BP's Deepwater Oil Spill - the 3-ram stack - and open thread 2

This thread is being closed. Please comment on http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6726.

After a relatively long and technically difficult process BP has managed to locate and install the three-ram Lower Stack on the flowing well in the Gulf. At the same time the viewing site has been changed, so that the feeds from all 14 ROVs can be seen together. The view from Skandi ROV2 shows the flow from the well is now issuing from the segment of drill pipe left at the top of the stack, after the installing drill pipe was disconnected.

Flow from the top of the 3-ram stack at 10:45 pm Eastern Monday – the color is due to the injection (through the white feed) of the dispersant into the flow.

Just as a reminder, this is how the assembly looks underneath this drill pipe.

The White cylinder above the yellow transition spool is designated by Cameron (who make it) as a Cameron HC 18¾-in., 10000 psi connector, with the HC designation standing for High Capacity. Inside it looks like this:

BP held a press conference on Monday in which they commented on the problems noted on Sunday with the Helix Producer feed, and that these had been fixed.

We did encounter two problems which created some delay yesterday. One was with issues on a hydraulic control line for a valve (so that it couldn’t work) and the second was a leak in the methanol system. Both of those issues have been resolved and we will be starting up the helix producer later today. It will likely take several days to ramp up to a full capacity, which is at about 25,000 barrels a day, which with the Q4000 would give us a total capacity of around 33,000 barrels a day of containment.

BP also admitted to a slight problem that delayed the installation of the 3-ram stack today, though as with the flow line problem it has also been fixed to allow the installation which was completed after the press conference.

We did have a problem with the deployment real (sic) on the Inspiration. We had a backup plan and moved to that backup plan and will be attaching the cap later this morning.

With the stack in position, the next step is to connect up the hydraulics, so that the power can be applied to the rams and that they will close the flow. This is some of what is going on with the array of other ROVs whose operations are now available for monitoring.

Prior to that I suspect that they will, Monday evening, check the flow of oil through the kill line to the Helix Producer, to ensure that it can handle the flow, and that this will occur concurrent with the flow to the Q4000. Once those numbers have been confirmed, and the flow conditions validated, the shear rams will be closed. I would suspect that this will happen first, since it will increase the pressure in the well somewhat, as the flow path out is restricted to the kill and choke circuits. Then, after checking to ensure that the well is retaining its integrity – no leaks into the surrounding rock through the casing or any other of the horrific disasters that have floated through comments over the past few weeks – the flow to the choke and kill will slowly be closed. As they are closed the pressure in the well will continue to be monitored, together with the flow out of the two lines. (Having now read the full transcript I note that BP are going to do it the other way around, closing the rams last instead of first. Well I think it might be more logical to do it the other way, but they know more about the relative benefits of the choice than I).

If the pressure continues to rise (indicating no leaks) as the flow trails to zero, then the well will have been shut-in. The flow will have stopped, and a test will be run, for a planned 48 hours to ensure that all the seals are holding.

At that time I expect that the choke and kill lines may re-open, but without there being some unforeseen incident, I do not expect the rams to re-open. Once the well stops pumping out oil into the Gulf, the political difficulties in restarting that flow un-necessarily are considerable. And if there is a problem then in addition to the choke and kill lines the riser to the Enterprise can be re-connected, and take 15,000 bd up the pipe, for a total system capacity of around 50,000 bd without letting any more oil out into the water.

If the current tests are successful, then the risks of additional leakage into the Gulf during a Hurricane are also going to be greatly reduced, and the pressure on the relief well becomes a little less.

We’re now at 17,840 feet. We’ve completed our eleventh ranging run to locate the original well bore, we’re approximately five feet away from that well and we’re about 30 feet vertically from the point at which we’ll set casing. We expect the casing operation to begin this coming weekend.

Work on the second relief well has now been stopped with the current end cased and cemented, until circumstances indicate that it will be needed.

The process to cement the last casing was also reviewed

. . . we’ll get to the final casing point. Then we actually do what we call open up the hole. We just make the hole a little larger so that we can run the casing and cement it in place. After we do that we’ll run some logs, which are basically tell us about the cement bond log, tell us about making sure everything’s right. And then we’ll prepare to start to drill out and we’ll have done a BOP test before doing, so there's a fair amount of work to do before we sort of start to drill out.

And then we’ve got about another hundred feet to go, is what we’re anticipating before we intersect the Macondo well, and of course that will be plus or minus, it won't be exactly a hundred feet. But it will be in that range. But we would drill that very precisely doing a number of ranging runs. And that will all take time so that’s why you’ve heard me talk before. I anticipateus intercepting the Macondo well sometimes toward the end of July and then the kill procedure, the kill and cementing procedure, depending upon where the flow is, analysis, casing or boat, could be anywhere from a number of days to a few weeks to do that.

Incidentally in the press conference on Sunday morning Kent Wells noted that each of the bolts on the flange of the riser weighed 52 lbs.

In the afternoon briefing they also noted that there was only one piece of drill pipe found in the BOP, at the moment no-one knows what happened to the second piece of pipe.

And for those who, like me, have some difficulty working out which camera is showing what, here are some additional shots of the stack (h/t Mark Moore), from different angles, so that some of the component locations may be clearer.

And this is the main control panel, with the ability to operate the valves with the ROVs made rather evident. I suspect this picture was taken a little while ago, and the port cut for a valve with a cutting torch has been cleaned up a little since then.

Prof. Goose's comment:

New stuff in this introductory comment, 1 JUL 10.

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

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

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

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

Some have asked, why do the shut in now? I'd say it should be done to know if the well can be shut in. This way if there's a storm and the collection vessels have to disconnect, the well can be shut in.

Another reason why I would shut in the well would be to avoid depleting the reservoir(s). This could lead to different sands having different reservoir pressures, different frac gradients (frac gradient will drop as the reservoir pressure is depleted), and possibly having the well evolve into even higher gas oil ratios. I don't have the pressure/volume/temperature studies to simulate the potential for the gas oil ratio to increase, but it is possible.

A final reason to shut in the well is to obtain information to understand how much oil has been produced. This is part of a material balance data set which can be used to establish the volume of oil produced INDEPENDENT OF THE OIL RATE MEASUREMENTS. The premise would be that all of the pay zone is in one single reservoir, and they'll have some uncertainty due to water influx, but it's useful data.

On the other hand, as the well pressure climbs at the wellhead, it's true something could pop. But I assume they have confidence that, if it hasn't popped by now, it won't do it if they do a build up.

I would do the quick shut in, run listening devices in the relief wells to see if there's any movement of fluids, and then open the well and produce it at variable rates to get the data to pin down the earlier flows. I would do this while listening with the relief wells, and this could be really useful to understand what's going on. Later, after the data is collected, I would produce the well to keep the wellhead pressures down, but keep the rate at say 10,000 BOPD. This would also make the gas flares a lot easier to deal with.

