BP's Deepwater Oil Spill - the Last Cement Job? - and Open Thread

This thread is being closed. Please comment on http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6706.

The first relief well at the Deepwater Horizon site appears to be close to setting the last casing in the new hole, before the final step of drilling down to and through the original well casing. While this is bringing the initial major concern (stopping the oil flow) closer to closure, there is still some time to go. Wind and weather are not cooperating and the depression over the Yucatan is reminiscent of Alex, which held up work until wave sizes dropped at the site. Sadly wave heights are now back up to the point that they are holding up work on completing the connections for the new cap to the well. At present, while the connection to the Helix Producer will carry an additional volume away from the BOP through the kill line, perhaps allowing some of the vents on the original cap to be closed, some leakage must still be maintained. (See Chuck Watson's weather update, at the end of this post.)

Since the stage is ripe for the final installation of casing at the lower end of the relief well, I thought I would just repeat a very simplified description of the process that is going on, so that you can understand the delay, before they drill over to intersect the leaking well.

As the well has been drilled down through the ground, it passes through layers where the rock might either be porous enough that the drilling fluids will flow into them, or might itself contain fluid at pressure that can flow into the well, and dilute that mud. In order to stop either event from happening, the drilling process is stopped and a process undertaken that seals off the rock on the sides of the well from the well itself. This is known as casing the well, and running casing, and for this relief well the process has been carried out a number of times as the well was driven. The well is now at the point that the final casing is about to be set, following which the connecting passage over to the flowing well will be undertaken.

The drill string is first taken out of the hole, and the drill bit is removed. The drill string can then be used to lower a larger steel pipe into the well to encase the well, from the bottom of the earlier lining run down to the current bottom end of the well. (Hence the name casing). Having this continuous length of casing in the hole will stop, say water, from getting in and diluting the drilling mud or the mud itself from flowing out into the rock. But if this was all that we did, then it would still leave a problem, since the steel pipe does not completely fit up against the rock wall created by the drilling bit. In other words there will be a gap between the casing and the rock wall, and this will allow fluids to travel up or down. This gap has to be filled, and the filler is normally a special form of cement. The casing has, therefore, been fitted with a small ring, called a shoe, that fits on the bottom end of the casing as it is set in place.

Components used in cementing casing into place (after Schlumberger

The way that the cement is placed is simple in principle, but a fair bit more difficult to do properly and effectively. Think of the long thin tube of casing, filled with a cement that acts something like toothpaste. This cement has to be pushed down the tube so that it squeezes out of the bottom and then flows back up between the casing and the rock wall, filling all the gaps as it is pushed back up to the top of the previous run. Particularly when this last casing is run, it is important that the gap is fully filled. This is because this is the casing that seals the well so that no fluid can escape back up around the casing, rather than flowing from the relief well into the well that is flowing oil and gas. Since the cement will move more easily thorough a larger passage, than a very narrow one, this gap has to be above a certain minimum size. Small centralizers are attached at points down the steel casing to keep it in the middle of the hole, rather than pressing up against one of the walls (since this might leave an open channel up through the cement). (And it was the number of these that caused some of the concerns in the final casing of the well that the Deepwater Horizon ran).

Cementing plugs

A small plastic plug (the bottom plug) is put into the casing ahead of the cement. This separates it from the mud that is already in the hole. It is fitted with wipers, that clean mud from the walls of the casing, and it is pushed down to the bottom of the casing by the cement that is pumped into the well behind it. There are some pictures of some of the tools and descriptions of the process here, here and here.

Once the bottom plug gets to the end of the casing, there are ports it passes that allow the cement to flow out of the casing and back up the outside. Once the cement has been pumped into the casing a second, top plug, also fitted with wipers, is put into the casing and this is then pushed down by the conventional drilling mud. As it is pumped down it forces the plug down, and the cement out and back up to the surface. Because of possible variations in hole size and other possible problems, perhaps about 50% more cement might be pumped into the well than the calculations might suggest. When the top plug hits the bottom plug, then there is a pressure spike at the pumping station, telling the operator that it is finished. The rig then waits on cement (WOC) until the cement is hardened. The drill pipe can then be put back in the hole with the mud motor on it ready to make the connection over to the flowing well.

At present the debate over exchanging the cap on top of the old well does not appear to be totally settled, and Admiral Allen has been meeting with BP to move this part of the operation forward.

Incidentally, while Tony Hayward who has left the scene in the US is still busy on BP business, but was spending the day in Azerbaijan

Mr Hayward re-iterated BP’s commitment to Azerbaijan and to continuing successful cooperation with the government and SOCAR. Mr Hayward once again highlighted the importance of the Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli and Shah Deniz oil and gas development, as well as the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan and South Caucasus Pipeline projects to Azerbaijan, the region and global energy markets.

BP reports the following oil production for July 5:

On July 5, total oil recovered was approx. 24,980 barrels:

• approx. 16,760 barrels of oil were collected,
• approx. 8,220 barrels of oil were flared,
• and approx. 57.1 million cubic feet of natural gas were flared.

Weather Update

Chuck Watson has a brief update on the weather impacts in the Gulf of Mexico:

Weather over the Gulf of Mexico remains unsettled. The remnants of the tropical low that crossed the northern Gulf (tracked as AL95) is now inland. Another tropical low (being tracked as AL96) has just exited the Yucatan peninsula, and may develop in to a tropical storm in the next day or so. It is already producing waves and winds over the central gulf and Deepwater Horizon response area. Winds will remain over 25 knots at least through tomorrow.

Models show AL96 moving along a similar track to Alex, making landfall in northern Mexico or Southern Texas. Therefore, it is highly likely that winds and waves will interfere with cleanup and capture operations through the weekend, but should not interfere with relief well drilling. On the plus side, although low level winds will continue to blow oil on to previously oiled areas in Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi, they should keep the oil from spreading further in to Florida. Down side: western Louisiana and Texas may start seeing more oil.

Prof. Goose's comment:

New stuff in this introductory comment, 1 JUL 10.

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I am new to the site so I offer apologies in advance if I am either off-topic, or if my question has already been addressed. That said, I would like to know what, if any, formal action is being taken by media outlets of any stripe to fight back against the unwillingness of BP (supported by the US Coast Guard) to allow reporters unfettered access to the story? As I see it, a foreign corporation is basically dictating terms and is being backed up by US government officials under the flimsy pretense that it's a public safety thing - which is obviously a lie.

Where is the outrage on this? Reporters should not be rolling over for this slap in their faces.


I agree. Where is the outrage?

I heard Admiral Thad, or whoever, on the radio this evening justifying the criminalization of - what? - observing? reporting? Doing science? investigating?.

This looks really bad for the Coast Guard.

Colluding with BP.

Way to go Obama!

I think the media should have unfettered access to all sites, this includes Pentagon meetings where the forthcoming Afghan campaign is being discussed, as well as access to all the videos being taken by drones flying over Afghanistan and Pakistan. Oh, and while we are at it, they should also be able to enter any operating room in any hospital, without scrubbing, any place of business where anything is going they wish to film, and of course tape jury deliberations before the verdict is rendered.

And since it seems CNN doesn't have cameras with telephotos able to take a picture of an oil boom at 60 feet, I would like to start a collection to buy them a couple of lenses. Please send the money directly to CNN in an envelope marked "Telephoto Donation". Thank you.

I'm liking the idea of cameras and micas in the Jury Room, we should demand access, or are they trying to hide something? come to think of it, what makes so-called jurors special? We should all have a vote, stop being SHEEPLE and vote Death to the Kidz egging my house on behalf of the Lizard Peeps.

I don't suppose the fact that BP supplies the U.S. military machine with 80% of it's petroleum fuel needs has anything to do with it, would it?

Looks like most of the reporters are lame brains when it comes to the subject. When they stop bad mouthing the company for doing what the law says perhaps they will get better access. Let them take 40 hour hazwopper class first to start with. Then perhaps respirator training.

An O&G engineer told me today that if the relief well hits the correct spot, and assuming that there is enough mud and cement available, it is almost certain that they will get the well killed at some point. He claimed that any well bore damage would likely be irrelvant. Does that sound right?

A few questions for TOD experts:

1. Is there any evidence (as opposed to idle speculation) that the original well casing has failed?

2. Is it plausible that simply the failure of the original well casing would make the relief well ineffective?

3. How much would a casing failure affect the probability of the relief well working?

My opinion only:

1. Evidence is inconclusive but it is likely the longstring was propelled upward leaving an open hole section near bottom. Parting and or partial collapse/ longitudinal splitting is a possibility. My thoughts are that the impact of the 9 7/8 casing into the BOP was substantial enough to have disabled the BOP as well as limiting the ability of the BOP's to function properly even if they survived the impact.

2. The John Wright company website case history's have several examples of wells killed that had significant damage to casing. They have experience in in open hole intersections well kill also. My opinion is that if there is open hole at the bottom, the reservoir is still behind casing as I would have expected at least partial bridging by now.

3. My opinion from looking at the case history's is that should there be extensive bottom hole casing damage, that a strategy is to have multiple perforation points to inject kill fluid.

TFHG -- A "funny" thermal pollution story. About 15 years ago an operator was using a new high volume oil/water separator (similar to Cosner's) in a bayou in S La. They were pitching their new technology at my company. Dumped thousands of bbls of very hot water into the bayou and then watched dead/cooked fish floating to the surface. They called someone with the state and asked what the thermal pollution laws were. When they were asked to ID themselves they hung up. We didn't deal with them anymore.

newbie question- the casing is lowered through the existing hole which has had casing put into previously. That would mean that the diameter of the additional casing has to be narrower than the casing immediately preceding it. What happens at the joints?

That would mean that the diameter of the additional casing has to be narrower than the casing immediately preceding it. What happens at the joints?

not sure what you are asking for: two joints(sections) of casing are connected with, screwed into, a collar(coupling),the collars are external to the casing. the id of the previous casing has to be large enough to accomodate the od of the collars. drill pipe has a different type of coupling than casing.

I think he is referring to how the annulus is sealed between the two casing strings at the end of the larger casing. Not sure I can answer this properly.

So now you have a well that has cemented annulus and is cased all the way down to the bottom. But you still have two plugs and a shoe in the well. Are these drilled out or do you unscrew them or deflate them or what to get them out?

On a production well, once you have taken out the plugs you do something to produce the well. What would that be and how does that work? I am assuming another string of pipe of the right OD/ID to produce the well economically is run down, cemented inside the casing and then perforated (if needed) Then all the mud is now removed and hydrocarbons are flow tested, then the well is plugged temporarily and all the production valves (Christmas tree) installed and the well unplugged and production begins? Did I miss something or am I completely out to lunch...

NASA -- Different types of plugs can be left in the csg. A solid cmt plug or one made of cast iron (both can be drilled out when it's necessary) and retrievable plugs that can removed with a work string or wireline. The is actually an inflatable packer but it's inflated with cmt so you're not going to ever deflate it.

When you go to the completion phase you typically fill the csg with a heavy clear completion fluid. Then you go in hole with a perforating gun that explodes small shaped charges next to the csg which produces small (< 1 ") holes across your productive zone. The reason you want a completion fluid to be heavy is that it will control the reservoir pressure. Typically a string of tubing (1" to 2 7/8") is run inside the csg and the oil/NG flows up thru it. It's typically isolated in the well bore by a removable packer. The tubing passes thru this packer like a straw through a cork. NO...you never perf a well with mud in it...bad for the completion. In fact sometimes the completion fluid is run thru screens to remove particulate matter too small to be seen with the eye. You install the tree before you perf. Difficult to screw one on when you've got oil/NG blowing into your face.

Jumped around a bit but I think you get the general plan.

Cast iron, that would be pretty heavy but.is it held in place by friction or screwed in or has something that expands to hold it tighter the more pressure?

So you run a packer, stick the production tubing thru the tree on top,connect to the tanks/pipeline and start collecting checks :) We won't even get into pumped wells as the downhole pumps are a subject for HO to write about. Some of the jet pumps are pretty cool.

Does the clear completion fluid stay in the casing or is the casing open? I assume the casing is sealed off a few times downhole and at the top too.
Sounds pretty simple but I suspect it's not and it's probably not cheap either.

NASA -- Depends on the operator and the value/volime of the cpmpletion fluids. Sometimes it's easier/cheaper just to leave it there. Since you have a tree on the well you don't typically worry about having heavy fluid to control the wll pressure. The tree is suppose to safeguard you at that point. But there's a world of things that go qrong on the production side and I suspect HO wil get into some of the juicy stuff. Completion and drilling engineers live in two very seperate worlds.

"explodes small shaped charges"

Kind of interesting that these shaped perforating charges are close cousins to the 'Explosively Formed Projectiles' that were so deadly against our armored vehicles in Iraq. And both are linear descendents of the design of the implosion-type nuclear bomb (initially, the Trinity test.)

Descendent of the Bazooka would be more accurate. Check its history. Implosion weapons are somewhat different.


"...you never perf a well with mud in it...bad for the completion"

Never say never. I've done it. No choice, as things worked out. Probably was bad for the completion, but still worked out all right - and better than nothing.

Glen -- Yeah...me too. And wasn't happy with the results either. You'll notice I tend to give incomplete answers and sometimes skip the details. It's one thing for oil field trash like us to argue the details but I try to keep the conversation digestable for the TOD crowd. But you will notice many have gone above and beyond to dig out the details themselves. Very satisfying to see that IMHO.

Yes, Rockman, education is happening. Sad that it is under such circumstances. Even sadder that such circumstances have not inspired a lot more people to become educated rather than drinking the various flavors of Kool-Aid that are being served. My choice of career fields had already cost me some friends from my blue state background - this has cost me a few more (and I don't even work for BP - interviewed once, but declined). Oh, well. (In my long but limited experience only three companies' practices scared me - Gulf (gone), BP, & McMoRan.)

Yep, I've done some of that self-education. When I went to college in the late 70's I wanted to be a Petroleum Geologist or such and even had a scholarship down at A&M but alas that was the days of the oil bust so I went into Computers. But I've always had a interest in the things going on. Seeing all the work in the Barnett Shale has just ratcheted it up a notch and then the BP disaster happened. So talk all you want, if I don't get it I'll ask but after I've done some reading. But I did find a lot of the good sites that have papers or articles want $$$ to join so I have to rely on free information like that really good stuff HO posts.

Rockman, let me just say thank you. Thank you sincerly for your informative postings. The closest I've ever got to oil is at the gas station. TOD is the best resource I've found for not only keeping up with the latest, but learning the underlying issues and technology.

So, if you try to keep the conversation digestable for folks like me, I promise to try to keep up. I mean, a few months ago an annulus sounded like a dirty word.

just a statemento of appreciation...

This worm doesn't want to be disrespectful, but shouldn't it technically be you never perf a well with over-pressured mud in it?

Under-balanced drilling can also be used for completing/drilling a well. Has anyone experience with this method? Does it work as advertised?

Yes kitty I've done both. But didn't want to lose folks in the details. It's pretty much standard practice by many operators to perf wells a little underbalanced (have fluid pressure slightly less then reservoir pressure). In many reservoirs it appears to make a better completion and a quicker clean up. Drilling underbalanced tends to split the oil patch into two different schools. The consevative side will never want to let hydrocarbons flow into the well bore while drilling if it can be avoided. On the other side there are operators who aren't bothered at all when there's a good bit of hydrocarbons (typically NG) coming back in the mud returns. For them if the NG gets too high "just circulate it out" and keep drilling. I've drilled wells with formation pressures equal to 15+ ppg with MW less than 12 ppg. No problem as long as you don't cut any porous rock that can flow on you. God help you if you do especially if there's oil/NG in the reservoir. You can get away with it but you better know exactly what you'r doing and be prepared to stand on the drill floor while you're turning to the right. I've had more than one suit who wanted to drill underbalanced as long as he was sitting in an office 100 miles away.

One of the reasons to drill underbalanced is it increases penetration rates thereby reducing the cost of the well. Anytime you can reduce hydrostatic head you can drill faster. That is the purpose of air drilling.

RM,RHH. Thanks guys.

The description is more or less OK, but the sizes are a little off. When a well is as stout as these deep water wells, the tubing is a lot larger. I like 5 1/2 inch tubing because it's safer, the safety valves are sturdier and function better. But I'm an old timer, but I've heard of larger sizes, which I think are just too dangerous to bother with. Call it religion.

Brought over from last thread:

ROCKMAN on July 7, 2010 - 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.


RM~so far I have to say they have done a hell of a job in alarming people and most from what I've researched have more mulitple "blogs and FB pages" etc and are asking for donations and have set up paypal acct's and links to their doomsday youtube reports where they get paid for every view. Nice way to make money off the worried people of the GC.

I can't believe this is still being discussed:

Two of the nation's top marine scientists published this paper, to suggest they are being intentionally alarmist, dishonest and attempting to exploit the situation is irresponsible and probably borders on slander. (Note: they in no way shape or form either implied or suggested anything about methane explosions)


Actually , reading this report, with the particular adjectives used, it seems more like some folks hoping for grant money than an objective research report. Does seem a bit alarmist but being as I am a scientist I prefer more dull fact based results based papers I guess.

Funny you mention that because IIRC and I'll have to go back and find the article. Kessler from TAMU was quoted in this article and look at how the reporter extrapolated what he stated:


Earlier this week Reuters reported on a massive amount of methane discovered in the Gulf of Mexico. Texas A&M University oceanography professor John Kessler said methane gas levels in some areas are “astonishingly high.” Kessler recently returned from a 10-day research expedition near the BP oil gusher. Kessler’s team measured both surface and deep water within a 5-mile (8 kilometer) radius of BP’s destroyed wellhead. “There is an incredible amount of methane in there,” Kessler told reporters. He said the level may be as much as one million times the normal level

“Plans are being put in place for the mandatory evacuation of New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Mandeville, Hammond, Houma, Belle Chase, Chalmette, Slidell, Biloxi, Gulfport, Pensacola, Hattiesburg, Mobile, Bay Minette, Fort Walton Beach, Panama City, Crestview, and Pascagoula,” Madsen writes.
On June 13, SoCal Martial Law Alerts (SCMLA) predicted that Gulf states would be evacuated. “Greg Evensen, a retired Kansas Highway Patrolman, estimates that 30-40 million people would need to be evacuated away from the Gulf’s coastline (i.e. at least 200 miles inland),” SCMLA reported.

“If the toxic gas bubble explodes, it might simultaneously set off a tsunami traveling at a high speed of hundreds of miles per hour. Florida might be most exposed to the fury of a tsunami wave. The entire Gulf coastline would be vulnerable, if the tsunami is manifest. Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and southern region of Georgia might experience the effects of the tsunami according to some sources.

Well, those are just a few of the quotes but it gives the picture and here is wher the grant comes in:

COLLEGE STATION, July 1, 2010 – Texas A&M University chemical oceanographer Thomas Bianchi will examine the oil-soaked Louisiana marshes next week as part of a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to conduct immediate research on the impact of the gulf oil spill.

The $117,000 grant, believed to be one of the first of its kind awarded to any university researcher, will enable Bianchi and colleagues Robert Cook of LSU and Michael Perdue of Georgia Tech to analyze current conditions of oil-soaked marshes near the communities of Terrebonne and Barataria, La. Those areas have been hard hit by the gulf oil spill, where many miles of marshes and wetlands are covered with oil.

LOL~Oh pls...I pray they don't see this!

Being a huge fan of crap SF flicks, I actually paid to see that.

I'm equally as worried about methane/hydrates/etc. forming Ice-Nine, however.

I would be very surprised if there is not a "SyFy Original" movie in development at this moment. Given the way they throw those things together, it should be ready any day.

I love CITW. I saw it first on TV, was supposed to be a big world-TV-premiere and my brother and I tuned in only to see the ending. Some schedule screwup. But they ran it again later. Just think: a new moon! I wonder what we'll get out of this mess. Nothing so romantic, I fear.

I love CITW.

The whole film is on Google Video:


It's actually pretty good, better than you'd think from the title--excellent direction, script, and acting (Dana Andrews stars). Some scenes are surprisingly gritty for Big Hollywood of the period (1965). Special effects are pre-CGI, but not bad considering. The science, such as it is, is pre-tectonic plate theory, so a whole lot of willing suspension of disbelief is required.

This was one of my favorite Saturday movies when I was a kid (pre VCR). It was a big deal when it turned up in the TV guide - highlight of the week. I love when they lower the "Little Boy" atomic bomb into the volcano.

The movie that scared me spitless when I was little was X the Unknown:
"British Army radiation drills at a remote Scottish base attract a subterranean, radioactive entity of unknown nature that vanishes, leaving two severely radiation-burned soldiers... and a "bottomless" crack in the earth. Others who meet the thing in the night suffer likewise, and with increasing severity; it seems to be able to "absorb" radiation from any source, growing bigger and bigger. What is it?? How do you destroy a thing that "feeds" on energy? Written by Rod Crawford

The one that scared Me as a nipper was Behemoth the sea monster, originally made in 1959. Radiation and Nessie, scared the behemoth out of Me, didn't sleep for months.http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_KZ_ozC-ZxC0/Ro98oZEqJGI/AAAAAAAAA2Y/YK2i-DaCApA/s400/behemoth4.jpg

Many people have written on TOD that BP and the Coast Guard are preventing people from finding out for themselves and from reporting what's really going on along the coastline. This report says that the NSF is funding some scientists to do exactly that.

The USGS sent scientists to Alaska while the pipeline was under construction, to record what the coastline was like before shipments of oil began. When the Exxon Valdez ran aground it was possible to contrast the post-spill and post-cleanup shoreline to what it had been like before by reading USGS reports. Sending in people who understand the shoreline and giving them enough money to do their jobs is a very good thing to do.

Beach, when you cut large chunks out of of the middle of an article you post, you should add the word [snip] to indicate that you have cut large chunks out of the middle of the article.

To insert a blockquote, add

< blockquote >

to the beginning of the paragraph you wish to blockquote, and

< /blockquote >

to the end of the paragraph
(note that there should be NO space between the < > / symbols and the word 'blockquote').

Will do next time. Sorry I just got in and saw this or I would have edited it earlier.

