BP's Deepwater Oil Spill - Hitting the Well Annulus - and Open Thread

This thread is being closed. Please comment on http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6708.

Work on the relief well is going quite well, as I have been noting. The Wall Street Journal is now reporting that BP is hoping to stop the oil spill through a relief well by July 27, ahead of its public target of mid-August.

Trying to work out exactly where the relief well has reached, relative to set target depths is slightly complicated by the difference between measured depth of the well, and true vertical depth. To use just a portion of the final slide that Kent Wells used in his last technical briefing

If one uses this as a reference to the remarks made by Admiral Allen Wednesday, he notes that the well is within 200 ft of the initial intersection point, which is about 50 ft below the end of the lined section of the original well, which had been cased with a 9 7/8 inch liner. Below that level the well contains the production casing that was inserted into the well, but which was only cemented into place at the lower end. (The Admiral calls this the drill pipe – which is not the right term to use and which can be a bit confusing if you don’t look at the construction of the well). So let me just try and recreate a rough sketch of the area we are talking about.

According to the Congressional testimony the bottom of the lined section of the original well ends at 17,168 ft, which is perhaps 100 ft below the level shown by Mr Wells. This is where the original well was lined with a steel casing, with concrete around and below it, as the original well was drilled. The gap between the steel of the casing and the rock is known as the annulus, and it is this that I show filled with cement in two places.

So if you look at the above sketch of a section through the hole at the end of the 9 7/8th inch segment, the lighter steel casing liner was installed first, then the cement was pushed down to the then bottom of the hole. The cement flowed out and back up the hole giving the sort of “L” shape that the top cement segment has in this section. The hole was thus lined with a cement and steel jacket, before the drill bit on the end of the drill pipe came down and drilled through the cement at the bottom of that section, and on down to the producing formation.

At this point BP could have continued a liner section for the bottom of the well, as they had just done for the segment of the well above, or they could install what is known as production casing. This latter is a long tube that will run from the bottom of the well up to the BOP. They chose to do the latter. Thus the production casing was lowered into place, and the casing section that I show runs the full length of the underground segment of the borehole.

However in installing that continuous tube, instead of filling the gap between the rock and the tube (the annulus) with cement all the way up to the cement above it, they only partially filled the gap, over the lower segment of the well. This left a gap of somewhat indeterminate length where there is no cement between the production casing (the Admiral’s drill pipe) and the rock wall.

With that situation in mind, let me return to the Admiral’s press conference Wednesday. In it, he said that the relief well is still around 15 ft from the original well and with about 200 ft to go to the point of intersection. At this point the well is being drilled in 10 – 15 ft lengths and then surveyed, so that the RW can hit the original well where intended.

The intention is

they'll go through a series of spaces, starting with what they call the annulus, and that's the area in the wellbore outside the casing, and then the casing is outside the well pipe.

They will check at each point on whether or not there is any hydrocarbons there and any pressure. And if there is none, they will attempt to actually apply mud to kill that portion of it. If they can go into the annulus and fill that with mud, and if that stops the problem, then they know the flow to the surface was to the annulus only. If that doesn't stop it and there's indications that there's product going up through the pipe, they will ultimately have to drill through the pipe and apply mud twice.

In other words, they will come into the well around the zone that I have shown with no cement in the annulus. If the well is flowing oil and gas into the space outside of the production casing, then it will be flowing up the outside until it reaches the bottom of the lined section of the well. The flow then moves into the gap between the production casing and the steel casing liner and works its way up to the BOP through that channel.

If that is the case, then the bottom of the production casing may be still sealed, and by just filling the channel from the point of intersection up to the BOP with mud, then the well might be killed.

On the other hand, if the bottom seal at the lower end of the production casing has failed (which might be why the initial negative pressure test showed flow) then oil and gas are flowing up the inside of the production casing, and filling the space outside the production casing with mud won’t stop the flow.

Thus the drill will then restart and drill through the production casing, to fill it, in turn with mud. Both operations will take time. As the Admiral noted

. . .if they have to pump mud up through the annulus and then go into the pipe and pump mud there, too, that's a period of seven, 10 days to accomplish both of those things. And if they have to be done in sequence because of the condition of the wellbore when they go in, it will probably take into August, . . .

And in the meantime, the seas are still not allowing the final connections to be made to the kill circuit on the BOP, to increase oil and gas collected, which in the last report was:

For the first 12 hours on July 7 (midnight to noon), approximately 8,330 barrels of oil were collected and approximately 3,925 barrels of oil and 28.8 million cubic feet of natural gas were flared.

• On July 6, total oil recovered was approx. 24,760 barrels:
• approx. 16,535 barrels of oil were collected,
• approx. 8,225 barrels of oil were flared,
• and approx. 57.5 million cubic feet of natural gas were flared.

Incidentally, it appears that the debate on changing the cap is still going on.

We are still reviewing the technical specifications that were provided to us by BP on not only that cap, but several other options. The procedures on how it would be done, the amount of time at which the well would be open for discharge of some amount of oil, and the weather window that it would take to do that, and that is all under review right now inside the administration, and I wouldn't want to attach a percentage right now.

Chuck Watson has an update on the weather situation, and in particular Tropical Depression 2. He reports:

The National Hurricane Center started formally tracking Tropical Depression #2 last night. This morning it it doesn't look like much, although it might technically reach tropical storm strength before landfall. It is on track to follow in Alex's footsteps, making landfall in northern Mexico or far south Texas.

More importantly for the Gulf, this system is a continuation of the disturbed weather that is keeping wave heights above 3 feet over the entire cleanup and response area. While waves don't interfere with relief well drilling until they are much higher (once in place, most platforms can function in waves over 20 feet, and some platforms can operate in up to 30 ft waves), the smaller waves severely restrict skimming operations and put a lot of stress on protective booms, breaking them, over toping them, and setting up longshore currents that move the oil in to previously untouched areas. In addition, the hookup of the Helix Producer to the existing capture equipment continues to be delayed due to weather.

It looks to be at least this weekend before things calm down.

Prof. Goose's comment:

New stuff in this introductory comment, 1 JUL 10.

A continued humble and sincere thank you to all who have donated thus far. It will help us pay for the fourth server we brought online to accommodate the increased traffic. (See point 3 below.)

1. The Oil Drum is a special place. We strive to maintain a high signal to noise ratio in our comment threads. Short, unengaging comments, or comments that are off topic, are likely to be deleted without notice. (to be clear--engaging, on point humor and levity, more than welcome.)

We are trying to perform a service to the public here to coordinate smart people who know their stuff with other people who want to learn about what's going on. Promotion of that ideal will be the criteria by which we make our decisions about what stays and what goes.

Flame wars, polemic exchanges, and other content deleterious to the community will be removed, either by an editor or by the community through its moderation process.

2. If you see a problematic comment USE THE COMMENT MODERATION SYSTEM--see the "Flag as inappropriate" and (?) beside it? Learn more there. If you see comments that are questionable after you've done that (that aren't being removed), let us know at the eds email address.

It is up to this community to enforce the norms we have established here (a high signal to noise ratio), keep. it. up.

Our guide to commenting at TOD can be found here: http://www.theoildrum.com/special/guidelines . Please check it out if you are unfamiliar with it, but it is essentially 1) citations welcome (if not necessary), 2) be kind to others, and 3) be nice to the furniture.

3. We have gotten a lot of queries whether this bump in traffic is adding costs to keep the site functioning. Truth is, yes, we are incurring added expenses from these events. It is also true that we try not to beg from you very often as we are not the types to bother you with constant queries.

That being said, if you are inclined to help out, your support is always welcome and very much appreciated. To those who have already given, thank you very much.

You can find the donate button in the top left hand corner of the main page.

4. If you have come here to vet your plan to kill the well, understand that you will be queried on whether or not you have read all the other previous comment threads and all the myriad plans that have already been run by the kind folks in this room; if you have actually read all the comment threads and still think your plan has legs, well, then maybe yours really is the one that will save the Gulf of Mexico.

This is not to say that well considered questions about current attempts and modifications to those attempts are not welcome; they are. But try to place them in context and in what's actually going on, as opposed to your MacGyver dream solution where you have a 10 megaton bomb, an ice pick, and Commander Spock at your side.

5. If you would like to catch up with what's been going on in the last few days, our IRC channel has been maintaining a FAQ, which is an open source log full of information, links, and such. Check it out: http://docs.google.com/View?id=dff7zmqz_7c6rdwsc9

6. Also, if you're looking for live chat to talk about the ROV/LMRP video, etc., and are IRC capable, go to freenode, the channel is #theoildrum

(google MIRC and download it; Hit the lightening bolt and fill in your info; select the server as "freenode" (it is in the server list), hit connect; when connected type /join #theoildrum)

or you can get there just via a browser: http://webchat.freenode.net / Just enter a nickname and #theoildrum in the boxes; then when connected type /join #theoildrum)

7. Don't be afraid to go back and read the last couple of open threads yesterday and today before you start on this thread. They are really good, and will likely catch you up if you have been out of the loop for a while. We shut down threads when we get to 300-400 comments, as it's really unmanageable. Lots of good stuff in there though.

8. Yes, HO and others have put up many counterarguments to the "DougR" comment. There are many many links, but the first one was here: http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6609. If you ask in the thread nicely, they will also point you to others.

A video from NBC news with reporters onboard the Discover Enterprise is posted at http://www.deepwaterbp.com

Continuing the discussion of potential downhole oxidation from the previous thread:

No free fluorine or oxygen downhole - others covered that nicely.

Polymerization is not likely either - what is needed for that is unsaturated hydrocarbons, and there aren't a lot of them in most petroleum reservoirs. The usual saturated hydrocarbons can be made to polymerize, but not with the garden-variety acids that might be used in downhole fluids.

If there was an explosion downhole, and I'll agree with Rockman that we don't have all the information by a long shot, it was most likely from physical changes resulting from pressure release on a supercritical hydrocarbon mixture.

I have some doubts any of the mixtures of hydrocarbons in the well (or any clathrates outside the hole in the sea bottom, mentioned in various other threads) are technically "supercritical." Once pressure is reduced by fluid moving into the well and then the sea or up the recovery pipes, yes, methane gas expands and various light compounds such as pentane become gases but I don't see any part of that as being poised to change phase yet unable to do so, as would be required for something to be technically called "supercritical."

Jumper - the mixture would have been supercritical before the pressure was removed, and the pressure removal would have allowed a very rapid, explosive in fact, transition to a gas phase. "Supercritical" means that the mixture is above its critical point, the point where the dividing line between liquid and gas ends on a phase diagram. Supercritical fluids have the transport properties of gases and the solvating power of liquids. But they change phases just like anything else when the conditions allow that.

I believe it's 30 degree API oil? The Gas/Oil ratio is 2300. Temperature should be less that 250 degrees F. I believe if this mix is taken to a PVT cell, it'll be shown not to be supercritical - it's a volatile oil phase. Did anybody see PVT reports or simulation results? I guess I can do one if somebody gives me the data.

I make it closer to 300 F. at TD but that's back-of-envelope stuff.

How do you get 300 F? I assume the temperature at the sea floor is 40 degrees F max. Then I took a normal geo-thermal gradient for the Gulf Coast, and I don't get to 300 degrees. Do they see really high geothermal gradients in that area? I haven't worked in really deep water, only reviewed work others did, and I didn't pay too close attention to the gradient asumptions.

Ah, my misunderstanding of the term. I assume this is correct:
For others reading this, we are talking about only the light portions normally called "gas" at standard temps and pressures, certainly different from extreme downhole circumstances.

(edit: my poor old brain was thinking "supersaturated."

The wikipedia article is fine. The oil/gas mixture is a multicomponent system, so it's standard practice to use visual cell observation to define the critical point. Although today the pressure/volume/temperature simulation software is very sophisticated, we are missing the lab data to be 100 % on, this is even more so when there are super-heavy asphaltine molecules involved, and I believe this oil must have say 3 to 7 % asphaltines (just a guess based on experience).

So if you take this mixture at reservoir conditions, I believe you'll see a single phase, liquid with a volume factor around 2. I am saying this because I've worked with High pressure high temperature systems, and this is what we saw. As you drop the pressure, gas bubbles evolve, the gas will be very rich (loaded with C2-C7). But it is a volatile system. A supercritical system would not show a liquid phase, just a cloud that's neither liquid nor gas.

And of course there is no supersaturation as far as I know, because the system viscosity is so low. Supersaturation effects are seen in very viscous mixtures, where the gas microbubbles evolve but don't link up because the surrounding liquid is so viscous. At least this is what we see in crudes, I'm not sure about other types of fluids.


I have a science question. I'm probably not using the correct terminology, so please be patient. The fluid in the pay/producing region is a mix of all molecule sizes from methane to what you term super-heavy asphaltine. You speculate that there might be several percent of the asphaltine in the original mix.

What is known about the physical properties of these asphaltines? Can they be dense enough to sink in seawater? You are aware of people writing about the 'oil hiding under the surface'. Could this be the result of a differential separation of the different molecular fractions leaving droplets of oil that have lost enough light molecules to become neutrally buoyant in seawater?

Geek7, I'm more of a generalist, and I have to be careful not to reveal confidential information, but here it goes:

According to what I read, quite a few reservoirs around the world, and some in the Gulf of Mexico, have asphaltic crude. This means they have a small percentage of very high molecular weight hydrocarbons in the overall mix. To make it even more vexing the crudes can be found at very high temperature and pressure, and contain a high gas ratio.

This is where it gets interesting, the crude is fairly light, but it has these super heavy molecules in it. These molecules are so heavy they do not readily dissolve, so you may think of them as tiny cannonballs floating in the crude. The key to flotation is slightly lighter molecules called resins (This is where the term SARA Analysis comes from, Saturates-Aromatics-Resins-Asphaltines). The resins hold the asphalt via polar bonds, and all of them live happy together until a hairless ape tries to remove it, and drops the pressure. IF the fluids are UNDERSATURATED, then the pressure comes down and the gas doesn't evolve just yet (eventually it does). As the pressure drops, the system density DECREASES, this means the stuff that floats in the oil tends to fall - and this is why pressure drop is a hassle in an HPHT asphaltic crude - until the bubble point is reached, at which time the liquid density begins to go up again.

What I did was put on my 3D glasses I use to look at kid's movies, and I derived by anal extraction that a 30 degree crude with this type of GOR should have about say 5 to 10 % asphaltines. That's only a guess, so please don't hold me to it.

The asphaltines are indeed heavier than water, but they are attached to the resins. So it's not a simple story. What happens, I am guessing again, is that oil comes out, the dispersants make it break up, some of the light ends dissolve in the water or evolve as bubbles towards the surface, bacteria start eating the mid range hydrocarbons (they love C5-C6-C7), and this eventually leaves a mix of asphaltine, resin, and a bit of the lighter stuff. The mixture sinks in the water column, or never rises to the top anyway, and finds a water level (a thermocline?) where it floats and doesn't move much. The bacteria don't like to eat the heavier stuff, so they stop gobbling, and you end up with a "tarball". If this tarball also gets a bit of solid material (say dead plankton), then it's quite an exotic mix.

Now, if I were the Coast Guard I would be analysing the tarballs and checking their weathering, because I bet there's going to be tarballs from other sources (the usual suspects are tankers, seeps, and bad guys dumping oil by accident). And I got the feeling there will be wise guys picking up tar and dropping it on the beach at X and Y location to make claims and sue BP later. It sounds like a pretty good scam.

When it comes to the plumes, I've read they are less than 0.5 ppm. Not being a shrimp, I don't see much of a problem with that. But I do see a problem with the way they have been described by the media. I hate Fox, so I usually watch CNN, but they have been really terrible covering the story. The key to the right coverage is to discuss figures, and point out what could happen. They never did reveal the plume content was lower than 0.5 ppm - or show a water sample, because that water is crystal clear.

They SHOULD have asked somebody to take 0.5 ppm water, put shrimp in it, and see what happens to the shrimp. Although I don't know of anything useful that lives several thousand feet below the surface. The problem for the shrimp would be right on top, and that is really a concern. BP may have to buy off the shrimping industry for a few years, and we may have import shrimp to make up the losses. Which means there may be a good investement opportunity building shrimp ponds in Panama?


Bang on. I've never understood the comments around supercriticality of these fluids.

The parameters I've seen suggest a normal volatile oil as you say. Reservoir temperature (variously quoted as 210F or 263F in available documentation) will be well to the left of the mixture critical point, and temperature and pressure will drop substantially as the fluids ascend the wellbore.

There's a lot that we don't know about what led to the blowout. But it wasn't a reaction with oxygen or fluorine. That means that if there was an explosion, (note conditional) it must have had a physical cause. Could have been the pressure, could have been more than that. Depends on how much of an explosion it was.

You are right, much is unclear!

But I think we need to distinguish 2 different 'explosions' here.

The first is the violent ejection of the contents of the wellbore / riser, and I'd venture to say the mechanism is relatively well understood. Any free gas in the wellbore rises due to density differences. The ambient pressure is less and less as it rises and it expands. The process runs away as overlying fluids are expelled from the riser, the hydrostatic head decreases further, the gas expands even more rapidly. The evacuation of the sea water from the riser will have been VERY energetic, but I think there is no need to postulate unusual fluid properties to explain it.

The second is of course the ignition of the natural gas and rapidly following oil stream on the drill floor.

the gas will be very rich (loaded with C2-C7). But it is a volatile system.

you are wasting your time, they either won't understand wtf you are talking about or wont believe you. .......i'm just sayin.

ik ya t'dts hap ?
ai ay tits d'hap !

I believe BP said that in an ideal world they could kill the well by the 20th-27th; "if everything went superbly". Still they expect that realistically it will be in August.

HO: Thanks for rough sketch! Its much better than anything I ever did on the back of an envelope or napkin. And, the light bulb finally went on in my mind. Thanks for helping me understand.

Where is the drill pipe that was left in the well?

If I recall correctly, the drill pipe in the wild well, the leaking well, extended down about 3000 ft, so it will not be present at the bottom, and not shown in the illustration.

is either:
*hanging in the BOP
*fall down at the bottom
*a part is hanging and a part is at the bottom

EDITED to say it has anyhow not so much of an importance for the RW bottom kill procedures

Thanks, that is what I was wondering. Would it be a problem if it was at the bottom.

drill pipe or any other pipe dropped in a well has the potential to collapse the casing at the point where the dropped pipe hits a liquid level.

Thanks HO for explaining that so even a 10yr old can understand.

Nice diagram, HO!

However, I don't see how oil can be flowing up the annulus. The "gap of somewhat indeterminate length where there is no cement between the production casing [...] and the rock wall" that you refer to is still several hundred feet above the oil reservoir, so isn't it unlikely that enough oil is going to be able to escape via this route to account for the vast quantities of oil we're seeing gushing out at the top? As long as there is an intact cement plug between the production casing and the rock wall at the point where it enters the reservoir, surely the prediction must be that the oil is flowing up the production casing?

Also, I'm wondering why they need a week to drill through into the production casing after having penetrated the annulus.

what you see there is the ideal situation, the well in this picture will be probably tight
in the WW the cement at the bottom of the smaller casing is not sealing (poor cement job)

the suface to flow from the annulus is not so small, without cement you will have like 38sq in (7 in casing 97/8 hole diam) (maybe even more due to the hol diam) true that a part will still be ocupied by the cement but think at the erosional forces and then you might accept that is not too much cement left there

However, I don't see how oil can be flowing up the annulus. The "gap of somewhat indeterminate length where there is no cement between the production casing [...] and the rock wall" that you refer to is still several hundred feet above the oil reservoir, so isn't it unlikely that enough oil is going to be able to escape via this route to account for the vast quantities of oil we're seeing gushing out at the top? As long as there is an intact cement plug between the production casing and the rock wall at the point where it enters the reservoir, surely the prediction must be that the oil is flowing up the production casing?

Yes, but "intact cement" is the question. In previous threads, there have been comments from oil field professionals about how difficult it is to be sure of the cement job at the bottom of a well. And in particular, there have been questions about the cement job on this well. Whether the cement is properly in place, and doing what it's supposed to do, won't be known until the relief well provides some info.

There was cement ejected from the wellbore to the extent that there were pieces recovered on the deck of the supply vessel Damon Bankston that was being offloaded to. The size of these pieces have not been described however it is listed on the Transocean internal investigation that tests needs to be performed.

I think that there is only one place where one can conclude that cement came from and it would indicate failure at the bottom of the 7 inch production casing. In all likelihood the cement in that interval- if there is any left above the reservoir is mostly "rubble".

I agree that this is the clearest diagram and explanation of the situation that I have seen. Well done, HO!

It also makes it clear in my mind what a risky well design it was. Anytime you drill through a cap rock seal, you damage it. There will always be some degree of washout around the well bore through which fluids can flow after casing is set. BP put a lot of faith in the ability of the bottom cement plug to prevent fluids from rising not only within the casing, but around the outside of it as well. Unfortunately, it was a blind faith. As I understand it, the pressure tests that were run only test the integrity of the seal inside casing, not the seal around the outside of casing.

I now understand why the CEOs of all the other major Gulf operators testified to Congress that they would not have used this well design -- it's just too risky. A fully cemented liner should be required for all overpressured wells, IMHO.

What do you think?

I would run a fully cemented liner, with the number of centralizers required as per industry practice. The cement would be circulated to get returns to the top of the liner, which would have a significant overlap to make sure there's lots of cement for the formation fluids to break through should they try to do so.

If the cement column is too heavy, which depends on the frac gradient, then light weight cement should be used.

Once the cement is in place, a cement bond log should be run. If I had been in charge I would have asked for a third party verification on cement quality. I would have done the pressure testing to test the liner top with a packer and pipe set just above the liner top, not 3000 feet like they used. I would have put a stinger below the packer all the way down to total depth. If the test showed iffy data, I would have circulated with clear brine, as heavy as needed, bottoms up. Then pressure tested again, because brine tests better than mud. If the results were negative, then I would have pulled out, and gone in to squeeze the liner top. And I would have never circulate the well with light weight fluids unless it's to do a negative test, and for a negative pressure test I would make sure I have pipe to the liner top, with a packer set.

I guess the rig cost pushed the BP managers to do some very interesting and sophisticated things I would not do. For the record, I own BP and Halliburton stock I failed to sell because I thought the well was only making 5000 BOPD.

