushed riser (which was 21" diameter before the accident) as a reference. If it is two drill pipes, I think they each have to be rather smaller diameter than would be appropriate for this well.

The reasoning that has been presented before is that a single drill pipe, if crushed, turns into a crude, ragged figure eight. ( I have seen this effect in plastic irrigation pipe, but not petroleum drill pipe. )
From memory I think the result that someone else got was ~ 9" if one assumes a single pipe and figure eight and, on the other hand, ~ 4.5" individual pipe diameter if one assumes two pipes side by side when crushed.
Question to experts on drilling: Is it likely that they were using 4 to 5 inch drill pipe for whatever they were doing when the accident happened? My thinking is that for the actual drilling they would surely use a larger diameter. And even if there is some reason why smaller diameter pipe is easier, the reason is not important enough to justify having a full set of pipe (almost 20000 ft) of the smaller diameter. Where would it be stored? etc.

Just a guess that I hope will provoke an expert into a thoughtful opinion.

The question of the crushed pipe is only an issue at the cut/crimp. If they had imaging from inside before the cut, then it may already be obvious if there were two pipes in there. Or they could raise the riser and look at it.

The 'cut/crimp' is just below the place where the riser was folded over into an acute angle during the sinking of Deepwater Horizon. My question, puzzlement still stands. If gamma ray camera geeks think they see two drill pipes, what diameter do they think those two drill pipes have? Did they get images with different directions of exposure to see if the 'two pipes' were crushes? Their imaging was done on the riser within a few feet of the place where the 'cut/crimp' was made. I think one pipe and one mistake by geeks is more likely than two pipes, both of an unreasonably small diameter.

Backside blowout in annulus

Collapsed 9 7/8 production casing at top of well


Look at the wall thickness of the pipe on the right hand side. Definately casing and it has rapped around on itself. It could not have been a round pipe when it was cut.

9 7/8 casing wall thickness 5/8" in
5 1/2 DP 21.90 lb/ft Wall 0.361"
5 1/2 DP 24.70 lb/ft Wall 0.415"

As can be seen the casing wall thickness is nearly double the drill pipe wall thickness.

A question for the experts:

The LA Times says it was 2 drill pipes in the BOP, not a crushed casing.

How could this happen?

Was one

Dropped from the platform?

Left loose in the hole?

The one that got stuck earlier?

Somehow snapped in the explosion?

Snapped (in two places?) as the riser buckled and the segment dropped?

There is the possibility the BOP blind shear rams were activated twice.

Thanks to Microsoft buggy software we have all learned that often a simple reboot fixes the problem... Here's my scenario:

By the time the drillers figured the well was kicking and activated the blind shear rams a high pressure gas pocket was already pass and above the BOP. Assuming a gas pressure of 3000 psi the pocket will expand by a factor of about 200 before it reaches the surface. Passing this huge fart will take some time. Meanwhile the pressure is building up below the BSR in the well.

In the panic on the rig someone decides to "reboot" the BOP. He opens the BSR, waits a few seconds, and then closes it again. Just enough time to allow the boiling well to push the free section of DP up through the BOP.


No, the logs say the BOP button was pushed only ONCE but from a remote shutoff. No one was left alive on the drill floor to push it and everyone was getting the F off the burning rig to check if the BOP worked and "reboot" it. Based on what I have read the shear rams are one-shot. Cycling the rams until they work isn't something you have time to do as the G&O is coming up fast and you must stop the flow. It either works or it doesn't. If it doesn't you are either dead or fortunate to have gotten away. I'm sure some of the oil patch folks here have some tales to tell about blowouts that were caught just in the nick of time or maybe weren't but they got away with a few more gray hairs and a need to change their coveralls!!

Wow, 3 way tie one this one :-)

There is a lot of speculation and a sparseness of hard facts in that article. It seems mostly a rehash of what we already know with a dash of drama thrown in.

Also, the writer seems unable to distinguish between drill pipe and casing.

Blogs are picking this article up and I've seen it being used by a few to bolster Simmons' credibility.

Mistake is linking to Washington Blog's commentary on the article rather than the original LA Times article.


I at least don't see a problem with the latter while I do with the former.

WB has been a Simmons promoter for some time.

There doesn't seem to be any confusion about whether it is drill pipe or casing in the Times article:

GW at least shot down the 7 mile claim but I have to agree he's not helping much when it comes to painting an accurate picture of what really is. There are lots of people out there who want to believe Simmons, DougR and everything else that amplifies this into an end-of-days catastrophe.

Ahh, we get so upset that non industry insiders don't have all the terminology down and don't know all the various flavors of pipe down in that hole. But that's not so much the important point - the important point is that there's two damn pieces of drill pipe sitting side by side in that portion of riser. There are not too many ways I can imagine that happening that are not pretty darn catastrophic.

Maybe it fell from above?

There are not too many ways I can imagine that happening that are not pretty darn catastrophic.

Twilight, do you visualize more of your imagined scenarios happening above the BOP, below the BOP, or equally above/below? Since Sec. Chu talks about an "explosive release of force," we non-Patchers may lean to "above" (where the presence of oxygen could allow for "explosion"), but y'all more familiar with the behavior of reservoir pressures may have seen pressure change "explosively" too. Expert guidance solicited . . .

(P.S. I see while I was typing, you started to answer this question.)

The tamest scenario I can imagine would be that the drill pipe broke from flexing once the platform lost positioning control, and then pieces fell down. But if it fell all the way into the BOP, then that would have to mean the BOP was open.

if it fell all the way into the BOP, then that would have to mean the BOP was open.

Not too sure of that. The space between the cut off riser down to the BOP rams could hide just a loose drill pipe end setting ON TOP of the rams and not in the rams.
All this talk of two pipes in the riser is just talk until they recover a section of riser and the failed BOP. I would love to see what has happened inside that unit.

Apparently those with the ability to raise the riser section are not as interested.

Another scenario for an "explosive" release of force is the instantaneous expansion of the lighter components out of a supercritical mixture when the reservoir is breached. This kind of fluid explosion has taken place with damaged railroad cars or gas cylinders. Once the pressure is released, the gas expands instantly (explosively). Ignition is not necessary, although in the case of railroad cars and gas cylinders containing hydrocarbons, that has been part of the result.

Of possible relevance is the description of what the guys fishing right under the rig heard and observed at the moment of the blowout.

They described water suddenly washing down from the rig above. Lots of it. One guy on the boat previously worked on an off shore rig and noted they probably suffered a kick. The water was followed by a howl from the gas exiting the drill pipe that was so loud they could not hear one another. They said it was like being next to a freight train, they could feel it, and it was terrifying.

They then noticed their skin or eyes were burning, and the guy with rig experience signaled to the boat pilot to get out, go go go. They got 100 yards out (seems like it must have been more, i could be wrong on this) and the rig blew.

You know, up until about nine years ago, I rather envied people who'd eye-witnessed major events in history -- WW II, the Iranian Revolution (I had friends in Tehran during it), etc. -- but the quota we've had since 9/11 is already all the "major history" I can say grace over. Dang.

Cheryl covered this a few posts down, but just for a bit of follow-up, a boiler/steam last explosion is a good example of a non-ignition type of explosion.

When part of a boiler fails, the pressure drops EXTREMELY fast, and this allows the superheated water to flash to more steam. This tpe of blast can be exceedingly violent. I'd presume there are plenty of photos of wrecked steam locomotives online to illustrate this.

I am working on my website but this is also crunch time for Alex damage. I cannot forget about the TOD crowd. I will still capture and post my video, and I will still comment. In case anyone is interested, there is an awesome webcam at The Pink Pony Pub that gives control and covers one side of the main beach. To the right is the main beach, you might even see me around 1 during PEAK tides. The first volleyball post is a great tide gauge it is about 10 feet away now, in flood stage. Judging from the level already, canceling Buffett was a good call.

EDIT: There is oil on the sand visible too.

HO: I think that is Ponchartrain. 50% Creole here. 50% Korean. Just like a good Creole, Dad traveled the world and killed people for the US Army.


I've always hated spelling that word and I grew up a few blocks from it.

Thanks, my Firefox has it wrong and I do not know how to fix it. Once notch out of my Creole card. I will not wear slacks for the whole month of July, and redeem myself.

Thanks TFHG for your on the scene descriptions of what is going on. I truly appreciate your hard work and wish you all the best.

It's good of you to do this. At times like this, just getting the truth out, even if you can't change that, makes a huge difference. Very important work you're doing! Much appreciated.

Thanks for the pinkponycam, TF, and also in advance for your website (which I can't wait to see).

50% Creole here. 50% Korean.

Yowzer, Thanksgiving musta been outrageous tasty at y'all's house!

We could not eat unless at least one adult and three kids had cried. It was insane. I miss that.

Same here, and there was usually valium involved at some point...lol

From last night:

ROCKMAN on June 29, 2010 - 9:13pm

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.

If they fill the WW with the max mud weight from the RW it will certainly slow it down even if it's not enough weight to entirely stop it. If the mud weight in the WW is more than the added mud flow pressure from the RW, the net pressure at the BOP will drop. Will it drop enough to allow use of Top Kill techniques and a post-BOP cap to stop the flow, even if it's still underweight? Would adding some bridging materials to control upper leakage areas help, too?

If they get it slowed down significantly, can they intersperse batches of kill mud and RW mud going down the RW and have a control valve to allow injecting the kill mud into the WW while circulating the RW mud? If the circulation speed of the RW is fast enough, this could continue adding weight to the WW if it's slow enough that the weight of the kill mud batch plus the well flow during the circulation interval is more than the weight of the RW mud plus the slower well flow rate.

First off, in Kent Wells' audio conference, he mentions the possibility that they plan on having a decent seal at the top of the well, nearly to the point of actually shutting in the well from above. And then he says they won't, for reasons discussed to death on here. But it will give that back pressure mentioned here by myself and others.

As the mud is pumped into the Blowout Well, it will mix with and flow up with the oil and gas, and out the well at the top. However, each barrel pumped in the well makes the column of fluid heavier and heavier. As that column gets heavier, the pressure on the reservoir goes up. As the pressure opposing the reservoir goes up, less fluid comes in, and more mud gets to mix in the fluid that's flowing up. Eventually, it's all mud in the column and the well is effectively killed. There are many complications, but from the cartoon drawing standpoint, that's how it works.

The primary complication is the 14.1ppg formation above the productive zone may still contribute fluids, and in this case, a salt water flow is almost as bad as fluids from the reservoir. You could balance out the reservoir but still have not enough pressure to balance the 14.1ppg equiv pressure sand. The theory is here, that the 14.1ppg sand won't contribute gas, and so won't be near the problem as the expanding gas from the reservoir. To balance that 14.1ppg, you might have to prepare to actually lose mud to the productive horizons. This isn't a bad thing, but it will complicate things if you're cementing. Most likely, there's so much cement available that won't be a problem, either.

But strictly speaking, Kent Wells talks about the new cap like it will be able to control 100% of the flow with zero leakoff (and again, it's the questionable casing below that is the reason you can't simply shut it off from above without a bottom kill in place as well)
such that once the bottom kill from the relief well has begun (the new cap is in place and) the top will be partially closed giving enough back pressure to allow for the proper weight of kill mud to be used. Under the frac gradient and high enough to get the job done.

Looking at the MWD log from here, http://energycommerce.house.gov/documents/20100614/BP-Production.Casing.... , those shallower zones look like they are hydrocarbon bearing too so I wouldn't necessarily expect salt water flow from any of the zones we are seeing.

Thanks for this thread about the relief well intersecting the original. I have no idea if this is true, but it seems that they are ahead of their stated schedule on this. Is that true or just wishful thinking?


Probably wishful thinking, as it gets slower from here as they get closer to intersecting the WW. I wouldn't be surprised to see them take 2-3 more weeks to VERY carefully review what they want to do, take more measurements from both wells and double triple check everything they did on the RW and the plans to handle the WW as once they mill thru the casing on the WW all hell could break loose and there isn't a 2nd chance..

One thing I wondered about the diagrams and info posted today by HO, is aren't they drilling into the producing formation on the relief well too? So they have to keep that well balanced PLUS the WW has to be stopped too..that's TWO wells the mud has to work on at the same time or has the formation been cemented off in the RW?

As close as they are coming to the WW, couldn't they instead of cutting into it, just drill past it, and cement around the bottom and up the side of BOTH of the wells and stop the flow? Or is that a crazy idea?