Please, please, please ... read these sensationalist articles very critically --

The article mentioned above (above the methane tsunami) is a great example of how to use a small quote from a scientist or reference to an actual scientific paper and then move into BS. It gives the impression that they are all part of one statement. If you read the article carefully, you'll note that it is not Kessler who is talking about evacuations or tsunamis.

The main profit motive is getting paid by the hit and by donations. This gives a huge incentive to make the "news" as dramatic as possible, with little downside for this site because the public's attention wanders on to the next "falling sky" article.

That has been my interpretation of quite a few of the scientific reports.


Sadly NAOM I have to agree, and to make it worse reporters make it even worse to feed the frenzy becaue it brings in viewers/readers. The reality is bad enough that we don't need to add BS just for someone to make a buck.

Well, Mac McClelland has moseyed from the Bird's Foot over to Pensacola: Come On In, The Water's Oily! As the headline tips off, beachmommy, both her perception and her photography differ somewhat from yours.

She's reporting for MotherJones, which does have a point of view but not a sensationalist one.

Mother Jones is reporting on things like oil rain, carcinogens in a different type of dispersant that is actually in use in the GOM and and dougr's posts. To me that is past sensationalism and into fear mongering.



STA, I hadn't seen the first of those, but yes, obviously she swallowed the dougr silliness, so that's bad. (And I'm surprised to see it at MoJo.)

The second post debunks the "oil rain" story, I'd say.

Debunks oil rain, yes, but it replaces it with something just as bad - carcinogens in the air from a dispersant that isn't being used in the Gulf. Factually incorrect and obviously trying to drum up fear of something that doesn't exist.

Not to mention that if you look at the comments on the story it is clear that many of the readers of the story are cloudy on the debunking and are buying into the toxic hydrocarbon rain idea.

Totally irresponsible journalism.

Okay, STA, point conceded. (How embarrassing for MoJo, and, um, me.)

Yes it true that Beachmommy has not been diging holes and using ultravoilet light, she has been taking pictures of the beach as it looks around her. However even the article mentioned "But for the tar balls, Pensacola Beach is still jaw-droppingly gorgeous". Beachmommy has mentioned that there are days of obviously oily water but then there are days without obviously oily water as well.

Lol. Lotus, don't waste your bandwidth. BM has to look up simper, and s/he plays the boys like a fiddle, but then uses the word extrapolate when s/he's going in for the coup de grace.


And poor old Ricky Johnson, the oil spill worker who fell overboard and spent 6 hours in the drink? Nary a word on him. Makes you wonder.

thank you!! finally.


I agree LOTUS, there are 10's of thousands of oil soaked beached everywhere and I just want to balance it out a bit, it is rare that it looks as bad as the perception the media is spinning so I am trying to show other shots that many have no access to unless they live here. Granted, the west end of the Island down near Ft. Pickens gets slimed the worst of any area but there is another 70% that is cleaned up. Just today one of the crew I know well came by on the ATV and told me that about 1 mile east was really bad and they were on their way to clean it up, since I am really nosey I drove down ~2hrs later and it was clean, apparantly it was tar balls and not the nasty ooze that hit here on the 23rd and was easier to clean. I also have pic's of nasty beaches from the 2 events that hit us hard, but posted the water/beach pic's that I will swim in myself and am trying to quell the fears from misinformation and the subsequent depression of those who think it's a doomsday scenario here. Thanks for the other links for MJ's, very intersting.

Yeah, mommy, nothing's plain or stable for long in this saga. What a summer, huh? I think we all might be in some kind of state that we won't really understand for years. I won't call it "shock" exactly anymore, but it's not common-run for anybody's psyche yet, either. Or so I perceive.

Exactly lotus, I have decided a six pack a day will help my "shock" level....my pic's today were pretty dull, nothing nearly as bad as TFHG, just red flag surf and a high tide that went all the way up to the walkovers and left seaweed, only found tar in one area but I didn't drive down to the west end (the six pack did me in)

Good insight Dan, but you're sounding more like a retired oilman than a scientist, otherwise you'd have provided some data and left out the cynicism:]

They did not supply any data on location, dispersion over time, or anything else. I will be glad to read any actual research after data has been gathered and analyzed. I have been around academia long enough to know how the game is played.
Does not take a genius to say that there would be increased methane in the area near a well that has been leaking a large amount of NG.

You nailed it. I came to that conclusion yest. No way would they put this kind of unsupported conjecture in any kind of scientific communication.

Guest~I am in now way talking about this report, I'm talking about locals here on the beach in P-Cola putting out outrageous stories like I posted last night ...one was about 4 people swimming in the Gulf waters and are now dead, guess they didn't assume others would research it and find these were drownings (sadly one was a 4yr old child in OB IIRC) only an extremely naive parent would let their 4yr old swim during a red flag day when rip currents are horrible. Only surfers go out on red flag days.

Beachmommy, if what I heard is true, it's even worse than that.

The 4 yr. old was taken into the water by her inebriated mom.

They both drown. too sad.

Unfortunately, there will always be a few people that will start/spread and sensationalize misinformation/ propaganda,
especially if there is money involved.

Again, too sad.

Best hopes the new depression strengthens no more.

Yes, I read that too.....very sad. WHO in their right mind would let a small child even in the water on a yellow flag day? Oh, believe me there is money involved and IMO the search for ego strokingas this activist is on every blog talk radio imaginable and can't understand (his words) why he isn't embraced and appreciated for his effort...maybe the big PAYPAL button, but few have researched him and read everything on the net about domain flipping for $$ and how to make a six figure income by building a good site. All of this on the back of GC folks who are in such economic trouble they can barely pay for utilites.

LOL about the depression, the waves today are huge and it will probably be another red flag day.....but it's finally sunny so I'll go to the beach and possibly surf if I can track down the regulars.

I don't like going in the water on a green flag day. There are some big sharks swimming inside the inner bar. You can see them easily from the tower at Eglin AFB. Seems the dredging and beach replenishment chased them off.

ive been surfing each storm swell so far, in texas we got one from alex, one from the new orleans depression and the current one, seen not just shark but ling and big drum maybe spawning but maybe forced into the shallows? any way any surfer knows that the surf will be up as long as there is a system in the gulf somewhere, my fav is when there is a storm of the florida panhandle...

Sad indeed. I guess it's not called the Redneck Riviera for nothing.

The two weeks of Easter we got almost one drowning a day down here. Primary cause - alcohol. That is despite our new lifeguard service, the navy setting up extra patrol tents with marines and nurses, extra patrol boats on the water, fire service jet skis, diving community pulling people out etc. People will seem to try anything to get themselves drowned.


A few weeks ago, we had a 12-year-old girl killed in Coralville Lake, not from drowning, but because she was being towed in an inner tube behind her dad's his motor boat, she fell off and was hit by another boat. Apparently towing kids in tubes around on lakes is a common practice for holiday lake fun. It sounds kind of dumb anyway, but it is also dangerous! Don't do this!

I have done this @ 50 MPH. Talk about dangerous. I think it was last week.

It is seriously fun. No way would I forego tubing due to boat risk - what's life for anyway? Even for kids it's not really that bad, if everybody is savvy and sober. The boat driver just needs to be mindful of traffic and manage the zone around any dumped tubers. The tubers need to raise hands (and of course wear a life-jacket!) to stay visible.

No way would I tube or ski on a congested lake. It's scary just boating when too much beer is involved.

Stay afloat - don't drink and boat!

Guest -- Please don't be jumpy. Re-read my post...I never refered to those folks you're defending. Perhaps you missed that part of the conversation. Or do you subscribe to the fear that a giant methane cloud will drift from the BP well and explode over land and kill millions? That was the alarmist comment I was refering...not your honest research hands.

Why would you insinuate that I subscribe to these outlandish theories of methane explosions?

What report were you referring to if not the one that was related to the discussion from the other day (link below)? As I recall the discussion started in part with some comments you made that seemed to contradict what McKinney was saying. Of course if you or others disagree with McKinney that's fine though in general a rebuttal based on ad hominem arguments adds little to the debate other than to stir up emotions and distract from the facts. But then that is the point of such an approach. Whatever...


Guest -- I did not knowingly condradict anything that McKinney said. Unless, of course, he claimed there were killer clouds of methane about to kill millions of folks or that the govt had begun planning for evacuation of millions of civilians from the coast areas. Those were the statements I was refering to. To he best of my memory I've never commented one way or the other re: anything he said. We're on two different wavelenghts buddy. You jumped into my conversation about an entirely different matter. But that's easy to do with all the jumping around we tend to do these days. Perhaps I didn't clearly clarify which statements I was refering to. But that's why I was kidding you about the killer methane bubbles. I didn't think you were buying into that.

I was sympathetic to your case (which is mostly a matter of those on both sides being a bit touchy/defensive) -- but that sympathy decreased a bit when I checked above the post history.

Your post itself seems pretty reasonable, but I checked the very top of the thread:


Huge Methane Gas Bubble Under Gulf Could Explode and Kill Millions (Hoax)
Could someone please address and debunk this HOAX that is appearing on the internet??

It's understandable that people associate your post with "exploding methane bubbles" since it was in fact posted in a thread about debunking exploding methane bubbles.

Threads drift all the time (just as real world conversations do) but you have to consider the context before you get het up about people's responses.

last comment from me on this - Many scientists and contributors here are reporting high concentrations of methane beneath the surface of the gulf. Some refer to these as plumes and others refer to these as clouds and some might confuse the terminology with bubbles, call it semantics. Apparently those terms are seen as alarmist by some and Rockman in the post you referenced initially implied they didn't exist at all (a point he subsequently clarified).

It was to that point I responded the other day suggesting that if one is to refute the conspiracy exploding methane theories it is best to do so with the correct information including the existence of areas of high concentrations of methane. To my surprise the discussion was resurrected earlier today with some apparent digs at the authors of the report "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". And it was to those digs I am now responding as I consider them to be bad form.

Guest - I beleive I said that giant clouds or bubbles of methane don't exist under the water. Do you disagree or am I still reading you wrong? I do think you misunderstood the report I was refering to: it was the one about the millions being killed by the exploding methane bubble. But maybe I was sloppy and didn't make the disticntion as clear as I should have. I've always felt that there were probably large potions of the GOM with very high levels of methane disolved in the water column and that can't be a good thing. On that point I'm pretty sure we both agree.

unfortunately, I said the above was my last comment:], notwithstanding I think this is mostly a case of semantics, as for the report you were referring to I obviously misunderstood since the one I posted the other day by McKinney is as far as I know the only one that has used the term clouds. Which report are you referring to? And yes we are in total agreement about the high levels of methane dissolved in water not being a good thing.

While it's good sport, probably the worst way to refute a conspiracy theory is to belittle its proponents as they will likely become that much more entrenched. On the other hand using logic and reason with a conspiracy proponent will likely not be effective either. But for the many who are on the sidelines providing fact based arguments goes a long way in preventing the spread of these baseless and alarmist theories.

More importantly those conspiracy theories distract from other serious issues, in this case the high levels of methane are potentially serious for the Gulf ecosystem and that is one of the discussions that we should be having.

Diverdan made a couple of cracks about the $8m+ funding request by a group of scientists. I noted Vernon Asper's name at the top of the list and not to be cynical but Vernon is the master at getting his piece of the off shore lease royalty pie. But does that diminish the importance of their work? I don't think so.

Ha Ha....I win ..I got Guest to reply. LOL. Just a friedly tease. I agree with you about Vernon and the boys. If not as a basic science necessity BP should be funding that effort as well as a few dozen more for the PR value alone. Given what they're spending on the spill those monies are chump change. As far as I know the amount of methane going into solution in the GOM is unprecedented. Given some concerns about methane hydrates eventually being mined/released we should make some lemonade out of this bitter fruit and learn something that might be of great value not too far down the road.

Again, just my silly opinion.

Rock: They have $500 million in research dollars they need to give out. If the independent overseer thinks the project is worthwhile it will be funded. My bet is that they will be competing with a lot of other proposals.

Thanks Dan...didn't know that. Apparently someone at BP got their head of their butt long enough to make a good decision for a change.

For all the bonehead decisions a couple of BP guys may have made that led to this mess the company actually has been pretty good about funding research and alternative energy stuff compared to other oil companies. My kid had pointed out the $500 million to Berkeley and U of Ill for biofuels research. Does not justify internal control shortcomings but compared to some companies they have been pretty generous in those areas.

agreed guest.

quote: "To make matters worse, the area of the blowout and oil slick is the most productive part of the Gulf of Mexico. This is because nutrients from the Mississippi River promote algal growth, which is at the base of the food chain. This plankton (or swimming food) falls to the bottom creating the richest shrimping and fishing grounds in the Gulf. There are two problems caused by the spill. Not only are these organisms being killed, but the breakdown of the oil by bacteria requires oxygen, which will further increase the size of
the dead zone off Louisiana this summer. The extraordinary quantities of methane are contributing to this problem. Researchers studyng the clouds have found concentrations of methane up to 10,000 times normal and oxygen levels depleted by 40%, over normal"

bad news, but not alarmist. Many others have said the same thing.

We have been hearing for years that excess nutrients, mainly nitrates, in the Mississippi River and the subsequent algae blooms they feed are what cause the dead zones in the first place? Are you saying this is not true? Are the massive algae blooms beneficial?

Water that is low in nutrients, like mountain streams on the east slope of the Appalachians, supports a relatively thin food chain. It takes three years to grow a 10" trout. The biomass supported by a body of water increases with added nutrients. But with excessive nutrients the rich body of water passes into the dystrophic stage (I don't know if that term is applied in salt water) where you have too much algae and too little oxygen. So the fertilizer carried by the Mississippi is beneficial up to a point, and then it is harmful.

"Plume" is the term of art (jargon) for a zone of a medium that contains a trace contaminant. After people used that term correctly it was misinterpreted to mean something much more ominous. Montagna and McKinney wrote that an "underwater cloud of oil and methane gas" is creating a dead zone in the Gulf. The problematic word in that formulation isn't "cloud", it's "gas". The methane in question is dissolved in seawater, and it's present in concentrations of tens to hundreds of parts per million.

The way to get the correct message across is to keep explaining as long as anyone is listening. Choosing individual words won't do the job; somebody will always understand them in a different way and draw unwarranted conclusions.

"Plume" is the term of art (jargon) for a zone of a medium that contains a trace contaminant.

Yeah, and as the figure at the end of the pdf shows, the authors are using the term "plume" as it is being interpreted colloquially, as a highly concentrated solution, as opposed to the much more dilute "plumes" that NOAA has been reporting on.

If the scientists can't use a uniform terminology, how can anyone expect the general public to not be confused.

I’m not trying to get on one side or the other concerning the methane bubble because I don’t know. If you read about the sinking of the Java Sea you will see that a large methane release split the ship amid ships and also crushed the bow. The ship was located in the South China Sea where there is known to be fissures in the floor.

How this large bubble could collect on the bottom and then roar to the surface with enough force to split the ship is beyond me.

The Glomar Java Sea sinking had NOTHING to do with a methane bubble and everything to do with Typhoon Lex. We lost a 6 man standby diving crew who were onboard, the supervisor was a friend of mine.


We really need a Who's Who here - you were a deepwater platform manager, ROCKMAN works in the field, AlanfromBigEasy knows what time it is. So many of these others I don't know at all and they say things that are obviously a bit cracked, even to my layman's view of the industry.

So who else besides you three really gets it? I hear there is a tool pusher that posts here, not sure of his name ...

SW - Rockman is no deepwater platform manager. Rockman is a simple ice cream loving geologist who occasionally thinks he understands engineering more than he really does. I always like to stick to my basic Internet rule: don't believe everything you read. I've even had doubts about some of my own posts to be honest.

Rockman is a very experienced Blue Bell junkie geologist who has seen wells from Alaska to Africa. He's also very modest about his knowledge. While his knees don't work well anymore he has forgotten more than many ever knew.
Shelburn owned a deep water diving and submersibles company and spent quite a bit of time in and under the GOM.
There are a couple of toolpushers, some drilling engineers, a retired O&G lawyer, a retired ARCO exec, some other geologists, etc. from in the business.
Then there are the wacko's and who knows who is lurking.

NASA -- Thanks for the accolades. But I've only ventured as far north as Wyoming. And true...I have forgotten much and it gets worse everyday. But I do love the looks of my typed words. Early on I mentioned that TOD allows me the rare opportunity to be one of the smarter guys in the room. Just too bad it's such a sad circumstance.

Rock: Stop the Blue Bell! Building up plaque in your head! I can barely remember all the countries or states of the exploration wells I have been involved with. But my excuse is all the partying with the Brit and Aussie expats and also being a product of the 60's----and just feelin' old. But I have a couple kids who help me remember a lot of things.

Hopefully the younger guys in the oil patch (are there any under 35?) will listen to your war stories and gain some appreciation and maybe a little bit of know how!! Those that do not learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them...and usually in a very painful manner.

Ain't nothing better than sitting around a bar listening to war stories. I've learned more that way than any of the classes they make me take.

I'll cop to being younger (note the 86 in the name), but not to being a guy. :-)

Hell dan...hanging with Brits and roos. You're a woos. Go partying with some Norwigians and then try to get up the next morning and function. Hell...just try to get up. Thank God I've gotten old enough to not even consider doing such things anymore.

Yes...a lesson for the youngsters: never go partying with a Norwigian especially when he gets off the elevator at the Holiday Inn and he's not wearing shoes. That should have been my first hint.

Yep - I've partied with Scandiwegians after work hours and it does tend to mess with the next working day. Recall a Norwegian process engineer from Statoil coming to a HAZOP in his surfing shorts, so the bare feet reference does ring bells!

Yabut how do they survive Brazil, the non-oil guys are bad enough?


Rockman: Better yet I did not heed the warning that if you invite Norwegians over for dinner to lock the bar first. They will not leave until it has been emptied it out.
I worked for a guy once who would, as all good expat managers do, have people around for good dinner parties. Problem was even when the night got down to just 3 people, if he opened a bottle of cognac no one could leave until it was empty.
Had a going away party at a hotel restaurant for a Geophysical manager in an Asian office. Bill came and had to sign of for 18 bottles of cognac. And then there were the Hash House Harrier "down downs".
That was the fun stuff along with selling and drilling wildcats. Unfortunately, lost several friends through the years(a lot of near misses too) in the patch.

I did also work for a guy who smoked big cigars and had a desk drawer full of Krugerrands he used to flip during meetings in his office. When he retired he said he was going to rent an office and spend all his time interviewing secretaries.

roger that cap'n

i've been involved in a few drinking games with the O'wegians mostly when touching bank at stavangar, norway......

without exception i've regretted my decision come morning...something about that viking DNA i think....hardy stock ..too hardy

maybe i'll win one drinking bout someday before i hang my red-wings

Anyone got some experience drinking with the Russians ? Knowing a few myself and having attended a few parties hosted by those fine folk I think they would make the Norwegians look like beginners. I've seen a Russian grandma drink a 25yr old under the table.


it aint the O'wegians ability to drink that surprises me...its their ability to drink like a sailor and show up all fine in the morning to work that surprises me....

any1 can drink like a fish, nurse a cupla aspirins come morning, and get going after getting their bearings ....its the way the damn vikings wake up all ready to saddle up come morning that gets me down ...

way i see it ....5 ppl decide to let loose ...there should be 5 ppl suffering in the morning


NASA: Yes. Could be a great competition. I also know some Croatians too who could do pretty well..and then there are .......

Mnh-hmnh. But I don't use a pseudonym like the rest of you do.

Shucks. The stories you could tell . . .

Good shares all. And since the editors didn't run us off I'll finish the story. Ended up in a bar in N Dallas (we were doing a petrophysics school for Mobil). This Norwigian had a heavy accent but did one of the best Elvis impressions I’ve every seen. It was great right up to the point when the bouncers tried to drag him off the top of the bar. Being young, foolish and drunk I became “involved”. The best way to describe what followed is to repeat a story that the comedian Ron White recently shared about a similar incident he was “involved” in. He said he didn’t really know how many of them it would take to whip his ass, but apparently they had it covered. Jump forward to our interaction with a pair of Dallas cops. Between the Norwigian vomiting and the blood dripping from the eyebrow of the gal geologist with us the cops decided they didn‘t want to put us in their nice clean cruiser. She got into with a barmaid and took a heavy glass filled with a brandy Alexander (don’t ask how I remember that detail after more than 30 years) to the forehead. They just sent us down the road. The vomiting? I found out the next day that this wasn’t the first time he got out of trouble with that move. It was actually the third time. He didn’t get arrested the other times but a couple of French cops did beat the crap out of him.

BTW -- When he was up on the bar I noticed he had shoes on. No idea where they came.

So not only are them Norskes bottomless, they're quick-thinking too, huh, Rockman? And then there're the volatile gal geologists?

Wotta life. Tsk.

Plenty of the Norweigian/Swedish geo/petrol engineering students I went to school with were gals. We had occasional drinks, but nothin' rip-roarin'. Tho I'm usin' a pseudonym, the only thing I'll relate to about drinkin' with a russian co-worker I'll pass on, is that it was some very good vodka, and a very good time. But that's enough about me...

Rock:So that was you outside of Campesi's or was it Club Schmitt's, Clesea Street Pub or were you on Greenville Avenue? Were you near MEPSI?

Heck dan...considering the shape I was in I'm lucky just to remember it was Dallas.

His initials weren't HWW were they? Sounds just like my mentor who insisted on hitting the casinos in Tunica, MS every Friday after they first opened. He would get so drunk and play black jack and hit a 17??? Then I would hear "I'm a phoenix, I've risen from the ashes" and that was my cue to go drag his rear out of the restroom and deliver him back home to his wife. That and dropping his pants at the companies 25th anniversary and knocking out a branch manager on a company trip were just a few of his moments, there were so many that he had pre-printed cards that apologized for his behavior with a __________ for the date so he could fill them in. Funny thing is he never got sick and was at work the next day at 7am while I was still puking from the night before (course it was my fault as I had no clue you weren't supposed to inhale a cigar) and he always wore shoes.