But I assume they have confidence that, if it hasn't popped by now, it won't do it if they do a build up.

The reasoning behind this statement escapes me.
For 85 days this has been a freeflowing well, what makes them confident of anything?

I don't know how free flowing it has been, because I don't have the pressure information from the top kill operation. I assume they pumped at high rates, and had pressure drops across the BOP valves and crimped riser, to allow them to get some pressure data. In other words, I assume they would not build up excessively beyond what they already saw. And I do think the other considerations I listed offset the fear of breaching the well if it isn't breached at this point.

None of what BP has made public has been worth the pixels it's been written with.
The best info we have on this subject is that BP has totally underestimated this well.
As wonderful as the 3 ram sounds, prudence MUST be the order of the day.


"We had surface treating pressures exceeding 10,000 psi" @ 1:29

So we've been there (10,000 psi), done that. So what's the Effing Holdup????????? Oh the boss of the Flow Committee, Marcia McNutt, wants to collect some seismic data, WHILE THE OIL CONTINUES TO LEAK OUT.


I agree to the necessity of the well to be shut in. I agree with Dimitry and a few others here as to why now the sudden talk of doing the test as a **let's see if we can** and any questions answered as to why have been vague. It would be good to hear reasoning relating to the next storm coming and the need to disconnect without additional oil dumping into the GoM. I am not someone who thinks I always have the need to know. Need to know should be in many cases based on **a need to know basis**. There has only been talk about the questioned integrity of the well casing etc. and as they (BP) prepares to install the new control device there's talk of shutting in the well. With everything I have read here and through research I question the sanity of the USCG and BP? Who is following who on this idea? The one item in question that's been mentioned is the flex joint. If it's rated to 6000 psi on the high side and probably tested to 2x that pressure then it will probably be OK. But if one takes into consideration the flex joint has been beat to hell and back then someone should rethink (maybe just think) about their decision to shut in the well.

I think another area of concern would be the status of RW#1. If they have drilled within four feet (parallel) and one hundred fifty to two hundred feet (vertical) of the intended intersect point isn't it possible shutting in or attempting to shut in the WW could cause problems with the RW? I have read the comments on the positive affects of having the WW shut in when they start pumping mud from the RW. A little insurance is always good to have handy but it seems they are prepared to blow their chances.

It seems BP is again betting the long shot.

Numerical analysis does not support your position.

The "test" will expose the upper well/wellhead/BOP to pressures over twice that is likely required for successful execution of the bottom kill via relief wells.

The latter remains our best hope for permanently shutting down this well.

The risk of the "test" is to further damage the upper well/wellhead/BOP, to a point where successful relief well execution is impossible and successful "production" is impossible.

The pressure has to climb at the wellhead - that is the sign that the wellhead can take the pressure. It is a sudden (as in no warning) drop in pressure that will be the indication that you just killed your only way out of this nightmare, essentially out of curiosity and corporate financial bravado.

I originally thought the 3 ram was put in place to recover more oil from the BOP.(been in a remote locale the last few weeks)
Today I read they want to shut in a well that has been wildcatting for 3 months. At the wellhead.

It is a sudden (as in no warning) drop in pressure that will be the indication that you just killed your only way out of this nightmare

Actually that would be the part where you wake up and find out that it wasn't just a bad dream.

Dimitry - You apparently do not understand the bottom kill process. They will inject mud into the RW 5,000 ft above the BOP on the WW. Trying to dynamically balance the two wells would be problematic, especially compared to pumping in 14 ppg mud through the RW and letting it fill the WW up to sea level. You would then have a simple U-tube with equal density mud in both sides, and therefor equal heights (e.g. right at sea level). At that point the static pressure on the BOP is exactly that which existed status quo ante, 5'000 feet of 14 ppg mud, or 3,750 psi. Putting in 14 ppg mud would also avoid fracturing the formation. If they tried to balance the wells with the current 2,250 psi at the BOP, they would need to use heavier mud and could fracture the formation. So it is the safest way to implement the RW and since they have already exposed the BOP to over 10,000 psi during the top kill, without gas erupting from the sea floor, this is the safest way to proceed.

Now all we have to do is get permission from Marcia McNumbnuts!!

They don't inject mud "5000 ft above the BOP on the WW", the injection point is at the BOTTOM of the WW where the RW is intersected. Or is what you are trying to say is that there is the 5000 ft of drill pipe above the BOP all the way to the drill platform that is also filled with mud? 14ppg mud is below what I've seen calculated here, it needs to be closer to 15, maybe more to kill the WW. The exact weight they need is stil TBD, maybe the drilling crew knows but I've seen nothing published. Where did you get 2250 psi at the BOP? I think that is low. You don't have to fill the WW up completly with mud you just have to kill the formation flow and how much that takes depends on the mud weight that can be pumped w/o damaging the formation, it may be completely full, it may be a kill pill of a few 100's or 1000's of feet of the "heavy" mud whatever it takes. Shutting in the WW via the new BOP stack would help a LOT, in fact that if that works then the RW is still needed but it becomes easier as you don't lose mud out the top from the fluids flow up the well carrying mud away from where you need it. That makes the hydrostatic pressure of the mud in the WW constant and the kill easier (assuming it's not leaking into the formation.

Can't say I like the idea of quick shut in then let off. I would be much happier the other way around. Watch for signs of letting go and back of if they happen. No, I really don't like the idea of sudden pressure rise. If you can convince me it can be done safely and there are good oil field reasons why it can I will be happy to change my mind but from general engineering it does not look like the way to go and increases the risk. I do agree that the idea of being able to shut in is highly desirable IF it does not cause further failures.


"Neither the coast guard nor BP gave any indication about when the tests might now begin..."


A great Forum and a wealth of knowledge here
I often find something that makes we want to go back and check things out, and moving back in this forum is a real problem at times since nodes are not in Sequential order.
When a thread is closed you place this:

This thread is being closed. Please comment on thread http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6725.

That is good,
But when a new thread is opened would it be possible to place something like this at top of page:

This thread is a Continuation of thread http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6722.

Just a thought.

To fdoleza IRT http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6722#comment-675650

I guess people can't relate to it unless they've seen a mother who lost her son break down in front of you.

Especially when it's your mother.

I think we should have a minute of silence for the 11 guys killed when the well blew out.

I'd prefer a criminal investigation.

Sigh..this has been beat to death here.. you can't bring Criminal charges against a company. And you can't charge the execs either unless you got some serious proof they knew that the incident was going to occur and did nothing. You going to hold the BP "company man" that was on DWH personally liable (assuming he is a survivor) as the fall guy for the company?

You CAN hold BP the company negligent and sue for damages including for wrongful deaths. Not like BP hasn't been there before after the Texas City Refinery explosion a couple years ago.

