BP's Deepwater Oil Spill - Hooking up Helix Producer and Plans for New Cap - and Open Thread

This thread is being closed. Please comment on http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6714.

Update: The cap was removed at 12:37 pm CDT today.

The weather is finally good for a few day, and BP has received the go-ahead from the administration on changing the containment cap to a different type of cap that should allow BP to seal the well. With the new cap, while the well will continue to discharge hydrocarbons, all of the oil and gas will be collected, once adequate collection capability is on line. With the new system in place, it should be possible to accurately measure the amount of oil and gas escaping for the first time.

According to BP, installing the new cap is expected to take five to eight days. During part of that time, the the flow of hydrocarbons is expected to increase.

Even before the change in cap begins, the hook-up to the Helix Producer is in progress. At yesterday's press conference Admiral Allen said,

That hookup is in progress today. We hope that we will finish checking for leaks purging the lines. We have a possibility to be able to produce out of the Helix Producer sometime on Sunday. As you all know, that will raise the total capacity for our current containment cap system that is online between 50-53,000 barrels a day.

A few more details below the fold.

According to Admiral Allen at yesterday's press briefing, the "weather window" is potentially 7 to 10 days in length.

Whether or not the change to the new cap will begin today is not entirely certain. At yesterday's press briefing, Admiral Allen said that he expected a letter from BP, with more details. According to Admiral Allen:

And subject to any issues that need to be clarified we'll be able to proceed. That means that we could at the earliest start removing the current capping device upon the wellbore sometime tomorrow. That would be followed a period where there would be no capping device, and we continue to produce through the Q4000 and the Helix Producer when it comes online.

The letter has now been received from BP. According to it,

As weather has impacted our ability to execute these activities in series we, in conjunction with government experts, have proposed that the capping stack procedure be implemented in parallel with the start-up of the Helix Producer. This timing takes advantage of a projected weather window of some 8 days as projected by NOAA. As noted in your letter, if the capping stack installation is executed in parallel with and ahead of the Helix Producer start-up, the Q4000 would be the sole oil collection system running during a substantial part of the operation.

With respect to starting the capping operation, the letter says:

In addition, the timelines in Attachment 1 describe two boundary conditions for the start of the capping stack operation. Those two conditions are the completion of the installation of the 1200ft flexible and the installation of the blue pod. We do not intend to start the capping stack operation until we have met both of these boundary conditions. Day 1 for commencement of capping stack operations may be adjusted forward depending on the timing for the completion of these two boundary conditions.

Attachment A indicates that meeting these two boundary conditions may take up to two days, although it is not clear when measurement of those two days begins.

Attachment A also shows the expected timing of various steps in the capping operation, under two scenarios, a "No Contingency" scenario, and a "Contingency" scenario. Under the no contingency scenario, installing the new "capping stack" would take five days from the time the boundary conditions are met. Under the Contingency Scenario, the new installation would take eight days after the boundary conditions have been met.

Attachment B of the same letter shows the expected timeline for the installation and startup of Helix Producer.

In Appendix B, there are actual dates given, rather than days from the time when boundary conditions have been met. The chart indicates that BP sees Helix Producer being online on Sunday, July 11. This is the same timing Admiral Allen talked about.

Appendix C gives a timetable for relief well drilling. The estimated completion date is August 13.

Dave Summers (Heading Out) points out a few things about Appendix C. First, according the schedule given, the final casing run has yet to be made, and that this is scheduled to take 8 days.

Second, the Appendix C sketch correlates the measured depths (MD) with the true vertical depths (TVD). We these numbers, the different illustrations that he has used in the past, and the Admiral’s briefing numbers can now be correlated.

Dave also notes that the lower sections of both wells are shown with rough walls indicating that the wells are not lined over those intervals, and that the walls of the hole are relatively rough rock - albeit perhaps not as rough as the scale might imply.

Oil collection continues at similar levels to the recent past. According to BP:

For the first 12 hours on July 9 (midnight to noon), approximately 7,930 barrels of oil were collected and approximately 4,140 barrels of oil and 28.5 million cubic feet of natural gas were flared.

• On July 8, total oil recovered was approx. 24,395 barrels:

• approx. 16,305 barrels of oil were collected,
• approx. 8,090 barrels of oil were flared,
• and approx. 55.5 million cubic feet of natural gas were flared.

Prof. Goose's comment:

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754ft. Not even close to the 885ft I guessed. Wow. I hang my head in shame.
(re: the difference between the MD and TVD of the RW)

Wtithout the wellbore surveys it is almost impossible to guestimate the TVD. I think you did a pretty good job. Like I said getting within 15' would be pretty difficult.

Here's a scenario I dreamed up:

The well is blowing out through an annulus channel on one side of the casing only - I don't know how to post a picture here, but from the top it would look like a circle (the casing), with a blob attached to the side (the eroded channel).

So, let's say the cement bond is decent on the other side of the well, they could possibly drill all the way to hit cement and then hit the casing itself, and they may not lose returns?

Or would the overbalance they have be enough to frac around the well?

What's their overbalance when they are drilling in this type of formation?

What happens if they drill into the "good side" and they have this wormhole flowing 50,000 BOPD ON THE OTHER SIDE? I take it they are intercepting in shale. Is this baloney?

cement channels generally develop on the low side of the casing. even though the WW is fairly straight, it will still have a low side and I would hope BP is positioned for a low side interception to avoid exactly the scenario you have detailed.

in any event i would imagine that the amount of overbalance they will be drilling with will break down any residual cement sheath.

fd - Hadn't thought of that possibility but could happen of course. If the flow is coming up the well bore annulus there probably are intervals where there's good cmt bonded to the csg. The released pore pressure plot shows the frac gradient to be around 16.2 ppg. Never seen such a situation before but I would bet the area around the csg with good cmt will be washed out by the RW's pumps and communications with the well bore annulus (if it is indeed open) will be established. Even if this doesn't happen I'm pretty sure they'll test the annular cmt by pressuring up on it until they get it to leak off. I'm pretty sure they won't want to mill the 7" before the make sure the annulus is either dead or can't be broken down. That should establish communications if there's anything to communicate with.

Well, it seems to me the well must have had a channel. Say it's nearly straight, they had very few centralizers, and the well bowed a bit here and there. These guys, I take it, didn't even run a cement bond log. So how do they know what's the low side for real at the interception point?

So what's their mud weight when they're trying to drill into that channel? Say they're 350 psi overbalanced. That's not going to frac the shale, I think. They COULD just drill on and hit steel before they get cement at the surface. And they may not lose returns. I know this is a little goofy, but I'm trying to figure out the most outlandish conditions they could face.

I just got the feeling that organization they have isn't ready to fire on all cylinders if they find something unusual, they may have to refer all the way to Dudley, who'll write a letter to the admiral, who'll ask Chu to convene a panel of scientists including a couple of nuclear weapons scientists from Los Alamos and the turtle cleaning expert from California. And it could end up like Ixtoc, the crap hitting the fan with the rig waiting on orders.

fd - The wire line MDT gave them a pore pressure at the reservoir equal to 12.6 ppg. That 350 psi over balance would represent about 0.4 ppg at this depth. So they’re talking about drilling with 13 ppg mud. The pump pressure (only while drilling) will add about 0.3 ppg to the ECD (effective circulating density). With a 16.2 frac gradient they should have a pretty safe margin as far as not fracturing the rocks. Cmt fracturing is another question, of course.

Indeed…no one’s going to be taking a nap when they make that first intersect. If fact folks shouldn’t be surprised to hear they evac’d all the non-essentials off the rig before they drill those last few feet.

Chain of command? Trust me...that stops at the edge of the drill floor when they start the intersect. Folks not on the rig will be lucky to recieve real time data let alone interact or call any shots if the sh*t starts hitting the fan. Been there more than once. The PR machine might try to spin if different. In 35 years, when drilling into a potential well control situation, I've never seen anyone on the rig grab the phone and call someone in the office for advice.

RM~you just answered one of my questions in that post. I was wondering if they'd get everyone (non-essential as you stated) off the rig before they start the final steps of drilling into the "well".

"Chain of command? Trust me...that stops at the edge of the drill floor when they start the intersect. Folks not on the rig will be lucky to recieve real time data let alone interact or call any shots if the sh*t starts hitting the fan. Been there more than once. The PR machine might try to spin if different. In 35 years, when drilling into a potential well control situation, I've never seen anyone on the rig grab the phone and call someone in the office for advice."

You got that right. That's why I was always one of the folks on the rig floor or just off of it. In addition we would dry run the flow chart of all of the contingencies we could think of beforehand and have the solution in our minds before ever intersecting. I always let my Operations Supt., the man that spoke to the rig every day and took the first calls of trouble on the phone, and came up through the ranks, call the shots after we had the game plan well dissected.But I had 2 of the best in the business, IMHO, and I trusted them with my life.

During drilling of the original Macondo well, BP would have directional sensors (MWD) in the drill string describing the wellbore path in great detail.

Hence they know very accurately what azimuth the low side is in.

Is the use of fluorometry standard?

What is the possibility of an electrostatic, electromagnetic reaction or electrostatic induction?

RE: the discussion on rupture or bursting discs from the last thread..

From what I remember about rupture discs on process equipment, they operate on differential pressure. One that has process pressure on one side and atmospheric pressure on the other side is pretty straightforward. Atmospheric is relatively constant compared to 1000 psig for example. A 1000 psi disc would let go at 1000 psi and spill the contents to the air, maybe through a vent pipe to a safe place. Similar to an electrical fuse, the disc is a one-shot deal. If it lets go, it has to be replaced.

On the other hand, remember that a rupture disc between two processes, say the suction and discharge side of compressor, is operating on a "moving target". 100 psi of pressure on the low side of the disc would prevent it from operating at 1000 psi on the high side because the differential is only 900 psi. The high side would have to get to 1100 psi to burst the disc.

I assume these discs in the casing strings are rigged up the same way -- differential pressure between the inside and outside of the string gets too high and the disc lets go and equalizes the inside/outside pressure. Now all that pressure is against the next concentric casing. Is that how they work? Or do they relieve the pressure further up the well bore?

I assume these discs in the casing strings are rigged up the same way -- differential pressure between the inside and outside of the string gets too high and the disc lets go and equalizes the inside/outside pressure. Now all that pressure is against the next concentric casing. Is that how they work?

Yes, but in this case the casing they are installed in is the last of the concentric casings.

EJB -No problem about how disks work, what I cant get around is the Why.? I will have to find link to Well schematics again and have a closer look. If such a dangerously high pressure in annulus I assume its coming from the formation, blowing a rupture disk into another sealed area wont solve problem, pressure will just build up again in a larger area.
And venting that pressure to an outside source is not on, why would you go to so much trouble to prevent leaks then build a path to the outside..
I may have missed something, but at moment I cant see the logic in it.

You may be interested in this link which includes a document called Why did bp use APB relieving burst discs.docx, there are also other links to APB topics including a bp presentation.


Thanks for the link. I think I understand now. I was thinking of internal pressure breaking the disk. From scanning through the patent pages it seems the disks are for relieving pressure in the sealed annular space. The space is full of some liquid and sealed up. There is no gas head space for expansion. The liquid expands when heated by the production liquids from the inside. The outer casing has to swell up or burst or the inner casing has to squash in to equalize the pressure. Undersea this is a problem because the concentric casings are inacessable on the seafloor.

In this case the intent is to relieve the static pressure on a sealed annular space?

Awkward writing but I see it now.

Thanks Beagle - Now I understand - Chamber is sealed - nothing leaking in - Its just expansion of fluid already in there - Now it makes sense.

stick - the use of rupture discs is new to me. But the logic seems obvious: what would you prefer: the disk to rupture and let the pressure bleed off into a larger volumn or rupture the csg and lose complete control of the situation. Of course, if the pressure is high enough it could still rupture the csg. But I see the disks as though they were your reserve chute: if the primary fails you get a second chance. And if the reserve fails: you're still screwed.

Rock - Agree, thats point I was making, cant get to them to fix anything, and by just making bigger volume, you might just get a little bit more time before you are screwed.
But then a little bit of time may help - You can be further away if you move quicksmart

I may have missed something, but at moment I cant see the logic in it.

The only thing that I can think of, is that is better to have casing that has a leak, than casing that has collapsed.

Exactly. They are small openings that will relieve pressure build up due to the well heating up on production, heat from cement curing, etc. They are not designed or planned for relieving an underground blowout but as previously pointed out, better than collapsing the casing.

Yep - Understand purpose now , I had made assumption that pressure was entering space from outside, if that was the case after disc ruptured stuff leaking in would still bring pressure up to previous dangerous level - It basically an expansion relief - once burst and pressure released - with nothing leaking in - no more problem.


I just received the following E-mail from Tucker Dorsey candidate for Baldwin County Commissioner.

TinFoil, I like Sir Bob the Just, will not sell our environment for landfill revenue. I'm not interested in solving Mobile County, Mississippi or Florida's Mud of Badness problems. I will research all options and be concerned about the long term consequences of our actions. Feel free to call me if you like.

Tucker Dorsey

Odds just went up to 50/50. I bet the Evil Commissioner regrets referring me to his errand boy now.


TFHG - Outstanding! Perhaps the old wives tale about one man not being able to make difference isn't true. Who'd thunk.

The pen is mightier than the sword. The dollar is mightier than the pen. TinFoil.

And apparently a pain in the *ss is mightier than all.


Good work!

Our county supervisor simply says he can't imagine that WM would put anything in the landfill that was a problem. The county sold the landfill to WM, so as long as they are within the law, which they are, nothing is going to be done.

I guess Mt. McNeil can become McNeil Beach...all we need is water, lol.

"never eat dry rice krispies at 750 ft"

WM operates the landfill under license from the county/state/feds. Commissioners are the ball game as far as the locals go.

Edit: Once we change the policy and advertise it, there is not a landfill in America that wants to look worse than any in Alabama or Shangri-La. Just blog about it. I will help you. Only left the house to take photo and video. You can use my site. TinFoil.

lmao now...I take it you know nothing about Pearl River County MS?

I will post the details at your site soon.

Is Magnolia in that county by chance??

no, Pike county.

Thanks, I have "heard" some of the oil waste was going to Magnolia (can't say for sure since I didn't follow the truck myself).

I might be able to find out if it went to Magnolia, Mississippi. I have a lot of family in that area.

Did you see the Blue Angels today? That is something that I had really wanted to see. Oh well, it will have to be added to other things that I have missed.

Thanks that would be great FE!! I have been watching them since Wednesday because they practice over the beach all week and on Wednesdays it's a 2 hr "hot dogging" more than a practice. It was fabulous and I have to be honest at one point I was watching 2 split of from the group and one of them was no more than 30 ft over the beach (and granted I'm not great at estimating height etc but we had a navy pilot under our tent who flies F-18's and he agreed it was no more than 30 ft)it went directly in between 2 homes so I asked my neighbor to email the photo if he was able to capture it. It's always a great week here and packed the Island as usual. If you'd like I have a toss away email addy for the net and I'd be happy to send you some pics. It's pcolabeachmom@yahoo.com but I will post just one here.


beachmom I have your address- Id edit and delete, you might get slammed with spam.

I would but it's a toss away addy so it doesn't matter, I never publish the one I use every day because of spam and many other reasons.

I looked up RCRA SUBTITLE D REGULATIONS which are the landfill regulations that BP is operating under. these regulations concern the disposal of non-hazardous waste which is what oil is still considered to be. I see a problem with compliance in this section,

Run-on/run-off control: Must have a plan to design, construct and maintain a control system to prevent flow onto an active area from the peak discharge of a 25-year storm and to collect and control the water volume resulting from a 24-hour, 25-year storm.

How can you guarantee that near the coast? Are the landfills far enough inland and high enough that storm surge cannot compromise them? I don't know the location of the landfills but it might be something to take a look at.

http://df3.datafield.com/df32online/ECRSPortal/site%20folder/pdf/techtip... for the full document.

Good on you, TF. (Waving "Hey!" to Tucker D, who obviously knows where to do his research, too.)

Great Job TFHG!! I have also heard alot of it is going to Mississippi (never followed the truck myslef so no clue if it's true).

Good work, keep it up.


Tin: Jousting points awarded from the State of Not Florida, but the tournament is not won until you're alone on the court. Don't forget that you have another handle. Either you local authorities have abdicated their landfill management responsibility delegated by the state, or your State Department of Nature is worthless. Either way, ample sunshine will force their hand. Keep shining the light and make them act.

Oil and other petroleum products are considered hazardous materials when it comes to disposing of them in municipal waste landfills. A hazardous landfill has much more stringent regulations and a more robust design than a municipal landfill does, and if oil or oily sand is dumped in a municipal landfill, there is going to be a huge cleanup problem.

Why? Because digging up the oily sand is just the first part; they'd also need to dig up all the municipal waste it contacted, and if it reached the ground water, the cleanup just got much, much worse. The state Bureau of Water Quality is going to be coming down on that landfill operator like a ton of bricks if oil or oily sand was allowed into it, along with EPA and several more regulatory agencies.

In Shagri-La, the Evil Commissioner has long been known to sell out the citizens for taking out of area refuse. At least he does for now. The Evil Commissioner has to make it to Wednesday first or a new set of Evil Commissioners will make a scene and stand up to the Federal Department of Nature. As for the State of Not Alabama Nature department, it falls into the category of Not Alabama being in the bottom not five again. Alright you damn expert, I put myself back down to 25%, but the general election is not until November and I have a large in-state following. Maybe the odds will improve.

At the end of a WSJ story about the recapping, the only news for TODers:

Separately, the California Public Employees' Retirement System, the biggest U.S. public pension fund, will urge changes in the company's board make-up in a meeting with BP officials next Wednesday, according to a person familiar with the situation. Calpers, which held 60.6 million BP shares as of June 30, is concerned about the "quality and competence of the board," said the person, who described directors' response to the spill as "disastrous." The person said one of the questions Calpers executives will likely raise next week is whether the board took adequate corrective steps in a previous accident.

While the oil spill is uncapped, most major BP shareholders have refrained from calling for changes in its board. Calpers hasn't decided whether to seek a replacement for BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg or CEO Tony Hayward. A BP spokesman declined to comment.

Rockman, this reminds me of your observation last thread that "With few exceptions everyone I know wants to see BP crucified. And then have its tongue cut out while hanging there. And then set on fire. And then have the fire put out before it kills them. And then throw salt on them."

Don't worry, my dear, that's not bias against these guys. That's a mature and considered judgment of their performance to date.

lotus -- Or as we say in Texas when we hear of someone getting shot dead: OK...but he did need shootin', didn't he?


I own BP and HOWCO stock, but I'm small fish, so I'm not going to that meeting.

However, I do think they should replace Hayward. BP did have a problem identified by the Baker panel, corrective actions were supposed to be taken, and evidently they didn't get taken all the way, or they were reversed by Hayward to cut costs after prices dropped in 2008. I happen to know Bob Dudley, and he would be an excellent replacement for Hayward. The Financial Times had touted Dudley to replace Brown a few years ago, but the British gang decided to stick with one of their own. And they picked the wrong guy. If you look carefully at Hayward's record, it hasn't really been that good. Reminds me of the guys who were in charge of Arco and Amoco before THEY croaked.

brings back old memories. Both of their cultures really suked, didn't they? They were a natural to fit right in with BP, huh? IMHO.