Cheryl. I went to school with a bunch of folks who are at Los Alamos, some in very high places. Maybe I'll check up on you ad post some stories:)

Cheryl: Speaking if pseudonyms, it reminds me of the Aggie politician who late at night walked into a hotel with a nice young lady. The desk clerk asked him to sign the register. He made an X and then put a circle around it. The clerk says : "What's the circle for?". The Aggie says : "You don't think I'd use my real name do you?"

DIXIE CHICKEN .....do you folks rmbr the beer mecca whilst yall's skool at A&M ??

plenty of my stories at A&M start out somewhere along the lines of ..

"well, we were at the dixie splitting a few cold ones and........."

i spent all 4 yrs at walton hall ...which was conveniently just across the road from dixie chicken....any other walton survivors here on the TOD

[EDIT] things were esp fun around the bonfire time....i rmbr the walton crew always got the first cut ....whippin axes piss drunk at trees was fun ...too bad about the bonfire later on

dang ali..I hadn't thought of the Chicken in decades!

RM --

LOL....the chicken can be out of mind but never out of any Aggies heart

rmbr my ring dunk.....we was at the chicken ....on the patio in the back and got so wasted....dunked my pitcher of beer ....almost swallowed the ring....reckon was about 10 of us who'd gotten the ring that day....long story short....someone suggested all 10 of us strip down to our boxers and do the chicken dance in honor of the dixie chicken.....needless to say we enjoyed the hospitality of the CSPD that night ...

I so loved the Dixie Chicken, that place was always packed and the "old" bonfires were the best-I hate what happened when the students died but also hated to see a school so deeply rooted in tradition break one, well more than one IIRC they only have one walk on player on the 12th man kick off team. Lot of aggies here I noticed.

Yeah and I thought it was supposed to be a site that offered high level discussion. Just kidding beachmummy aggie.

It's ok DD~Obviously I have little to add here among the posters as far as knowledge.....just tons of questions (even for an aggie) Now if you tell me your a longhorn, well that's another story .

mummsie ....yup..it was sad about the bonfire ....dunno if yall been out visiting or to kyle field for a game ....they built a bonfire memorial ....

heard through a few of me cousins who r at A&M right now...they got an unofficial bonfire going these days.....never that big and mighty ...but the students do it somewhere off hwy30

I haven't been in years but live vicariously thru my friend that still live in TX and never miss a game-my work schedule is hectic and as a single mommy I am kinda grounded when not traveling for work, I had heard they moved the bonfire off campus....the 12th man tradition ticked me off too, was that Franchione that stopped it?

I do love A & M as it produces such high level engineers, vets and geologist just to name a few so was really pleased to see that John Wright was an aggie.

Looks like RM's nic mummsie has now my new name!

I'd like to add, as a petroleum engineer, I always found geologists to be quite handy. This is even more so if they know how to log a well, so we could circulate until 5 pm or so, and leave him in charge to log the well while we went to quarters and got to sleep all night. Some of them are so good at staying up all night while we sleep, I'd call them man's best friend.

Are those here to learn stuck in the wacko group? May please have our own sub-group?

TODG (groupies)?

"never eat dry rice krispies at 750 ft"

Pssst, gmf: I think we do have our own subgroup. "Wormlets," prolly.


I am used to being called 'worm'. Much of my family worked offshore and worm was one of my nicknames. Didn't know what it meant until I came here.

Better a worm than a wanker...I knew what that meant.

GMF: Made me laugh out loud with that one. I remember we used to give out the wanker of the week award to those who cheated in the hash run.

excellent info, thanks shelburn.

Interesting reading - management too cheap, dismisses concerns, regulations not followed, ... - the usual stuff.

I read that post and it jogged my Memory, I worked for Global Marine (Glomar Tasman) back in the 70's
I remember reading up on it, But for some reason the Article didn't mention Glomar - so I skipped over it, my memory must be failing - I thought it was the Glomar Coral Sea that went down. And yes it was a Typhoon - I remember the fuss at the time about missing crew, was claimed they had been captured by Vietnamese.
Don't think it was ever sorted, they were classed as MIA for years after.

As far as I know the Coral Sea is still working but under what company and name I don't know.

The MIA business was never solved as far as I know.

The diving supervisor I knew was one of the few bodies recovered from the wreck.

Edit - I think the Coral Sea went to South Africa as a diamond mining vessel.

Edit 2 - Found it! http://www.debeersgroup.com/en/Exploration-and-mining/Mining-operations/...

One of 3 ships and an AUV mining 240,000 carats of diamonds a year for DeBeers in South Africa. I note they "focus on recruiting historically disadvantaged South Africans".

I'm thinking the MIA story is a bit "greatly exaggerated" (cf. Twain).

If you read even part of the above referenced PDF,
there was a long list of errors:
* two few of the sailing kind of crew on board, so they could not easily, safely get underway, so they were going to ride it out at anchor on the well site (old school, anchored drill ship in 300 feet of water).
* unfamiliar, poorly maintained life boats,
* wrong radio in the life boats,
* minimal lifeboat training
* the sounding tubes (pipes used to lower a weighted line down) for many of the voids (empty compartments used for floatation and balancing the ship) were awash on exposed decks in a typhoon.
* no clear plan of responsibility for who was in charge of stowing cargo and maintaining the balance of the ship.

The last radio transmission reported the ship was listing 15 degrees starboard, with 75 knot winds (86 mph, 140 kph). Communications were lost 3 minutes into the conversation, at which time the ship capsized and sank in 317 feet of water. No survivors found at sea. A month later, a diving expedition finds the ship, upside down, 1600 feet (500 meters) from the well. 4 Months later, the ship is search, 31 of 36 bodies found are recovered. 45 missing, presumed dead.

Hard to say, but probably shifting of cargo (drill pipe/casing/etc.).
Also, many weather deck and internal watertight hatches were not securely closed.
(echos in Deepwater Horizon sinking).
The hull fractures are consistent with sinking and being crushed, not with a breakup while floating.

"Lex" was forecast to "only" be a tropical storm, but exceeded 64 kts wind and became a typhoon, yet no indication of anyone taking any action.
(echos of DWH and the mud/seawater flowback).

One lifeboat was launched, and two days later a distress signal using the drillship's call sign was received.
A day after that, a Chinese helicopter sights a capsized lifeboat, but it was never seen again.
The radio on the lifeboat required a hatch to be open, but recent regulations required lifeboat radios to be operable without opening a hatch.
Coast Guard and FCC didn't catch the lack of proper model of radio.
An inflatable life raft from the drill ship was recovered, ripped and battered, along with some other debris and an emergency beacon positively identified with the drillship.

So, it sure appears to me that someone on the lifeboat opened the hatch to send another/the distress signal and they got swamped by a wave (40 foot waves the day of the drill ship sinking).
How long would you last in 40 foot seas if tossed in suddenly, maybe no time to grab a life vest?

As far as lifeboat hatches being opened at inopportune times,
Rockman had this tale from May 21.
(not to be read during dinner or ice-cream)
(there, don't you feel better about using oil - not just our soldiers are spilling blood for oil. </sarcasm>)

Mis-communication, heavy weather etc. resulted in a delay before a search was made. U.S., Chinese and Vietnamese military forces and CNOOC/BP/other companies searched in vain for any survivors,
some of the searchers suffering damage to their vessels.
Doesn't seem like the Vietnamese would take at most 81 foreign captives, or sail into a typhoon to do it, when thousands of their countrymen could "need to be re-educated".

Easier to deny the hard cold reality of death at sea with exotic tales of secret conspiracies that sometime in the future hopefully will be safety resolved - "and then `they' (all the good people) lived happily ever after".
Kinda like denying peak oil with panglossian "a few windmills and solar panels will save us", or "we'll just shoot the liberal eco-nazis and the rag-heads, then drill, baby, drill will get us all the oil we'll ever want".

I tend to agree with you about the MIA story.

As for all the mistake in training and equipment - that's where regulations come from. If the DWH blowout had happened in 1983 I expect the loss of life would have been much greater.

The subsequent legal disputes brought more facts to light. One that I don't believe has ever been published is that it is quite possible the Java Sea swung around almost 180 degrees after the first anchor chains broke so that one or more of the remaining anchors was looped under the vessel pulling it in the same direction as the list probably causing the actual capsizing.

The anchor chain became a critical point in various lawsuits and the company I was with was contracted to go out and try to recover some of the broken ends. The portion that was recovered and analyzed for the USCG report became a critical piece of evidence and - are you ready for this - had been sold for scrap in Singapore. The world's most expensive scrap hunt ensued and I believe they actually found it.

I was noticing this article from Drumbeat:

Abandoned oil wells make Gulf of Mexico 'environmental minefield'

There are more than 27,000 abandoned wells in the Gulf of Mexico, according to AP, of which 600 belonged to BP. The oldest of the abandoned wells dates back to the late 1940s and the AP investigation highlights concerns about the way in which some of the wells have been plugged, especially the 3,500 neglected wells which are catalogued by the government as "temporarily abandoned". The rules for shutting off temporarily closed wells is not as strict as for completely abandoned wells. . .

AP quoted state officials as estimating that tens of thousands are badly sealed, either because they pre-date strict regulation or because the operating companies violated rules. Texas alone has plugged more than 21,000 abandoned wells to control pollution, according to the state comptroller's office. In state-controlled waters off the coast of California, many abandoned wells have had to be resealed. But in deeper federal waters, AP points out, there is very little investigation into the state of abandoned wells.

The US Minerals Management Service, now called the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement and charged with keeping an eye on offshore drilling, has little power to deal with abandoned wells. It merely requests paperwork to prove that a well has been capped and unlike regulators in states such as California, it does not typically inspect the job.

Has anyone run into this issue?

There are both cement and metal involved in the sealing, both of which are subject to attack by salt water. Some of those plug jobs have to fail, all of them have some amount of methane as a cap, and that's 23x the greenhouse gas that carbon dioxide is.

It may be safest, environmentally speaking, for the gas caps to be flared before sealing, but I don't know the emissions particulars.

We always come back to the same point - there are no clean fossil fuels, just degrees of dirty.

I don't see why concrete exposure to seawater should be an issue. The Romans mastered this technology 2000 years ago and many of the marine concrete structures they built are still doing fine. Vitruvius writing in his De Architectura 25 BC even gives some formulation recommendations.

Surely we haven't fallen that low.

Gail - The potential for an abandoned oil/NG well to leak is always there. Just as true onshore. But the statement "Texas alone has plugged more than 21,000 abandoned wells to control pollution..." can be a little misleading . The state had to plug these wells (all operators contribute to the plugging fund via the state permits) because small operators walked from them. But they were plugged to prevent potential pollution problems...not existing ones for the most part. Actually ground water contamination by salt water coming up improperly abandoned wells is THE big concern...much more so than oil pollution on the surface.

OCS wells have to be P&A according to MMS specs. Have some of the wells not been plugged properly? Certainly...either unintentionally or thru sloppy/non-compliant efforts. I've never seen a report of an abandoned OCS well leaking oil/NG. But I also doubt anyone has every surveyed them with that purpose in mind. If there were a big oil leak we would know about it, of course. Small leaks comparable to natural seeps may well exist IMHO. How alarmed anyone should be is rather subjective IMHO.

Rockman - you are correct about well plugging in Texas for environmental reasons. I worked on a plugging crew in south & central Texas for 4 yrs in the 90's - we worked for The Railroad Commission, which has nothing to do with railroads.

We circulated out any oil (mud around) & set plugs to protect freshwater zones mostly. Worked on conventional workover & coil tubing rigs both.

Anybody know why a giant coil tubing rig couldn't be used on 252 to collect oil?

Keith Olbermann had one of his "experts" on tonight. He was talking about all these abandoned wells that were out there without an inspection program. He left a solid conviction that there were some probably already leaking and some just ready for a blowout on the same scale as the BP Macondo.

I was especially intrigued by his explanation that some of the wells were TA (temporarily abandoned) as opposed to a full P&A, because they were "out of control" or "uncontrolled". I guess he actually meant that because he repeated it - "uncontrolled".

TA and PA are complementary processes....

downhole the process to TA or PA a producer well is the same.....you squeeze the producing zone ....you come up and place a 300' cmt plug mid-way and then you place another 300' cmt plug within 1000' of your well head.....the last is 300' slug is usually placed 200-500 below the wellhead.....

the only place form the perspective of a producing well where a TA and a PA differ is surface procedure....in a TA you leave the wellhead intact incase you ever decide to go back in ...this happens all the time....price of oil goes up ...a well producing 40 bbl of oil a day at crazy WOR's become economical ....even with the cost of trucking the ridiculous amounts of water to a processing facility....cupla yrs ago when oil price spiked and wells all over west texas were brought online with workover units......

when you PA a well...you run the same procedure downhole but chop off the wellhead and cmt at the surface too....[

there is no danger of a blowout per say....maybe 5% or less have developed seepage .......IMHO even 5% is a liberal guess more likely 1 or 2%.....these are depleted reservoirs with hardly any pressure......this is olberman being olberman.....i won't say a blowout on an abandoned well is impossible but i will say as close to impossible as things get

just my 0.02 here......

The thing that really got to me was the absurdity of the explanation that one of the reasons for a TA vs a PA was because the well was "out of control". By definition any well that is TA or PA can not be out of control.


in the land of olberman and his experts funny things can happen ....

It would just be hunky dory fantastic if all my dry holes suddenly became out of control.

"Once the bottom plug gets to the end of the casing, there are ports it passes that allow the cement to flow out of the casing and back up the outside."

How does the cement flow back up to the outside? Wouldn't previous cement plugs farther up the hole create a tight seal that blocks any flow into the annulus?

Along that line I have been wondering where the mud goes that is ahead of the cement.


Matt Simmons via telephone a few minutes ago reiterated his contention the casings on the well are damaged and the relief wells will not work. (CNBC)

He has had every opportunity to back down.

What if Matt is correct?

can a link to that be provided?

If RWs don't work, then they go to long-term capture/containment, or at least that's the sense of what I've been reading. Simmons had a bad day yesterday if he's still short thousands of shares of BP stock.

Stephen Rinehart continues today with nuke option/hardcap problems.

July 7

The Macondo Well has all the earmarks of being a super high pressure blow-out that is into the earth’s mantle. ...the situation is in a transition of going from very bad to worse with maybe three options left. Try and seal it with massive amount of super heavy mud , attempt to seal it (way down-hole) with a small nuke if the granite cap is not fractured (maybe start with one-kiloton weapon), or let it flow for thirty+ years and contaminate the world’s oceans/environment


Oh dear Ghu....

That's way into point-and-laugh territory, isn't it? (On at least three points that I can see.)

this article raises 'alarmist' to a new level.

"The Macondo Well has all the earmarks (based on current response, length of time to drill the relief wells, high pressure hard cap designs/fabrication) of being a super high pressure blow-out that is into the earth’s mantle. The “red oil” that is being seen floating on the GOM surface could be from the earth’s mantle (Where is the chemical signature for this oil after 70 days?)."

if the pressures are that high, why hasn't the thing already blown up the GOM?

Unfortunately he cites a now disappeared post at rense.com, one of the silliest of all the heavy breather websites. I've never found a link to a credible source for the contention that the TJ has documented anomalies around the well bore; if someone has one please post it here. 40,000 psi seems highly unlikely given all the drilling docs that are available and there's no common sense explanation for a psi that high. BP has purportedly described trying to patch cracks, however, which would be worth another link.

Remember when we could turn in Walter Cronkite and believe the news? We cannot function until we get reliable information back.

Sometimes parody seems pointless.

Hooooooooo boy! Just that extract is a whole load of used Texas pasture. I am not going over there to give him clicks and I would suggest that others do the same.


on the other hand, from the same site, a guy backing down from alarmist rhetoric:


on the other hand, from the same site, a guy backing down from alarmist rhetoric:


Excellent review of dispersants.

"One thing that tends to be very well understood on both sides of the argument is that as toxic to the environment as both oil and dispersants are they are exponentially more toxic when combined into dispersed oil. In fact Dr. Richard Denison, a senior scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund, reveals that independent testing shows that oil that combines with Corexit is four times as toxic as oil and ten times as toxic as Corexit alone. One has to wonder why we’re continuing to use this when independent testing has never shown that dispersant laced oil is safer; the benefit merely lies in its disappearance from view and its supposed speed of breakdown."

the EDF isn''t a group I would count on to to give an independent scientifically valid study. When they say "independent" they mean they did it, not the oil companies. Did they publish the data and results for a peer review before releasing them for the public? There is so much fake science and slanted/biased research it will make you crazy. Unfortunately the average American doesn't have the knowledge/education/common sense to know which is good and which is crackpot or which is biased.

The EDF tries to find solutions to environmental problems that make economic sense. They're motivated to tell the truth because if they lose credibility they won't be able to keep their partners either on the business side or on the government side.

Looking at the EDF web site and Annual Report they do seem to be very broad based in their efforts. They are also huge Global Warming and Carbon Tax proponents and not oil friendly at all. While they do good things (Clean Water, Safe Food) the overall agenda is fairly left wing. They spend 3:1 on Climate Research over anything else.They make some wild claims about benefits of their actions like 15K lives/yr saved in the US due to tighter standards on the oil ocean-going ships can burn. They make no mention of the processes they use to insure the work they do and the information generated is scientifically valid. I won't even get into some of the crazies they have on their staff and Board of Directors. It all seems to be a way to pay some nice money out for questionable and sometimes even common sense science (decreasing your electric use will save you money, we shouldn't overfish oceans) plus they made $40M on about $145M in donations even after spending $10M to raise more donations!! You have to look deeper into these things and not just take the Marketing as the Truth of the matter.

I was working as an 'independent scientist' at the time of the Exxon Valdez spill. We were rushed dispersants for toxicity testing in the bioassay lab I was working in.

At all concentrations, the dispersants we tested killed everything. I don't know what the 'commercial names' of the dispersants were.

Thru that job I ended up at another job where I worked closely with "Dr. Joye" (Mandy) for a number of years. She's a great hardworking scientist. She is a biogeochemist and NOT an 'oil-patch' specialist. When she talks oceanography and chemistry and biology, I recommend listening. If she drifts into breached well casings.... maybe not the best source of information.

ALL concentrations? So 1 part in 10 million was just as fatal as 1 part in 1?
Killed everything? All species known to man were tested?

Nice to hear from you, Mr NASA.

Our lab was on SF Bay. We had striped bass, trout, stickleback, a host of local species. The guy running the lab was a former student of my dad. That's how I got the job. I would have preferred to stay on the coast surfing all the time...

I was a lowly 'lab tech'. I was in awe of the cute freckled girl who put the tests together. Rather basic really - all about dilution and repetition.

Anyways, as opposed to the usual dredged-up harbor mud, this sh*t killed everything. And I assure you the fish were equally dead whether the concentration was high or very very low.

Wouldn't you be interested to know the results of some bioassays where baby fish and turtles and humans were exposed to BP oil + Corexit?

Wonder why no one has commissioned it and is reporting the results?

Wouldn't you be interested to know the results of some bioassays where baby fish and turtles and humans were exposed to BP oil + Corexit?


Wonder why no one has commissioned it and is reporting the results?

I can see why BP might decide to leave that to someone else, but it is disapointing that we are left to speculate and wonder.

A fair amount of related work has been conducted for a while, now. Reviewing the literature will demonstrate that some studies suggest that dispersed oil (oil plus Corexit) is less toxic to tested marine organisms than crude oil alone; some have found that dispersed oil is more toxic; some have found no significant difference. The jury is still out.

Start here:


It is reasonable to assume that dispersed oil somewhere in the deep gulf is preferred over thick oil on birds at beach that make the headline photos is preferable to both politicians and liable companies. In this instance, the fact that BP has arranged for considerable dispersant storage on the sea floor that will deliver dispersant even when the containment vessels are removed during storm conditions, show that it is providing considerable benefit to BP. I have seen no objection to this from the coast guard or the EPA — which may support the above due to political reasons.

Given the slow movement of currents in deep water, and the lower frequency of marine life there, maybe they are hoping it will just slowly disperse into the loop current and move to the Atlantic achieving dilutions that will render it harmless in the long term. Lesser of the evils.

Antidotally, from my diving and fishing experience in the shallow gulf to 100 feet or so, the bottom is devoid of visible marine life until you reach an oil rig structure or artificial reef.

I guess I think the damage to the Louisiana estuaries, where the most breeding and feeding take place will be the real killer problem. Anything to keep oil from there, if it is not too late, is worth pursuing.

answering my own question:


no evidence, just more of the same rhetoric

We shall soon see won't we.
I think even if the case is damaged that you would be able to pump enough mud down the hole and up from the relief well to stop it.

If the RW works Matt Simmons will slink back into the shadows and he and his forecast will soon be forgotten. OTH if he is right than he will be hailed as a great prophet and his reputation will be made for the next 10-15 years.

All a matter of risk reward.

That is to say that wild doom prophesy is worth the risk considering the low down side and the high up side? If so, I agree. 1000 wrong predictions are forgotten if one is proven correct. This is not a new phenomenon.

Don't worry. Matt Simmons is NEVER right and never in doubt.

I'm still holding my breath a little on this. That 'figure-8' shown in the riser looks too much like liner for my tastes. Still, even if the liner was partially ejected, it seems like the relief well could still work.

BTW, I'm wondering what the downside would be if extra heavy mud was needed. I understand that on a well that is to be produced you don't want to frac the structure with mud, but if the plan is to kill it, why would that be a bad thing? (I'm guessing there is a reason, but I just can't think of it myself...)

From what I have been learning here, the mud would flow into the fractures then you have no mud holding back the maelstrom. Am I right oil guys?


Joseph -- If they get the MW too high and frac into the rocks all the mud could go into the rock instead of up the csg. Thus no chance to kill the well. Also, such lost circulation could cause the RW hole to be lost or even blow out the rig drilling the RW. Lost circulation is always bad. Sometimes it can cost you money...sometimes lives.

Hi JP!

In order to stop the flowing well you must have pressure in the well bore equivalent to the pressure of the fluids in the formation (the porous rock which has the oil/water/gas in the pay zone or zone which is flowing).