That was then.
The SCOTUS recently bestowed rights to corporations previously reserved for individuals.
Along with rights come responsibilities.
Never underestimate the long arm of the law.
A previously unassailable figure, "King" Kwame Kilpatrick, former mayor of Detroit, appeared in federal court today adorned with prison orange and leg shackles.
His momma is a congressperson.
Want to beat it to death some more?

Spaceman wrote:

The SCOTUS recently bestowed rights to corporations previously reserved for individuals.

The SCOTUS recently restored the right of individuals to act collectively as they can individually, a right previously protected by the Bill of Rights -- ("Congress shall make NO law abridging the freedom of Speech") -- for the first 215 years of the nation's history until being violated by McCain-Feingold in 2002.

Nasa, just to correct the error, you can bring criminal charges against a corporation under some laws and in fact BP is a twice convicted felon and was on probation at the time of the blow-out.

Moreover, the department of justice has opened a criminal investigation into the incident.

Since a corporation doesn't vote and doesn't have a body to punish by imprisonment bringing criminal charges is kind of nonsensical. Maybe the corporate reputation takes a hit, maybe sales dip some but it's not like going to prison for years as with an individual. All it does is really establish "guilt" that can be carried over to any civil cases and perhspa a fine. Any criminal charges filed have to meet the standard of proof requried which is far higher than in civil court. Wikipedia handles it pretty well I think, but the laws seem to derive from court decisions not anything in the US Code

It's an interesting point of law and I can see good arguments on both sides. It seems to be kind of a recent trend in law to charge corporations criminally.

Bob Kaluza is the company man who arguably should be prosecuted. He was on the DWH that day, on shift that morning and afternoon. He survived. He also plead the Fifth rather than testify during the Coast Guard/MMS investigation.

Now we're getting somewhere.
Who was his boss?

I have witnessed first hand how corps "regulate" themselves.
Were it not for the fear of a higher authority, most of us here(apologists excluded, so they think) would have a lifestyle worse than a chicom slave laborer.

Just because you take the fifth does not mean you are guilty. It means you talked to counsel and listened.

Correct, but pleading the Fifth does allow an adverse inference instruction in civil proceedings, which could be useful to victims using the civil process. I don't know who his boss was, except that the boss was in Houston and that Don Vidrine was the other company man on that hitch, and he was on duty when the blowout happened. He was standing right by the eds panel, apparently not having tried to activate it, when subsea supervisor Chris Pleasant ran to the bridge to eds.

Although we cannot conclude Kaluza is guilty of a crime, there by God ought to be an investigation. Otherwise, this country disrespects the memory of eleven dead men.

Total incompetence.
Which seems to be the distinguishing characteristic of todays corporate mid management.
When folks like NASAWatch try to gloss over peoples rage it certainly points to them being one.
Or a wannabe.

back off the ad hominen attacks...RAGE is emotional response which dims after a while, the law doesn't know emotion, it only knows FACTS. Laws may be changed or passed based on short term emotions but that has proven to not be a good thing as they are commonly full of holse. That's why I say it depends on what the investigations find out, it takes the emotinal component away and allows proper guilt to be determined. Then in the punishment phase the emtional can be reapplied in setting damages. But beware of that as SCOTUS has said setting damages too high compared to the "crime" is an area for appeal. I think they said this in the Exxon Valdez case.

You mean the ESD (Emergency ShutDown) Panel.

Excellent point. It's often the prudent thing to do for an innocent person, and it is one reason why the founding fathers put it in the constitution. But there must be a legitimate potential basis for criminal prosecution of the witness before she can invoke the right.

The head corrosion engineer at BP Alaska also took the 5th during the investigation of the 2006 Prudhoe spill. I read somewhere recently that he is still employed by BP in Houston. Apparently at BP, taking the 5th is not a CEM ("career ending move").

EDIT - Just found the link on ProPublica:

Years of Internal BP Probes Warned That Neglect Could Lead to Accidents


The deeper you dig the greater the stink.

I thot Kaluza was the guy out there to 'learn about deep water' and that the Sr. Coman was Vidrine.

Also - some early reports that the Coman didn't want to do the displacement but caved to what the engineers in Houston wanted. That was from an early email quoting one of the survivors.

From NASAWatch:

Sigh..this has been beat to death here.. you can't bring Criminal charges against a company.

Please explain:

BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. has pleaded guilty to one felony count related to the illegal disposal of hazardous waste on Alaska's North Slope, and it agreed to spend $22 million to resolve the criminal case and related civil claims.


FYI, BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. is a company. Pleading guilty to a felony is considered a criminal conviction.

Edit Addition: Jury instruction: "If you think that a witness has deliberately testified inaccurately in some respect, you should carefully consider whether you should rely upon any of that witness's testimony."

Had this made the first week in May.

Yes that is my back. That is all the world will see.

The shirt is good, TFHG, but what's with the cloth hat?

TinFoil is on the inside. Would not want to be identified.

Nike. Rejoice we conquer. The Evil Commissioner De Pope has been defeated. I now have WRITTEN pledges from three Commissioners/Commissioner elects out of four to implement a burial only as last resort policy for the Magnolia landfill. That no out of town oily wastes be accepted at that landfill. I now increase my odd of success to 80%. I just hope above ground recycling and mitigation does not cause increased hazard to the community. This is a new situation. At the end of the day however, it sure does sound better to tell your kids you processed the oily waste, not bury it for unknown future issues. Go eco-tourism friendliness.

TFHG, way to go! I have to get over to your blog to read about it. Post the link again, io forgot it.

Blog is at http://gcn01.com . Will write a new essay after I talk with the candidates and media.
You can call me names. You can steal all I own except for the land. You can mess with anything except my community and kin. You mess with the land and the kin, "It's on, like Donkey Kong." Love those redneck sayings.

TFHG; Thank you. I think the laws are being stretched when it comes to this HC waste in particular. I think the waste in question falls to far outside of what's written in the EPA guidelines and needs a a new look by someone other than a lobbyist.

We have a few top notch folks around here, but my choice is the Princess of Light. That is the female environmental engineer from a large county in Not Florida who took a chance and told me the truth. That burying the oily waste was a terrible PR move for little or no cost savings. Once we get the new policies in place, I plan to drive to that county and personally present her with a trophy and a bound copy of my essays. She still will probably never know what she really did. After that I plan to start raising hell at ALL landfills accepting oily waste.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. Edmund Burke.

This might sound stupid, but why not ship the oily sand to Alberta? Or other location where there are tar sands being produced?

Well done, keep going. Next step, find recycler and link the 2 sides up?


As long as we either become the recyclers or audit the recyclers. Did you see my photos of leaking WM dumpsters and using ones labeled recycle use only?