Given that the rock around the well could be in really bad shape down in the producing horizon, if they can just work on sealing the paths away from it - either up the outer annulus, or within the production casing, then they can fill the WW and the RW with enough mud to overcome the pressure in the reservoir below. There is then no force to move the oil into the well, and it is killed. No need to get into the more complicated mess at the bottom of the hole.

Since they don't know where all the wormholes might be in the rock it might be hard to find and seal them all. Much easier just to block the flow a little further up the well.

Thanks HO, makes sense not to open that mess downhole!
So where do they set the permanent plug(s) that actually kills the well for all time? Starting at the entrance to the WW and going upwards a few 100 feet?
If RW #1 kills the WW, what do they do with RW #2? Start production, plug it with a removable plug, come back later and maybe produce it? Plug and abandon?

Thanks again. Can't happen soon enough. Watching the ROV's try to string together the underwater containment system is tough going. The connections are not going well - the rough seas are not helping either. Here's to a speedy kill of this beasty.

Sort of reminds me of the helplessness I felt with watching the images of the post 9-11 World Trade Center site for weeks on end. Works on your sense of well-being.


Note the lead in article includes a time-depth chart showing progress of relief well vs. plan. (picture with 4 colored lines & depth & casing points labeled). If watch Kent Well's video where picture was taken from, can see the legend on the chart as well as the x-axis.

Red line is actual relief well drilling
Black line was Plan for drilling (green and blue lines show expected range of uncertainty around Plan)

Each vertical line break represents 10 days (10 day intervals visible on video), can count over 9 intervals on the black line to see at ~90 days they planned to be finished setting final 9 7/8 liner and proceeding to kill (and planning to reach 17,758' at about 75 days, about 7.5 time intervals over from left axis).

So as of the time of the video, they were approximately 15 days ahead of schedule looking at the chart (distance betwen red line & black line), but may be slowing down a bit vs. plan on this last stretch being far more cautious (slope of line for last couple days is slower than plan)

Wave heights are about 7" now where they are. Hopefully they can work on getting that helix up and running to basically stop the leakage.

A poster on here yesterday referred me to this...this is 40 miles closer to the hurricane than BP's drill site is.

I'm really interested to see what the leak looks like uncapped with them pulling 25-30k bpd out of it. Hopefully it'd be down by 3/4 or so from when they were pulling only 10k bpd.

So the leak at the annalus or whatever could be going outside the drilling pipe somehow? Where does that flow eventually go? Wouldn't it run into cement and eventually have to go inside the pipe? Or could it get forced into the rock and wind it's way up thorugh rock formations somehow?

Do you think this makes it harder for the mud to stop all the flow? Not sure how they can see what is going on down there, if they are close enough to know where the leaks are coming from. Godspeed, BP.

WE have 5 foot waves in Gulf Shores.

thanks. I think he origially said they couldn't work in "10-12 foot waves" so had to delay it. Maybe 6-7 foot will allow them to do something.

"Calm" I guess is 3-4 foot? That might be a while.

It's been a couple of years since I've been that far out offshore, but I am always amazed at how quickly the GoM sea state changes. It can be flat-ass calm (with teeny-tiny ripples...aka "FAC w/ TTR") and, before you know it you are heaving in 6' to 10' swells...then, almost as quickly, you will be in 1'to 2' seas again. I feel confident that many hands here would attest to how glassy the GoM can get just after a storm passes.

From 6/28 press briefing

Adm. Thad Allen: … over about five foot of sea (inaudible) they’re going to have to stop the preparations for the Helix Producer, which was the third production vessel we were going to bring in on the 30th of June to hook to the new vertical riser to increase our production up to 53,000 barrels per day by the end of June. That will be conditions-based, based on the sea state, and we’ll provide you a day-to-day update on that.

Said today they would like 3 ft or less (I believe) for connection work to Helix. Lots of bolting to do for floating riser connections . Kind of tough with ships bobbing up and down. Bad enough when it is calm.

HaHa! WE got tarballs.

Spill update: Tar Balls in Texas

They just haven't worked up enough nerve to say it's DWH-despite the uncharacteristically lurid leadin by the Chron.

Now it's on, bra!

Allen said in briefing he guessed not from Macondo-----must have floated over from the Keys or planted by moratorium proponents:)

I would assume that they are still going to have to case this, but it does appear that they are a little ahead of schedule here. It seems they have negated the need to pass by the WW and then steer the RW down before turning back an intersecting.

It appears that they could drill right into the WW, but what happened to potentially using a shaped charge to perf your way in?

That (perforate) I would think be a secondary plan. if they are 5 feet away seems a long ways for the perf to go. Any cased hole WL guys know what charge would be required?


My daughter moved to Gulf Shores awhile back and has moved away now. When they first moved there they use to pick up the wifi on their lap top at the Pink Pony and talk to us on messenger while waving on camera.The control of the camera was great. LOL

BP's Bad Science

— By Kate Sheppard
| Tue Jun. 29, 2010 8:41 AM PDT

Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.) and Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) are pressuring BP to ditch a private contractor, the Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health (CTEH), that it hired to do public health response in the Gulf. The company, they say, has been "cited in a long line of controversial cases" in which it has botched data collection methods and supplied bad data. These bad test results, Capps and Welch say, have served to promote the "corporate interests" of CTEH's employers over the protection of public health.

More at http://tinyurl.com/28mqk8m

There is a difference between bad science and bad politics.
"...are pressuring BP to ditch a private contractor, the Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health (CTEH), that it hired to do public health response in the Gulf..."
The dumb Creole in me thought that public health response is what we have the %$^&%^*&$ Department of Health and Human Services, State Department of Health, USAMMARID, CDC, EPA, The Office of the Surgeon General, WHO, and the United States Armed Forces, Guard, and Reserves for. Same problem, you want the money, title, prestige, but God forbid we ask you to work. Just because BP has the deep drilling expertise does not mean they can convert spilled petroleum into wine. What a lack of leadership. You could do better with a set of Dungeons and Dragons dice.

Politics, poisoning every single aspect of this, from contributing to the blowout itself to the cleanup to the health of Gulf Coast victims and now even to the research that'll come out of this. Check this out. Of course the governors were injected into the process so they'd pipe down.

Politics embroil gulf research grants
BP pledges to put up $500 million for ecological study, but the money may be restricted to Gulf Coast state universities. Some say the limits are counter to the spirit of science.
June 26, 2010|By Julie Cart, Los Angeles Times

Tim Mueller, Associated Press
Reporting from Baton Rouge, La. — University professors in the gulf region responded with delight last month to BP's pledge to put up $500 million for academic research into the Gulf of Mexico's ecology over the next 10 years. With no significant federal grants on the horizon and an urgency to begin work, some of the academics had taken to using their own credit cards in hopes they would soon be reimbursed.

But their excitement at the windfall turned to chagrin last week after the White House ordered BP to consult with Gulf Coast governors before awarding research grants.

More at http://articles.latimes.com/2010/jun/26/nation/la-na-oil-spill-researche...

If things do not pick soon, I swear the Cajuns, Creoles, and fishermen will march on Washington in the Third Battle of Bull Run. Had to get in a war reference. Never use my 20th Century Military History minor, which actually starts with the Civil War in the 19th century.

Does it surprise anyone to find Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health (CTEH) all over this report saying how safe exposure is to Cortex and the fisherman who became sick and had to go to the hospital that they were probably just sick from the soap they were using?


My buddy is on a boat here in Gulf Shores. He says folks are getting sea sick, but little else. There are about 50 boats in his site. There are about 200 crew.

I brought you all a present. Have to wait for the weather to improve to go outside, so I spent the day researching previously discussed TOD topics. Ever wonder why Corexit was banned in the UK? Here's excerpts from the documents of the entity that is responsible for monitoring and approval over there. BTW, note that the Rocky Shore Test used an exposure period of six hours followed by rinsing. That's not even close to what's going on in the Gulf. Brits They have a nice way of handling bioremediation products too. EPA could take lessons. All protocols are on the Marine Management site as are the results for each product approved for use in UK.


Oil spill treatment products approved for use in the United Kingdom
All products approved after 1 April 1996 have been required to pass both the Sea/Beach and Rocky Shore Toxicity Tests. Any products coming up for renewal that have only passed the Sea/Beach toxicity test in the past are required, before they can be renewed, to pass the Rocky Shore Test also.

The following products have been removed from the list of approved products because they did not pass the Rocky Shore Test when submitted for renewal:
Chemkleen OSDA JAC (removed from list 21/01/1998)
Corexit 9527 (removed from list 30/07/1998)
Corexit 9500 (removed from list 30/07/1998)

Sea Test
"This test is based on the premise that if oil treatment products are correctly applied to an oil slick at sea,marine organisms will be exposed to a mixture of oil and product, rather than to a suspension or solution of product alone. The test therefore compares the toxicity of oil dispersed under standard conditions of mechanical agitation, with that of the same amount of oil treated with the product in question under the same conditions of mechanical agitation.
Research has shown that concentrations of oil especially dispersed oil) under slicks reduce rapidly in the first few hours (Cormack, 1977). It was, however, technically difficult and unrealistic in a routine andreproducible laboratory test to reproduce this phenomenon. Therefore, it was decided to base the test on the exposure of a marine organism to a fixed concentration for a fixed period."

Rocky Shore Toxicity Test
"The intertidal zone is of great value both in amenity and ecological terms. Toxic effects of beached oil treatment(dispersant spraying etc.) are likely to have only limited impact on commercial fisheries e.g. cockles etc., on sandy beaches and will be relatively benign on dynamic pebble beaches where there is good drainage and a relatively impoverished species community. Therefore,for these environments (i.e. sandy/pebble amenity beaches) it is assumed that a product passing the Sea Test will be of an acceptably low risk. However, the death of grazing organisms (e.g. winkles and limpets)that inhabit rocky shores can lead to a much more significant deleterious ecological change due to extensive uncontrolled growth of seaweed. Consequently a toxicity test was developed using a typical intertidal grazing organism, the common limpet (Patella vulgata L.).

"...When products are used to clean oil from beaches,animals are exposed to very different conditions to that experienced at sea. Both oiled and unoiled animals may be exposed to neat product and left exposed until they are washed by the next incoming tide or the use of water hoses. The Rocky Shore toxicity test for all dispersants and bioremediation agents has therefore been based on these exposure conditions...

"Preliminary tests in the laboratory showed that the mortality of limpets exposed to oil is high and the detection of a toxic effect due to the product over and above that of the oil would be difficult and less accurate than determination of the effect of the product alone. Additionally, a product is likely to be applied over wide areas of shore and the evaluation of a particular product should also take into account the effect of the product on those parts which are un-oiled as well as those which are oiled. Therefore, the test finally adopted was designed to assess the effect of application of the product on un-oiled limpets. The amounts of product applied to the test organism were based on the density of application likely to be encountered in practice. Similarly, the test sought to simulate the initial exposure to a product for an ***average period of 6 h followed by successive tidal rinsing***. In order to compensate for seasonal variations in the susceptibility of the test species, the effects of a standard oil alone were also assessed..."


Thank you. I was going to post this separately, but it ties in nicely with what you have, especially the part about what our guys could learn from their guys.


This is an example of what happens when you get a bunch of smart people together and ask them the wrong question.

The initial round of testing, according to the EPA, indicated that none of the eight dispersants tested displayed biologically significant endocrine-disrupting activity. They also found that while all eight dispersants alone -- not mixed with oil -- showed roughly the same effects, JD-2000 and Corexit 9500 proved to be the least toxic to small fish, and JD-2000 and SAF-RON GOLD were the least toxic to the mysid shrimp.

Anastas said that while the use of dispersants was a tough call, it was the right one, and that the dispersants are clearly less toxic than the oil.

"It's important to remember that oil is enemy number one in this crisis," he said.

Dispersant doesn't make the toxic oil any less toxic, unless you are putting all your chips on the 'dilution will fix everything' option. Will more habitat be exposed to the toxic oil as a result of being treated with dispersant? How much dilution(dispersion) is required before the oil is no longer toxic, and how much dispersant is required to achieve that level of dilution? What are the chances of dispersant-treated oil reaching shore? - we have no way to collect and remove oil that is not floating on very calm water. Once it's treated, it's completely beyond our means to do anything at all about it.

Thanks for the update, HO, 'specially the illustration.

so, if they perforate the production casing, they kill the "possible leak", which means the "expected leak" may still have potential production? And conversely, if they perforate only to the annulus outside the production casing, they kill the "expected leak", with possible production still through the "possible leak"?

Sounds tricky.

Once they cut into the casing they can pump mud into both the expected and possible leak at the same time.

this from dick morris today, posted over at www.realclearpolitics.com

all I can say is sheesh.