We achieve the balancing pressure by building a fluid column which enough height and weight to produce the balanced pressure.

If the relief well has too much pressure, and the formation fractures, the mud which you are using to build your column will flow into the fractures and the column does not get built. You also have a case where those same mud returns are lost and do not return to your surface system, so you could eventually run out of mud to circulate. If the fracture occurs, then you loose the fluid, and can not maintain the pressure head, the well will start to flow, but without your ability to circulate, you can't fight it.

Now things could really get bad. On the relief well you could control the flow as the well starts to kick, by closing the annular and perhaps pumping a heavy weight viscous pill.

Consider if you have now partially filled the flowing well with mud. That mud column most probably would not be sufficient to stop the flow, and the continued flow would tear apart the mud column which you have built.

Now in order to build a static column high enough to kill the well, they will either need to connect riser to the BOP and pump all the way from bottom to the surface with their approximately 14 ppg mud, or they will need to go in with a mud of about 16.7 ppg from the bottom to the sea floor. Without the riser, they would not be able to have the column of sufficient height because as once the mud reaches the sea floor it would flow out at the break above the BOP.

If they go to the 16.7 ppg mud, there is grave risk of fracing the formation between the last casing point and the wild zone of the flowing well because there they would have that heavy column of the RW all the way to the surface.

They can drill the relief well at a balanced mud and then try to weight up like crazy once they open communications with the wild well. But there are a lot of unknowns. If they have flow behind casing, then they may come into communications with the wild well before they hit the casing. Depending on the amount of erosion that may also be taking place, the original well bore could be starting to wash out so they may hit it sooner than expected. Just a possibility.

The real question is about the fracture gradient and how much difference is their between enough pressure to stop the flow verses how much weight would fracture the formation. In deep water geology like this, there may not be much room for error.

Hope this helps


Rockman and estamos, thank you very much for your tutelage.

It never cases to amaze me that knowledgeable folks step up to answer these kind of civilian questions at TOD. It's been quite an education these last few weeks. The entire process of drilling and completing a well looks to be a bit of a tightrope walk, something that hadn't really been covered very deeply (sorry 'bout the pun) in the previous years on TOD.

It leaves me both a little more apprehensive of the drilling process, and in awe of the technology and people who can make it work.

Joseph -- you're not the first person I've "awed". I've heard many say of me: "Awe...what they hell did he just do?" and "Awe...what the hell was he thinking?" Actually I think more credit is deserved by all the non-oil patch types on TOD and the efforts they've made. It' s no secret to some folks on TOD what a low opinion I have of our populace and their unwilingness to make the effort to understand all the critical issues we're facing today. The response I've seen on TOD softens that view somewhat. Even though collectively we're a small and insignificant group which no one gives a crap about what we think. Sorry...slipped a little there. LOL. But that's probably one reason I over react to some of those bizarre stories a few folks are spreading. It's difficult enough for the general public to grasp all that is going on. Intentionally (in some cases IMHO) confusing them is very wrong.


Just a retired HS teacher here, stumbled on TOD when the whole mess began and have been reading/learning since.

Sadly, I too have a low opinion of our populace and "...their unwilingness to make the effort to understand all the critical issues we're facing today."

Many, many times I've expressed this opinion and received the reply, "You're Un-American!" No, I'm a veteran, a family man, just another "small person" who thinks that in general, most of the time, this is a pretty good place filled with pretty good people.

What I am is Un-Idiot.

The things that people seem to honestly believe about this disaster; the things they repeat to their family, friends, neighbors, on the net; their unwillingness and/or inability to listen, to read, to discuss, to think, to do all the work necessary to really learn; their almost total ignorance of- even hostility towards- the ancient principles of logic and the scientific method; the celebratory reveling in their slow and sure slide into the abyss of anti-intellectualism. The horror, the horror.

It's almost like half our population has gleefuly chosen to have tattooed on their foreheads, "I'm stupid and proud of it!"

To you and the other knowledgeable and experienced pro's here, thanks much. Keep up the good fight.


Now in order to build a static column high enough to kill the well, they will either need to connect riser to the BOP and pump all the way from bottom to the surface with their approximately 14 ppg mud, or they will need to go in with a mud of about 16.7 ppg from the bottom to the sea floor. Without the riser, they would not be able to have the column of sufficient height because as once the mud reaches the sea floor it would flow out at the break above the BOP.

The new Overshot(?) "tophat" they are building is pretty heavy. 10" thick steel walled, 10'(?) wide, 34' high is pretty darned heavy. For whatever reason I calc'ed the weight a few weeks ago and it was quite a bit heavier than than the riser would have been filled with mud (think I calc'ed 14# mud). And that was only the walls IIRC, not anything else that will be attached (ends, piping, ...)

My thoughts were (and I really don't know if it's the plan or not) they were going to unbolt the riser flange and bolt the Overshot in its place with the idea of closing it off (via valves at the top) when they started pumping mud from the RW. In effect replacing a riser filled with mud as if the riser were still in place.

If so, would that allow a lighter kill weight of RW mud to be used, thereby reducing the risk of fracturing?

Secondly I thought maybe the Overshot might also serve to allow (nearly) 100% recovery of oil (via a better collection facility at the well head instead of an open leak into seawater like now) in case the RW failed, or takes months instead of weeks to connect.

Note I have no basis, other than my own internal speculation, for either of the scenarios but they each seem to make sense to me.

" 'figure-8' shown in the riser looks too much like liner for my tastes"

They did not run the tapered string all the way to TD. I don't know if they ran into a problem and set it a little shallower than intended or not (it's happened to me a number of times, though not in 5000' of water). If shallower, then they would have had some feet of pipe extending up into or through the BOP, waiting until the cement set to be cut off. Not saying that's what happened, just wishing they'd release more detailed information. But given the number of lawyers now employed, detailed data releases just are not going to happen.

The final indecent report will be very interesting reading.

From what I've read about the BOP, the 'super shears' are designed to cut liner or casing, but not provide a full seal after the cut. The upper shear was designed to seal after cutting drill pipe, but who knows what it would do after encountering liner. If it is liner (and that's speculation informed only by that photograph) then there's really no surprise that the BOP didn't seal.

I'm guessing the first MFG to come up with a sealing super-shear is going to find themselves with the MMS demanding them on exploration wells.

The final indecent report will be very interesting reading.

Umm. You mean incident? Or indecent?

Or maybe both?

The photos of the new cap they are making show them with a test jig with 2 pipes of similar size in it. By inference I would take it that there are 2 pipes in the well, probably drill pipe, rather than liner.


ole man -- I haven't seen anyone claim they felt the csg wasn't probably damaged to some degree. And no one has guarenteed the RW will work either. So yes...Matt could be quit correct on those two issues. Or not. Time will tell.

Gulf Oil Spill: Scientists Beg For A Chance To Take Basic Measurements


A group of independent scientists, frustrated and dumbfounded by the continued lack of the most basic data about the 77-day-old BP oil disaster, has put together a crash project intended to definitively measure how much oil has spilled and where and how it is spreading throughout the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

An all-star team of top oceanographers, chemists, engineers and other scientists could be ready to head out to the well site on two fully-equipped research vessels on about a week's notice. But they need to get the go-ahead -- and about $8.4 million -- from BP or the federal government or both. And that does not appear imminent.

The test is designed to provide responders to future deep-sea oil catastrophes with valuable information....

Proposal can be downloaded as a .pdf from here.

And they talk about corporate greed. "Just give us the money".

Rockman, Shelburn, TFHG and I would do it for half the price!

By using a fleet of bass boats instead of the ships they plan to use?

dan -- half price + Blue Bell allotment. But I think we can also be somewhat sympathetic with these guys. From time to time we've all had to hustle to get that next gig. These guys see a need for their services and a chance to make a payday. We've all been there.

Like the time the doctor asked me for a blood, stool, and urine sample. I left him my boxers.

This proposal is a plan to learn some very important things about how leaking oil interacts with the ocean and with the atmosphere. The people involved are the right experts for the job. I hope they'll be able to get to work immediately.

Without being too cynical, and having only quickly glanced at the proposal, I have doubts about viable and cost-effective outcomes from this 80 page proposal.

It allegedly is investigating the dispersal, concentrations, and effects of this specific oil spill but apparently doesn't mention monitoring Corexit or other dispersants ( which are, at the least, likely to affect partitioning and sequestration of analytes using traditional oil spill liquid-phase sampling ).

I would suggest that one of the important research targets of this spill, whether using sub-surface, surface, and atmospheric sampling, is the impact of the large volumes of dispersants on the behavior and toxicity of the released oil.

I also note that the most water-soluble hydrocarbons, low molecular-weight aromatics ( BTEX = Benzene, Toluene, Ethyl Benzene, and Xylenes ) don't appear to be specifically mentioned.

Some of the procedural detail has been written in the past tense, suggesting either the work has already been done or, more likely, the proposal has been cut-and-pasted from earlier documents - fortunately no mention of walruses.

I hope BP or US Govt request research proposals that fully integrate the already known parameters of this spill, rather than fund the firat and/or noisiest group.

Simmons just on CNBC (via telephone) and was quite emphatic stating the relief well will not work and only solution will be low level nuke.

Simmons wants a nuke and I want ice cream. Bluebell will do fine, but I prefer Ben & Jerry's.

Blue Bell is good but I do prefer home made, I know what is in it. I think you meant 'a nuke' => 'nuking'. When will these people grok it
Is that really what the floor of the GOM should look like? How do they think all that shattered rock will keep oil in? That would be a fracing disaster from hell. If the relief well doesn't work they can just produce from the new cap.


Oh, please, please - detonate a nuclear device in my gulf. Preferably where there is a good chance of having it contaminate the entire GOM area with radioactive oil and gas and water and fish and people and pearls and dogs and popcorn... There is absolutely nothing in this universe that I trust more than Soviet nuclear research, so I know that this must be safe. Russians have always been extremely forthcoming with all of their nuke info - like admitting that they just pushed reactors overboard into the sea to dispose of them. Their safety records are impeccable. The odds of this not working are surely just below the possibility of a BOP failure after a kick and blowout 5000 feet below the surface. Even better - could you just roll down to my place in central Florida and set it off in my back yard? THAT'll cap that pesky ol' well.

Bite my big ol' butt. I'm trying to learn how this cementing casings and running liners business works.

A great description of how the plugging process works. Hope it really works.

Here is link to CNBC Simmons. TV really eats this stuff up, don't it?


CNBC ought to be asking Simmons to disclose related financial interests.

Geeez, doesn't the media vet any of these nut jobs before they let them on the air.
Most blowouts actually occur in wells while drilling, and have never had casing in them....
The guy is totally wrong, and has not credibility IMO.

Thanks for this useful summary.

@TFHG and others a couple of threads back: I have also read that CO2 accelerates plant growth, but also that level of nutrients remains the same (i.e. no real gain). Sorry, I can't remember the source, perhaps someone else knows?

Not all are accelerated, some are retarded including some important crops.


Sure, interesting point to me is the nutrients though.. what good is it to have bigger veg, grain whatever if not more nutrients?

I have heard rumors (IYKWIM) that hydroponic high end cannabis growers have been known to introduce carbon dioxide for enhanced growth and carbon MONOXIDE to increase female bud production.

I have heard those same rumors.

That solves our problems, doesn't it? Hemp bio-fuel & plastics and everyone is 'chilled' so why worry about global warming, right?

What happens if...?

the sole relief well being drilled fails in some way? Kunstler mentioned in his podcast that ppl he's read/talked to feel that several relief wells should be initiated, not just one.

The reasons for doing this seem obvious...why put all your eggs in one basket, what if the one fails, what if something unforeseen happens...etc..?

The stakes are so high that it seems foolish to me to bet the whole thing on 1 relief well.

Is the surrounding rock and earth too weak to support more than 1 relief well?

thank you for any illuminating comments


There are two relief wells.

ph -- The number of relief wells planned was discussed on TOD in detail about two months ago. If interested check out Allen's (from neworleans) posts. He pretty much led the discussion.

Not up to me, but if the Relief wells do not work, the smart thing to do, IMHO, would be to start drilling a large number of vertical side tracks from the 2 relief well efforts, and then plug back and drill another one. Each side track being a couple of feet from the original, and attempt to encircle the well bore with the sidetracks. Back fill each sidetrack with cement, possibly even squeezing to encourage fracing and cement penetration into the fracks. In this way they could systematically work to isolate the well bore which is out of control.

just a thought


why not drill single hz well in a circle around the wild one, like a big lasso, all the while yelling yippie-yi-yo-ki-yay !

I suppose that could be done, but since we've seen ROVs can undo high torque bolts now why not just bolt a BOP or valve on top of the flange? In fact why haven't they done that already, or are they worried about back pressure in the well since they don't know the conditions downhole? Wonder if they would try a top kill at the same time as a kill via the RW or would that be silly? Is it a good idea to do something to keep the mud from flowing too badly up the WW until they get things balanced?

Isn't that the idea of the new flange-to-flange cap that's being discussed (and interminably "not yet decided upon")? Back pressure shouldn't be an issue as you can put openable/closable vents on the new structure. However, I think they strongly want to hook up Helix to the new riser connection before attempting a cap swap so as to minimize the extra flow that's dumped into the gulf.

The new .gov web site is up, with a very optimistic name..


It actually looks pretty good ... it enabled me to find the video of the A Whale trial that I mentioned yesterday. It does look as if the boom was connected aft of the collection slits.


Incidentally, yesterday Allen gave (his version) of the remaining depth to be drilled in the RW before heading to the WW.. iirc it was 246' or 264'

In reading about the relief wells, I am curious to know more of the mechanics behind the process:

1. Are the drill pipe a standard length - 40'?
2. Apparently sub sections referred to as "stacks" speed up the process. What length of stack would the DD2/3 typically handle? (2 or 3 pipe)
3. As the relief wells approach 18,000 feet, what is the approximate "trip" time to completely pull the drill sting and lower
the wireline magnetic detectors.

Sorry now that I gave up my major in Geology at WSU - but Chem 101 killed me!

Thanks for your assistance.

Robert in Port Townsend

#3. Per Kent Wells, it takes "a couple days" to pull the pipe and lower the detector, but they only did that twice. They now do the ranging from inside the pipe, which takes "a half day or less."

6.28 Wells briefing

So then in terms of this ranging we've done two what we called open hole ranging runs. And this is where we actually pulled the drill pipe out of the hole, ran in on wire lines, with the open hole ranging out. The reason we did that is it has I call it, more power. It had the ability to see further. So when we were further away from the well we needed to use the open hole range. We successfully found the well, confirmed where it was.

And now that we've gotten closer we can actually do our ranging from inside the drill pipe. And what this is does is this saves us time. So as opposing to have to pull the bottom hole assembly and drill pipe completely out of the hole, run it on wire line and then run it back in the hole which takes a couple days, we can do this within a half day or less.

And so it allows us to take more frequent ranging runs and it's also a little more precise in that we actually get two points of measurement each time we do it. So as we parallel path down this well we will be taking multiple ranging runs to ensure exactly where we are.


Tyee -- Close but no cigar. DP is normally 30' joints. Stacks? I think you mean stands. A series of DP will be stood on end in the derrick when they pull it out of the hole. These are called stands. A stand could be a single joint of DP and up to three joints connected. Round trip time from that depth can be 18 hours or more. Plus before they pull out they may circulate the mud around a few hours after they stop drilling.

Thanks for the assistance. This is obviously not my field, but I am trying to make sense of how long this process takes.

or up to four joints of (drill) pipe on the Discoverer Enterprise class ships
and others with the National Oilwell Varco PRS5 pipe handling system:

The PRS5 is a vertical pipe handling system, specifically designed and built to utilize the Parallel Racking of the PRS4i with the addition of fourble handling capability on large Drillship and Semi-Submersible applications. This semi-automatic, remote controlled tripping machine is designed for handling fourbles of drill pipe or drill collar and triples of casing. The PRS5 is capable of racking stands built off-line by a powered mousehole and PLS system.

Rockman - did you ever have a "powered mousehole"?

Dear God! How things have changed from the days of throwing chain.

The DD III has an auxiliary block and top-drive, but haven't found info on its pipe racking system besides "dual, redundant bridge crane type rackers" on DD I and DD II, but not clear to me that those are vertical or horizontal.

The video at:
doesn't look like the DE's dual racker.

But this mislabled as the DD II pictures (note Helo pad) kinds looks like the DE's system:

sunny -- Never heard of a powered mousehole. The Iron Roughneck is a heck of machine you've probably seen. But your question does remind of this really wild gal I dated back in college.


Not sure if this answers your question, but typical drill pipe lenght is about 31' in length. They are typically connected together using 3 pieces at a time to form Stands. This means that tripping the pipe, an entire stand can be run in or out and connections made every 3rd joint, rather than every joint. An entire stand is nominally about 93', but each joint is individually measure before being made up, and they are counted and tallied by the driller as they drill them. The stands are also marked with chalk and numbered and placed in position as they are racked back when tripping out of hole, so that when tripping in, they can reference the talley and know the exact length of pipe in the hole.

I can't answer the other 2 questions other than to say, it depends. For the tripping, depends on how many joints they trip in or out. Also, keep in mind that you can't just go by the depth of the RW. It is not a vertical well so that the depth is typically the "Measured Depth" which represents the trajectory and well path, and this has a different well path than the WW. I can't confirm if the WW is strickly a vertical well or if is was deviated.

hope this helps


Thanks for your assistance. I've written a few items about the blowout, and some readers have asked why these relief wells take so long.

Okay, TOD Legal, knock yourselves out: gotcha a ten-pager to parse.

Obama Asks Court to Reinstate Ban on Deepwater Drilling

The article makes a very good point; if all available oil recovery and protection assets are being used on this disaster, what would happen if a second release elsewhere took place? All the oil spill containment plans the companies have to develop rely on the same resources; if, say, a Category 5 hurricane tears up a rig somewhere else in the Gulf and that BOP failed, what could be done to contain that oil?

Sadly, no containment wouldn't be much less than the degree of containment that all available resources have achieved in the DWH spill. Skimming and burning have removed only around 10% of the spilled oil. The big lesson of this episode is that an offshore blowout is unmanageable and spill response plans are fictional. And the failure wasn't caused by an incompetent response. The job wasn't doable with available resources.

It certainly appears that cleaning up a spill of this magnitude is futile, but there have been comments made by recovery experts that had BP accepted assistance very early on, they could have made a difference. How much of a difference I guess we'll never know.

If we accept, however, that the current spill containment plans are essentially bogus, where does that leave us in the event of another disaster like this one? How do we insure that the companies' cleanup plans would be effective?

Had BP purchased or leased more foreign skimmers sooner, they could not have been put on the job soon enough to keep the slick from expanding beyond control, say a thousand square miles. Whether they would have made a significant difference is not known. Nobody has reported how much actual oil the famous Dutch sweeping arms mounted on three vessels are collecting. It's likely their rated capacity is as unrealistic as the domestic skimmers that claimed a capacity of 500,000 bbl/day pre-positioned in the Gulf (see link below). The claims made for the tanker A Whale were completely crazy.


Gobbet: Good point. We heard a lot about the Dutch skimmers before they were approved. I too wonder about the effectiveness. It will be a good post accident study to really look at the whole skimming process and see not only what was claimed versus what was achieved but also to really study the approach, strategy and future direction of skimming as it relates to a variety of scenarios. I actually would like to ultimately like to see cost per barrel skimmed.

Where is "Roger"? He's the guy that had ALL the "pre approved" Dutch Skimmer Arms info. Apparently he's a major player in the Koseg(?) company that owns/makes them. He should have good info on how they are working.

Come on, Roger, give us the lowdown on how well the Koseqs are doing. Or did BP require a nondisclosure statement from you, like they have done with all other cleanup agents?

Or were you just blowing smoke to get the contracts? I think we have a right to know.

They are bogus IMO, skimming the surface and containment booms? It's what can't be seen below the surface that's the real issue.

The story is just about the govt. filing it's reply brief. First it filed a Motion for Stay of Feldman's injunction last week or the week before, filed with the 5th Cir. U.S. Court of Appeals, a generally very conservative court. Then the plaintiffs to the lawsuit in Feldman's court (U.S. District Court for La.) filed an opposition brief arguing why no stay should issue. This reply brief is the final brief that will get filed and it responds to the plaintiffs' opposition brief.

No time for analysis except to say that in the passages below the govt. hits the main area where the decision will be decided, exsposing some of its errors in how the moratorium was handled initially, and while being being defended before Feldman.

The appeal to equitable relief is a little like saying, forget the legal issues and how we got here, judges, look at what we're dealing with, it is of sufficient magnitude for you to exercise your equitable powers to stay the injunction and allow the govt. to respond to this crisis.

Moreover, when Congress passed the 1978 amendments to the OCSLA it did not require Interior to balance harms before issuing suspension orders. Thus, Plaintiffs and the district court erroneously argue that Interior’s finding of a threat of serious harm is not sufficient to justify the alleged economic consequences in this case. Dkt. 67 at 4, 20-21; Opp. 13 & n. 14, n.15.

The statute requires only that Interior conclude, in the exercise of its discretion, that there is a threat of serious or irreparable harm to the marine, coastal, or human environment. 43 U.S.C. § 1334(a)(1). That provision stands in stark contrast with the next section of the Case: 10-30585 Document: 00511164042 Page: 7 Date Filed: 07/06/2010 statute, which allows Interior to cancel leases if it finds that an activity would “probably cause” the same harms listed for suspensions, that those harms will not disappear, and that “the advantages of cancellation outweigh the advantages of continuing” the lease. Id. at 1334(a)(2)(A)(i)-(iii).

Congress thus chose to include a balancing requirement for cancellations but not for suspensions. Congress intended Interior to immediately suspend leases upon a threat of serious harm, and to cancel them when necessary after assessing the relative advantages of all factors. The district court wrongly read a balancing test into 43 U.S.C. § 1334(a)(1). [Editor's Note: Feldman did have to engage in a little judicial law-making to come up with the requirement that the govt. explain why it chose the blanket extension over a narrower one. He was within bounds in doing so, but not necessarily right.]