Like I said, "It's on, like Donkey Kong."

From my bucket: http://s892.photobucket.com/albums/ac126/tinfoilhatguy/GS-OB%20July%2020...

Yes I did hence my comment about the recycler. You don't want that stuff building up and leaking because 1) bad for the environment 2) People will start saying bury it (out of sight out of mind principle). I'd come and root with you but I'm about 1300 miles away. Best I can do is throw some ideas and support.


NSCB Corral

A reasonable precaution to take for ALL offshore Drilling Well Vessels (DWVs). The DWV will be surrounded by anchored barges, each of which will be loaded with North Sea Capacity Booms (NSCB - defined as capable of containing oil in moderate seas. ie a continuous float with "sails" several feet above and below the float to inhibit floating oil from going above/below the float in rough weather.) Think in terms of a horse corral with the barges acting as fence posts and the booms as fence rails.

The distance from the DWV and number of NSCBs shall be determined by the depth of the water and estimated likely range of rising oil reaching the surface.

For example in the case of the Macondo (mile deep), I would require say a 3 mile radius with say a dozen barges, which would require about 8,000' of NSCB on each barge (100,000' total NSCB). Presumably the oil is surfacing wthin a 2 mile radius (mile deep with 2 mile current). A shallow water rig would only need 3 or 4 barges and a few thousand feet of NSCB.

In the (unlikely) event of a major spill or escape, a boat would pull the NSCB off an anchored barge (the NSCB would be folded on the barge to be pulled off much the same way fire hose is on a fire truck) and connect it to a neighboring barge. The barge (or boat) would have a large volume air compressor to inflate the NSCB after connected. As many booms as thought needed could be readily implemented, up to a complete encirclement if necessary.

The Boom Corral is only a one time expense (barges and NSCBs) and don't have to be manned except if needed in the event of a spill or during rig moves. Barges themselves could be pretty much bare bones with only a small 10 or 20 hp donkey engine on board to run an anchor winch and compressor if needed to inflate the NSCB. And a "roof" or cover over the NSCBs to eliminate sun damage. No other amenities necessary.

A significant advantage to using barges (fence posts) between booms is there is no anchor (line) drag/weight on the booms themselves to pull them under during strong currents (winds). The anchor barges assume all that. Plus they are containmment capacity right on site. No need to wait days/weeks/months like this time.

The bulk (all?) of escaping oil would be thoroughly contained allowing a skimmer to operate efficiently. No room for A Whale to operate but plenty for a 200' long skimmer vessel with (Koreg) collection arms without interfering with rig traffic (which would come through a "gate" in the corral if deployed).

Compared to the cost of a rig (half a billion or more) the corral is only tenths of pennies. Amortized over the dozens of wells drilled it would be less than that even. Cheap to maintain, cheap to move. Cheap but darn good insurance.

(Note I (over)used the cumbersome acronym NSCB to clearly distance the type of boom I am talking about here from the flimsy only minimally effective booms we see in most videos.)

Not a bad concept, but the use of barges in deep water would seem to be somewhat impractical. It makes more sense to have a set of fast ships with the booms loaded aboard, and have the drilling location ringed with anchors, with tension tethers set up to serve as anchor points for the booms. An anchor hexagon can be set up with piles, and when the well is finished the piles can remain for the production phase.

I also like my own idea, to have a SUPERDOME set up to plunk down on top of a wild well with a damaged BOP. The more I think of it, the bigger and nastier I want to make it. By now I think it should be 100 ft in diameter, and 60 ft tall, with 20 ft skirts. As far as I'm concerned it can be made of titanium with two riser connections, built in flanges, and wet connectors for electric heaters, and all sorts of sensors. If nothing else works, a crane ship brings it over, drops it on the well, and the two riser connections can be used to take the crude to the surface.

We also need TWO new giant skimming ship, the "Kevin Costner" and the "Rachel Madow", equipped with giant hydrocyclones and built in flare stacks, and a gizmo they tow behind to swallow oil in 500 yard wide gulps.

Finally, to keep the onshore guys happy, we just need two giant incinerator ships to burn all that toxic waste, equipped with 1000 ft tall stacks to make sure the smoke goes way up and drifts all the way to China.

but the use of barges in deep water would seem to be somewhat impractical.

Why is it "impractical"? It's a lot cheaper than anything else. And is as KISS as it gets, especually for a fast emergency response. Two guys in a dinghy could do the job (almost). They literally could be inplace in an hour or two after an emergency.

It makes more sense to have a set of fast ships with the booms loaded aboard, and have the drilling location ringed with anchors, with tension tethers set up to serve as anchor points for the booms. An anchor hexagon can be set up with piles, and when the well is finished the piles can remain for the production phase.

While that sounds good, first off the cost of a "fast boat" with booms loaded aboard would be literally magnitudes more expensive, especially if they had to carry 100,000'+ of boom. And especially over time, given the cost of having at least 3+ crews paid full time for each. True one boat could conceivably cover a number of rigs (like a fire company example) but is of little value should there be more than one spill needed at a time. Using the barge concept, each rig would carry its own boom capacity so theoretically if 3 or wells popped at the same time, each could handle itself (not considering skimmer capability).

Not to say there shouldn't be something like a Fire (Boom) Dept (there should) but in the case of say being called out to cover a tanker spill at the same time as a rig spill... The on call "boomers" shuold be in addition to, not instead of.

I also like my own idea, to have a SUPERDOME set up to plunk down on top of a wild well with a damaged BOP. ...

I think everybody knows that is NEVER going to happen. And if it did, would probably prove to be impractical. And would take weeks to set up and have to be big enough to cover an entire drilling rig in the event the rig sank on top of the well. And ... and ... In the meantime, 10,000's bpd are spewing into open water.

Whereas either of the ideas above (anchors in place or better yet barges in place with heavy booms on board) can be implemented within hours, or a day or two at most, limiting the damage potential of the spill. The barges in place could certainly be done within hours, giving the most protection for the least cost.

Actually just thinking about it, a combination of both ideas would be even better. Have the barges in place while drilling (most chance of a blowout), then leave the anchors there with bouys attached jic they are needed for a production well failure. (Where your mobile boom boats can attach to.)

As for

We also need TWO new giant skimming ship, the "Kevin Costner" and the "Rachel Madow",.. equipped with 1000 ft tall stacks to make sure the smoke goes way up and drifts all the way to China.

All well and good to poke fun but, really it belittles/deflects serious discussion. I have developed pretty fair respect for your posts, fd, (I don't skip them like I do many others), but I think you diminish your standing with flippancy.

Sorry, i wasn't beeing flippant. I think naming the ships after famous liberal wonks would be a good propaganda move. The 1000 ft tall stacks was intended to signal they need to throw money at it like there's no tomorrow, because there may be no tomorrow.