Obama's Big Oil Spill Bungle
By Dick Morris

It’s one thing to say that Obama’s administration showed ineptitude and mismanagement in its handling of the Gulf oil spill. It is quite another to grasp the situation up close, as I did during a recent visit to Alabama.

According to state disaster relief officials, Alabama conceived a plan — early on — to erect huge booms offshore to shield the approximately 200 miles of the state’s coastline from oil. Rather than install the relatively light and shallow booms in use elsewhere, the state (with assistance from the Coast Guard) canvassed the world and located enough huge, heavy booms — some weighing tons and seven meters high — to guard their coast.

But … no sooner were the booms in place than the Coast Guard, perhaps under pressure from the public comments of James Carville, uprooted them and moved them to guard the Louisiana coastline instead.

So Alabama decided on a backup plan. It would buy snare booms to catch the oil as it began to wash up on the beaches.

But … the Fish and Wildlife Administration vetoed the plan, saying it would endanger sea turtles that nest on the beaches.

So Alabama — ever resourceful — decided to hire 400 workers to patrol the beaches in person, scooping up oil that had washed ashore.

But … OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) refused to allow them to work more than 20 minutes out of every hour and required an hourlong break after 40 minutes of work, so the cleanup proceeded at a very slow pace.

The short answer is that every agency — each with its own particular bureaucratic agenda — was able to veto each aspect of any plan to fight the spill, with the unintended consequence that nothing stopped the oil from destroying hundreds of miles of wetlands, habitats, beaches, fisheries and recreational facilities.

Where was the president? Why did he not intervene in these and countless other bureaucratic controversies to force a focus on the oil, not on the turtles and other incidental concerns?

According to Alabama Gov. Bob Riley, the administration’s “lack of ability has become transparent” in its handling of the oil spill. He notes that one stellar exception has been Obama aide Valerie Jarrett, without whom, he says, nothing whatever would have gotten done.

Eventually, the state stopped listening to federal agencies and just has gone ahead and given funds directly to the local folks fighting the spill rather than paying attention to the directives of the Unified Command. Apparently, there is a world of difference between the competence of the Coast Guard and the superb and efficient regular Navy and military.

Now the greatest crisis of all looms on the horizon as hurricanes sweep into the Gulf. Should one hit offshore, it will destroy all the booms that have been placed to stop the oil from reaching shore. And there are no more booms anywhere in the world, according to Alabama disaster relief officials. “There is no more inventory of booms anywhere on earth,” one told me in despair.

The political impact of this incompetence has only just begun to be felt.

captbob, nothing personal here, but as soon as I saw "Dick Morris," I scrolled on down without reading, since, sometime back, a couple of years of paying attention to him schooled me that the truth was almost always 180 degrees from whatever he was claiming.

My same thought. The man hasn’t been right in the head since the toe-sucking came to light. Maybe he wasn’t weaned correctly or completely.

If Dick Morris wants a speedy and unsafe response to clean-up, maybe his fat ass should be out on the beaches with a shovel and a bucket.

Dick Morris has as much credibility as Tony Hayward.

He's a sewer rat level political hack with a Napolean complex when it comes to Obama who struggles to make himself relevant by making outrageous claims.

[Edited for brevity.]

That crowd is the master of the Logical Fallacy.
Find an intro to the subject here:

One of their favorites is Appeal to Authority

An Appeal to Authority is a fallacy with the following form:

1. Person A is (claimed to be) an authority on subject S.
2. Person A makes claim C about subject S.
3. Therefore, C is true.

Begging the Question

Begging the Question. The premises include the claim that the conclusion is true or (directly or indirectly) assume that the conclusion is true. This sort of "reasoning" typically has the following form.

1. Premises in which the truth of the conclusion is claimed or the truth of the conclusion is assumed (either directly or indirectly).
2. Claim C (the conclusion) is true.

Further, low information consumers find support (or they seek it) from the same cadre. The opportunity for critical thinking is limited by the devotion to multiple sources who only share and repeat. They are part of and feed into a vicious cycle. It's a short leap from myth to fact.
It's easy to see how only two example (above) can feed upon each other leaving the less inquisitive types with more lies than facts.

Further, low information consumers find support (or they seek it) from the same cadre. The opportunity for critical thinking is limited by the devotion to multiple sources who only share and repeat. They are part of and feed into a vicious cycle. It's a short leap from myth to fact.

Your logic is flawed. I had not seen Lotus' post when I wrote mine. I had not refreshed the window. So what we have is the opposite of what you claim: two people reandomly had similar thoughts based on separate personal experiences about Morris' credibilty of sufficent strength to warrant a warning to others. I would say that enhances the credibility of the info, and had I the time, I could prove that it does.

So your argument is a red herring, a distinct logical fallacy of its own.

From his lips to...
"Katrina has the capacity to shape the second Bush term in the same way September 11 shaped his first term—not only in rebuilding New Orleans but in taking preventative steps around the nation to bolster our defenses against natural and man-made disasters and terror strikes.
Responding to disasters is a source of presidential strength and popularity, and Bush is about to show how it is done."
Dick Morris 9-7-05

"My bet is that if Hillary loses Iowa, she will rally to win New Hampshire and go on to win the nomination."
Dick Morris 11-20-07

Genius, pure genius!

interesting site. just stirrin' the pot a little:

That crowd is the master of the Logical Fallacy.

Personal attacks (arguments ad hominem) attempt to discredit a point of view by discrediting the person that holds it. The character of the person that holds a view, though, entails nothing about the truth of that view. Such arguments therefore commit a fallacy of relevance.

the boy who cried wolf had no credibility as to crying wolf.
the boy cried wolf at the end of the story.
Therefore the wolf that killed the boy was not a wolf.

Readers who liked this, also liked: "killing the messenger".

Formal logic is a lot of fun. My logic professor in college was Professor Wisdom. He would play the banjo for us before exams.

Normal human discorse is too compolex, though, for the rigidly formal rules of logic to be applied mechanically, like you might a mathematical equation to determine truth.

That's why in the courtroom, the rules of evidence do not strictly follow the formal rules of logic. And one issue that is always relevant is the credibility of the witness. Character evidence can be introduced based on reputation in the community where relevant.

This is wandering way off topic, BTW, so i shall stop here on this one.

Please Delete my comment as off-topic and for causing more off-topic comments. No more edit button so i can't.

"Where was the president? Why did he not intervene in these and countless other bureaucratic controversies to force a focus on the oil, not on the turtles and other incidental concerns?"

Yeah, sheesh. What were they thinking, wasting time and effort on those "incidental turtles?"

Some days—days like today—I think the humans richly deserve their fate.


If everything you say checks out ,then I suppose we will have to take Greatesst Fumbler and Bumbler Emergency Management Cup away from Bush, who has held it since Katrina, and give it to OBama.

I am beginning to come around to the pov that the military should manage such emergencies;the culture of an ordinary bueracracy is built first of all on the CYA principle;so long as you follow the rule book, your job is safe.

The culture of a military commander in the field is entirely different;he has a rule book, but he can forget -is EXPECTED TO FORGET-most of the rules in it if thats what it takes to win a fight.

I find it hard to believe that an officer accustomed to sending equipment to its destruction and men to thier deaths would have any problems getting things moving;all he would need extra above and beyond the title of head manager of spill operations would be a staff of civilian experts to explain to him what is and is not possible in oil field and spill work with the equipment available.(It is not likely he would be expert in this line of woirk.)

When the bodies are sorted out later, he is evaluated on whether he did as well as possible with the information and resources at hand-with the goal being to win the fight as quickly and economically of men (and secondarily materials)as possible.

The bueracrat will be evaluated on how well he covered his axx and if he followed the rules he will keep his job-no matter what the consequences, even if he gets people killed unnecessarily.

You just have a yearning for competence. We haven't seen a lot of that the last several years, and I'm not terribly sure that we've seen it in the military either. We can, of course, forget about accountability. When some action results in bad publicity, the higher level officers who should have be responsible don't find their careers damaged. Getting caught covering up the Tillman death didn't hurt McCrystal's career. There was even a time when we weren't proud of death squads.

You and I are old enough to remember when we assumed that if the Corp of Engineers did something it was done well. I think it was done well back when, but I don't really know that it was. Now a big, important job would go to a private contractor like Halliburton. We know what a good job Halliburton has done in Iraq.

When DM speaks of his own perspective (he's not paid by anyone on the right or left to do this trip) he must be wrong since he no longer is an operative for the Democrats?? Some of the things he says are pretty much common sense as I have seen pictures of boom busted up by the waves and washed ashore.

What Dick says is pretty much true in this case, we've seen many posts here and on other places that things are not getting done when they should be. Do you not recall the Coast Guard blocking Gov. Jindalls' plan to build sand berms islands to prevent the oil from getting into the marshes? The town in Alabama that has taken it on itself using boats from residents to put out and maintain a blockage of their inlet from the oil. I've got firsthand experience that when dealing with the Feds they march to their own agenda and give lip service to yours. It's not about what's RIGHT, it's all about the "rules" which allows shifting the burdens of responsibility away from those who the taxpayers pay to make decisions.

The President is where the buck stops, if he wanted to really help he would empower the Federal Gov't to cut the red tape and get things moving and then his team would stay on top of it and make it happen. As much as we dislike and bash BP, they have mobilized more resources than the entire US Government. Everyone in the Gulf States hated Bush for his response on Katrina but by the 60 day mark things had rapidly improved and the crisis was much bigger. 9/11 was the same way, a lot of rules got bent the first few weeks after that crisis such that cleanup could begin and NYC get back to business.

Probably beating my head against a brick wall here as logic and politics can't be mixed anymore.

when dealing with the Feds they march to their own agenda and give lip service to yours. It's not about what's RIGHT, it's all about the "rules

What if someone die because the locals decide that it is best to bypass the rule, safety inspection and what have you.. Remember all the uproar about using the despersant? It is on the EPA list but yet everyone still think that BP should not use it... I think in this case, the argument is that doing something is better than nothing.. The only exception is that when doing that something, it create more damage than doing nothing. No one want to stop and understand the impact of what they are doing. By the time the problem hit, all they are going to do is shrug their shoulder and say "sorry". Essentially it is a case that someone does not like the law and rules and want to take it on their own hand. And we try to make it out as some kind of hero??...

Rockman,Shelburn, Ali et al: A couple things.Yesterday or before Rockman stated he would be careful to say anything about being ahead of schedule on RW due to all the things he (and any of us who have been involved with drilling) know that can go wrong. In addition there has been tons of arguing about the leaning BOP and the lies supposedly put out by CG and BP regarding it.

I went back through the Ken Wells transcript Q and A and audio for his technical review on the 28th. As Rockman had suggested he was very careful to state that weather and other issues could slow down or cause problems on RW drilling. He would not give probabilities of RW success but did cover things they were trying to do differently from RW's that had failed to intersect successfully on past wells. He has always been careful to hedge even with his enthusiasm. I have not heard him give out false information. More importantly he was direct and emphatic to the question about tilt. He said the BOP was almost straight and the LMRP was at about 5 degrees. He stated they may try to straighten or support the LMRP when getting ready for the new cap. Given his care in answering other questions on many topics and his lack of hesitation my guess is he was stating factual information to the reporter regarding the tilt. Just my thoughts.

Diverdan --

the tilt in the BOP is a lot of bruhaha over nothing....the tilt meters are not meant to measure tilt from true vertical but instead they are there to measure incremental lean .....no one but BP has the datum ....i.e. when they first got the BOP down and got it setup ....the lean measured form true vertical at that point is the datum here and all measurements form that time on are relative to that. we do not know that initial lean and no one can make a judgment if the BOP has started to incrementally lean or not....but the BOP is there and if someone that high up the food chain in BP says its not an issue then what he is saying is there is no incremental lean and IMHO there is no reason for him to lie since when things start to unravel in court ...if BP is seen to be have lied about BOP incremental lean than IMHO just this fact will cause major major problems ....if there is incremental lean then the approach by BP would have been slightly different ....

the noise over BOP tilt in MSM fails to consider this ....if we start measuring tilt from true vertical than I can confidently say almost every BOP in every DW well in the world is suspect....

with regards to RW schedule....IMHO BP has painted themselves into a corner by saying august....I said late august/early September a while ago because this is drilling.....funny things can happen at almost every step ....IMHO this first week of august time line BP gave will come to bite them in the ass ....and recent statements by BP official have tried to back away form that first week of august time line but its hard to do at this point without causing a major controversy...just my 0.02 on this

Although, I can put a pencil to it to get a time line until they commence the milling (or a range at least) I guess I am having trouble figuring out the kill time itself from milling going forward and finishing off with cement.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The official overseeing BP Plc's $20 billion oil spill compensation fund said he expects to complete his first phase of work in setting up the claims facility within the next 30 days.