Finally, Plaintiffs contend that Interior’s plan to issue new suspensions is grounds to deny the motion to stay. Opp. 14-15. Interior is expected to issue new suspensions soon (and we will immediately notify the Court when it does). The alternative request for a stay pending any new decision is intended to forestall irreparable harm until Interior gathers and reviews additional information and exercises its discretion to issue a corresponding decision.

Plaintiffs cite no principle of law that would prevent this Court from exercising its equitable powers to grant a stay in those circumstances, and we are aware of none. Instead, the likelihood of new suspension orders further tips the equities in favor of a stay because the new order may preclude the same activities that plaintiffs seek to engage in by challenging the suspension orders in this case.

Thanks for the flyby, syncro. Maybe you and others can masticate it more later? I felt they handled this brief much better (especially liked the bolded passage and the last graf you quote), but it's been so long since I studied and practiced law, my legal-analysis chops are (ahem) "unreliable." Sure is fun to watch sharp ones in action.

Thanks, Lotus. Arm chair lawyering is the best kind! You don't even need a license. Hope you join in.

And yes, they are definitely more prepared with much better and more focused arguments, having already been badly spanked once.

The hearing is July 15th @ 3:00 p.m.

Oral arguments will be recorded and posted to the court's website, probably by the close of the next day. I will post links when they show up. There is the potential for oral argument to be very interesting.

Has anyone seen the govt.'s motion for the stay or the opposition briefs anywhere on line free? I'll try to get copies and get up to speed before the hearing.

This is a very interesting moment in the crisis, with the various branches of govt. getting caught up in a tangle trying to sort out how to mount an appropriate response while balancing the harm to affected individuals. Add in the politics of the 5th cir. judges dealing with a democratic admin. and an agency head they may not feel too warmly toward, and there's a little drama. There will be 3 judges. Will more than one pull a Feldman, or will they back the govt., or try to strike a middle ground? The only issue before the court will be whether to lift/stay Judge Feldman's injunction.

The next shoe to drop will be the new moratorium. That moratorium is being put together with the court being the primary target audience for what they say in the supporting materials. It's backfilling to recover from the fiasco with Feldman. They are not going to make the same mistake twice. The new Moratorium could even moot the legal issues over the prior one, and result in the court cases being dismissed.

Good stuff, syncro. The new moratorium could hit any day now, but if they file it in time to deprive us of that meaty hearing, I'll feel some selfish disappointment. And yes, the political dimension will be equally fascinating (she said, bracing for more TOD comments in more-heat-than-light mode).

But what do you make of their decision not to raise the issue of Feldman's financial conflicts -- a fish well above throwing-back size, I'd have sworn?

Vid of the ocean and a ship from an ROV.


Well is was working good a minute ago.

Update on landfill situation.
1. TinFoil emails County Commissioner about landfill situation and news report.
2. Commissioner E-mails TinFoil on the 5th no less to say that evil Waste Director that hatched plot would E-mail me. Still waiting.
3. TinFoil talks to connected friend. Connected friend tell him fictional story of Shangri-La County. In Shangri-La County they take all the waste they can get. Even from other counties to make as much money from the Feds as possible. I have not found out the re-reimbursement rate, but I will. It appears in Shangri-La all 4 commissioners are in on it to makeup tax shortfalls without massive layoffs or tax increases.
4. TinFoil and Shangri-La are boned.
5. TinFoil remembers Shangri-La has runoff election.
6. TinFoil contacts evil commissioner's opponent. Trying to get pledge of no out of town or burial of oiled waste. Close race might make a difference.
7. TinFoil will keep you posted on the Fables of Shangri-La.

7. TinFoil will keep you posted on the Fables of Shangri-La.

Please do, the 'solid waste guy' in me is intrigued. Read a very interesting report on WM trucks moving the spill inland, mixing it with ordinary household trash (amazing that oily cleanup waste is not treated as a special waste stream, or possibly even hazardous waste), often in trucks with liners broken or no liner at all, spilling oil out the back of the truck the whole way. It seems we have a bargain-basement contracting job here, not fully thought out. Very different from the rest of the spill response, of course.

Planning a blog post of my own on this matter soon. If you have pictures from the landfill or collection operations (and especially if you are willing to share - I will credit you for any images of course), that would be truly spectacular.


Does this work? Did not display because it has appeared here before. Bona Fide reporter photo. Connie Baggett from Mobile Press Register.

Looks like that will do the trick nicely. Found a couple of photos of the trucks themselves, not to mention some choice quotes from some of the state and local environmental officials. Some of them seemed entirely oblivious that disposal was even a problem until AP and other news organizations clued them in...

Here you go, as promised:


If any of y'all down in Mobile or the sourrounding area have any corrections or additions to the story, feel free to send 'em my way, and thanks again for the photo etc.! Unfortunately the other pictures I remember of the collection sites, etc., weren't quite as vivid as I remember them, sadly. Although the description in the AP piece does nicely.

POPLARVILLE — Supervisor Patrick Lee on Tuesday motioned to send BP, Waste Management and Mississippi Dept. of Environmental Quality a letter requesting full disclosure of information about the possibility of BP dumping “oil-spill debris” at the Millard landfill.

Supervisor Anthony Hales said if everything is proper and legal, he believes there is little the county can do about blocking dumping of “oil-spill debris” at the landfill.

Resident Donna Willcutt asked supervisors that if the “oil patties” are classified as nonhazardous, why do oil disposal crews wear haz-mat suits and gloves and other protective gear. “And why is it placed in special bags and taped if its nonhazardous?” she asked.

Replied Hales, “It doesn’t mean that everything they pick up is coming to this landfill at Millard. I doubt very seriously that oil patties will be coming to Millard landfill. I just don’t see how that can happen.”


Hales is a man of little imagination, to put it mildly.

This dump has been an issue locally for years since the county sold the landfill to WM. There are concerns about the location and quality of liners. Landfill is a misnomer, it is now Mt. McNeil. WM has tried to expand the facility into areas even less suitable and bring in waste from New Orleans & Baton Rouge. People were out in force with concerns about how much would be toxic industrial waste and its unsuitability for the location.

Things had reached a fever pitch when Katrina hit. After that I think the board & WM were too busy raking in Fed $ to fight it.

Part of the deal is WM can truck in waste from any county/parish that borders PRC. Board of supervisors sold out the locals as a dump site for the surrounding area. Sad part is they obviously didn't get decent bribes and they and their families live here.

You're in Picayune, gmf? I won't go so far OT as to explain why, but suffice to say, the town is special in my family.

If you care to hear a bit more, I'm at lotusflowah AT widouta DOT net.

In one of the BP documents on the well they said they were having problems with the well wall ballooning. What does that mean?

Q -- Ballooning is something unique to oil based mud. OBM has a little bit of elastic property. A typical method to tell if a well is beginning to kick you is to turn the mud pumps off and see if the mud continues to flow. When you turn off the pumps on a well with OBM the drop in pressure causes some expansion of the OBM and it will flow back some even if the well isn't kicking. This effect is magnified if you were drilling over balanced and flushed some OBM into the rocks. This additional OBM will cause an even bigger misleading flow back. If you misinterpret the ballooning as a kick starting you might raise the mud weight unnecessarily. This could cause even more ballooning and you could repeat the mistake. Next thing you know you've fractured the rocks and start losing mud. Loose enough mud and you could stick your drill pipe or worse: cause a blow out now that you don't have sufficient MW in the well to control any hydrocarbons which could be there.

Hmmm. Interesting article. I was under the impression that these holes were lined with steel pipe pretty much their length until one gets to the reservoir area. No, just cement.

I'm curious as to how this cement is reinforced. Conventional cement/concrete pours for things like parking garages etc. are reinforced with rebar and other steel. Some cements are reinforced with fiberglass fibers, epoxides, etc. What do they use on these cements?

I am sure that not all of the rock that the drill passes through are hard, well cemented, etc. Diagenesis may have hardened the rocks in most places, but there are sure to be layers of unconsolidated gravelly muds, etc. One can see this type of thing in the exposures of rocks formed in similar outer deltaic and shelf environments in the Eocene formations of coastal Oregon and Washington. The Coaledo Formation exposed at the south cove at Cape Arago Park near Coos Bay is a particularly good example. I am quite certain that similar sediments exist in these formations.

So what is the technique for keeping the crummy unconsolidated rocks exposed in the walls of the well from contaminating the cement as it is poured and rendering the cement weaker at that point? Or do they apply layers of the cement?

Once the casing is cemented,between the wellbore and the casing, you can't pull that casing out can you? I always thought the casing stayed in there all the way down the hole.

Casey -- Not sure what you're referring to but wells periodically have csg run into them at required points. The csg has cmt pumped between it and the rock to keep fluids from moving thru this annulus area. The cmt isn't really meant to keep the csg in place. The holes aren't lined with cmt per se. Drilling unconsolidated sediments is possible but requires very close attention to your drilling mud parameters. Get those right and there's typically no problems. Get it wrong and the hole could collapse on you if you sneezed.

Posted yesterday by Thrasher, this deserves another look.


Helix Producer (producing capacity 25,000 bbl/day) was offered for lease to BP in April. Instead they chose Discoverer Enterprise, which has 15,000 bbl/day capacity. Consequently, BP has been spilling 10,000 bbl/day unnecessarily since the cap was rigged up about a month ago.

With billions in liability at stake, BP surely must have thought that the flow was under, and would stay under, 15K. However, the consequence of this penny-pinching has been to increase the total amount of the spill so far by around 300,000 bbl, maybe 1/6 of the total spill. And since the Enterprise is an advanced drillship, how much less could it have cost?

Bloomberg Business Week has done some of the best press coverage.

You know, Gobbet, it's just hard for me to read that choice as "penny-pinching," if for no other reason than their strong motivation to minimize further trauma to "the brand." Wasn't it more likely basic ignorance (maybe some denial) of what they were up against?

I think it is penny pinching. I think they have been dragging their feet on every point except drilling the one relief well.

They were forced to drill the second relief well and they were forced to add this collection process according to one of Allen's talks.

They were happy to put all their eggs in one basket, the one relief well.

They know with the billions of dollars they have they can run ads day and night about how great they are and keep lining the pockets of the elected and all will be fine.

Well, QUS, if you're right, they're even dumber than they look (a standard I didn't suppose even Hayward could bust; then again, he is Mr. Peter-Principle-on-the-Hoof, inny?). But I'm still partial to my suggestion because it accords with their/his basic heedlessness.

What's pathetic is that the sheeple will believe it.

Yes, I could go with ignorance and denial, but with so much at stake in potential liability, wouldn't you allow a large margin for error? If you choose not to, penny-pinching seems like a reasonable explanation. At that time, late April, the top of BP's range estimate was 15,000 bbl/day, according to a later report.

I think we are probably all right in some ways, you got to ad into the equation of the corporate committees making decisions and how that process works too.

If, one of these days, somebody has to explain that decision under oath in a civil deposition/trial testimony, we'll get our curiosity satisfied. And we can point-and-laugh if we feel like it. Which I kinda doubt we will.

Gobbet: Correct me if I am wrong but I believe the Discover Enterprise was contracted to be able to lower the cofferdam, RITT and the top hat using drill string. These were the early methods that were designed during the time that top-kill was being prepared. The Helix is for producing from a floating riser connection through the the kill line. My only questions would be, if they had decided on the choke line idea earlier could they have brought in the Helix Producer to be where the Q4000 is now and would it have been ready on June 10 or so. Given that they are spending between $50-100 Million a day on this I doubt it was money. Could just be an awful lot of people from BP to government trying to look at multiple paths and solutions as information comes to them. I'll bet the decision tree from day one has been quite complex and changing.Heck, based in what they know now they might wish they had not tried top-kill and had either gone with the hat at the end of the riser or a hot tap, then added choke and kill production to that before the riser cut. Always easy to go back and second guess.

Diverdan, the Helix guy in the article seems to be saying the Helix Producer should have been used in place of the D. Enterprise as the main producer with a large diameter riser. He complains about having to retrofit a 5" hose to fit the choke or kill line. Would the H. Producer not be capable of working with the cofferdam etc.?

Certainly they have been working on multiple parallel solutions, and I'm impressed that they've had some success with a terribly difficult job. But separation capacity has been the bottleneck since the cap started producing in early June. They had a way around that if they had reckoned on the possibility of an underestimated flow or the flow increasing over time. I don't see the post-blowout program as a series of blunders at all, but this sounded like one to me. However, if the HP isn't suited to being the mother ship and main producer, then OK.

This is far from my area of expertise (aeronautical engineer) but like planes, I like ships as well :). From what I've read the Discoverer Enterprise is a much newer ship and is able to dynamically position itself through GPS, accelerometers, etc despite rough seas. It can keep itself within a few feet of an exact position despite the waves (assuming they aren't too rough of course). This would've been important for the installation of the insertion tube and top cap. It also seems to be a much more capable multi-purpose vessel. The Helix Producer was made in the mid 80s, and its main job is oil production, storage and offloading. I think the Enterprise's flexibility is what made it the better choice at the time, but still doesn't excuse the fact that BP should've had both ships in the area ready in case the Enterprise didn't have enough production capacity.

The drill ships (DE, DD2, DD3) and many of the ROV ships were already on contract to BP and in the area. I'm sure this made it easier to manage their acquisition for the indicent.

Helix Producer (producing capacity 25,000 bbl/day) was offered for lease to BP in April. Instead they chose Discoverer Enterprise, which has 15,000 bbl/day capacity. Consequently, BP has been spilling 10,000 bbl/day unnecessarily since the cap was rigged up about a month ago.

In the deepwater of GOM the AVERAGE well produces 3500 barrels of oil per day. BP's prior history with Thunder Horse, where they have 25 wells on production, none of which produced more than 10000 barrels of oil per day. So they make an estimate for production from Macondo at 1.5 times their best wells oil production rate.
There are only a couple of wells in the GOM that EVER produced more than 30000 barrels per day, and that out of considerably thicker formation.
Personally I think they are doing as good as can be done. Unfortunately, the majority of the population appear to be devotees of late night AM radio talk show science.

This article indicates fewer active wells and up to 40000 BPD peak rates with 30000 BPD as a more likely rate.


I think the "flare" before DWH capsized was a good indication of a very significant flow rate.

The Halliburton employee who performed several of the cement lining jobs on the Deepwater Horizon said Friday that only the deepest casing in the well was closed with a new kind of light, quicker-curing nitrogen-infused cement.

The testimony from cementer Christopher Haire was something of a surprise because Jimmy Harrell, the top drilling official on the rig when it exploded in the Gulf on April 20, testified Thursday that the rig had only used the nitrified cement on shallower casings. Harrell said he'd been warned that nitrogen from the cement could get in the well hole and cause problems.

The well plan had changed several times before the incident, in which natural gas and oil got into the well and shot up the marine riser to the rig, igniting in huge fireballs.


The "technical explanations" are very helpful for a person who majored in biological sciences. They give me a background to, at least, have some factual "trip-wires" to know when MSM is throwing pure BS.

Another question that I can't seem to find the answer to is "Why id the BP engineer want to exchange the DM for sea water?? Was it cost savings? The explanation that the cmt process can't be done with DM in the pipe is obviously(?) wrong. Especially what go the sea water with the history of the well kicking with DM?


I think they do it to retrieve the mud which is valuable.

I think you don´t HAVE to replace the mud with seawater, but if you don´t the mud will translate into something you don´t want to have when you are coming back to the well a year later or so to extract oil from the well. I think ROCKMAN explained this a couple of weeks ago. Please correct me if I´m wrong about this.

You got it right swede. I would never leave OBM sit in a well as long as they had planned. And that OMB costs about $150/bbl less clean up costs. But there are still relatively cheap fluids of sufficient weight that could have been left in the well which would have prevented it from kicking. In fact, we're still waiting to see a final confirmation but it appears the MMS regs required such a heavy kill fluid be left in the well after the OBM was removed.

Thanks RM. I keep learning.....

But if the "cheap fluid" have been used instead of seawater, wouldn´t it be a risk for a kick later when they open up the well for production?

Bur if not so, why not always leave a well with sufficient weight and never replace mud with seawater?

No swede. They could have filled the csg up with heavy brine water with sufficient weight to hold the reservoir pressure. In fact, this is exactly what you do when you perforate a well for production: you have a heavy completion fluid in the well that is equal to or a little less then the reservoir pressure. You don't want the reservoir pressure to surge out of the formation even when you're intent is to get it flowing.

Thanks for the explanation. Now for the more difficult question: "Why was sea water used rather than a 'completion fluid" Greed, stupidity, or other?


SHV -- I think I'll just wait for BP to answer that one. Should be a very uncomfortable moment for them IMHO. Such a decision is not made by anyone on the rig. That would have been written into the formal well procedure plan months before the began drilling.

A Whale is apparently still trying, in 7' seas.


Can someone explain why she runs into the wind at cruising speed and then goes at skimming speed with the wind? I would have expected the opposite. Also how do you make only 1.5 knots headway with a 15-knot tailwind?

The claim of 1,100 bbl oil captured per day, reported (ambiguously) yesterday by CNN, hasn't shown up elsewhere except in reference to the CNN video. I still suspect that's too high.

The A Whale was designed to skim in rough seas, which is why it and only it has been allowed within 7 miles of the blowout. The little skimmers that so many here are so proud of, haven't operated outside 3 miles, and that is only if the seas are less than 2 foot (and also obviates a lot of talk about the Jones Act not being relevant, clearly it IS). Someone posted yesterday that the seas were only 3', but out where A Whale was operating, they were 12'. The problem isn't the supertanker, the problem is the support ship that carries the boom that concentrates the oil slick for the call it a baleen on the port side of A Whale. If the seas were smooth, this thing would be working great, but simple physics tells you that the oil is not going to ride nicely on mini mountains of seawater waves, nor will the boom do a good job collecting and concentrating same. The next iteration, B Whale might well have a larger orifice that might work better in higher seas.

Thanks for posting the coast guard video, but for reasons unknown, he/they edited out the business end closeup where the boom attaches to the ship behind the baleen. I would have liked to observe how big the waves were relative to the opening.

Has anyone wondered why we never see a live view of the top of the LMRP cap and the bottom simultaneosly.If we could actually see how many vents are open on top of the cap and how much of the flow is escaping around the bottom of the cap we could make a visual determination of how much of the total flow is being captured.If we believe BP.we know they are capturing 25000BPD.We also know that BP.is saving 4,000 dollars for every barrel of oil they supposedly collect.judging from what I can see now they are capturing about 25-30% of the unresricted flow IMHO.

Many spillcam watchers agree that, when collection was raised from 15K to 25K, the flow from underneath the cap decreased quite noticeably. That would suggest that they are capturing more than half the flow. We'll know as soon as the wind allows the next stage of collection to be hooked up.

I saw one open vent yesterday, I think, but I only had a view of one vent.

gobbet:Again;the problem is you cant see the top of the cap.Therefore you cant tell if the rate of capture has been increased or another vent has been opened.Ineither case you would have less flow at the base of the cap.Also it seems to me that the cap is being supported by something other than the riser pkg.If not it would have fallen off of the riser by now.These things make me skeptical of the amount of flow BP.says they are capturing.

About the only thing I think you can trust is the amount of oil/gas recovered to the vessels. It is going through calibrated meters and watched by USCG and MMS. Also it is measured again when they offload the oil from the DE.

You can get spreadsheets with the daily recovery and for the Discoverer Enterprise a 15 minute log with a lot of other information at http://www.energy.gov/open/oilspilldata.htm.

What we don't know is how much they are not recovering.

Short video of Erik Conway, co-author of Merchants of Doubt, discussing oil plumes in the Gulf.

Thank you for the video. I wish our military was allied enough with civilian authority to enforce the EPA advice (request?/demand?) to stop using Corexit dispersent. If the IDF can kill unarmed civilians in international waters, our guys should be out there with AK-47s asking BP to stop using this crap.

If you are one of the few remaining who still believe everything the military-oil-industrial-government complex is doing is so peachy, organized and destined for success.......why don't you drink a bottle of Corexit and get back to me on that.

. I wish our military was allied enough with civilian authority ...

Be careful about what you wish for.

Flagged your post as inappropriate for this:

...why don't you drink a bottle of Corexit and get back to me on that.

It seems like BP is running the show. And if scientists and our gov are doubtful about Corexit, why the heck is it still being used? The answer is POWER. The oil industry is more powerful than the US government.

Unfortunately, personalities in the positions of power are getting the blame rather than the real issues being raised.

And thanks for flagging my strongly worded sentence about Corexit not being safe to drink. You can always count on someone using the Darpa-invented internet to take the edge off any real free speech.

In the name of "moderation", of course.

thanks for flagging my strongly worded sentence about Corexit not being safe to drink.

If that's what was intended, I'm sure we'd all be grateful for that sage advice. However you should revise the thought into a declarative rather than leaving it in the conditional. If that's what you intended.

But now we have this:

You can always count on someone using the Darpa-invented internet to take the edge off any real free speech.

I'm certain you've read the TOD prohibition against ad hominem attacks. Haven't you?

And if scientists and our gov are doubtful about Corexit, why the heck is it still being used?

That has been asked and answered here in previous threads. Basically an expert panel convened by the EPA and Coast Guard agreed that while their knowledge is incomplete, based on best available science they believe that Corexit is doing more good than harm.

The report is here:


It isn't a power play or anything of the sort.

snakehead, I sat here and watched watchtower revise his first paragraph four times (making it snarl more with each iteration), all the time believing it was his second that really needed revision. But as I saw what his rethinkings were doing to the first one, I came around to appreciating that he'd left bad-enough alone on at least one of them. Shew-wee.

Rather than a personal attack, what about the real issue. If "we" "know" Corexit is "bad", why is BP still using it?

Because BP has convinced the EPA that the alternative (much more oil reaching the shoreline) is worse than using dispersants to keep it underwater?

I think in this case they know what the effects of having all this oil hit the shoreline, but aren't certain what the effects of the dispersed oil plus dispersant mixed in the Gulf would be. They're going with the uncertain option in the hope that the impacts will be less.