Regarding the barges, I suggest you look up the anchoring requirements for a barge loaded with large booms in 7500 ft of water. Finally, the idea of having a set of barges around each ongoing drilling operation is impractical. I think you can end up fouling lines, and creating more problems than you solve. Or do you want to use dynamically positioned barges?

In the closed discussion, Gobbet said:

The EPA has a purity requirement of 15 ppm for discharged water, which seems ill-advised under the circumstances. Tank barges that milk the skimmers of oil-water mix have to make the 10+ hour run to port with tanks carrying 90% slightly polluted seawater. The rule has been modified to allow water to be returned upstream of the collection device for some skimmers.

We've gone round and round, but in this I can COMPLETELY agree! What after all does 15/1,000,000th look like as a percentage? I place this SQUARELY on this administration, it is BRAINDEAD not to remove this requirement COMPLETELY until this disaster is over with! Also the Corexit is completely counterproductive to the skimming operations. The EPA "relaxation" which to my certain knowledge has only been applied to A Whale works like this: Your body was designed to eat food at your mouth, where saliva, the esophagus, stomach and upper and lower colon work on it, to be eliminated out the anus. Here's the EPA take on that. Eat all the food you want, but you must VOMIT it back up the way it came, and EAT IT AGAIN! Now tell me how effective the "skimming" gets to be in ANY universe? The EPA is braindead, the administration is likewise not helping the situation AT ALL and need to do what I said weeks ago, REMOVE ANY AND ALL IMPEDIMENTS TO CLEANING UP THE SPILL IN THE MOST EFFICACIOUS MANNER POSSIBLE!

Exactly! This is where "Governmental Regulations" leads. In no place more than government jobs does the Peter Principle manifest itself. What incentive does any beaurocrat have to step up and declare that the emperor has no clothes, even in this assinine "regulation" situation. Influx water that is 30% oil and discharge water that is 1% oil?, Avaunt! and Quit my sight!You cannot discharge water that is 1% oil! That is against the "Regulations"" . OSHA got it pretty close to right, it is not a "How to" manual, but a "Who is responsible for what" manual. No need to anticipate every conceivable situation and describe procedures and remedies; it simply states that if you put people into a situation as an employer, you are responsible to make it safe, have trained on the safe execution of the task, and guard every individual from the failings of his fellow to the fullest extent possible.

In this sort of emergency situation discharges of 10% or 20% should not be deemed unacceptable. It also needs to be considered that a very efficient skimming operation may release water with higher oil concentration. Pick up 1 litre oil 10 litres water and discharge water that is 1% oil and you are getting 90% of the oil. Make that 1 l oil 1 l water, discharge water with 5% oil and you are getting 95% oil. Think I have the numbers the right way around, tis late and I'm triered.


BP has changed the commentary on the individual ROV page(s) to say that the well integrity test has not commenced. Skandi ROV is making a very detailed inspection of the BOP just below the flange. Does anyone know more?

Not for nothing but I hope that the 300 psi measurement that we had before wasn't them trying to perform the test...

The Washington Post just reported that the integrity test has been postponed until tomorrow. Supposedly government scientists want to think about it a bit more. Last minute cold feet?

Here's the text, this time from CNN:

"The oil giant had expected the tests -- to check pressure in the well and determine if it can be sealed once and for all -- to get under way Tuesday afternoon.

But late Tuesday night, BP announced that additional analysis of the well testing procedure was needed. The move following a meeting with Energy Secretary Steven Chu and his team of advisers.

A source informed about BP operations told CNN's John King that, "There were some potential complications that might cause a delay -- some bad, some in the better to be safe than sorry category."

But late Tuesday night, BP announced that additional analysis of the well testing procedure was needed. The move following a meeting with Energy Secretary Steven Chu and his team of advisers.

A source informed about BP operations told CNN's John King that, "There were some potential complications that might cause a delay -- some bad, some in the better to be safe than sorry category."

Very very interesting. The decision to shut the well in when announced here brought a corus of "What?"s from a number of people. Reading between the lines, Sec. Chu had the same reaction. It was pointed out that the decision seemed to contradict his prior logic om stopping junk shot and top kill.

I have to say I am impressed with Chu. Isn't this exactly what you would want in this situation, a Ph.D. scientist nobel prize winner in physics overseeing the operation and stepping in when he thinks risks not in the public interest are being taken. Especially when his view finds some support on TOD.

During the early morning hours on Tuesday, July 13, inclinometer readings were carefully taken at several locations on the well just a short distance from the seafloor. I would feel uneasy about the total stacked weight.

Those are not photos of inclinometer readings being taken. They are something else. Not sure what, exactly. Likely some sort of sonar or ultrasound.

I agree, this is not an inclinometer.
It is most likely an ultrasonic flow meter.

From http://www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com/go/doc/2931/780563/

Admiral Thad Allen, National Incident Commander:

"Today I met with Secretary Chu, Marcia McNutt and other scientists and geologists as well as officials from BP and other industry representatives as we continue to prepare and review protocols for the well integrity test - including the seismic mapping run that was made around the well site this morning. As a result of these discussions, we decided that the process may benefit from additional analysis that will be performed tonight and tomorrow.

Both the Helix Producer and the Q4000 collection systems are currently on line with the potential to exceed the containment capability that existed before the sealing cap was installed, and skimmers continue to be surged to the well site in anticipation of any increased oil flow as part of the transition.


Sorry for being non-responsive. My sick well had a relapsed and I just got home. Will answer questions directed at me in the morning.

But a quick response to Bruce: as I said I didn't do the calc that estimated the flow to be moving at 260 mph. Just said the rational seemed sound but what do I know. But you calc the velocity to be 1.4 mph. So to you the oil/NG shooting out of the BOP looks like its's moving a little faster than 1 mph. Perhaps my eyes are getting old but the flow does look like it's moving a tad faster than I can get along on my crutches.

I did a Rough Harry Guesstimation a while back.
Someone calculated the displacement volume of the casing to be 1,200 bbls.
so I checked how much Oil was being recovered (Total in 24 hrs).
They claimed they were recovering about 90%, So I added a 20% Fudge factor on to the claimed recovery.
Divided that by 24 to get Hourly figure, and it work out as near as dammit to the volume of the casing.
Casing Length about 2.6 miles - so speed is about 2.6 mph (slow walking speed).

This is pretty rough but would be somewhere in the ballpark.
So I think flow is between 1 metre per sec, and 1.5 metre per sec.

I figured you were tending that sick well. Is it any better? Gas?

I hope my response to the box earlier was at least comprehensible. Had to rush it. I'm spending too much time here. I did not get to address how it fits in with your theory. The two are consitent. Concurrent causation. Maybe you will argue superseding cause or intervening cause. I haven't really looked at that yet beyond a glance.

Best Wishes for a speedy recovery on that well, RM.

