BP's Deepwater Oil Spill - Not Everything is Clearly Successful - and Open Thread 2

This thread is being closed. please comment on http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6701.

Yesterday, I noted that the report from the Unified Command had the well at 17, 400 ft. And I was corrected to note that this is measured depth (MD). Well today the depth has increased a further 300 ft to 17,700 ft , an additional gain of 300 ft, bringing the well to within 60 ft of the point where, earlier, they said they would run the final casing. And at that drilling speed, they should be perhaps there by now, in fact this number would suggest that they might have reached it. There then still remains the delay while they run that casing, which could be some significant additional time, depending on conditions. (The second relief well is at 13,900 ft). The two wells will then be connected, and the bottom kill attempt started.

The complexities of life seem to be influencing other aspects of the spill and situation today. The voyage of the “A Whale” to sweep up large quantities of oil has so far been inconclusive and, despite the large fleet of vessels employed for the process, only an average of 900 barrels a day is reported as having been skimmed and recovered, initially by the two companies BP relied on

BP said it would reach the stated goal largely by deploying two companies that have the necessary expertise, trained staff and equipment: the nonprofit Marine Spill Response Corp. and the for-profit National Response Corp.

Part of the problem of accurately assessing performance comes in the definition of what is being counted as recovered, the oil, or the initial oil and water volume before the oil is recovered. (Of which latter volume some 31.3 million gallons has been recovered). The same sort of questions, in other words, applied to the overall oil recovery as are now being asked of the “A Whale” performance.

More questions are also being asked of other aspects of the spill response. There is an article, for example, in the Times Picayune that critically reviews the move to dredge and create sand islands between the Louisiana coast and the oil spill site. The article notes some of the major concerns, for this series of 6-ft tall berms that will be created over an 80-mile stretch. These include that by changing the seabed geometry, the dredging might reduce the energy-adsorption of the coast as storms approach.

This ties in to the changes in the natural flow patterns of the area, with some areas seeing increased fluid flow that will accelerate erosion, while other areas will lose the ebb and flow of seawater, critical to the health of the protected areas.

The berms created have already been proven to be fragile, with some protective barriers that were emplaced by the National Guard off Holly Beach having been eroded away by the actions of Hurricane Alex. However this was partly due to their location. To be effective the berms, made with Hesco baskets, they need to be further from the water.

The new floating riser system is now anticipated (after the storm delay) to be in place and working by the end of the week. This will capture additional oil through the kill lines, hopefully allowing the vents on the top of the cap to be closed, although there will still be some spill around the base to prevent hydrate formation. (And if the new cap is in place, it will also help with the height of mud column that can be generated when the two wells are connected and the kill begins).

Incidentally the report on waste collection that BP released today does show that some of the boom is being pressure washed to remove and collect the oil that it captured.

The current numbers are:

For the first 12 hours on July 5 (midnight to noon), approximately 8,340 barrels of oil were collected and approximately 4,095 barrels of oil and 28.8 million cubic feet of natural gas were flared.

On July 4, total oil recovered was approx. 24,955 barrels:
• approx. 16,920 barrels of oil were collected,
• approx. 8,035 barrels of oil were flared,
• and approx. 56.9 million cubic feet of natural gas were flared.

Prof. Goose's comment:

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BP Squandered Chance to Capture More Oil From Well, Helix Says

July 6 (Bloomberg) -- BP Plc waited six weeks to accept Helix Energy Solutions Inc.’s offer to help gather oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico, opting to rely on vessels with less than half the capacity to capture crude from its leaking well.

Helix, the Houston-based owner of floating oil platforms and subsea wells, offered its Helix Producer I vessel in late April to help BP collect oil that has been gushing from the Macondo well since an April 20 rig explosion that killed 11 workers, Chief Executive Officer Owen Kratz said today in an interview. BP initially declined the offer, he said.

Full story:


That is enraging. I think they assumed that the 15k bpd that the enterprise can get would be "the vast majority" of the oil. Then they added another 10k bpd with q4000 which they scaled back to 8k bpd for some reason and it's still not all the oil. Hopefully 2/3 to 3/4.

Story on cnn saying helix is partially connected and they are working on connecting the rest. Seas are 9 feet now though, not sure when they're expected to die down...not sure if it can be connected in high seas but I hope they do.

The relief well at 17,725 or whatever...don't see how they have any room to go much farther down...I know that's measured depth not true vertical but true vertical must be over 17,000.

Hopefully within a few days they'll stop and then run "liners" and then go infor the kill.