I hope they're right.

The EPA stateement of June 30, 2010.
www.epa.gov/bpspill/dispersants-testing.html (there's a .pdf too)

"Let me be clear: this is the first round of data. I know many of you are interested to hear if this testing means EPA will order BP to switch dispersants. We are not making any such recommendation at this time. We have additional testing to do...Let me be clear about another point as well: this first round of testing studied specific effects under specific conditions. These data provide information on only some of the variables that we must consider. We are going to need more testing to get a full picture of dispersant impacts, and make any determination as to whether one product ranks better or worse than another under all of the conditions of its use."

Why was there a problem in finding a safer dispersant (if that was first choice) when Marine Management (http://www.marinemanagement.org.uk/protecting/pollution/documents/approv...) has a list of products that passed their test battery? If Corexit failed on Rocky Shore, GoM mud is obviously going to present issues.

This is analogous to the permit issue and depth of the well. I sincerely hope that the fact of prior knowledge available to anyone with an internet connection is hammered into brief after brief after brief.

Thanks for the link, that is in line with what the man from the EPA told me last Wednesday IF upper levels of norm could be considered high, and when I checked the water testing it stated that it did over an extended period of exposure have possible endocrine/reproductive issues regarding this specific component D001-SW-20100628

Why would failure on the Rocky Shore test have anything to do with GOM mud? Last time I looked there aren't any limpets trying to hang on to GOM mud. Not exactly obvious in any way.

And it is pretty obvious when you read the BP response to the EPA mandate why they didn't find alternatives - few choices were available in the quantities needed, and some of them had ethoxylated phenols which is a suspect estrogen mimic.

I want to know what branch of the armed focus of the US uses AK-47s.

Special Forces. You can't leave 5.56 brass all over the place in enemy territory.

" . I wish our military was allied enough with civilian authority ..."

snakehead---"Be careful about what you wish for."

So you prefer an independent military?

... as in

If the IDF can kill unarmed civilians in international waters, our guys should be out there with AK-47s asking BP to stop using this crap.


It's clear that the USG civilian sector isn't forcing the termination of Corexit use. It could be that Cheney/Obama/NWO are making too much money from it. The cabal probably wants to drive up the price of seafood. Or possibly there's a different reason.

Hey snake, this guy knows nothing about operations either. Give me an M4. AK-47's are terrorist trash.

All that "operational knowledge" didn't get BP very far. (Will it go the way of MCI and Citi in terms of share price?).

Pride goes before the fall, btw.

In this very thread there are links that state Corexit + oil is many more times toxic than oil alone. But hey, they obviously "know" what they're doing over at BP. And who cares about a little collateral damage to "wildlife", right?

The debate about dispersants rage. The toxicity issues are important, but the main body of science seems to think the effect of causing the mixture to sink and thus be unavailable for collection is of more concern. The standard answer we seem to be getting is this is a greater good type practice and with no real long term widespread studies to go on, most folks are grudgingly accepting the practice. What concerns me more is the decision to bury the waste in our landfills untreated with household garbage. We have time and can explore alternatives in that set of greater good decisions.

TFHG: I think your priorities seem to be out of whack. You have repeatedly complained/mentioned/wondered about oil stained pads and boom going into landfills. Do you know anything about landfills? Do you not know that they have a liner that separates them from groundwater? Do you find it inconceivable that a few bacteria might take a break from pampers and maxipads to degrade a little oil? This where this stuff belongs. I would be happy to see any drop of this stuff removed from the Gulf and sent to any place where it is controlled and degraded.

It is bad to send it to the landfill. If this had come from another source, say me, it would be considered hazardous waste. When the Federal Government is declaring this stuff hazardous enough to require 40 hours of training before you can even touch the damn stuff? You can be arrested for being near it. Yes, I would prefer every single bit of this oil were buried with trash in lined, monitored, bins mixed with trash, but that it not the choice here. The choice is do we need to risk another much longer term environmental disaster because of a greedy county commission or is there another way? On the land that my forefathers have owned since 1818, before statehood? Just because there is oil in the water killing the GOM does not mean to start huffing NO2 and start crying for the Gulf. Anyhow, thanks for your concern.

It does seem inconsistent to require hazwoper training for something that ultimately isn't being treated as hazardous waste. I doubt they'll drop the hazwoper requirement, only one direction for that pendulum to swing, if it moves at all.

TFHG-EPA should be coming out with updated figures on the water samples (previous thread link), Current oil samples should be showing the components of corexit and the PAH's. I don't know why those components weren't in the last batch. The elevated salts were enough to create issues for disposal, however, if they ever made it into the water table.

Having lived in that area for a considerable time and still having family there, I agree with your assessment about the potential for problems. Since there's a risk to multiple communities if the waste sites aren't up to par, maybe a class action could be filed seeking an injunction against using the fill until the site is certified by EPA and ADEM as being adequate to handle the material in question. As a matter of fact, I don't know why the Gulf States don't file a class action against BP and its contractors demanding that any proposed sites be certified as adequate by the EPA and state authorities prior the oil, oil-disperants and oil by-products being deposited thereon. Then the Fed would have to post in the Register and have public hearings.

That'd be a clustermuck but it would delay just dumping it and running. Note "special waste" and "permitted" in the ADEM regs.Nice example of how the impact is moving inland.

Waste Pre-Approval Program, where generators of solid waste must submit and the hazardous waste determinations prior to receiving approval to dispose of hazardous waste and special waste in permitted hazardous waste or solid waste landfills.

"..The cities of Selma, Dothan, Greenville, Gulf Shores, and Dauphin Island depend upon ground water for most or all of their drinking water...All of these communities have documented sources of contamination in the recharge areas of their public wells that are being addressed. Numerous incidents of ground water contamination have been documented in other areas of the state as well..."

TFHG and k3d59, don't try the "my people have lived there " on me. Mine came at least as early as the 1830s and probably before. I may be in Arizona but home is home. So I suggest you check this site out.
If ya'll are drilling water wells directly under landfills, leaking or not, shame on you. If you drilled the Tuscaloosa aquifer you would be drinking water 60,000 years old and that would seem to eliminate any worry about landfill contamination. Since you seem to have some intelligence please use it to resolve the issue at hand and not some mythical crap that Dougr would be proud of.

1818 pre-dates 1830. I look at it from a standpoint of risk management. Why in the hell do you take the economic and public relations risk? We are a tourist based economy. Being known as the sleepy little town where all the oil is buried does not look good in the brochure. Why bury if mitigation methods are available that represent much less risk? Why risk creating a long term problem when you do not have to? When it comes to land, as a citizen I reserve the right to protect it beyond predicate logic and invoke natural rights. It is the right thing to do. My neighbors agree. If you had a Nobel Prize in Landfill Science, Human Toxicology, and Organic Chemistry and you were certain it was safe, I would not yield. There are innate human rights that are superior to science, and we may learn soon that I was right. Again, there is an unquantifiable risk. The risk of being avoided and become an economic wasteland. There is also the risk of litigation. I have not ruled it out. Here we have great reasons to come up with a better plan and I really did not discuss toxicity. The entire GOM coast of the US is under such risks. Not just from waste handling locations, but direct shoreline impacts. Those folks have a beef that is superior to science too.

Edit: And what about Nevada? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yucca_Mountain_nuclear_waste_repository

My wife designs landfills up here in NC; she categorically states that hazardous materials are not supposed to be dumped into commercial landfills that are taking the usual consumer garbage. A hazardous disposal landfill has multiple barriers, around the disposal area, including plastic sheeting, clay liners, more plastic, more clay, built well above the groundwater level, monitoring wells, etc, etc. Commercial landfills often have these items too but not in multiple layers, mainly because people throw motor oil and pesticides in their garbage can.

I agree with everyone else here about the contaminated sand; if we're being told the cleaning crews have to use hazmat suits and special training, then the stuff should be considered hazardous and disposed in an appropriate landfill.

Here's an idea. Pay the Corexit folks the same amount of money they are now making on the spill to dispose of the waste properly. It seems to me silly to "disburse" something others are simultaneously trying to round up and contain. These lawyers' incentives really bug me.

Corexit isn't that bad. It is not something you want to be pumping into the gulf but it isn't that bad. It is one of the least toxic dispersants available and no other dispersants that are less toxic are available in the quantity needed.

Toxicity of corexit is not that big a deal as it is much less toxic than most of the house hold chemicals that you have in your house.

But regardless of all that it can possibly have a negative impacts but dilution will largely take care of that very quickly.

But on the tradeoffs. It is better to kill a fish than to kill an estuary. Without the use of dispersant the amount of oil going into the marsh would be much greater. Kill the fish or more likely the egg and the fish population can rebound next year. Kill the marsh and there is not where for the fish to live and the population suffers a permanent setback.

That is why corexit is still being used.

Thank you for explaining that without a patronizing "I'm smarter than you because I'm an ex-Marine engineer" tone.

BUT...here is a University of California scientist posing next to an American flag who talks about the spraying of Corexit on LAND and the impact on HUMAN life and health. AND larval sea life by the shore.


Have they been spraying it on land? I have looked at all the daily air monitoring reports on the EPA site and the air values are so low they may be from household products. The water values of dispersant ingredients are below detection levels --unless I have been interpreting the data sets incorrectly.The EPA also convened a group of scientists to look at the testing and data to date. Although the toxicity so far of Corexit is low they will continue to do more testing and will test oil-dispersant mixture. They have asked BP to cut back use. Surface use has been lowered and any time it is used on the surface or exceeds the EPA threshold amount BP must get special approval. If they can get the Helix hooked up, dispersant use should drop off a lot. They have stated many times they would change to a "safer" product or stop if EPA directs them to do so. If the biodegradation rate of oil is shortened by dispersant and if using it subsea reduces the amount needed to disperse the oil, then maybe, just maybe, things will not be as bad as some fear.

I saw this earlier today. The guy (Chris Pincetich) seems credible, but your intro is misleading, Watchtower. He didn't say Corexit is purposely being sprayed over land. He said it is being sprayed over the sea and blowing onto land.

Dou you think you help your cause by being a spaz?

I don't have a cause and at least my name calling is vague and indirect as opposed to your direct calling me a spaz. Come here and say that to me in person??

Got a suggestion for y'all: Why don't you two exchange email addresses and take this little testosterone fiesta offblog where it won't bore the hosses?

Just give me a moment for my hands to stop shaking long enough to enter the super teleporting fightclub url.

The attorneys representing the Government on the drilling ban could probably ask for an injunction or restraining order on the Corexit, but their evidence would likely have to come from the science that is not being done in the Gulf right now. If there is any other concrete evidence of toxicity, they should at least try and use THAT.

What is the point of using Corexit at this point, anyway? Can someone tell me?

"What is the point of using Corexit at this point, anyway? Can someone tell me?"

It appears to do two things.

1. It hides the true scope of the amount of oil being leaked very effectively.

2. It reportedly keeps the oil from reaching shore, with the logic being that much more oil would reach the surface and wind up on the beaches and in the marshes if it was not kept under water/dispersed in the water. But we don't know the cost trade-off of doing that yet, and may not for some time.

It seems like a decision was made that since they don't have adequate surface capturing capability, let BP bury it despite the unknowns.

Hopefully they will have full containment shortly. It is taking a long time for that, much longer than i expected.

Pretty good summary, syncro. We should remember, though, that it is pretty likely that much of the oil (to say nothing of the NG) would likely have been "hidden" simply because of the location and nature of the gusher.

Injecting the flow, at high velocity and pressures at least several hundred pounds above ambient, into seawater at 5K ft BSL almost certainly means that a lot of it would be dispersed into plumes that stabilize (at least temporarily) at various levels of the water column and move with the currents at those depths. Nobody knows, yet, how much additional oil is staying at depth because of the dispersant.

Does anyone know whether BP was advised by a consultant to go after this exact oil deposit? If so, who? Was BP, and is BP, aware of the pressure exerted by the sea floor (AND the ocean depth) on this particularly flat (relatively speaking) deposit? And could it be that the advice given was fallible in terms of the human and technological capability to handle this much pressure? If so, what would be the motive for providing bad advice? And whose would it be?

Alabama State Department of Public Health reports:
At least 58 patients treated for oil-related ailments, say health officials.

EDIT: AP STORY - Can't hide the fact about tidal wash burying the tarballs anymore.

Today's photobucket - Good tidal oil foam movie from 7 AM 7/7/10 http://s892.photobucket.com/albums/ac126/tinfoilhatguy/GS-OB%20July%2020...

wow, tinfoil, that foam looks nasty. Thanks for keeping us updated.

I'll be headed to Alabama tomorrow, but don't think I'll be goin' coastal. Sure does look like a nice area, other than the taint. Between beachmom's & your pics/vids, I definitely want to visit that area some time.


Three patients reported INGESTION? What the heck are these people doing????

Actually 58 seems to me to be a pretty small number given the media coverage intensity. I bet that I could drum up that many just by broadcasting a story that flying saucers were seen shooting poison gas darts at cars on south Alabama highways.

It's possible I can see someone ingesting some water in the rough surf, I had the crap knocked out of me the weekend before last and probably ingested some myself.........er, regarding the flying saucers there is something "similar" out there being tossed around the net:

Ron Angell http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQI0LDO5lmI&feature=related

Directed energy weapons from space mixed with toxic chemicals

I especially liked the one where he measures a cloud. He should spend some more time over at El Reg.


It is not the physical stuff that worries me right now. Long term, yes, but for now we need head shrinkers and a new puzzle factory in town.

The evidence is that the riser collapsed shortly after most of the drilling mud/sea water contained therein was evacuated by the blowout, thereby cutting off electro/hydraulic communication with the BOP package from the rig and preventing further activation of the BOPs and emergency disconnect. Anyone know why there weren't riser dump valves placed in the riser string to prevent it being evacuated? Or was this another one of BP's great cost cutting ideas.

Enviro Agency Dramatically Underestimated Oil Spill Effects When Signing Off On BP Lease, Docs Show

Arrrgh. Relying on MMS's assurances, back in 2007 the National Marine Fisheries Service started signing off on 40-year Gulf drilling leases (including DWH's in 2008):

... In its 2007 report, NMFS defined its "major spill" as having a sheen of 1,200 square miles, and tarballs would appear on a nine mile long stretch of coastal habitat. That's the size of the spill that could kill of one tenth of the adult turtle population.

The sheen created by the current spill is much bigger, according to government maps, although difficult to measure. And as of yesterday, 484 miles of Gulf coastline was oiled.

The report estimated that, over the life of the 40 year leases, a total of 60 sea turtles -- of the endangered or threatened species Kemp's ridley, leatherback, hawksbill, loggerhead and green -- would be killed by oil spills.

But the number of dead turtles found on the Gulf coast has already surpassed that number seven times over. Since April 30, according to NOAA, 438 stranded turtles have been found dead, and 115 have been found with visible evidence of oil. Almost 150 are in rehabilitation centers. ...

And those are just the ones washed up ashore. So far.

Here's the report: http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sf/deepwater_horizon/02611_MMS_Leases_2007-201...

Without a doubt turtles are getting hit the hardest of any marine life out there. Keep in mind that most of the turtles found dead are not dead due to the spill. Keep in mind that the numbers found this year would be higher than any year in the past simply because we have a lot more people looking.a Keep in mind this year was going to be higher than most years because the turtles were already dying in higher numbers before the oil leak even happened.

The number of turtles killed by this leak is probably very high but the numbers they post have virtually nothing to do with the amount of turtles killed by the oil. Their figures are pretty meaningless.

Thanks, omega. I get the "more eyes see more" point, but how do you know without a doubt that turtles are taking the worst hit, and what was already making this year deadlier to them than most? Please tell more, with supporting links if you have them.

Right after the well blew out and the fishing season was accelerated to get what the boats could before the oil ruined everything, there were many dead turtles found with no obvious cause of death. Early investigations indicated they had drowned, and the reason was thought that the fishermen had disconnected the TED's on their nets.

The article I saw (this was over a month ago) said the biologists would conduct autopsies and blood/organ tests on the turtles to determine if there was a chemical reason for their death (i.e. dispersant or ingested oil) but it would take time, mid-July.

I suppose we'll start hearing about those causes in another week or so, hopefully.

Oh yeah, Bendal, I remember that too now. That research center is in/near Biloxi, isn't it? Looking forward (sadly) to their results. But disconnected TEDs wouldn't be the pre-April 20 or "projected 2010" issue, I presume.

lotus -- All OCS leases are perpetual: as long as the field is producing commercial volumes of oil/NG the lease stays in effect..40 years...60 years. I'm pretty sure there are OCS leases taken in the 1960's that are still in effect. The term is HBP: held by production.

I was just reading in Science News about an experiment back in 2000, where MMS and a couple dozen oil companies released smallish (max 60bbl) of methane or mathane-and-oil near Norway, to see what actually happens. They found that less than a quarter actually reached the surface; the rest formed plumes (or drifting patches of oil in lower concentrations).

(I'm surprised that MMS and the oil companies didn't bother to incorporate that kind of information into their cleanup plans. But, given the date, not very surprised.)

also, an interesting comment they have in the same issue:

abstract and pointer to the PDF reports of Project "Deep Spill" at:

more behaviour of oil in the water
Technology Assessment & Research (TA&R) reports at:

two relevant ones:
Fate and Behavior of Deepwater Subsea Oil Well Blowouts in the Gulf of Mexico
short, just one pdf.

Physical Behavior of Oil in the Ocean
about 60 papers in this one.

Hey y'all...just a humble request to please respect the request repeated at the top of each of these threads to keep the signal to noise ratio as high as possible and avoid the temptation to respond to trolls/non-substantive posts. Don't get me wrong, it is great to see such a high level of interest and so many people of all types contributing to the substantive discussion, but it can get a bit tiresome to scroll through 50 responses to comments like the one from "Dougrreader" at the top here to get there. The temptation to respond is certainly there, and I have been as guilty as any at times of giving in to it, but it helps to remember to keep one's head above the fray.

And yes, I know this post is 'noise' too. And I'll readily admit that sometimes I don't know if my comments are substantive or not, but there is a difference between someone who is on here trying to learn more, looking to converse with those who are knowledgeable, and doesn't know whether they have something to contribute or not, versus someone who is obviously just posting inflammatory comments. One type of 'noise' is clearly more desirable than the other, and it behooves us all to remember the difference (one good criterion for whether or not to respond to a comment might be 'does responding here have a chance of increasing someone's understanding of the matter?').

Kudos to all the contributors and commenters and keep up the good work! If I had money to contribute to the site, I would...and finally:

"Never argue with a fool, onlookers may be unable to tell the difference."

I wholeheartedly agree with everything you said Wasted. The moderators/maintainers of this forum are no doubt proud of how generally well bewhaved posters are. However I think they have been overwhelmed with the response/activity since the BP Blowout and just weren't prepared for it. (Sort of like the skimming/cleanup response {grin}.)

What I would suggest to the moderators (short of updating to a more effective higher traffic forum software) is they simply quietly delete ANY response that's offtarget. Such as the irrelevant petty personal back and forths of who said what/when. Or the "I think that's bad too." msgs. Or the self aggrandizing political messages. Rather than relying the "inapproriate" flags from other posters. That in itself would eliminate most of the "noise".

This IS a great resource but it will be ruined by its own success unless someone steps up.

Please, in no way do I mean this as a criticism of the moderators. They deserve all the respect and accolades everyone offers (including my own). But over the last nearly 30 years I have seen any number of very good forums ruined by too little moderation. I'd really hate to see it happen to TOD.

I'd like to start a new thread, and see if it gains any traction. This quote is from a book report in the WSJ

But at the moment: The world spends $4 million on oil every minute of every day, every day of every year, amounting to $2 trillion bought and moved annually. The briefest thought will reveal the difficulty of significantly reducing such a large business with "alternatives." Consider the scale in physical terms. The world produces nearly 1,000 barrels of oil every second. If those barrels were physically stacked up, the pile would grow taller at 2,000 miles per hour. The financial scale explains why, as Mr. Bower notes, 80% of the world's oil resources are nationalized and controlled by governments, not private businesses.

Emphasis mine. I think everyone is forgetting just how BIG and how important to the world economy oil really is. It is unfortunate that we've had to go out to a mile underwater to find and produce the oil an insatiable world needs. America uses about 25% of the world's supply, but also produces about 25% of the world's GDP, so clearly there is a relationship. Blaming large corporations for being large also misses the point. Who else but a major corporation or a government could put together the resources to go hunting for oil with $650Million dollar rigs costing $1M per day? This for only a 33% chance of finding enough to make it worthwhile, or maybe finding none at all.

I respectfully disagree.

Oil corporations and the other big Fortune 100 have had over 100 years to accumulate power and eliminate other potential ways of living that exclude heavy dependence on oil. The way GM tore up streetcars in Los Angeles (and elsewhere) in the 1950s, as one example.


Most people would have easily accepted a world with a lot less use of petroleum or at the very least, cars with more efficient engines. After all, the 1908 Ford Model T got 25mpg!!!


The 1908 Model T could not make it up a steep hill and often had to back up the hill to make it. Besides, I thought Henry Ford was the grandfather of Peak Oil.

Now see, TF, if you'd only had the foresight to be born as early as some of us, you too could have the vague memory of riding in a very old relative's Model T (and A Model too). Look what you missed, pup.

Don't know what the mpg on this was, but it was certainly a peak oil friendly car.


Yeah but what did it get with a catalytic converter and going 55 MPH?

You're telling me we can supposedly put a man on the moon but can't build cars that last 30 years and get 100 mpg?

Of course, the above would not be so profitable.

BTW, the reviewer is Mark Mills who partnered with Peter Huber to write the cornucopian book "The Bottomless Well" a few years ago.

They were known for a few of these statements:

We remain dependent on oil from the Mideast not because the planet is running out of buried hydrocarbons, but because extracting oil from the deserts of the Persian Gulf is so easy and cheap that it's risky to invest capital to extract somewhat more stubborn oil from far larger deposits in Alberta.