In prepared testimony for a hearing on how small businesses might be impacted by the fund, Kenneth Feinberg also said he hoped the $20 billion set aside by BP "will be sufficient to pay" all eligible claims. "If it is not, it is my understanding that BP has agreed to supplement this escrow fund as needed to assure full and fair compensation to all individuals and business that are found to be eligible for payment."

Lotus: Financial Times article on front page of web site says that BP is going back to the banks for $5 billion more. $20 billion in loans so far may not be enough. Some other news covered on TOD already also in article, including take-over rumors driving stock price up and Dept. of Justice requesting notice of asset transfers. A good summary. [FT requests no link to or direct quote from web site.]

US fines BP subsidiary $5.2 million for ‘false reporting’


BP, Coast Guard Sued for Burning Endangered Sea Turtles

The Center for Biological Diversity and Turtle Island Restoration Network say they’ll file suit against BP as well as the US Coast Guard under the Endangered Species Act.


What sequence of events breaks the drill string down hole and then propels the lower segment up?

Not sure how could have happened, but I once saw a joint of 17,000 psi drill pipe fished out of a hole that took us 10 months the kill and get back to drilling. It was split in 2 pieces from one end to the other as if it had been sawed. This well was 22,000 ft deep and required 19 ppg mud to control so it was a bit more pressure than the one discussed here.

Adm Allen began briefing today addressing Jones act in detail. Worth a watch after it gets posted later today on c-span or response site.

Did he say anything about the meeting, led by Salazar and Chu, they are supposedly having today to discuss the three options for the replacement containment cap?

Just said they want to review all the options and the fact that they would have to have the top open for a number of days. I am sure they would have liked the kill line attached by now to see the effect on the riser leak.If they can get all the flow with choke/kill lines it would make riser removal a lot less messy. I guess weather, RW timing and Helix hookup are major variable to evaluate.

Allen's briefing is now up on CSPAN.

6/30 briefing

and the transcript .

A question about varying mud weights ...

During Kent Wells' 6/28 technical press briefing (audio), transcript, he said that they already have 20,000 bbls of mud aboard DD-III and 24,000 bbls hooked up to it from another nearby vessel.

How is mud weight determined? Is it a characteristic that can be altered? In other words, would those 20,000 bbls aboard be something like 5,000 bbls of 14.2, 5,000 bbls of 14.3, etc? or would it all be the same basic consistency and then have its weight adjusted via varying additives or mud pump pressures?

Wells also said that they will be bringing in two more ships with additional mud as they approach kill time, and, in an earlier briefing, mentioned in an aside that they expected (at that time anyway) to be using 14.2 weight mud during the kill.

How is mud weight determined? Is it a characteristic that can be altered?

Add barite to increase weight and dilute to decrease. With oil base add oil and saltwater (it is an oil/saltwater emulsion and the ones I have worked with used diesel) with water base add fresh water.

Think we'll get to find out what John Wright's Special Sauce recipe includes?

Being a former drilling fluids engineer for Dowell and having been involved with Dow Chemical scientists running experimental polymer drilling fluids, I am also very interested in his recipes.

Thanks ...

funny how that question didn't occur to me until confronted with the mental image of 44,000 bbls of mud.

Seems like something a lot different is going on with the cap.


There was some major cap movement last time I checked Skandi 2 and Enterprise 1 (about 1 hour ago). I'm wondering if this is due to the rocking motion of the waves on the ship topside. Is the temp riser pulling up on the cap as the ship rocks on the waves above?

Yeah, the cap is definitely rockin' and rollin' tonight. The amplitude and frequency of the motion look greater that what I've seen previously.

Is BP a takeover target for Shell or Exxon?

"The recent sell off has now brought about a price which may just be too good an opportunity to miss, and may act as a catalyst for those companies considering an offer to come forward. Oil industry analyst Fred Lucas, who wrote the JP Morgan research note, speculates that Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) and Royal Dutch Shell (LSE:RDSA, LSE:RDSB) are the two most likely candidates, mainly due to their shared business model with BP."

http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/18311/is-bp-a-takeove... —July 30, 2010

Edit: More: BP Takeover?: With Literary Flair, Analyst Mulls Scenarios

Of course Fred Lucas is kind of talking his book here, since JP would love to earn M&A fees as an advisor on the deal. This is how an integrated investment bank starts the conversation and inserts itself into the discussion.

cud: Of course. But it's how you put a company "in play." Shake the tree and see what critters fall out.

Skimming Issues

Here is yesterday's subthread with links to previous subthreads:


USCG has suspended the statutory requirement that x amount of skimming equipment be maintained within a certain response-time distance of any location where a spill might occur. This equipment belongs to the cleanup contractors that are kept on retainer by the oil companies. So more skimmers will be moved to the Gulf at the expense of rapid response if needed elsewhere. That's good, should have been done sooner, but it won't make much difference if they double the fleet of US skimmers in the Gulf. If they increased it 10-fold (not possible) that might keep up with the current rate of spillage (guesstimated 15,000 bbl/day). Link:


Article on the tanker-skimmer A-Whale and CG plans to test it:


Yesterday I estimated that this thing can only skim 1 sq. mile per day, so it wouldn't be making that much difference. Somebody check my math:


In the same vein, the largest of the French Ecoceane skimmers (also discussed yesterday) would seem to be able to skim 1/5 of a square mile per 12-hour day. The website says it can cover 40-50,000 square meters per hour. These vessels are not very large, but they do move much faster (4-5 knots) than other skimmers. The amount of water covered seems to be a much more important capability than any claims as to how much water/oil can be processed or how many gallons of oil collected--claims which, at least in the case of the US skimmer fleet, bear no relation to open-water performance (see earlier subthreads). The newest Oil Impact Assessment maps superimpose a detailed satellite image of the slick's outlines--quite intimidating if you think about skimming that.


I understand Adm. Allen addressed the Jones Act issue in detail this morning, but I haven't seen a transcript.


Here is one specific request for a Jones Act waiver. It is by a Dallas investment bank, Allegiance Capital; the CEO says he has lined up a fleet of European skimming vessels (12-15) and other unspecified vessels (can't imagine why the latter would be needed). I guess he wants to broker a deal with BP.


Edit: the other vessel is a Greek cruise ship ?! Could this be a poison pill?

A posting by eight members of the 30-day review panel and their report to Secretary Salazar regarding the deepwater moratorium.


Our Views Are Not Appropriately Represented

The Primary Recommendation in the May 27, 2010 report, “INCREASED SAFETY MEASURES FOR ENERGY DEVELOPMENT ON THE OUTER CONTINENTAL SHELF” Given by Secretary Salazar to The President Misrepresents our Position

The National Academy of Engineering recommended us as contributors and reviewers of the recent Department of Interior "30 Day Review" of the BP Oil Spill. We were chosen because of our extensive petroleum industry expertise, and independent perspectives. The report states:

“The recommendations contained in this report have been peer-reviewed by seven experts identified by the National Academy of Engineering. Those experts, who volunteered their time and expertise, are identified in Appendix 1. The Department also consulted with a wide range of experts from government, academia and industry.”

The BP Macondo blow out was a tragedy for eleven families, and an environmental disaster of worldwide scale. We believe the blowout was caused by a complex and highly improbable chain of human errors coupled with several equipment failures and was preventable. The petroleum industry will learn from this; it can and will do better. We should not be satisfied until there are no deaths and no environmental impacts offshore - ever. However, we must understand that as with any human endeavor there will always be risks.

We broadly agree with the detailed recommendations in the report and compliment the Department of Interior for its efforts. However, we do not agree with the six month blanket moratorium on floating drilling. A moratorium was added after the final review and was never agreed to by the contributors.

The draft which we reviewed stated:

“Along with the specific recommendations outlined in the body of the report, Secretary Salazar recommends a 6-month moratorium on permits for new exploratory wells with a depth of 1,000 feet or greater. This will allow time for implementation of the measures outlined in this report, and the consideration of information and recommendations from the Presidential Commission as well as other investigations into the accident.

“In addition, Secretary Salazar recommends a temporary pause in all current drilling operations for a sufficient length of time to perform additional blowout preventer function and pressure testing and well barrier testing for the existing 33 permitted exploratory wells currently operating in deepwater in the Gulf of Mexico. These immediate testing requirements are described in Appendix 1.”

We agree that the report and the history it describes agrees with this conclusion. Unfortunately after the review the conclusion was modified to read:

“The Secretary also recommends temporarily halting certain permitting and drilling activities. First, the Secretary recommends a six-month moratorium on permits for new wells being drilled using floating rigs. The moratorium would allow for implementation of the measures proposed in this report and for consideration of the findings from ongoing investigations, including the bipartisan National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling.

“The Secretary further recommends an immediate halt to drilling operations on the 33 permitted wells, not including the relief wells currently being drilled by BP, that are currently being drilled using floating rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. Drilling operations should cease as soon as safely practicable for a 6-month period.”

We believe the moratorium as defined in the draft report addresses the issues evident in this case. We understand the need to undertake the limited moratorium and actions described in the draft report to assure the public that something tangible is being done. A blanket moratorium is not the answer. It will not measurably reduce risk further and it will have a lasting impact on the nation’s economy which may be greater than that of the oil spill.

The report highlights the safety record of the industry in drilling over 50,000 wells on the US Outer Continental Shelf of which more than 2000 were in over 1000 feet of water and 700 were in greater than 5000 feet of water. We have been using subsea blowout preventers since the mid- 1960s. The only other major pollution event from offshore drilling was 41 years ago. This was from a shallow water platform in Santa Barbara Channel drilled with a BOP on the surface of the platform.

The safety of offshore workers is much better than that of the average worker in the US, and the amount of oil spilled is significantly less than that of commercial shipping or petroleum tankers. The US offshore industry is vital to our energy needs. It provides 30% of our oil production, is the second largest source of revenue to the US Government ($6 Billion per year), and has a direct employment of 150,000 individuals. The report outlines several steps that can be taken immediately to further decrease risk as well as other steps that should be studied to determine if they can be implemented in a way that would decrease risk even more.

This tragedy had very specific causes. A blanket moratorium will have the indirect effect of harming thousands of workers and further impact state and local economies suffering from the spill. We would in effect be punishing a large swath of people who were and are acting responsibly and are providing a product the nation demands. A blanket moratorium does not address the specific causes of this tragedy.

We do not believe punishing the innocent is the right thing to do. We encourage the Secretary of the Interior to overcome emotion with logic and to define what he means by a "blanket moratorium" in such a way as to be consistent with the body of the report and the interests of the nation. The foregoing represents our views as individuals and does not represent the views of the National Academy of Engineering or the National Research Council or any of its committees.

Kenneth E. Arnold, PE, NAE
Dr. Robert Bea, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California at Berkeley
Dr. Benton Baugh, President, Radoil, Inc.
Ford Brett, Managing Director, Petroskills
Dr. Martin Chenevert, Senior Lecturer and Director of Drilling Research Program, Department of Petroleum and Geophysical Engineering, University of Texas
Dr. Hans Juvkam-Wold, Professor Emeritus, Petroleum Engineering, Texas A&M University
Dr. E.G. (Skip) Ward, Associate Director, Offshore Technology Research Center, Texas A&M University
Thomas E. Williams, The Environmentally Friendly Drilling Project

Before the bottom hole can be cemented, all fluid flow must stop. To achieve this, all static pressures must balance. In my calculations which follow, I am assuming an 8.3 ppg water density, a 5300' water column, a reservoir of 13100' below water bottom and a 12,000 psi reservoir pressure. So far, three ways have been proposed to balance the pressures:

1) Seal off the BOP after mud from the RW starts gushing through it. The required mud weight would be
12000 psi / [(18400 ft) (0.052 (psi/ft) / ppg)] = 12.5 ppg. The seal would have to withstand a pressure of 0.052 (psi/ft)/ppg * (5300 ft) * (12.5 ppg - 8.3 ppg) = 1158 psi. Alternatively, the BOP could be sealed so that it will support a 5300' column of 12.5 ppg mud without leaking. Either way, the relative pressure would be the same.

2) Leave the BOP open as it is now, and allow the kill mud to seek its own level, filling the RW with air through water layer. Now there is only a 13100' column of mud, so the required mud weight becomes 14.3 ppg. This scenario is too dangerous to even consider, since there would be no way for the crew of the DD3 to monitor mud returns to determine whether the RW was kicking.