Hey, after DWH I am very happy for him to give his well all the attention it needs rather than giving us any attention ;)


Rockman or anyone who wants to take a shot at answering this....

I believe the normal encasement method is to cement the annulus between the bore hole wall and the bore hole casing string, allow the cement to cure, then the production string is installed, concentrically, with centralizers(spacers)and then the annulus is cemented and cured between the well bore casing string and the production casing string.

If they where at the production casing string cementing phase of their operations when the accident occurred, is this supposedly when they used seawater instead of drilling mud? Because the seawater wasn't heavy enough to displace the oil and gas, the oil and gas began to flow.

If I'm correct with my understand above, it seems the seawater would be the oxidation source.

any thoughts on the read-outs that skandi 2 is showing?

Rockman - your eyes aren't that old, you've just lost perspective of the scale here. The ejection velocity is about 3 feet per second. So it would move about two diameters out in a single second. That's certainly credible from the ROV camera.

It is not just the deaths that were forseeable, NASA. I would argue that the resulting damage to the GOM and an entire way of life for the region (the sea food industry, the hospitality industry, etc.) were forseeable as a direct result of the explosion. The lack of a real emergency response plan simply adds proof to the negligence claim IMHO.

As I said before and no one has contradicted me, BP's response plan was filed and APPROVED by MMS as good enough. It wasn't but that's not BP's fault, IMHO MMS should have sent them back to redo the plan and held any permits until the plan was RIGHT. Now you can ask if MMS would know a right plan if it smacked them in the face, and you might be right but the fact remains BP got signoff which protects them legally. I expect this issue will be raised as an affirmative defense in the legal actions and that may be the end of some of the cases. Other then the $20B BP was blackmailed into putting up, and paying the pollution fines it's possible that might be all they end up paying. It's going to be a hairy legal argument on both sides and some of the issues may go all the way to the Supremes.

BP's response plan wasn't good enough, but according to you that isn't BP's fault because MMS approved it?

So are you saying that the government should be in charge of everything and responsible for everything and everyone?

You can not lie on an application for a permit. Doesn't make any difference if it gets approved or not. You still broke the law by lying.

BP's response plan was filed and APPROVED by MMS as good enough. It wasn't but that's not BP's fault

So the government is going to prosecute themselves?

Other then the $20B BP was blackmailed into putting up

If they had the merest modicum of decency they should have pledged twice the worst case estimates.

Obeying regs is not going to provide a defense. But I am more interested in your point that

"BP's response plan was filed and APPROVED by MMS as good enough. It wasn't but that's not BP's fault..."

What catches my interest is that a lot of the conservative politicians argue that we should have less regulation. Some even say no regulation. Throw in the problem of the undue influence of corporate lobbyists and political cash. You wind up with a weak regulatory body that is instructed by the president to basically act as a force for promoting drilling. The new head cuts back funding for enforcement. Regs. are loosely enforced if at all. In other words, it is an ideal regulatory body from the point of view of the politicians who preach against regulation. And then when the corporate citizen causes a disaster through reckless conduct, you blame the hollowed-out regulatory body and let the corp. off the hook entirely.

It's a bit hypocritical, no?

So the state approved my operator's license, now I can go drag racing downtown?

Yep and you lied about everything on your application. It is all their fault.

syncro, this is one of the best explanations of what is going on in the US I've ever read, as well as the most concise, re the larger situation of neo-conservative deregulation rhetoric vs reality. Some may be aware, or not, of the book 'Conservatives without Conscience', that was supposed to be co-authored by Barry Goldwater. He died before that could happen, so John Dean wrote it. Yes, that John Dean. He analyzes in more detail various components of this hypocracy, a good read, and a useful source since its conservative credentials are, pardon the pun, un-impeachable.

It's great to see a profoundly irrational position be so clearly exposed. I don't expect to see any intelligent or rational rebuttal posted to this statement, since you just made explicit the profoundly hypocritical anti-government views of such believers.

Refreshing, thanks. Personally I wish the libertarian types that dominate the neo-conservative power base would just learn to be honest with themselves, and us, and admit they want a return to feudalism, then I'd have very little to argue with them about. Of course then it would be hard to get enough voters to get any political power....

Corporate structures being the feudal ones, that is, if it's not clear. There's very little difference between the two after all in terms of how they allocate and control power/resources/wealth. The alleged 'freedom' these types yearn for is really nothing more than the freedom to maintain one's fiefdom without interference from any larger power, or to serve a master who has such wishes (Greenspan, for example). John Dean did an admirable job tracking down the intellectual (if you can call it that) history of these tendencies, re-discovering the solid work done on the authoritarian personality done post WWII.

I read somewhere one of the reasons Reagan increased the federal deficit was so liberals wouldn't have any money available for their pet causes. The logic sounds similar.

Have you read Scott McClellan's book, Inside the Bush White House? I recommend very much. It contains much discussion of the differences between campaigning and governing and its negative effects on policy formation.

"BP has delayed a key test on a newly installed well cap aimed at stopping the flow of oil in the Gulf of Mexico.

BP and US Coast Guard officials said further analysis was needed before pressure testing could begin."

If that possible, transient 300 psi reading was real, maybe system couldn't hold pressure so: "further analysis was needed before pressure testing could begin".

Granted, my ignorance is total, but I have a scary thought regarding what caused the blowout in the first place, and what is preventing, and may continue to prevent containment -
Is it possible that the problem is really a geological one? Could it be that there is nothing but mud and loose, unconsolidated sedimentary formations all the way to the bottom of the well? Maybe the original cement job failed, not because of human error, but because the formations through which the well was drilled, did not offer enough solidity to seal against? Could this also prevent the relief well effort from working, because even with a cement plug in the well, the oil would simply flow up around the plug?

i've done a lot of high voltage hydro-electric installations, and once had a component failure under test at 500kv. made a real ugly noise, and it was the last test before going into service. we busted our ass and got it replaced in record time. every test checked out both times, but the second time ,nobody was in a big hurry to throw the switch. this kinda feels the same way. but as my football coach used to say ,sonner or later your gonna have to throw the ball.

Thank you fella's (and ladies) for being here and answering questions. I wanted to know more of the WHY this all happened and I'm ashamed to say, I'm not very bright. But through the wonderful posts, sometimes very deep in the math (I have to take off my shoes to count to 20).. but I realize, ya'll have some very serious jobs! I have a new healthy respect for "oil" folks and the dangers you face and how smart you really have to be to do this job!!!

I have a couple of questions, and if you come to SC I'll furnish the Blue Bell for you taking the time to answer.

1. Do I understand correctly, that when they first put this well in, that they planned on drilling it, getting it ready, then capping it anyway and coming back to pump it later?