Mike -- I don't have a strong opinion as to whether all the flow is going down the annulus and then up the csg or just up the annulus. But in either case the oil has to move thru the annulus from the reservoir to reach the surface. So the flow volume potential is the same up the annulus as it is down...same cross sectional area. Exactly where the cmt is still intact isn't clear to me. Just my guess but I think most is going down the annulus to the bottom of the production csg and then up. But it could be flowing 100% up the annulus and it would look the same coming out of the BOP IMHO. The big question is whether the annulus between the production csg and the other liners is open to the BOP. I haven't seen any definitive info on that possibility. Also I don't think they've commited to breaching the production csg until they determine the conditions in the annulus. I won't be surprised if the stop driling for a day or two after they cut the annulus so they can evalaute what's going on.

Rockman, I doubt the formation fluids are u-tubing through the liner shoe. The liner is run with a collar to take the cement bump plug, so unless they forgot to use a plug, there's solid cement between the collar and the end of the liner (It's not a good idea to set the collar right on bottom, they should have a little bit of pipe just below). The likely flow path is up the annulus.

Evidently they had a channel, and as the well blew it eroded a path. I've seen videos showing how a wormhole erodes (using a sand box placed inside an MRI machine), and it's a real eye opener. Can't discuss the exact details because the data is confidential, but I think it's safe to say a channel will erode, and at the rates we're discussing, the channel will erode to exactly the size it has to be, in this case it should be a flow path on one side of the liner, wide enough to flow 50,000 BOPD/140 MMCFD at downhole conditions, and that's a pretty big wormhole. It's like a gazelle's speed, the gazelle evolves to run just as fast as it has to.

Unless BP was using cardboard, the liner should be OK, because the pressure OUTSIDE should be a bit lower than the pressure inside (due to the dynamic pressure loss), but not enough to make the liner burst.

I'm assuming the fluids are coming out of the liner top into the casing and then flowing up.

But I haven't read all the threads and blogs they post here, sometimes I get very busy and don't have the time to keep up. So maybe I'm missing something.

I also saw a video showing cracks on the sea floor, which tell me it's possible somehow the BP enginers managed to set uncemented pipe up hole, which got parted and dislodged from the casing hanger and shoved up into the BOP. So they lost seal up hole as well? Or i didn't interpret the video properly. This is really weird, just a theory to explain why the blind rams didn't work. And I sure wish the Kent Wells briefings weren't so simple. They must have lawyers looking over everything to make sure it's sanitized.

Fd - I am pretty much in agreement with you, but I think it would be a little more clear if you would use the term production string instead of liner, since they in fact ran a long string from top to bottom rather that just a liner covering just the open hole. I know the terms are sometimes used interchangable, but earlier posts on TOD have explained the the differance, and for those without field experance here the term liner might be confusing in this context.

I take it you believe they ran a 7 inch casing all the way from TD to wellhead? But that wouldn't make sense for a well like this. If they ran it with a single cementing stage, then this is really odd. Do we have a drawing showing a 7 inch CASING run from TD to the wellhead?

there is no engg case for running this mechanical setup other than the increase the longevity of the well....so really a financial case can be made for this string ...

this size string was used commonly in timbalier bay (plenty of wells in vermillion blocks have the same) and other shallow areas back in the days where some operators would run dual (i've seen triple string completions every now and then) .....even now small operators like maritech (part of tetra) are still flogging dead reservoirs by running co-mingling permits

how this makes its way into a DW exploratory well is weird and frankly knowing what do now about such mech setups a little wrong

fd -- They actually ran a tappered string with 7" on the bottom and 9 5/8" (?) on top. I don't have the profile handy but I bet someone will toss it out in a moment.

Thanks FE...saved that booger this time.

It was a tapered string of 7 and 9 5/8 . I don't know if that is odd or not, but I believe that not runnin a liner contributed to the problem. I am no expert on pressure testing and casing hangers, but I don't see how you can test the back side (annulus) of the cement job with a long string.

Also they did not use a lock down ring on the casing hanger for some unknown reason,

Fd - One other point I would like you to comment on is the fact that they only circulated enough including the cement job to get bottoms up to the wellhead not counting loss of 18 bbls during the process at some point after running casing. In other words 18 bbls short of bottoms up.

I thought the 7 inch was a liner, because 7 inch is too small for a well expected to make more than 10,000 BOPD (4 1/2 inch to 5 1/2 inch tubing is what I would run in a well like this). But to run the 7 inch by 9 5/8 inch tapered string without a two stage job sure sounds a little risky. It's better to run the two stage job, and then monitor the 9 5/8 inch by outer casing annulus with a permanent readout just in case.

I have had a lot of discussion about this problem, because an annulus pressure problem in an HPHT well, when a lot of casing is left uncemented can collapse it downhole, and that can be a real problem.

I suspect their outer casing must have been something big, say a 16 inch casing. So, they had hydrocarbons leak up to the top in the 9 5/8 inch by 16 inch (?) annulus, these put downward pressure on the uncemented casing, and upwards pressure on the casing hanger. If the tensile load split the casing, and the hanger wasn't locked down, it pushed casing up into the BOP, and the shear rams couldn't cut through it. At that point they had flow up the annulus at the wellhead, and they had a column of lighter fluid in the riser, which the hydrocarbons blew right out of the well.

So where does the cement come from? The hydrocarbons start flowing up the channel in the 7 inch by 9 5/8 inch tapered string, and as they flow they erode the heck out of the flow path - they bring up sand, cement, whatever gets in the way, and this makes it way to the surface.

So if they are lucky BP has a parted production casing shoved up, and an eroded annulus flowing 50,000 BOPD. This means the relief well has to tap the flow wormhole in the annulus between the casing and the formation wall.

Once the relief well has tapped in, I would pump mud to start increasing column weight and slow the well flow gradually, but I would also hook up a boat to the kill line and be ready to pump down, because it may be a lot easier to rock it with the final kill coming down rather than going up, this would allow them to use the relief well as a safety valve to avoid parting the formation. Once they put a cement plug down the original well, as I mentioned yesterday, I would pump enough water in (say 5 million barrels) to flood out the reservoir area around the well. I may even consider pumping in a lot of resin to plug the reservoir up, then plug the relief well half way, drop a staintless steel flask with holy water, and then pump more cement on top. That should keep the devil down there.

I get the holy water part, but not this part:

Once they put a cement plug down the original well, as I mentioned yesterday, I would pump enough water in (say 5 million barrels) to flood out the reservoir area around the well.

I'll see if I can find your quote from yesterday...

do a web search on "oil-halliburton-cement-052010jpg" It's a diagram of the well.

There is a production liner that starts at 9 7/8 at the top, then steps down to 7" down hole.

Here's an early diagram from nola.com .. the final full well depth liner/casing tapers from 9 7/8" to 7" ...

and another well schematic

from the earlier TOD post on the Congressional testimony on the well design.


I for one, appreciate your comments and welcome you to the discussion.

Guys- for accuracy purposes it was 9 7/8 x 7 not 9 5/8

I know - odd size.

hey..it was between 9" and 10"..right? Close enough for a geologist.

But in either case the oil has to move thru the annulus from the reservoir to reach the surface.

unless the 7" is collapsed or parted. i ran across a wellfile a few days ago where there was a "gap" in the casing. how the he11 does a gap get in the casing ? maybe a joint came unscrewed ?

clearly something went wrong.

True elwood. I've confirmed gaps a couple of times. I seem to recall they aprted at the collars both times.

The Times-Pic on moratorium developments:

Today in a 5th Circuit hearing, Interior will argue that the 5th should lift Judge Feldman's stay and reinstate the original moratorium. But a more interesting story explains that some folks call this a "red herring" since Interior's already-promulgated new rules impose a de facto moratorium anyhow. Highlighting my favorite of them:

... The first directive, known as Notice to Lessees N-05, makes oil companies submit third-party certifications of key equipment, such as the blowout preventer that's supposed to shut down an out-of-control well. It also requires each company's chief executive officer sign a sworn statement certifying all safety equipment works properly and all well designs are safe, and acknowledging personal criminal liability for any false statements.

Hunt said that most companies made enough significant changes and performed sufficient safety reviews in the 30 days after the Deepwater Horizon incident to comply with the certification requirements. But the issue of CEO liability, something that companies are used to when certifying their financial statements, is a bit more difficult.

It will take some time to ensure the same protocols exists [sic] to give oil company CEOs confidence in the specific engineering procedures on rigs, Hunt said.

"No one minds taking responsibility, however a lot of due process is involved before you can be required to put your name to a blank sheet of paper," he said. "We have no problem being responsible, we just want to be duly responsible." ...

Elsewhere, the paper reports that locals such as the St. Tammany Parish president blame dispersants for the tar-ball invasion of Pontchartrain.

this is a defacto moratorium for sure. It amazes me how the federal government finds such creative ways to thwart oil production, and then thwarts cleanup initiatives at the state level.

creative ways to thwart oil production

captbob, do you believe that's the gummint's goal? Why? What would be in it for them? Seems to me it's a (large) knock-on effect of their need to clean up the mess MMS left and do what they can to ensure we don't see DWH II anytime soon.

Are you in the "we don't need no steenkin' rules" camp?

Of course rules are required- and there are lots of good rules. This has created the need to review and tweak the rules, but not to create such an onerous regulatory environment whereas it become next to impossible to profitably drill offshore in the USA, which I think is indeed the (misplaced) agenda of this administration.

create such an onerous regulatory environment whereas it become next to impossible to profitably drill offshore in the USA, which I think is indeed the (misplaced) agenda of this administration

So . . . Obama was just funnin' us at the end of March when he announced the expansion of offshore drilling? I mean, I know he has a good sense of humor, but that sure didn't sound like "I kid" fodder to me.

you mean this reversal of his campaign pledge?

"The plan, which needs congressional approval to be implemented, would permit drilling off the coast of Virginia, as well as end a moratorium on drilling 125 miles from Florida's west coast."

Do you think this administration is friendly to the development of oil production in the US?

Do you think this administration is friendly to the development of oil production in the US?

Yes, my understanding is that they believe domestic production will be a necessary tider-over until the era of renewables sets in in earnest.

Which campaign promise do you believe that breaks?

If they actually mean to shut-in production then they are REALLY stupid as GOM oil production is 25-30% of TOTAL USA oil production. You CANNOT make that up from on-shore sources. I'm sure domestic wells could produce some amount more for a short period, say 5% for 3 months and unless they open the Strategic Petroleum Reserves (as GWB did) there is NO WAY we can keep overall production where it is today.

If mean new wells there will be some impact, but it's hard to say how much right now. The big impact could be that the drilling rigs will leave and it can be years before they can get back as they will be deployed elsewhere under long-term contracts. So effectively this could shut down GOM drilling for several years and net new production to make up for depletion wouldn't occur meaning the downslope of the peak oil curve hits sooner.

Renewables are a laugh, that's just more money being thrown at a technology that 1) needs time to mature, labs don't produce break out tech overnight even with more money 2) many people have studied this issue and renewables won't fill the gap for about 30 yrs. You can't just stick out more windfarms and if you grow more Corn/Soy/etc. for biodiesel & ehtanol as that's land taken out of food production increasing food prices AND gas prices. Double-dip here we come!! I'm wondering if the whole Administration is either idiots or want's us to suffer badly so they can step in and solve it with MORE Government. Probably some of both.

The problem I see with past MMS regs and enforcement, which will only be worse in the next itereation, is that they focus on paper accountability and expect that if the forms are right then all will be well with the world, that nothing will occur which was not thought of in advance and included in the forms. Judgement is not involved. Two things happen, neither is good: 1) Industry has no respect for the regulators and just goes through the motions, and 2) Industry becomes contaminated by the same view of the world as a perfectly predictable place with no room for judgement - and thus tolerant of lack of judgement.

Glen -- Sadly much of my 35 years in the oil patch supports your statement. I don't know if the tolerance for lack of judgement is pervasive but it certainly does exist to some degree IMHO.

Lack of respect for regulators? Here a very common joke offshore: "Let's see...it's Friday so we may be having our unannounced MMS inspector showing up today." Friday is typically seafood day on the rigs. And also the most common day of the week for surprise inspections, which, coincidently, often happen around lunch time.

That is one of the most thoughtful and well articulated statements about government regulation I've ever read. If "industry" had a better reputation for honesty, it wouldn't be quite so laughable to suggest that the best approach to regulation is a collaboratively developed set of guidelines, iteratively reviewed.

This is far afield, but not too. Here in RI, we had a terrible fire at a "night club" called the Station, killing 100 people. It was, like our topic here, an engineering clusterf@*# of epic proportions.

In response, the state legislature passed knee-jerk, strictest-in-the-nation fire codes. They've been an unmitigated disaster for development and will likely get reviewed next year. With luck, the review process will be inclusive - as the original legislation was _not_ - and generate a collaboration between safety, city planning, developers, etc.

But, ah, I am ever the optimist. Perhaps I should think about Mel Brook's line as the Governor in Blazing Saddles when he learns of the sacking of Rock Ridge and killing of the sheriff:

Gentlemen, we've got to do something. We've got to protect our phony-baloney jobs!

What are drilling safety rules like in the North Sea? Are these new rules stricter than those enforced by Norway and by the UK?

den - I was hoping someone with more specifics would answer you. But you're stuck with me. I've heard for years the N Sea regs were tougher...especially Norway. But I don't have any details to offer.

I was thinking about the North Sea today reading about 6' seas docking clean-up boats.

If there was an event like this in the NS, would there every be a day calm enough for skimming?

I lived on the beachfront of the NS and seldom ever remember seeing a calm day.

I think you're being a bit harsh! I've been out on the North Sea when it's been as smooth as glass for weeks on end. Admittedly I've also been out there in 8 meter (25') seas :)

Sometimes, high seas can work to your advantage in unexpected ways. See the following article on the Braer disaster from the amusingly named Shetlopedia.


When the oil tanker Braer foundered on Shetland in the winter of 1993, storms pretty much stopped dispersal attempts and a major disaster was expected. The storms however did a better job of dispersing the oil than we humans, and things turned out a lot better than they might have done.

Here's a picture of a workboat supplying a rig in a "smooth-as-glass" day in the North Sea.


lotus, I might ask if you are in the camp of putting incompetent people in charge of an offshore rig? How many ways can this incident be dissected? Is there anyone out there that believes human error was not the prime cause of this tragedy? Even Rockman, in his most foul mood after learning of the Blue Bell factory shut down, and on withdrawal for an extended time, will attest that this tragedy was easily preventable with existing regulations.

I might ask if you are in the camp of putting incompetent people in charge of an offshore rig

Heh-lo, EDM, where did that come from?

Sure looks like cascades of human error to me -- which the regulatory system we had not only countenanced but participated in. They've all got to do some serious socks-pulling-up to do, Interior as much as the drillers.

The CEO Certification, in my opinion, would be a show stopper if I were in that position. A CEO can not control every aspect of the process of offshore drilling involving hundreds of people. The CEO can certify that those people have attended training sessions, the equipment meets specs or industry standards, equipment is routinely tested according to some schedule, wellbores are constructed to industry standards etc but not that no problem will ever occur, which is what the regulators are looking for.

If these certifications are so great, how about the President certify we will win in Afghanistan, that we will find Osama, that he has no marxists in his administration, that none of his appointees are crooks, that his appointees have read laws before objecting to them etc.That's how ridiculous the certification is.

I would spool up my operations and move them to another country where the risk-rewards are more favorable.

how about the President certify ... that he has no marxists in his administration

Now, EDM, I love antiques, but that one passed its sell-by date nigh onto 60 years ago.

I haven't clicked through to read the directive yet, but how, exactly, is "certifying all safety equipment works properly and all well designs are safe" any tougher than promising that "the equipment meets specs or industry standards, equipment is routinely tested according to some schedule, wellbores are constructed to industry standards[,] etc."? Seems to me this rule stops the buck where it belongs.

"but how, exactly, is "certifying all safety equipment works properly and all well designs are safe" any tougher than promising that "the equipment meets specs or industry standards, equipment is routinely tested according to some schedule, wellbores are constructed to industry standards[,] etc."? Seems to me this rule stops the buck where it belongs."

any equipment with moving parts can and do fail. Sometimes they fail on test, but not always. If your standard is "never fail" then no oilfield equipment can be certified to accomplish that. Shut down the industry forever is the only solution for that requirement. What does "all well designs are safe" mean? This was an exploratory well. No one knows what will be encountered in an exploratory well for certain. If a well is designed for every and all contingencies, it will not be economically viable or, in many cases, even drillable. I can assure you of that. There would not be enough casing sizes made to guarantee a well I have to certify, under penalty of jail, is safe per your definition.

By the way, do you even know what a CEO does every day? Do you think he/she studies a drilling report every day and several times a day for every will drilling in the Gulf, and injects himself/herself in every decision?

In fire protection devices you have a listing service such as UL or FM factory mutual that tests and lists things like sprinklers and fire suppression panels. Does the oil industry do the same thing? In other words perhaps the BOP is already "listed". Does the oil industry have codes like the NFPA codes which the company can say "look I did it according to such and such code"?

How many oil field engineers are professional engineers. A PE as I understand it is a very broad test that the state makes them take. Does that mean that a PE may not know anything about oil wells?

"Does that mean that a PE may not know anything about oil wells?"


It does not seem that this argument is reality based. Codes like the NFPA codes and government regulations do not require that nothing ever goes wrong. Codes specify, generally, the minimum standards. If I built a house to the codes it would be a piece of $hit. It might be nominally safe, but I wouldn't want to live in a house built to minimum standards, would you? I have to install woodstoves using the fire and building codes as a minimum guideline, so that if the operator does everything wrong then there is still a pretty good chance that the house will not burn down. My butt is on the line on every installation.

I am assuming that industry standards and government regulations for hydrocarbon drilling are just like that. If everything is done just to meet code which is a minimum standard then any corner cutting is asking for trouble and crosses over the line from "human error" (an almost useless phrase) into negligence. I'd rather have Rockman drilling a well up to his much-stricter-than-minimum standards, than XYZ company drilling to regs with lots of contrary pressures and incentives to corner shave. If we as citizens don't demand something better than minimum standards both in the industry and in the regulating agency then we are just throwing the dice all over again.

Obama is so wedded to BAU I think you can rest easy about him wanting to get as much hydrocarbon as is reasonable wherever it is found within the tolerance of the electorate... which may mean that ANWR is out, but not necessarily. We will have to defend Mother with our voices and not depend on him or any other POTUS.

PE's are tested per discipline in engineering, my father was an Mechanical, Electrical, Civil PE (actually had a 4th but I forgot discipline) which means he passed the test for each of those and had 7 years experience in the field. However he would on not known anything about well drilling, at least not to the point of signing off on them but that was not his area of work. I lot of the engineers in the engineering industry are not PE's, but graduate engineers, but the lead discipline engineer (a PE)on their project is responsible for reviewing and signing off on their drawings. Multiple PE's held is considered a little unusual.

Right now, I only need one hand to count the number of PEs I know working as well engineers. It has not been a requirement until recently. NTL 2010-N05 (released a month ago today) made a PE certification required for all casing and cementing programs in the Gulf. I was planning on getting mine anyway once I got the required experience, just to have it, but this has cemented the decision.

The API (American Petroleum Institute) creates most of the technical industry-specific standards for the industry. Other standards organizations such as ISO, ASME, ASTM, etc, are used where applicable as well.

Most PE's I've ran across in my career have zero knowledge of the Oil Business. And a PE isn't easy to get either so increased demand on a small set of resources means higher salary. Wouldn't it be better to develop for API to stand up a program to get something like an API certification in Cementing or such? PE's the deal in things like Cement would likely be in the Structural or Civil Engineering areas. Sounds like another stupid Gov't reg that no company can really meet.

...but this has cemented the decision.

PE stands for Punning Engineer?

When I took and passed my PE exam back in 1988, the questions were limited to civil engineering fields only; surveying, hydraulics, traffic, waste management, etc. I suspect if I had been testing for a PE in ME or ChemE the questions would have been appropriate to those fields. Oil well drilling would fall under what field of engineering, I wonder? It requires knowledge from a lot of disciplines; geology, mechanical, chemical, civil and electrical.

There is a Petroleum Engineering test. Then you'd be a PE PE.

Bendal says:

When I took and passed my PE exam back in 1988, the questions were limited to civil engineering fields only; surveying, hydraulics, traffic, waste management, etc. I suspect if I had been testing for a PE in ME or ChemE the questions would have been appropriate to those fields. Oil well drilling would fall under what field of engineering, I wonder? It requires knowledge from a lot of disciplines; geology, mechanical, chemical, civil and electrical.

For information about the current fields covered by the exams, see
and for information about the petroleum engineering exam, see http://www.ncees.org/Documents/Public/Pet%20Oct%202007.pdf

The latter link contains a list of topics that looks pretty exhaustive.

Speaking of links, there is a good gulf oil spill web page at the American Petroleum Institute's website at http://www.api.org/Newsroom/safetyresponse/index.cfm

Nothing is really "safe". Nuclear plants can fail, airplanes can crash, and you can get killed laying in your bed from a meteorite.

It is just some things are safer than others.

What they need is a quantitative measure of the safety requirements . . . e.g., the frequency of a spill of over 1 million barrels of oil < 1.0 E-6 per year per well (or better yet, a log-log curve of frequency of spills versus size of spill). Once that is done, safety engineers can use probabilistic risk assessments to assess risks of drilling, optomize the design, and demonstrate the goals have been met. See the writeup at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Probabilistic_risk_assessment for a discussion of this methodology which has been applied in the nuclear and airline industry.

Once we know "how safe is safe enough", one can figure out what is needed in the way of redundancy of BOPs, BOP rams, controls, training, and the like to resume drilling.

The business of "how safe is safe enough" really isn't a technical question . . . it is a political question. One must weigh the risks of drilling with the consequences of spills and the benefits of domestic oil production.

Unfortunately, our political leaders are hopelessly inadequate to even begin to address this.

James, you hit the nail on the head. Thanks.

I'm no engineer, but I think the term used in the profession is "factor of safety".

By the way, do you even know what a CEO does every day? Do you think he/she studies a drilling report every day and several times a day for every will drilling in the Gulf, and injects himself/herself in every decision?