I don't see how you can fit Americans and British and say the have the same culture. Can't tell for real, I've been overseas most of my career, so I only had a glimpse at these outfits. But I did read and heard comments, and I ran into them quite often. And they seemed more worried about power point than autocad.

Based on what I know, a company like BP needs to morph, and this has to be a fundamental change in the way it's structured, to reduce the bean counters' power and increase the engineers' horsepower. Putting a geologist with a bean counter pedigree as chairman of the board was the wrong move when they had the Baker panel recommendations to implement. Dudley, on the other hand, is a Petroleum engineer, and he knows deep water operations, he wrote a paper about deep water completions back in the early 90's, and we talked about it at the time.

"Based on what I know, a company like BP needs to morph"

The bean counter pedigree comes from years of sucking up to Wall Street people who respect grovelling in inferiors.
Don't know how a mere decision to reform can be made to stick in the real world of upper management where power point really is more important than autocad.

But I did notice today that Dudley used the words 'boundary conditions' when referring to gating item in a plan. "Boundary Conditions" are talked about a lot in the solution of mathematical problems in theoretical physics. It shows
he is able to listen when other people talk. A good start, IMHO.

Boundary conditions....that was Thad Allen's most used phrase in his instruction to Dudley.
I suspect parroting IMHO.

Boundary conditions....that was Thad Allen's most used phrase in his instruction to Dudley.
I suspect parroting IMHO.

Absolutely wonderful:

"And they seemed more worried about power point than autocad."

A concise description of the source dysfunctional management of so many engineering projects.

I doubt they will replace him yet. He is too useful as a target. Also, there will be few to take that job until things settle down. That will be when it happens so the new guy can look good 'turning the company around'.


I believe Dudley can do the job. As I mentioned before, the Financial Times touted him for it, felt he was the better man for the job. I happen to know the guy, he's a solid engineer, and a great individual, the kind of guy you want to have with you when you land somewhere. And he does have a Wharton MBA on top. I remember telling himm when I met him many years ago, not to tell people he had that MBA if he wanted to become a really good oil company manager, because if he did they would move him over to bean counter and he would never get the chance to learn the ropes. Later, I ran into him when he was testing deep water wells offshore China, and we exchanged some notes. Both of us were testing wells using ESP's from floaters, and we had some pretty tricky wellhead set ups, and I learned quite a bit from him.

Interesting, thanks. I can see why they have him running the GOM incident management, knows both sides of the ropes. Waiting until the well is plugged before a swapout is sounding like an even better idea. The man who can do the job on site and proving his worth with someone else to take any flack waiting out his time.


Here's a little humor. It's a satirical british interview of a BP rep.

"With few exceptions everyone I know wants to see BP crucified. And then have its tongue cut out while hanging there. And then set on fire. And then have the fire put out before it kills them. And then throw salt on them."

Don't Hold Back, say what you really mean. LOL

sticks -- I know it's difficult for some folks to believe how the rest of the oil patch feels about BP since we're all part of the same evil Boy's Club. Forget about our attitude towards stupidity that kills our brothers. Just consider the purely self-interested financial pain: BP has caused the loss of billions in paychecks. That alone would get a bounty put on their head. And for the sake of full disclosure I will personally benefit financially from BP's screw up. My company doesn't drill DW wells. The service companies who have lost billions are begging me with big discounts to work on my wells. Eventually when we sell out our reserves with the next price spike and anything that has kept oil/NG out of the market place will just make our payday bigger.

Just imagine what I might have said about BP if this wasn't the case.

... see BP crucified. And then have its tongue cut out while hanging there. And then set on fire. And then have the fire put out before it kills them. And then throw salt on them.

Not a bad start, Rockman. I especially like the next to last step where Tony H gets his life back.

Well done, brat. I really am LOL.

Gob, thanks, but my laughter is tempered by remembering the eleven men and their families who don't get theirs back.

ROCK - Fully understand how feelings are from both the public and the so called Evil Boys Club, You cant defend the Indefencible. So dont take my meaning the wrong way - It was only meant to be a 'tongue in cheek' comment about the thought process involved about what should be done.
I remember reading an earlier Post you made about the Moral Issues involved, what about those that strongly objected to the program because they considered them unsafe - But still did what they were told.? And I agreed in principle with what you said, they must also carry some responsibility.
The greater part of my career in the oil industry was as a Loading Master - Discharging, Tankwashing and Backloading Tankers. And this is a Job where if things go wrong - they go wrong big time very Rapidly - So on the Tanker Berth - I always did it by the book. My test came with a Greek Tanker with a A$$hole for a skipper, I did my Pre Loading Safety check and found about a dozen things that needed doing - Nothing real serious Lashing closed crossover valves, Blocking up the scuppers all small stuff like that, the skipper refused to do them so I refused to start loading until things put right. After having a Blue with skipper I rang my Super told him I refuse to load, And had another Blue.. Tankers a bit like Rigs - Downtime cost big $$$. Then I was given that famous line "If your not up to the Job, I'll find someone who is." It was a good Job and paid bloody good money - shit I didnt want to lose it, so I convinced myself we could "work around" these minor things. So I was going to do it, But that Greek A$$hole Skipper couldnt pass it up and got right into my face, So I spat the dummy and Ordered the ship off the berth, I even Ordered the Tugs.
Well, then the soft brown stuff hit the Fan big time, My Super was down, so was his boss and others. I was stood down and sent home. Next Morning went into work expecting to get my Pink Slip, But someone in Head Office stuck up for me, said I was right for refusing to load but I overstepped the mark when I ordered the Tugs. So I got a Bollocking out, but still had my job.
So is that a pass or a Fail, I can still say I never took shortcuts or breeched the rules on the Dock, But if that Greek Skipper hadn't got in my face, I would have.
On days when no Tankers, I would pressure test cargo lines and hoses, do general maintanance around the Tank Farm, and on these occassions I did take shortcuts, all lines were full of water, and tests were done, no fudging results, it was just the methods I used where not quite 'Best Practice' as laid down in methods book, Most fell under the "Work Smarter, Not Harder" Category.
So I think all (at least Most) men sometimes do the "I'll just do it this way .. just this once' - And sometimes these things can come back and bite you in the arse.

sticks -- didn' take your words bad at all. And enjoyed the story too.

One of the questions Calpers executives will likely raise next week is whether the board took adequate corrective steps in a previous accident.

Um, NO.

In fact, 30 years ago, the same thing happened:
http://www.wimp.com/oilspills/. So no real 'corrective' steps have been taken in 30 years by the entire industry!

Repeating what BP is telling us is a little bit like conveying information from a famous pathological liar!

Indeed, the censorship is so horrific even Cooper Anderson is getting troubled:


BP should have long ago been removed from the picture and the US government should have assembled its own international dream team of technicians and given hazmat suits to all clean-up personnel. Instead, they've teamed up with BP to insure no one else has access and are assisting BP with their PR. The 'EPA' continues to let BP sink the oil with Corexit! The pretensions of 'solving' the problem are now absurd and deranged (as we found out here:
http://www.commondreams.org/video/2010/07/02-0). Decades-long damage has been done. And yet, the off-shore oil drilling will continue. We are being led by corporations that act like drunken gamblers doubling down.

I would again like to suggest a feature article by Lester Brown to give some balance to the TOD's tendency to repeat whatever BP says, following the horror show like it was a sporting event.

I don't know what the government could do with its assembled group of experts that BP and its assembled group of experts can't do.

"Even Cooper Anderson" doesn't impress me much. The Coast Guard has the right to stop vandals and water cowboys from wrecking the boom systems, and the CNN story is hogwash, if they want to approach the booms they can ask and the Coast Guard lets them. And last night I saw a CNN report about the cap switching taking place today, which included some serious mistatements. CNN is now getting as bad as Fox, they are on opposite sides, and neither provides reliable coverage.

Common Dreams isn't a reliable source for news, they're a fairly biased left wing group, so biased they kicked me out when I tried to post there to counter the uninformed comments I was reading. In other words, that's an inbred left wing site, and not worth quoting to average folk.

In general, we can say BP didn't do a good job - they did a terrible job. But this doesn't mean the government could do better once the well blew out. And BP has surrounded itself with some pretty good people. The only left a few top thinkers out, like the ones who kibitz here, but all the available experts don't fit in the room anyway.

I don't know what the government could do with its assembled group of experts that BP and its assembled group of experts can't do

Credibility is what government expert can bring to the table. So far BP spokepersons (CEO, COO and what have you) are all doing the same thing, over promise and under deliver. They took an inheritly fluid situation and keep trying to put an optimistic timeline into every events that they are part of.. They seems to think that it is better long term to keep promising things that they only have 50/50 chance of delivering on schedule than give a realistic assessment of the situation. It is actually pretty bizzare. All these guys thrive in business world and they should know the repercussion of handling crisis that way. In contrast, Adm Allen keep pushing back the reporters when they tried to get him to move up the August completion days for relieved wells. In one 30 minutes conference yesterday, at least 3 reporters tried that and he kept repeating the different scenarios and explained why it is not a good idea to be too optimistic. As a result, BP and Adm Allen may tried to share the same basic information and I would tend to believe what Adm Allen said vs question what BP said...

Sorry xofruitcake, but at this time credibility isn't that important. We can kibitz and criticize from the outside, and it won't make an iota of difference. This isn't about keeping the general public happy as they watch the retards on CNN provide false information (which they do), this is about getting the well plugged. And right now the best solution is to let BP handle the problem, because the government and its experts can't do a better job, nor are they set up to do it.

And remember, one reason why BP lacks credibility is because they have been under relentless attack by the media - which has lost credibility with people like me who have a better insight as to what's going on. You see, as a professional in the business with more than 35 years experience, I can see things neither CNN, nor Chu, nor his Los Alamos brains can see.

And I can honestly tell you the CNN and other media coverage has been a disgrace, not only do they get their facts wrong - meaning they don't seem to read the information being distributed, they seem to intentionally leave out important information, and/or fish around for people to say what they want them to say. I have seen media mis report what's going on a few hours after I heard a reporter ask questions at a briefing, in which he was told specifically what was going on, only to go out and say something else, while criticizing the government, BP, the MMS, for whatever he could dream up. By the way you too can listen to the press briefings if you want to, they let you call in but you can't speak out.

I'll second that about MSNBC; not from experience in the field, but from living here for quite a while. I quit watching them for the duration.

So then, the Feds( thats we'uns ) could lease all of BP's assets to get the job done, cause the We'uns dont do drilling and then PAY BP to finish up? But We'uns brought a lot of credibility to the job? Hmmm.....

Sorry, it's not the assets - it's the people, the existing contracts, the logistics, the know how, the background information. It's just not something you can change. The government wouldn't have the foggiest idea of what to do to get it done right, and they're more likely than not to botch it.

I guess this is a philosophical issue, I happen to believe government should be limited to doing very few things. I've got so distrustful of their abilities, I don't even trust the military to get it done when they're fighting a counterinsurgency war, so why should I trust anybody working in the government? Heck, they blew up two space shuttles, didn't they?

If you want to propose a change, the only one I would consider half way sane would be to put Exxon or Shell people in charge. But the liability issues make that impossible. Also, the BP engineers are really good. The problem lies with the culture. And I'm sure right now they are so shocked, the bean counters are hiding under their desks. Later this year, or early next year, I assume they'll have to build a special concentration camp for BP managers who botched this up. But their engineering organization isn't that bad, they just lacked the power to do things right. And Hayward, of course, can be sent to build a bridge over the River Kwai.

That was what I was thinking there too. Do you really think we should send Tony to Thailand? Burma, maybe, but that bridge is still standing down there in Thailand. Just too many resorts in Thailand for a POW, yeah?

Hey! Wait a minute! He's a geologist, right? We should send him to a coal mine in Wales, where he can grease the conveyor belt down there! Cheaper.

He should be made a sample catcher. Washing and cleaning gumbo. 10 foot samples at 150 foot/hour forever.

I thought that job was reserved for the BP guys who were partying on the rig the night of the blowout, switching between that and cleaning the houses of the current ROV operators.

CNN has been dreadful on this story...

The other day Cooper A. was ranting about not being allowed into one of the bird-cleaning facilities. I have cleaned oiled birds in the past - the last thing stressed birds need is a procession of lights and cameras as news people yak their way through the area.

The other day Cooper A. was ranting about not being allowed into one of the bird-cleaning facilities. I have cleaned oiled birds in the past - the last thing stressed birds need is a procession of lights and cameras as news people yak their way through the area.

Plus which, the response team is constantly announcing "media availabilities" for press to watch various wildlife rescue operations, including bird cleaning, presumably with the lights and cameras and loudmouthed reporters well under control at a safe distance so the critters don't come under additional stress.

lotus, you know what they mean when they talk about 'hanging, drawing, and quartering'? The victim was hanged until unconscious before it got into the messier stuff. (Not recommending the practice, either. It qualifies as cruel and unusual, IMHO.)

(Kind of EPUd here, but what the heck.)

(OT: Wow, PJ, I hadn't thought about "being EPUd" in years, but now I know why your handle is familiar -- good to see you again!)

Yeah, that drawing-and-quartering stuff is really old school, but were I into that kind of carrying on, I could see the merits of Rockman's Texas update . . .

Open Thread question:

Yesterday I had to give a talk on Peak Oil at short notice.

Luckily I had an hour or so to prepare ... BUT ... it made me realise that my mental picture of the Peak Oil numbers etc is probably sitting in 2007!

So ... is there a web page / PDF or similar which stays fairly up to date, and contains info such as:
- number / names / production of countries past Peak?
- number / names / production of countries still before Peak?
- current oil bell curve prediction chart?
- current global consumption prediction chart?
- ELM predictions for producers such as Saudi which have rapidly increasing populations?
and being a Brit
- natural gas consumption / import / production data and predictions?

Sure, I can trawl the web to collect this data (that's what I had to do yesterday)... but there must be an easier way!

You need to suscribe to IHS (old Petroconsultants) to get all that info. Also, what''s ELM? Being a Brit, you COULD try the BP report on world energy. But that includes some fake data, including reserves, and production, because all BP does is gather official information.

I'm not a peak oil expert, but let me ask you, since you're giving talks on the subject, do you live in France?

Just kidding. One observation: I think (but I'm not sure), we already hit peak light to medium oil, and the current increases are condensates and heavy oil, but I'm not sure. And no, I'm not about to go back and read a gazillion pages in the oil drum to look up what people wrote. What do you have that's new?

fd -- You ignorant toad! You have no idea how you just crushed the spirit out of westexas. LOL. Check his posts and you'll learn all you need about ELM. A rather critical aspect IMHO of PO that many outside of TOD aren't aware .

I was being interviewed by the BBC about PO.

In my rushed re-cap of my 2007 PO mental database, the only really new thing was the very recent drastic downwards revision of Norwegian natural gas reserves.

We have maybe 10 years rather than 30 or 40 years of available Norwegian natural gas.

This is a critical issue for all those countries who had planned to survive on Norwegian gas such as the UK over the coming decades.

Sure, it's not directly 'Peak Oil'... but it does not bode well for Europe.

Those LNG ships from Qatar will soon be VERY important.

And if the UK doesn't build a fleet of nuclear reactors Real Soon Now then the lights may go out here in 10 - 15 years time.

(Around 44% of our electricity and almost all our domestic heating comes from NG)

Of course we are also assuming that the UK can AFFORD to buy these reactors and import all this extra energy.

(The annual energy import bill will climb year on year as British North Sea gas & oil assets dwindle even further)

The UK in 15 years time could be an interesting place to live ....

Here you go:


He may pop his head in here on the blowout discussions. Basically it is a consideration of domestic consumption among oil exporting countries with less available for export as they consume more internally.


NOAA has temporarily stopped creating the offshore trajectory maps:

The offshore forecast has been temporarily stopped due to small amounts of oil offshore, the absence of recent observations confirming significant amounts of oil in offshore areas, and the large separation between the loop current complex and the oil slick. Forecasts will resume if the threat returns.


Wonder where it is going?

They put out that notice over three weeks back.

thanks, I had missed that but can't modify the post now

Well, for deep water we need a better solution than screwing around with all those skimmers, that's for sure. Or they need to set up a set of special boats, they could tow a really fat wide boom, set up to suck inside the boom as it skims along, and have lots of hydrocyclones, and also have permits to discharge 20 ppm water.

While I'm at it, I don't see why BP (and/or the industry) failed to build a REALLY big containment dome, say 10 times the size of that little Boots and Coots hut, with a set of 20 inch pipes coming out the side, the walls lined to keep the fluids as warm as possible, electric heat tracing, and a stout set of methanol lines coming down, so they could take the crude upstairs and separate it properly. It's a shame, when you think about it, the industry is drilling these hundred million dollar wells, and they didn't spend 20 million to design and build a couple of these gizmos.

Also, it seems to me, why didn't they have a procedure and equipment to shear the riser as close to the BOP stack as possible, then open the BOP valves (all of them), and go in with drill pipe and push through to see if they had a clear bore, then try to close the valves once they knew the valves were clear? I thought that made sense in the early days. But then I also proposed to them they set up to flare underwater (and I already got laughed at, so please don't comment).

fdoleza, I agree wholeheartedly.

I was in Mississippi Canyon on a Semisub several miles to the North of the Horizon when this disaster started and we could see the flames. When the guys came and told me about the Horizon at about 04:00 or so my first thought was that the Horizon was a DP rig and they must have disconnected and got of of location while they fought the surface fire. I actually told the guys that there was "NO WAY" that they didn't disconnect and get off of the well.

In general, this is something that seems bizarre to me. Where is(are) the 100 million dollar device(s) that all oil companies are forced to subsidize that handle wild scenarios. Every well has a BOP and then the entire GOM has one monster dome / BOP capping or clamping system / whatever it is that would be unreasonable for every company to make or purchase but one or two emergency devices for the entire gulf or available world wide ala the skimmer non-profit companies.

So, to the experts out there, what devices would you see fit to handle the widest array of problems? The enormous containment dome fdoleza recommends? Even if the item is still temporary while a more permenant solution like a RW is completed, do you have some other wonder project you would like to see?

kow -- Just speculation on my part but I don't see giant domes in the future. Besides the next generation of BOP being better designed to shear DW drill pipe I expect to what might look like rather minor changes to the riser connection and the top of the BOP. I'm sure hundreds of engineers watching the capture efforts have envisioned rather small changes that could have made latching on with a cap much easier. An add-on just a simple as some strong rings they could hook onto and ratchet down a cap might have made a world of difference.

Aren't there other types of blow out possible for which it would be helpful to have some sort of universal containment device on hand?

Say one in which the oil was coming up the outside of the casing or in which the BOP really was bent over?

wrb -- obviusly anything is possible but I've never see a wild flow that did't pass thru the BOP. Lose the BOP and then all bets are off, of course. But I suspect the odds of that happening with the next gen of BOP's will be very unlikely IMHO. Just a wild bet but when the next gen comes out and and folks agree it heads above the old system they will look at and wonder why they heck it wasn't designed like this in the first place. Again, just my speculation but if 10 years ago the feds required BOP's to handle exactly what we're seeing in the GOM right now it would have been done quickly and not a terribly great expense.