Hopefully damaged casing or the gas coming in through the annalus won't spoil the relief well's efforts, hoping and praying it won't.

Owen was never know for being politically astute. Glad to see he hasn't changed.

Funny. I'm sure he's real popular with BP about now.

I was wondering when this was going to hit, though. It appeared that there was no reason to wait weeks for BP's ship, and that an economic decision had been made not to hire a local ship to get things set up sooner.

It reminds me of what happened when they put people with direct ties to Goldman Sachs, Citibank, etc. in charge of cleaning up the financial mess. Most of that was done was done in secret, but we have already seen enough to know it was not a smart move. The audit of the fed should tell us more.

Expect the same sort of results here with BP in charge.

Not sure if this has been posted from the Wall Street Journal, June 29 2010:

As CEO Hayward Remade BP, Safety, Cost Drives Clashed

Mr. Shaw, the Gulf of Mexico head, made the point at a meeting for top managers in Phoenix in April 2008. His aim, according to an internal BP communication, was to instill a 'much stronger performance culture' in the organization, based on strictly managing costs and 'this notion that every dollar does matter.'

From previous thread..

"Decline of Unions? Yes, but overall employment in skilled trades and manufacturing has declined as well. Manufacturing has been sent 90% overseas for cheaper labor. But who or what made the labor here unaffordable and pushed companies to cheaper markets."

Maybe, just maybe you are correct. I don't remember the price of Levi's going down in price after being outsourced to Egypt and other parts of the globe. The prices didn't drop when they cut the number of belt loops from seven to five either. I'm interested in your answer.

Maytag washer and dryers didn't go down in price after moving to Mexico.

If unions were the cause and the labor rates were exchanged for rates of ten percent or less what happend to the prices. Loking at things logically a person should be able to buy Levi's for $3.00.

You left out air travel that's so much safer today than twenty years ago. This goes hand in hand with the screech and whine of how the US Govt should have been watching BP more closely.

Interesting point but what would the price of a $20 pair of Levis be if they had kept up with inflation? If we had wage stagnation in real terms then shouldn't we have had price stagnation in real terms as well since the largest input to most goods is labor? Wages in other countries are cheaper but you add in transportation costs for raw materials and finished goods, quality of workforce issues, lack of certain skilled trades and it's not always MUCH cheaper which is why the belt loops went down, to make up that promised margin and correspondingly the profits projectionts that the CEO/CFO made to Wall Street.

Too many companies only plan quarter to quarter and rely too much on pleasing the people on Wall Street and getting thier bonuses and ignoring the issues that causes on Main Street! Many that will say Profit Maximization is the mandate of business, but they forget the rest of that statment which says "within ethical boundaries and community standards". In other words you don't sell out your ethics or your people or your communities for a dollar.

You also have to realize even with all my reasons above the manufacturer doesn't always deserve the full smackdown on pricse. Almost all retaliers do at least a 2X markup (aka keystone) and some much more than that. A lot of jewelry is marked up 5X or more. So retailers deserve blame too!!

Air travel is much safer but a lot of that is due to better and cheaper technology not better labor. In fact the airlines are highly unionized. Looking at some airfares I paid (or my employer paid) while it may be safer I wouldn't say it's cheaper than 20 yrs ago!

Too much money chasing too few goods is inflationary and too much goods and too little money (or cheap money for borrowing) is a house of cards as we found out. The middle ground is a knife edge!

I have worked Union and non union, both. Some of my best jobs were non union. However, when you work for a big organization you understand just why there is a union. Present Job....If they could outsource my job, pay me 2 bucks an hour, or ask me to bend over while they strut their stuff, they would. Also, in big organizations, management has to manage....not defer responsibility and then blame everything on the unions when they are in a pickle.

When I see the banking crisis and the oligarch in power....the anti-union spiel is just a buy in that supports a race for the bottom while a few reap the spoils.

In the search for scapegoats, please don't include working folk trying to do the best for their families.

The knife edge is "honest days pay for an honest days work". When it gets out of synch on any level, problems occur.

Nice report with information on industry and individual models. This report tends to lend very strong support to the speculation that large companies will buy out the smaller drillers. Some of the environmental contents will be reworked as the effects of Alex and similar weather events and the emerging role of the sub-suface oil-dispersant mixture are better understood.


The Macondo, Gulf of Mexico,
Oil Spill
Insurance Implications

"...In the event of a major hurricane storm surge leaving tar residues on privately-owned property or land, homeowners insurance would not cover oil damage, as these policies exclude pollution and damage to the land on which a property issituated. Also, it has been argued that the raw, natural crude oil spilling into the ocean may not qualify as a pollutant ."...Property owners could separately sue, or file a class action lawsuit, against BP for land contamination..."

syncro, on the previous thread you wrote:

It [Social Security] will continue to fund itself (from SS dedicated funds paid by individuals) for decades without significant problems. It needs minor adjustment to remain solvent for well into the future.