Now I'm curious. What exactly is it that a CEO does all day? Look at quarterly reports and play with himself? If the person in charge cannot get control over all of a company's tentacles, does that not demonstrate that the company has become "too big to succeed" and that, say, changing a culture of negligence and corner-cutting is close to impossible? The detachment of management from the day-to-day concerns of operating a business may be necessary to an extent, but we've all seen what can happen when this idea is taken too far and management simply fails to pay attention to concerns raised by engineers and safety personnel, caring only for the financial figures. The next step after that is a failure to properly account for small but nonzero risks of catastrophic failures...

The solution is competent line managers. There is a huge difference in line managers from company to company. I doubt seriously that a CEO from the largest oil company in the USA reads a daily drilling report.

For high investment or high risk/high payoff wells I would bet he does, at least a summary and the costs but he can get more if needed. If he has $100M+ on the line for a well and has made promises to investors of discovering a big new find he better know what is going on in general.
Having competent line managers who will tell the truth and who understand they CAN and MUST tell the truth is also important.

I worked in an office very close to a "CEO". The day is a mixture of meetings and reading time (I'd say 60 % meetings, 20 % reading, 20 % individual discussions with people or using the phone). If the guy knows how run things, he has staff or departments write briefing memos, usually one to three pages. Issues regarding engineering design practice and procedures are handled by a "Chief Engineer" or its equivalent. A large company has one high level type Chief Engineer who is more of a figure-head, and Chief Engineers for the different specialties, plus Chief Engineers on location (say a Chief Engineer for a major project, or for a subsidiary in Indonesia). The CEO doesn't get involved with the work the Chief Engineers do - but he has to make sure there are documents which describe what a Chief Engineer has to have under his belt to become a Chief Engineer, and what testing or certificates the guy has to have. This means on a periodic basis he has to meet with his "Chief Chief Engineer" and review the current org chart, and make sure the Chief Engineers are suited for their positions.

My guess is this where BP failed, Tony Hayward is a geologist, and from what I gather he has been somewhat of a high flier who didn't really have to worry about nuts and bolts - evolved to be more of a wheeler dealer and likes to go to Davos, meet with Putin, and talk to bankers. So the emphasis within BP was to focus on the money side, and the international relations side, and less on the engineering. This was discussed by a panel created after they had an explosion at Texas City, when they killed something like 15 people. Thus BP, if it survives, needs to change its emphasis, what one may call a serious culture change. It is likely to make less profits and be less glamorous, but it should get better results if they do worry about engineering things properly, and their managers are picked with the right pedigrees. Can't have poodles trying to serve as watchdogs, that's for sure.

I think that points to the reason why Schlumberger, (in my mind, at least), has the reputation it does. They do what they do, and do it well. (those more familiar, correct me if I'm wrong.)

Beyond Petroleum was, (again, in my opinion), a lap dog for political agendas, while doin' what they do: produce oil, at profit, for their share holders. The high flying political shenanigans, (green tech, carbon trading), is probably a big part of their epitaph.

The CEOs I have met generally are interested in decisions that affect the company's structure. Should we get into business XYZ? Is ABC a company that we are interested in acquiring? What can we do to improve gross margin by making partnerships with others? Should we get out of this business? Are we spending too much / not enough on R&D.

The decisions of this type can and do make or break a company.

Unlike apparently all of you, I've been a CEO in a past life. The CEO spends his time on STRATEGIC issues, what you're describing are TACTICAL issues. A CEO who wastes his time in tactical is in charge of a company that won't last long. Also as a CEO I almost never overrode a decision made by an underling, even if I completely disagreed with it. My reasoning was simple, I had hired that staff to make decisions FOR me, once I started overriding decisions, I get to make ALL decisions from then on. After a company is publicly traded everything changes. Now 40% of a CEO's time is spent dealing with shareholders and analysts. Sarbanes Oxley has only made this worse, now another 20% of his time is spent on accounting issues, leaving 40% to deal with strategy, sales and positioning for the corporation. Those strategic issues often deal with financing venues: Banks, strategic investors and bonds. The other job of the CEO is chief salesman for the company, and establishing the position of the corp in its market. Ultimately the biggest deals require the CEO's personal imprimatur, usually just to convince the buyer that the company is very serious about the deal and will put everything behind it. There's lots more, but I think you get the drift. Micromanaging by CEO's will NOT solve ANYTHING and will just succeed in driving about $1 trillion in market capitalization from the valuations of oil companies, this while they struggle madly to deal with the OBVIOUSLY IMPENDING tragedy of peak oil, soon to cause gas lines at a (non) filling station near you.

A CEO who wastes his time in tactical is in charge of a company that won't last long.

The notable exception to this rule is Steve Jobs, who's been known to sit in design reviews of PCB designs. BTW, Apple recently surpassed the market cap of Microsoft, which has been drifting since the loss of Bill Gates, who also was involved in tactical decisions.

The notable exception to this rule is Steve Jobs, who's been known to sit in design reviews of PCB designs. BTW, Apple recently surpassed the market cap of Microsoft, which has been drifting since the loss of Bill Gates, who also was involved in tactical decisions.

Disagree entirely. Steve Jobs couldn't design a circuit to save his life (that was Woz' job). Gates was a competent programmer, but didn't keep his chops, it is almost impossible if you're not coding at least 6 hrs a day, and even with his 20hr days Bill couldn't stay on top of it. I knew both men a LONG time ago, Steve is there to provide what he calls, "taste". Bill is there to kick butt and take names.

There's a scene in the movie "Patton", where George C. Scott gets to a muddy intersection and personally steps in to direct traffic until the jam up is removed. Some would say he was acting tactically, but in reality he was stepping in to make decisions that those on that intersection didn't feel empowered to make. When you have a command and control structure (military by definition), those at equal ranks can't navigate competing interests. Someone with higher rank needed to step in and take over. While it was an interesting piece of cinema, I highly doubt Patton was a stupid enough general to step out of his jeep (where he could get run over by a truck) and direct traffic himself. If he were in that situation, he could assign one of his staff (colonel most likely) to coordinate.

The printed circuit board meetings where Jobs is present mean he is showing management focus to deal with any problems and is implicitly telling his staff that those problems are getting the highest attention. He would only be there if the project is substantially late, over budget or incredibly important to the company. Having multiple friends at Apple, I can tell you he is NOT present at 99.9% of those meetings.

Getting back to the Patton example, it is entirely possible in a company where you have VP's from different divisions and no clear seniority versus each other that they will back their own group instead of working for the common good. That's when you need someone higher up the food chain to referee.

Very interesting, Widelyred.

What is your persepctive on the chain of command on the rig? Do you see any problems with the decision making process as it relates to this disaster. Not the actual decisions, but the process and chain of command, and the interplay between BP and TO?

Syncro, I posted a couple weeks ago about this. The bonus structure at BP is skewed towards profitability and therefore cutting costs. As competing VP's push for "their" projects to go forward, they dice the costs in their budgets so their projects will get approved. When the stinky stuff hits the fast spinning object, it is up to those lower down the food chain to try and salvage "their" bonuses (think bonus trickle down theory). That's where the corner cutting begins. It really isn't a question of whether this would have been a monster well, with tremendous profits for the whole company. The metric they are measured against is how the well is doing against BUDGET. If they beat the budgeted costs, they are heavily compensated. If they miss, they just get the paycheck, but some of these bonuses can dwarf paychecks. So on the one hand, you could pad your budget, but your project will never get approved, or cut your budget to the bone, but sweat out problems in the field. Macando was a month or so behind schedule and at least $30-40 million over budget when the disaster hit. As someone who roughnecked his way through college, I can say that offloading the mud to the support vessel was the killer. When they needed to pump tons of mud back down the hole when it kicked, it was 130' below them on another ship. That offloading saved BP about 12 hours, or $500K. Not doing the wireline with Schlumberger saved them about 12 hours, single casing instead of double saved a few million plus days etc etc. Looks pretty stupid in hindsight don't it?

Chain of command would have gone something like, "Joe you want that bonus don't you? Think there's anyway to cut corners on this so we can all cash those big checks?" TO isn't really involved, they're just waiting to be told what to do, and sometimes how to do it. The interplay of saying "NO" to the customer, when TO is essentially captive to BP as far as total revenues are concerned (biggest contractor to the biggest operator in the GOM) means no go. And let's not forget there was a PARTY on the ship that day, to celebrate TO's wonderful safety record!

I agree with you 100% on the bonus motive. But that approach may have helped generate the higher profit ratios BP enjoyed, before it met its demise, anyway.

The casing saved from $7-$10 million accoding to BP e-mail.

You raise a point I have not seen raised before. There has always been something about off-loading that mud that really bothered me. i could not put my finger on it, but you do:

As someone who roughnecked his way through college, I can say that offloading the mud to the support vessel was the killer. When they needed to pump tons of mud back down the hole when it kicked, it was 130' below them on another ship.

The only problem i see is that it looks like by the time they figured out what was happening, it might have been too late to pump mud. It was shut it in or be killed by that point. Maybe not, though. I don't have the knowledge to judge.

It does help put in perspective how far ahead of the game they were rushing those last days, from no bottoms up, no CBL test after the negative pressure failures, or earlier, displacing the riser before the top plug was set, pumping mud off, no monitoring returns. Based on their conduct, the well was already sealed, but it wasn't.

What stuns me is they ran one red light after another until they ran into that big truck called reality. One warning sign after another and just carried on with the next step as if nothing was wrong. At least after 2 or 3 warnings pause and check but they just went right ahead regardless. Maybe they cut $10 million dollars but just a check at any of the stages when they were indicating there was a problem would hardly have made a huge dent in that. If the check said 'BAD' the choice would be fix or carry on. To fix would cause money, yes, but to carry on would be to lead to disaster with massive cost in money and in lives. I really cannot get my head around it.


p.s. widelyread, where were you roughnecking, Wyo or CA?

Here is a story told by General Fisk that Mr. Lincoln relished much and often repeated.

When Fisk became a colonel he organized his regiment with the understanding that he was to do all the swearing of the regiment. One of the teamsters, however, as the roads were not always of the best, had difficulty in controlling his temper and his tongue. Once, under unusual difficulties, through a series of mud-pools a little worse than usual, unable to control himself any longer, this teamster burst forth into a volley of energetic oaths.

The Colonel took him to account and reminded him that he had agreed to let him (the Colonel) do all the swearing of the regiment.

"Yes, I did, Colonel," he replied. "But the fact was, the swearing had to be done then or not at all, and you weren't there to do it."

Red -- I guess that depends on the CEO. Over the last 35 years I’ve consulted for a few dozen companies. At least half of them failed. And without exception each company had senior management very focused on strategy. And every one failed for the same reason: failure at the tactical level. So many times I’ve sat in the big conference room and listened to all those grand strategic plans. I got to calling their approach “management by goal”. IOW: This is what we plan to achieve. And please don't bother me with the details of how we'll do it. Of course, never used that term to their faces. Always a great plan with no concept of what it would take at a tactical level. I won’t take up space detailing this foolishness. We’ll just use Tony as an example. He might have had some of the best strategic plans ever developed in the oil patch. And how much market cap has been lost due to what appears to be a bone head mistake by one of BP’s lowest management levels. But we’ll leave Tony alone. He’s been beat up enough.

Let’s talk about another oil man. He started a new oil & gas operation a year ago. It's one of about 40 different companies he owns 100% (he hates screwing with partners/investors) Strategy: put oil/NG reserves in the ground with the drill bit and then in 4 or 5 years when the markets peaks again he'll sell out and go away. Same old simple strategy: buy low...sell high. Did this with another little oil company 25 years ago and flipped it for half a billion…back when that was a lot of money. Does he pay attention at the tactical level? You have no idea. He knows every thing that goes on at the lowest level. And if he doesn’t like what he sees it get changed. Not next month…not the next day. It’s fixed before the sun goes down. You succeed he’ll reward you generously. You take foolish/dangerous chances that risks the family's money (they are private, you know) and he’ll fire you on the spot and personally walk you out the front door. Pay attention at the tactical level? No one (from senior VP to beginning secretary) comes to work for any of his companies until they meet with his wife and pass muster.

So how has being focused on the tactical level paid off for him? He’s a self made multi-billionaire netting a little less than $80 million a month. Guess no one ever told him a CEO can’t make a bucket load of money focused on the tactical. About the only time his folks collectively BS about strategy is during their Wednesday company catered lunch. And everyone eats together...clerks to senior VP's. Not really much need for the chat though. His strategies were set years ago. They focus solely on the tactical implementation of those strategies. Well..maybe he just got lucky. Perhaps he should reconsider his approach this summer when he's out cruising on his new $70 million sail boat.

Tony Hayward runs a company with 80,000 employees. Sitting down to lunch with all the employees would take a large football stadium.

The CEOs that you are thinking of are entrepreneurs, something very different from a CEO hired by a board of directors.

It's real simple. My CEO doesn't talk to my gauger...I do daily. My gauger does something stupid that significantly damages the company I get fired on the spot. That's the type of tactical control I speak of. Again, a CEO can devise the best strategy ever seen in his field. But if he doesn't assure it's implemented properly at the tactical level then he is THE failure IMHO. IOW, who else in the company has more authority to see business is taken care of properly? I know strategic planning. As critical as it is it takes a very small percentage of the time. You show me a CEO who spends half his day modifying his strategy and I'll have little hope for his future. My CEO set his strategy in place over a year ago. It hasn't changed since then so he's spent zero time on STRATEGY since then. It's been 100% implementation. It's the proper application of the strategy that determines how successful the company will be. The only difference between an entrepreneur and a board selected CEO is that if they both destroy the company the entrepreneur loses his ass and the CEO may walk away with a nice golden handshake (I've seen that more than once first hand). But both are charged with the same responsibility. Same job = same process IMHO.

Don't want to seem harsh on all those CEO's out there but the great majority of company failures I've seen firsthand happened because upper management was not realistically connected to the bottom end of the pyramid. Perhaps that's just unique to the oil patch. But I've never seen even one company falter where the top dog wasn't on top of the details daily. In fact, I can't recall one such company that hasn't prospered in difficult times. In the mid 80's during the worst of times when oil was $10 and NG less than $1 I had one of the most financially successful drilling programs in my career. And that was due, in no small part IMHO, to a CEO who often sat on the drill floor drinking coffee next to the driller. And this was the CEO of a public company who was hired by the board. And the board expected no less from him.

The way I look at this, is the CEO has the vision. He/she hires people to help make the vision a reality. I've not yet been a CEO, but I've definitely learned what visions I can make reality, and which ones to walk away from, (the ones where I can only envision myself suffering trying to achieve something not achievable by me. Not sayin' the vision is unattainable, just I know when I'm not the one to make it happen).

A simple example? A woman I know asked if I would paint her door red for her. I knew a) this woman has a vision, and will not settle for less than perfection. b) every time she saw so much as a brushstroke on that red door, (it was to her office), she would think of me, and that I didn't deliver exactly what she wanted. I told her I wasn't the person for the job. The (completely competent and talented) woman who took the job told me, after her third re-sanding/painting of the door: "passing on this job was the smartest thing you ever did".

I still work (volunteer, really), for the woman with the vision. Because I believe both in her vision, and her ability to make it a reality.

Rock, I respect what you're saying. Perhaps I never made myself clear enough before, it is because I have a very clear idea of what strategy means. I used to play chess at about the 2000 level. At that level it is always about strategy and position. A tactical player can mop up those below him, but he's stuck when he faces me for the same reason I'm stuck when I face a truly strong position player. Of course a strategic player uses techniques that look (to the unwashed) like tactical moves, but they are always part of a bigger picture. I'm sure R. or H. in your story has the same thing going on, to me it is strategy, but of course he knows where all the pawns are and what they're doing, so did I. Remember, the object is to capture the king, not this or that valuable piece, no matter how tempting, unless they're on the path to winning. Likewise valuable pieces can be bypassed if there is a better path to victory (and it fools the competitors too).

At the end of the day, your "flipper" is selling his company to a BP or Exxon, he really isn't playing in their league, he's just the farm club supplying the "talent" upstream. Not that that's a bad thing to be, I'm sure he'll enjoy his boat more than Tony enjoys HIS.

And I do appreciate your experience red. But how well does your chess strategy work when your opponent throws a cup of scalding coffee in your face and steals the chess board? LOL. I'm sure you get my point: have you ever had any of your good strategies ruined by poor implementation? Probably had. I'm not knocking strategic planning. Just saying it ain't worth poop if the top dogs don't push it (indirectly or otherwise) down to the grass roots. But maybe that's the difference in my experience and something unique to the oil patch. BP has lost tens of billions in revenue and perhaps $1 trillion in market cap probably due to the poor implementation of the corporate strategy by some guys who made less than Tony spends on his company car and driver every year. Could any of the shops you've run been potentially destroyed by a mistep of one of your clerks? If Tony and the other oil patch CEO's didn't realize they were living on a razor's edge controlled by some bottom rung blue collar workers they do now. I'm sure I've gotten a tad overboard with my opinion but remember where I spend many of my days: watching operations first hand that can make or destroy a company in just minutes sometimes. And leave more than a few grieving widows behind.

It is written by Son Shoe, "A Sawyer is worth the board".

Hail Son Shoe, a mighty profit and wielder of numba 14 Thom Mchanns.

It's Tony Hayward's job as CEO to set BP's direction, to make sure that the people who run its operations follow that direction, and to listen to those people to make sure the company stays on track. Eisenhower was responsible for 50 times as many people as Hayward is. He made sure that his generals made sound tactical decisions and that he was in the loop for the big ones.

When is the next law suit stating that the government officials regulating oil drilling in the gulf cannot be retards?

EDM -- Different folks handle risks differently. My owner signed his certification ass away to the feds a few weeks ago. You either believe you're going to make the best effort possible or you don't. But I agree: many CEO's know they don't have the top to bottom control we have in our company. Most probably have to look at a list to know the names of the folks they are pledging to trust. Our owner doesn't: he looks into our eyes every day. And we all know what we have to do to protect him as well as the hands on the rigs.

"Different folks handle risks differently."

Very true.

I need to get off my soap box but need to make one more point. I worked for a large Company that took regulatory compliance very seriously. In fact, there was zero tolerance on non compliance.

You probably remember back when the first certification requirements from MMS came out regarding the testing of safety devices. In my company, before the Division Manager signed his name on the periodic certifications, there would be a gathering of people in the conference room. In front of the division manager would be a computer output about 6 inches high(old style large computer paper) listing every safety device offshore, date tested and results etc and a signature sheet for his signature.
Sitting in the room were a representative random sample of the actual people that did the testing out on the platforms, and they would get to go through the test procedures, show him their work sheets, etc etc.for a large sampling of the safety devices installed. God help anyone in that room, and their supervisors, if there was a discrepancy found in the documents he was being asked to certify. Also present were a team of lawyers that monitored the entire process to ensure every reasonable action was taken to provide a correct representation of the facts.

I'm fairly sure that not every company did the same thing. However, when you ask a high level person to certify 4 specific vague requirements as in the current case, as required in the recent NTL, and the requirements have a heavy political component, it really does little to enhance safety because day to day human judgment is so heavily involved in safety.

EDm -- So true. But unfortunately so is the old saying: You can shower all you want but if you're in the company of skunks you're still gonna stink. The public has a difficult time telling the good guys from the *ssholes.

Elsewhere, the paper reports that locals such as the St. Tammany Parish president blame dispersants for the tar-ball invasion of Pontchartrain.

As Lotus and many of the folks here know, dispersants don't cause tar balls. Tar balls are more or less the end product of natural weathering of oil. They are less harmful than other forms of oil in the water. They sink not because of dispersants but because their buoyancy is neutral.

I don't pretend to get Louisiana politics, but those parish presidents seem to be a loud-mouthed bunch.

Sorry but I haven't had any love for St. Tammany's elected officials since the late 60's. Probably because the first cross burning at the "farm" was after my mothers first heated discussion with an elected rep. of St. Tammany, sort of left a bad taste with me, but I'm strange that way. Mom still lives in St.Tammany.

grew up in St Tammany. One of the less corrupt parishes in the state but we can proudly say we had the first official arrested for fraud during Katrina - about one week after the storm. Got turned in by a co-conspirator for stiffing him on a debris disposal scam. No one likes an untrustworthy thief.

Yes at least Louisiana expects that their officials, if not corrupt to start with, will prob. one day become so .. recognizing maxim about power,money,corruption .. it was refreshing to find a populace that was able to admit that. St. Scholastica myself, dad was originally from Washington Parrish. Had come stateside (from Panama that time) when we moved there and did H.S. & college there, part of family still there in NOLA area.

Having lived there, I think it is just better hidden, or at least not just talked about.

St. Tammany?

Yes, St. Tammany.

Funny that the parish is named after a 'saint' who never existed. Who had the bright idea to tack Saint on to part of 'Tammany Hall'? John Slidell? lol

The nasty underside of St. Tammany covered with the surface coating of wholesome community was creepy to me.

Oil Toxicity and Impacts on Sea Turtles (including Tar Balls)


"Oil exposure is therefore a threat to sea turtles both in the presence and in the absence of an identified spill. Non-spill-associated tarballs are likely to be more weathered than those derived from a spill, mostly due to differences in time spent on the water. While less toxic to eggs and embryos than freshly spilled oil, weathered oil can have significant impacts on hatchlings. Hatchlings that contact oil residues while crossing a beach can exhibit a range of effects, from acute toxicity to impaired movement and normal bodily functions. In convergence zones off the east coast of Florida, tar was found in the mouths, esophagi, or stomachs of 65 out of 103 post-hatchling loggerhead...