So the sort of sub-surface casing failure the fear of which folks believe has caused BP to be afraid to try to shut off flow is actually extraordinarily unusual and unlikely?

wrb -- I wouldn't go that far but I'm not sure what the exact concern was. They may well have been afraid of knocking the BOP off of the surface csg. Have never seen that doen but BP is setting aome new precedents out there,

Rockman, my thoughts here are about the robustness of the systems both day-to-day and after an accident. I agree that if the BOP is redesigned it will hopefully be considerably more capable. Is that all that is needed moving forward or is more needed? What happens if a redesigned BOP fails?

One thing I am noticing about the current situation is how much custom work is being done on the fly. While amazing, every implementation is an experiment that takes time to fabricate and deploy. The first containment dome, the tube that captured oil from the riser, the current cap that’s only capturing xyz percent of the oil / gas, this next capping, they all took time and did not accomplish their goals (not a fair assessment of this next cap).

That said, as an example, had it been engineered without a complete rush and the ability to test and go through a few iterations, maybe the first containment dome would have been workable. I am interested to know what is in place, or maybe what people think should be in place going forward such that they warp past design / fabrication and go directly to implementation. I suppose the answer could be each situation is so different its almost impossible to prepare which leads to my interest in something that is able to handle an array of problems.

I can think of a few scenarios where the BOP would fail. For example, if there's an underground blowout from a well producing nearby, which hasn't been identified, and they set a casing string just above a very high pressure zone they don't know is there. In that case, because the zone would have a wildly anomalous pressure -and this can happen when drilling underneath salt, which is a really good seal, then the wellhead section may not seal. I don't know enough about the way these deep water wellheads and BOP's are laid out, but I saw the space shuttle blow up twice, which makes me think having a heavy duty dome with enough offtake, methanol intakes, and electric heaters isn't that far out.

Under salt? It's debatable. I've only seen one x section and it was hard to tell(someone said that what I thought was salt was a channel view strike). If it is under salt, it's a very thin formation.

Double width flange with threaded inserts ready and waiting.


Rock, in the next-gen BOPs being drawn up, would there be any benefit to having dedicated access ports to allow coiled tubing a clear path to the bottom in a worst case scenario like we have here? I know there's been some speculation about the flow being in the annulus instead of the wellbore but wouldn't it be neat to at least have a few more options?

Exactly comfy. There are probably several relatively easy options to build into the system. Not being an engineer allows to make big assumptions. But imagine if the top of the BOP were a large round plate with 6 heavy steel rings on the side. A cap could be chained down on those rings and an hydraulic ratchet snug it down against the plat. Might not be a perfect seal but a heck of a lot better than what the have now. And Clean Gulf could have a riser-like conductor waiting in the yard which had been designed to connect to this cap. Even if the could get a processing ship there immediate at least the oil would dump right to the surface and be much easier to sweep than if it spreads across 100 miles of the GOM

I agree, letting the oil escape at that depth is just... I can't even put it into words. It's beyond stupid.

comfy -- That's why I have to point a dirty finger at my own industry. BP et al have said they had considered the "worse case scenario". First, a simple fact: BOP fail about half the time. Period...that's the record. Second, wells blow out. Not that often but it does happen. Third, anyone ever develop a plan to deal with a failed BOP in 5,000' of water? No one has jumped up yet saying they did. So what's the obvious WCS: a failed BOP on a blow out in 5,000' of water. Didn't take much effort to figure that out, did it? Obviously every DW operator know what the WCS is now. So how many can stand in front of camera today and say they are ready to deal with the WCS? They may do everything human possible to reduce the risk of a blow out. But if it does happen at such a water depth they will be just as screwed as BP. Can’t argue differently.

Another innovation people might think about: a way to release excess pressure in the annulus that doesn't leave it with a permanent hole.

that's done on land and there is a regulation in Canada that requires a valve with a line above the surface for that express purpose.

Some time ago there was some discussion on here, albeit not very much, about whether a valve should be required for access to every casing annulus as there is on land. There are pros and cons. One of the future requirements may be that such a design change be implemented. When the wellhead is subsea, ROV's would have to work on the valves if they needed it and it could get messy but doable.

The subsea well heads can have control system valves for monitoring and adjusting annulus pressure.

"can have" or "do have"???

Interesting Idea - Made me think about a few ships with a lot of compressor power and suspended underwater at a fair depth, a big circular pipe blowing air - Do you think a strong Curtain of bubbles would keep oil enclosed

Just a thought.

That sounds like an excellent method of sinking a lot of surface ships and drilling rigs currently working above the blowout. I don't think it would do much else though.

Haha - Not that much Air, only talking about a ring of bubbles - Think Jacuzzi Style.
Need to have bubbles displacing a few thousand tons of water before ships would even feel it.
All you would need is bubbles about same size and velocity as what the average scuba diver would make

Don't forget that for every litre of air you bubble out 165 will arrive at the surface.


That's why I said suspended underwater. No need for it to be on bottom - just deep enough for shipping to pass over it without causing Problems.

Too dispersed by the time it gets to the surface which is why I took it that you meant around the BOP. Basically you are copying Humpback whales.


A sub-sea vortex that connects with the one at the surface is best generated right at the sea floor, using a squirrel-cage which imparts tangential flow to entering sea water which is advected inward by the upflow of buoyant oil and gas (and hydrates).

One could also consider employing "jet-pumps" placed tangentially on the sea floor which could add to the overall angular momentum, which tends to be dissipated outward due to the momentum gradients as the oil and gas rise.

In any even, I think it would prevent the gas from separating from the oil from as well as obviate the need to use "CORRECTS-NOT".

I think I may have posted something on this here a couple of months ago--try searching the site.


I imagine that this squirrel cage would have to be nuclear powered to be capable of generating a vortex one mile high.

Actually--maybe, Speaker, if you consider the possibility of using a nuclear powered aircraft carrier in the surface fleet as an "anchor" boat, but I think that would be overkill.

As long as you can "establish" a circular flow field, the centripetal force, even with a "weakly" rotating vortex, it should be enough to keep the oil and gas at the center, causing it to emerge at a single location at the surface. (Grashof No. above?)

The buoyant energy generated from the leak, might be enough to do this.

With rotational energy being added both from below and above, it should not be a problem to maintain a full vortex over a one-mile column of sea water.

Anybody else out there who thinks differently?

Doesn't anybody wonder if all that lubricant in the water will just send the whole conglomeration sliding downhill towards Mexico?

Grashof number generally applies to natural convection problems. This isn't that.

It's going to take 1.2 gigawatts to create a vortex.

However I did a search on the internet and found this:


The zero point energy cold fusion power supply plus the pulsating magnetic vortex energy would probably be just what we need.


Calcs please?

Actually, if one approximates the vortex to be a rotating solid (water density) cylinder one mile deep and maybe 1/4 mile in diameter throughout the water column, your answer would be in GWH (energy required to increase from zero to X radians/s), not power...so your "number" is suspect right from the get-go as far as I can tell.

Maybe you had in mind the power required to "maintain" a vortex of diameter Y at X radians per second, which could indeed be measured in GW.

If you have a way of estimating that, I would be interested in knowing how to do it.

The flow of gas and oil upward from the source of the leak does involve natural convection, doesn't it? Of course the dynamics would change rapidly with height as the gas bubbles expanded and sheared apart into smaller, more stable bubbles. You won't be seeing many bubbles one meter, or even one foot in diameter breaking through the surface. Most would probably be in the order of one inch in diameter or smaller.


My idea is better, if you got the horsepower to pump air or oxygen all the way down, and that's a lot of horsepower, then why not hook up a riser section on top of the BOP and flare the hydrocarbons? All you need is to make sure the ROVs don't get caught in the hot water, I guess.

But I guess this would only make sense if the well is so banged up it's not possible to close it in, which is really a far out case. What happens if the rig sinks and falls on TOP of the wellhead? Thunder Horse almost went over on top of a multiwell frame. Can you imagine what a mess that would make?

Just saw your comment.

See mine below on the The Bakersfield Vortex Theory

The answers to the post linked below include some good points about the maneuverability of large skimmers like the A Whale. Judging by the points brought up there it seems like people shouldn't be expecting much from its trial runs.


But, but Rudy thinks it is a great idea - or at least his firm thinks Su's money is appealing.

A Whale, giant tanker
Su had hired the high-powered Bracewell & Giuliani law firm, which lists former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani as a partner, to negotiate with federal regulators and launch a media blitz, drumming up public support to keep A Whale from being beached in a tangle of red tape.

You can bet there will be a lot of noise raised if BP decides not to hire it. OTOH, maybe it will be able to actually inhale some oil during the calmer seas while the cap transition is taking place and the flow of released oil, unfortunately, increases.

Ah yes, Mr. Mind the Main Chance, Rudy Giu9/11ani, himself. Of course he's in on A Whale.

FYI-- http://tinyurl.com/CEA-CREATURE

This is similar to the barge with boats pulling v-booms ahead of it, funneling the floating oil into the "mouth" of the collection barge.

Except this one also uses air compressors together the "froth flotation" concept to cause more oil that may be floating under the surface to rise (get better separation) so a "thinner layer" of oil can be scooped off the surface, and give a lower "water cut".

If this link doesn't work, just go to the site given above and you will find it.

The answers to the post linked below include some good points about the maneuverability of large skimmers like the A Whale. Judging by the points brought up there it seems like people shouldn't be expecting much from its trial runs.

I had doubts about that also, at sea a fully loaded supertanker at top speed can require up to 12 miles to do an emergency stop, I think the 2 miles quoted in article is calculated from its 7 knot speed in skimming mode.
And as stated in article at low speeds maneuverability and response times are shocking.
So it appears to be efficient oil would have to be in very long staight lines.

Gov. Bobby Jindal has assigned 20 members of the National Guard to make sure the Coast Guard is deploying as many of the boats as it reports are on the water.

Does this say that Jindal is using the National Guard to spy on the Coast Guard?

"Trust, but verify."

Kind of scary, but it applies as well to this out-of-control, red-leaning government as it did during the USSR/S.A.L.T. days...

Referring to the Miami Herald link at the head of this subthread: Pretty decent article, making the fundamental point that skimming doesn't accomplish much. It answers a question that has been raised here, "Do they have a measurement of oil skimmed?" and the answer is no.

Nola.com article on a new skimmer design somebody in the New Orleans area cooked up--sounds good, but they are only collecting 10 lb of tar per day in the Rigolets.

NOAA says the Gulf seafood it's tested so far is safe. (And the shrimp that guy is holding: ooo, gawjuss.)

Self cooking, just apply match and stand back.


I'm converting my lawnmower to run on shrimp.

It makes oil boil faster, too.

This is a little off-topic but needs to be brought up again, and again, and again.

Toxicologists: Corexit “Ruptures Red Blood Cells, Causes Internal Bleeding”, "Allows Crude Oil To Penetrate “Into The Cells” and “Every Organ System" (http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2010/07/toxicologists-corexit-ruptures-re...)

When I want to kill somebody, I put 10 % corexit in a chocolate milk shake, and make them drink it. Then, to make sure it works, I hit their torso 20 times with a baseball bat. The autoposy always shows the guy has internal bleeding.

Thank you. The explanation by Dr. Chris Pincetich is especially good if chilling.

Actually the guy is speculating based on his background in pesticide testing. He as no specific knowledge on Corexit whatsoever or evidence especially regarding his claims that Corexit is being sprayed on land. What is worse he is aware of the work of the expert panel and lies about the decision making process they used in order to come up with the decision. It was NOT a cost benefit analysis at all.

Many of the things he is claiming about tox testing do not make any sense. These are protocols established for comparative purposes only. The environment the organisms during the test are in is not meant for long term viability - there is no food for example, for good reason as you don't want the test environment to be contaminated by anything else. As a result of course anything left in the test environment will eventually die.

Total BS and fear mongering of the worst kind in my opinion.

...He has no specific knowledge on Corexit... claims that Corexit is being sprayed on land... lies about the decision making process...

Got a link or two?

I found these:


Saw this at http://tinyurl.com/24p2qv2

BP reports 2-butoxyethanol was detected at levels up to 10 parts per million (ppm) in more than 20 percent of offshore responders and 15 percent of those near shore.[46]

where [46] is a link to a NYT story at http://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2010/07/09/09greenwire-new-bp-data-show-20-...

I looked up 2-Butoxyethanol at Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2-butoxyethanol
they say

Butoxyethanol is also a major component (30-60% by weight) of Corexit 9527, an oil spill dispersant product.[3] In the United States, the primary manufacturers are Eastman Chemical, Dow Chemical and Equistar. Corexit 9527 is being used in conjunction with Corexit 9500 in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster.[4]


Butoxyethanol has an LD50 of 2.5g/kg in rats.[5] Laboratory tests by the United States National Toxicology Program have have shown that sustained inhalation of high concentrations (100 - 500 ppm) of 2-butoxyethanol can cause adrenal tumors in animals.[6] American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) reports that 2-butoxyethanol is carcinogenic in animals.[7] OSHA does not regulate the butoxyethanol as a carcinogen.

Sounds like nasty stuff!

(Repost from closed topic as I think the answer here will be quick, perhaps even a link to a previous discussion.)

I've just been watching the ROVs working, and it occurs to me (not for the first time) how much easier the ROV operators' job would be if they had stereoscopic vision. Does anyone know if any of the ROVs in use (here or in general) have stereo (3D) cameras?

They do not have or need stereo vision nor many other things that would seem cool.

How is it operated?
It is flown from the surface by ROV pilot / techs (as they are also responsible for maintenence of the vehicle). They have 3x cameras on the front & sonar to see where they are going, as well as real time position data provided by a complex sonar system on the hull of the support ship / construction vessel. (more on this later) What they don't have is: 3D vision, Eye-tracking of the cameras, high res 3d Sonar so they can fly blind, force feedback arms, 1080p video, or the ability for you to control the video camera via the web :p


see also


But... Of the things they mention, eye-tracking, blind-flying, and all the members of TOD fighting to move the camera are all pretty silly. Force feedback isn't silly but maybe is expensive. But 3D digital is getting cheap quickly -- or at least 3D display is (maybe camera technology is lagging, and the whole thing does have to be rugged, reliable, and operable at 5000 feet). And just from watching an hour of video, a lot of tasks like grabbing tools seem to go slower than they might in part because of lack of depth perception.

They use 3D imaging with surgical robots. I think the only question is when the cameras will be available and reliable enough for this application as well.

That guy works on one of the ships that run ROVs (not on this incident) and wrote that up before they told him he was screwing up their satellite internet by being on irc with us. He was fairly adamant that there was no need for anything futuristic, since after all, these things lay miles of pipeline and attach all sorts of gizmos to things every day to make our global oil culture work.

It's a murky world down there, 1080p 3D force-feedback murk is still murky.

The company that made the BP rov's has a prototype that uses 3D. They say it really helps to have depth to judge distance.

It's been over a week since the "due date". Has anyone heard anything about BP's response, or lack thereof, to Rep. Markey's June 24 "request" for answers?

And if answers have been forthcoming, do any of them satisfactorily address;
http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6708#comment-671944 ?

Nope. I saw KO interview Markey a couple nights ago and Markey didn't mention it. Maybe he was too engrossed in his intense grandstanding.

Has a UFO knocked over the BOP yet?

Maybe Markey should talk to the Coast Guard? This sounds like grandstanding for the media.

Dougr, thank you for your stimulating posts. I have refrained from posting about them so far, preferring to take the time to read and mull over the astonishingly large and passionate responses that resulted. I must say I learned a lot from them.

Like Rockman, I take the scenarios you raised as nothing more than possibilities. Since many many people have raised all sorts of questions, suggestions (including ahem many variations of nuclear options..), and numerous speculations/possibilities, without attracting the volume of response that yours did, it was especially intriguing to me to read and think carefully, both for my own education of the actual issues in relation to the well, and to the reasons behind the large volumes of reactions...

Anyway, FWIW, here's a few random observations of my own. While I don't have the expertise (but then neither do most people here I suspect) to determine whether the seafloor is or is not ruptured at this point, I have seen no convincing argument that it isn't a plausible scenario at some point and therefore a legitimate concern - unlike the scares about methane cloud invading coastal communities or oil-rains etc. I also find some arguments more convincing than others, eg (can't remember who made it) that the drifting of the massive DWH rig for a full 24-hours followed by its sinking, pivoted around the BOP and wellhead, might have weakened the shallow casings, seem IMHO to fall within the realm of reasonable possibility.

In any case, to me it seems one of the most important functions that TOD can provide is a venue for people to ask probing questions. With the exception of those with inside information, I suspect the vast majority of readers and posters here suffer from what Rumsfeld once called "we don't know what we don't know". Or not even knowing that we suffer from it!! Hence, until questions like those raised by Markey are adequately answered, I'll continue to keep an open mind and an eye out for new information.

After all, not so long ago, I was almost ready to believe the 'figure of 8' explanation for 2 pipes in the cut riser. My only saving grace was this stubbornness, and this stupid habit of wanting to understand and not just believe in something just because some people who seem more authoritative than me says so. I even posted what I thought was a really stupid question about it, hoping someone would help me see what I was utterly failing to see, ie the 'figure of 8' http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6644/665379 Luckily, no one responded to my stupid question, and now we have Adm Allen, no less, referring to 2 pipes in the riser, so perhaps my stubbornness and inability to see the 'figure of 8' solution don't seem so stupid after all.

Dougr, I don't find all of what you said to be convincing, but you did and still do raise some really good questions. I don't expect you or anyone (nor myself) to be always right, and I suspect you are not easily deterred, but it would be a great pity if other perhaps more timid souls are deterred from asking questions simply because of the responses they might attract!!

This has now a new meaning:

The incredible journey of oil

Part 1: The age of oil
Part 2: The last hrs of ancient sun light
Part 3: Back to the future


Catching up on late comments on the previous thread, I read


Start right there with the DOE well configuration and you can see how Chu et al clearly DO NOT have any working familiarity with the engineering. I offer into evidence the three 16" rupture/burst disks shown in the 9-7/8" section of the production casing. I sell rupture discs (Continental & LaMot) and have sold BS&B and have looked at Fike, and I can assure one and all that none of those manufacturers has a 16 inch disc that will fit inside a 9-7/8" pipe. I did my civic duty and sent Sec Chu an e-mail to point this out and yet it is still uncorrected (more dithering and indecision!).

The diagram in question, the off-referenced Well Configuration(pdf), was provided by BP, not drawn by anyone in DOE. So add it to the list of BP goofs, along with their multi-week denial that there could possibly be two pipes in the riser, in spite of the earlier gamma-ray investigation of the BOP showing two pipes. I guess pulling the riser segment to the surface made it too difficult to remain in their fantasy world.

See the note on the oil spill data DOE page ...

The following documents are a collection of data from operations to control flow from the Deepwater Horizon well. All information was provided directly by BP. The file names have been preserved in order to maintain a traceable record of where each file came from in the BP tracking system and whenever possible, we have worked to ensure that the contents are data readable.

The well configuration was the first document provided below that note. Lots of screw-ups all around - it's sometimes a challenge to figure out where the blame lies.

Who's writing the book?