How do you come to those conclusions? (i.e. "for decades" and "minor adjustment") I am looking at the first page of my "statement" from the SSA, dated May 21 of this year:

...the Social Security system is facing serious financial problems, and action is needed soon to make sure the system will be sound when today's younger workers are ready for retirement.

In 2016 we will begin paying more in benefits than we collect in taxes. Without changes, by 2037 the Social Security Trust Fund will be exhausted.

Where does paying off those bonds that were used to borrow against SS fit into that? That seems like quite a different future for SS than what you described. Not saying you're wrong, just trying to get a clearer picture.

Without changes, by 2037 the Social Security Trust Fund will be exhausted.

What does that mean, "exhausted?"

Does it mean that there will be no funds left to pay SS? No. People will still be paying in. Does it mean that there will be no more surplus funds. Yes. Does it mean that minor adjustments will have to be made to ensure that the amount of funds coming in keeps pace with the funds going out (assuming the govt. pays back all of the bonds)? Yes.

So, what they mean by exhausted is really misleading and I am a bit surprised that bush-era fear mongering is still coming out of SSA. I don't think obama will ever back cutting benefits or increasing retirement age beyond what they have already done, unless I am totally misreading the guy.

But getting back to the fear-mongering term "exhausted." Just as an example of how misleading the term is, suppose the govt. payments on SS are $100 a year. For illustration purposes, suppose payments coming in total more than that and there is a surplus, which is where we are now (although with the recession payments might be falling behind presently). Suppose the surplus is $100 too.

Then suppose in 2037, the surplus is all gone and SS payments comining in, including funds from bonds owed by the govt., total $99.99, whereas payouts total $100. Under their use of the term, this $.01 shortfall is what it means for SS Trust Fund to be "exhausted." All it would take to close that gap would be minor tinkering if we do it now.

It is very misleading fear-mongering intended to get people to think there is no choice, the sky is falling, etc. Expect to see DougR working for the GOP spinning such tall tales in the not too distant future.

Update: The efforts to kill SS began the day it passed. To a small minority in this country, social security is despised because it is a very successful govt. program, even though it is funded by those who benefit unlike welfare. To others, they would rather cut social security than something else because they do not need social security and they make a fortune off of the "something else." That's the military budgert.

Sorry, I should have quoted the whole sentence.

Without changes, by 2037 the Social Security Trust Fund will be exhausted and there will be enough money to pay only about 76 cents for each dollar of scheduled benefits.

(There's an asterisk after the word "exhausted", for a footnote indicating that the numbers are from the latest SS Trustees report to Congress, and my brain short circuited that to an end-of-sentence.)

Anyway, I'm not convinced that minor tinkering can make up for a 24% shortage in 27 years. We are entering a period of less energy, less economic activity, growing SS recipients and the U.S. government is already loaded with debt. So I think there's valid reason to be concerned about the future of Social Security. I understand that you are not concerned about it, pending some tinkering.

The tinkering I am concerned about is the distorted picutre that will be painted to kill a very important social safety net, with terrible consequences for society and a lot of unnecessary suffering.

Working families were pushed into two income families. Now kids live at home longer, they have to. Working families will be expected to help support (live with) their elderly relatives as well if social security is weakened much beyond what it already is.

Let's assume you are right and it will take more than tinkering to fix it. (No time to google up the numbers right now.) So what. It's worth it IMO, and it is not going to cost that much relative to other expenditures. The program can still be mostly if not totally self-sustaining long term. There will be periods of surplus and periods of defecit.

The reality does not match the rhetoric. Social Security is not in a major crisis. It needs an adjustment, yes, to fix a problem down the road. The adjustment should be made promptly. And yes, we need to make some significant budget cuts. I agree. (But not during the worst recession since GD.) In making those choices about what to cut, what are society's values, that's the issue. What counts more, Guns or Geezers? Social scecuity does not have to be cut. It's a choice of one thing over another, and a bad one in my personal opinion.

Okay, I hereby swear off any more off-topic, but since this was an existing thread....

Edited for clarity.

syncro wrote:

So what. It's worth it IMO, and it is not going to cost that much relative to other expenditures.

So what?