Turtles also indiscriminately eat anything that registers as being an appropriate size for food, including tarballs. Such was the case with a juvenile loggerhead stranded in GranCanaria, Spain, which had an esophageal defect that trapped tarballs, plastics, and fishing line in its digestive system. The large esophageal swelling displaced the liver and intestines, causing severe tissue swelling near the stomach. The turtle was nearly starved, and it had buoyancy problems and a bacterial infection (most likely secondary to its poor physical condition)." http://response.restoration.noaa.gov/book_shelf/40_turtle_chapter4.pdf

Here are excerpts from the NTL No. 2010-N05

NTL No. 2010-N05 Effective Date: June 8, 2010
Increased Safety Measures for Energy Development on the OCS

General Certification of Compliance with Existing Regulations and National Safety Alert
Recommendation 1 of section III.A. of the Safety Measures Report directed the Department of the Interior, in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security, to verify operator compliance with existing regulations and the joint Minerals Management Service (MMS) – United States Coast Guard (USCG) Safety Alert (SA), Deepwater Horizon Explosion and Fire Resulting in Multiple Fatalities and Release of Oil, issued on April 30, 2010. This NTL informs lessees and operators that all operators are required to submit a general certification that they are knowledgeable of all operating regulations at 30 CFR 250 – Oil and Gas and Sulphur Operations in the OCS – and that they are conducting their operations in compliance with those regulations. Operators must review their operations to ensure that they are performed in a safe and workmanlike manner as required by §250.107(a)(1). In addition, each operator must certify that they have conducted the following specific reviews of their operations:
1. Examine all well control system equipment (both surface and subsea) currently being used to ensure that it has been properly maintained and is capable of shutting in the well during emergency operations. Ensure that Blowout Preventers (BOPs) are able to perform their designated functions. Ensure that the ROV hot-stabs are function-tested and are capable of actuating the BOP.
2. Review all rig drilling, casing, cementing, well abandonment (temporary and permanent), completion, and workover practices to ensure that well control is not compromised at any point while the BOP is installed on the wellhead.
3. Review all emergency shutdown and dynamic positioning procedures that interface with emergency well control operations.
4. Ensure that all personnel involved in well operations are properly trained and capable of performing their tasks under both normal drilling and emergency well control operations.

Operators must submit to MMS: (1) a general statement by the operator’s Chief Executive Officer (authorized official) certifying the operator’s compliance with all operating regulations at 30 CFR 250 and (2) a separate statement certifying compliance with each of the 4 specific items above.

You must certify each of the 4 specific items above separately, and include the following statement in your written certification: “By signing this certification, I certify in my capacity as authorized official that the statements herein are true and complete to the best of my knowledge. I understand that the submission of false statements to the United States is a criminal offense under 18 U.S.C. Section 1001.”

Operators must submit these certifications by 5:00 pm EDT June 28, 2010, by mail or email to the address set forth below.

If an operator cannot certify compliance with the 30 CFR 250 regulations or any specific review items, then the operator must submit an explanation of the circumstances for failure to certify and a plan to certify, including a timetable for the certification. Failure to provide this certification will result in the issuance of an incident of non-compliance and may result in a shut-in order.

Thanks for bringing that, essie. I dunno (just a lit-geek here), but they sound reasonable enough to me -- especially with the good ol' "to the best of my knowledge" caveat.

What's so wrong about those who've been hogging the noblesse catching some of the oblige at last?

syn - Our chat about responsibilities got cut short when the thread closed the other day. Since the subject has returned to liabilites I thought I would dig it back up. If you got your ears on I'm curious as to how you view my thoughts from a strictly legal view:

Not arguing that BP didn't set the nightmare in motion by decades of inbreed complacency. But remember my primary point: there may be a dozen excuses the management on the rig can offer to explain why they did what they did. But they have to answer one question honestly: would they have done everything the same if they had absolute control. If the answer is yes then they're admitting their thought processes were no better than BP. Would you give them a pass then? And if they answer no...BP coerced them into procedures they felt were dangerous. So now they admit they knew they were taking chances with the rig and the lives of the crew. And they sat on their collective butts and didn't watch for signs of trouble they now say they expected. Do you give them a pass on that?

See my point: the rig managers only have two stories. They did what they did because they thought it was correct and thus cast themselves as incompetent as you paint BP. Or they knew BP's procedures were dangerous and then sat back, drank coffee/caught a nap and didn't look out for the safety of their hands.

There you go counselor: pretend you’re the company man. Pick your defense.

Meanwhile, Transocean gets some NYT luv: Owner of Exploded Rig Is Known for Testing Rules

Meh: a "once-over lightly" survey of various domestic and global beefs involving Transocean, the most colorful of which is

... In Myanmar, formerly Burma, a Transocean rig was under contract to a Chinese government-controlled oil company, Cnooc, as recently as this spring. Another apparent stakeholder in the drilling site, according to Cnooc, was a Singapore business. That business has been linked to two men identified by the United States Treasury Department in 2008 as major operatives and money launderers for the Myanmar government. At the time, American authorities described both men as longtime heroin traffickers.

Transocean said in a statement that its contract was with Cnooc and did not mention either man. Transocean also said it had not violated the trade sanctions against Myanmar. “No Transocean affiliate that is subject to the U.S. ban has ever done business in Myanmar,” the company said. ...

Rockman, I am glad you dug that out and re-posted. I did attempt a reply but the thread closed as i was writing it and i had to move on, but i was thinking about the box you built for me there and how to get out of it as i drove to work after dropping my daughter at her class this morning.

The problem with your box is that it only has two dimensions. It is a rectangle drawn on a piece of paper, not a 3-D box. The rectangle does not capture the true dynamics at play. You need a 3-D model to do that.

If i was getting paid to do this, I would have the time to sit down and work it out better. So i haven't yet. But there is the inter-play between rig owner/crew (Transocean) and BP management, and a shared decision tree. In that situation, you can have BP making important risk-centric decisions without TO fully comprehending the risk involved as it fits into the big picture.

But remember my primary point: there may be a dozen excuses the management on the rig can offer to explain why they did what they did. But they have to answer one question honestly: would they have done everything the same if they had absolute control. If the answer is yes then they're admitting their thought processes were no better than BP.

This assumes both had the same knowledge and ability to assess risk of all decisions made (i.e., regarding casing design, input from Haliburton, cementing decisions, etc.) that would impact risk. I don't know if that's a legitimate assumption or not.

Edited to correct designation for Transocean from DWH

syn -- I understand about the dimensions. But you, the company man, are not in a 3-d box...you're on the witness stand. So answer the question (and assume the judge has declared you a hostile witness LOL): did you consider your procedures safe or were you implementing procedures you felt were unsafe but didn't want to make your boss in the office mad? Every action taken on a rig is done at the orders of the company man. If he thinks the order from the office is dangerous but gives it anyway he is still responsible for the outcome. Even more so then if he agreed with the order IMHO. In that case he made a judgment error. In the first case he knowingly, in his own opinion, put the rig/crew at risk. Remember where I come from: I've been there (more than once) when a company man was fired for refusing to implement what he felt was a dangerous order. Would you sleep better at night knowing you killed someone but you were just following orders? From you demeanor I think not.

And understand I'm not offering a theoretical context. I've conducted 100's of such interrogations myself. Granted, nothing dealing with anything close to the magnitude of the BP incident. The great majority had to do with billing for faulty materials/procedures/performance. I've saved my clients many millions of $'s over the years by knowing how to box field hands in. I've heard the half dozen or so standard excuses many times. I don't even have to think for a second about the rebuttals that will make them lower their eyes and typically answer "I don't know" when they know the truth will burn them down.

Ya know syn...I'm beginning to think you've played on the defense side of the fence more than the prosecutor's side. LOL.

Rockman, i really enjoy chatting with you. I was wondering how you would respond to my reply. You passed the test, that's all i'm gonna say.

You're right that it is a heck of a lot easier to defend in a situation like this. And early on I did do primarily defense work. I do a mix now, but much less defense work.

I am hesitating to take on your box because I don't know enough yet quite frankly. One of the most rewarding things about being an attorney for me is that you have to learn new things from the ground up and understand them as well or better than the experts if you want to have any hope of winning on a complex matter. You start out blindly ignorant, and grope around learning everything you can until the brain finally has absorbed enough to start thinking on its own about the stuff, having finally grasped both the big pic and the minutia . I am not close to that point yet on this matter (paying work is getting in the way!). I fully concede that. But give me some time, and I will take the stand and answer your questions.

The only point of confusion i have is what is the company man doing on the stand? I thought your whole point was that the TO crew should be answering that question. That although BP may have been negligent all over the place, their negligence did not cause the loss of the rig, the failure of the crew to shut it in on time did.

Dang syn...just like a lawyer to not answer a question just because you don't know the answer. You would never make it as a geologist my friend.

... [TO management on the rig] have to answer one question honestly: would they have done everything the same if they had absolute control. If the answer is yes then they're admitting their thought processes were no better than BP. Would you give them a pass then? And if they answer no...BP coerced them into procedures they felt were dangerous. So now they admit they knew they were taking chances with the rig and the lives of the crew. And they sat on their collective butts and didn't watch for signs of trouble they now say they expected. Do you give them a pass on that?

This question is more useful as a guide to understand why people will testify the way they inevitably will, or to understand the dilemma the witnesses will face.

Having straightened out who i am supposed to answer for, though, the answer i give will probably be defective because i do not fully understand how the relationship between BP and TO, and their respective managers on and off-shore, works in the decision making process, or what that process is in terms of who makes what calls and who has access to what information.

Having said that, the obvious answer to the question is that the entire relationship between BP and TO is structured such that BP takes primary responsibility for decisions affecting risk and TO never gets sufficient info to do comprehensive risk analysis, and therefore does not even try to apart from obvious stuff involved in running the rig on a day-to-day basis, relying instead on BP to evaluate how the overall big-pic of all prior decisions impact each subsequent individual decision.

That's the courtroom answer, anyway.

AS the TO guy on the stand, do i know enough to evaluate the risks of the casing design on my own? Do I know about the Haliburton report warning of high risk of cement problems based on cementing discussions between BP engineers and haliburton? Do I know the BP engineers are hoping the pipe hangs straight in the hole under gravity and are going with only 6 centralizers when Haliburton said use 21?

syn -- I've watched the interaction between folks in the position of BP and TO many times on a rig in difficult circumstances. And I don't think I can qualify it. Often it seemed to come down to a strength of will. Sometimes more a joint CYA effort. Sometimes outright nasty: I'm going to call my office and tell them what an a-hole you are". The company man is responsible for the hole. the OIM is responsible for the rig. So what happens when those interests conflict. maybe someone has a very strict protocol written to handle those circumstance. But I don't think anyone on the rig would care. I suppose it's similar to the military: your Lt gives you an order you deem illegal. The UCMJ tells you what you're suppose to do. But that won't keep you out of the brig if TPTB ignore the UCMJ. The OIM is responsible for the safety of the rig/hands. Period. But let an OIM get a reputation for being "uncooperative" and operators tell the drilling company they're off the bid list and then what? the OIM loses his $180,000/yr job? Who knows what's actually going on the rig? I've seen many OIM pay closer attention to info than the company man. And no subcontractor will ever be anything but fully cooperative with the OIM. There have been times when I didn't feel the company man was being honest and I would go behind his back to OIM. A tricky move and done only with rig hands I had some history with.

No easy answer and if we get to see the battling testimonies between these two sides it could be quit an eye opening event for many.

There must be some protocol on the rig. Perhaps something similar to a ship. For example, there is an officer on the bridge. He/She has full responsibility of the navigation of the vessel. The Captain can and will be on the bridge at times and may offer advice but until the Captain says the words 'I have the con' or gives a direct wheel order like 'right five degrees'. The Captain has the 'con' and it is logged in the log book. From this point onward all direction is given by the Captain. There is no room for the officer to contradict or openly disagree with the Captain. If the Officer of the Watch notices something amiss, he/she can point this out to the Captain. Just because the Captain is in charge doesn't mean that the Officer of the Watch is not diligent in their duties. What's the protocol on a rig?

The crew was near the end of it's tour and were tired. They just changed shifts. Fatigue is a vital part of human error. I understand that the crew is on 12 hour shifts? If this is correct, maybe the crew should be on 8 hour shifts.

Of course this is why I am such a advocate for robust systems that can detect abnormal dangerous conditions and shut down operations faster than any human.

The surface warfare service people, and the silent service people are not encumbered with competing economic interests. Naw mean?

I'm not a fan of regulations, but your statement screams of regulations. Inherently the realities of working life causes one has to consider the cost/dollars involved. Everything is a risk/reward.

Once the blowout has been plugged and the process of understanding what happened comes to light, it will be interesting to see the assessment of the role human error was involved. Was fatigue a factor? If so, then there needs to be regs to mandate hours worked, similar to the airlines. The best thing that resulted from the Exxon Valdez spill was the regulations involving hours worked. Sure this is an added expense, but it is part of doing business.

There must be a protocol for rig operations? One that can stand up in the court of law.

If BP is ultimately liable, then if I were BP I would vertically integrate the process. It may very well be that they went too far in contracting out the work to such an extent that BP was no longer the most knowledgable/experienced entity on the rig, yet had ultimate authority. A recipe for disaster.

And that's the rub salty. It may be the captain's ship but when there is a superior officer on board does he give up his responsibility? No. But will he get fired if he doesn't give up some control? Might not get fired but he better hope that officer doesn't find a way for some payback. For the OIM there's an even more direct threat: you get replaced while you sitting at home off hitch. Everyone in the oil patch knows they are expendable at any moment it’s advantageous for their employer.

That’s why a month or so ago we chatted about having a truly independent third party on location who can shut down ops with one phone call to the MMS. He’s not there to tell anyone how to do their job. But if he objects for safety reasons he shuts the rig down on the spot. The operator is free to debate that decision all they want. But the rig will still cost them the better part of $1 million a day while they do. Bet you they figure out how to resolve the issue real fast. Obviously the third party inspectors have to be beyond approach. But we have many folks in position of authority now in whom we have to have the same expectations.


rocky-the thing is that on a ship there is no one can surpass the Captain's authority. No one. President of Company...no. They have to be a licensed Captain. It's the law. There is no question about it.

Sounds like there may need to some protocol, as much as you rig guys may hate it, that mirrors the military or like industries such as the Maritime industry.

Don't know, but if there is something you would like to see changed, now is your chance.

Many years ago, I was working offshore, in a position similar to "company man", and received verbal orders I felt I could not follow. I advised the manager onshore it was better if he sent somebody to relieve me, I would hand over to my relief in an orderly fashion, and then I would get off the rig immediately, so they could go on with their job. At that point I was told to stand by. The drilling company hands, service company supervisors, everybody aboard were very quiet, nobody said a word. We stood by for four hours, and at that point the well conditions changed, so we told them onshore and the verbal orders I had were cancelled, and we were back on the original program. But I do know acting the way I did gave me a reputation and I landed some pretty crappy jobs afterwards. But I never got anybody killed, and I never had oil spilled on my watch. In this business it's pretty hard to do the right thing sometimes, but we do have to live with ourselves, and I really pity the poor bastards who worked on this well in particular. They could have been contenders.

fdoleza, great story, thanks. And I take my hat off to you for being a man of courage and conviction.

Of course all of us are wondering what the order was and why you had reservations. But i can certainly understand why you would prefer to keep it quiet, so just ignore this if that's the case.

fd -- And ain't that the shame of it: a man can have 25 successful years and a solid gold reputation and then in one moment of indecision/weakness he succumbs to pressure from above and takes a risk he knows he shouldn't. And someone dies. Most of the senior rig managers are bearing down on retirement age. You have to wonder how the prospect of losing that retirement package is affecting the decision making process. At 59 yo I’m in that group and am very thankful I work for a company that puts safety above all else.

You guys are missing my point!!!
This is the time that regulations can work for you. I know it and truly believe it. I've lived it.
Use this blowout to change the work rules. The hours on shift. The protocol..... whatever else needs to be done. This is your chance. Don't be a victim.

You misunderstand salty. I agree about the regulators. I was very serious about the MMS putting inspectors on at least all DW wells and give them absolute authority to shut down ops with the snap of a finger. IOW you might be the captain but I can put you boat in dry dock anytime I want. Then you can sit on the bridge, drink coffee and issues foolish orders to your heart's content. The feds could have put such a policy in place a week after the explosion. And if that had allowed the operators to continue drilling they would have been all for it.

Trust me salty: you'll be hard pressed to find anyone who pushes safety compliance harder than me. My safety protocols far exceed anything the MMS has on the books. In truth most rig hands don't worry much about regulatory inspectors. Mine worry like hell about me. In the last 12 months I've run off more than a dozen. Getting compliance isn't really that difficult. You just need to supply the proper motivation. I get the sense that you've motivated more than a few folks in your time. LOL

In addition, MMS is not currently issuing new drilling permits for shallow or deepwater wells.

They have started issuing a few new shallow water drilling permits, as of a couple of days ago. Of course they may rescind them again, like they did a couple of times already.

I held a job where I was the one duly responsible for signing off on site policy and procedures, and it can make you loose sleep. My approach was to remind EVERYBODY that nobody gets up in the morning thinking that day they'll kill a bunch of people, and to remember bad things happen because we failed to recognize that killer incidents will take place when more than one item goes wrong. I also emphasized to the engineers to design simple, sturdy, and think ahead, because sometimes the work was going to be supervised by a guy worried about Joey with a broken arm in the hospital, or having a panic attack because he heard his wife was cheating on him, or whatever happens to people to get distracted and act stupid. And no matter how much one worried about it, when I signed off I was still worried sick, and when I got a call in the middle of the night, I would get adrenaline in my system like I had been shot at. So if these pansies who run companies are having to sign off on operations, they're about to learn something most of them never had to worry about, because they always had somebody down the line who would take the blame. And I never had to work on a well like Macondo. The guy in charge at BP must have been a pretty cool character, or just dumb as heck, or both.

Thanks for posting this, Lotus. Looks like I had the wrong date for the hearing yesterday. It's today at 3:00 in courtroom 233.

So the new moratorium has not been issued before the hearing. Interesting. Perhaps they decided to hold it in reserve as a fall-back in case the 5th cir. rules against them. If they had issued it ahead of the hearing, the 5th Cir. could have taken it into consideration in making its ruling after the hearing today that might have impacted it. Now the court can't since it has not been issued.

So if the 5th cir. affirms feldman's refusal to stay the injunction, Interior can still unfurl the new moratorium and it would be binding on the operators immediately until someone challenged it and a judge issued a new injunction.

If the 5th. Cir. over-rules Feldman, there is no need to issue the second moratorium legally, although politically there probably is.

So it appears they want to see what the 5th Cir. is going to do before they issue the new moratorium.

I agree that the govt. is taking advantage of the power of delay and creating a de facto moratorium, given all the confusion of the present circumstances. But i can't blame them for doing that.

So what are the predictions on over-ruling Feldman. (I will make mine over lunch.) Will the 5th do it and not. It's a big deal for a court of appeal to block the executive during a national crisis. It would be quite the rebuke. But apparently the govt. feels it is a distinct possibility, hence their delay in issuing the second moratorium. All guesses of course.

Elsewhere, the paper reports that locals such as the St. Tammany Parish president blame dispersants for the tar-ball invasion of Pontchartrain.

It sounds these locals and the reporters chronicling their views are missing a fair bit of the science needed to understand why tar balls aren't likely to be affected by dispersants.

The storm surge in Gulf Shores has abated. The Jimmy Buffett Concert will now go off without a hitch. Pictures and movies, as well as another entertaining post in a few hours. I noticed that the Buffett concert is not being very green. It makes Al Gore look like Ed Begley Jr. http://gcn01.com .

EDIT: I think they are using Natural Gas Generators. Big ones. At least for the VIP tent A/C and other power needs. Is that really green? Instead of running additional power facilities to the area? They would have to do it for every event. Interesting. All you power distribution engineers, help. I have pictures of those in a few hours too.

Natural gas is green. It's the greenest for such an application. You could try to build a hydropower dam nearby, but the environmental community would probably fight it because it would kill trees and frogs, and it may take 20 years to get the permits. If you are really rich and got money to burn, you could try solar panels, I suppose. But those are really expensive. I only favor their use if we were to divert money we use to fight foreign wars to build solar power stations here. It's sort of wasting the money, but it's less wasteful than keeping our troops fighting abroad. Another option would be to build a plant to burn coal and capture all the effluent gases, and re-inject them. That's also really expensive, but it's more sensible than running the Space Station. And now I got my pet complaints off.

That is why I post. Good to see the leaders do that much right. I trust the locals more every day.

Shows always run their own gens. They never trust the local supply is adequate or reliable.


An A/C tent?

Will he fly in on his Gulfstream too?

Some unconnected random thoughts on the spill cleanup:

1) I used to be involved with the cleanup of the Hanford site near Richland Washington. I learned the following from that experience:

Meskimen's Law: There's never time to do it right, but there's always time to do it over.

Finagle's Fourth Law: Once a job is fouled up, anything done to improve it only makes it worse.

Zymurgy's First Law of Evolving Systems Dynamics: Once you open a can of worms, the only way to recan them is to use a larger can.

JRW's Law of Conservation of Dirt: You can't clean something up without making something else dirty.

2) WTF is with the riser pipe they have retrieved? Anybody seen any news or pictures of it? Did it have two pipes in the riser, or was there just one collapsed pipe? What is the big secret?

3) Seems to me that every time they screw around with that well, they made the flow worse. I suspect that when they spent 5 days screwing around with the BOP, they probably increased the flow out of the well. And when they cut the riser, they reduced the resistance to flow and really increased the flow. Yeah, they are collecting more oil, but I think there is a lot more flow coming out of the well. I sure hope that the upcoming fixes reduces the flow of oil into the water.

4) If anybody is serious about nuking the well, take a look at the discussion at http://tinyurl.com/ya4l9oc - especially the handy table that gives the melt cavity, crushed zone, and cracked zone radius. Then take a look at what a rubble chimney looks like by clicking the link at http://tinyurl.com/28u4763 . . . I have talked to people that have been INSIDE these things at the Nevada Test Site. Do we really want to create a large void under the sea floor with soft stuff above it with a large amount of cracked rock around it? Nuking the well, IMHO, is craziest idea since Chipotle Flavored KY Jelly.

You missed one: "Cole's Law"

Chopped cabbage.

More precisely phrases as chopped cabbage won't unchop itself in our local universe of numbers small.

I wonder how many people following Matt Simmons and his doomsday sceanario that it will take 9000 days of leaking for the resovoir to empty know that he is short somewhere between 4m-8m shares of BP...seems somewhat of a conflict of interest since he would benefit if he's sucessful in scaring the chit out of everyone that hangs on his every word and hope it will go to zero, greed is an ugly thing most of the time and those listening to him have no clue that he is an investment banker from what I gleaned, nor that he stands to profit from the shorting of the BP stock. Just my take on things personally.

Not defending his doomsday predictions but I highly doubt he's short that many shares.

BP plc has 3,1000,000,000 shares outstanding and of those only 25,708,000 are sold short. That's only .31% of their float sold short.