Maybe someone here on TOD? It may be a bit early but I would like to read about this one day from start to finish. The DE and the previous good safety record, the troublesome well (by some accounts), the well TA effort, the fire, the leak, the personalities involved, the spill and its effects and so on.

It would be a fascinating read IMO especially if it was from an unbiased viewpoint and the author was knowledgeable enough to explain it to both laypersons and professionals. John McPhee comes to mind. Is he still around?

Forget the movie as a source of useful information.

McPhee would be good, but I'm pulling for Bill Langewiesche, who's extremely good at making technical explanations into page-turners -- see Fly by Wire: The Geese, the Glide, the Miracle on the Hudson, American Ground: Unbuilding the World Trade Center, or the long article he did on the EgyptAir flight that the suicidal co-pilot crashed into the Atlantic (can't recall that title). Also his fine long article on modern piracy a few years ago.

Easier to spell "McPhee" though.

"an unbiased viewpoint"??

Where's that?

Why are they wasting days to unbolt the old flange. The cap design shown as "Lower Marine Riser Package [LMRP] Top Hat Device" on http://www.energy.gov/open/oilspilldata.htm has a seal that fits tightly around the existing flange.

Seems like they could have installed this cap weeks ago. There must be some non-technical issues driving this delay. According to Congressman Ed Markey, and oil-industry expert Bob Cavnar, speaking on MSNBC (Keith Olbermann, 7/8/2010, the problem is that BP is trying to avoid a fine based on the total oil released, and sending it all up the pipe will allow precise calculation of that fine. This seems a little crazy to me, but who knows what these idiots are thinking.

By idiots I assume you mean Markey,Olberman and the MSNBC folks.

No, what I should have said was "Who knows what the BP lawyers may be thinking." I wouldn't call journalists, politicians, and other non-technical folks idiots if their explanation turns out to be wrong, when there is no better explanation coming from the company insiders who are making these decisions. I don't know the law, but there could be some loophole where the fine can only be imposed if the volume can be accurately measured.


Aren't you late for classes at Beck University?


Nope: Put him in a circular firing squad with the rest.

You mean that which has been sitting on the BOP for weeks pouring out oil. That on which the seal has failed. Try harder next time.


"Seems like they could have installed this cap weeks ago"

Was it ready/completed two weeks ago?

I'm talking about the Top Hat design that has been posted since sometime early June, the one with a rubber seal that mates with he outside edge of the flange. As I understand it, the current Top Hat does not have such a seal, and it is leaking where it tries to mate with the ragged edge of the sheared riser pipe.

If the problem is that it would take too long to make another Top Hat, they could just make an adapter with the flange seal on the bottom end, and a smooth pipe on top, ready to mate with the old Top Hat.

Yes the old top hat had a seal. Not an issue as of this afternoon.

Not sure why they don't wait until the helix is up and running before taking off the cap.

I'm assuming that the helix would be able to take its full 20-25kpb even with the top hat cap off completely. is this the case? Oil is less dense than water, so wouldn't the oil preferentially come up the helix pipe?

As to how much is spewing, doesn't that also depend on what it's pushing against? Oil or water?

They've had about 2 days of 3 foot seas or less so I'd think the helix would be starting up.

If the helix can get enough oil maybe they could just put a real "cap" over the exposed pipe if this one doesn't work. A cap which would just add a little back pressure.

Does anyone know if the q4000 or the helix are just relying on natural pressure or are they pumping?

Also the q4000 was doing 10,000 bpd now it's 8,000 not sure why that is. I guess they're retarding the flow somehow, not sure why.

Does anyone know if the q4000 or the helix are just relying on natural pressure or are they pumping?

Oil cannot be "sucked" through a pipe 5000 feet tall. The flow can only be driven from the bottom, where the pressure is 2250psi.

Also, the Helix is collecting oil not from the top of the BOP, but from a line which connects somewhere between the partially-closed valves within the BOP, where the pressure is much greater than at the top. This means the reduction in flow at the top may be negligible. Could be just for show?

Not sure why you couldn't "suck" some of the oil up with a pump, aiding its flow.

If the pressure is higher in the center of the bop, then more oil would go up the oil pipe as there is less pressure up that way.

They are getting all the oil they can handle and if anything are choking it back. Frustratingly the limitation has been the processing capacity at the top, which is why the leaking cap just hasn't mattered.

I too have wondered if the oil from the choke and kill lines isn't oil that wouldn't have spilled because the spill is limited by constrictions above their intersections. But they should have a good idea based on the effect on the pressure above the intersection. Since they are hooking up the Helix the same way they must think it is having an impact.

Not sure why you couldn't "suck" some of the oil up with a pump, aiding its flow.

The only aid that a pump on the surface sucking would be to the flow would be to overcome the atmospheric pressure of about 15 psi. Really not much help in the context of this oil flow. Now a pump down at the seafloor could help, but it would have to be a hell of a big one.

That is why oil wells have pump jacks, they are operating pumps at the bottom of the hole via sucker rods. Also some downhole pumps that are electic powered for high volume operations..

Oh my! Really? Pump at 5,000' ? Really? What nuclear powered pump have you created? Is this an on-board reactor? Oh, I know you do the miniture people thing and drive the pump on-board. Maybe a Trillion nano pumps? Have you ever noticed it takes 1h.p. to lift water 60'? Sounds like you not only have the greatest pump in history, you have a noble prize also. Before you say, your only assisting the flow you are also impending the flow blocking the well with the pump. Tiny pump that has no mass or cross-section? Pump without cross-section or mass another noble? Love this idea for my book. Still the sinking battle ship gets the cover sorry.

Search for "downhole pumps' or "artificial lift systems" and you'll see several different versions of them. None of them however are probably applicable to this situation. No pump needed on this bad boy.


Yes, I understand that ha! That was my point why try to impede the flow with a pump ha. However we have talked about sub-pumps for these deeper wells that lose their head pressure and no longer are profitable with water or nitrogen injection. Now that the light oil is gone some of these deeper on shore and shallow water wells might be profitable to pump at 100$ or more a barrel? These are really very interesting ideas for the less greedy of producers. These down-hole pumps that exist now are still not profitable to run at this point. There are thousands of wells that have lost head pressure with still 30% reserve left. When you have to pump 1000 barrels of water injection to pump a barrel of oil I think that tells you, your screwed. K.S.A. is even pumping salt water into Gahwar at some large number. Does anyone have an idea yet of what that water cut is?

I think a little more caution is in order. There's no reason why a well can't be pumped at 5000 feet - it's all a question of Pressure-Volume-Temperature properties and what you want to achieve. This well in particular is producing with a very high gas to oil ratio (over 2000 at the surface), therefore it's doubtful a pump would be the best solution to "tease it". In a case such as this, a gas lift system makes more sense. But because the well isn't producing water, and we don't want hydrate problems, then the best solution is to run big pipe - say 7 inch tubing, which I really hate but works.

Now, just to make sure we're all on the same page, why would you need to use a nuclear powered pump? It's possible to run Electric submersible pumps powered with 800 HP, and that's pretty good to get a little extra head at 50,000 BOPD. But again, this type of well just doesn't require pumps.

It's possible to run Electric submersible pumps powered with 800 HP,/blockquote>

what size cable ?

Priority is to change the cap. The sea bed pressure is about 2200 psi, the well produces oil with a gas to oil ratio in excess of 2000 cubic feet per barrel of oil. The gas makes this a very bubbly mix, and it shoots up to the surface on its own, no need to pump it at all.

The amount of oil emerging out of the well at the well head (the blow out preventer stack to be exact), is facing a back pressure caused by the water column, which remains constant. However, oil which enters the pipes leading to the two offtake vessels is going up with very little water, which means that column is much lighter. IF the pipes and other equipment they have aboard the two existing vessels were large enough, they cuold handle most of the oil, but they can't.

I don't believe BP has failed to capture all the oil because they don't want to know how much is coming out, they were slow to realize the well was making so much oil.

Answers to a several of them ...

Their original plan was to complete HP first, but the upcoming window of good weather has reportedly led to the decision to go for the cap replacement while it looks like they have a chance to do it.

If you've watched the ROV feeds, you've seen them take days - literally - to get a hose connected between the manifold near the BOP and the CDP manifold so they can finally begin testing the flow to HP. (can't believe the patience the ROV operators must have ... doesn't fit with the Mountain Dew consuming, video-game playing guy, image described elsewhere as the background of a lot of the operators.)

All the collecting vessels are relying on natural pressures - no pumping thus far.

Perhaps the mixture of O&G collected by Q4000 has changed towards more gas. They've only collected around 10,000 bbls of oil three days since it was hooked up, and all three of those days they flared slightly less gas. (DOE - collections spread sheet.)

The q4000 is now pumping almost exactly 4,000 barrels every 12 hours, makes me think they dialed it back a bit. Maybe they have a choke valve on it so it's not wide open.

Hopefully...hopefully they get the helix up and running and together they can pump about 30k bpd out..then when they take the top off they can see the plume has gone down about 80% since they last had it off (when the sub hit the riser) and the q4000 alone was drawing 10k bpd out. That would mean the total is about 35k bpd.

It may be the flare is getting too hot to handle. I tested a well producing about 7000 BOPD and 12 MMCFD, we burned all of it, and the flare was running so hot we just couldn't put enough water to the curtains to keep us safe, so we had to choke it back. I see they got a boat pouring water between the flare and the vessel, but the heat must be getting to them anyway.

The guys on that ship, as well as the 1,500 plus others in the area, are the true heroes in this endeavor.

I'm annoyed and disappointed with BP, the gov't, the media, etc but have nothing but admiration for all of those actually working on site. May they all be rewarded with cold Blue Bell at the end of their shifts.

fd -- I once set down on the chopper pad of an FSOP off the coast of Africa. It was flaring 25 million cfpd. The radiant energy alone was so uncomfortable I held my hard hat between my face and the chopper window. The hands I spoke to said it was a close to living in hell as you can get w/o dying.

(Shudders.) I've tried to imagine what that constant heat, and stench, and roar are like -- just for an hour, let alone 24/7. Can't. How long does a crew stay onboard before they're relieved on a job like this?

lotus - the hands on that FSOP worked 28 days on/28 off. And they slept in their fire resistant cloths and even carried the EBA's (emerg. breathing apparats) with them to the showers. I doubt they could ever offer me enough money for that gig.

Mr. Rockman:

Since you have worked on offshore rigs, i have 2 questions:

1. What size is the flare line on something like Enterprise Explorer?

2. What pressure does the "mud drum" (or whatever you call the vessel or gas/liquid separator that the flare line is hooked up) to operate at?

One of my friends and i have been following the BP blowout from day one and we soon became convinced that the Enterprise's flare line is the limiting factor due to sonic flow.



ChE -- Don't know much about flare line sizes. Seperators usually run under a 1000 psi but don't really no much about their speaks. FYI I'm just a geologist who occasionally pretends to be an engineer on TOD.

I don't know how much gas it was, but I was on a well that they were flowing though 3 choke manifolds and the entire reserve pit was a ball of flame and boiling the water in it.

The flame is too hot? Then why not add a few sections of pipe, and get it further away from the ship? Even if they had to sacrifice an old barge, that would surely be nothing compared to the cost every day they allow the oil to flow at the bottom.

Flame too hot as in melt the pipe...

OK, let me spell it out. Use the existing flares, which have been running without any meltdown. Add 50 feet of pipe, and another flare, then 50 feet, and a third flare. Since they are now collecting 40% of the flow, three flares should be enough. If not, add more. Now, are you are going to tell me there are no TEE connectors available to add the additional pipe? Sorry for the sarcasm, it just seems like not enough thought is going into simple solutions.

I think it's obvious that a lot of thought has gone into a lot of solutions. They've gone so far as to bring in special equipment designed for flaring off 10000 bbl of oil plus a bunch of gas safely.

I don't know about you, but if I had to work in that fairly dangerous environment I wouldn't want to add to that risk by having someone just cobble together a bunch of pipe and start lighting fires.

You have got to be kidding. There is nothing simple about flaring off the huge quantities of gas and oil involved here. I would not be surprised at all if the whole thing goes BOOM in a very bad way before this is over.

They are already taking huge risks doing what they are. Haphazard garage mechanic solutions will get you one thing in this environment - DEAD.

"... I would not be surprised at all if the whole thing goes BOOM in a very bad way before this is over.

They are already taking huge risks doing what they are. Haphazard garage mechanic solutions will get you one thing in this environment - DEAD."

Please, no offense, but from a non-technical US citizen... didn't that happen back in April? I'm glad to hear you're concerned for safety. Let's hope BP is as cautious. Perhaps the lurk here for ideas? Interesting ideas though. BTW, does flaring all this oil and gas underwater pose environmental risk? Thanks

No, I'm not kidding. We don't need to cobble anything together, and we certainly don't need any haphazard garage-mechanic solution. Use some good, strong, steel pipe, and a reliable valve, the best that money can buy. Run the pipe about 500 feet away from the ship. Dump the excess oil onto a burning barge. Keep a few coast-guard boats nearby to ward off the tourists. If it doesn't work, we can turn off the valve, and go back to dumping in the ocean.

Trust me. I've never spoken to animals, but I am an engineer.

I'm an engineer also, and I think it's nuts.

Even if the fire itself is safe (and you can be absolutely sure you won't lose control of the burning barge or have a flame back up your pipe), the current flare system is designed to burn the oil cleanly. If you just dump oil onto a burning barge you're going to be flooding the area with partially burned hydrocarbons, think the smoke after gulf war I. Forget about the complaints you'll get from the gulf states, how's that going to affect productivity and health on site?

As an engineer, you should realize that if other engineers spend a lot of time and money designing a safe flaring system, it's probably *not* something you can reasonably replace with 500' of pipe and a valve (even the best that money can buy).

Well, it's not that simple. Flare booms aren't pipe, they're steel trusses, usually a triangle, and they have a catwalk the tecnician can walk out on to do maintenance. The vessel doing the flaring usually lays out two flare booms, one on each side of the ship, this allows for the flaring to switch sides and make sure the burn heads downwind. Because the steel trusses are load bearing members, they have to be hooked up properly to the ship's sides - this isn't tinkertoy plumbing, we're talking big steel. If you hook up a second flare on both sides, it has to come closer to the derrick, and the separation equipment (which is where we try to separate the oil and the gas). I guess you could go straight from the surface tree to a manifold to a flare, but we like to know what we're burning to make sure the flare burns efficiently.

So, now let's say you got two flares burning off the port side. There's a system we call the fire curtain, which sprays water out to try to block the heat, but I assure you, a big flare just doesn't get contained by a water curtain, so then you got to get a standby boat to use its monitor to fire water between the flare and the ship. And this isn't nice to the steel, because you are keeping it hot, and throwing oxygenated sea water on it for day after day. Which means you got to go back and tear up all your standard flare boom equipment and make it out of special stainless steel, I guess.

In conclusion, this just isn't every day plumbing. Burning such huge volumes isn't a very simple matter, and if you try to do it long term isn't really feasible at this time. I had proposed the underwater flaring precisely because I knew the flaring on the surface could get nearly impossible to manage week after week.

A burning barge would certainly be messy, but far better than the mess we are seeing now on the beaches and in the marshes. Black smoke would rise, as it did from the burning rig before it sank. The big diffeence is we would have a valve to shut it off in case we lose control of the barge, or the smoke starts blowing the wrong way.

As for the environmentalist complaints, let the governors of the gulf states decide. Do you want it on your beaches or in the air 50 miles away.

The pipe should come up to the discharge point, so a flame could not go back up the pipe. The pipe could also be submerged after the flow is shut off, so there isn't a worry about air leaking in and forming an explosive misture.

Yes, a properly-designed flare would be better than an open pipe, but I was told that the parts aren't available. Seems strange, but I'll have to accept that for now.

As an engineer, I have a lot of respect for other engineers in fields where I am not expert. I also know from my own experience that engineers are usually not in charge, and decisions are often made contrary to what the engineers would do. I suspect that is what is going on here.

I don't know, however, and that is why I ask questions here and in other forums. So far, nobody seems to have a good explanation, but I do appreciate the comments from experts. I just can't accept the notion that anything I might suggest isn't really feasible, because BP knows best.

They say they're changing the cap and hooking up the Helix Producer at the same time to take advantage of the good weather they have right now. Otherwise one project or the other could be delayed by another week or two.

Deepwater Horizon Crude Assay


The last I read, this had yet to be made public.

Cool, apparently real data, would be better with some provenance. Thanks for this link. UOP 163, H2S < 1 PPM should stoke the conspirofires.

I again find myself way out of my realm of knowledge but H2S @ <1ppm is considered low I thought? Maybe I have been reading too much and confusing everything which isn't hard for me to do. Any response to un-confuse my feeble mind is appreciated.

Yeah, that's low. Ergo, proof of a coverup!

Thanks Snake! I just wanted to make sure I was interpreting the data properly. What do most "in the know" believe the true ppm of H2S really is?


The EPA has measured the level of hydrogen sulfide gas in the gulf at 1000 ppm

Billions are millions, barrels are gallons. EPA's 1000 measurement was PPB, not PPM. And an air sample (I think), not from "in the Gulf".

DougrReader's been here suggesting a 1/3 cut of H2S.

If they get the thing capped and the first RW is a success, I predict a massive outbreak of depression among the teeming end-of-days throngs, followed by discoveries of new horrors.

From OSHA re: H2S concentrations

10 ppm Beginning eye irritation

50-100 ppm Slight conjunctivitis and respiratory tract irritation after 1 hour exposure

100 ppm Coughing, eye irritation, loss of sense of smell after 2-15 minutes. Altered respiration, pain in the eyes and drowsiness after 15-30 minutes followed by throat irritation after 1 hour. Several hours exposure results in gradual increase in severity of these symptoms and death may occur within the next 48 hours.

200-300 ppm Marked conjunctivitis and respiratory tract irritation after 1 hour of exposure

500-700 ppm Loss of consciousness and possibly death in 30 minutes to 1 hour.

700-1000 ppm Rapid unconsciousness, cessation of respiration and death.

1000-2000 ppm Unconsciousness at once, with early cessation of respiration and death in a few minutes. Death may occur even if individual is removed to fresh air at once.

To avoid discomfort, the (8 hour) time weighted average concentration of hydrogen sulfide shall not exceed 10 ppm.

Thanks RM~That is one of the places I looked when I saw the <1ppm, what I am curious about it what insiders or those familar with this resovoir think the true ppm really is.

Snake was joking about the coverup. Nobody knows whether the assay report is genuine or not, but I take it the experts here think it is plausible. Otherwise nobody knows how much H2S is in the oil, but low sulfur content ("sweet" oil) is normal for the area.

mummsie -- Haven't seen any official number but they have a detailed analysis of the gas they're flaring. Not sure how representative that would be of the reservoir but I would guess pretty close. The only report I've ever seen of any H2S in the GOM that could be a health hazard was east of the Miss. River in much older rocks (Cretaceous) This is a continuation of an onshore trend in MS/AL that is well known for poison gas.