What justifies the notion that government should initiate the use of physical force to confiscate an arbitrarily-selected and arbitrarily-modified percentage of my income my entire working life, while forcing all of my employers to collect from their customers a matching amount of arbitrarily-selected funds -- said funds to be used and spent however government wishes during my entire working life -- and then, at an arbitrarily-selected age, which may be arbitrarily modified by government as it sees fit, begin turning over to me an arbitrarily selected amount of the earnings being confiscated from other workers and the customers of their employers, said payments to continue for the balance of my lifetime subject to whatever arbitrary adjustments politicians may deem necessary?

I submit that nothing on earth justifies such a scheme -- because my life -- and hence my labor -- and hence the earnings of my labor -- belongs to ME, not to "society" and not to "government" and not to those who are presently "in retirement".

My retirement -- and how I wish to plan and save for it -- is no one's business but mine. The entire social security scheme is just one massive excuse to loot the citizens of their earnings and force them into dependence on the government in their old age, said forced-dependency during old age resulting in a very reliable voting block.

Ever hear the old saying about death and taxes being the only two sure things in life? Why do you think that is? You would be nowhere without the society that allowed you to thrive. You are not self-made. if you want to be independent and tax-free, I suggest you move up into the Boreal forest, near the Yukon. Once there, you will be free to die, alone, but totally free.

Safty nets require the underlying economic system to be functioning which is highly dubious given the trajectory of economic deterioration. Of course, the GOP will blame the safety nets as capitalism crumbles from it's own inherent flaws and the left will be too weak and or blinded to point blame wear blame is due. So we'll have a circular firing squad of uselessness as we descend into political insanity.

Minor tinkering? If make minor changes in the assumptions you can significantly change the 2037 date. Changing retirement from 65 to 66 makes a much bigger difference than people might think.

It is just amazing that people doubt a system that has paid every commitment on a timely basis since The Great Depression. Its reliability is sort of on the sunrise level.

I realize this is a stretch, but for decades we have been borrowing from Social Security - which was stupid of us, but we wanted low taxes.. Maybe it would not kill us to instead lend to it.

The borrowing was NOT because we wanted low taxes, it was because the Government couldn't live on a budget that kept up with inflation. Of course we have had few down periods in the economy and hence leaa tax revenue and a couple wars but all in all that didn't hurt things so badly. The borrowing was to pay forthe huge growth in "social programs" such as welfare which were NOT meant to be lifetime handouts but are.

Yes, we did borrow quite a bit in Reagan's early days to up defense (which had been badly neglected) and to defeat the USSR. Both of which I think have paid dividends.

Also with an aging workforce we just don't have the same amount of inputs and more outputs, and the "buffer" was "loaned" to the Government so the shortfall gets bigger and bigger. If the Government would QUIT borrowing and PAY back the IOUs then SS would be in a LOT better shape for a while but it's a pyramid scheme that would be illegal if a Brokerage or Bank ran it!

Did you pay cash for your house? Methinks you borrowed a little money.

You must live in an alternate reality. Uncle Ronnie not only cut taxes he cut social programs and ran the debt up to enrich his corporatist cronies. Government spending, at that time and since, has outpaced inflation by a wide margin. What did you get out of it? Debt. Eisenhower warned us about the military/industrial complex, yet you say that military spending had been “badly neglected.” As a proximate cause, Afghanistan destroyed the USSR. Please give detail on how our defense build up (especially in light of our use of very expensive, outside the chain of command mercenaries), or the “defeat” of the USS has paid a “dividend.”

petey -- Just for clarification: Uncle Ronnie did sign those budgets that ran the deficit up. But those budgets were writen by a Democrat controlled Congress. And the tax cuts did lead to higher tax recepts for the feds...can't argue that....it's in the record. The problem was that he and the Congress spent more than the tax revenue increase. There's no lack of folks to point fingers at on this issue IMHO.

Actually had we indexed SS to CPI instead of the wage inflator that has caused recipients for the last 20 years to get benefits that are too large, indexed SS to slowly increase age to adjust for life expectancy and invested some of the fund in a broad portfolio of better returning assets things would be just fine. The fixes for SS are easy and relatively painless compared to medicare problems. The aging population and overall population growth issues are even worse in Europe.
I and all my baby boomer friends and every middle class tax payer benefited from tax cuts
that began during that era. My only gripe is that he,as popular with the older voters and Clinton did not suck it up and push for entitlement reform when they had a chance to do it in an incremental way that would have been less painful than what we will face now.

Changing the retirement age assumes that we will recover to what we consider normal unemployment numbers, rather than getting worse. Good luck with that one. What's amazing is people on this site extrapolating our current economic system out 27 years and thinking it will be still operating under the same logic

i dont know what this has to do with a blowout, well on second thought, yes i do !