2. Do they still plan on drilling a RW, fixing the problems, and then coming back later to actually take the oil?

3. Is this a big oil bed under the sea, and when they poked a hole in it, it turned out to be more than they could handle? So, when they attach the pipes to the BOP, (and get a good fit) the oil will push it's way up to the surface and into the ships? Why do they burn the gas off? Can't they collect it and use it for something? Do the big Helix ship and others just hold all the oil and then take it to a refinery?

4. Is one of the reasons they didn't let other skimmer ships come in to help in the beginning because BP wants to skim the oil, collect as much as they can and not let anyone else have it? (Not that I want it, looks yucky to me.)

Final question if you please... all this talk of disbursement... Why don't they just use Dawn Dishwashing Detergent? They wash the birds with it? Might make a bunch of bubbles out there, but seems harmless enough.

Thank you!!!! I hope I haven't offended anyone with my questions.


Hi Cathy,

I'm not an "oil" folk, but I'll take a crack, based on what I've learned here.

1. The well was an exploratory well. They had confirmed the existence of a producing reservoir and were in the process of temporarily plugging it in a way that would allow them to come back later and turn it into a production well. That is apparently a common practice in the industry.

2. Yes, they still plan on drilling a RW. After they've intercepted and closed it at the bottom, they will still have to shut it down completely from the top too. The well will never be used for production, but they can come back later and produce from another well, perhaps by using the second, incomplete RW as the starting point.

3. Nope, from what has been posted here, they should have been able to handle it. They apparently just took a serious of unfortunate shortcuts that cascaded into a crisis. As for burning the gas, there apparently just isn't a way to quickly and safely set up a way to capture it - it is safest just to burn it. The oil collected on the Discovered Explorer and now the Helix Producer is periodically off-loaded to shuttle tankers. They transport it to refineries. (new word - Lightering - means offloading the oil to the tankers.)

4. Skimmers - I don't think they or the Coast Guard realized just how great the need for them was going to be. The skimmed oil is likely too degraded to be worth much if anything.

And yeah for Dawn ... only dish soap I will use.

by the way Cathy .. when you want to post a comment on a new topic - like your post - click on "Start new thread" rather than the "Reply" at the bottom of an existing comment.

I hope I haven't offended anyone with my questions.

You most certainly have!

I'm ashamed to say, I'm not very bright.

is redolent of braggardism and I'm sorry to say, uncool.

Effeteness or self induced superiority should be gleaned by the quality of one's posts.

As for your ?'s:
1. Yes
2. Uh huh
3. Yes. Hopefully. Don't know/probably impossible to save. Probably not. Yep.
4. Now that you mention it, it is probably another reason to be furious with BP.
5. Procter and Gamble (PG) stock is not owned in large quantities by or associated with Goldman Sachs (GS)or BP, however Nalco Holding Company (NLC), the makers of Corexit is.

Welcome aboard.
Too bad you didn't join us in happier days when all we discussed was The End Of The World As We Know It(TEOTWAWKI)due to resource(oil) scarcity.
The problem today is too much oil in the wrong place.

We always used a broomstick on the hydraulic breakers. Never quite had the nerves to stand next to the high current stuff.

ray: Or as my old football coach used to say: "Better to eat the ball than throw that interception." (cf. Peyton Manning, Super Bowl XLIV; Brett Farve, Minnesota v. New Orleans; Brett Farve, Green Bay v. New York Giants)

JULY 14, 2010

Scientist Says Oxygen-Depletion Problem in Gulf Is Real

A university researcher questioned the significance of government data that suggest oxygen levels in the Gulf of Mexico haven't dropped enough to be of serious concern.

Samantha Joye, an oceanographer at the University of Georgia who is studying the oil spill's potential effects on Gulf marine life, said water samples that she and colleagues have taken show a more worrisome drop in oxygen levels than was reported recently by a separate group of federal researchers aboard a different ship.

The federal scientists were testing an area closer to the leaking wellhead, where the oil was fresher, Ms. Joye said. Oil farther away, which had been in the water longer, was more likely to have attracted oil-eating bacteria that reduce oxygen levels, she said.

"It certainly isn't safe to conclude there is no oxygen problem, based on oxygen measurements that are made close to the spill site," Ms. Joye said in a call Tuesday with reporters. Referring to the federal tests, she said: "I don't think that's a wise way to make conclusions about oxygen."

Full Story:


They have thought about this and talked about it for months.

They promised the world they would start the test today and it would last 48hrs.

The only thing that changed from yesterday to today is this..

"the seismic mapping run that was made around the well site this morning".

The fact that Wells acted like he didn't know why it hadn't started by the 2pm presser was hard to believe.

It really bothers me too why they can't tell the world the truth and what it is exactly that stopped the test.

What was it they needed to talk about and what new test do they need to run.

That is easy stuff to say. There are smart people all over the world that would understand.

Remember the sticker on the new BOP? Think twice, act once. The one the ROV op kept very carefully centred while waiting to do something. I am happy for them to take some thinking time.


I hope in these months they have thought about this a lot more then twice.

You do not make a grand announcement to the world and then say never mind.

They saw something and they saw something that made them step back. Before they go forward they owe it to us to tell us just what that is and there was no reason they could not tell us what other test they are doing.

It is not being forthright.

They have a lot of work to do. There may be an issue or there may not. They may have seen something new or they may not. Things may just be going slower than planned. Expect more in their am briefing. They need to step carefully and think along the way, plans change in these situations. It does not mean they are not being forthright.


I'd just like an answer to a really, really easy question...

If they are supposedly all (BP/US Government) being so candid and open about the process WHY ARE NO INDEPENDENT VERIFICATIONS OF ANYTHING BEING ALLOWED? Why are the citizens, the media, and even Congressman, being prevented access to the area?

Personally, I'd like to see a flotilla of private planes loaded with video gear, seismic stuff...whatever, take off every day and dare the US Navy or Air Force to shoot them down. Now, that would be a story!

We need some UNFILTERED information beyond what is available by reading TOD.

Simple really, dark and powerful forces are preventing the 24 hour a day converage this catastrophe demands. The answer is under the new Denver Airport.

Could it be that some beancounter at BP said "Hey, now that we can shut the well off, why don't we just do it and eliminate the need for all those boats etc needed for catchment, we're almost there with the RW. Get them off our payroll"

They sure went pretty suddenly from being very conservative about the well structure to willing to take a chance on it. Maybe our oversight committee is mulling over motive.

I'm a geophysicist who has been in the oil industry for almost 25 years and frankly I'm unclear what they are talking about when they say they have made a seismic mapping run around the well site. Are they running pingers as they do in shallow hazard surveys? If this is the case then I too would start looking at this in a whole new light.

I'm watching the live feeds now (about 9:50 PT).