I couldn't recall one either, but I will say I had no idea that that MS/AL was known for poisonous gas.
Thanks again, heading out to watch the Blue Angels, so I'll be back later to ask more questions (sorry guys) but I did donate to TOD so I figure for every $1 donated I am allowed one stupid question.

mummsie -- It’s slow this afternoon so I’ll amuse you with the tale of my one poison gas experience in AL about 32 years ago. Drilling a deep replacement well in an old H2S field. First, the set up. I get there and the company man points out the emergency boxes set out in the fields on either side of the rig. They have O2 tanks in them as well as windsocks to tell you which one to run to (“towards the one pointin' at ya”). But he tells me that if we have a poison gas alert don’t run out and grab a tank and come back to help anyone: the tanks are probably empty because the drilling hands will suck on them when they come to work with a hang over. Of course I asked why he didn’t have them refilled. Because they would keep sucking them dry and he would be wasting money. Great safety protocol, eh?

Jump forward and we’re done logging and I’m catching a nap in the mud loggers trailer while my geologist buddy Mike is finishing up. Someone accidentally bumped the trailer and set off the H2S alarm. I pop up still half asleep and miss a step going out the door and hit the ground hard knocking the breath out of me. So there I am not being able to breath (the first and last hint of H2S death) and remembering the empty air tanks. Mike runs over knowing it was a false alarm and falls to his knees gasping for breath too. That’s why Mike was one of my best buddies: we shared the same sick sense of humor.

We’ve laughed many times over the years about that night. Mike had a similar career as mine WRT well site ops. Had his share of close calls. He was handling offshore ops in Brazil for our company. The sad irony: we had just swapped emails the weekend before he and his wife were killed on that Air France flight that went down in the Atlantic in the spring of ‘09. He was never hurt on a rig and then dies while heading from the job for some R&R in Paris.

Love your friend's sense of humor.

I'm just guessing, but I bet there is a lot of ironic stories of how people who did dangerous jobs end up dying. Life is funny like that, no?

8 guys my dad worked with were shot, most by wives, so being on-shore could more dangerous than diving. ;)

My dad had accidents ranging from having his line caught on the propeller shaft live-boating back in the stone-age to having someone put a can of gasoline next to his air compressor and a long list of other horror stories.

He dove for 25 yrs and died in top physical condition from hitting his head on a shed in the backyard.

"never eat dry rice krispies at 750 ft"

Bravo to your dad, gmf. I don't know whether he was Mississippi-born, but they're tough. My great-uncle died at 103 when the tree he was cutting down fell on him.

R.I.P. Mike and wife, your dad, and Uncle Lawrence.

Died in MS, but a Louisiana boy going way back from bayou country. At 76 he died young in his family.

thank you lotus. Dad is no doubt sunbathing on a barge somewhere in another dimension, lol.

OMG~I swear I am not laughing at you but with you on that story, that is quite amusing and I can understand why Mike was a best buddie as a sense of humor is one of the top qualities I look for in my friends and BF's, and sometimes rare to find anymore.

Sorry about Mike and his wife, I remember reading about this in a previous post and how Mike had never been hurt on all the dangerous things he did, but killed on a flight on way to/from a vacation.

That story reminds me of how I once scared my kids when they were feeding a friends pet, they swore that the house was haunted and that the baby walker was moving by itself when they went in the house, so I decided to get to the house before they did and I parked my car in a friends garage. I went in the house and hid and when they came in I turned the lights off and on and then pushed the baby walker across the hardwood floors, I think the worse thing I did was turn on on of the toys that talked and I almost feel bad about it now as one of them almost jumped from the 2nd story window they were so scared, then I ran like he77 to the house where my car was which was funny in and of itself seeing a 9 month pregnant woman trying to run, but it was sooooo worth it at the moment:)

mummsie -- Cute story. I used to have very bad habit of scaring folks so I could hardly blame Mike. I don't do it often these days. But I just love those home videos where folks have the hell scared out of them. The scariest situation Mike was even in wasn't even close to the drill floor. Too long a story but involved being in the back of a deuce and half with a group of Nigerian troopers way out in the boonies. He only told me that story once and never again.

Thanks, my kids still talk about it (but they thought it was just cruel on my part), I too have a habit of doing the same and playing practical jokes on ppl. Life is too short and no one is promised tomorrow so I try to add some humor every now and then. One day if things are slow and you feel it's appropriate I'd love to hear more about your and Mike's experiences both in the field and out, he sounds like he was a real character, and you are right if you played alot of jokes on him, turnabout it fairplay!

I would think that this reservior is NOT geologically sour. I am not familiar with the GOM but would venture if they are detecting any H2S it has more to do with the mixing of Raw Sea water in the flow and the resulting decomposing organic organisms.
H2S is a concern in sewage treatment/waste water systems as well.
After the 1st Gulf War they pumped raw sea water into the wells in Burgan Feild in Q8, I worked there in 98 thru 2001, this sandstone reservior was turning sour causing a lot of trouble as the plumbing was not Sour Trim. Killed a few people as well, not expecting the H2S. Here in Western Canada they drill a lot of High Sour, ie 30% is not uncommon, thats 300000 PPM. People fight this tooth and nail, NIMBY and rightly so. There is a Pigging Station near my property where they had a tiny spill <5 liters. Smelled old rotten eggs for a couple of days. When we reported this they asked How Do you know its Sour? Same Same story everywhere.
As an aside I can no longer use Giant Killers, sulfer based rodent control. and have a major pocket gopher infestation.
Cant shoot um or the people from the City, now across the road.. Shoot Back!!


the thums (texaco-humble-union-mobil-shell) project ,offshore longbeach,ca,is a classic example of a sweet reservoir going sour.

it really doesnt take much in a water injection project, just a little sulfate reducing bacteria and some iron for the little iron loving bacteria to eat.

its a little like an std. use pipe salvaged from a sour reservoir and the deed is done. they havent invented a condom for salvaged pipe - yet.

Sounds bogus. Platts reported the crude to be 37 API


This could be an assay for biodegraded crude being picked up by skimmers. But it's not the real assay.

It could be anything, not even related to DWH.

Does say processed, but that fraction appears weathered or refined. When distilled, the Initial Boiling Point ( the vapour temperature about the boiling liquid when the first drop appears at the condenser outlet ) is 350F, and then only 10% is recovered by the time the vapour above the sample reaches 500F.

It's apparently lost most of the gasoline and kerosine range hydrocarbons. The Macondo oil was claimed to be about 0.84 Specific Gravity, which would be expected to have large % of volatile gasoline and kerosine range hydrocarbons.

I think I read that when the well blew out it came through the kelly and blew the hose off the standpipe. If so, there is definitely flow up the production string. Could it be that there is no flow at all through the annulus, just in the casing?

Also, if we're seeing DP protruding from the BOP and they had 3000' of drill pipe still in the hole, what are the odds that there is no drill pipe at the bottom?

"...there is definitely flow up the production string."

markpress555 - there is no production casing in the well. None had been run because the well had not yet been completed but just cased (liners)and cemented for a temporary abandonment to await future completion. There was drill pipe in the hole that they were using in the abandonment/cementing operations. As to how much dp still in the hole, I would believe that BP has a fairly good handle on that number and certainly, based on the abandonment/cementing reports, there is no db at td. The real question is where is(are)breach(s)in the borehole? The rw "kill" ops. will be effective regardless of where the breach(s) is(are) but I would think that that info would be critical in the failure analysis.

there is no production casing in the well. None had been run because the well had not yet been completed but just cased (liners)and cemented for a temporary abandonment to await future completion

A 13,000 ft tapered 9 7/8in - 7in production string was in the well, but in any case flow up the drillpipe doesn't prove the flow is coming up the anulus or inside the production string, because we don't know the condition of any pipe, be it drill pipe or casing from pressure damage.

Also, if we're seeing DP protruding from the BOP and they had 3000' of drill pipe still in the hole, what are the odds that there is no drill pipe at the bottom?

I would not bet either way on that one, because I have seen what pressure can do to drill pipe during a blow out.

New Kent Wells technical update video now up at sealing cap installation overview.

and an animation of the effort at animation.

He mentioned a well integrity test - see if they can shut the well in. That means that they would be able to tell if there was an underground leak - presumably from pressure measurements. I guess they see if the pressure builds up to a static head.

Interesting video from BP... I haven't been following much lately, but after watching that i feel like i know whats going on. Amazing amt of engineering it looks like being put into this. Can't blame BP for not trying to fix this mess.

well they're all in. Took the cap off.

don't think it made sense before getting the helix up.

I hope to god this doesn't take them 7-10 days either.

http://mfile.akamai.com/97892/live/reflector:45685.asx for anyone wishing to take a look at the resulting unimpeded two-color flow.

Steady hands and smooth seas to all the ROV operators and rig crews in the coming days.

I think the two color flow is from the shape of the cut riser - a flap folded around and formed a crude inverted funnel, wide opening at the bottom (inlet), narrower opening at the top (outlet). The flow from this part is at higher velocity, which affects how it interacts with the seawater. Somebody with more sciency stuff can maybe shed some light on if there's any kind of phase change, outgassing, hydrate formation more likely, whatever going on.

Short version: the two colors are caused by oil exiting at two different velocities.

Part of the 2 colour issue is due to the colour of the lighting on different ROVs. However, look back at the images when the riser was cut. There was a well defined light stream against the dark mass. That looked like it was what was coming out of the DP itself. It seems a lot less defined now.


Since you mentioned it: Pressure below the BOP was ~9000 early on, and dropped to ~4000 by the time they cut the riser off... have there been any updates since then? Even that info won't tell us if lower pressures are from a change down in the formation, down in the well structure, or from erosion inside the BOP. Would sure like to know.

Did it go from 9000 psi to 4000 psi AFTER they cut the riser off? Or just before they made the cut? This would make a big difference. Where exactly where they taking this pressure?

Don't know the date that came out, IIRC it was just before they cut the riser. If they've given any updates on pressures since then, I haven't seen it.

They've got one tangle down there already


I'm watching an ROV undo the bolts on the LMRP flange now. Their success rate seems to be about what I'd have on a job like this: two bolts broken loose, one bolt head rounded off. The ROV just ground off the burrs on the mangled bolt head so it can fit the socket wrench back on for another try.

If it's 4 days that's 60k extra barrels in the gulf; if it stretches to 8 days thats 120k. That's a lot of oil, but it's nothing compared to what's already spilled or compared to what might spill before the relief wells shut things down (25-35k * 30 days = 750k-1050k).

I was thinking the same thing -- on the charts HP is supposed to start up tonight so heck, that's just one day in the schedule. But production from HP is likely to take a few days to come up to speed. Do you wait until HP collection is up to speed before pulling the cap? Then what if the combination of contingencies on the cap switch and delay getting HP up and running mean you can't swap the cap before the weather window runs out?

Bottom line is that BP thinks they have the potential to get virtually 100% containment (which could keep up to a million barrels out of the gulf) and have more tools in their toolbox when it comes time to actually kill the thing. I think risking 60k-120k of extra oil in the gulf to save 10x as much is a good idea -- especially when you consider that *IF* Helix Producer comes fully on line in just a few days the total extra oil in the gulf might be even less.

Does anyone have a video capture of the cap being taken off? Thank you.

I didn't get the moment of removal, but this must be shortly after. Residual oil is still flowing from the top vents.

I hope they polish it up and give it an honoured place in the BP boardroom. At $4,300 per barrel, it's been saving them $70m in fines every day.

Article about a former LSU prof discussing the relatively mild damage to marshes so far, according to a video he made for BP. Even though it's essentially a BP commercial, I don't think this is BS. It corresponds to the videos I've seen of oil in the marshes.

"So the penetration is minimal. Often a foot, maybe the worst we've seen is 6 to 8 feet."


Currently he leads one of the SCAT teams that produce data showing up on the Oil Impact Assessment Maps.

BP video:

Maybe that dispersant wasn't such a bad idea after all.

Time will tell.

And maybe that dispersant is making it worse than if we did nothing at all and let the oil float and come ashore so we can collect and remove it.

Time will tell.

Once it gets in the marshes you aren't going to collect it. It will be there for decades.


More fundamentally it is at the surface where life is the greatest. Marshes are the most productive ecologies on the planet.

The sea surface and the illuminated layer below it are where 90% of the sea life is. It's where the birds land and the sea mammals surface to breathe. It's where the bluefin spawn. And the sargasso weed islands exist.

And this is where you want to bring the oil. That really doesn't make any sense to me.

Looks to me like the oil is already getting to all the places it'll do the most damage. If no oil or very little oil were reaching shore, I'd agree with you that dispersants are the neatest thing since sliced bread.

What the video doesn't show us is the really horrible thick brown oil that came ashore around the mouth of Barataria Bay in late May, suddenly pushed in by storms, glopping up the pelicans. Is that the only such incident of any size? It is as far as I know. Whether the dispersant has played a big role in preventing more such episodes, I don't know, but that is what they were hoping to accomplish with it.

The longer this goes on, the more I have to admit the shoreline damage has not been nearly as bad as I expected--so far. I wish we had more coverage. There has been oil on both sides of the Chandeleur Islands for several days, but the impact assessment maps show little change. Is this just sheen and tarballs? What about the rookeries at Grand Terre and Queen Bess Islands, are they desolated or are chicks fledging there?

Is this area marshland? The thing is that you have a chance to clean it up if it isn't. Marshland though - there isn't much you can do after it is contaminated.

The pictures I have seen of Queen Bess from late May are terrible, imo, as are the ones from Barataria Bay.

I had a guy from BR slap me on another forum for saying Barataria Bay was full of oil. Maybe semantics, but it looked like a lot of oil on the shore to me, even if not literally "full".

I think the photos are from Greenpeace. I would like to know why we haven't seen updates. Shouldn't the CG be providing this public info?

Those pictures must be fake. Speaker To Animals says using dispersant will keep oil out of the marshes, we're using dispersant, therefore there can't be any oil in the marshes.

Been there myself well ofter the oil came in that had it all nasty and made good photo material for all the news papers and news outlets. Queen Bess Island is green and covered with birds.

"Article about a former LSU prof discussing the relatively mild damage to marshes so far..."

or put another way

Article about a consultant who is being paid by BP discussing the relatively mild damage to marshes so far...

Fair enough, but the issue is whether the damage to the wetlands has been relatively mild so far, or as terrible as people expected. I expected to see vast expanses of dead spartina grass, and I'm pretty sure that hasn't happened.

This is what I learned at a lunch and learn. There is a company called ClydeUnion Pumps. I don’t own their stock and I don’t sell their pumps but ClydeUnion has a submersible pump that fits in the well which is powered by injection pumps topside. The submersible is powered by a hydraulic motor which powers the pump. The topside injection pump supplies the water to power the hydraulic motor.

I have a pump that pumps Ln2 if that helps? They have a pump that pumps with 2,500 psi head pressure from a well bore? I have to buy that stock! Wait they don't have a submersible pump? There surface pumps can handle 13,000 psi? Gee, the fow is already that. So what would the pump do? Oh, imped the flow?
Why would you want to imped the flow? I can understand impeding the flow early on when there was less capcity to re-cover but, now?

I'm a noob who has been lurking here reading threads and thousands of posts for the last few weeks. I appreciate this site and the effort, for the most part, at discussing the gulf oil blowout and thank you for the opportunity to participate. Since I am not a worker in the oil fields it is tough to sort out truth from fiction especially with the lack of transparency, honesty, and release of quality information from our current leaders and BP.

What led me to finally post was the poster who IMHO sarcastically opined the reason the oil in the gulf was red was because the methane in it had its photons trapped by the oil. Is that person an idiot or just trying to be funny? Either way, his credibility and those like him, in my opinion, is suspect. This is serious stuff and people like us have serious concerns with all the BS already out there. It was sort of clever though.

What concerns me is (my perception) the attitude by some of the oil patch people concerning risk assessment and risk/benefit analysis. Perhaps fire is inherently risky but I analyze the risk based on knowledge and experience combined with my aversion to needless risk preferring the benefit of well grilled meat. As a former firefighter and firefighter trainer I have some understanding of risk management.

At times it seems the oil people simply see this as an intellectual opportunity to learn from BP's mistakes, and that is good and important hopefully preventing future catasptrophes from the oil people who are the ones who are supposedly (hopefully) intelligent enough to analyze the data and fix the problem. (see Einstein's quote at the bottom of post)

As a citizen of the US who has lived in south LA, who still has friends and family there, I would like to correctly assess the risk of the oil and chemicals gushing into the gulf environment so I can help loved ones make appropriate, reasoned decisions for their future.

Frankly, I don't have a lot of confidence in a lot of the opinions given because of the lack of quality information provided by the powers that be. Based on what you oil experts think I would like some simple probabilities.

Since you request honest and accurate information from TPTB and since you make the argument the 'doom & gloomers' are causing harm to people with their fearmongering, I'd like to know from you, so I can assess the risk/benefit to people remaining in the gulf states:

1. If the well is damaged what is the probability the relief wells won't work, at least initially, and if they don't work initially how long are we looking at oil and chemicals continuiing to flow into the environment until a solution is accomplished?

2. If the relief wells don't work what is the probability of a nuclear device being used? What is the risk to the strata surrounding the well, that is, can it make things much worse with seafloor cave-ins, etc. Are there safer contingencies?

3. If Corexit and the chemicals released into the environment are dangerous to humans, how dangerous are they and what is the probability of widespread dispersion harming a greater number of gulf/US residents?

4. If the information you are getting from TPTB is incomplete, inaccurate, or simply false... how confident are you your anaylsis and risk asessment is accurate given you may have preconceived thoughts and solutions for what has actually happened?

Your quote troubles me in this regard:

"“We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” —Albert Einstein

Once again, thank you. I feel like I have learned a great deal from your site. IMHO y'all are doing the US a great service.

As a last thought I would add the doom & gloomers may truly be needlessly frightening people and potentially harming people with their comments overstating the risk in our gulf oil mess. Wouldn't it, however, be at least equally dangerous and frightening to understate or underestimate the risk?

live well

... methane in it had its photons trapped by the oil.

This is one of the few effective antidotes to 1/3 cuts of H2S, holes in rocks, cracks in the sea floor, methane/asphalt volcanos, abiotic seeps through cracks in the granite, paid BP shill attacks, etc.

Yeah, it was really funny. And brilliant, in my opinion.

If Steven Chu got a Nobel Prize for trapping atoms with photons and he's in charge of the government response, it wouldn't surprise me if he was there to investigate photon trapping. Plus, since methane is a strong greenhouse gas, I have to believe there is green methane out there somewhere....

Rightsized glass, some comments below. I'll post your questions with the answers I can think of below.

1. If the well is damaged what is the probability the relief wells won't work, at least initially, and if they don't work initially how long are we looking at oil and chemicals continuiing to flow into the environment until a solution is accomplished?

The well IS damaged. We can tell because it's flowing oil when it's not really supposed to do so. We out here don't know where the damage is, I believe BP has some ideas, but they'll need to investigate more. What is the probability that relief wells will work? I'd say the first has about a 70 % probability. With the second, let's say 90 %. If these two don't work, then they can drill four more, and it's almost certain they can take care of the problem within 4 more months or so.

2. If the relief wells don't work what is the probability of a nuclear device being used? What is the risk to the strata surrounding the well, that is, can it make things much worse with seafloor cave-ins, etc. Are there safer contingencies?

The probability of using a nuclear device is nearly zero, unless Osama bin Laden gets a hold of one, dresses in a Boots and Coots uniform, and slips it inside a relief well when nobody is looking. The use of a nuclear device is about as insane as anything I've heard of. And I mean REALLY insane.