... by 2037 the Social Security Trust Fund will be exhausted.

i think the trust fund was exhausted by the search for wmds, that and the supreme court decision that fica was a tax and could be commingled with general funds.

Those bonds ARE the trust fund. They're US Government bonds that will have to be redeemed using some source of money other than contributions from today's workers and employers.

I was embarked on entering a defense of Dr. Joye when I discovered that the previous thread had been closed. I'll post a comment here.

1) Well done science involves a lot of speculation. The point of the speculation is two fold.
a) To encourage others to join in the invention of research programs that will disprove the speculation.
b) (less commendable, but necessary) To encourage people who control wealth to contribute funds to pay for future research.

I think she wins points on both counts.

2) Concerning the word 'plume'. I have heard/read that word used to describe the pollution that arrives in North America after originating in China. The word, to me, does not carry an implication of high concentration, merely a concentration that is high enough to be well above the detection threshold for the instrumentation being used, and well above the ambient.

Another example is the CO2 from local volcanic seeps on Mauna Loa form plumes that disrupt the continuous measurement of world average atmospheric CO2 at the Keeling measurement station.

A plume is somewhat like a cloud, but differs in that it is not necessarily visible to the naked eye, and in that it usually has, or is thought to have, an identifiable point source. I don't think the oil patch has its own meaning of plume. Well blowouts don't produce plumes, they produce geysers, IMHO.

But Dr. Joye should have been more sensitive to the ignorant nitwitishness of her newly acquired audience.

She was speaking in an environment where people were speculating that the sea floor was "cracked" and hundreds of thousand of barrels were spilling throughout the gulf. One commentator said a "lake of oil" hundreds of feet deep was spread over 3/4 of the gulf of mexico...if was lurking under the water.

So yes, in that context, her talk of "vast plumes" was completely misleading. Her "vast plumes" contained oil at the ppb level, similar to a quart of oil in an olympic sized swimming pool.

So who are you calling nitwit?

Just a guess, probably the ones who think a methane tsunami is going to wipe out Florida and some nitwit "activist" who just posted an article about 4 deaths in Florida due to the oil spill when in reality they drowned.

When people from the EPA came to my neighborhood to explain pollution of the local ground water they used the word "plume" to describe the movement of the pollutant, measured in parts per million, through the water table. Dr. Joye used the word in a perfectly ordinary way.

The crazy talk about the sea floor being cracked came after the press picked up reports of these plumes of oil droplets.

Swimming pool? Drop a quart of oil into a swimming pool, and the pool is toxic. Drop a proportional amount of oil into an aquifer and you’ve got real problems. The Gulf of Mexico is nothing like a swimming pool, and dilution is NOT the solution to pollution.

Plume? Cloud? Path? Area?

Why are semantics important?

Crude oil and it’s by-products are toxic and persistent. While we might not understand the intricacies of the exact amount of oil running into the gulf or it’s longest term effects, arguing over what to call it’s progression into the larger Gulf and oceans is pure politics.

The bottom line is that just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there. BP and the corporatist/industrialists and their ilk would love nothing more than to proclaim, "out of sight, so it doesn’t exist.”

Why do you think so much dispersant is being used?

Petey Wheatstraw asked:

Plume? Cloud? Path? Area? Why are semantics important?

Because, at least to some people, accuracy is important.

PW also asked:

Why do you think so much dispersant is being used?

If I recall correctly, NOAA, the EPA and the Coast Guard are of the opinion that the subsurface marine environment can recover more quickly from dispersed oil than the marshes and shorelines can recover from undispersed oil reaching them. Hence, the order to BP to use dispersants at the source of the leak.

Petey -- I agree with many of your concerns. The "cloud" terminology became an issue yesterday when it was used to describe "clouds of methane" accumulating under the surface of the GOM which had to potential to "move onshore and explode killing millions". There are no clouds of methane under the water. There are areas of high methane concentrations in the water which are obviously harmful to wildlife and the environment. But that methane is not an explosion threat to folks to the folks in New Orleans. I would not have harped on the usage had it just been sloppy English. We're all guilty of that from time to time (especially geologists). But if you read the report I think you would agree the use of "cloud" in that instance was an intentional effort to falsely alarm folks. There is a very small group out there which seems to be trying to exploit the situation for whatever reasons they might have. Such inflammatory posts gives them a good bit of publicity.