Selling 8m shares short at the current price of $33.21 would tie up $853,762,680 of margin not to mention margin reserve requirements. Seems unlikely someone would through a cool $853m at a short play. There's easier money to be made with far less risk.

Data obtained from:


See my post at the bottom with the Barron's article- 8m is 8,000 shares, we use m=1000 when trading, sorry for that confusion

He is risking some large fines and prison time at the Stewart-Madoff Federal Prison. HOWEVER.

If he is just considered to be "puffing" aka the normal practice of trying to sell your perspective that might result in profits on your investment that's OK. But keep in mind if you are going short and going short large the Feds are really really picky about what you can say IF (and its a BIG IF) that information/statement has a material effect on the price of the stock. New rules on this were just passed by Congress and rumor has it they plan to crack down on investors big and small in this regard.

The other Problem here is that if you are going short you really need to pick a "bottom" and stick with it. Then you lock in profits, i.e. I will sell short BP stock until it reaches $15, then I will buy to cover my Sales that I made at higher prices soI can deliver at Time X and make $Z. Otherwise you take a chance that an uptick in the price eats all your profits when you wait too late to buy to cover. If it keeps dropping you can sell some then rebuy at a lower level to make more $$. So in could both lose his a$$ in the market AND spend time in the pen. He's way out there on thin ice IMHO.

It's very tricky playing with shorts. Of course you being in the Financial area you probably know this. There are models out there that produce charts and graphs to show you how to do this but I personally wouldn't take this sort of risk.

I agree, I quit doing short sales when the tax laws changed in regards to short against the box-it was no longer adventagous to do so once the rules changed. Thanks for your input.

I do not think he is playing that game. Because the stuff he is saying is basically crazy. If I were going to inverse pump 'n dump, I'd say plausible but negative things - relief wells wont work OK. Maybe underground blowout OK. Underwater fire and 60K psi no way.

I've been marveling at yesterdays revelation: the well is releasing red oil from the earth's mantle.

I'm wrestling with the mechanics- how does the red oil get past the 100,000 psi gas layer, for example? Or Is the gas inside the mantle? Is the earth hollow, filled with explosive methane?

But most puzzling was how the #%@& does a red color indicate that the oil is from the mantle?

Then I realized I've always known the answer. When was young I had this wonderful book on the history of the earth filled with paintings of cosmic dust clouds, fish crawling out of the seas, dinosaurs etc. One was of a cross-section of the earth. The outer mantle was red. The inner was yellow. The crust was black and grey.

So of course, you just have to remember the painting. The mantle is red. Red stuff leaking up?

Occam's razor.


Check your facts. World News says "compressed methane" is red and that's why.

So the redness from the compressed methane leached into the oil and persisted?

Or there is still methane in the oil il at the surface and it is self-compressed?

I take it this means it isn't from the mantle. Too bad.

Not being an expert I can't say for sure. But I think that compressed methane coming from the earth's mantle because BP cracked it open could be pretty good fodder for a viral video and I'll bet there are several experts who'd be willing to substantiate it.

I think mantle methane is orange. I walked on some deposits in California once. They were orange, and from the mantle. Therefore, they were methane deposits.

wait, was I supposed to read that link about logic? It didn't have an abstract, so I skipped it.

this probably falls under the logical fallacy: bovis scamnum

Just wait till the yellow methane starts coming out.


Oh! Please not the YELLOW METHANE! There be monsters that live in the yellow methane, TERRIBLE monsters that eat ships! ;-)

Including Blue Meanies

But they won't be able to see you in the yellow methane in you are riding in a yellow submarine.


I thought yellow methane was the stuff that soiled your shorts just before the red methane firestorm blew up the gulf...

so who thinks its a good idea to skip the new bolt on cap after the helix is up and running? i think the wsj is reporting they might not use it.

The only logic to that is if they think they can kill the well before they would have time to install it. That may be what they are thinking at this point.

I thought of one downside to taking off the old cap and putting a new one on. They don't know how solid or spring loaded the two pipes are that are in the BOP. They might take the cap off and those two pipes might be spring loaded and flop over to the edge making it hard to get the new cap on.

if that is the case then wouldnt they have trouble returning the cap after it got bumped by the ROV? unless the sheared riser is containing the pipes...good thing they used the shears? I dont want to bring up old threads but who knows how long it would take to get bolts on while blinded by oil spewing everywhere...i know they practiced but anything can happen when it comes down to it....or in other words how would they attach bolts or see bolts with oil spewing everywhere around the bolt holes?

Looking at the photos it is a two piece affair. The bolt on bit being a male adaptor with just a hole up the middle. Most of the oil should just squirt straight up the middle. If the pipe gets in the way we may see craw again. The top part is a BOP with what they are calling a Mule's Foot on the bottom that is the female adaptor. There are several meaty looking actuators on it. It looks like it is some form of quick fit coupling (caged balls?). Once the lower part is in place this should just snap on. Murphy willing.


EDIT: look for James in SA's post further down which has a link to a good picture of the beast.
muphry's law

Jumbo size Lincoln fitting.

Don't mess with a good thing?

If after the Helix is connected and there is little oil escaping and there is risk in the replacement procedure I can see the argument for letting it be.


The strongest reasons I can see for making the change is that if the new cap could help with the kill or enable them to throttle the flow back during a hurricane.

This raises another question: Who's calling the shots here? Is it John Wright, a BP company man, the coast guard, Sec. Chu? Who's going to make the final decision whether to replace the cap or not?

I'm sure John Wright has a free rein with the well he's drilling but would have no particular say about the capping operation on the wild well. Apparently there's a team approach with industry experts (not just BP's) taking the lead, plus probably a BP management rep, scientific consultants appointed by the government, and agency reps, Sec. Chu falling in both the last two categories. Adm. Allen has the authority to direct the course of action but not the competence to make the choice. That's probably why they've been so slow deciding--they need a consensus.

But it could be flowing 100% up the annulus and it would look the same coming out of the BOP IMHO. The big question is whether the annulus between the production csg and the other liners is open to the BOP. I haven't seen any definitive info on that possibility. Also I don't think they've commited to breaching the production csg until they determine the conditions in the annulus. I won't be surprised if the stop driling for a day or two after they cut the annulus so they can evalaute what's going on.

Rockman, if the well is indeed flowing upwards in the annulus shouldn't the response when they interset the annulus be fairly rapid, i.e. loss of circulation when the heavier mud in the RW annulus starts U-tubing up into the flowing well?

Could be Red. They may be planning on dumping all the mud onboard down the drill pipe if the annulus starts sucking it up. That's got to be one of the trickiest calls: what MW do you cut the annulus with? Too light and you've got another potential blow out. Too heavy and you knock the bottom out but you don't know if your losing it to the formation or going up the annulus with it.

I would have a supply of about 150,000 barrels of 15 ppg mud mixed and ready to go at the site. When they break through, they'll be slighlty overbalanced, so they'll have to chase their mud losses down. The trick is the mud density, it's not enough to kill the flow, so they don't have to worry about losing circulation, but they should be able to slow down the flow quite a bit. They need to dump the returns at the sea floor to avoid having the column weight up in a riser (it will spill anyway because they lack containment).

When they got about 50,000 barrels pumped, they can pump the other way, down the kill line from a work boat. That well has been flowing for several months, which means the pressure transient is way out, and the flowing bottom hole pressure has to be much lower (at the same time I bet well productivity has been increasing gradually as the flow erodes a larger wormhole up the side of the casing).

So if they have a heavier column this reduces the well flow - that well has to have productivity index of 50 b/d/psi or something of that order of magnitude. And as the well flow drops, the column gets heavier, which drops the well flow even more.

This is when they can go for the top kill using pressure and clear brine at high rates to drive fluid down. And because they have the relief well to bleed off as needed, they can establish a full column of brine, which they can chase with a column of cement.

The key at this point is to have the relief well pump in with clear weighted brine, so it flows down to the reservoir rather than parting the formation. Anyway, this is an alternative to the classic solution they may wish to consider.

"I wonder how many people following Matt Simmons and his doomsday sceanario that it will take 9000 days of leaking for the resovoir to empty know that he is short somewhere between 4m-8m shares of BP"
That is very interesting....Do you have a link to the primary source for that info??


Let me try to find it, IIRC it was on a MSNBC video interview.........OR are you talking about the short sales of BP?

On this video, he starts his portion of the interview around 6:20 into the video interview:


Sorry he is saying it COULD take 9000 days! People are taking that as fact and running with it.

Some folks here discussed his BP "shorts" about three-ish or more weeks ago, I think it was. Who were y'all in the know about those?

HI Lotus, I may not completely understand your question.....I can pull up short sales and institutional shares of BP held on the bloomberg, that's where I noticed that GS sold more than 1/3 of it's position in BP before March 31st whils still telling their accounts is was rated as a buy. If I misunderstood pls let me know. Thanks

Hi, mommy. Yes, your Barrons find is what folks were discussing earlier. I didn't remember the amounts but recognized them as soon as you repeated them, so thanks.

YW. of course it's public record anyway but feww that follow him know this fact and accept everything he says at face value.

A question about the casing. They changed design to run with a production casing. If they had not done that, how far down would they have extended the existing casing, all the way down to formation?

On an explatory well, is the casing normally run to the formation and cemented/sealed the entire length?

On a production well, is it normaml to run the last section as it is on this well, with no casing, just the production string in the last section, with only the end of that cemented, as in this case.

Sorry if i am butchering terminology.

The reason I ask, the regulations seem to call for casing the entire length when you change design from explatory to production:

§ 250.428 What must I do in certain cementing and casing situations?

The table in this section describes actions that lessees must take when certain situations occur during casing and cementing activities.

If you encounter the following

(f) Decide to produce a well that was not originally contemplated for production

Then you must:

Have at least two cemented casing strings (does not include liners) in the well. Note: All producing wells must have at least two cemented casing strings.

The reason I ask is the regs seem to want to avoid the situation we have here where the final length of casing depends on one seal (cement where casing meets the formation) and there is a large section of un-cemented annulus above that one seal. But that is uneducated speculation from me.

syn - Most operators would have run a liner to the bottom of the hole if the productive reservoir is within a few hundred feet. If farther they'll set an open hole plug and set the liner on it to avoid running too much expensive csg in the hole.

Whether the well starts out as exploratory or development: how high you run the cmt is the operator's choice unless regs mandate otherwise. It tends to get difficult to get cmt much more than 2,000' up an annulus. If it's required to get cmt higher they perf the csg and pump cmt in that way. Most of the time you like to get the cmt all the way back to the surface if it's practical.

Terminology: csg is any section of steel pipe. A liner is a section of csg hung from the bottom of a shallower liner. Production csg is run from the reservoir back to the well head. Not absolute definitions but that's how most describe it.

Interesting reg. You may not know if you're going to make an exploratory well into a producer or P&A it until you get it down. You may have run your csg with the expectation of not making it a producer. That last statement (Have at least two cemented casing strings (does not include liners) in the well. Note: All producing wells must have at least two cemented casing strings. ) is a little unclear. It doesn't say how much cmt has to be run. More importantly it doesn't specify when the two cmtd stings of csg have to be run. BP did run and cmt one string of production csg. BP may have planned to run a second string of csg and cmt it when they moved back onto the well a few years down the road. The reg refers to "producing wells". This was well being temporarily abandoned when it blew out. It wasn't a producing well yet.

I think the earlier reg you pulled up about mandating a fluid with sufficient weight to retain the highest pressure encountered in the well appears much more relevant. If that reg was still in play then BP appears to be extremely negligent (criminally since they broke the "law"?). But the reg may not still be in effect or maybe BP had received an exemption from this rule.

Thanks, RM. I posted that in part because of comments from some of the pros above finding fault with the design and vulnerability to wash-out and seal failure. Had there been two cemeted casing strings all the way down, would that would have significantly reduced or eliminated that risk was what I was wondering ultimately.

Here's the reg on casing cnd cementing requirements for production string:

§ 250.421 What are the casing and cementing requirements by type of casing string?

Casing type:

(e) Production

Casing requirements:

Design casing and select setting depth based on anticipated or encountered geologic characteristics or wellbore conditions

Cementing requirements

Use enough cement to cover or isolate all hydrocarbon-bearing zones above the shoe. As a minimum, you must cement the annular space at least 500 feet above the casing shoe and 500 feet above the uppermost hydrocarbon-bearing zone.

syn -- Good...more details. Based upon my failing memory I recall BP did run enough cmt to top the reservoir by 500' (at least on paper anyway). So they appear to be in compliance with Order 421. Were they required to run/cmt a second csg string at this time? Not sure. As I said earlier this wasn't a producing well. Was going to be brought into production some years later. They could have run a second csg string at that time. But if they had run that second string before abandoning would it have still blown out? Yes...if they still displaced the csg/riser before running that second string. But if they had kept the mud in the hole? Still might have blown out. Remember the annulus between the two csg stings would have been cmtd. But that would not have prevented the blow out when they displaced if the cmt between the first string and the well bore failed. It could have still blown up or down this annulus. I'm not sure if you can envision this scenario. Remember the primary purpose of the cmt job: to isolate the reservoir from potential flow paths to the surface. They could have run 5 strings of csg over the reservoir but if the cmt doesn't isolate it then it will still flow up the last string of csg run. OTOH, the time taken to run another string of csg might have allowed the cmt to set up properly. But I've seen bad cmt jobs set up completely and still fail. I've also seen cmt jobs where the cmt didn't set up no matter how long you waited...days...weeks.

I know that got a little convoluted. don't know about you but I'm starting to get a headache.

From the charts there seemed to be a smaller zone (maybe 10') above the main zone. Would they have had to ensure the cement ran 500' above that zone rather than above the main zone?


not -- Could be. Can't tell if that zone would qualify as productive to the MMS unless we could see the porosity log. But early on some thought they saw a notation that it was hyrdocarbon bearing but no confirmation.


no ...MMS calls for dumping 500' cmt over the main HC bearing zone...so the counter will not reset at the smaller shallower zone...

but really depends....on the situation....completions engg might take the view that cmt is needed when pulling up to a shallower zone depending on well production history

".OR are you talking about the short sales of BP?"
The short sale...IMO, the guy is a wacko but with the 'short", he is a corrupt wacko.

Well I could go to a blog/finance cite, but if you are like I am I prefer to hear/see for mysels and I have it on my Bloomberg, but since I'm on vacation I have no access since it needs my thumbprint to log on. In the interim let me see what I can find before I head out to the beach. BRB

ITA about corrupt whacko.

Corrupt, I don't know about. But whacko Mr. Simmons is not. He may well be very wrong in this instance (although he is very sure of himself- He says BP's share price will go to zero, so shorting seems smart, if not ethical.). But he is very smart, and very knowledgeable (read Twilight in the Desert).

What I wish is that he would quit making reference to 'the latest science' and 'recent reports' to justify his claims of multiple seabed fractures, 120,000 BBD spillage, and no casing in the well. He says this stuff, and does not give us any proof beyond vague references.

Still, I read (or listen as the case may be) what he has to say.

This is just one source I could find out of 100's, but Barrons has a extremely high reputation in my business:


snipped from article:

In any case, Simmons says a voluntary bankruptcy filing would allow the company to “stack claims” against it, to better manage how it has to pay.

Simmons has a 4,000-share short sale on BP that he picked up when the stock hit $37. That’s in addition to a prior 4,000-share short sale he made at $48 a couple weeks prior. “It’s going to zero,” he says of BP stock.

Ref: "I wonder how many people following Matt Simmons and his doomsday sceanario that it will take 9000 days of leaking for the resovoir to empty know that he is short somewhere between 4m-8m shares of BP"

Earlier I understood you to be indicating he was 4,000,000 - 8,000,000 shares short. Your provided source data indicates he is 8000 shares short. What am I missing?

I thought I used 4m-8m in my post (will go check and edit if I didn't) which means 4000-8000 shares, in my industry m=1000, so sorry for any confusion.

You did use 4M-8M.
In my industry "M" = Millions & "K" = Thousands.

Which industry uses "M" to represent Thousands?

I see the confusion then, we don't use K= 1000 in the financial sector, everything including the bloomberg defaults to M, so when I put in a ticket 4mm=4,000,000 where 4m= 4,000. I'll use the numerical number instead of abbreviations from now on.

I have used both M and K alternately to mean thousands in the oilfield, but if I want millions, it's always MM.

MM is what we use for millions also, I guess the reason the finacial sector uses the M so often is that the Bloomberg defaults to M for 1000 and MM for one million, but most people not in my industry do use K for 1000.

M is used as an abbreviation for mille from the Latin for 1,000 rather than the SI meaning, has had me wondering in the past.


uh - the oil and gas industry for one.

M is from the Latin "mille" (vs. Greek "mega")

so you'll see natural gas in MMcf (Mille Mille cubic feet),
meaning a thousand thousand cubic feet = a million cubic feet, or
Mbopd = thousand barrels (of) oil per day.

So I try and spell things out when talking oil and gas,
due to the mixed audience problem.
Most people are used to mega bytes (MB),
and scientists in non-oil/gas fields are used to kilo-, Mega-, milli-
kW, MW, mW (thousand-watts, million-watts, thousanth-watts),
so they're not expecting "M" to mean "a thousand".

So best to spell things out, at least at the 1st presentation.

Will do sunnnv~20+ yrs of habit is hard to break, but I'm working on it.

Last I checked which a couple weeks ago, best data indicated he was 8000 (as in 8m) shares short. Whether he's traded out or out and back in since then is a mystery to me.

Simmons announced he was 8000 shares short when he started this nonsense. So technically he disclosed. Naturally, most catastrophe seekers ignored it.

You are right, he properly disclosed the fact, and right on the other issue also because most catastrophe seekers just accept everything they hear and don't even realize he is short 8000 shares, granted he could have covered them by now but I haven't seen anything to suggest he did.

Heading out now, the Blue Angels will start soon and I love to wacth them. Have a great day everyone!

Hi, Folks: many thanks for all the good stuff here. I now believe I know that Lindsey Williams has been lied to on at least one occasion - important for the alternative community to understand. I will bear that message to them.

I have two questions - for ROCKMAN, or anyone.

1. ROCKMAN wrote in the last thread

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.

That was more than fascinating (and I know this is not the first time you've stated this).

Please understand where this question is coming from. Imagine I'm being Columbo. I'm wacky, but am also quite smart and not totally crazy. Here it is:

Is it conceivably possible that the blowout was allowed to happen?

I'm asking this not like a prosecuting attorney, but as a genuine question to experienced oilmen and engineers.

2. I was given this image. What am I looking at?

1- why would any1 allow a blowout...every1 on the rig knows taking in fluid and ignoring it means at the very least a few are about to meet their maker ...why/how the indications of the edrill data were ignored or not interpreted.....its confounding and it has to be something very simple like counters not being reset or the monitors switched off (then again there are more than a few monitors ...atleast three @ coman, dog house, mud room).....or just misinterpretation but that i cannot believe ...its so clear the well is "winding up"....no one can explain this one and IMHO this will never be explained to satisfaction.....there is enough time in the log that no matter what decision were taken by BP earlier ....they could've shut-in and worst case scenario would've been BP would've lost the well and no one outside BP/MMS or at max the oil patch would've ever known what happened....this blowout was preventable at the rig and there are more than enough ppl at a rig to understand and interpret the logs and take action.....the only possible explanation can be it was a busy time ...time for R/UP and move which is a very busy time at the rig ....lotsa boom bangs ...lotsa shouting...lotsa movement....lotsa chaos and somewhere it just got missed...

2- what you are looking at is a crushed riser pipe with two stacked drill pipes....its called "parting" ....a DP string a joints of pipe screwed into each other with a torque rating of around 6500 lbf (plus a thread locker called "dope") and sometimes they part ...IMHO parting will be one of the things Cameroon will highlight during their defense of the BOP...

The pipes in this picture look to be different sizes when you blow up the picture.

Are you sure they are both drill pipes?


What you are looking at is an image from a ROV, which was broadcast live on the web. Someone here on TOD said they watched this live, and this is the cut further from the BOP.

aliilaali: Has there been an official release that it is drill pipe? I've not seen anything about it, and I've been following closely.

There is also speculation that this is 9 7/8 liner that split on the seam, and folded to a figure-8 when crushed by the CRAW*. *That's what we called it on the IRC channel. I personally hope it's pipe, because otherwise some of the liner was ejected up the riser, which implies a full failure of the cement at the bottom.

There are definitely two pieces of pipe inside the rise - not a single pipe crushed into a figure-8. This is verified the photos of the riser mock-up at the Cameron facility. Here is the link.


On the mock-up it looks like two different diameter pipes, but it is hard to be sure.

I think there are definitely two pieces of pipe inside the riser - not a single pipe crused into a figure-8 as well.

I am a compulsive data gatherer. I have collected 165 gigs of movies, reports and such from the DWH oil spill. I have a big fast Mac with a fast ISP and about 1.5 trigabytes of unused disk space. I typically record and download several ROV movies a day.

I went back to the day they cut the riser with the claw and looked at the video where the Viking ROV 1 was looking at the cut off section of the riser. I trimmed the video down to a manageable length and stuck it on my website at


At the start of the movie the ROV approaches the cut-off riser which was hanging from support cables. Fast forward to about 1:30 seconds into the movie and take a look . . . then look at it from another angle at 3:00 minutes into the movie . . . then fast forward to about 14:20 into the movie where you can see the other end of the riser . . . there is only 1 piece of pipe in the other end of the sheared riser.

How this happened, I don't have a clue.

There is a *LOT* of interesting stuff on those ROV feeds, but the amount of information is *HUGE*

James, thanks for the video clip, much better than a still shot. I've always liked the figure 8 single pipe theory, but I am being persuaded.

Meh, can't view that format. Perhaps the DP we can see in the BOP, flowing, is the part running into the casing and the missing piece was just an end piece from the cutoff that fell back in.


I'm not shilling for BP or anybody else, but photographic proof of one mockup isn't proof there were no others.

I don't know why BP isn't being kicked repeatedly in the balls to release info on what's going on. Thad Allen continually mixes up terms like drill pipe, casing, and liner, and Kent Wells spends more time talking about what an amazing job they are doing than about anything technical. The whole thing reminds me of the Three Mile Island meltdown, when the company men were saying everything was fine and "I don't know why we should have to tell you every little thing we do!" Combine arrogance and lack of information, and scared people will invent stuff to fill in the gaps.