3. If Corexit and the chemicals released into the environment are dangerous to humans, how dangerous are they and what is the probability of widespread dispersion harming a greater number of gulf/US residents?

Corexit has been approved by the EPA for use as dispersant. It's a fancy detergent, and that's it. The probability of it harming Gulf Coast residents is nearly zero, because the water in the Gulf doesn't get ingested by these Gulf residents. If there are signs that it may be present in harmful levels, all they have to do is close the beaches. The dangers posed by Corexit have been way overstated by the media in an effort to sell more commercials. Most of their coverage is garbage. And if you want the real poop, why not go to the EPA website and read their test results? Just google it, I did.

4. If the information you are getting from TPTB is incomplete, inaccurate, or simply false... how confident are you your anaylsis and risk asessment is accurate given you may have preconceived thoughts and solutions for what has actually happened?

I don't know what TPTB is. The information from the media is garbage, as I said. I get mine by accessing the government websites, and also from a network of friends, the Oil Drum, etc. I also listen to the press briefings or read the transcripts myself. But tell us, what is TPTB?

FD--- your post answered my foremost concern: the odds of success with the RW. You say 70% first well, 90% second well. Would sure like to hear the some of the others opine. Rockman ? Etc etc ? Thanks.

85% probability that 100% of the flow is coming up the annulus and the Macondo WW will be killed before month end.

IMO, a big part of the reason they are going ahead with the containment cap is to have the option of simultaneously pumping into the BOP while the bottom kill in the annulus is ongoing.

If the well isn't completely killed via the annulus BP have a number of 'kill pills' at their disposal to intentionally damage the formation and reduce the produced volumes considerably.

IMO, a big part of the reason they are going ahead with the containment cap is to have the option of simultaneously pumping into the BOP while the bottom kill in the annulus is ongoing.

Maybe, but IMO it is more likely it the well gets to a point where they dare shut it in and direct the flow out the choke line where they can control the back pressure though one or more chokes, they will do that so they can control the expansion of the gas while holding any additional gas and oil in the producing formation while filling the hole with mud from the bottom and letting the oil and gas in the well bore come out the top. That is the reason for a choke line and it is SOP for killing a well that can be shut in.

I hope my discription is clear. I tried to make it brief without going through a bunch of calculations that I can't remember anyway.

Also if you pump from the top and bottom at the same time you leave the oil and gas in the well bore trapped in the middle. You need to get it out of there to kill the well.

Another advantage to the containment cap, if they can indeed effect a seal, it gives them another 5000 ft of mud head to work with, instead of seawater. Then the WW and RW will have and equal head, which makes mud weight considerations easier.

After thinking about this I would shut the well in at the surface (if possible) with an orbit valve and have my choke line at the surface rather than using the one on the BOP on the seafloor to do the operations I discribed above.

My standard answer Gulf - 50/50...either the RW will work or it won't. Not teasing. There is no population of comparable events to use to run a statistical model IMHO. Mr. Wright does have a 100% success rate. OTOH I don't think he's tackled a job anything like the BP well. When I see folks try to quantify risks on situations where I beleive it can't be done I just take it as their personal expectations.

OTOH I don't think he's tackled a job anything like the BP well.

I am sure that is true, but he is the only one I would want on the job. I am sure in his 40 RW's he has handled some pretty daunting tasks and knows how to think on his feet, as well as do the planning for what they might think will happen. So I am going out on a limb and predict 51/49. :)

Thank you. I appreciate your non-blue-sky candid answers which to me makes your opinions credible. Also, isn't 50/50 what the Shell CEO thought as well?

My next question is: is it possible BP can't shut off this well without a nuclear device?


right -- Thank you. BTW my 50/50 answer is my smart *ss way of saying I don't want to put a number on it. But my answer is 100% certain of being correct. I'm sure it will work or not.

* grins * That's what I thought. :) I don't know if anyone truly knows what is going to happen until it does. It sure would help if TPTB would give y'all the information you need to come to a better understanding of what is going on... so us ordinary citizens can be educated by someone other than TPTB.

Seriously, I do appreciate all here translating the details for us.

Thanks Rockman & TOD

TPTB = The Powers That Be

For some here, that's the Illuminati, Bilderbergers, shape-shifting lizard people... you know, the usual suspects.

Spilled beverage warning.



What do those people eat? I want to make sure never to order that.

True... and for others it means our elected government leaders and agencies, BP, oil experts, and others who make decisions affecting our lives and future with things we have little if any control over.

Got that right rightsize, except for the fact that at some point that changes. The fact that there are a number of GoM residents posting and lurking here is a good indicator that there may be more control mechanisms than first apparent. Information flow is one of them. The situation re control isn't in stasis. It's just in uneasy balance. A few weeks ago I posted about cognitive dissonance. That peculiar process is something coast residents are learning to deal with at ground 0.
The question is,when we've learned to deal with it as a group, what moves will we start making. I seriously hope that the cap and relief well work. For everyone's sake.

More oil discovered on beaches near Bolivar Peninsula
"...Cleanup crews are working the area, which starts about 2 miles east of the intersection of Texas 124 and 87. Coast guard officials didn't say if the oil came from the leaking well in the Gulf of Mexico, though that appears to be the source of tar balls found on Monday near Port Arthur. Samples of the High Island oil will be tested to determine its origin...."

Hey k3d59,

Your link pointed me back to my post. I think what you were getting at though is some people simply won't accept information contrary to their preconceived ideas about something but seek to reinforce their opinions with information strengthening their opinion. If not, sorry.

The longer term ramifications to me seem to be higher exploration and drilling costs due to more regulation, insurance, and credit costs leading to higher fuel prices, taxes and agendas such as cap and trade reforms.

That aside, and being open minded, we're even more impacted if this well doesn't get stopped soon or if there truly are other sea-floor leaks caused by this well. It's worse if there truly are unknown long-term dangers from using Corexit and from the other chemicals released into our environment. It's becomes truly ugly if there really is some catastrophic Methane release unleashing an environmental armageddon.

Point is, there are a lot of opinions and theories out there and it truly seems there is no consensus because our grubberment and BP simply won't release (lawyered up?)the information to know the situation more completely.

Why, for example, is the threat of a massive Methane reserve still even being discussed if it isn't a threat; however, why is 40% of what is being released Methane or whatever? From what I understand 5% is a more normal concentration.

Frankly, it's is interesting to wonder and speculate about all the different scenarios just like the "experts" are doing since apparently most don't have the information the claim they need to know for sure. Sheesh. Thanks :)

Sometimes I think it's more of a situation in which BP, the government and assorted experts just don't know what the hell is going on but are afraid of telling people so. Macondo is a new thing for every single one of us.

I don't know if you're old enough to remember Ren and Stimpy, but they had a line that applies here to the nth power: "Just say you f**cked up", The people who are dealing with the immediate problem (us on the Coast) would have been mad as hell if we had been told that at the outset, but we could have dealt with it and gotten started making plans to handle the by-blow. Now it's way out of control across the board. One reason I have always strongly supported TOD is because these guys will gleefully shred each other (and us) if they disagree. I like that. I go and scavenge from the remains of their arguments what can be proved and used and put it in the trick bag. They can get kind of rough, but if we can take Macondo, we can take them, no sweat! And what the hell do we care what any one thinks as long as they bring something useful to our particular table.

The link I'm posting below speaks volumes about the group mental state down here. I didn't know about it until a couple of minutes ago or I might have put it up earlier today and toned down the BTK session.It's not the speculation as to motive, but the fact that the implied motive is even being seriously considered.

Rightsize, don't expect people who aren't here to understand how you feel and the pressure there is to validate, sort and act upon the huge amount of data we're being confronted with and have to follow up on. They can't. It's your life, your family, your world that's being threatened. I believe in God and I believe He has a reason for this-and we'll be much stronger for dealing with it.

"... wasn't immediately clear whether the house was targeted, however, Eyewitness News found out the home is owned by an oil company executive.."

That was a great and wise reply k3d59. Thanks. You're right. I'm a big boy. Jsut tell me the truth and let's move on. Yes, I think God has a plan... according to His Word, Revelations, TSHTF at some point. Is this it? :) He says people perish from lack of knowledge.

Thank you. Glad to hear at least one person saying the nuclear option is insane... now someone inform Clinton, please. Do you suppose Clinton is privy to discussions about this with say, Obama?

Regarding the Corexit and its toxicity. There have been numerous posts in threads at TOD about this with one just above these posts in this thread:

"H. Rider Haggard on July 10, 2010 - 8:24am Permalink | Subthread | Comments top This is a little off-topic but needs to be brought up again, and again, and again.

Toxicologists: Corexit “Ruptures Red Blood Cells, Causes Internal Bleeding”, "Allows Crude Oil To Penetrate “Into The Cells” and “Every Organ System" (http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2010/07/toxicologists-corexit-ruptures-re...)"

Furthermore, our gummint (TPTB - the powers that be) said the enviroment around the NY Trade Centers attack was fine for people and workers to live and work in. Data afterward suggests otherwise, doesn't it?

Also, didn't the EPA or TPTB tell BP to quit using COrexit and BP refused saying it was the best they had? Frankly, it's more than fancy detergent in that, at least according to another poster at TOD, when mixed with oil it can up to 10 times more dangerous.

The first article I read about this today said in part:

"In an under-the-radar release of new test results for its Gulf of Mexico oil spill workers, BP PLC is reporting potentially hazardous exposures… among more than 20 percent of offshore responders. … c ..."


Regardless, I suppose if BP and our elected leaders were more forthcoming and honest it would be easier to trust what little they do say.

I guess my real concern is what is the likelihood of Corexit or any other oil gusher related chemical becoming airborne through winds, rains, storms, etc. and what level of exposure is truly an acceptable risk before bugging out of the gulf?

What is the risk of our water supply becoming poisoned?

Can you count on BP or our government honestly assesing the risk and calling for an evacuation of affected areas if need be... or should people make their decisions based on whatever information they can obtain themselves from different websites?

How do people get accurate air quality information to determine trends?

It would sure help if BP and TPTB would provide more and more accurate information, wouldn't it?

At least Obam... Osama isn't our President.

Thanks again

Jumping in late here, but that link FLOILSPILLLAW was also the link that stated 4 died after swimming off the Guf Coast oil spill waters, but they died due to drowning which I hate to say is pretty norm around these areas when people ignore red flag warnings and a drunk mom lets her 4yr old swim in whila a red flag is flying, even a yellow flag can be extremely dangerous if you don't know the conditions of the current/surf etc, just this week a man drowned in Navarre (also many are alcohol related). Good rule of thumb is RED IS BAD and I think that's, well let me re-state that should be common sense to most ppl and also when the surf looks extremely rough, well it's prolly certain it IS rough and the currents here are horrific. IIRC before the Island implemented a rigourous lifeguard program, Pensacola Beach held the record for the drowning capital of the nation :(

Did you go to the link and read the resst of the quote? It appears they were quoting BP. Also, from what you posted apparently 4 people DID die swimming in oil tainted gulf waters, normal or not. Thanks

I read enough at that link that IMO I find it NOT credible, one person died after being pulled from the water and the defibrillator had a dead battery, one was a 4 yr old child and her drunk mother who allowed her to swim during red flag conditions and the other is pending autopsy because they speculate it was a heart attack......not really what I consider oil related. In fact, life flight just closed our bridge down to pick up a man who was pulled out of the water after the Blue Angel show (very likely alcohol related), so it's incredibly misleading to state that 4 people died after swimming in oil tainted waters when it's sadly the norm for drowning deaths around this area, IMO looks like ambulance chasers looking for more business. Now, don't get me wrong, as a resident living as close to the beach as I do I am furious with the DWH explosion and the aftermath, but I also deal in facts and not scare tactics because the reality is bad enough without the crazy doomsday bloggers perpetuating fear on ppl already scared to death and on the edge.

Also far more than 4 ppl have drown since the DWH explosion, so I pray the man pulled out of Sabine Bay just a while ago isn't added to that statistic, so we can't blame BP for fools who get drunk and swim or those that swim in red flag conditions.

Well, okay BM. My question was regarding the toxicity of Corexit and the other chemicals being released into our environment. I'm not an apologist for the links I posted, however, what news source do you find completely credible? We can go there and see what they think of the toxicity of the chemicals being released.

On a technical note I would point out the people who drowned actually drowned in oil tainted waters as the article CORRECTLY points out. You post in part, "... .not really what I consider oil related ...". You are merely stating your opinion IMHO based on your expectations, or hopes.

For example, you post: "I read enough at that link that IMO I find it NOT credible, one person died after being pulled from the water and the defibrillator had a dead battery,..."

Yeah so. Why did the person die? Did they pass out from inhaling or ingesting Corexit or some other chemical?

You continue: " ... one was a 4 yr old child and her drunk mother who allowed her to swim during red flag conditions ..."

Yeah, tragic. Why did the kid drown? Would the kid have not drowned had Corexit and the other chemicals not been in the water? Did all kids drown in the water that day? You are drawing, perhaps reasonably, presumptive conclusions... and that is your right. I would prefer to know a little more before I commit.

Continuiing: "... and the other is pending autopsy because they speculate it was a heart attack... ..."

Ok. Pending autopsies and speculation don't sound confirmed to me.

Further: "...not really what I consider oil related. ..."

Well, why not?

A bit more: "... In fact, life flight just closed our bridge down to pick up a man who was pulled out of the water after the Blue Angel show (very likely alcohol related), ..."

Very likely? How did the chemicals in the water contribute and to what extent?

Lastly: "... so it's incredibly misleading to state that 4 people died after swimming in oil tainted waters when ..."

Well, that's what happened, didn't it? Why then do you find the article misleading? We just have to decide if the drownings occurred in part because of the tainted waters, or not, preferably objectively.

Point is, there is so much opinion and speculation from all sides at this point we need better information before preaching our feelings. True? That's why I am here. Like others I simply want to know the truth or at least a great enough portion of it to have a fairly accurate expectation of the future so we can plan... so people can plan their exit from the gulf, or not ... if need be. Thanks

First let me start by saying that in no way am I saying corexit is safe, frankly there haven't been enough studies to determine the short/long term effects of corexit, so I tend to ask chemist etc and not rely on the flaoilspilllaw site.

Regarding the drowning, I'd say it's 99% safe to bet that they drown due to swimming in surf that has been full of rip currents since before Alex formed and not a shot in he77 I'd allow my 10yr old in the water on a red flag day and rarely even a yellow flag day, ask anyone who lives in this area about the drowing rate and the red flags, rip currents etc., I'd bet my house that it had absolutely nothing to do with corexit and everything to do with alcohol and foolish behavoir or someone who had no clue that RED = DANGER. Your question "Why did the kid drown" well it goes without saying that unless this toddler had been trained as an olympic class swimmer since birth the vast majority of children and again I'd say 99.8% that age can't swim in those conditions, people drown from fear of the situation many times and not knowing how to get out of a rip/rough surf, although a 4 yr old would be way to young to even teach how to get out of one IMO.

I am in no way preaching my opinion, just experience from living on the beach and knowing the risk as I see rescues ~35 times a day up to ~90 times a day one a strong yellow flag day.

So again I am not posting my hopes, just first hand experience from watching way too many ppl drown due to stupidity and/or alcohol.

The Florida Panhandle has had over 50 rip current
drownings since January 1st, 2000 and was given the
title “Drowning Capital of America.”

The USA has about 100 rip current drownings per
year, occurring almost exclusively on unguarded
Florida accounts for about 25%-40% of that number


Missed this one from today:


Strong rip currents are forecast to continue to subside at local beaches this weekend, following two days of rough surf that sent lifeguards into the water numerous times and cost two lives in Northwest Florida.

Joe Maniscalco, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Mobile, said the rough surf and rip currents have been generated by a phenomenon called "long-period swell," which conserves energy until waves break forcefully on the coast.
That was caused largely by tropical disturbances in the southern Gulf of Mexico, but the effect is diminishing.
"We may still have some cases of moderate currents (on Saturday), but the overall conditions are improving," Maniscalco said.

Two men drowned at Navarre Beach this week.
A 42-year-old Georgia tourist drowned Wednesday evening at Navarre Beach. Ambulance crews who responded to the scene said they believed Kenneth McGahey, 42, of McDonough, Ga., had a heart attack.
However, Jeff Martin, director of the Medical Examiner's Office said he drowned. Snipped for space..

There are many more link, even NOAA has one........so, like you I came here looking for the truth and facts, but some things are just common sense to someone who lives here. Again, you have every right to your opinion-I just know what I witness on a day to day basis to be fact, and has been for decades before Corexit even entered our vocabulary.

All that being said, I do appreciate your service and admire the he77 out of firefighters and many of my friend are firemen, so hat's off to you there.

Regarding the EPA and saying Corexit is safe:

"The Environmental Protection Agency says the air in some places along the Louisiana coast poses a health risk to vulnerable people.

The EPA says recent air sampling shows a moderate health risk in Venice and Grand Isle, two Louisiana towns about 50 miles from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill site.

The agency says anyone unusually sensitive to low-quality air should avoid "prolonged or heavy exertion."

EPA's warning comes as concerns grow that the Gulf oil spill may be fouling not just the water and shores but also the air. ... "


If it is not so great now what will it be like three weeks from now. How does heat affect the chemicals continuiing to be released change them? Thanks


EPA has observed odor-causing pollutants associated with oil on the shore in the gulf region at low levels. Some of these chemicals may cause short-lived effects like headache, eye, nose and throat irritation, or nausea. Some people may be able to smell several of these chemicals at levels well below those that would cause short-term health problems.

EPA is also conducting additional air monitoring for ozone and airborne particulate matter. The air monitoring conducted through July 8 has found levels of ozone and particulates ranging from the "good" to "unhealthy for sensitive groups" levels on EPA's Air Quality Index.

There is no mention of Corexit in the EPA's warning -- what is described is "odor-causing pollutants associated with oil". The only connection with Corexit that I can see is that if they hadn't been dumping dispersant there would be more oil on the surface and VOCs in the air.

From EPA.gov

It’s important to understand that the use of dispersants is an environmental trade-off. We know dispersants are generally less toxic than the oils they breakdown. We know that surface use of dispersants decreases the environmental risks to shorelines and organisms at the surface and when used this way, dispersants breakdown over several days. However the long term effects on aquatic life are unknown, which is why EPA and the Coast Guard are requiring BP to implement a robust sampling and monitoring plan.


EDIT: Made final sentence of quote bold.

That idiot was me. :-)

It was satire. The part about Wile E. Coyote and physics waiting for an audience didn't tip you off.

We live in a time in which people firmly believe things which have no basis in reality and are simply impossible.

Many such beliefs are utterly invulnerable to reason or facts.

Debating the believer is like banging tour head against a concrete wall.

I've had some success at time by turning the absurd belief up a notch or by trying to figure out what else must be true for the belief to be true.

The believers do like their beliefs taken seriously.

Although truthfully I'm mostly not trying to accomplish anything- it is just the way my brain works- I'm always playing around trying to figure out what the laws of physics or whatever must be in that part of the multiverse for the absurdity to not be absurde. I keep 90% of such speculations bottled up.