3) The third option was suggested in a previous thread by Bruce Thompson. Fill the original well with 14.3 ppg mud up to the BOP, and the RW with 12.5 ppg mud up to the surface.

This third option seems doable to me, but precarious. It would involve first pumping the heavier mud until it starts gushing through the BOP. Then the mud weight would have to be suddenly lightened, and the RW DP gradually withdrawn so as to replace the heavier mud only in the RW, not the original well. Some provision would have to be made to replace the heavier mud in the wild well that might be lost to neighboring formations.

All in all, I think it would be a lot easier if the BOP could be sealed to withstand 1158 psi. If BP is going to take this route, they had better get going with the overshot tool real soon IMHO.

Your comments are most welcome.

How about use 14.3 mud until it comes out the WW BOP, then shut pipe rams on RW BOP to isolate the riser head from the RW. I have done the same with a packer to unstick wall stuck drill pipe. Then pump enough salt water to displace 5000 ft of drill pipe id and the wells are in balance.

Of course how to keep them in balance while pumping cement creates a whole new set of problems. Perhaps cement though coiled tubing inserted though the RW drill pipe.

This is a pretty clever solution, Rio. The beauty of it is that the sea water and mud can mix all they want, and the well will still be in balance (as long as the water doesn't make it over to the WW).

Well, I have been hanging around drilling rigs since I was 5 and am now 70 (click on my screen name and check bio), and have seen a lot of blow outs and every one is different in some way, so you learn to think outside the box. I even had to make that run for your life twice. I have never felt so helpless as the night I saw a rig burning clear to the crown.

Your Bio is fascinating. I wish we could meet in person someday, you could teach me a lot. Love the picture of you Grandaddy that was turned into a buckle.

I wish we could meet in person

Note my spam protected email. Drop me a line anytime.

What about mud loss to formation?

What about mud loss to formation?

May be a problem as the WW starts to fill with mud, but hopefully they can control with lost circulation materials. Hopefully John Wright has a magic potion to add to the mud. He is welcome to use my idea, but he will have to figure that part out himself. :)

geo -- That also raised a question in my mind. (Numbers used not exact - for description only.)

Both the WW and RW are going to be at the same effective point above/in the reservoir, and the pressure of that is 12,000psi. The WW requires a column of mud from SeaFloor to the bottom of 14.2# weight to be in balance. If the fracking of the bores at the bottom is around 16# - don't the mud-weight columns add together, to where they would exceed the frack of the formation, and create a second possible blowout?

As to the "kill-pill" -- is that the cement lockout to isolate both wells from the reservoir, and is it's weight also dependent of the balance against the pressure?

Talk about hairy!

I don't think the weight of the columns are additive, no more than it depends on the diameter of the column, the pressure exerted only depends on the height of the head. Also, I doubt anyone cares too much about getting an exact balance of the kill pill between the WW and the RW; if the kill pill is successful and they overflow some mud out the WW's BOP due to the delta between the water pressure at the WW-BOP and the 5000 feet of mud in the RW riser, life will still be good.

Also, I doubt anyone cares too much about getting an exact balance of the kill pill between the WW and the RW;

Maybe, but they need to stop the flow at some point to keep the cement still to set up. If there is a head difference between the wells there will be a u-tube effect and mud will flow from RW to WW.

It probably balance at some point, but the RW would not be full of fluid, not a condition I like the see when you might take a kick and would not be able to see.

The AP: BP didn't consider hurricanes in its response plan

Walruses, check; hurricanes, feh. BP and MMS, where were the grownups?

As long as they planned for the icebergs.

What I worry about is, if the "nuke it" guys get their plans approved, have they planned for what they might wake up:


Boots and Coots, now owners of John Wright Co., was itself up for purchase by Halliburton. Deal not done.

The speculation about what seems like two pipes in the riser took me a while to figure out. The best photo can be seen in the Oil Drum article of June 9, "The BP Deepwater Oil Spill - of Plumes, and Drillships, FPSOs and the ASJ"

It took me a while to understand what people meant by a single pipe. After misplacing the photo I found it again and after looking at it, I get it now, and I'd bet it's a single piece of 6 and 7/8" drill pipe. I also believe any stuck drill pipe remains far down the hole, outside what is now the hole, off to one side of casing that was later set. My curiosity was if this abandoned pipe may be a further path for hydrocarbons escaping the well. I doubt this is the case.

Take an ordinary sodastraw and flatten it with your fingernail.

After 3 weeks, BP finally hands over oil samples


The Guardian: Vultures circle BP over fears it may quit US

After the story:

Candidates for the top job

If Tony Hayward does decide to walk the plank as chief executive who is likely to take over?

We assess the main riders and runners along with the odds given by bookmaker Paddy Power.

Bob Dudley (7/2) Serious-minded BP man born in Mississippi and blooded in Russia

Iain Conn (3/1) Steady Briton who has been running BP refineries since 2005 the Texas City fire

Doug Suttles (6/1) Former Exxon man but tarnished by being at BP exploration

Andy Inglis (6/1) British and tarnished even more by being BP head of exploration

Malcolm Brinded (14/1) head of exploration at (less accident prone) Shell

Byron Grote (8/1) Ex-Amoco man running BP finance but wants to retire

Lord Browne (7/2) Even the Sun King would not wish this on himself

Tony Blair (100/1) Even Tony could not make peace with BP's critics

Our guys are on top of it. Apparently word got to incident command that vegetation can help hold the beach together and reduce oil ingress. Hard at work planting non-Native species. Within 35 feet of the petroleum. Do not worry, they come right out after the concert. All this effort for a TV show.

Send this to Dick Morris, maybe he can write another piece about that wonderful innovation by AL pols.

This must drive you nuts huh?

These clowns are going to have to make up their mind, either they need tons of help or they are doin great...common down!

Wow. You couldn't make this stuff up.

Is this concert about how fun oil spills are? Or is this like a USO concert for the troops? Or is this what you get instead of an oil clean-up plan?

I know when the economy tanked and people were losing their jobs, the corporate media was running stories about how fun it was to be unemployed. They called it "funemployment." Yes, all of the lucky jobless.

Put a happy face on that oil spill, Jimmy!

Do not worry, they come right out after the concert.

I thought they only planted fake palm trees on the beach in New Jersey.

Where I am, they left them in all summer and well into the fall. By the time they got around to taking them down, the fronds had been brown and dead for many weeks.

Here is a little more on this story:

I am surprised how well Anadarko and Mitsui have managed to stay in the shadows.

They follow advice of counsel. Just because you hate all lawyers does not mean you should ignore their advice. Especially if you are paying them. Never turn down a beer from a lawyer, just make sure he pays before you take a sip.

Hey! I represent that remark!


Craig: Let's foreclose on his hat and enjoin him for purchasing any more tin foil. He'll have to become a recluse. That'll teach 'im.

If the attorney is buying the beer, he's probably using your money, you just don't realize it yet.

No, you realize it and he makes you like it. Usually by reminding you what would happen if he was not taking your money.

Cap is floating and bumping against the bop for approx. 30 minutes now. Might this cause (new) damage to the bop? I think this is caused by high waves.

It's really rocking an rollin...scary. At times it looks as if the LMRP is going to fly right off!


I mentioned this upthread, but is this due to the temp riser attached to a ship topside "pulling" the cap up and down with the rolling waves?

Break out the HazMat Suits. Some real toxic polution headed for the Gulf.

Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) wanted to fly 10 lawmakers down to the Gulf of Mexico to see the damage caused by BP’s gigantic oil spill first hand.

House Democrats said no.

Scalise’s trip was rejected for a variety of bureaucratic and logistical reasons, but it has also opened a new vein of partisan squabbling over who should be allowed to arrange a trip to view the impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Republicans want to be able to take trips using their office spending allowance. But Democrats have heard from the Department of Homeland Security, which has asked that Congress organize trips through committees of jurisdiction, to avoid having to cater to a ton of individual lawmakers in a disaster zone, Democratic aides say. GOP leaders say they’ve heard nothing of this.

The squabbling over who gets to travel to the Gulf on whose dime is the latest sign that congressional oversight of the oil spill oversight from Capitol Hill has been bogged down by partisanship


Does anyone want tarball/oil samples? I am working with local carriers to find out if this is possible and how much it might cost. There may be regulations requiring special handling and I am mainly offering any labs or college level institutions samples collected for free. All I ask is payment for any shipping charges. I would like access to the results if they are made public.
PLEASE NO SOUVENIRS. This is a science offer.
If any scientists or lab techs can give me a company that is good at shipping such materials at fair prices, please let me know.

Check for any regs regarding shipping hazardous, toxic or flammable material.


I would very much like to get a water sample. If you will be so kind as to email me at the address in my profile I can sens you a nalgene bottle and return shipping label.

Thank you for this offer.

The bumping of the LMRP is increasing. How long will this construction hold? Looks to me that the LMRP should be lifted up to a save area to avoid further damage.

This just started a little while ago. Could be they had to cut back the flow on one or both lines which would increase flow from underneath and cause the cap to move up and down.

Yesterday the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals scheduled oral argument for the appeal of Judge Feldman's ruling for July 8. That means no decision till probably around July 15 or so, possibly sooner though since it is an emergency appeal.


Salazar Gives Few Clues on New Deep-Water Drill Ban

June 30 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. Interior Secretary Kenneth Salazar, who has promised a new ban on deep-water oil drilling after an initial one was ruled illegal, offered few clues about what a revised moratorium might look like when questioned by members of Congress.

“We’re going to be thoughtful,” Salazar told the House Natural Resources Committee today in Washington, without giving details. “We’re going to do the right thing.” The Interior Department will have more to say about a revised moratorium in coming days, he said.

In any new ban, Salazar must reconfigure the original moratorium to address legal flaws cited by U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman in a June 22 ruling. Alternatively, he might impose regulations that effectively stop deep-water drilling without a formal prohibition, legal experts said.

“Feldman’s going to have a problem” with any broadly based, retooled government moratorium, said Anthony Sabino, a professor at St. John’s University in New York who specializes in complex litigation and oil-and-gas law. “They have to cut it back big time,” he said.


Feldman ruled that there wasn’t a strong enough connection between the moratorium and the drilling-safety recommendations it was based on. Salazar could base a second ban on different criteria, according to energy law professor Jack Williams, of Georgia State University in Atlanta.

‘Completely Tapped’

Government lawyers repeatedly cited the industry’s inadequate ability to respond to the current oil spill, much less a second one, in court filings and at hearings. Still, the U.S. didn’t bring up that point in documents supporting the original moratorium.

“If they can prove the U.S. and the industry are completely tapped beyond their capacity to respond, that might be something” Salazar could use to justify a new suspension, Williams said.

Salazar must proceed cautiously in revising drilling restrictions because even a “mild, toned-down version” may trigger more litigation from affected drilling companies, as well as censure from Feldman, Sabino said.


Update: Under a close reading of Judge Feldman's opinion, the sole basis for finding the govt. failed to justify its plan came down to this: Under Feldman's reading of the law, the govt. was required to provide some explanation for its decision to go with the 6 month blanket moratorium instead of a narrower one that would have less impact on people's jobs and the local economy, since less damaging alternatives were available according to govt's own experts and under existing regs. So, the only thing defective was the govt's failure to explain why they chose one over the other. If they had provided such an explanation, one that was not arbitrary or irrational, the moratorium would have passed muster under Judge Feldman's ruling.

I don't find that as offensive as some do. I like holding the govt. accountable. But I do think his reading of the law is defective for other reasons and he should be overturned (i.e., because under an emergency like this, the govt. should be free to choose any rational remedy without having to weigh options. There's often not time for that in an emergency. And tying those decisions up in litigation only make matters worse.).

I think they deliberately avoided calling it a national emergency, as supposedly, it might lessen the bootheel pressure on BP's neck. I think they deliberately refer to it as a "national concern" or some semantic variation.

I'm not sure the language matters. This sounds to me like echoes from Katrina when there were delays in declaring a state of emergency at the state level which is necessary to trigger federal aid/response.

If there is a law that triggers certain events upon a national emergency being declared by the presidnet, the casual use of the phrase or term will not inadvertantly trigger the statute. The specific intent to do so through use of the selected terms must be there.

Actually found this link via godlikeproductions, but it explains the levels of emergencies and agencies, and whatnot: http://www.uscg.mil/npfc/About_NPFC/nrf.asp

Thanks, Motownmutt. I have not had the chance to check those laws out before. Very interesting.