If the outer pipe is the 21" riser and those are two pieces of pipe in it, the pieces of pipe are smaller than 3" across. How big was the drill pipe?

If you go to slide 4 you will get a better idea of sizing. http://docs.google.com/present/view?id=dgjvgrpb_146czm7b794&revision=_la...

If the caption is correct they expect to see one piece of 6" pipe rather than two pieces of 3" pipe.

Check out the Hi Res copy of that photo. It is clearly two pipes and they both appear to be about the same size except one has been crimped a lot more than the other to the point of splitting. Does this difference mean they are of different strengths and are therefore not the same? As the pipe is marked 21.5" OD, 1" WT then the tape measure is cetain to be imperial.



you make a good point but here's why i think its DP ...of course i can be wrong

1- its hard to envision the 9 7/8 jetting up this far...granted they didnot run lockdown rings and csg definitely would've moved but most likely a few inches maybe a lil more ...
2- going by the deformation its better than a coin flip its DP...csg is built around the concept of high tensile strength and can take only limited axial loads...it is more likely to deform like the riser ...i.e. split at the seam and flatten out

for sure the only way to find out is to bring the sucker topside...

however if this is csg then this much csg mvmt means the loads would've done serious damage downhole ...if only BP would release their sand cut data from fuilds captured topside a lot of guesses/surmises can be improved to educated guesses....sand cut combined with the potential charged pockets they would be running into on the RW are two biggest indicators of what is what downhole on the wild well....

Hard for liner to shoot up maybe. But there was also 9 7/8 production casing above the taper. Presumably weaker than the 7" section because of diameter so it collapses, disconnects from the 7", and shoots up 20-30 meters out the BOP - not far at all. Deep pipe is fine (not much pressure differential down there anyway).

What's wrong with this scenario.

"2. I was given this image. What am I looking at?"

Whoa... I dunno who your source is, but they must be pretty well connected to come up with something that damning. I'd imagine very powerful people would go to quite extreme lengths to keep something like that hidden. Keep you eyes peeled, if you think 'they' are closing in on you, RUN!!

#2 - it's an image of the riser where it was cut off.

Bill - In my 35 years I've caught dishonest operators damaging wells for their financial benefit (screwing their investors over, for instance). But in the wildest conspiracy theory I could ever imagine I can't think how any of the responsible parties would have benefited. I don't want to come off as the caricature of the old grizzled oil field hand but when you're out there and you begin thinking about such events taking place, it can be difficult to imagine yourself surviving. So unless there was some mass suicide pack I don't think there was any way it was intentional.

I've seen that pic described as two sections of drill pipe inside the squashed riser. Not sure myself but that could be correct.

Update on the tales of Shangri-La. Evil Commissioner's Pope's opponent called me. He pledged to immediately vote to stop the burying of all oil related waste in Baldwin's landfill until mitigation can be performed on such wastes, and burial would be only a last resort. If such burial was demmed necessary, that a dedicated area would be used for disposal and it would be treated as though it were hazardous waste under federal guidelines.
I did not win the war yet, but the first battle would have to go to Sir Tinfoil.
Vote Bob James for Shangri-La Baldwin County Commission.

Updating that NMFS/MMS/turtles story we had yesterday, TPM has talked with Fisheries again. A fellow there tells them,

... the agency will analyze the effects of the spill on wildlife, and revisit both the 2007 opinion and other Gulf-related opinions they've issued.

The 2007 opinion is still in use, as it applies to lease sales through 2012.

The 2007 opinion estimated that some 60 turtles of endangered species -- Kemp's ridley, leatherback, hawksbill, loggerhead and green -- would be killed by oil spills over the 40 year lifetimes of the leases.

Since the current spill, 438 turtles have been found dead. Of the 601 turtles found in the spill area, either dead, stranded, or healthy, 79% have been Kemp's Ridley turtles. Loggerhead, green and hawksbill turtles have also been found in the spill area.

BP ready to switch caps on Gulf leak: Coast Guard

HOUSTON (Reuters) - BP Plc is ready to switch caps at the wellhead of the gushing Gulf of Mexico leak to create a hurricane-ready system that can capture more oil, the top official overseeing the spill response said on Thursday.

U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen said BP and government officials would decide in the next 24 to 48 hours whether to switch caps, which would allow crude to leak unchecked in the interim.

The switch also would increase BP's siphoning capacity to 80,000 barrels a day among four vessels that could disconnect and move fast if a hurricane approaches.

"BP is in position at this time to move forward," he said.

In Washington, a U.S. official said the White House is sending BP a list of questions about its efforts to cap the well and ordering the company to respond within 24 hours.


Wow. It sounds like Obama is going to have to give final approval for replacing the cap.

No way Obama is involved in any decisions about actions in the field, beyond maybe the orientation of federal regulators. This is mostly political theater, IMO. It is an ugly situation for the White House in that BP has the responsibility and the resources, but people expect the government to be in charge and "do something." Like any president, Obama is concerned with things like Afghanistan, Israel, and the economy, not with the design of devices to cap a blown-out oil well. There is nothing the White House can do to make that process any more effective, but of course they are aware that its outcome has political consequences.

The blown oil well is a true national emergency. The other items you mentioned are bogus emergencies. Still I agree that Obama is not the most qualified person to make the call.

Can't find the answer to this question in the article, my apologies if already asked & answered:

If BP is given the go-ahead to switch caps at the wellhead, and the oil will flow uninterrupted during this switch, how long will the switch take? TIA

It looks like a fairly complex process, and it requires calm seas. It would go something like this...

1) Remove the existing cap.
2) Break loose the 6 large bolts from the riser flange.
3) Spin off and remove the 6 bolts.
4) Attach the flange splitter tool.
5) Split the flange and remove the riser stub.
6) Position the new riser flange tool (adapter pipe) onto the flange.
7) Install thew 6 bolts and torque them.
8) Position the new capping BOP over the Riser Flange Tool.
9) Lock the coupling in place.
10) Attach flex pipes onto the top of the capping BOP.
11) Establish flow through flex pipes.
12) Attempt to close in the top outlet of the capping BOP to contain remaining leakage.

There are lots of opportunities for hangups in this chain of events.

Of course, if they are able to divert enough oil out through the choke and kill line connections they may be able to just close off this BOP entirely, saving a bunch of time and stopping the hemorrhage into the GOM.

Also, it is possible that they could get the well killed by the time they were ready with this if all goes well with that effort and weather delays this project.

Right now though seas are under 4 feet and a window is opening to get some stuff done.

Alllen & Wells have both said it will take around seven days to do the switch.

During today's briefing, Allen said that it looks like there is an upcoming 7-10 day interval of good weather, which could be a window to do the switch. The original plan was to have the Helix Producer up and collecting for a few days before deciding to do the cap switch, presumably so they could see how much more of the flow they could capture just from the BOP kill & choke lines.

Wells has said that the new cap could potentially be closed off during the bottom kill effort. I wonder if BP wants to get the cap on ASAP because of concern it could be essential to that effort. (I also wonder how they will decide when to choke off the flows to the various collection ships so they don't wind up trying to flare mud.)

Allen has submitted five questions to Bob Dudley, to be answered with 24 hrs - I assume these are the "questions from the Whitehouse".

1.BP will provide me with an updated and detailed timeline outlining upcoming decision points relating to operations to begin production by the Helix Producer and mounting of the capping stack. These decision points will include, but are not limited to, the removal of the top hat and deviations from plans as a result of severe weather impacts.

2. BP will provide me with a detailed contingency plan for resuming source recovery at the riser should the mounting of the capping stack fail.

3. BP will provide me with a detailed plan with decisions points for pressure testing the well and potential transitioning from full collection from the capping stack to shutting in the well using the capping stack.

4. BP will provide me a detailed timeline for the estimated completion of the relief wells, which are being drilled simultaneously.

5. BP will provide me with a detailed plan, keyed off of the timelines developed under paragraphs one through four, outlining operations to maximize management of oil reaching the surface,including skimming and the pre-positioning of skimming assets. The utilization of in-situ burning to further address oil on the surface will be detailed as well. The use of dispersants will be minimized at all times consistent with the need to address VOC exposure issues for workers at the Deepwater Horizon site. The plan will include dispersant use limits, a surface and sub-sea monitoring plan similar to the current plan that includes toxicity, dissolved oxygen and fluorometry.

Full letter at 7.8 letter to Dudley(pdf).

Rusting off-shore casings

I've often wondered what salt water does to well casings over time... common sense says that rust will eventually do its work and rot through.

This week an AP investigative report examined the issue of abandoned wells in the Gulf:

This report examines several aspects:
- there are more than 27,000 abandoned wells in the Gulf.
- some are temporarily abandoned (the procedures for which are less stringent than for permanent closures).
- monitoring and verification procedures are lacking (in terms of ensuring that these wells aren't leaking).
- geological conditions can change (possibly increasing pressure in an abandoned well).
- despite industry claims that "the seal on a correctly plugged offshore well will last virtually forever," cement ages and steel corrodes....

My questions to TOD analysts are these:
Is it not highly likely that offshore wells will eventually fail?
And when they do, would the corroded steel make it more difficult to re-plug the thing?
Or are such fears unfounded?

Steel needs oxygen to corrode. No oxygen or oxidizer* down hole. Wood will last 1000+ years if buried in wet oxygen free clay.

*Some acids and organic compounds can act as oxidizers, but they wouldn't be replaced after the initial reaction.

deadman -

While dissolved oxygen in a aqueous medium is the most common cause of corrosion inside carbon steel pipes, it is by no means a prerequisite for the corrosion of metallic iron.

Serious corrosion problems have been experienced in portions of the oil pipeline systems in Alaska (by BP no less)that were cause largely by the presence of sulfur compounds and biochemical reactions involving such compounds due to the presence of microorganisms, such as those caused by sulfur-reducing bacteria. As crude oil and natural gas contain significant amounts of various sulfur compounds, including hydrogen sulfide, this is always a potential problem regardless of whether or not dissolved oxygen is present.

However, I would think that a capped oil pipe would experience such corrosion quite slowly, particularly if a certain amount of corrosion had initially taken place but has tapered off due to no sulfur compounds being continually replenished as would be the case in a flowing pipeline. But what if there is slight leakage?

Getting a handle on microbially-mediated corrosion can be tricky, and sulfur-reducing bacteria are not the only culprit that can play all sorts of mischief. As these microbes tend to congregate in tiny nooks and crannies, they have been known to survive the application of strong disinfectants.

Microbial corrosion can be a problem. However, there is a little confusion in your post about sulfur bacteria. The most common bacterium that metabolizes a form of sulfur reduces aqueous sulfate ion to hydrogen sulfide, using hydrocarbons as a source of energy. Hydrogen sulfide is a product of their metabolism, not an input. Years ago, a bacteriologist working under my supervision isolated a strain of sulfate-reducers with an optimum growth temperature over 100 degrees C, from a deep onshore well in California. All these bugs need is a source of sulfate, some water, and a hydrocarbon. So it is conceivable that casing could be destroyed by microbial corrosion, but it would require some flow to supply the aqueous sulfate.

Thanks to you all for your useful information.

At first I thought that well casings stuck up from the sea-bed, in which case they would of course be exposed to salt water.
My (very limited) understanding now is that the casing is cut off below the sea-bed (I'd like to know how they do that), so that the entire casing is not in contact with salt water.
Is my understanding correct?

But how can they be so sure that salt water cannot eventually penetrate? On land, leachates can travel some distance through soil, so why can't the same thing happen on the sea-bed?

Also, did anyone examine the other concerns which were raised by the AP researchers... any observations on those other issues?

Thanks, folks

I suspect a lot (most) of those incompletely abandoned wells are on platforms which are still in use for other wells or activities and lack only having the casings cut below the mudline to be permanently abandoned. It's a lot more efficient and also safer to do all those final cuts and lifts as the whole platform is being abandoned. A number of others are partially abandoned but being held for possible use as sidetracks - the pay zones have been produced and cemented off but the final surface plugs not set, such that we might save time, money and risk by using the shallow part of the well as a 'head start' on a new prospect or a replacement for another damaged well. I doubt there are many, if any, truly incompletely abandoned AND unattended wells in the OCS (state waters and onshore - another story.)
Cement ages and steel corrodes but minerals grow and shales squeeze in etc. Properly abandoned wells are probably not much more likely to leak than the rock itself.
In addition, the fact that they are abandoned (even incompletely) is a good indication that there is not much oil or gas in them to leak out in any case (certainly not relative to DWH.)

Can someone tell me if this is the new cap they are going to put on? The first couple of pictures.


No, that is part of the floating riser system that will connect to Helix Producer.

This is the new cap... http://docs.google.com/present/view?id=dgjvgrpb_146czm7b794&revision=_la...

Thanks James.

The same cap is shown on the BP "Response In Pictures" page with the caption "Capping Stack BOP onboard the Transocean Discoverer Inspiration close to the MC252 location 7 July 2010."

[Preamble: A huge vote of thanks to the amazing crew of experts sharing their knowledge with the rest of us laypeople. I've been lurking for a couple of weeks, reading like mad both here and at references provided.]

In looking at various illustrations of drilling showing rotating drill pipe I have been wondering if it's the case that some is still done that way? Once mud motors were developed, naively, it seems that they would always be preferable to driving from the rig, having to torque 1000's of feet of pipe to get energy to the bit.

When the rotary/top drive breaks, you can fix it right then. When a mud motor breaks, you have to trip out of the hole, replace it, and trip back in. That's time, money, and exposure, and that mud motor has to survive considerably more challenging conditions - 10,000 psi or more, 200 degF or more, oil based muds at times, and shock loads like you wouldn't believe. You also have to pay for the mud motor, but you have the same rotary capacity at surface you're still paying for even if you're not using it.

It all comes down to cost. Directional wells need mud motors to turn, but vertical wells or vertical sections of wells don't, and frequently don't use them .

I've been trying to visualise what happens to all the leaking oil and I've come up with this graph, which is conceptual only.

Does anyone know of something similar with actual numbers?

No, but even a conceptual diagram is useful, thanks. One possible number--from what I understand, "evaporated" should be limited to around 20%, actually less since the subsea or plume oil doesn't evaporate-. That curve should follow the rate (not total) of spillage fairly closely, since evaporation happens pretty fast. Then the rate of burning would roughly triple when the Q4000 came online. Also I think fdoleza estimated the proportion of tar roughly at 10%. That's all I got.

I read somewhere that 30% evaporated.

I agree that for this specific spill a lot more should be "burned" and "collected."

What I was trying to draw was a more generic curve of a deepwater blowout where collection efforts were limited to skimmers and booms, and the surface slick was burned where possible. Roughly the conditions at Macondo if they didn't have the LMRP cap collector and the Q4000 burner.

Too late to edit, but my statement above about evaporation is wrong, sorry. Sunnv's earlier post has good links to research showing evaporation rates of ~50% for lighter crudes.

a bit dated but I think the percentages might work (this was published June 21, 2010 based on data up to May 17, 2010)


read the refs in this post on tarballs from mousse from oil to get an idea of some of the numbers.

P.S. passing on something from Gail,
to get images to display nicely, add width="100%" within the img tag.

If it's the right concentration and temp H2S will beat rust.

I don't know if there is any H2S.


The potential ISC field I mention in the last thread is in north central WY almost on the MT line. Various people have put it at 1 billion OIP, independent 3rd party at 300 million minimum. Difficult field but big enough it may interest the right operator. Not good for small independents working on 10 to 20 million shoestring budget. About 90% BLM & state, 10% private (plus all ROW and water) controlled by old, grumpy, cantankerous, semi-inebriated, lazy ex-diver.

shelburn: water drive or pressure depletion? BHP? Good perm? Strong structural dip or fairly flat? I can make a ball park esitmate of how practical ISC can be with a few basic facts. Besides needing the injector/producing well bores the big expense is air compression. Folks who haven't done the numbers are shocked when they see the LOE. My stuff is buried away but I'll see if I can pull some files off an old computer. ISC isn't practical for most fields. But when you find the right set of conditions it amazing. I've seen fields go from 40 bopd to 600 bopd in just a few months. I'll try to find that Amoco ISC in Cameron parish. I've got some inside dope that makes it even more amazing. And no...Amoco didn't follow thru with it. It was just a DOE publicity stunt.

What are we discussing here? Is shelburn selling a property? Or just proposing a group be formed to go burn it in situ?

fd -- he's probably just fishing. You know how these oil patch hustlers can be. LOL. Beside, all my money is tied up in Blue Bell right now.

I see. So you have the information for Cameron Parrish? I worked in Black Lake back in the Pleistocene. A friend of mine designed the fireflood, and wrote Amoco's fireflooding manual. I agree with you, firefloods are just too complicated, and the oil sure comes up with some unstable properties, the refining types really hate it. Not too long ago, I was asked to look into the White Sands deal in Canada. Turned it down. But I didn't follow up on it. I imagine they're still trying to figure out how to make it work.

shelburn/fd -- found a couple of docs on the West Hackberry ISC project by Amoco. There's a better report out there somewhere by the same authors that has very good displays. I spoke with Gilliam, one of the Amoco hands, and he gave me some interesting poop that wasn't published.



so is this more or less a fire flood idea?? or?

bc -- Sort of. It was a project Amoco did in S La. They thought they were trying one technique but accidentally induced a fire flood.

I don't have a lot of the information at hand, I'll have to get my petroleum geologist friend (Yes - I have a geologist friend, I'm not a bigot) to get some together.

Air compression has to be cheaper than replacing a 40 foot propane trailer every other day trying a huff and puff.

This is off topic so maybe we can discuss later, plus I'm off for an out of state funeral service for the weekend.

Since you have all your money tied up in BB maybe a swap would be in order - 5 bbls of heavy 1.5% sulfur crude for a bbl of BB.

shelburn -- we'll chat when you get back from your sad duty. I'll be glad to help evaluate the potential if you like. And the good news: since I'm on an exclusive you can't even pay me. LOL

The news from our end of it:

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Gov. Charlie Crist has called a special session of the state Legislature to get a constitutional ban on offshore oil drilling in Florida waters on the November ballot.

Crist on Thursday said the session will be held July 20 to July 23.

Crist has said he has the support of Panhandle legislators, where some beaches have been oiled by the massive Gulf of Mexico spill. But legislative leaders in areas so far unaffected have been uncooperative. ...

Factors in the "uncooperativeness" (my surmise): that that eddy broke from the Loop Current and that Charlie broke from the GOP. I'd rate the second one ahead of the first.

The following excerpt is from an article authored by Peter Folger, Specialist in Energy and Natural Resources Policy at the Congressional Research Service. The title is "Gas Hydrates: Resource and Hazard". The excerpt comes from a section of the paper titled "Gas Hydrate Hazards".

Oil and gas wells drilled through permafrost or offshore to reach conventional oil and gas deposits may encounter gas hydrates, which companies generally try to avoid because of a lack of detailed understanding of the mechanical and thermal properties of gas hydrate-bearing sediments. 14 However, to mitigate the potential hazard in these instances, the wells are cased - typically using a steel pipe that lines the wall of the borehole—to separate and protect the well from the gas hydrates in the shallower zones as drilling continues deeper. Unless precautions are taken, continued drilling may heat up the sediments surrounding the wellbore, causing gas from the dissociated hydrates to leak and bubble up around the casing. Once oil production begins, hot fluids flowing through the well could also warm hydrate-bearing sediments and cause dissociation. The released gas may pool and build up pressure against the well casing, possibly causing damage.15

There is another section of the paper titled "Gas Hydrates and the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico" that looks to me like it was added to the paper at the last minute before publishing. In this section the author cites Carolyn Ruppel of the Gas Hydrates Project, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA and other resources. The section describes a brief and clearly speculative theory as to how gas hydrates might have been to some extent a causal factor in Deep Water Horizon blowout.


Random links:

1. Ben Raines reports that marshy Grand Bay in western Alabama has not been oiled despite having no barrier islands. They claim that booming helped it (video). Thankfully, apart from Barataria Bay, there has not been a lot of damage to wetlands so far.


2. Article on A Whale has some new info. The Taiwanese owner is now aboard, and they are trying a modification, something to do with added plates. Leasing fees up to $200K/day for previous gigs. Is Dr. Ed Overton on the payroll?


3. This unindexed and massive omnibus page on the spill has probably been linked before. All kinds of info and commentary, including (near the bottom) capable debunking of scare stories. Author contributes to Daily Kos, refers to TOD. Does he post here?


More random links (apologies for reruns)

For Tinfoil: Oil landfill controversy - Pecan Grove, Mississippi

Doomer Inc.

CNN - Avg. amount of dispersant used after EPA's 75% reduction order

Can anyone direct me to information on how they will manage to drill through the piping? Specifically it would seem devilishly difficult to hold a drill at a very shallow angle to the pipe and still drill through it. It would seem the drill would just bounce and slide away.

Obviously the industry knows how to get around this, but I'd be curious to know too. Some sort of specialized tooling I presume?



That's easy. This is like industrial strength shop you had in high school, it's just a lot bigger. For example, you can take a piece of high strength pipe 30 ft long, 6 inches diameter, attach a drill bit 8 1/2 inches in diameter, about a foot long at the end, and drill rock with it, when you get to the steel pipe you want to cut, you pull out, and change the rock bit with a mill, for example you can use a ball of high strength steel studded with super strong inserts, something like a small watermelon with a very rough very tough surface made up of a super tough material, say tungsten carbide. You can rotate it against the steel pipe you want to cut through. Because the pipe is guided by the hole it's in, and six inch pipe is kinda hard to bend, when you put weight on it it really doesn't have much choice but to keep that watermelon rubbing against the pipe. And if you rub enough, then the watermelon will cut the hole in the steel casing. It's like sanding the floor using a giant robot.

However, there are lots of ways to get this done, they could also go in with a piece of pipe loaded with shaped charges, say one charge every 2 inches for a 10 ft length, and set them off. They are directional, and will cut very neat holes in the pipe, about 1 inch diameter or smaller. So if it goes well you have 60 one inch holes to pump through. I like the shaped charges because they let me tell the kids we use explosives.

I like this relief map of the Gulf of Mexico depicting producing oil wells and the Deep Water Horizon from Port Publishing.
Be sure to look at the large view.

In the effort to keep us informed about how the clean up is going, a few commenters here have posted first person accounts and pics of what they’re witnessing on beaches in their areas.