The particular idea you noticed came after a string of satyrical comment developed by several people that originated with the apparently serious claim that the reason the weathered oil is red
iss either because

1) It came from the earths mantle (because the mantle is red, apparently)


2) somehow contact with compressed "red methane" had tinted it.

Someone then satirically added the ever more dangerous "yellow methane" and so on.

If anything was ever ripe for parody that was, imo. :-)

I saw the humor in the thread... and was flinging it back at you. Frankly, with friends like mine, I figgered I would have seen some comments like, yeah, he was dropped on head as child, former commie, etc.

Anyway, thank's for reply. :)

Some large portion of the mantle is made of olivine, which is green. I guess that explains the green clouds seen in the ROV videos at times, and is clearly proof that BP drilled into the upper part of a previously unknown mantle plume under the GOM!!!!!1one NAILED IT

Hey that's not nice, WRB is a friend and far smarter than you think! WRB was referring to red-shifted photons= dark energy. WRB might have been thinking these theorized red-shifted photons would be the source of the red oil. I myself working in the dark energy field doubt this. WRB would love to debate your new theories ha! How are your alt. spill fixes coming along? I have included yours in the book.

I get it. So if the oil is moving away from you the photons get red shifted and the oil looks red. The oil is on the water, so this means it's just a relative inertial frame issue. IT isn't moving, you are. And if my calculations are right, if you are moving away from the oil so the photons are red shifted then you're moving up at 120,000 Km per second, or a bit faster. Which puts you roughly near Pluto's orbit by now.

Exactly! I have a job for you!

Since we aren't on Pluto this demonstrates that the photons from the mantle are far more shifty that the ones we're used to.

Are we seeing a massive release of shifty photons?

The implications are overwhelming.

wrb - Of course we're not on Pluto. The only thing on Pluto are fleas. Mickey told me and he should know...it's his dog.

Dang...you guys get so far off thread some times.

Photons are a known carcinogen!

Especially the UV ones.

OMG violet methane.

No, the photons stick to the oil and that makes the methane INVISIBLE!

OMG methane hydenoyl.

You boys are on a roll today ..methane hydenol, you should try and copyright that "word" because I can guarantee I will read about it somewhere along with the other batsh*t crazy scenarios I am inundated with... I actually just spit my beer all over the laptop when I read that:) I do need the levity as I have said numerous times, and for that THANK YOU!

Methane Hadacol ??

Professor Longhair had that covered.

You could buy Hadacol in dry counties.


Makes your eyeballs bright

Thank you for putting my fears into words here on TOD. I too have been lurking for weeks. I'm scared spitless, and not for me. I come from a long line of dead people.
But Left, Right and Center, we are all in this mess together. Tell me the truth. I can take.

lol. really, everyone writes "lol" and usually the most they're actually doing is chuckling, but I'm actually laughing.

"I come from a long line of dead people."
That's a great line.

I'm not from the oil patch or the fire fighter patch so I respectfully waited for others to answer your questions before asking a question I had. I was curious about what exactly in fire fighting is affected by risk analysis. I would guess it might affect number of firemen on the job, number of available fire trucks, type of fire equipment available. I would appreciate your thoughts regarding the real world usefulness of risk analysis in your profession.

I also have worked with risk analysis but I have always had a mental block with using it as anything more than a guide. I prefer worse case scenario analysis for decision making concerning business as usual planning, contingency planning or resource procurement. For example, to do proper BOP design and testing, a set of worse case scenarios should be used for testing. Oftentimes, the failure of plans or equipment is due to a missing worse case scenario. In the case of the BOP, it is possible the scenario of an additional pipe getting flung into the BOP due to an explosion was not one of the worse case scenarios thought of.

I have had many experiences where there are multiple ways to accomplish same goal and I meet resistance when I decide on one of the many possible ways. I often get the question what is the possibility of this other way working. I have a very difficult time explaining that I understand there are multiple ways to accomplish this goal and my way is more time consuming or expensive than some of the others. I know my way will work without adding other complications and I can't say that about any of the other ways. Usually I win the debate but occasionally I don't.

I suspect the thought processes regarding task management and decision making are similar in all industries and what is learned in one industry will benefit other industries.

And thanks for the thought provoking post.

I don't post often but I feel drawn to highlight this

Oftentimes, the failure of plans or equipment is due to a missing worse case scenario. In the case of the BOP, it is possible the scenario of an additional pipe getting flung into the BOP due to an explosion was not one of the worse case scenarios thought of.

We don't know whether this was actually what happened but if it did happen it may explain the BOP failure. On one level, it may help BP or Cameron or whoever get off the hook, slightly, but on another level, it would be sobering for the drilling industry to have to contemplate this possibility, and how to design the next generation BOPs for such eventualities...

I apologize for any implication I may have made concerning the operation of BOP or interpretation of photos of severed riser. I also will patiently wait for truth regarding this and many other questions. I was only trying to use a hypothethical scenario folks would understand regarding the unknown issues and challenges faced by designers.

And I'd enjoy seeing you post more often because your thoughts are highly valued.

Eh, no need to apologize. ;-) I get what you mean, totally. I can't say how hypothetical the risk of a pipe being flung at the BOP is, but if this isn't within the realm of plausible scenarios, then some folks need to have more imagination.

After all, how many other 'unprecedented' scenarios have already come true in the past 10+ weeks? So sad...

Interesting question and not quickly answered. I would start by saying some risk analysis has to do with pre-planning potential fires. We may come to the conclusion, for example, given the available assets, flow rates, pumping capabilities, manpower, etc. that a particular fire at a particular location will always be defensive if the fire has progressed past a certain point.

If that no-go point hasn't been reached yet there are different tactics we may use as forecast and practiced in advance of a fire, and dependent on concerns such as life (victims), safety, asset strength, etc. versus minimizing risk by allowing the property to burn if no lives are at stake.

There is also risk assessment made individually by the firefighter not unlike the people drilling the relief wells. At some point you may be on your own making decisions based on your personal risk aversion versus the benefit gained by accepting the risk. For example, in a fire we may have to wake up at 3:00 AM to go to a house fire... a house we've never been in and haven't preplanned like a preplan we may have done in advance of a school fire.

All we know is what we are told enroute. "There's twin 4 year olds unaccounted for and their room is in the back". When we get to the house the fire has vented through the roofline on one side of the house. Long story short, I'm on the attack line, first in, search and rescue. The priority is to look fo rthe kids risking my life looking for someone elses kids in a fire I didn't start. I can choose not to go in after assessing the risk to myself and partner, and no one would question it.

I decide to go in, staying as low as possible crawling in a near pitch black room under the lowering smoke layer listening to the fire intensifying around me. I make my way along the wall (with a partner equally intent on finding the kids) searching, more like feeling, for them. We go into a room as our alarms go off letting us know our O2 is down to 500 PSI.

Technically that is our no-go point. We should turn and leave knowing it will take some time to exit the house using up most of the last of our O2. I make a choice to continue based on the risk analyses we have studied in class, through experience knowing (I think) mine and my partners limitations, and accepting a bit more risk for the sake of your family. The risk analysis/assessment in this case is a combination of objective and subjective interpretation, formal and informal, combined with a bit of courage, bravado, thrill seeking, and a love for others.

I also know, statistically, most kids will hide in a closet or under a bed in a fire. I sweep my arrm under the bed and as hoped for I find two kids hiding under it. I grab one and give the other to my partner. We follow the hose back out as our air is less than 100 PSI. The kids live. The roof collapses a few minutes later.

Point is, we made technically foolish decisions yet they worked out quite well... which is a danger in itself. Ya might not be so lucky next time, ya know? To me this is what happened to the BP well. The BP engineers, drillers, managers, corporate leaders took risks and lost. Now, we are all paying the price ... so forgive me if I question the people in the industry when they say all will be okay.

We're expected to trust BP and our grubberment to not screw it up any more... but because of the shortcuts and arrogance of key individuals we will be paying for this for decades.

Does that help or did I misunderstand your question? We analyize risk then make decisions. Some first responders died during 9/11 not understanding the risks involved. Unfortunately I have the sick feeling we're not being fully informed of the risks because they may be unknown at this point, or, there is some other agenda for keeping things esoteric.

Yes, you understood my question perfect and I thank you for your bravery, caring nature and fascinating answer. I also understand Rockman's answer of how one will either make it or not (50/50). But Rockman is being very humble because, like a fire fighter, there is a lot of knowledge and experience focused by earlier risk analysis that determines the best course of action.

I also relate more to what I see when there are evacuation drills in the 5 story building where I work. The fire department is always outside during these drills and that is part of pre-planning.

A couple years ago I saved my neighbor's house from burning down. I brought my dog outside early one morning before the sun was up and noticed an odd looking light in the distance near my neighbor's house. I walked to the very end of my back yard and was able to clearly see flames. My neighbor had left a tall lamp in the doorway of a wood shed and the heat from the lamp ignited the top of doorway. The flames were very small but the shed was next to a wood house so I knew it was a disaster in the making. I called the fire department and they were there within a few minutes to put out the fire and chew out the homeowner for his ignorance of "risk analysis".

Well done, smoke-eater :) ... and you're welcome ... as any service person would say.

We had a police office wanting to get a better look at a small fire, before we got there, who used his flashlight to break a window ventilating the fire. Luckily, no one was inside... but he was astonished how fast the fire grew once it got fresh air. He's was lucky it wasn't hotter inside. Ever see backdraft? LOL

This site is great in so many ways and certainly seems to be a self-cleansing, uh, gusher of knowledge. Thanks, it truly does help and therefore, comfort. :)

1. I think the relief wells will eventually work. Probability vs time - maybe 10% in July, 30% August, up to 90% by the end of December.

2. 0% chance of nukes.

3. Human risk from Corexit is one in ten million or less unless you are one of the people loading the stuff on to airplanes for spraying were you could have direct exposure to the undiluted product. The concentration is just too low distributed over half the GOM to affect people living on shore and it is biodegradable so it won't be around after a month or two.

4. I am very confident of 2 and 3 based on my life experiences. #1 not as much so as I don't have personal experience in this area.

Wouldn't it, however, be at least equally dangerous and frightening to understate or underestimate the risk?

Healthy pessimism is wise. There is the aphorism that you can pick the expert out of the room by finding the person who gives the longest time estimate and the highest cost estimate.

However many of the reports that are presented in the media are outright fear mongering or lies intended to cause things like increased readership (more advertising revenue) or have a political impact. Self interest is not only on the corporate side. A couple of years ago I caught a Greenpeace representative in an outright lie, and his justification was that corporations lie, so we have to lie too.

So be skeptical. If somebody tells you something that seems outlandish ask for or try to track down primary sources preferably in the form of hard data. And also become aware of the rules of logic. Wikipedia has a good section on logical fallacies. Knowledge of these will allow you to understand the likelihood of what you are reading being true or not.


that is funny (I hope that was your intent) a diatribe on the relevance of skepticism and primary sources followed by a Wikipedia link

The Wikipedia article provides a bibliography with references to primary sources going all the way back to Aristotle.

The information on wikipedia is fine as long as the topic is non-controversial. Like this one, which could have been cribbed from a very boring textbook.

Am I right in understanding the Helix was going to be hooked up before the cap was taken off?

It was, until BP convinced Animal Fat they could deconflict the phalanges at the same time.

(Maybe I've been reading too many press briefing transcripts.)


Dunno, Gobbet, they been trying to deconflict the Phalanges for an awful long time. But Lebanese politics might be one of the few things in this world ornerier than the Macondo well (so Animal Fat's easily convinced to stay out of it).

Those press brieings transcripts are cute. I've been considering putting up a billboard on I10 with a picture of a flange and the word "FLANGE" underneath it. I think maybe 100 of us will get it.

Heh! Heh! Glad my days of boltin those up are OVER!

In the tech briefing of 7/28, I believe that Kent Wells said that they needed three days of calm seas to perform some work on the surface before they would be able to extract crude to the Helix. Since the storm induced swells didn't subside until a day or two ago, surface work on the Helix was delayed until then. As there was some uncertainty as to when the weather might turn, it appears that they decided to move ahead with the sealing cap in spite of the fact that the Helix isn't due to come online until tomorrow.

So now with the removal of the LMRP cap, we're seeing an increase of oil into the Gulf of about 15K BPD, but with any luck, pumping to the Helix will begin tomorrow, and the uncaptured flow will begin to decline, hopefully to levels below the LMRP cap plus the Q4000, until it is further reduced with the addition of the sealing cap.

Commander Chu made the right decision this time (or was it Admiral Dudley?). It's better to get it over with, and do it right.

Ok I watched the BP animation of the whole re-capping process that's just begun. The on-site ROV video shows that one bolt is gone from the flange being unbolted. A wrench that got stuck under this flange appears to have its handle torqued off in ROV's removal attempt.

On the larger bolt circle flange just under the one being worked on, yellow handled bolt head covers are applied. Is this to keep the "flex joint" of the BOP from flexing during the work above?

That's not one of the bolts; apparently it's an alignment pin. not sure about the bar sticking out.

Check out the oildrum mirc chat for ongoing discussion of the undersea activity.

The yellow handled devices are part of a hydraulic system used the past 2 to 3 days to raise the flex joint section into alignment with the BOP. The falling riser had pulled it off vertical by about 3 degrees. Wells mentioned the process in his latest briefing.

Blocks to hold that section in correct position will be (or have been) inserted.

Another question FD, your optimism regarding the RW (70%/90%) is at odds with Matt Simmons and others who argue the RW will never work. And pretty much, he has been spot-on this far. Is he/they just "talking his book" (he is known to be short BP) or is he just a kook ? Thanks for your thoughts.

I'll go with "kook".

As for being spot-on so far, I think that's at odds with reality, though maybe I'm conflating his claims with some of the even crazier speculation that gets bandied about.

"Is he/they just "talking his book" (he is known to be short BP) or is he just a kook ?"


And pretty much, he has been spot-on this far.

He has? Vast lakes of subsea oil covering 40% of the Gulf? Drop a nuke? Clouds of methane gas with the potential to kill hundreds of thousands?

Don't think so ... and, btw, I think you intended your question to FD to be a reply to a different post - I haven't made any predictions about the success of the RW, and, unlike Simmons, I am not in a position to make money off its failure.

I believe Mr Simmons is an investment banker, who specializes in oil company merger and aquisitions. His entry into the business was via a diving firm in California. His dad is a banker, and had very good connections in his youth. He became famous writing a book about peak oil. I don't consider him qualified to discuss the success or failure of a relief well in this case, although it is possible he has some solid petroleum engineers he knows, or maybe he is just pulling the comments out of his behind to get media coverage. He did bet oil price would be $200 in 2010. So there's an example of the guy being wildly off the mark.

I'm afraid Mr Wrigth and the Boots and Coots crew may be getting into something they have never experienced before, therefore I can't say I would give them a near certaintity of success. This is why I suggested they should be prepared with a 150,000 load of mud, lots of horsepower, and the ability to pump mud down the kill line if they have to - I don't think it's a good idea to pump top down first, but it may be an option to pump down the relief well and then rock the well down by pumping down the kill line.

I think they should preserve the ability to pump into the formation and flood it with a few million barrels of sea water just to make sure that sucker is dead for sure, before they seal it, because there's too much chance of an underground blow out. I just got a bad feeling about this well, it's definitely not what Boots and Coots has dealt with in their previous kills.

Gulf: to what extent has he (Matt Simmons) been spot-on this far? Would appreciate more detail on that. Do you mean Peak Oil or do you mean the present GOM diaster? So if you could be more specific.... thanks!


Got to the last open thread too late to thank you for the Driftglass link . So Thanks.

Here's my choice for its soundtrack. The singer could be the next GOP VP candidate.

EDIT: Dumba$$ forgot to add the soundtrack link.

Yeah, Driftglass is my hero, exactly because of stuff like that.

More ammo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxibL6YYrhQ

Blow me down, a CNBC anchor doing actual journalism.


This is Mark Haines, who also performed to Murrow/Cronkite standards beginning between the first and second planes into the WTC on 9/11 and lasting long into that day. The guy he's destroying is Hans Bader of the Competitive Enterprise Institute -- according to John Cole, an organization "dedicated to simply spewing right wing/glibertarian nonsense across a variety of formats. It’s basically Reason magazine if they wore suits and didn’t care about weed or porn. ... It is hard to tell why the Jones Act has a bug up their ass, but I guess it has to do with some more recreational union bashing."

I have seen Mr Haines perform before. While most of the time he isn't too interesting once in a while somebody makes a factual error in one of his interviews and when that happens watch out. Here is one of my favorites.


Very crisp.

Incredible that ANYONE thinks that Haines is either competent or fair, or that ANY NBC news channel qualifies as honest reporting.
In your clip, the guest points out that Congress is responsible for the purse strings, passing budgets, and that the Gingrich Republican Congress was responsible for the 1990s budget surplusses. Absolutely true.
Haines is no journalist and no gentleman; he is a mindless liberal attack hack on a mindless liberal attack channel.

That's hardly true. In fact, Squawk Box in the morning may as well be called the Paul Ryan, Bob Corker, Jim DeMint show.

"Absolutely true."

You realize there is a significant number of people who would say "Absolutely false."

I've noticed that political truths are held to be more true than scientific facts for those on the passionate extremes.

How can that be? Because even when they are proven wrong by logic or science, the believer dismisses science or logic rather than give up the belief or the system of beliefs from which it arose.

It happens to both sides to the political asile. Think hippies in the 1960s (or maybe the weathermen underground movement)and tea partiers (or maybe militia groups out to kill cops) in 2009-10 as the extremes.

Since you are a conservative maybe you would like the one where he rips Arianna Huffington.


why the Jones Act has a bug up their ass

Let’s pull the plug on the Jones Act
By Terry Miller and James Carafano
Houston Chronicle

...BLAH BLAH BLAH protectionism BLAH BLAH BLAH...

"Miller is director of the Center for International Trade and Economics at The Heritage Foundation; Carafano is Heritage's senior research fellow for national security."

Another NBC network clown spoon feeding dumbed down Kool-Aid for mindless libs to lap up.
I can't believe anyone is impressed with such a rude dweeb, or confuse such pandering with honest, fair, or balanced reporting or journalism.

amerman, you're just sputtering. Wipe your chin.

Ya, Amerman!

Your friends at Fox News, like Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity are the true brain trust upon whom we should rely!


Sure. If you agree, listen for affirmation. If you disagree, listen for information.

This is why I think everyone should join Glenn Beck University, esp. if they already have a college education. Less than $10/mo.


I'm surprised that he didn't put Seer Stones in there.

Rupert Murdoch, owner of Fox, is C.F.R., so I wouldn't suggest trusting them any more than NBC.

Basically, you've got to get your news by filtering through the internet and alternative media, like talk radio.

Anything else is government propaganda, or corporate propaganda, or both.

This is one of Mr. Haines better moments (hearkens back to some of Ezra Klein's ideas)


going to take them awhile to drill those studs off with that little drill. Seems like whatever the plan was to remove the bolts has been abandoned? Anybody know what is happening?

Man, this is fascinating. I swear, I think they got the thing stuck when they turned there little socket wrench it to tighten instead of loosen . . . did somebody forget the righty-tighty lefty-loosey thingy?

Looks like earlier they had rounded off the flats of one nut and had to use there little Dremmel grinder tool to square 'em back up.