Measured Depth vs TVD of the Relief Well:

On Kent Wells' most recent slides, it looked like the first relief well was kicked off from the vertical around 10700' TVD or so. Rather deep to do so, but whatever. The well is being deviated in a modified "S" shape, as it's brought back from deviated to next to vertical, and as we've heard described, wrapped around the WW. The point where the RW is so close to the WW and is back to nearly vertical looks to be around 15,100' TVD.

I don't have exact surface location coordinates for the relief wells, but I do have the Lat and Long from the vessels from the various position maps around the site. Converting over to the projection used UTM 16N Coordinates with a Geodetic Datum of NAD1927, (where going north increases the "y" and going east increases the "x")

My guess puts the
RW1 (aka Macondo 252 #3 drilled by the Development Driller III) with a surface location at
x: 1203872
and the
WW (aka, Macondo 252 #1ST1, aka the blowout well) with a surface location of
x: 1202623
and the WW was deviated some unknown but probably a few dozen feet in an unknown direction, due to the difference it has between its Measured Depth and True Vertical Depth.

So, first, these are MY GUESSES for locations and kick out points. Any hard numbers here are appreciated. Second, I'll correct when I get an accurate MD:TVD for the RW1.
Second, the above location assumptions means the RW1's surface is 1248ftEast and 2647ftSouth from the WW surface location
Third, assuming the WW bottom hole location wobbled right back under the surface location, the RW1 should have a difference between Measured Depth and True Vertical Depth of about 885 ft.
The variable of kickout point depth is the biggest issue in predicting the difference between the MD and TVD, as the locations shouldn't be off by that much.

By the same reckoning, the RW2 (aka Macondo 252 #2 drilled by the Development Driller II) is
x: 1201014

I figure I'm off a bit on all these numbers, but I don't know by how much. Obviously I'm interested to get all of them nailed down a bit, so if there's hard data on any of this, please provide the link here.

This is my first post in TOD. I reached this place in my exhaustive search for legitimate information regarding both the effects of the oil and corexit in the ecosystem and also to inform myself about the actual, factual data going on at ground zero.

I've been lurking for a couple of days and I can already tell that TOD is the place to look for all the facts regarding the drilling of the RW and all things engineering related. As for the other side of the coin, it is evident that you won't find any answers in here.

That being told, I have no more questions to ask regarding the RW's. It is evident that this is a forum floating in a rig right in the middle of the ocean, but I'd like to share the view coming from the shorelines, where the air and the ocean are suffering the effects of the absurd abuse of corexit being poured all over the place:




And what 'answers' do you seek my child?

I'm also new to TOD and have found it very informative with a plethora of factual data.

I'm not sure how you did your search. I just went up to top left and did a search on corexit chemistry. I clicked on a link, then clicked ctl-F and searched for corexit. I found an interesting post concerning LC50 results for bioassays with oil and corexit. Even though the articles are outside my field of study, I found them very illuminating.

The theme of TOD is Peak Oil so I would expect most members to discuss RW and oil exploration. This is as expected and I've found many of these members saddened, embarassed and humbled by the industrial accident in the spotlight. Engineering is the application of scientific principles and application in the real world oftentimes leads to unintended consequences. We all pray that the risk of bettering mankind doesn't lead to extinction.

As you are probably aware there were surveys listed in the Opticem report, however these were not what I would call the official survey report as it would have listed the latitude (N/S) and departure (E/W) of the wellbore. A reasonble estimate can be made however with available survey programs.

As to well plans, kick off points and trajectory of the relief wells, I do not have an answer for you on that.

What is it that you are trying to accomplish?

R2-3D seems to be trying to calculate how measurements along the length of the RW1 casing line up with measurements along the WW casing, to better understand the meanings of the depth numbers reported by BP. I think the coordinates cited are UTM rather than latitude and longitude.

Latitude and Departure are terms regarding the N/S and E/W coordinates relative to the wellhead. The TVD of casing on the wild well is posted on the well schematic. The wild well drift could be calculated by entering the opticem surveys into a survey spreadsheet. Calculation to any accuracy of a relief well plan without knowing the KOP (kick off point) would be difficult however. This would determine the angle (build) and length of tangent section (hold) and ultimate drop into the target. My guess is that the well design probably calls out for no more than a 2 degree/hundred build as well as drop rate. The plan as drawn probably showed a 200 foot radius target near proximity of the wild well and then a note for the rest to be determined by ranging.

You could make assumptions and calculate a plan but I'm not sure how close to reality it would be.

The wild well drift could be estimated, but not the position. Normally, when you kick off from a sidetrack hole, as the wild well did, you do move several feet over. Without knowing which direction, the current position of the bottom of the well is known only to them with some initial accuracy and now with much greater accuracy. Wells do drift away from the vertical, and their position isn't always known to the foot.