Following is a link to what one fellow witnessed in Gulf shores AL:


The gist of the article is not so much about the efforts to hide or remove the contaminated sand on the beaches, but more importantly why BP and the government would say they are not doing something that they obviously are doing.

Reminds me of a quote:

Who are you going to believe, me or your own lying eyes?
--- Groucho Marx

To all the folks that say they are burying oil at night I say perhaps. They are also using bulldozers and moving mounds of the beach during the day. They have to. That is how you work the beach. Yes, sand is inundated with marble size and smaller tarballs. Even when these last storms came, I saw tarballs being broken down by natural forces. I do not automatically assume an increase or decrease in toxicity. Here is a picture I just took of a bulldozer moving huge piles of sand around at the main beach in Gulf Shores Alabama on 7/8/10 @ about 3 PM CST.

From today's photobucket http://s892.photobucket.com/albums/ac126/tinfoilhatguy/GS-OB%20July%2020...
New Gulf Coast Nirvana post coming soon http://gcn01.com

We have only two undersea cables bringing us the internet, and one of them is down, so a page of TOD is terribly slow to load and reply to.

It's a reminder once again that the code-to-content ratio of TOD is quite poor. If you "view page source" you will see a huge mass of html code and very little text.

Once before I wrote to the editors about this, but I'll repeat my plea: Is all this html really necessary?

Personally, I only use the "Parent" and "Reply" links, and search for "[new]" to check for updates. As far as I'm concerned the rest can all go. I want the content, not the gizmos. (I notice the little balloons on the links have gone... that's already a big improvement.)


I've been on a slow connection lately and TOD incredibly slower than other sites with as much or more content and graphics.

A pet peeve: the extra clicks.

For example, when you post a comment it returns you to another representation of your comment rather than to the discussion. With each page load taking around five minutes that is 10 minute turn around.

The long multi-comment graphic-filled blog pages at The Atlantic take maybe 10 seconds to load.

Where are you, the Antarctic?

Hi you guys, I found a picture you might like.

Norway also have high tax on cars but they are still driving and large cars are not uncommon.

Hello, I'm one of those people who believe to have a solution to the Gulf oil spill. It has been sent to BP and their response was this plan is already being tested and being considered for implementation. I'm no expert in this field but my qualifications would point to real life experience. I design and build houses from bottom to top according to the national building code and I restore classic cars to like new condition. I have spent my life solving structural and mechanical problems. My plan is not complicated and I am looking for any reason why it would or would not work. My plan is as follows. First remove the top cap and flange which was cut with the diamond saw and was attached by the original bolts to the well pipe. now take a short pipe the same diameter as the casing which is said to be 22". attach a flange to the bottom of this short pipe which matches the spill pipe flange and high pressure connection type flange to the top of the short pipe. this pipe would be attached to the spill pipe using the weighted procedure used on the top cap. This is simply a way to move the spill up a few feet and have a better high pressure connection flange on top for installation of longer pipe. Every pipe connection would be made with the top side open which would allow for a much easier seal which would prevent any freeze-up problems with hydrocarbons. The next pipe could probably be 50' to 100' long. The shorter the pipe the more manageable the pressure connection would be. The pressure connection could consist of guide rods at the bottom of each pipe which line up with the flange on the top of the bottom pipe or a type of connection where the spill pipe would have a open ended flange to allow the top pipe to be push sideways over the bottom pipe where it could be bolted or clamped solidly. Obviously down pressure would have to be addressed here. We have a 450 ton BOP and according to my figures 1200 tons of down pressure where the spill meets the water. This down pressure could very well be the only thing keeping this entire well from blowing out. My proposal was to attach four anchors in the sea bed 200' from the spill pip in four equal corners and attach 3 heavy cables to the spill pipe at just above the BOP and 100 and 200' above that, totaling 12 cables. My advice to them was that no attempt should ever be made to stop this flow. All the oil must be captured with oil tankers. There is a real danger that an attempt to stop this oil flow could cause the damaged casing below to leak even worse or blow this entire well. This plan is being considered for implementation if the relief wells fail. It is difficult for me to completely explain this plan without any kind of drawing so I will answer any input as best I can. THX

A couple obvious mistakes, one that the pressure will drop with the increase height of the "riser" you mention. That's not true, in a closed system the only pressure drop is friction and you would have a closed system eventually. Secondly at the top of each piece of pipe where you add another the pressure is NOT going to be less. As the depth of ocean decreases the pressures on the methane gas decreases and it expands driving UP the pressure. There was a lot of discussion here at TOD on this early on.

Secondly the bottom of the GOM is about 200ft of unconsolidated MUD so any anchors would need to be driven at least that deep, probably much deeper. That is not an easy thing to do. What's the plan there?

Downhole pressure is WHAT CAUSED the blowout, its what you want to kill.

Stabbing a riser pipe into the flowing stream is not going to be easy, so why do this 3,4 or a dozen times? Why not once and be done?

Where did you get 1200 tons of pressure from the well? That's way, way off the measurements we've seen of about 30K psi. 1200 tons psi? per sq ft?

What do you think the BOP you mentioned is going to do? That's going to cause backpressure on the system that is now being released by the flow putting more stress on the damaged casing. You just discredited your own idea. If a BOP was the solution, BP could have bolted on a second one a month ago once the ROV operators figured out how to remove the flange bolts.

Yes, this plan is similar to what BP is actually going to do next but dogs are similar to cats as they are both 4 legged mammals with fur.

When Macondo blew out, I told BP to flare it at the mud line. I bet they laughed their butts off, but I think I coulda made it work. But I would have needed to take that riser connection off, and I can't hold my breath that long. Once i had the riser connection off, I would have connected a short riser to it, with a T to pump oxygen into the riser, and set the sucker off with an underwater Zippo rated to 2300 psi. That would have been neat, a 50,000 BOPD flare burning at 2200 psi in 5000 ft of water.

Now that, my friend, would have been neat indeed! Heh! Heh! Oh well.

Did you calculate the volume and pressure of oxygen at that depth? Or the amount of compression needed to supply air at that depth?

Both were discussed early on.

If I remeber the horsepower requirements were in the order of 100,000 hp plus.

I sure did. This is why I figured out it requires oxygen, not air. If they got money to buy a nuke and blow the well, they got money to buy the liquid oxygen. Question is what are we going to do with all the dead patients when we corner the world's LOX market?

I could also cheat, and I did so. I just assumed the riser pipe could be put higher up, say at -2000 ft, to cut the compressor horsepower. Evidently it's not a subsea flare if we push it too high, plus I would really hate to sit on top of it pumping oxygen or air down - it puts out a lot of CO2, so I can see the water getting kinda getting acidic around the site, and maybe the air would get a little nasty.

I think I would have tried it if I had the way to hook up to the BOP with a riser gizmo and could figure out how to get the air or oxygen down to it. Which makes me wonder, why didn't they switch out the riser sooner, and why are they rate limited? They can't flare the gas?

Thank you for your comments.When I say 1200 tons of down pressure that is the entire down pressure of the spewing riser. Best number I could come up with was from Bill Nye who said there is aprox. 8000 lbs. per square inch of pressure at the riser head where the spill meets the water. The inside of the casing is aprox. 20 inches diameter so the formula R x R x 3.14 gets us the area of the circle which is 314 square inches times 8,000 lbs. per square inch is 2,512,000 lbs of pressure divided by 2000 lbs. equals 1256 tons of down pressure. To explain why this is down pressure a simple experiment with a garden hose will work. Place the open end of the garden hose against something solid. Turn on the water. You will see the garden hose push away from the solid surface in order to expel the water. I can assure you that 2000 lbs. of water pressure pushing against this pressure from the spill pipe causes more down pressure then a concrete wall on top of the spill. Thank you for information on the sea surface but I do have a solution for that. Drill a hole as wide as possible and as many feet as it takes for a solid connection, place a heavy 200 ft. square steel frame on top and connect it to the anchors on four corners and then come off at an angle to the riser. The reason for using shorter pipes is so the pressure connection is manageable but I am not sure just how long these pipe could be. It is important that these connections be leak proof or problems with hydrocarbons could arise. The BOP I mentioned is the one that is already there.

We have a consumer based website that tries to keep interest high. We have an article today about Day 80 and why it's important for people to stay in tune. Suggestions or thoughts from your crew are certainly welcome.


Here's the recording of the oral argument at the hearing on the Moratorium today. I have not had a chance to listen to it.


sync: Thanks.

Hey, EL! Go to see ya.

Very good post and discription of what they have plans to do. From here the plans of mice and men go astray, so all we can do is see if BP's plans are better than mice and men.

Their track record has not been so good on anything so far, and one has to wonder if the same drilling engineers that were on the Macondo Well, are drilling the relief wells.

On the mud pumpimg. Everyone talks like the mud will just be pumped down the relief well, and flow into the old well, and just sit there filling the old pipe up and down with mud as if it was a void with no pressure acting on, or in it.

The oil pipe from the reservior is blowing out at ten to twelve thousand pounds Pressure.

Normally the well pressure couldn't blow the heavy mud up the 2000 plus feet and out the top, RIGHT. At those pressures though that mud will mix with the oil and gas, and possible brine, ecaping from the reservior at those high pressures deluting it, and making it into a light slurry which almost vaporized can be blown up and out.

So all of this proposed sounds great, but leaves many questions to be answered, and whether it works will depend on if the mud stays heavy, and builds up the pipe to a high enough state to where it's weight is more than the pressure the well is blowing out at.

With some unknown factor the escaping gas and oil can continue to exit the reservoir, and all that mud can end up in the reservoir, and not being forced up the old pipe.

If I was going to put down money, I would take it to Vegas, rather than betting on the relief wells working.

Their track record has not been so good on anything so far, and one has to wonder if the same drilling engineers that were on the Macondo Well, are drilling the relief wells.

It would be a safe bet that those engineers are no where near that well. As a matter a fact the one calling the shots on the relief wells is not even a BP employee.

If I was going to put down money, I would take it to Vegas, rather than betting on the relief wells working.

If you want to put money up betting against them working you know where to find me. Just click on my screen name for email. Put up or shut up.

When I was young and cruel, I used to find Aggies who wanted to bet on football. No matter how lousy they were playing, they would always bet out of loyalty. Which means that over time I won quite a bit of money. Later, I figured out this wasn't proper, so I quit doing it.

Also, there's the jinx factor, like the Nike add with all those soccer stars who failed to score and got kicked out of the championship. Me, I'm just hoping those guys know what they're doing. This well isn't exactly normal, and although our friend has put things a little akwardly, it sure looks like they're gonna have to pump a lot of mud. I remember a story I heard a long time ago, when they tried to kill a blow out in Pakistan, and the mud ended up coming out about a mile away, right in the middle of somebody's hut.

Yes, I know that anything can happen, but I just like the odds as one who has put my own money into drilling wells that had less chance of success, but the upside made it worthwhile. I guess I have some of my grandad and dad's old wildcatter blood in me. :)

Me, I'm just hoping those guys know what they're doing.

Me also, but with John Wright running the show, I don't think there is anyone who knows more about relief wells. After all he has a 40 to 0 success rate drilling relief wells and I would bet he had some that had just as daunting problems as this one. Probably not the same exact problems, but his experiance will go a long way in solving them. If it was the engineers that drilled the orginal well, I would probably be betting the other way.

I've read everything I could find re: John Wright Company the last couple of days, and his qualifications are impressive. I only hope and pray that TPTB who recently indirectly purchased his company leave the "suits" out of it and let him do his job, without interference.

I've been lurking for a couple of weeks and I appreciate all the knowledgeable posts. A number of years ago, I worked for a couple of E & P companies (one small, one major) and I've learned a lot here. Thanks!

Do all oil people act like this? Put up or shut up. That's not nice.

I usually don't but when you get my age you tend to get a lttle grouchy. :)

I need to learn to have more patiance like Rockman. Maybe if I would eat some Blue Bell it would help.


Just now checked out your profile. That belt buckle is pretty cool. So is your family.

I don't know if you were able to read the inscription on the buckle, but it tells the story of my grandad setting a record with a Hughes Simplex bit. There is more to the story as passed down though my family that I have never been able to confirm. Howard Hughes Sr was said to have come on loction and my grandad told him that it was a pretty good bit, but would be better with 3 cones. It was another 9 years before the Hughes Tri-cone however.

I like to read about the industry history and how things evolved over time. I have a 1956 HTC bit catalog in my collection. Doesn't go as far back as your grandad but it still makes for some interesting reading.

I wouldn't bet with You or any other Oilman.

You can blindly believe these relief wells will work that's your choice. and You can trust the men running the show if You choose, but to castigate anyone who says that things aren't guarateed to work, is being cranky.

The questions I posed on the relief wells are ones no one has answered.

If You inject mud into a pressure stream, the thought it will just flow in abated, and start piling up is a little naive for even an Oilman.

I forgive You for the shut up remark, but if we all shut up then all the assholes would win.

First of all I don't blindly believe these relief wells will work, but with my understanding of the problems to be overcome and the experiance of John Wright I believe they have a very good chance to work(way above 50%). But like any human endeavor $hit happens. I never said it was guaranteed to work, but you seem to have the attitude that it is guarenteed not to work. The successful use of relief well technolgy in the past indicates otherwise.

On your question of injecting mud into the stream and overcoming the flow of the oil and gas, if you had been here at the time of the attempted top kill you would know that they did just that. The flow of oil was replaced with a flow of mud out the top of the BOP, but concerns for the condition of the BOP and the well caseing, caused them to back off. A bottom kill will not put the same strain on the BOP and casing. It is mostly a matter of being able to out run the amount of oil and gas with mud and they do have the pump capacity to do that. It is not going to be easy by any means, but it is doable.

The flow of oil was replaced with a flow of mud out the top of the BOP, but concerns for the condition of the BOP and the well caseing, caused them to back off.

Was that really the reason? My understanding was that too much mud was escaping at the BOP and out of the broken riser rather than going down the well bore to kill it.

I'm wondering whether, if they had had the new (and much better sealing) cap in place at the time of the top kill, whether the top kill would have succeeded and thus saved weeks of effort in drilling the (seemingly endless) relief wells.

I wouldn't bet with You or any other Oilman.

Is you concern that the oilman is smarter than you and thereby able to make a more informed bet, or do you think he might cheat you. I can assure you that the way I was brought up in the oil patch is that your word is your bond and the most important thing you own. My father taught me this and he lived it and never cheated anyone. As a matter of fact he was forced in bankrupcy in 1958 and went on to drill successful well in 1962 and he repaid all the creditors in the bankrupcy, although not legally obligated. To him it was his moral obligation.

So I deeply resent you implication.

Maybe some of the johnny come lately oilmen might cheat someone, but all the old timers I know have the same attitude as my father and I.

I shouldn't step in but I am, I grew up in the boonies in TX surrounded by oilmen and ranchers and their word was better than a contract, if you got their word on anything, sometimes with a shake of their hand you'd better d_mn well believe they'd see that it happened. Sorry, again not my place to jump in but I had friends who were roughnecks, hand, and petroleum engineers and unlike the men in the finance industry these men were who I'd trust my life with and my kids because they were the salt of the earth, and most were the fun as he77 to hang out with over a few beers too.

Its how I was brought up too. Different part of the world, different businesses but the same strength of your word. I am having trouble with someone who does not seem to have the same belief. IT JARS.


I know, sometimes I wish I were born 20 yrs earlier when everyone wasn't so caught up in "gotta have this boat, car , house etc", I am lucky I work here and there are only 3 of us in the bond business and we are a group of "good ole boy/girl rednecks in a good way", but when you get to the upper crust of the business they are snakes in the grass and I'd rather sit down at Dixie Chicken or one of the local hole in the wall bars here with a man whose word is his bond who calls it like he sees it. I don't think my kids will ever know a life that even resembles what we had nor the quality people who have hearts of gold.


This article has some info on how a dynamic kill works:


If you need more information on the "Drillers Method" I may be able to find it for you, however as you say that you have an oilfield background you should be familiar with it.

I'm with you barney. The csg volume is around 1,200 bbls. I won't be surprised if they have to pump 30,000+ bbls to kill the well.

RM~I have a follow up question that to an answer you gave me a day or two ago regarding RW's vs producing wells:

I think some of the confusing started when folks began to speculate that one or both of the RW might be eventually temp abandoned once the WW is killed and later utilized to develop the reservoir. That could happen especially if the first well does the job and they can immediately suspend the second RW

How do you develop the resovoir later IF the RW is successful? Do they drill another one or is there a way to use the RW and turn it into a proucing well eventually.....sorry, I know this is a dumb question to all the pro's in here but figured I'd ask anyway.


Mummsie -- If there’s enough oil left in the reservoir they would follow their original development program. The question was that if they kill the WW with RW #1 what might they do with the second RW. I speculated they might temp suspend it and use it to develop the field later.

Thanks RM....I was unsure what normal protocol would be after killing a WW and then developing the field later or if that's ever been done before on a WW that has so far caused a clusterf_ck of damage enviromentally, economically, and worst of all the 11 lives lost.

During a Q&A with the press the other day, Wells said they already had a total of 43,000 bbls on hand on the DD-III and one support vessel. Two more ships with an additional 40,000 bbls are due in by the time they begin the kill attempt.

Me either, but I think the have 50,000 on hand with quick acess to more I would bet.

I thought it was a big deal the day I ordered in 2,500 bbls of 19 ppg oil base to try to kill a 22,000 ft well. Long story short all that mud ended up going out a hole in the casing at 10,000 ft never to be seen again. The operator decided that we would take a chance and switch to cheaper water base. I have often wondered if the incompatable oil base and water base combo is what finally plugged the hole and allowed us to kill the well. We didn't lose much mud after the switch.

I'm more for the overkill technique. Dream up a really high number and triple it.

But there's also a big plus from this event. Evidently these BP guys figured out how to get a 50,000 BOPD well to produce for a long time, asphaltines and all. I think this well wormholed itself, it must have a sideways hole cutting right out horizontally into the reservoir, or that sand has to be really high perm and consolidated. This may be the trick to produce the deep Eocene, just let them blow and make sand, and let a wormhole develop. Problem is the Eocene may be too consolidated, I guess.

Oral Argument Observations:

The court is going to expedite the actual appeal of Judge Feldman's decision so that it is heard in late August. This is an attempt to tighten the leash on the Govt. playing delay games and using the uncertainty as a de facto moratorium. The judges do not like that.

This hearing is just on whether to over-turn Jude Feldman's denial of the govt. motion to stay the injunction pending the appeal. The court is limited in what it can do by the legal standard that applies to this type of motion.

This is improtant because the judges have said enough to make it clear that a majority think the secretary of interior has a rational basis for a moratorium, but may not have presented it as well as it could have. However, it appears a majority may not believe the govt. has met the burden for imposing a stay.

The court is very interested in whether and when the sec. is going to issue another moratorium, and the concern seems to be that the govt. will use that just to get around the court's ruling if the motion is denied. They don't like that, and it goes into the equation of whether the stay should issue.

My prediction is that they issue the stay based on slightly different legal grounds than what the govt. has argued. (The property clause of the statute at issue.)

But they could still deny it because they are not happy with the game playing with the govt. not expediting the appeal and threatening the second moratorium. They will say that this game playing (they will call it something else) shows that the govt. has not met the standard for a stay because it has other options. That would be like saying, ok gov., if you're so hot with all of your fancy foot work, you're on your own. You don't need us and we're not going to help you when you pull this kind of crap

We should have a decision by the end of the day tomorrow is my guess.

P.S. The DOJ attorney was the best. The plaintiffs' main attorney was pretty bad. He did not help their case. He is probably walking around with a swagger at the moment unaware of how badly he really did.

Door #2

"A federal appeals court panel denied a US government request on Thursday to reinstate a deepwater oil-drilling moratorium while it appeals a lower court order rejecting the ban. ...Lee Hunt, president of the Houston-based International Association of Drilling Contractors, said on Thursday that the administration had told the industry it would introduce a new, more tightly targeted moratorium if it lost its appeal."

Thanks. The order denying the motion is not on the website yet, but i did find this:

“The secretary has failed to demonstrate a likelihood of irreparable injury if the stay is not granted,” the appeals court said today in a 2-1 ruling. “He has made no showing that there is any likelihood that drilling activities will be resumed pending appeal.”

There is no likelihood of irreparable harm, not because another spill would fail to cause irreparable harm, but because the govt. has been successful in launching a de facto moratorium already, and has other options, such as issuing another moratroium, so they don't really need the court.

The govt. did not think through its strategy very well. Too clever by half is how the two judges saw it. Move for a stay on the injunction, but don't move for an expedited hearing on the appeal. That says it all right there. Then threaten in public that you will issue a new moratorium if you lose the stay. That irritated one judge to no end.

One thing is clear, the judges do think the Salazar has a rational reason for a moratorium, at least two of them said that at the hearing (which is why i thought they would issue the stay). That should be the end of the story. That's the bottom line issue in this entire dispute. But that was not the central issue on this limited motion for a stay.

Update: Now Salazar will issue a new moratorium that will allow some of the deepwater rigs to operate. So bottom line is the plaintiffs have socred an unlikely but significant partial victory in going up against the mighty Uncle Sam. Where else but the USA could that happen after a disaster of this magnitude. Trash our govt. all you want (I do), but remember that our system of govt. is pretty unique and pretty special. It's something to value.

Edit: Bumbling efforts at clarity.

syncro, do you think that this outcome (pending USSC) will allow more control over drilling safety issues through bureaucracy than a negotiated agreement between the parties? It sure allows for action without being too blatant. Industry has a constituency it can't afford to alienate, Administration has a constituency it can't afford to alienate. The dangers of rogue drilling trump all but must be handled with subtlety and no offense to anyone. A court order is too easily understood-how better to effect the solution than through the byzantine labyrinths of the Federal Civil Service?

I wonder if both sides are playing for time to see the outcome of the RW before the case gets hauled to the Supremes.

BTW, speaking of RW outcomes, one of the drill people tell me what happens if they start to effect entry into the casing(s) /liner(s) and a storm moves in suddenly? They can't just pull out but I don't see how penetration could be safely effected with high seas and poor weather. Can that operation be stopped at midpoint?

This process is playing out to result in what is essentially a negotiated moratorium. The system is working to accommodate the competing interests. That's good. As a matter of process, any way.