Man, I hope they got a "plan B' for if they can't loosen the nuts.

And by the way, did anybody notice all that tarball looking thing on the top and side of the LMRP cap? Is that parrafin? Asphalt? I guess when that hot oil hits the ice cold seawater, no telling what can precipitate out.

It is hard keeping up with 7 video feeds simultaneously.

BTW, didja hear about the Aggie that thought asphalt was some sort of a rectal disease? Or was a butt crack?

My guess any time you see tar like solid deposits in a well, it is asphaltine deposits, but that's just a guess. I understand the oil is light, about 35 to 37 degrees API, yet it looks pretty black. Which tells me it has asphaltines. Plus it's common for these deep water wells to have it. The wax deposited from light crude is more like a yellow-beige candle wax.

FD, I don't know anything about asphaltines or whatever, but I found the following remark in this NIEHS file on oil cleanup in the GOM http://www.nifc.gov/nicc/logistics/all_hazard_incidents/HASL_8592dnlfile...

initial testing has shown the spill to be a roofing tar spill, not a South Louisiana crude spill

Is that what you are referring to?

delete double post

It is sometimes easier to start a bolt turning by tightening it before loosening it.


Especially on the bigger ones.

Why does that work? It's counter intutitive.

And it seems in the circumstences where it does work, if you just try to loosen the nut, the will result will be a rounded nut but if you tighten first and then loosen, no rounded nut and it you get it off too.

Maybe it's the wrench. Stressed from more use in one direction?

I think they're cleaning the bolt heads of the accumulated crud that has built-up over the past month the LMRP cap has been in place. Those bolts will require a lot of torque to remove, and to enable that kind of torque without rounding the corners of the bolt, the fit between the socket and the bolt is very tight. Since the build-up might prevent the socket from fitting over the bolt heads, they're cleaning them first.

The 'top cap' banging around for so long mushroomed the top of that one bolt, the carbide bit isn't doing anything but cleaning the burrs off so the socket will fit.

All 6 are loose now....bet those ops are relieved!

Not from a drilling background but as a problem solver in commercial HVAC and following this and two other threads (Driller's Club; Flickr blog from USCG ROV/BOP photo) has raised this questions at this point:

From recent descriptions of steps in upgrading to the new containment apparatus, it appears that after the riser stub is removed, the two pipe stubs will be strapped together and some kind cap placed over them--my take being this is aimed at facilitating alignment as the new flange mount is dropped over these to mate with the remaining flange half. I have read elsewhere (Driller's club post) that the new stack will have access from the top for 'retrieval and repairs'.

My question concerns the possibility of subsequent extraction-if need be-of the 'mystery' pipe segment and/or access to the remaining drill pipe. Does anyone know whether this is being planned for? It seems, on the face of it, that they (BP) are about to cover over these pipes in a manner that could preclude-or add serious constraints-to related contingency options.

Sorry if this has been posted before, but AFAIC, the king of all crazy spill kill ideas is

The Bakersfield Vortex:

Anyone who has any familiarity with Neonewtonian physics knows that all this would do is kick up a huge radioactive methane supertornado.

Yes, but it would be our radioactive methane supertornado, exactly what we need to do battle with the toxic Molotov hurricane to come.

All we need now is two tiny Japanese twin girls in a cage and James Cameron to direct it.

You mean David Lynch.

Y'all are killing me with your post, but the sad part is that is the kind of chit ppl around here are buying into, so far these ar just a few of the crazy hypothesis I've heard: radioactive tornados, methane induced tsunami wiping out millions on the Gulf Coast, Corexit eating thru boats, deaths due to the spill which were really drowning deaths, missiles from outer space with toxic chemicals headed to the GOM, boiling toxic water (which I have been swimming in all summer) and that's just a few of the stories I've heard........but I'm sure some might enjoy watching two tiny Japanese twins in a cage:)

No listen - outer space is a vacuum, right? Well all we have to do is connect the BOP to outer space with a really tall pipe, then all the oil will be suctioned away because of the pressure differential!

Well, well, well... I'm here in Bakersfield but have no knowledge of any vortex, other than heat right now, floating round our semi-fair city. Somehow this Cletus sounds a bit familiar, but I can't remember why, yet. We do have our share of different thinkers 'round here, just like anywhere else.

Hello, in case you guys missed it this entire new top hat 10 plan was posted here July 8th by operation oil kill. leave out the new BOP which took almost 2 months to build and use MY PLAN this oil could have been contained for over a month already. I find it disturbing that they don't even know if the BOP will work-OUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Branko Babic whose technology was used to cap half of the burning wells during Bush/Sadaam I was on my radio show on June 16th. He claims he offered his technology multiple times to BP and they basically blew him off with no response.

Got to AroostookWatchmen.com, click "archives", choose the show for June 16th. Fast forward to 25 minutes in, and Mr. Babic is on for the last half hour+.

I'm curious why Mr. Branko Babic doesn't go down to someplace like Houston TX and do a radio interview there? Someplace where there might be a few listeners who actually took part in controlling the wells in Kuwait? People who might be able to verify the validity (or lack therof) of his claims?

No offense intended against Maine, I'm sure it's a great place. Correct me if I'm wrong but my impression is that Maine isn't exactly a hot bed of oil and gas activity, or expertise?

Edited to correct punctuation.

If I am confused pls tell me, but I thought they were replacing the old cap with a new, tighter fitting cap so I am clueless as to why you are talking about whether or not the BOP will work?

I suspect that it is not you that is clueless but the one of whom you speak ;)


Thanks NAOM~I just wanted to ask in case I missed something, since I skim alot of articles it's easy for me to do IYKWIM.

I'm watching the flange unbolting going on right now.
Does anyone know if that riser flange was treated with some kind of wild industrial adhesive as well as bolted onto the BOP? Maybe like some kind of offshore drilling Loc-Tite or JBWeld? If so, it might be a challenge to remove.

They have a custom built splitter tool on hand to open it up.



Any idea why they are polishing the upper part of the flange?

I can see cleaning up the lower part of the flange but what's up with the polish job.

they have already cleaned the nuts/bolts on top of the flange.

I'm really puzzled now.


Hello All,

I have a question about the ROV's and tool design (possibly answered elsewhere...) While the ROV's seem to have amazing maneuverability, they seem to have very limited tool design for the task at hand - the repair of deep water piping which is possibly corroded and/or mangled after an accident. (Presumably part of any disaster response plan.) Their main tools seem to be a 3-fingered claw and a sort of clamp. To do anything except hold on, they have to visit a tool basket and pick up items with poly cords attached to them and try to drop them onto the component - as with the current set of wrenches. I assume that these are a tight fit on land, even when everything is new. Where are the interchangeable tools (and racks) which are common on land-based mills, etc. Where are the bevelled top bolts? Am I missing something? Or, the other day, after very carefully washing the muck off of everything, one dropped the sealing ring (?) off of a bent piece of metal "coat hanger" just before setting it into place. Fortunately, it didn't fall into the mud. I have also seen wire brushes with broken wood handles, etc.

As a second question, as the riser top is finally unbolted, what is the plan for the forec/torque which it will experience as the last few bolts are taken out?

Thank you for your expertise.

On the last question, I don't think they're worried about the torque -- the expectation is that they'll have to pull the top piece off and they've designed two separate pieces to do just that. I suspect the top piece will just sit on the flange until removed.

I also see what looks like a single drill string sticking up into the rising oil stream. Does anyone see a second one (referencing the "figute-8" cut pictures showing a second something)?

I was able to get two clips of the video JamesRWhite posted showing both ends of the severed riser posted to YouTube.

The video showing the end closest to the BOP is here:

The other end is here:

That's the wall of the riser pipe, a flap folded around on itself when it was cut with the giant yellow hydraulic shears.

The Adventures of Sir TinFoil continues. See Sir TinFoil gets his Great Charter rights violated by Sir Like Shrek the large and nice guard. 'Loosely based on a true story' is much stranger than fiction. With video. Where is Sir J. Jackson when you need him? If 50% Korean/50% Creole is not a 'minority' than what in the heck is? I am still recovering from being made by good Sir Police.

Edit: Oh yeah, new Hooter's Girls photos too. My counter is at 40, come on. Where are you DiverDan?

Today's bucket with civil rights violations and Hooter's girls. It was a busy day.


TFHG: And you are worried about a little oil on your beach?

Might be difficult to get excited about watching ROV's working on bolts!

The view from Ocean Intervention ROV 1 shows one of the bolts being slowly removed.

Very clever design for the wrench. It appears to be a sort-of hydraulic ratchet wrench, with a cycle-time for each "click" of the ratchet at about 1 minute.

At that rate, it would take quite a while to completely remove each bolt. I wonder if this tool is only meant to break the bolts loose, an another tool will be used to more quickly remove them.

Ahh, they use one of the ROV's manipulators to simply grab the top of the loosened bolt and spin it.

Three months of this, 11 lives directly and who knows the indirect human casualties, $20 billion, incalcuable environmental damage and we're sitting here watching the operation fail because of a stripped bolt?

Oh what a world, what a world.

I particularly liked the part where they used the wrist of the ROV arm as a hammer to help set the wrench in place.


That was a laugh-or-cry moment. It actually looked like the temper tantrum I might hav--er, some people might have, with a lug wrench on a flat tire. I'm glad you mentioned it because I was afraid I was hallucinating.

Defiantly a real LOL moment here. Thought it was a video stutter then the second whack went in. They REALLY need to develop a better bolt/wrench system for the future with some sort of lead in system.


Minor leagues compared to the spaceman on a stick routine. Old joke. What is a specimen? An Italian astronaut.

Forgive me for digressing ...

Today at 12:00 MDT (my time zone) I turned on CNN to get an update on the status of the LMRP Cap removal (which had been completed approx 20 minutes earlier.) Here is the transcript of the news report:


Aired July 10, 2010 - 14:00 ET

A look at our top story -- day 82 of the oil disaster. And right now, take a look at this live underwater picture of the spewing well head. Anytime now BP is expected to begin removing the containment cap on the well so they can actually replace it with a tighter cap that could cut off nearly all of that spewing oil.


The LIVE picture that she referred to showed the cap still on! It was actual video feed. It's bad enough that she made reference to plans to remove the cap when it had in fact already been removed but it is beyond belief that the live picture was not live at all.

I realize that CNN (and many other outlets) are suspect, as they confuse gallons with barrels, millions with billions, and have a habit of making mistakes on technical aspects of wellhead components and procedures. But this error (or whatever it was) is ridiculous! I emailed them in my disgust but doubt that I will hear back.


/rant off

Does anyone have a link to a page that shows all (12?) ROV cameras on one screen? Like the one BP had before Uncle Sam took over?


To remove the bolts of the flange, you need to turn each bolt 1/16" until all bolts are loose! Will let you figure out why.

That's not what they're doing. Once each bolt is "cracked" loose, they use a manipulator to make a quick two to four turns of the bolt, and extract it about half an inch.

I assume you're thinking about some kind of pressure that would separate the flanges if the bolts were extracted too quickly, but since the pipe is open -- okay, it's crimped a bit -- there is probably very little pressure trying to separate the flanges.

No. Flanges are bolted up in a pattern, just like the bolts on your car tire rims. Just think of a star pattern. You want the bolts to be tighten evenly. You also remove bolts in the same pattern. If you loosen or remove four bolts in a row you then put all the pressure or torque on the remaining two bolts. They will come out if you have a bigger torque wrench. The wrenches they are using look a little small IMO. For the $$$ they are spending per hour you would think they could afford some new wrenches and sockets. The whole world is watching this screw up.

all 6 of the bolts are loose, so those "small" wrenches did their job, with relative ease....

I’m sure I’m going to get the verbal slap down for going against the grain, but here it goes…

Sure, there are folks that have some outlandish ideas but some of the most intelligent people I’ve known have been borderline bonkers. This is a non-liner problem of the first magnitude and something that has not occurred in oil drilling, at this scale, with this set of dynamics.

My opinion is that, in general, people are very tunnel vision and some don’t try to expand outside of their comfort zone or step back and consider a possibility that seems completely unrealistic. Perhaps they don’t know the answer, it’s too scary to consider or it’s just outside of their “normal”, so they dismiss it as a possibility before they really disprove it.

Who knows what’s going to happen, I, for one, don’t want to see a repeat of the DW incident and I know that by reading these posts over the last week or so none of you do either. Hopefully, the scientists and BP folks have considered all possibilities. I have a feeling they have.

I’m only asking stupid questions out of my own selfish curiosity. So, can anyone answer the following outlandish questions, maybe a chemist knows the answer:

What is the possibility of an electrostatic, electromagnetic reaction or electrostatic induction?

Is the use of fluorometry standard? You may ask yourself why am I’m asking….#1 Physicists are on the team, which is an important clue (Think Chu . I don’t know if any of you recall a while back, the gamma ray examination of the BOP but I believe it was Mr. Chu’s idea. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_Chu) and #2 the letter sent to Admiral Allen yesterday…read the last sentence carefully, do you see the mention of fluorometry ? It becomes a bit garbled in context because the wording is mixed with the dispersant obligation. However, I think it is significant.

I think we, on the outside who are looking inside the glass house don’t have all the information but it sure has been interesting to try to take a creative guess.

Here are my some of my favorite quotes from the great Albert Einstein:

“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”

“There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.”

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”


Since you've asked twice with no takers, I'll bite.

* 'possibility of an electrostatic, electromagnetic reaction or electrostatic induction?' I'm not a chemist, but spent 20+ years in petrochemicals. Since most hydrocarbons are poor electrical conductors, generation, build-up, and discharge of static electricity is a concern. For this reason, when liquid streams are discharged into a tank or pressure vessel, they are usually introduced near the bottom to reduce splashing and turbulence. Of course, great care is also taken to make sure air/oxygen is not present so that even if a static discharge occurred, ignition would not take place. Also, most piping and equipment in hydrocarbon processing is metallic so that any charge build-up is effectively grounded. Since the casings in a well are well grounded (pardon the pun) and sea water is an excellent conductor and also grounded, the probability of a static build-up and discharge in the WW are minute. Your earlier posts seem to be fishing for some kind of exotic chemical or electrochemical explosion. I think most or all of the posters on TOD 'in the know' would agree that the damage to the well was caused by simple mechanical loads of pressure and velocity acting internally or externally. (The word 'simple' is not meant to imply that the system dynamics due to mass flow, pressure, temperature, flashing, etc. are known exactly or that the loads are small.)

* 'fluorometry standard?' I had to look up the word. In case i'm not the only one who doesn't know, it's also known as fluorescence spectroscopy. Generally uses an ultraviolet beam to cause a sample to fluoresce. Then the fluorescent emissions are analyzed and information about the sample can be inferred. I don't know if fluorometry has application to the WW. It may have in the context of analyzing the oil/gas/dispersant. But in the next sentence you introduce gamma ray examination of the BOP. I don't know how much it is used in exploration and production, but gamma ray inspection is used every day in downstream facilities, usually to inspect welds in pipe and equipment. It's simple in principle: film is placed on one side of the item to be inspected, and a gamma ray source, a radioactive isotope or x-ray source on the other. This produces a picture, very similar to a medical x-ray. In addition to weld inspections, I know of cases where x-rays have been used to trouble shoot equipment, for example, to check valve internals without removing the valve from service. I don't know if the idea to 'shoot' the BOP to try to determine what was where internally was Dr. Chu's idea or not, but regardless, it was hardly a technological leap. (Although for the metal thickness involved, they must have used a strong source or long exposure! And I never had to place film from a mile away.)


Looks like they are polishing it with a wire brush. Anyone guess why?

My guess is contingencies ?
One pending issue could be oil sneaking out the gap, as they unbolt further,which would be real bad for visibility.
If this happens, some skirt may be needed to deflect the plumes.

They also have some tool ready to prise-off, in case the opposite occurs, and they remove all bolts and it stays seriously stuck.
Time for another whack with a rover-arm ;)

In both cases, clean edges will be helpful.

They are attempting to prove that you can polish a turd.

One guess might be that the device to pull the flange shown in the animation needs a fairly exact edge to link up properly.
Looks like the edge got beat up some from the tail of the unbolting tool. So maybe they need to polish out the parts that stick out.

De-burr, de-coke after the cap bouncing around and smothering it in oil is my thought.


They're only removing the paint from the upper flange. Could it be that this is to better delineate the seam between the upper and lower flanges in case they need to use the Flange Splitting Tool shown on page 4 of the newest Kent Wells update?

Alternatively, is it possible that the Flange Removal Tool will grab the upper flange by arc welding to its perimeter, and that requires clean metal?

Reno, Thanks for the link to the latest Wells update. From the picture of the flange splitting tool it looks like it has two edges, like semi-circles that must line up precisely between the top and bottom flange. Then hydraulics are applied to split open the joint. This would be a good reason to clean up that line so the splitter can be aligned to that thin groove between the two flanges.

It was satisfying to be vindicated in my observation that there were two pipes in the cut riser, against the better judgment of some of the old pros here. Extensive training sometimes makes it hard to think out of the box. The more I looked at diagrams of well bores, the more silly my own observations seemed. There is no normal reason to have two pipes side by side in a well hole. But this sure as hell ain't no normal situation..

MMS Offshore drilling regulation 57893.a:

BOP flanges shall be polished clean with wire brush or similar device on a monthly basis.

I would think the flange they are polishing is going in the junk pile as so as they get it off.

Makes no sense to shine it up to throw away.

What am i missing?

They're getting off any fingerprints...

I'm sure this piece will be joining the cut riser already in New Orleans, where it is being held as evidence in the ongoing investigation.

To be serious ... I imagine it's to the ease the path for the tool that is going to remove it. (But I was serious about New Orleans as the destination.)

Dr Chu's gamma ray blasts welded the flanges tight.

They now hope that once the paint and tar coatings are removed, H2S will chew the polished flange away.

I think they should polish BOTH edges, (not just the removed one) as the polishing certainly helps visibility, and when the NEXT cap is being fitted, being able to see the remaining flange edge, amongst the plumes, will be kind-of-important!

Is there a website that has "running commentary" of what is being shown by the ROV cameras?


Any idea of how the progress is going? Have they gotten stuck on anything?

I sure hope they can start running the helix tonight, it's scheduled on the graph to start up about now.

A post further up says

[2:13pm] ["All 6 are loose now....bet those ops are relieved!"]

so that would be called good progress, and no nasty gotchas...

The multiple camera views gives me a better idea of what is going on...thanks for the link.

I assume that the "work" is being done by sub-contractors and, not being too snarky, but what does BP do other than put together fancy briefing packets and PR conferences. From what little that I know about the lead up to the blow out, it was the BP engineer/admin guy. who was overruling the guys from Transocean, Halliburton, Schlumberger, etc. and pushing for short cuts to save time and money.

While I was watching the 9/11 disaster unfold, my major concern was for the people above the fire. How can they be rescued? After a while my concerns were moot. It is always the event that you don't cannot foresee that bites you in the ass.

Which pipe is the enterprise-ROV 1 showing being cut by a circular saw??

I would guess that it is a standby, or already used, cap. Looking at the accretions it might be the old cap.
Correction, they are re-positioning the existing pipes for future use with the new cap.

Flange bolts now being removed...moving right along