But yes, that matters little to us here. I was looking for that difference between Measured Depth and True Vertical Depth, as that difference confuses everyone if you don't reference it every time you make a depth call.

To my knowledge, they haven't said "The casing depth of the relief well is X Measured and Y Vertical" and so every time they talk about how deep they are, they seem to be talking in Measured Depth, which makes it seem deeper than they are.

My current guess is 885ft. If they give the both numbers, my guess won't be needed any longer. Otherwise, when they say they set their casing at X depth and it's "50 feet below the other casing" we know that could be an estimate. For most, the estimate is fine. I'm in the business, so I like to know with a bit more accuracy. I'd like to be within 15 feet of the actual number - no need to quibble past that.

You could determine where the sidetrack was on the original hole pretty much by looking at the dogleg on the surveys once they are calculated. A high dogleg would be a safe bet for the location of the sidetrack. The wild well was drilled with a rotary steerable so natural drift as would be expected with a "conventional" BHA would have been limited as once the drift exceeded their limits they would orient the rotary steerable 180 degrees and go back to 0 degrees vertical. The sidetrack appears to be between 11665' and 11796' md where they eventually built to 9.9 degrees and then dropped to vertical at 13112' MD with a maximum stated dogleg of 2.58 deg. The opticem survey report was more in line with a cementing/casing perspective with dog leg being the critical factor. In regard to the known drift of the well the rotary steerable used has an inclination sensor about 3 feet behind the bit. I believe they did know within a foot.

Obviously the simple solution would be for them to provide Measured Depth and True Vertical Depths for their reports. I don't think that you are going to be able to calculate within 15 feet unless you have a more specific well plan than what they show on their "artist concept" visualization graphic.

Good luck- here is the formula for TVD using the average angle method:

TVD = TVD2 + Cos[(Inclination1 + Inclination2) /2] x Course Length

"I don't have exact surface location coordinates for the relief wells, but I do have the Lat and Long from the vessels from the various position maps"

interactive live map here

you can also use the drop down menu for more details on each of the vessels including DD2 and DD3

That's the position map of which I spoke. Although I admit I took the position of the surface location of the WW from one of the ROVs monitoring the LMRP cap.

I'll take this opportunity to explain the most likely method used to provide the ROV positions.

Firstly, the location of the surface vessels are very accurately known using Differential GPS (DGPS). These positions are good to a few centimeters accuracy.

An array of sonar beacons is deployed on the sea bed (A Long Base Line or 'LBL' array). These beacons send and receive sound pulses and the distances between these beacons and the surface vessel can be calculated using the time taken for the pulses to do a round trip, and the speed of sound in seawater. The speed of sound varies throughout the water column due to variations in pressure (depth), temperature and salinity. This is estimated and corrected for by taking a profile using a CTD probe (Conductivity, Temperature, Depth). The array is then 'boxed in' whereby the position of each beacon is established. The ROV also has a beacon fitted, and this is regularly interrogated. The time taken for its ping to reach the various seabed beacons and the surface vessel is used to calculate its position almost in real time. This position is generally good to within a few meters. The position is good over the long term, but 'noisy'.

To add to this, some ROVs are fitted with either a Doppler Velocity Log (DVL) and/or an Inertial Navigation System (INS). These systems are poor at holding position over the long term (they 'drift') but are very smooth. It is possible to take the DVL/INS data and combine it with the LBL data to produce an almost real time smooth position output accurate to within a few meters.

I don't know for sure, but it is highly likely that all the ROVs involved in this operation are fitted with acoustic beacons and a DVL.

AP IMPACT: Gulf awash in 27,000 abandoned wells

More than 27,000 abandoned oil and gas wells lurk in the hard rock beneath the Gulf of Mexico, an environmental minefield that has been ignored for decades. No one — not industry, not government — is checking to see if they are leaking, an Associated Press investigation shows.

The oldest of these wells were abandoned in the late 1940s, raising the prospect that many deteriorating sealing jobs are already failing.

Full story at: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100707/ap_on_bi_ge/us_gulf_oil_spill_abando...


Another nothing scare story - don't worry about it.

The wells were abondoned for a reason, that is that any oil left was uneconomic to produce. This generally translates to they can't get any more oil out of the wells. There can be different reasons for this: firstly the pressure has dropped so much that oil will not flow to the surface, or possibly the wlls are producing a great deal of water which cannot be processed.