Syncro, his decision was analyzed previously on TOD, and you're missing a critical component. The gov't pointed to the blue ribbon panel's recommendation as justification for the moratorium, but in fact the panel said NO SUCH THING! Judges get a little PO'd when they are lied to and the 5th Circuit can't ignore that tampering of the evidence.

There is another more critical legal issue here. The harder the government works to establish that the MMS is incompetent and therefore we need the moratorium, the more they are simply giving BP a "Get out of Jail Free" card. BP only has to claim they were following the LAW, which required them to follow MMS' instructions, rules, guidance etc. Ergo, MMS becomes the ultimate culprit and BP gets to ask for a refund. Not very smart IMHO.

Hey, Widelyred. Actually, i was one of those analyzing the decision and yes i did indeed pay a lot of attention to that aspect of the case. To me, that gave the judge the opening to shoot it down. He would have been on very thin ice otherwise. A lot of people still think he is, but he was very careful in his ruling to make it really narrow: You never told me why these people have to suffer, given the other options available. Your record is therefore insufficient.

Sometime that rule you are talking about will work. But generally, compliance with govt. regs will only get you so far. It will typically not exonerate a company from liability claims. You can obey the regs and still be negligent, or liable for some other reason. On the other hand, if you violate a regulation and cause the sort of harm the regulation was meant to prevent, then you are presumed negligent and liable. It's your burden to prove you were not.

syncro: Everyday analogy. Just because you were driving under the speed limit and obeying all other traffic codes doesn't excuse you for negligent driving when you hit the other car who was traveling a bit slower in the rear.

You are really good at that!

You hit the nail on the head, maybe inadvertently, but you hit it. That being the key word "rational" in the statement, "the government should be free to choose any rational remedy....."

There are those who think(possibly Judge Feldman included) who feel strongly that the blanket ban was/is not a rational response but instead one driven by knee jerk reaction to public and media pressure. I find personally find myself tilting that way.

Heaterman, that word 'rational' has a special meaning as used in this case. It basically means not arbitrary. There has to be some logical connection between the problem and the proposed remedy. It does not have to be a real tight fit. The judge is not supposed to second guess. He is supposed to approve even if he disagrees so long as the reason given is not arbitrary.

The one place the judge can get tough is what he requires from the agency. They have to spell everything out in enough detail for the judge to be able to fully analyze the decision or the showing is insufficient (as it was in this case).

I can understand the arguments on both sides. Indeed, there are compelling arguments for both sides. The bottom line for me is that we know what the problem is, we know how to minimize it somewhat, but we will not eliminate it any time soon, nor will we stop off-shore drilling any time soon. Therefore, avoid as much economic damage as reasonably possible by implementing as quickly as reasonably possible the changes that will lower the risk as much as we can lower it in the short run.

syncro: As you basically said, I could write a pretty defensible decision reaching either result. Often, in close cases, the decision is just the way the judge views the world, which is pretty vague but true. Too often, people view legal decisions as some sort of mechanical process involving precise formulas. Law is about balancing competing and frequently conflicting standard and ideas. Where's the line?

Law is about balancing competing and frequently conflicting standards and ideas.

Sometimes it's about what the judge had for breakfast that morning, but we'll forget about those for now.

Syncro: You mean "If I were the judge..."?

[Edit for punctuation and resulting clarity.]

BP Would Be Barred From Offshore Leases Under Bill (Update1)

Isn't this a Bill of Attainder? The idea of prohibiting this sort of thing in the Constitution was to prohibit trial by legislature which this surely seems to be.

Methinks the Hon. George Miller is grandstanding to his California electorate.

I like your reasoning. It would mean that after paying into soical security all of my life, they can't change the rules on me before i die. There's talk now of delaying "benefits" till we're 70. Or cutting back benefits. But I already paid for them. We had a deal, uncle sam.

Meanwhile, more details:

Action kicked off on Wednesday in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, where Democrats pushed through a bill eliminating the $75 million cap on liability that oil companies currently enjoy for damages from offshore spills, like the one devastating the U.S. Gulf coast.

The committee's vote would open the oil industry to potentially unlimited compensation for economic losses suffered by local businesses and communities and for damages to natural resources.

The change, if approved and made law, would apply retroactively to BP Plc's massive Gulf of Mexico spill, although the company has already said it would cover all costs, which will run into the billions of dollars.

As the environment panel worked on its legislation, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved a separate bill to tighten rules on offshore oil drilling projects.

It would increase civil and criminal penalties on the industry for illegal practices and would tie those penalties to inflation. Notably, it also would limit lease sales to companies with good track records -- a move that could hurt future operations for companies like BP.

The panel's legislation also ratchets up safety requirements, such as mandating redundant blow-out preventers for wells and additional permits for deepwater projects.

On the other side of Capitol Hill, Democratic Representative George Miller said he will offer legislation in the House to deny BP new offshore oil and gas drilling leases for up to seven years because of its "extensive record" of worker safety and environmental violations.

That's good. They should have done that after BP killed those 15 workers at the Texas City refinery. Yes, BP was directly responsible for their deaths beyond negligence. You and I would be in jail if we did what they did. But since it's a corporation, they pay a fine. Grandma's dividend might go down a tiny bit, but no biggie.

By the way, at least 58 workers in the energy sector have been killed on the job in the last four months. Among the dead are 11 oil workers on the Deepwater Horizon rig; 29 coal miners in the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia; 6 workers at the Kleen Energy plant in Connecticut; and 7 refinery workers at the Tesoro Corp. refinery in Washington State.

Yes, it is outrageous that anyone might want to hold BP accountable. We should apologize to them immediately.

"Isn't this a Bill of Attainder?"

Probably not. It might be an ex post facto law, though, if it changed the consequences of actions that took place before passage.

Grandstanding is quite likely. We're seeing a lot of it. That doesn't mean BP should breathe a sigh of relief, though. If the Feds decide to drop the hammer, they will be in an endless world of hurt.

kal: "Discretionary Debarment" is the real threat to BP's future in the GOM. And I would bet heavily BP has been given a refresher course in DD. DD may be Fed grandstanding but grandstanding with a sledge hammer in your hand. And having been put through the Judge Feldman wringer, I think the administration would put together a convincing case against BP for DD if they so choose. By the bye, I think Mister Market is the greatest threat to BP's survival as an independent company.

[Edit for idle thought: Whatever happened to the Penn Central RR, US Steel, and Pam Am World Airways, three dominant corporate giants of my youth?]

Hurricane Alex approaching landfall in Mexico within next few hours. Has strengthened to just below Cat 2 and may just make it there before landfall.





INITIAL 30/2100Z 24.5N 96.8W 80 KT
12HR VT 01/0600Z 24.5N 98.0W 60 KT...INLAND
24HR VT 01/1800Z 24.5N 100.0W 30 KT...INLAND
36HR VT 02/0600Z 24.5N 102.5W 25 KT...DISSIPATING INLAND


I'm no expert but if anyone reading this in Mexico is in Alex's path I'd seriously check I was well prepared right now. Pressure down to 954mb now. Good job this thing didn't get any nearer the spill.

National Hurricane Center just upgraded Alex to Cat 2



6:00 PM CDT Wed Jun 30
Location: 24.4°N 97.2°W
Max sustained: 100 mph
Moving: W at 12 mph
Min pressure: 950 mb

Is it just me?

The feeds show what looks like the containment cap is about to come off.

Enlightenment anyone?

This is going on for more than one hour by now. Might be caused by the high waves. There is a separate thread for this issue. The angle on which the LMRP is hitting the bop is making me scared. Wondering how long this will hold and how much damage has been made by now. Looks to me that the upper inclinometer glass must have been broken by now.

Thread link?
I can't find it on the main page.

This concerns me greatly, as well!

Sorry, I did mean a subthreat in this current open threat (posted at 9:21 PM)

Much more than an hour, at least 10 hours from when I first noticed it, so could be more. Earlier on the cap appeared to be well tilted over and is a lot straighter now.


Sorry, didn't realize some posters noticed this a few minutes ago.

I'd like to know what is holding it in place. A few straps?

I would imagine this is adding unneeded pressure and stress to the BOP.

No, it just sits there like a very loose-fitting hat on your head; it's quite the jackleg contraption. The riser pipe is the only thing holding it in place. This rocking has been going on much of the day; Possibly wave action or some vibration in the riser caused by the waves. There have been many rocking incidents in the past, but not so prolonged.

No need to worry about the BOP; the informed consensus here is that there is no danger of it falling over or whatever. On April 20-22 it sustained a tremendous pull from the drifting rig and bending riser. This stress is absolutely nothing compared to that.

If the cap gets pulled off, they'll replace it.

Sorry, but on the Skandi Neptune cam, it looks like the entire BOP is wobbling right now

It's been said by others here with direct experience that the ROVs are 'the size of a small car' and are latched onto grab bars on various parts of the BOP stack by a single claw at the end of a 6 foot long arm. What's more likely - the BOP wobbling like a wet noodle, or the ROV moving?

The period of motion is around 6 seconds, which is also the period of swells at the Thunder Horse weather buoy station. In the view that show the transverse yellow pipe (new dispersant dispenser?) the motion looks more like up and down than rocking, but maybe that's just the angle.

Is aerolastic flutter (or is it hydrolastic flutter?) a potential force capable of compromising any structures? The Tacoma Bridge comes to mind. I know this stuff is strong, but I do not know if such forces are accounted for during design and testing. If so, are those forces now being put upon the 'stack' typical of normal operations?

Judges to hear moratorium appeal - a 3 judge panel:

W. Eugene Davis
Jerry E. Smith
James L. Dennis


Briefing schedule and new amici parties:

The state of Louisiana has joined the offshore service companies in asking the 5th Circuit to uphold Feldman’s decision.

The Sierra Club and several other environmental groups support the federal government’s request for a six-month freeze on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

Opponents of the moratorium must file their responses with the 5th Circuit no later than July 2, the circuit clerk noted in court records Tuesday.

If the federal government and intervening environmental groups wish to answer those responses, they must file them no later than July 6.

On July 8, oral arguments are scheduled for 3 p.m.


Thought this was kind of interesting; Anadarko is 25% owner of DH and BP is claiming that they, Anadarko, owe BP 25% of costs related to the spill ($272 million in the last month). Here's BP's invoice to Anadarko for the month of May. You can see exactly where the money's been going.


Discussed earlier up above

I once received a billing detail of a multi million dollar sharing agreement with a local phone company that was handwritten on yellow legal pad paper that had coffee stains. The information contained on it passed audit and was paid in full, though a few of the words were hard to read.

Legal temp agency in Houston is looking for lawyers with hard science, especially with oil and gas background. My guess would be Anadarko's lawyers are beefing up their support staff.

I didn't respond. I don't really want to work on this one... sometimes being semi-retired is a good thing.


Today's bucket. See how waves are interacting with the oil. The movie is good.



After reading this and other threads, are the questions about the "shear ram" failure and the spill basically "angels and pin-heads"? If there are down bore issues that prevent capping the top of the well, would a properly functioning shear ram have caused even more "dire" consequences?

Also are there any references to the "skimmer" issue. This seems to be a political football rather than a real problem. The impression that I get from discussion here is that skimmers aren't that effective in a "open" ocean environment and I can't find any documentation of how much oil vs "oily water" is being recovered by the skimmers.


Steve, here's my lonely subthread on skimming:


You can follow the links from there to previous discussions. Oil/"oil water mix" is around 10-15% unless the skimmers from Europe are making a big difference, but there's no information on that.

You got it right about "political football." However, it is also a real problem in that they just aren't gathering very much oil

Thanks for the reply...It was your thread and others that got me thinking about the "psycho-political" aspects of skimming. One of the fundamental causes of the "spill" was/is the corruption in the Dept of Interior and MMS. Since both parties share blame and the "drill baby drill" crowd is caught in a bind, the only thing left is "Unions", Jones Act and skimmers. More "distractions" for the political base. On the flip side, skimmers appear to be used as "see we are doing something" rather that a cost effective way to mitigate the environmental impact.

On the flip side, skimmers appear to be used as "see we are doing something" rather that a cost effective way to mitigate the environmental impact.


There should be no cost effective consideration in this case.

We are in a battle with this oil and it's destructive effects.

They should be forced to have as many scimmers packed in there they can.

There is no "well it would be cheaper to let it hit the beaches then clean it up",

these people gave up their rights to do business as usual when they killed and

maimed people, destroyed peoples business's and are destroying wild life, lands

and water.