And with technology already well in hand, the cost of sucking oil out of the planet we occupy simply will not rise above roughly $30 per barrel for the next 100 years at least.

Once the offshore platform has been deployed in the North Sea, once the humongous crock pot is up and cooking in Alberta, its cost is sunk.

The earth is far bigger than people think, the untapped deposits are huge, and the technologies for separating oil from planet keep getting better.

In the short term anything remains possible.

More quotes where those came from.

Thanks for the book report link.
Just out as of June 3, 2010.

Perhaps a worthy successor to Daniel Yergin's "The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money, & Power"

I haven't read the new version, with its 11 page epilogue covering 1991 - 2008,
but the original was certainly epic.

Yergin's still in denial about peak oil,
but considers it a "major challenge" to meet the growing demands.

Back to Mr Bowers - a very interesting analogy, not many people can visualize 1000 bbls/second, but a stack of barrels growing higher at 2000 miles/hour (i.e. just slightly slower than the muzzle velocity of an M16) is mind boggling.
(though the vast majority of oil hasn't been sold in actual barrels in many decades.)

Sure, $2T a big scary number, but its only 3% of the world's GDP (in '08). Heck the world's GDP grew by three times that amount in one year ('07 - '08).
The WSJ has a disturbing ineptitude in dealing with large numbers rationally (when it suits them).


Something new pumping out a bunch of oil.


It might be that hose that connects to the Helix.

Look like something new here? Maybe the two are connected?


They are using a "fan" to blow the oil away from the top cap so they can get a better look at it. Rough seas have prevented hooking up Helix at this point.

I'm not sure what the fan/propeller was accomplishing, exactly.

I think they are using a fan and trying to look at something on the cap. That is why it looked like something new was being used.

Breaking News
CNN just reported that BP replaced the oil well cap with a wedding ring and it has immediately stopped putting out.

ROV views show cap in place and very tilted. Still pushing out oil.


Heavy emphasis on WEDDING ring NAOM:)

NORedfish: clever

NO Redish


On my wedding night my ex complained that I'd been 'drinking champagne'.

Heading Out - Great summary! With your post the blind spot has desolved in my thought processes as a not engineer trying to figure out construction and process of drilling an oil well. The bits and pieces that have been flailing around in my brain are falling into place and, finally, the whole picture about how it all works is beginning to emerge. Thanks. Whew!

Question for da Rockman:

Yo Rockman: To my extreme ebarrassment, I am neither a geologist, petroleum engineer, oil company CEO, nor rig "hand". Yet perhaps you can consider a couple of questions.

1. Understanding one onethousandth of your elegant posts, (I understand ice cream chat) you have repeated several times that the productive zone of the sand/petroleum reservoir deep down at Macando only occupies about 60 vertical feet. You seem to have indicated that most deep water reservoirs with the pressure and effluvia that we are seeing at Deepwater Horizon typically display several multiples of patent vertical height in the productive zone. What are the implications? Is the data faulty? Is the geology unusual? During legal proceedings, can BP successfully assert that the predictive ability of their engineers to model proclivity for this geological feature to "kick" was confounded by limitations in modern measuring technology?

Long story short: what are you seeing and thinking about the geological feature itself given its realized gas productivity being impressive and the vertical height of the reservoir being skimpy?
Are there more surprises in store from the Macondo geology?

2. Regarding the dude on TV, Daryl Willis, the BP-employed Cajun in the orange polo shirt in the TV commercials: he seems like the real deal, a socially responsible human being. Why can't we get someone like him in Congress instead of the know nothing turdburgers we have now?

Winter -- The thickness, or lack there of, doesn’t make it any easier/harder to drill. Even 20’ of pay is more than enough to burn a rig down. What impresses me is the apparent high flow rate the reservoir is delivering. The reservoir quality must be very high. As far as usual/extreme geology causing the blow out nothing could be farther from the truth. Neither the reservoir nor geologic setting were as severe as many of the other DW fields developed. Ignoring the water depth and focusing on just what’s below the well head there were hundreds of comparable wells drilled onshore Gulf Coast in the 1950’s and 60’s. That might have been a factor why they weren’t paying close attention: this really wasn’t a tough situation.

Just speculation but the oil/water level may be a good bit down dip from the blow out. If you produce a well too fast when the water level is close you can “cone” the water and cause it to be produced instead of the oil. That doesn’t appear to be happening. What makes this blow out so unique is that the hole is cased. Every blow out I can remember was in an open hole.

Don’t watch much net work T so haven’t seen Daryl yet.

If I may add, I've worked on several fields with wells producing in excess of 20,000 BOPD - on choke.
And I've seen 3000 ft oil columns. I've seen fields with so much oil column, I referred to the downdip energy field as the "oilifer". I don't think this is the case at Macondo, but if they hit a 300 ft sand with a 1000 ft oil column, and the pressure is 12,000 psi, with GOR over 2000, the volume factor is close to 2. That stuff is mighty light downthere. If the oil/water contact is a mile away, they can produce this baby for a long time before the water cut increases. What's really spectacular about it is the way it doesn't sand up. I'll bet the day they show the log there will be some AAPG and SPE members going into something close to a religious experience.

fd - the log was released early on. Here it is: http://energycommerce.house.gov/documents/20100614/BP-Production.Casing..... It's a very nice looking sand but it's only around 60' thick. There's also a very useful pore pressure/frac gardient plot in here too.

Regarding skimming operations:

Assuming the "A Whale" has the following specs:

  • 1.2 knots while skimming
  • 100 yard skim width
  • 40% downtime for maintenance, weather concerns, offloading oil, transit to/from areas to be skimmed, refueling, etc...

and assuming a slick size of 20,000 mi^2:

It would take the "A Whale" 48.5 years to complete skimming operations...


They are supposed to be building a "B Whale" and a "C Whale". If they also come into the skimming operation, it would only take 16.2 years to skim the slick.

Will the slick still be there in 16.2 years? Is the hope of the "Whales" just hype? I don't see how the "Whales" nor any other skimming equipment offers more than just a feel good experience, while not really providing much in the way of tangible assistance.

"By God! Do you know what this means? It means that this damn thing doesn't work at all!"

--Dr Emmett Brown in "Back to The Future"

Snakehead: But imagine if they converted a Delorean to a skimmer and added a flux capacitor? Clean this sucker up in no time.

Only if the oil behaves itself and stays out of the once-skimmed tracks, rather than backfilling them, requiring them to be skimmed again and again.

I know zip about this stuff but I've learned a great deal by reading here. The complaints about the donations were so annoying I registered and donated.

Regarding the slick:


  • 50,000 barrels/day
  • For 79 days
  • At 2 parts per million (after dispersant applied)
  • Over an area of 20,000 mi^2

That creates a 20-foot high swath of 2ppm oil throughout 20,000 mi^2:


According to this report:

http://response.restoration.noaa.gov/book_shelf/1_coral_tox.pdf (See top of page 51)

...even concentrations as low as 0.0325ppm have deadly effects on larval metamorphosis.

While I don't think most sea life will be damaged at 0.0325ppm of hydrocarbons, I wonder what prolonged exposure to 2ppm areas will do.

I feel good about this one. Tales of Shangri-La County.
Not bad for an unemployed waiter.

Very good TFHG

Boy sure hope this works.

There seems to be several downfalls that no one seems to be considering, and that is there will be the same pressure at the bottom of the well than at the top.

During all of these processes of pulling the drill string, incerting casing, inserting cement tools, and the cementing process, there is no heavy mud in the relief well. What is to stop that same pressure blowing out the relief well as did the old well. The blowout preventer, one just like the one that failed on the old well?

The releif wells are assuming that the casing is good on the old well, and that they cannot encounter similar pressures before they actaully drill into the old well bore. If the pressure distroyed the casing, or erroded around it, they could drill into these pressures before they actually get to the old well bore.

With all the technology they have, it seems like they are gambling big time.

All this drilling on the relief wells to get to a hole they already had drilled, by common sense says they are fools.

The old well bore intercepted the oil and gas reservior, and was a hole all the way to the reservior.

If You have a hole, the smart thing would be to plug the existing hole, rather than drill new ones.

Yes I know they have the escaping pressure to over come, but to over come pressure all you need do is exert equal or more pressure.

They could have cut off the blowout preventer, and yes more oil would have escaped for a short time.

If they had a smaller diameter pipe a mile long with a preforated section at say the mile point. While this pipe was dropped down the well the escaping pressure, and oil and gas would have came out the preforations. Just above the preforations there could have been a solid machined steel plug incerted into the pipe string. Now you have a mile of pipe below the plug, and a mile of pipe above the plug counteracting the pressure escaping from the well. Above the plug could have been several seal sections with o-ring like seals, and slip sections with slips that would bite into the casing if forced or pulled back up. If all of this was continued to be forced down the bore, it would have bypassed any casing splits, or bad cement jobs and basically filled the old well bore with steel.

For those who say this couldn't have worked, well we won't know because they didn't try.

In order for it not to work one would have to assume that they either didn't case the whole well, and they know that. Or to assume they think all the casing in the two mile hole ruptured, and that's why they think they can't seal it from the top.

I personally question BP's engineers decisions on everything, as we have seen the results and the wisdom of their past decisions. We have been guarantied that these relief wells are the altimate answer, and they will most likely work. Yet at this depth, and at these pressures, they have no proof it will work, and when it has in the past it was at less depth and pressure.

I could give a shit less if it works for BP's advantage, but sure hope it works for the gulf.

They supposedly have had all the best minds working on all of this, but yet with all the best minds the hole is still not plugged, and the oil is still flowing into the Gulf. All these great minds couldn't contain the oil, manage to suck it up, or keep it from getting to shore.

So even if the relief wells work, they have still failed, because they haven't managed to keep this from being the catastrophy that it is. BP will never have or make enough money to truely pay for all the damage done, and this has proven that our entire Government has the functioning capability of of a class of five year olds. We have shown the world once again that we can't manage our own affairs, solve our problems, or clean up our messes. We have also shown that nobody in this Country is ever held accountable for what they do, while we are telling the world they should hold all their bad guys accountable.

During all of these processes of pulling the drill string, incerting casing, inserting cement tools, and the cementing process, there is no heavy mud in the relief well.

What ever gave you that idea?

A little more explaination is that any time they pull pipe from the hole they continue to add mud to the hole in a measued volume equal to the volume of steel being taken from the hole. If the volume does not match up it is an indication of a kick and they can take action.

I used to sell everything they use to drill oil and gas wells, what's your claim to fame.

try clicking on Rio's id ... you might find his bio interesting.

what's your claim to fame.

Barnybilt, Hank is a third generation driller out of Oklahoma who was climbing rigs for a dollar a day when he was twelve. I believe Ike was President at the time.

You are new here, you might want to look around a bit. Click on someone's screen name at the top of their comment and you can read all about them, if they were kind enough to post their bio. Go ahead and post yours, too.

I used to sell everything they use to drill oil and gas wells, what's your claim to fame.

I even did a little of that. In high school I worked in an oil field supply store after school . Had a company pickup and made deliveries to the rigs. The most fun though is when I would go with the store owner to make a delivery in his airplane and we would land in a cow pasture next to the rig. He is still living today and I see him most every day and we have a lot of fun talking about back in the day. Brings back to mind the term "rope, soap and dope."

Worked for him during school year, but in the summer it was off to some little burg to roughneck.

Barney - The MW in the RW is what ever they want it to be. The mud is pumped down and up continuously while they’re drilling. Anytime they want to change the MW they just adjust on the rig and pump it down. What will keep the RW from blowing out is that they’ll have sufficiently heavy mud in the hole to prevent it from happening.

I seriously doubt any of the folks are taking anything for granted including csg integrity. And yes, they might have seen the higher reservoir pressure shallow had there been an “underground blow out”. But the first RW has drilled below such a point. I’m sure they were keeping an eye out for such a possibility. There are now in the same pressure domain as the blow out well. The shallow sections are now behind csg in the RW.

I get the feeling you don’t understand the purpose of the RW. It’s not to produce the reservoir. It will be used to plug the wild well just as you suggest be done.

Exactly right about exerting enough pressure from the top to over come the reservoir pressure. That is the standard method for killing a shut in well. They tried this with the top kill. Unfortunately the leaking BOP prevented them from exerting the high pressure needed to kill the well. Most of the mud/pressure flowed into the GOM instead of the well.

As far as the conditions they are trying to kill in the wild well you are completely wrong and that’s been well documented. Mr. Wright has killed much higher pressure wells the BP hole. Will the RW well work? Probably IMHO. But just like no one else I’ve heard I can’t guarantee it.

All this drilling on the relief wells to get to a hole they already had drilled, by common sense says they are fools.

Before you can apply common sense to any procedure you at least have to have some grasp on how it is actually done. I suggest you go do a little research on how relief wells work. They are a proven technology that has a very high success rate. In the case the man overseeing this one, his percentage is 100%.

Rockman, There was a post yesterday where you speculated that there might have been human error regarding the pump logs prior to the blowout. I am surprised that the logs do not have warning alarms and spike checks. I would even argue that a robust enough system should have the ability to shut down the well operations without human intervention. I must be miss understanding something....

salty -- I don't know how their alert systems were set up so don't take my speculations to prove anything. I've seen alarms ignored because they were false, I've seen warning bells turned off, I've seen counters not reset and thus the recordings are meaningless. You know what a dead man switch is? Someone has to constantly hold it active or it shuts off automaticly. I've seen a dead man switch tied off twice on two different offshore rigs.

As I've said many times before: you can't fix stupid.

Is that why nukes have at least 2 keys and it takes two men/women to turn those keys :) I am sure there are all kinds of computers in the loop too, but it still takes at least 2 keys.

TFHG -- I didn't even mention the more mystifying fact: the pressure and flow parameter charts we've seen captured on the onshore servers are projected on to at least a half dozen monitors around the rig. And there were at least 20 to 30 hands onshore who had real time access to this same data. For those who missed the earlier explanation of where technology is today: over two years ago I sat in my living room in little Baytown, Texas monitoring those exact same parameters on a well drilling in DW Brazil. In addition I was getting real time log while drilling data I used to update the pore pressure plot. On a Saturday night I monitored what turned out to be a false indication of a pore pressure spike. Immediately alerted the company man on the rig via his Houston phone number. He had already seen an indication on his end and shut the well in. I did my updates during commercials while I watched reruns of Frasier. The technology was there but it wasn't utilized.

Again either no one was watching the monitors because they thought they were completely safe (a feeling I've never had on any rig in my 35 years) or they saw indications of the kick and couldn't accept the info as valid until it was too late. I've thought about it hundreds of times since the blow out and I still can't understand what happened.

As far as skimming goes. The time to have been skimming was from day one. Had they boomed the accident site in concentric cirles of booms, contained the oil and not tried to disperse it, and sucked it up. They would have been able to use the oil. and would have saved the distruction of beaches, marshes, and animal and bird life. There would have been less damage to the fishing industries, tourest industries, The people involved in all of this, and the Marine life they lived off of.

The early decisions made by BP, and by Thad Allen to use dispersants to try and make the oil go away, and to not try and skim it from day one should be concidered criminal.

Everything since those days has been equally criminal, because they had the attitude that it was easier to clean off a beach, then to suck up before it got there.

Thad Allen POO POOed the using of super tankers from almost the start, and in case He hasn't noticed the A Whale is a supertanker, and it would have worked in the calm waters months ago.

Our Government caused this spill by letting BP run over them, and has been BP's shill ever since. Even the thought that BP can keep reporters back from showing the damage, and the Government back them up is again criminal.

They seem to have to keep asking the Corp of Engineers, the EPA, and the Interior Dept what they can do, When the people in these Depts should all be in jail waiting their day in court.

Skimming now is just a little late, and billions of dollars short.


The A Whale hasn't been available since day 1. It was being built in South Korea (I believe) as a regular tanker when news of the blowout arrived. The owners then decided to convert it to a skimmer. The ship went to Portugal where it was retrofitted with intake and skimming equipment, and then sent to the US--so it hasn't simply been sitting on the sidelines available since the well blew out. The A Whale has only recently become a usable asset.

Like the reports about the US's supposed refusal of all foreign help--in most cases, these offers were simply offers to sell equipment to us--there's more to the story.

You probably should do some homework on booms and skimmers.

1 - There were booms and skimmers on site the "first" day right after the rig sank. That was a day or so before the first oil came to the surface from the broken riser and drill pipe.

2 - Oil and gas coming from 5,000 feet surfaces in different places over a circle about a mile in diameter. So your first concentric circle would have to be a mile in diameter and any other circles even larger. How do you hold a mile circle of boom in place in the open ocean against currents, waves and wind? I think it would take about 100 small craft to hold a mile circle. Each boat would have to put just a little pressure to hold his section and keep adjusting throttle and heading with the current, waves and wind. If even one boat hit his throttle hard for a few seconds he would break the circle apart. A boat trying to maintain a stationary point has no steerage so unless he has bow and stern thrusters it is very difficult. And every one of those hundred boats would have to maintain that control 24/7. See where this is going - not possible.

3 - Booms are designed to move oil to collection points, they aren't much good at just holding it in place - which is why those booms strung out parallel to the shore or beach don't do much good.

4 - Booms don't work well except in calm water and about half the time since the blowout the seas have been 2 to 3 feet or more offshore.

The problem is that the oil companies - all of them - sold the USG and the public a bill of goods by using the optimum rating of the spill control equipment as if they were picking up oil several inches thick, in a uniform sheet, in a still harbor with no waves, no current, no wind, no emulsion, etc. What we see is that the equipment can't pick up more than a few percent of their rated capacity in a real world offshore situation.

If the spill was from a ship or pipeline into a still harbor they could probably cope with it.

Super tankers are not designed or equipped to pick up oil. A Whale has been specially modified just for this spill. A lot of experienced people think it the best scam to come out of this spill, right up there with Madoff.

I hope they can at least do some recovery. But I doubt it will ever be much more effective that the other skimmers out there. A Whale's ratings seem to be based on the same standards as the other skimmers - great in dead calm water with a thick oil spill - only a few percent of that in real life offshore conditions.

And I haven't heard them make any claims they have even tried it before they got to the GoM. It seems to all be a paper exercise with no actual experience or testing.

I grant You some of what You say, but a circle of booms is not something impossible, and ropes cheap so they could have droped anchors for the booms, even in mile deep water.

All skimmers are dependant on their pumps, and super tankers have huge pumps, and to skim all they need is hoses over the side and a skimmer head, which any welding shop could have made in days.

You seem to be making excuses just like most people for why they couldn't have done better. They didn't do better because they didn't want to.

BP has been trying to make the oil go away that was spilling out while they figured a way to capture some of it from the start. Everything except the top kill was and has been to capture the oil, and disperse the rest till present.

Their back up to the relief wells is to capture the oil if they don't work.

They are an oil company which is in the business to get oil and make money off it, not to cap great wells and take the blame for their damage.

If your telling Me they know everything and are doing everything right, then pray tell why they caused the accident and spill to be cleaning up.

If you actually think it would be easy to anchor anything in 5,000 feet of water you better do some more homework. Normal scope in over 1,000 feet is probably as small as 3:1. Calculate the current load on a 3 mile long "rope" in a 5,000 foot water column. It will have enough load to rip a boom apart even if you could figure out how to lay a light weight anchor spread to hold a flexible circle a mile in diameter.

You could probably design and construct a circle of suction anchors and buoys to hold the weight of the anchor cables and then run lines to a circle of booms. I expect it shouldn't take more than 3 to 6 months to build and put in place.

There is a reason why all the vessels working in this water depth are dynamically positioned.

If you know as much about deep wells, on shore or offshore, as you indicate, then you know that drilling a relief well is not a backup plan - it is the main plan.

All the other things that have been going on like the top kill, junk shot and the capture and containment plans are just ways to try to mitigate the damage until the relief well kills the blowout.

If this well was onshore they would just bulldoze a berm around it and flare it off until the relief well was finished. Little public drama, a couple nights on national news (especially if they can show a big flame) and a lot of local coverage - limited environmental damage, maybe a square mile.

If you read what I and others have said I don't think you will find us defending BP for the blowout. In fact pretty much the entire offshore industry is livid about the screwup BP has caused.

On land it wouldn't be a problem. We get that. But BP did not, obviously.

In their plan BP said they could handle the amount of oil gushed into the gulf.

This was not just an "accident". Some of the contractors were helicoptered off the rig hours before it blew because BP was cutting corners.

Like it or not, it's know-it-all arrogance (common to oil industry???) and corporate greed that caused this to happen.

Some of the contractors were helicoptered off the rig hours before it blew because BP was cutting corners.

That rumor was contradicted by multiple parties in the testimony hearings.

Nice response, Shelburn.

Barnybilt, maybe some pictures will help you understand that there has been a serious skimmer fleet from the beginning of the spill. Here is an April 28 photo of one of 76 vessels working in the first few days:


and here is a May 6 video of a larger commercial skimmer, one of ten in use early in the spill:


I agree that more skimmers earlier would have helped the Gulf, but this spill is so spread out (light oil spraying out at great depth into a warm sea), and so huge that skimmers will never be enough to stop the damage.

Also, your opinions are interesting, but they lack information. How about including some citations next time?

Well I hate to brake it to You, but there are lots of tankers that could have been pushed to service, and simple sucking heads fabricated while they were on the way, to be put on hoses dropped over the side.

Oil comes to the surface even in warm water unless it's sprayed with dispersants, and it could have been sucked up.

Those 76 loonytoon skimmers they had there, were like swatting a 747 with a fly swatter.

They boomed the shore, but never placed rings of booms around the accident site, and sprayed dispersants hoping the oil would just go away.

I am not just a fool who thinks He has a little knowledge, I used to be the President of an Oilfield Supply Corporation that sold everything needed to drill oil and gas wells. and base my statements on just a little knowledge of what I'm saying.

Oil comes to the surface even in warm water unless it's sprayed with dispersants, and it could have been sucked up.

Barnybilt, "just a little knowledge" isn't good enough. Many posts on TOD have explained that this particular oil/gas mix disperses itself. Even if they stopped using Corexit, the spill would still be widely spread out and too thin to skim easily.