It is true that sometimes an old oilfield will be recharged over a long time (decades, although I've never seen one)but if one was leaking noticeably, then some bright geologist would probably think about picking up the license and drilling nearby. In most places,the company would have to attempt to repair the leak as part of the license agreement.

But if nobody has noticed the chances are that there is nothing there.

Day 78 of the continued spill.

Has anyone told obama about this well blow out?

Oops, I thought it was your turn to tell him.

I'm wrestling alligators in a mudpit at the moment. Please let him know. His email address is:

OT but this seems the best place to ask...

I've been using this link to watch simultaneous video feed from all the ROVs but it seems this link no longer works.


Does anyone have a working link that displays all the videos on the screen at once?


At MoJo, Josh Harkinson takes a dim view of How Big Corn Sees the BP Gusher. Nut sentence: "Switching from oil to ethanol to save the Gulf would be like switching from cheeseburgers to cocaine to save your heart."

It appears the BOP is moving back and forth in this video if you blow it up 200 percent.

I was thinking maybe it was just the ROV moving but I know it has anchored itself to the BOP so it should not be moving.


The critical word here is "appears".

Think about it for two seconds. You have a BOP attached to a dirty great piece of pipe cemented into rock, and you've got a camera mounted on an ROV which is basically some bits of metal slung below a piece of buoyancy bobbing like a cork. Which one do you think is doing the moving? Furthermore, if the ROV is indeed firmly anchored to the BOP and the BOP is moving, you won't see the movement as both will move together. Add to that the fact that the ROV is never actually firmly mounted to anything, it's simply holding on with a hydraulically operated metal claw, and you can take my word for it that you simply cannot use an image from an ROV camera as any sort of reference frame for movement.

Please stop spreading these rumours that the BOP is falling over. There is no evidence that this is the case.

Can someone get the period on the BOP

Did y'all hear that John Browne's just been put in charge of cutting costs in Blighty's public sector? A Times-Pic columnist is . . . cheesed off bemused.

LOL Great article.

Obama will probably appoint Tony as head of the National Park System.

syn -- The thread closed before we could finish our chat. When you have the time I would like to hear your honest/blunt opinion of my thoughts.


Also, when I have time, I'll study the testimonies that Frontier posted the link to. Gonna take a bit of time though.

In line with the LNG discussion yesterday, y'all might be interested in this:

Houston-based TORP Technology is proposing to use a "closed-loop" system that does not rely on Gulf seawater to warm superchilled LNG and turn it back into natural gas that can be injected into the nation's pipeline network. This company-supplied computer image shows how the LNG tanker would connect with pipes to the ship that then warms the gas.

MOBILE, Ala. -- Gov. Bob Riley has delayed action on an application from a company that wants to build a floating facility 62 miles south of Fort Morgan to receive shiploads of foreign liquid natural gas and distribute it in the southeast.

Riley was supposed to decide by May 17 whether he would opposed Houston-based TORP Technology's planned $500 million regassification and transfer station in the Gulf of Mexico.

But on May 14, a few weeks after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill began gushing millions of gallons of crude into the Gulf, Riley wrote a letter to the U.S. Maritime Administration asking for additional time. ...

lotus -- the warm water discharge from LNG gasification battle has been raging for several years. The original design discharged the hot water into the GOM directly. But all the Gulf Coast states that had LNG receiving terminals planned rejected the idea. Didn't want to take whatever risk such thermal pollution might entail. The states mandated air-cooled water to be recycled. But this ran the costs up enough that the companies dropped their plans the last I heard. Perhaps TORP has found a way to lower those costs. Lots of potential LNG imports but at current low NG prices these landing facilitates still might not be economic.

Thanks for that info, Rockman. Still no way out of the conundrum, I guess.

I am actually fairly right wing, but I protested the open loop facility when it was proposed. The project proposal was changed to a closed loop systems. It was then withdrawn and coincided with a noticeable drop in LNG prices.

No telling how many people around the Gulf worked cash-only as deckhands and such, never interacting with the IRS, so now without documentation to prove up their damages.

Ken Feinberg, appointed by the White House and BP to administer the aid fund, didn't hold out a lot of hope for people who take cash to avoid taxes. Feinberg administered a similar fund for victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

"I must say under the 9/11 fund, which was all public money, we were not sympathetic to paying claims based on cash-only, no tax returns," Feinberg said in an interview.

"You go down that road and you're really opening up this fund to diversion to people who can't justify the claims," he said.

Still, he added, President Barack Obama wants money to get to the people who are entitled to it.

"Maybe there's some compromise we can reach," he said.

The local economies would appreciate that, but beats me what it would look like.