They should not be allowed to figure the most cost effective ways and our

government should put a stop to that nonsense.

I agree with your basic sentiment. BP should have been removed at the beginning rather than have the USG helping to cover up this mess. The money is finite and if skimming has little over all impact then would the money be better spent to help the people who are impoverished by this disaster?

"government should put a stop to that nonsense."

I agree and they could start by prosecuting the Govt, officials who didn't do their job, for what ever reason.

Gobbett: I have read your posting regarding skimmers. My opinion is aligned with your views regarding skimming specs. I do not know if you remember but early on, when we had some real smooth seas, skimmers near the spill actually were said (in CG conference)to get 50 % oil in the oil-water mixture while overall they could average 10-15 % or even 20%. As you point out it is rather easy to look at a map, the spread out nature of the spill along with ship size and speed to realize that once far away from the source some of the boats will recover very tiny amounts of oil. I would think that specs are for some smooth trapped harborlike conditions. Until the weather caused an end to burns about the 22nd oil eliminated by them is three times greater than by skimming (of course a lot of that occurred during the time after the riser cut and prior to q4000 when larger amounts were there to burn). Like you, I will be curious to to see the postmortem on this to find out just how each device actually performed and to understand numbers ,timing, and placement strategy.
I guess the good news is the leak is far offshore and deep which allows the oil to spread and evaporate and degrade some before getting to shore ....it is also the bad news in that the area for skimming is extremely large and impossible to cover even with large numbers of skimmers.

I asked the same thing about, "if the BOP had functioned correctly, wouldn't we have the same situation?". I think that ROCKMAN answered that it indeed could lead to a subsurface blowout.

I think I've also seen at least one story where a relief well was drilled after a BOP had shut in a well to put the final kill to it. So, I guess this isn't the first rodeo for many of these folks.

As to the skimmers, I might use this space to thank those of you who are keeping the updates coming. Seems like they are the next best line of defense after the relief wells.

Bob Dudley question hour

At 3:30 pm ET tomorrow, Ray Suarez of PBS's Newshour will sit down with BP's Bob Dudley

Get you questions in order!

PBS is using Google Moderator, which allows viewers to submit and vote for questions they'd like to ask Dudley. . It'll be the first time since the Deepwater Horizon rig blew up that any senior BP executive has deigned to take questions.


I have one. Did he finally hook up with Nel Fenwick?

Thanks for the link on PBS hosting semi-open Q&A session. However,

>> It'll be the first time since the Deepwater Horizon rig blew up that any senior BP executive has deigned to take questions.

1)See below for transcripts from 4 Q&A sessions so far just in June that I could find quickly
2)BP (specifically Doug Suttles, the COO) was participating in regular press briefing and Q&A sessions with the Coast Guard every 2-3 days or so, up until the end of May when the administration decided that was bad politics, and switched to exclude BP from participating in the Unified Command press briefings and Q&A (transcripts from many of the May Q&A sessions still available on the Unified Command website at www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com)

Kent Wells Technical Briefings with Q&A sessions:
June 28

June 18

June 10

Investor / Analyst meetings with Q&A sessions:
June 16 Fergus MacLeod & Byron Grote (CFO)

Thanks david.

A little more detail on the directional plan of the first RW from the telephone interview of 28 June. They’ll drill about another 700’ parallel to the WW. They’ll set csg at that point. This will be about 50’ above the 9 7/8” csg set in the WW. They plan to intersect the WW in another 200’ of drilling. They offered no other details but I think I can make a reasonable guess. Below the 9 7/8” csg in the WW there are three components: the well bore annulus (area between the original hole and the 7 5/8” csg); the 7 5/8” csg and the inside of the 7 3/8” csg. I suspect the plan is to slow cut into the well bore annulus and begin pumping the kill pill. Two possible directions for the mud to go. First, up the annulus. Originally this area was isolated and mud shouldn’t be able to go upwards. But there has been suspicion that the upper well bore annulus may be leaking into the well head or a csg rupture or a failed cmt shoe. The second flow path down would pass the producing reservoir and then u-tube back up the 7 5/8” csg (which become 9 7/8” up hole).

We’ve discussed the difficulty of getting a sufficient column of mud to provide sufficient back pressure to stop the oil/NG flow. A more interesting tidbit: they have offered the possibility of putting control valves on the WW and potentially using that system to shut the WW in. This could make getting the mud column in place much easier. But it also begs the question: if the can put control valves on the wellhead/BOP and potentially shut the well in then why haven’t then done so to stop the flow? Perhaps this is confirmation of the concern that the upper well bore would be further compromised if it were subject to the shut in pressure that would result. Some folks speculate that the current flowing pressure is several thousand psi. But a shut in pressure could be twice the flowing pressure…or more.

The speculation lamp is now lite…have at it.

A question that is bugging me, what is the difference between lining and casing?


not -- By convention a liner is a section of csg hung from the bottom of another csg. "Csg" is a length of csg run all the way back up to the well head. So you "line" only the open hole section but you "case" the entire well.


Assuming you're describing a possible leak through casing to sediments? If not, just ignore this post.

If yes, I think that the leak depth is important. Suppose we put 12.4 ppg mud in the WW - not enough to kill it and but light enough to kill the relief well without fraccing and to seriously slow the flow. To stop the flow, we need to add 1100 psi extra at the seafloor, making it around 3400 psi at the wellhead or around 4000 psi at the leak. Sediment + hydrostatic is around 3350 psi so there is a net 650 psi outward on the leak. There is flow into sediments until they can cement the deep section.
If the leak is at 5000 ft, I get 6600 psi inside and 7710 outside (sediment column heavier than mud column). Then they can pressure up the wellhead without consequence.

Either way, it seems like the job is possible.

Its interesting to see what Alex is doing to the DWH spill in terms of wave action etc. as a Category 2 hurricane making landfall near the Tex-Mex border. Also ominous - given that this is the first named storm and its still June and it is relatively far away. I fear that the odds for a Cat 3, 4 or 5 going much closer to the spill site are high in the next few months. Its a race between the inevitable hurricane and the relief wells.

Thus I wonder if BP is rushing things, skipping steps and taking chances with these (similar to their cutting corners with the DWH). Though I suspect the hurricane of bad publicity concerns them more than the inevitability of a major hurricane hitting ground zero. Thoughts?

John Wright stated that his company had done 40 relief wells and 40 were successful. They didn't get that track record by taking chances. I don't think he is allowing any rushing, skipping steps (shortcuts)or taking chances with RW-1.

When he kills this one he will definitely be THE MAN!

EJB, I've been wondering how many of those 40 used/required two relief wells.

I think there is more to come but I am not a climometerologist. I think I made up a new word. Like it?
Anyhow, the hurricane tides appear to help in breaking up oil and harm in causing oil to go where it would have otherwise not gone. Without the accompanying flushing rains, I count it a solid negative. Adding rain might have made it a positive, but windblown petroleum is an unknown wildcard. Too hard to draw any conclusions yet, but I am keeping my eye on things as things might get worse around here tomorrow.

Tinfoil, thank you for your reports. From the video I couldn't tell if the sand had a general brown stain around the oil or if it was just wet. Is the oil turning the beautiful white sand brown? In large areas?

Everything you see in the above pole photo that is darker than the base sand color is petroleum or emulsified petroleum. This photo shows tarballs mixed in the oil emulsion.

Thank you. If they scoop the top layer off then, the sand is still white underneath? I see your point made earlier that they might eventually have to scoop up the entire beach.

NWS Brownsville Radar at 8:37 showed Alex' eye making landfall on the Mexico coast.

Depends where you dig. Farthest point onshore where oil was, white sand. Thirty feet from the water, you dig and hit tar and oil 6 feet deep. I am going to get a video if I can figure how to do it without getting arrested. I know, can you say, big sandcastle? I should have been a spook in the service instead of artillery. No way they can stop me from making a sandcastle.

"I should have been a spook in the service instead of artillery. No way they can stop me from making a sandcastle."

If you take the artillery with you, I'm sure they'll leave you alone. ;^)

Did you train at Ft. Sill?

Back in the late 80's.

I was in Lawton frequently in, oh... '88 through '90 or thereabout. I built the first cellular system there (and in a bunch of other places).

The land of endless thunder. That was you making all that ominous noise, huh?

Yeppers. Platoon commander for a 155 unit. Still can't hear. Went to the desert.

Glad you're back on the Gulf. Now, we just need to get your ocean and shore cleaned up and your community taken care of.

And I don't mean concerts and instant palm trees.

Heh, you should be able to dig that hole pretty quickly then while keeping at a distance ;)


Oil and tar six feet down? Is that true?

And, running the risk of getting arrested for videotaping? You're kidding, aren't you?

OT: Gobbet,

Your critique of "BP Spills Coffee" inspired me to post a video response at youtube. It's just a cut & paste job and probably won't appear on the same page as the coffee skit.

So here it is. Enjoy.

I have been reading TOM for about two months now and decided to join to put forward a hypothesis. I earned my petroleum engineering about 40 years ago, but haven't been on a rig floor in 30 years.
That said, feel free to shoot holes in my theory.

I think it will come out later that the BOP did not fail, at least not initially. The video capture as an ROV zoomed in on the bottom end of the riser after it was cut from the stack clearly IMO shows two smaller tubes. Both are very likely to be drill pipe, to which four experienced colleagues agree.
Also, see Page 15, "Condition at time of incident," bullet 3----of Transocean's Incident review. (Couldn't seem to get link to post; will work on that).

Crud...I lost 2/3rds of this. Will try again later.

Dude, did you go from petroleum to drama? What a pause.

•Condition at the time of incident

1. Lower annular & diverter closed prior to explosion (witness statements)

Visual indications on Toolpusherpanel

Fluid seen coming from diverter line by rig & boat crew (diverter confirmation)

Flow subsided and then started again (annular confirmation)Last pressure reading over 5400 psi and exceeds lower annular rating of 5000 psi

2. Evidence of upper pipe ram activation

3. Potential for multiple tubularsin BOP at time of incident•


How much oil has reached the surface of GOM? How much has reached the shoreline? How many barrels are still floating on the surface now? Is it valid to assume that most of the oil is still drifting offshore, and has not yet came ashore? What are the estimates by the experts of the percent of oil rising to surface (excluding Enterprise & Q4000 capture) vs. floating in plumes below the surface?
BP's slow and feeble effort at the oil recovery has been bad IMHO .

Question for anyone who might know.

I have been watching this site on how big the oil spill is.

Today I noticed oil is being pushed by the storms in a northerly direction elongating the shape of the spill.

When the storms are over will this oil stay in this northern part and more oil start building up more in the gulf makeing the spill area a lot larger?


I am not an oil spill size and location handicapper. Judging from historical pattern however, the current 'compression' of the 'slick' will reverse and typical patterns will return. When a strong system passes through or near the area again, then this compression will likely reoccur. There is perhaps an equal chance that a strong system could move the oil slick away from the Miss/Al/Fl panhandle coastlines.

Thanks! I figured someone had noticed the effect before.

BP plans to get rid of safety watchdog, sources say

Washington (CNN) -- BP has been trying to shut down an internal safety watchdog agency it set up under congressional pressure four years ago, according to sources close to the office and a leading congressman.

The Ombudsman Program was set up after a 2005 explosion at a BP refinery in Texas that killed 15 workers and a massive oil spill in Alaska the following year. Its chief, former federal judge Stanley Sporkin, would not comment for this story -- but a source inside his office told CNN, "I'm surprised we're still here."


I thought this was interesting. An oil company executive tells CNN that BP is keeping the oil underwater with dispersants to save money. He says people on the other side of the pond are laughing at us for not getting all of the oil up to the surface where it can be handled:


IIRC, McAllister is not an oil guy. He's been trying to put together a deal to bring in skimmers for weeks now. This is a commercial venture for him. Just keep that in mind...

k, good point, but if more skimmers and less oil dispersed in the water are good, I hope someone can make some deals. I don't think BP is interested in doing it. I believe they want to keep the oil underwater to keep us from seeing the size of the blowout, and make it harder to establish how much oil they are releasing. OK, that is what McAllister said, but I posted these thoughts here several days ago.

I'm with you. I've been very skeptical of the massive dispersant use and of BP's motives. I just wanted to make sure everyone's clear that McAllister may have special interests of his own in the matter.

I am skeptical about the whole science of oil dispersion. Of course, I am skeptical about everything.

What difference does it make if McAllister has an interest or not? It isn't like everybody else is working for free (outside of BP actually). If he can sop up ANY oil, he should be on the job. Extreme, you think? I bet you wouldn't think so if you were a shrimper, or crabber or oysterman or ...