Might be a good thing to go back and search some of the earlier posts before sticking your neck out any further on this point.

Samantha Joye's blog might help, too: http://gulfblog.uga.edu/

Ok I read her blog, and she didn't say that the oil was impossible to have been sucked up, just that it frothed or foamed by being sprayed out at great pressure with other things mixed with it.

It isn't sheen that coming to shore, and if it can be sucked up on shore, it could have been sucked up off shore.

If it can't be sucked up, why are all those skimmers out there?

You make excuses, but can't back them up.

The truth is that they didn't jump right on the problem like everyone wants us all to beleive, and have made it all worse for themselves and everyone else.

I have been watching the pictures of the site from the start, and all those skimmers weren't there for weeks. At first they thought the dispersants would save their asses, and skimming and burning only got going big time when top kill failed, and there was to much oil to just drift away.

Skimming has captured only 67,143 barrels, and BP has relied on burning to remove 238,095 barrels. Most of the oil recovered -- about 632,410 barrels -- was captured directly at the site of the leaking well.

"The numbers are what they are," said BP spokesman Toby Odone. "At some point, we will look back and say why the numbers ended up this way. That's for the future. Right now, we are doing all we can to capture and collect the oil through various methods. We will make sure all the oil is ultimately dealt with."

Its peculiar how Marine Spill Response Corp and National Response Corp websites have nothing to say about DH oil recovery. They are two companies used by BP for oil recovery per filings with MMS.

Its peculiar how Marine Spill Response Corp and National Response Corp websites have nothing to say about DH oil recovery. They are two companies used by BP for oil recovery per filings with MMS.

I wonder how this is impacting all of the other operators whose spill response plans rely on these companies.

Now you are starting to make sense.

The skimmers were expected to do the job, and as BP is not an expert at skimming, and no other oil company, or the USG is either, they probably thought they had enough capability with the 500,000 bpd ratings when in real life offshore they are having trouble getting to 1,000 bpd.

By the time they (BP, USCG, MMS, USG) realized that (a) the skimmers couldn't do what they claimed and (b) the leakage was growing rapidly from the original 1,000 or 2,000 bpd, to 5,000 to 10,000 and probably passing 20,000 within the first 20 days and still growing they were way behind.

I don't know enough about dispersants to comment on them. About they only thing I know is that several of the "less toxic" dispersants were put forward by politicians pushing suppliers from their districts. I'm not sure that makes them less toxic, I'd think rather go by the EPA ratings.

It is clear the skimming job has been sadly lacking and I really wondered (I have been to spill control training back in the day) why no one was training the people how to set and maintain booms at the shore line properly, but it has occurred to me that probably everybody who actually knows how to do that correctly is out on a boat somewhere.

"...simple sucking heads fabricated while they were on the way, to be put on hoses dropped over the side."

Try this experiment:

Drop a couple of drops of baby oil in your bath so it forms a film on the surface.

Now get a straw and suck it up. See how you do.

About as well as a supertanker sucking up this oil slick with hoses.

Well said. The "system" obviously no longer functions to serve caring human beings but instead serves the corporate fictions owned by a few in "society".

I didn't see this posted yet ...

Transcript of Adm. Thad Allen's Wednesday BP oil leak briefing


Rockman; What is the difference in cement requirements & well heads of Plugged Wells vs Temporary Abandoned offshore?

I assume regs require an original completion bond log, and service company plugging records. The perception in the recent news is that all of these plugged & temp abd wells will at some time in the future leak due to cement or casing failure.


Tropical Depression TWO Public Advisory

WTNT32 KNHC 080304
1000 PM CDT WED JUL 07 2010



I have several follow-up questions to a post I left a few days ago...

The phase of construction at which point the well exploded was during the casing cementing phase, correct? The cement/slurry was in the process of curing.

The assumption is that the casing disks/couplings are ruptured or damaged along the casing string, causing oil and gas to flow outside of the casing and into and up the well bore.

At what point-in-time (i.e., during the curing process) do we presume the damage to the disks/couplings occurred? At the point-in-time the damage to the disks/couplings occurred, was it caused purely by the formation pressure or as a result of an explosion down-hole?

If we assume the cause was formation pressure. What is the max pressure rating of the casing and disks?

If it was a result of an explosion down-hole. Has there ever been an instance where oxygen is inadvertently introduced into a well bore? OR Is it possible that the hydrocarbons flowing with the oil were dense enough to create a matrix that ignited? Specifically, if the temperature in the casing rose to level which caused the hydrocarbons to transform from a solid state to a gaseous state all the way up the casing and riser, then, once the gas reached the rig, it ignited because there was enough oxygen to create the ratio needed for ignition.

Just curious.

Z -- Let me start with the qualification I haven’t used in a while: if we are seeing the data correctly. We may not have all the pertinent facts and could be making some very incorrect assumptions.

The cmt had been pumped behind the csg. They tested the cmt after 18 hrs and concluded it had set properly. At that point they replaced the drilling mud (which exerted enough bottom hole pressure to prevent the oil/NG from flowing up) with sea water (which would not be heavy enough to stop the flow). When the cmt failed the flowed up the inside of the csg and/or the annulus between the csg and the bore hole. Opinions vary on exactly which happened

Oil/NG cannot explode down hole in a well…no oxygen. The only down hole force is the reservoir pressure. That was measured to be 11,900 psi. Don’t know the pressure ratings on the discs or csg. The only substance pumped down the well is drilling mud and it cannot carry enough oxygen for combustion. I have actually injected air into oil reservoirs as a secondary recovery process. Called in situ combustion or “fire flood”. Even then the oil/NG don’t explode. What occurs is a flameless oxidation process that burns the oil and produces combustion gases and heat which aid the recovery process.

The NG at reservoir conditions was dissolved in the oil. But as it flowed upwards and the pressure was reduced it came out of solution in a gaseous form. I'm pretty sure it was this free NG that caused the initial explosion when it eventually combined with the air at the surface. Crude oil doesn't explode per se. It burns.

Fireflood?? - any interest in 300 million OOIP (3rd party), 2,000' TD, API 16 or less, 1.5% S, never produced, data and delineation from 40 wells most in late 60s.

shelburn -- I've spent years trying to talk operators into ISC in Gulf Coast reservoirs with zero luck. It is a very complex project that few people understand and even fewer are willing to learn about. BTW - The most economicly successful ISC's were in S Texas and N La. Not out in CA as most folks assume. Also if you want to dig it out, Amoco accidently did a success ISC in of all places Hackberry Field in Cameron Parish. I forget where it was published...maybe O&G Journal.

First post here so sorry if this has been addressed earlier... but I have never found or gotten a straight answer to this question: The Deepwater Macondo well used a Vetco riser with 90 ft long joints. There is a flange on the sheared riser pipe above the BOP. Why can't BP simply loosen the bolts at the flange and attach a new riser pipe?

It was covered some time ago but the main answer is pretty simple.

At the seabed the blowout is relatively safe - no oxygen and the gas is in solution, super-critical and compressed.

If a riser is attached what you now have is an uncontrolled blowout at the surface with the gas expanding 150 times and coming out of solution. Exactly the scenario that caused the fire and explosion that destroyed the DWH with the loss of 11 men.

There was a plan to attach another BOP to the top but that was scrubbed at the last minute, presumably due to fears of doing further damage to the casing downhole.

Ok, then would a new bolt-on riser with shutoff valve work?

That would be the BOP mentioned above.

I know there was some concern about the BOP being damaged as well as the well bore and casing cracked below the bottom surface. However this has never been confirmed. When you say attaching another BOP on top of the current that sounds a bit risky because of the size and weight. I was thinking much simpler: attach a new riser joint with shutoff valve open. Once torqued down close the valve. However I realize if there's damage below it could make things worse. Since BP won't tell us about damage I don't know how to call it?

I think the damage to the BOP itself is probably internal - erosion causing the leak to enlarge or to the rams and seals but there is no indication that the structural body of the BOP is damaged. The BOP is inclined about 2 or 3 degrees and that is probably at the well head connection which would be the weak point. But that is probably not a major concern.

There is concern - from people with much more downhole expertise than I have - that the casing is compromised, probably at least 1,000 feet below the wellhead and that putting too much additional pressure on the well could cause or aggravate an underground blowout or cause more damage to the casing way down in the well.

But you hit on the real problem. BP won't release enough technical information so that people can actually understand what is going on.

I've had all sorts of ideas while reading this blog, some of them I discarded after doodling for a bit. But I wonder, why not go for a top kill while producing the relief well? If the oil is being drawn out at the bottom, pumping mud at the well head may be a lot easier. The key will be to complete the relief well to take oil out of the liner annulus with as low a delta P to the surface as possible. So they could flow it up 7 inch tubing, and connect the Helix to the rig to take the oil.

Say they can offtake 25,000 BOPD using such a completion, then the flow up the Macondo will be reduced and they may be able to use the top kill to get mud down the hole. Once they get some mud going downhole, the relief should start taking more production because it'll see more backpressure on the other side. And if they get the Macondo to take 15 ppg mud all the way down, it'll be a lot easier to pump it full of cement from the top down. And once the Macondo wellbore can be sealed from the top, the relief well can be used to flood the reservoir. I'd pump 4-5 million barrels of water down there before I seal the well off.

What did I miss? Are the well fluids too light to kill from the top? I'd love to see their pumping pressures when they were trying to kill it. Evidently it was close enough they tried it for a few days. So maybe a little draw from the relief will make the difference.

Oil and gas can't explode down a well bore, because there is no oxygen down there no matter how hot it got.

The company where I work (282,000 employees) sent out a news bulletin today encouraging employees to help the GOM and mentioned National Wildlife Federation, National Audubon Society, Ocean Conservancy and The Nature Conservancy as organizations in need of funding. All donations will be matched by company.

Are others getting encouragement to help the GOM where they work?

All pretty good organizations but I highly recommend the Nature Conservancy. They do an incredible amount of real science with real scientists and their money (lots of it) goes into habitat protection, not politics.

And three cheers for your company!!!

Thanks for the tip. I'll spread the word to co-workers of mine, especially the ones with science background. We don't work with environmental issues so the tip is very helpful for me.

I will second that on Nature Conservancy. Family had a pristine property in Colorado to sell for inheritance taxes and what not. Developers were bidding big dollars. Other organizations were asking for the property to be donated. The Nature Conservancy just asked " I know what the developers want, how much will you sell it to us for?" They wrote a check for 90% of the middle bid and invested to preserve it for the long term. Top notch organization. Very serious about doing the right thing with the money to back it up.

And a third plug for the Nature Conservancy: I have been a member for several years and I like their philosophy. They either buy it or work out agreements with landowners to protect it. Many special places have been saved from housing developments, industrial sites and so forth.

An activist friend was complaining to me about a stand of big old trees that was being harvested to make room for a shopping center. My response - buy the property the trees are on and you can save them forever, or at least until pine beetles kill them.

That among other things is what the Nature Conservancy does, they buy property to preserve it. Heck, they can explain it better than me. Here is a link.



Thank you for the enlightenment. A couple of more questions (and of course, my questions are all speculation and don't have any facts behind them - just my curiosity)....

If oxidation down-hole is not plausible, there are other catalysts which will cause hydrocarbons to burn in the ABSENCE of oxygen, for example: Flourine. Do we know if Flourine was present or other reactive chemical elements?

RE: the hydrocarbons - in a gaseous state, they form a chain. It seems that an energy surge, regardless if the surge began at the top, middle or bottom of the well bore/casing would create an enormous, expansive force and resulting fire that the drill pipe, casing or bore hole could not contain. Theoretically, the oil too, would reach its tolerance and burn.

It can't burn downhole because there isn't oxygen, even if there were a chemical in concentration to create a chemical reaction, it is all exiting at pressures out the pipe mixed with brine to where it couldn't cause any kind of burning. explosion, or fire.

not "catalysts", just non-oxygen oxidizers.
If there were free halogens in quantity, the hydrocarbons would burn to carbon tetra-halides and hydrogen-halides.

Fluorine would be ionically bound with metallic ions like sodium or potassium or calcium, so there would be no free fluorine.
Similarly, the rest of the halogens (chlorine, bromine, iodine) would be bound as salts, since the halogens are the most electronegative elements (fluorine being the most),
and the alkali metals (lithium, sodium, potassium, rubidium and cesium are the least electronegative elements).
Thus these pairings out-compete other potential combinations.


During the millions of years of oil formation and continued cooking down there, any free oxidizers have long been consumed, accounting for some of the CO2 and water down there.

Fluorine, being the lightest of the halogens, has a very
high electro-negativity and is the most reactive of the
elements. Fluorine-carbon bonds are certainly very strong
due to their mostly ionic character. So free fluorine gas
could definitely combine with hydrocarbons, explosively if
fluorine gas were ever present in large quantities. The reaction
of fluorine gas with hydrocarbons is highly exothermic.

But: since fluorine is so chemically reactive, pure fluorine
doesn't ever occur in substantial amounts in nature (that is to
say, under conditions such as exist on the earth's surface or
near the sea floor).

Instead, fluorine atoms react with atoms of other elements,
stealing one electron per fluorine atom, and forming a
negatively charged fluoride ion. That extra electron is very tightly
bound, so that fluorine usually exists in the far less
reactive ionized form (if dissolved in water) or in
a compound if not dissolved.

Isolating fluorine, producing it in gaseous form, and
storing it, was not easy to do. Fluorine gas was first
successfully isolated by electrolysis in about 1880 using a
container made of platinum to contain the highly reactive gas.

Fluorine ions (flouride) are present in seawater at levels on the order
of 1.3 milligrams per liter, so they are not uncommon. But fluoride
ions are not nearly as reactive as fluorine and they don't combine
explosively with hydrocarbons.

Rather than oxidation could we maybe consider another reaction? I am sure it is an obvious idea and may have been tried elsewhere, either that or it is such a stupid idea that I will be shot down in flames, but here goes anyway.

If you have a relief well and are struggling to stop the flow by mud weight alone, can the flow in the blow out well be slowed by injecting acid and inducing polymerisation in the oil flow and thereby increasing viscocity, back pressure, and slowing flow rate?

steve -- still haven't seen the details but there was chatter that Wright had some "special" fluids he might use in conjunction with the mud pill. I've no idea what they might be but could be along the lines of your thoughts.

Z -- oxidation down hole is not only plausible but is the process I descibed as a fire flood. But you have to inject that air into the well and maintain it. Stop injecting and the ISC stops. From my limited knowledge of explosives it's the time element. IOW how fast the oxidation occures and if there is a sufficient supply of air to meet the demand. An explosion is an extremely fast oxidation...i.e. in microseconds. But there has to be a sufficient number of oxygen molecules to maintian the explosion. There isn't enough oxygen in the subsurface naturally to even maintain a very slow oxidation process. Very correct about a very rapid energy surge. tanks of compressed air make me more nervous than tanks of flamable liquids.

Thanks for the informative article, HO.

This may seem like a simple question to those here with experience in the field, but just how does one get straight steel casings down down a curved well bore?! In other words, I can visualize how it could work for the original (vertical) well, but the relief wells are frequently changing direction as they home in on their target, aren't they?

Guess I must be missing something...


Mike -- What's confusing is that they don't use a true scale on the diagrams of the RW. At true scale you could hardly percieve the curve in the RW. And steel csg/drill pipe when it's 1000's of feet long is much more flexible than most can imagine. You can take a continous string of very stiff drill pipe and coil it into a 360 degree circle with a diameter no greater than a couple of thousand feet. And the curve rate of that circle would be much greater than any seen in the RW.

Rockman, you've said similar things before, but I couldn't quite visualize what you meant. Somehow your reply here (with an assist from NYT's drawing of how steering pads work) crystallizes it for me better than before. So thanks to Mike for asking and you for answering so that I finally get it.

lotus -- I don't have the directional plan for the RW so I can only offer general thoughts. The curvature of a well bore (the "build rate") is given in degrees per 100'. Also called the dog leg. just a guess but the build rates in the RW are probably around 5 to 10 degrees per 100'. So 100' is about the width of many homes lots. So next time you're outside imaging a 100' long stick that's laying on the ground with a build rate of 10 degrees/100'. So one end of the stick is parallel to the front of your house. At the other end of the stick (100' away) the stick is 10 degrees off parallel to your house. I don't know how readily you can envision a 10 degree angle but it isn't much. Now imagine it changing over a 100' distance. And bear in mind that most consider a 10 degree build rate rather aggressive.

I hope this helped you more than confuse you. LOL. Just ahd a nother thought; when you hear them say the well bore during the curve building section is 70 degrees remember that is the angle at the drill bit. About 100' back up from the bit the hole may be 67 degrees. another 100 degrees up maybe 63 degress.

Yep, helped some more. You good at this, bro. Thanks.

I understand that the Top Kill didn't work... for whatever reasons... like the casing towards the top of the WW is compromised.

So the next step is to drill a RW (that will intersect with the WW) and then start pumping mud out of the bottom of the RW in the hope that it will rise up the WW and effect a Bottom Kill of the WW.

So here is a really dumb question:

Why can't a "pipe" be pushed down the WW to effect a Bottom Kill?

OK - they might have to open up the failed BOP and get some debris out of the way before they can insert this new "pipe" all the way down to the necessary depth... but it sounds a lot faster that drilling a new RW.

I understand you could not engineer/risk this on land... but in deepwater the oil/gas can't ignite as it exits the WW into sea water... and the drilling platform is floating a mile above the WW.

MV - The top kill process you describe is exactly how they kill a shut in well. But I've never seen a top kill on a flowing well with drill pipe stuck in the BOP. Not a dumb question BTW. As you say, they would have to clear the BOP to get the pipe down. They haven't been able to function the BOP from day one. It certainly would have been faster than a RW. But you can't do what you can't do.


"Twelve months ago BP dismissed the possibility that a catastrophic accident could happen at its offshore rig Deepwater Horizon, it emerged yesterday. An exploration plan and environmental impact analysis for the well, produced by the company in 2009, concluded that it was virtually impossible for there to be a giant crude oil spill from it." [snip]


" Top Houston attorney Tony Buzbee says he has new evidence which indicates that Deepwater Horizon’s managers knew that the BP oil rig had major problems before its explosion on April 20, citing the eyewitness account of a crew member who rescued burning workers on the rig of a conversation between Deepwater Horizon installation manager Jimmy Harrell and someone in Houston. According to the witness, Harrell was screaming, “Are you f***ing happy? Are you f***ing happy? The rig’s on fire! I told you this was gonna happen.” [snip]

Harrell was talking via satellite phone and whoever was on the other end of the line was apparently trying to calm him down as the rig burned.

Now we all know that isn;t true..we all see the oil on the beaches.. and the dead pelicans.
And despite all the informed commentary here ..and all the nay-sayers to the alarmist-sensationalist reporting in
Mother Jones and the Huffington Post...the insinuations of self-interested scientists scaring up grant money..
little is being said about the reason press coverage and independent reporting was not only discouraged but is now illegal...and that is because to give access to journalists and to give honest answers to honest questions would not only harm BP-Haliburton's prospects in court cases..but would give non-US governments, competitors and financial markets
reasons to start pulling the plug on America. You think designating this disaster as a national security issue was some PR stunt? That designation is not only meant to protect the NATION's citizens from a truth they can;t handle..but to protect us against enemies that would exploit our vulnerabilities....AND it means you can ignore the Constitutional nice-ities starting with freedom of the Press.

I do..really do..hope the well gets capped, the spill gets killed..I hope there is a lull in the storms cycle long enough to complete that..so we can get on the cleanup..but friends, countrymen..fellow citizens..I gotta tell you..I am amazed how easy it seems to be for most here to ignore some of the really disturbing news related to this spill that goes beyond the damage to beaches, fisheries, businesses along the Gulf..as if it has gone in one ear and out the other.....news that lends one to believe that not all of this was accidental....and that none of us should think we really know what is going on so deep under the sea..since the same company that swore under oath that no crude could ever be spilled from this well...or that a maximum of 5,000 barrels was being leaked..the same company that made the survivors sign gag-agreements before receiving help... is in charge of the cleanup..and can have YOU thrown in jail for coming too close, asking questions, or taking pictures.

Now then..for those who wanna see a bigger picture..or wanna check the facts before replying... I leave you with these headlines..[feel free to google to see that they are TRUE facts]:
" Highly suspicious stock and share trades by people connected to BP before the explosion indicate some extent of foreknowledge.
"Goldman Sachs dumped 44% of its shares in BP Oil during the first quarter of 2010 – shares that subsequently lost 36 percent of their value, equating to $96 million. The current chairman of Goldman Sachs is... Peter Sutherland, who is also the former chairman of British Petroleum.
"Furthermore, as reported by the London Telegraph on June 5th, Tony Hayward, the current BP CEO sold £1.4 million of his shares in the fuel giant weeks before the spill.
"On April 12th, just over one week before the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded, Halliburton, the world’s second largest oilfield services corporation, surprised some by acquiring Boots & Coots, a relatively small but vastly experienced oil well control company."

And this interview, which I found to be relevant..and again, it seems to have totally missed attention here on TOD


Sleep well.


David Icke was a main strream tv commentator who went rogue with some very strange ideas:

Cut and paste from Wikipedia: "In April 1991 he announced on the BBC's Terry Wogan show that he was the son of God, and predicted that the world would soon be devastated by tidal waves and earthquakes."

His website is not a great place to get source material that will be taken seriously by the majority here I would think. Adrian Salbuchi may be an expert in something, but I guess it is unlikely he can be an expert in Zionism , world order, economics and oil wells.

[stevemersey makes fists, extends forefingers, blows on one, blows on the other, holsters them, returns to his cuppa. Crowd: Woohoo.]


Marine Casuality Report

Drillship Glomar Java Sea ON 568182

Capsizing and Sinking in South China Sea on 25 October 1983

Very first page "no survivors were found"

Your friends are full of prunes. I also sailed on the Java Sea but I'm not a survivor.

I noticed a company near where I live (Jax, FL) added an underwater robotics division that begins operation 8/1. It sounds like an opportunity for anyone wanting to be a ROV pilot or consultant.