I would be surprised if they take this to the S.Ct. They've lost twice now. It's not going to get any better in front of the S.Ct. Hard-line conservatives hold a majority most of the time and it is probably the most political court S.Ct. in my life-time. So I doubt they will go there. This is a messy case by now. Better to cut their losses and start over clean with a new moratorium. They can then rescind the old moratorium, i believe, and that should kill the existing lawsuit in its tracks. It would be moot at that point.

BP has lots of mud at the site as they don't really know how much they have to pump through the relief well to achieve equilibrium in the WW and kill the WW. This reminds me of the time we were pumping cement grout into fissures around a water dam to stop leaks around the dam. We had been pumping for a week (at $50 per bag of cement) so I asked the contractor how many more bags he thought it would take, his reply "How much more money did we have?".

Heh! Heh! Its a hell of a thing, aint it? Did you get her stopped up though?

After pumping in some "stuff" with the cement (like in a top kill junk shot) we reduced the flow to "acceptable" levels, but it would be a problem for the life of the structure. The problem was originally due to management trying to save money on construction disregarding engineers recommendations.

"As a matter a fact the one calling the shots on the relief wells is not even a BP employee."
Among many things that I don't understand, one is the USG rational for letting BP run the "clean up". As point out, IIRC, John Walker is over-seeing the RWs and his company is a division of "Boots and Coots" which may nor may not be a division of Halliburton. The drill rigs and production rigs and employee(?) are subcontractors....So what is the PR BS about BP drilling the RW, collecting and/or flaring oil and gas from the BOP. I really don't get why the USG and especially the USCG are giving credit for the RWs etc?


ex Shell CEO Hofmeister gives relief wells a 50-50 chance. Video at link.

That’s the assumption. I’m not giving it… I’m giving it — I hope a 50/50 chance…

There has to be something for the cement to hold onto.

If the casing has been destroyed, if the outside of the casing is actually a channel flowing oil, then they’re really in bad shape.

I don’t know how they get enough cement pressure to it to make it stick.

John Hofmesiter is the "ex Shell CEO" in question. A political science major with lots of experience in HR and being on boards of directors, and a bit more recent general management experience in the oil business.

Quick bio search: http://investing.businessweek.com/businessweek/research/stocks/people/pe...

But to address the assumptions:
1) "if the casing has been destroyed"
2) "and if outside of the casing is actually a channel flowing oil"

Those are 2 pretty darn big assumptions, given we can still see an awful lot of high pressure oil coming up at the wellhead. The logical followup question would be, why is there still all this oil coming out of the top of the well at high pressure, if the casing is "destroyed" and there is an alternative route into this "channel"?

I don't know why anyone would listen to anything he has to say about technical details of drilling. He has no experience at all. OK if you're just chatting on the web bet he's on teevee.

Hofmeister has called Matt Simmons "the expert" and said that if Simmons thinks the well should be blown up then it should be blown up. A lot of non-experts are listening to and repeating what other non-experts have to say. Unfortunately they get MSM airtime and web space.

Blow it up! Use a captured SCUD with a MOAB oil seeker guidance system.


I read the other night, and I might have mis-understood what I read, that the mud should have been replaced with heavy brine instead of seawater before the well was sealed as mud would have mixed with the concrete. So this disaster was caused by BP being too cheap to buy salt! I am asking about this and not saying that that is what happened. Thanks for your time.

IIRC, the answer was that the drilling mud is replaced with a "Completion Fluid"....Why BP chose to use sea water, when they knew that well was "kicking"...haven't read an answer... I think trying to save time, fluid cost = $$$$

"Completion Fluids

BJ Services supplies a full line of solids-free completion fluids and additives, with densities from 8.4 to over 20 pounds per gallon. These fluids are based on sodium, potassium and calcium chloride; sodium, calcium, and zinc bromide; and sodium and potassium formate. All are available either as pure salt solutions, or combinations for maximum flexibility and cost effectiveness.

One example of BJ's completion fluids is HyCal I . This calcium-based fluid ensures a simple transition from the drilling mud to the temporary abandonment fluid and finally to the desired completion fluid. Optimal cleanliness of the final completion fluid and the wellbore is just as critical as transitional properties - since this ensures continuous operations.

BJ Services also provides complete fluid management and can design fluid systems for custom applications. Our unmatched technical support and design includes pressure profile modeling, consideration of emulsion tendency, pressure crystallization temperature (PCT), compatibility and formation damage testing of fluid systems."

FWIW, (I know nothing about drilling oil wells other than what I read at The Oil Drum)


Wow, BP saves a few bucks on fluids and destroys the Gulf of Mexico and shoreline in 5 states. How could anyone think this is an acceptable way to run a planet?

Short or not and no matter how many TV ads they run (or full pagers in FT and WSJ), I expect BP stock to be zero by y/e.

Heavy saltwater (almost more salt then water)is one of those possible "completion fluids" :-) I can't find the link , but it must be a pretty common solution (no pun intended).

That was me sharkey. Syn dug up an MMS reg that stated the well should have been left with fluid in the csg of sufficient weight to hold back the highest pressure seen in the well. Long story short I would never leave OBM in a well I was temp abandoning. But there are completions fluids of the proper weight which would have done the same job as the mud. If that reg was still in effect BP has got to be in very deep dodo

MMS reg? Is it not the standard practice to keep the well balanced until it is sealed and then tested to be sealed? Until the test is confirmed as a good seal is it not SOP to keep the well balanced? Even a temp abandonment requires the complete sealing of the well (I believe), not just balancing, as such things, with brine or mud, could quickly lose weight through gas and oil intrusion into the well shaft which would lower weight. I guess I am still without a clue or maybe BP executives acted without a clue. Thanks for the replies.

The regulations for temp abandonment definitely do require the same sealing procedures as those for permanent abandonment.

Someone provided an interpretation of that reg. where he believed it would not reguire hydrostatic balancing if they got a good seal. I could not come up with how he got that when i read it again. I'm not prepared to venture an opinion that it's required, but the plain language of the reg. sure seems to require it.

TY Syncro, Unless someone comes up with a definitive answer pointing out my errors, I will assume I interpreted the regulations and common drilling practices correctly, No seal was ever made so they were reckless if they replaced the drilling fluid. This is from a lurker, not someone in the industry.

You mean no seal was made when they cemented the production casing at the formation and 500 feet up the annulus? I thought in your prior post that you meant that since they were sealing the well, as in permanently sealing it to abandon it, they did not need to balance the well first.

I mean no seal was made at depth or if it was, it failed the test and should have been re-done.

Okay, then yes, the regs say no to that for sure. So do the laws of physics!

Do those laws apply to BP? :-)

Deployment of the Ella G brings the number of OTS (Costner) centrifuge devices deployed in the Gulf to 9. BP demonstrated its commitment to bring new technology and response capacity to the Gulf with an order for 32 OTS centrifuges, the remainder of which are being manufactured.

This article claims Ella G extracts 1905 bbl of oil per day at a 10% mix of oil to water.

I think they have the free standing riser connection to the kill line pretty much done now.

James, what do you see as the next steps? When might HP be online?

I don't know their plans, I was just watching what they were doing.

I did hear on TV news just now that they have been told to put the new cap on... the one that does not leak!

I have a new post on Gulf Coast Nirvana. http://gcn01.com . Please read. It is long and writing it took much out of me. I hope it was worth it. Vote for Bob James.

Great writing, Sir Tinfoil!!!

The Evil Commissioners and the Hall of Learning spoke the mud speech, the language of both scullions and squires; the day when they would be allowed to use their own tongue in the presence of others was still far.
-Stephen King reword

Johnnie Burton, the director of Bush’s Minerals Management Service (MMS) from 2002 to 2007, has no regrets about her tenure, saying in an interview that she found no problems within the agency


In fact, Burton’s MMS followed the Bush agenda of “increasing domestic oil and gas production, offering more incentives to drillers in the Gulf of Mexico and pushing to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and other wilderness areas to drilling.” The “department trimmed spending on enforcement and cut back on auditors, and sped up approvals for drilling applications.” Auditing revenues plummeted by 86 percent from its 2000 peak even though oil prices soared, as Burton slashed auditing, fired effective auditors who challenged oil companies for bilking the American public and she resisted efforts to recoup money.


Not presented as fact, although it is in line with the standard account of MMS's reputation. Given the current state of affairs all around (if DWH is at all indicative of how business is conducted out on the Gulf) it should not be all that hard to make significant gains in safety and in lowering/managing risk.

Side note:

I keep thinking of that old film clip someone posted a link to, the one where the oil company scientists "help" the oyster fishermen and at one point while filming in the lab the narrator says of the Oysters, sitting in a tank with crude oil and drilling mud being poured over them, "they never had it so good!"

Promoting "self regulation" was, of course, the whole point of that fine example of industrial propoganda. It would be great to see that again if anyone still has the liink. I've learned a lot since then.

We are all learning as we go. Unexpected, for that is the name of today's post. My hardest to produce to date. http://gcn01.com/?p=343

"...I keep thinking of that old film clip someone posted a link to, the one where the oil company scientists "help" the oyster fishermen and at one point while filming in the lab the narrator says of the Oysters, sitting in a tank with crude oil and drilling mud being poured over them, "they never had it so good!" ..."

Don't have that link, but here's a good one for the theme: http://eatocracy.cnn.com/2010/07/08/gulf-coast-fishermen-hauling-in-dead... (if you have dial-up or slow connection it's a cnn video)

and lest we all over on the west side of the Gulf be forgotten;

'...A husband and wife were swimming in the Gulf Thursday afternoon and said they got covered in some type of oil. The Coast Guard came out and found some type of substance on plants along the seawall and 53rd Street.The Guard collected samples and will send them off to a pair of labs for testing to figure out what it is and where it came from. "

Uh-huh. 'Night, TOD Gods.

I found the film clip you mentioned:

I am curious what the truth is since TAMU scientists felt the 1960 oyster deaths in Louisiana were caused by dermocystidium marinum fungus rather than by oil and mud. Unfortunately, film clip didn't explain presense of fungus other than to point finger at other causes without scientific backing.

BP does not believe in science experiments with our Gulf.
Just like replaceing mud with seawater,Whats is the worst that could happen?

Seems like everytime I wanna reply to a reply ..the thread is already closed..so..no real answers to posed questions
or posted comments...[I'm writing in from overseas..and there is a 8 hour time difference between me and Houston...]

Anyway..I post here a link to an article which I have snipped from ..see below.
As for those who are not fans of Mr. Icke...I only used his site as a reference beacuse it was oneof the first links to come up in a google search of the subject ..with the wording" I wanted to share with you.
Even Mr Icke would acknowledge that he is quoting from other public sources...and I find it curious but not surprising that the old ploy of discrediting the messenger is the first response to facts that folks don't wanna believe are true..or wish to stay in denial about. We have a saying here..Denial is not just a river in Egypt...

Here's the article ...http://phoenixrisingfromthegulf.wordpress.com/2010/07/04/global-catastrophe-reaches-epic-proportions/

Here are the releveant quotes; [snipped]
“OPERATE TO FAILURE”: How BP’s MO & The US Addiction To Oil Caused The Catastrophe Of The Millennium
Posted on July 4, 2010 by concernedcitizensofflorida

And Why It Is So Difficult To Put This Genie Back In The Bottle

"Really, why has it been so difficult to put this GENIE (Oil & Gas) back into the bottle (Macondo Prospect, Gulf of Mexico)? Or at least keep any more of him from coming out?

There are many reasons, on many different levels, but let’s start with BP and the culture of corporate superiority that has evolved at this multi-national behemoth since its founding in 1908. We’re talking about the granddaddy here – the Anglo-Persian Oil Company – which was the first to develop the oil and gas reserves discovered in the Middle East. Simply put, when you’re the biggest and the oldest in that neck of the woods, you get used to doing it your way, and ONLY your way.

Well, British Petroleum’s way of developing oil and gas throughout their planetary stomping grounds (Planet BP — a BP online, in-house magazine) is known to many insiders and outsiders alike by the catchphrase that goes like this – “OPERATE TO FAILURE”. This British Petroleum modus operandi has been confirmed by former BP employees and contractors, and verified by many insiders, deep contacts and whistleblowers throughout the Oil & Gas Industry. Much of this testimony was received directly by this author in the process of setting up interviews with CBS 60 Minutes, as they complete their production of a followup Gulf Oil Spill segment to the season’s last:

The amount of oil seeping into the Gulf of Mexico, at this very moment, emerges from an *ocean* of oil that is almost as large as the Gulf itself! This ocean of oil didn’t appear there because it was a giant fish graveyard. It was not a prehistoric jungle 20 miles high and 500 miles wide. This oil is abiotic oil and is produced by geological actions in the earth itself. Abiotic oil is created by intense pressures on carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and sulphur. The sort of pressures required to create oil are natural as one gets down a certain depth under the heavy crust and in the upper layers of the mantle. In some ways oil is the natural lubrication system for the crust and the upper layers of the mantle as it shifts and orbits the planet’s core.

The best think-tanks have known this for several decades now and have kept it hush hush to keep prices of oil high and help the oil industry. This was necessary because oil companies have huge assets and those assets are put to good use in infrastructure, research and development in more than simple oil production. Capitalism requires that certain commodities be given a value above and beyond the cost of procurement. Now that we have a leak which will not be able to be plugged, it’s time to prepare and explain what exactly is going on with the Deep Horizon well and why it is almost impossible to cap that Genie back in the bottle.' [snip]

"The underground oil oceans are under far more pressure than their ground well brethren and contain much more oil. At the depth of the Deep Horizon well, one mile under the sea, the per inch pressure is 2640 pounds per square inch. The ocean floor in these locations is very dense and can contain the underground oil oceans. Even so, in the Gulf, an Exxon Valdez size amount of oil naturally seeps into the Gulf every year. This under crust oil is seeping into all the oceans, but the Gulf, due to its size and geographic position, makes the seepage measurable … …

The typical cures are not working and they will not work. Think how much pressure this underground oil must exist with to support the thin crust between it and the ocean! The odds are the Gulf’s underground oil ocean exists between 15,000 and 30,000 psi at all points. Most oil equipment is not made to handle the upper end of this pressure spectrum. So caps blow off, plugs fail and almost nothing can stem the flow of oil now merging an ocean of oil and the Gulf of Mexico.

The two relief wells now being drilled are probably not a good idea, because, unlike a ground well, this may not “divide” the pressure and create 3 wells with manageable 5,000 psi flows. In fact, depending on the size of this ocean of oil, twenty or thirty relief wells might still only bring the psi down to 10,000! So the relief wells may just create 3 leaks where there was one before. If this is the case, BP seriously needs to fire their current geologists and hire some of the Russian abiotic oil scientists to assist them in corralling the flow from this oil ocean. Watch the news, and hope that BP actually understands what it is dealing with because the relief well option illustrates some of the senior geologists at BP do/did not think the oil is abiotic. If, in August, when the relief wells are finished and we have 3 leaks in lieu of one you will understand why. After reading this you will know more than the BP geologists … … …”
“They’ve Literally Punched A Hole Into Hell:
We Need A Crash Alternative Energy Program Now, Assuming We Even Survive”


“The suggestion that petroleum might have arisen from some transformation of squashed fish or biological detritus is surely the silliest notion to have been entertained by substantial numbers of persons over an extended period of time.”
Fred Hoyle, 1982
(an English astronomer noted primarily for his contribution to the theory of stellar nucleosynthesis)

In conclusion, petroleum is clearly not a fossil fuel as we have been taught by our modern science classes. Nor is it created in the manner that we have been led to believe. Peak Oil is a product of the Oil and Gas Industry whose agendas are outworking throughout the planetary landscape with awesome consequence and, in many cases, non-remediable global environmental damage.

The $64K question is, “What in the world are we going to do about it?” And do fast, before it’s too late!

Dr. Tom Termotto
National Coordinator
Gulf Oil Spill Remediation Conference (International Citizens’ Initiative)"


Now then...do you begin to understand why this is a national security issue?
Those of us who have had experience in gov't, the military, with think tanks,
or who spent any time at all in "alphabet world" are finding it harder and harder to
understand the willingness of so many people who should obviously know better..industry experts
and geologists..to believe and promote a big lie over an even bigger truth..
but hopefully this Deepwater "spill" will change that . I hope it starts here on TOD.


"...twenty or thirty relief wells might still only bring the psi down to 10,000!"

200! Let's go for 200! Screw caps, we need 200 RWs and then the stuff won't even flow anymore! And if that doesn't work, let's nuke it!

[edit] changed 100! to 200!


Dr. Tom is an Integrative Health Consultant with Wholistic Health Solutions in Tallahassee, FL. He specializes in holistic health coaching, wellness counseling, and medical/dental consulting and advocacy...Dr. Tom draws from across the spectrum of the alternative and holistic healing arts to include: Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Western Herbalism & Homeopathy, Naturopathy, Kundalini Yoga, Qigong, Medical Astrology, Detoxification Protocols, among many other complementary modalities and therapies.

Not only that, but Dr. Tom appears to have a commercial interest that could possibly be some motivation for whipping up hysteria:

Currently, Dr. Tom has suspended his health consultancy and is working 7 days a week, 16 hour a day on the Gulf Oil Spill as the National Coordinator of the Gulf Oil Spill Remediation Conference (International Citizens' Initiative). In this capacity he is also serving as Chief of Staff to Dr. Thomas B. Manton, former President/CEO of the International Oil Spill Control Corporation, which designed and implemented oil spill control programs for entire nations within OPEC.
Additionally, Tom is the Vice President/Liaison for Media Relations and Government Affairs with the Bison Resource Development Group in Boulder, CO, which has formulated an implementation plan for dealing with the Gulf Oil Spill. Bison Resource Development Group has formally submitted a proposal for Providing Seashore Protection and Remediation Services for the entire coastline of Florida. The International Oil Spill Control Organization has likewise submitted proposals for mitigating and remediating the waters, beaches, estuaries and wetlands that have been contaminated by the Gulf Oil Spill. Both groups have submitted proposals to the US Federal Government for "capping, containment and capturing" at the gushing wellhead in the Gulf of Mexico.


Maybe you should write very short sentences dealing with specific topics, and then we can tear apart what you write using short sentences which answer those specific topics one by one. If this is a paraody and you are trying to be funny, I can play along, but I'm not about to write endless essays discussing these topics. This could be a good learning experience for the public in general. I will not go have some coffee and go read the old Thomas Gold comic books I got around here.

The Lizard Men are going to be P*ssed Off!

Here is some humour related to the oil spill

Some background info - here in Australia there is a weekly TV show called 'The Gruen Transfer' which is a show about advertising, and there is a segment called 'The Pitch' where two ad agencies are invited to sell the unsellable. This weeks item is about an oil spill and it is on you tube here


The guy in the second ad is Professor Tim Flannery - he is one of our foremost global warming activists.

Enjoy ( I hope )

Very funny, the second one was def. the best, as has been noted on this site this has been very negative for the oil industry overall and they are not happy with it and and at the same time has boom for people talking about alternative energy and protection of the environment. Probably not as much as it should on the second point.

Thanks for the link Desperado,
Great use of parody, just what I needed on this, Day 81. Helps ease the crisis fatigue...

I liked the second presentation best. It would be neat to "Americanize" it with some familiar faces. Say like Ralph Nader and Al Gore???

Humor helps the healing process.

Saving a link to this thread. Lot's of good info including the lead post by HO and info throughout the thread. Especially the discussion of the relationship and protocol between BP and TO on the rig. Of course, sometimes the answers bring up more questions, but these are things I have been wondering about.

Thanks guys!

Not good,

Seems that a plug in itself is not truly a plug. There are to many parts that can fail over time. The internal pressure will work at the weakest point. I think that anyone who is following this Admiral Allen will recognize where some of them weak points may exits. Rusting steel perhaps or weak cement, even just voids of "wish the cement was there" are some weak points. The oil well must be depleted of the pressure. BP will need to take the oil there out and that means all of it. If not any remaining all oil, gas/hydrocarbons will rise to work on the weak point. Bad news in that there are wells else where that have been capped but not fully depleted. The gulf will suffer again and again and ...

Please pickup on this and be a warhero!


Via the BBC, an offer of Russian manned submersibles to cap the oil leak in the Gulf. They look like nice bits of kit but the statements by their operators given in the article don't really take the conditions at the wellhead into account. Besides, the ROV traffic control down there is already a bit of a handful, adding some vodka-enhanced Moscow taxi drivers to the mix would be a recipe for disaster...

What you will not see first on TheOilDrum.com:

"If BP had properly understood what was going on 5,000 feet below the surface, it never would have attempted to stop it with a "top hat." And had they realized the pressure from the oil reserves was beyond the threshold for "top kill" they wouldn't have wasted time on that, either."


" The lack of accurate information has taken its toll, he said. If BP had properly understood what was going on 5,000 feet below the surface, it never would have attempted to stop it with a "top hat". And had they realized the pressure from the oil reserves was beyond the threshold for "top kill" they wouldn't have wasted time on that, either. [While BP and the government originally estimated the leak at 1,000 barrels a day, Leifer said that it may be spilling as much as 100,000 barrels a day.]

"We could have effective containment systems available now, if we'd had the measurements," he said.

This is unfortunate. Not only did top hat and top kill waste months of time in which BP could have taken effective steps to contain the oil, but top kill probably made the oil spill worse: "


How much did BP and their agents have to do to ensure that theoildrum.com is not the first place with this kind of hard hitting news?

I got a $20 BP gas card.

Shucks, they didn't even have to. I'd a skipped those anyway. GW cites Blitzer and Simmons as expert sources and HuffPo's still reeling from their stupid ant-vaccination campaign.

"While BP is pretending that it is difficult to determine the amount and pressure of oil flowing out of the gusher, this is not true. Indeed, BP is actively blocking Leifer and other scientists from making the measurements.

Similarly, telling cleanup workers they'll be fired if they use respirators is increasing the toll on human health, and using dispersants to hide the amount of spilled oil is only worsening the long-term damage to marine life."

Why is this news not on here first?

You skipped your homework again, didn't you.

Did you guys know that one of my favorite Golden Oldies is the Warwick-Bachrach classic "Walk on By" (love how the chorus slides around on that "onnnnnnnn")? And that every time some twink shows up here, sputtering this or that, I hear it again?

Yepper. Unintended consequences don't have to be bad, huh.

[Special to E L: HEY! Glad you're back.]