Gobbet points out that a good effective skimmer can only cover about a square mile a day (or therabouts). If that's the case and there are 10,000 square miles of oil slick, then we need 10,000 skimmers (or thereabouts). Extreme, you think? I bet you wouldn't think so if you were a shrimper, or crabber or oysterman or ...

I'm not an Obama basher but his people are really looking more incompetent every day on this deal. After seeing Alan's beach, it appears the only competency is the BP people trying to plug the leak.

They are still letting BP run the show and decide how many skimmers they need and

let them finagle over the price.

Business still rules in this disaster and it is what caused it.

Our whole government is gutless and paid off.

BP people trying to plug the leak

Transocean under the direction of Boots&Coots, I would think.

Personally, I think we need a new guy in charge. Someone who knows the international scene. A Jamaican. A war winner. A Knight of the Queen. A better politician than Thud and someone with respect all over the world.

The one Republican that he can hire. The one person that could save him by November. His Gulf record is 1-0.

Edit: Breaking Dispersant News.
Dispersants' effects on wildlife vary little among brands, EPA finds

Anastas said that while the use of dispersants was a tough call, it was the right one, and that the dispersants are clearly less toxic than the oil.

Wrong comparison, again. It's not a question of dispersant or oil. Its a question of oil alone or oil plus dispersant.

The studies I worked my way through a few weeks ago do suggest that there is little difference among dispersants, but a number of them also suggest that dispersed oil may be more damaging than the water accommodated fraction of oil alone.

None of them, of course, contemplated massive application at depth.


Are we smart enough, collectively, to manage life in a world as complex as the one we've created for ourselves? We don't even know how to remove oil from water. The Super Duper Wall they built to close Perdido Pass has failed, oil is coming in. How much oil is out there, how long will it keep coming ashore after the goddamn hole is plugged?

Is there a name for a psychological condition consisting of equal parts white-hot rage and depression?

"Is there a name for a psychological condition consisting of equal parts white-hot rage and depression?"

I call it, "The way I feel most days."

I'm also embarrassed. The stream of failures here is so pathetic—we appear to have a chain constructed only of weak links. Two months after the clusterf*ck began, we still can't boom or skim oil effectively, anywhere, and they sent instant palm trees to TFHG's beach, instead of effective cleanup, economic help and healthcare. How can we not do better than this? Someone should take away our dangerous toys until we learn to play responsibly.

To bed. It's late even on the left coast and I have extra work tomorrow, because this travesty distracts and infuriates me every day.

comphy: Very generally the five stages of grief (loss) are: 1) Denial 2) Anger 3) Depression 4) Bargaining 5) Acceptance. The stages are pretty fluid and tend to run together. Grief ain't comphy.

The one Republican that he can hire. The one person that could save him by November.

Sounds to me like you are more interested in how to save Obama's hide, than cleaning up the mess, but then again maybe my bias's are showing also.

Besides, I thought he lost all respect when he lied for Bush, you can probably guess when he lost my respect.

If you want a Gulf War winner, one who actually made things happen when the boots hit the ground, my pick would be Storming Norman. I want someone who can cut though the crap and get things done and to hell with the political consequences, because he is going to have to step on a lot of toes . Powell in my view was just an errand boy for Bush I and Cheney. There go my bias's again.

Is Norman still in good health? I'd take him too, but the Jamaican, England, State Department trifecta is powerful. Really we need a politician because this is getting to be a global issue economically, if not physically. There are probably a dozen top notch tacticians that could do a jam up job, we need someone for the world to clap for. Just an opinion. As for saving Obama, if Obama is saved, we probably have to be saved. Otherwise we might two years of nothing done again. So hard to tell which side is going to start working on the long term problems. Neither I am guessing.

So hard to tell which side is going to start working on the long term problems.

Wow. We must have been watching different newses these last ten years, TF. What I've seen is remarkably clear on that score.

So hard to tell which side is going to start working on the long term problems.

Of course I am a lifelong Republican and for the most part we have sent pretty good ones to Washington from Oklahoma, but I still have problems with them. I think that it relates to the fact that they become so beholding to special interests for campaign money.

So this year I am throwing my support behind an Independent and even have an active roll in his campaign. Among other things, I am kind of his energy advisor. He has an uphill battle, but if you look at his web page you will understand he is a fighter and we have got to start somewhere to rid Washington of the special interest. And like my Dad taught me at a very young age "there ain't no can'ts in the oilfield."

My advise to anyone reading this is to go beyond just voting and get involved in someones campaign. That way maybe some of the power of the special interests will be replaced by the people.


It may not matter at all, OF. It just makes sense to know where people are coming from.

Trust me, I want all the available skimmers in the world out there. I wish we were able to guide the flow to the surface and skim it all. I know we can't. And I'm not sure anyone has really developed effective skimming equipment and techniques for open water conditions. But we should try everything possible.

I'm way less than impressed with Obama's performance in this catastrophe, too. For lots of reasons. The entire cleanup campaign looks like a pathetic failure to me. And failing to provide real help to the people on the Gulf Coast is outrageous.

We got palms. Palms and confusion. Guess our leaders thought Jesus might come back or something. Did they put GW in charge of the incident? Sorry, it was a bad day here today. Scientifically speaking, I observed, photographed and recorded video of the highest single day total of emulsified petroleum and tar ball mixture polluting the beaches of Gulf Shores, Alabama. Beach erosion was also at a season high due to Hurricane Alex's storm surge. This surge will likely continue tomorrow, but I anticipate a chance that the surge level will lessen. TFHG.


If they stop using dispersant at the wellhead at the sea bottom then lots of dense oil will reach the surface close to the ships and rigs currently trying to capture the oil and gas and flaring it off. What happens if that dense surface oil lights off in an uncontrolled burn?

I am wondering if anyone has noticed the huge discrepancy on Gulf OIL Tracker..

Go to the link..http://oilspill.skytruth.org/main

When you open the link you will see the map. To your lower right you will see a Spill Extent with date.
Click on May 22 spill extent, look at the map. You will see a small line of oil below the large one. Now click each black box as you go up to the last. June 24.

Did these 2 long oil streaks just disappear?? OIL is now rolling on The Florida Keys.

Reuters, June 30, 2010: NY pension fund has several options for BP suit

New York's Common Retirement Fund has a long history of serving as the lead plaintiff in shareholder lawsuits.

The fund, one of the nation's biggest, owned more than 19 million shares when the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico in April.

DiNapoli, the pension fund's sole trustee, on June 23 said "BP misled investors about its safety procedures and its ability to respond to events like the ongoing oil spill and we're going to hold it accountable."


I was wondering whether NY would beat CalPERS. Of course, CalPERS may not be able to afford counsel these days. ;^(

Italy Surpasses US in Solar PV
Installing More Every Two Months than California in an Entire Year
by Paul Gipe, Contributor
Published: June 30, 2010

New York, United States -- In a dramatic display of the power feed-in tariffs have in driving markets, Italy installed more solar photovoltaics (PV) in 2009 than the entire U.S. Moreover, within the first quarter of 2010, Italy's total installed solar PV capacity was expected to exceed that of the US.

Italy installed 720 megawatts (MW) of solar PV in 2009, nearly all of that on rooftops. In contrast, the U.S. installed 435 MW during the same period, according to a draft report by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC).

Italy introduced a system of feed-in tariffs for solar PV in February, 2007 after concluding that the previous program of Tradable Green Certificates was not delivering the results desired.

By the end of 2007, Italy had installed five times more solar PV than in the previous year. Despite numerous bureaucratic roadblocks, the solar industry took off in 2008 and installed nearly 350 MW, then a record-breaking number. Solar PV installations have been doubling since then and are expected to reach 1,500 MW in 2010.

Italy is three-fourths the size of California, with which it is often compared because of their similarly-sized economies. Italy has a population of 60 million, to California's 40 million. The population of the U.S. is five times that of Italy.

Italy is now the world's second largest annual market for solar PV, after Germany.

IREC estimates that there was 1,250 MW of total installed solar PV capacity in the U.S. at the end of 2009. Currently, the U.S. is installing 40-50 MW per month, and Italy 125 MW per month. At this pace, Italy surpassed the U.S. in total installed PV capacity before the end of the first quarter, likely by the end of February 2010.

Italy is installing more capacity--250 MW--every two months than California is installing per year.


Please forgive me if these questions have been asked before or if they are ignorant. I'm a E=MC2 girl but a novice when it comes to oil drilling.

At what temperature and atmospheric pressure do the hydrates experience synthesis or destabilize? Assuming the casing string and liner were installed in the main bore, is a drill pipe still needed if the formation pressure is sufficient to maintain flow to the platform/production vessel(s)? Were there operations being performing that could have caused ignition inside the casing(i.e. cementing, wireline)?

Is it possible an exothermic reaction started with an ignition source inside the casing; therefore, causing synthesis of the hydrates? If the hydrates began to simultaneously rise atmospherically(velocity gain) and also rise in temperature(expand) as a thermal reaction occurred, is it reasonable to speculate there was a backdraft all the way back down the riser, past the BOP and back into the casing once the gas had reached the rig's oxygen rich environment? The force would have to be enormous for the two pieces of pipe to become lodged in the BOP. It would be interesting to know if they were embedded on the way up or on the way back down. One would think the combination of large pipe ID,thermal expansion and high velocity would create enough force.

One more question, why is an overshot tool being considered as the next method of containment? The tool is used to retrieve pipe or debris stuck in the casing or well bore, am I correct or mistaken?

Maybe the folks at CERN can fix the problem, they deal with black holes.

first question has been asked in so many words before and before...

Phase diagram here:

No ignition source inside the casing would be relevant - no oxidizer in there.

edit - add this: no the drill pipe is not needed for flow, especially if the well is cased. (and as Rockman notes, it's kinda a bummer it was cased, uncased blowouts tend to bridge over and slow/stop). Drill pipe was in the hole for cementing/displacing mud.

"overshot tool" (vs. spears) for fishing in wells - you are correct.

They had to name this one of the new BOP caps something - and "top hat" had already been used.
Is "top hat" something to wear to a formal affair,
the name of a movie, or tool to collect oil?

Naming is not easy.

Z -- I believe they are just using the term "overshot" as a generic description of the design. There are a variety of overshot assemblies. It basicly means an open ended device that's lowered over/around your target. The alternate would be a "spear assembly" which is designed to go inside your target and latch on to it.

I couldn't quit follow your thoughts on the hydrates. But a couple of notes: as I understand it hydrates are ice crystals with methane trapped in the structure. The down hole temperatures would preclude ice formation. I believe all the hydrate formation occurred at the well head/collection assembly. I'm sure you already appreciate the cooling effect of the expanding NG. Also, there is no oxygen in the wellbore that would support combustion. Likewise it's difficult to imagine oxygen going down any significant distance into the riser given the upward fluid flow.

NOAA's multi-layered interactive map of the oil zone wows Jim Fallows (and me):

... The occasion for this display is unbelievably depressing, but the imagery and presentation demonstrate a "Gov 2.0" approach to interactive use of geospatial imagery at its best. The map seems sufficiently detailed and configurable to be of real practical value to people in the region.

Check it out.

I have noticed a few posts, some by Gobbet come to mind here and here that seem to dispute / defend / deny that bureaucracy/politics is delaying the response. Others have used terms such as Urban Legend to dismiss the idea that there have been unnecessary delays here.

I responded to one of G's posts here and would also be interested in comments on these current articles here and here regarding "A Whale". Also the announcement from the State Department on June 29 (as in Day 70) that they finally would accept offers from 12 countries of the 27 that offered assistance.

Here are a few handy links to satellite images of the GoM spill. Kinda depressing to look at though.
and for weather satellite data in near real time,

well, gee crap, will this b.s. never end? A long, very interesting article from the Anchorage Daily News. Part of it concerns BP "chart spinning" alluded to previously by wildbourgman discussing cheating on BOP testing.


BP joined investigation of itself, contractor

Published: June 27th, 2010
Last Modified: June 28th, 2010

When two state agencies received complaints in 2005 that a BP drilling contractor routinely cheated on tests of blowout preventers and BP knew it, the agencies let the very companies accused of wrongdoing join the investigation.

Records show that attorneys and officials of BP and its contractor, Nabors Alaska, sat in with, or even in place of, state investigators when they interviewed witnesses, including Nabors rig workers and the BP company men who oversaw their work.

Much more to the article, worth a read.

Without reading the article, you know that no wrongdoing was found, right?