Two ROVs are on the ship deck. One has an extreme closeup of a gauge. Boa 2 is scooting all over the place. Skandi is watching the plume. Skandi 2 is watching the stack. The Enterprise ROVs seem to be fascinated with the smeg that covers the bottom of (I'm guessing) the old top hat assembly. The Q4000 ROVs seem to be looking at nothing at all.

If anyone at BP or elsewhere is doing an online play-by-play of what all these robots are doing, I'd love to know where it is.

One more question: When they designed this new stack, it must have occurred to someone to put some kind of flowmeter into it. There are many kinds that do not obstruct flow in any way. Shouldn't they have a better idea of the actual leak rate now?

You would have thought with all the great scientific minds working on that thing they would have added a little flow meter.

i've been watching enterprise rov 2 , and i'm wondering ,just where did the rig end up when it went down?

As far as I know, I've never seen a ROV near the sunken rig, which is some distance away. I assume once the urgency of the leak settles down, some of these resources will investigate the wreck.

You would think with all this down time they could have a ROV go and stick a flow meter down that pipe for a minute or two.

I watched one stick another instrument down it.

BP,actually measure the flow rate? You have very high hopes. So the test is...canceled? This will be a five minute news story probably focusing on the bureaucracy and more about the compensation fund. I'm not saying those things are unimportant, but what I really want to hear is a comprehensive review in layman's terms of what information was discovered that led them to believe that this test could do more harm than good. Yeah, I know, I won't get it.

From: Inventor Afif Abou-Raphael

I am very happy that finally BP and the US Coast Guard have decided to use my proposition to stop the spill after more than a month and a half since I first contacted both, and after I had sent them all the details like drawings and explanations.

One e-mail I had sent in the beginning to the White House through their published e-mail address, and there I could not send any drawings. Only thing I did send them was a brief detailed proposition with the site of my patent


which is the solution for this kind of disaster. The White House didn’t even bother with my e-mail and I didn’t receive any answer. That was around mid May. After I had called BP and I had sent them by e-mail mostly everything they needed to understand what needed to be done to completely stop the spill.

After not receiving any answer from BP, I decided to contact The American Coast Guard USCG.

Explicit details and drawings were sent to them, with calculations of the weight that is needed to keep the plug in place.
The plug is exactly what BP is using now to stop the spill.

I am wondering; why didn’t they use it when I sent it to them and before that big spill grew to be a disaster that will stay for many years to come.

My other big surprise is; when the President of BP was questioned at the House of Representatives directly on TV.

I called, and spoke to a secretary present during the questioning, and asked her to transfer me to a any state representative who is questioning the BP’s president in order to ask him why BP is not trying my effective proposition, when they were talking to stop the spill in August.

The secretary said that she can’t do it. Then she was supposed to send me an e-mail address where they can look at my proposal carefully. The result is the secretary didn’t send me anything.

Now I am surprised and happy at the same time to see my idea is what is being used to stop the disaster, but after more than one and half month of oil flowing into the ocean (they say about 100000 barrels a day).

I am expecting at least a thankful letter from the Coast Guard and from BP.

Invntor Afif Abou-Raphael


Note: (I am willing to send copies of all the correspondences that I have sent them, and the USCG, that show drawings and explanations).

You wouldn't be related to a guy named Sam Shepard who was on the WKRG comment page last month, would you?

Prof. Branko Babic's design for a top kill would have worked very quickly and easily had BP and various governments not been blowing him off (more or less) completely since 4/21/10. His technology was used to put out about half the oil well fires after Gulf War I.

Go to: AroostookWatchmen.com, click "archives", select the show for 6-16-10. Dr. Babic appears about 20-25 minutes in...

So a perhaps ignorant question from this longtime lurker:

Tuesday's seismic survey -- would they have been looking for evidence of oil and gas intrusion into the surrounding strata? Sure sounds like the test was called-off after something flunked an oversight review.

I wonder if they want to have a closer look at an ambiguous or unfavorable seismic result. Like other commenters, I wish they'd just say what's up.

A 2-1/2 mile 2D line will show nothing except a blur at the surface and a few fuzzy traces after that. Won't even see the well. Your tax dollars at work.

However, there are high frequency pingers that are used in shallow hazard surveys that do give relatively high resolution in the shallow section.

Bobby's berms already washing away

by Jed Lewison
Tue Jul 13, 2010 at 12:42:04 PM PDT

Via AMERICAblog, these images of Bobby Jindal's idiotic sand berm proposal getting washed away are proof beyond any shadow of doubt that Louisiana's governor is a volcano of hot air and stupid ideas.

Well, we can't all come up with brilliant solutions like Bill Clinton:


I wish the Army Corp of Engineers and the EPA would be clear about why they are against building anything that would completely block the oil from getting into the marshland. If the oil can't get in, because of a solid barrier, then water can't get out. That would cause stagnation in the marshland and lead to no nutrients and no oxygen which would kill everything more certainly then the oil. That is why they are recommending only booms which we all know aren't that effective but they still let the water and oxygen and nutrients flow.

BP Delays Test of Leaking Gulf well Until US Approves.

BP Plc delayed testing a new cap placed over its leaking Gulf of Mexico oil well to give scientists more time to study the procedure used to measure pressure levels.

BP and government officials said they still intend to conduct the assessment, which BP and the Obama Administration will use to determine whether the leak can be safely sealed with a 40-foot (12-meter) stack of valves bolted to the top of the well on July 12.

The article goes on to say that BP may not proceed with the test until Thursday, but that might just be an interpretation of Allen's comment that they would be doing analysis tonight and tomorrow - ie, Tues and Wed.

After BP cut the riser pipe, (which seemed to make the leak worse), without consulting anyone, I'm sure the administration wants to seem to be in the loop now.
One media moment in which Obama might seem to understand the problem could turn his administration around, but, he would have to use "big words" or technical phrases and so he would seem to be elitist.
I'm happy I'm not in his shoes.

"An unstable area around the wellbore could create bigger problems if the leak continued elsewhere in the well after the cap valves were shut, experts said.

Scientists will be looking for high pressure readings of 8,000 to 9,000 pounds per square inch. Anything lower than 6,000 might indicate previously unidentified leaks in the well.

"What we can't tell is the current condition of the wellbore below the seafloor," Allen said. "That is the purpose of the well integrity test."


I have a hard time thinking they have a seismic recording ship with long arrays of geophones, steaming around the area with all the other boats, the flare, the booms, the oil, etc. I really can't help but think the MSM is not interpreting what the people running the show are telling them. Certainly wouldn't be the first time.

Is this of any use? From the afternoon briefing, I see Kent Wells says the pressure test can only start if they have good data from the seismic survey and as we now know the test is on hold.

(Paula Deitrics): Hi, Kent. Thanks for taking my call. I had a couple questions about the seismic survey. I wondered if it was done with a tow cable or what – if it was an ocean bottom cable. If you know that. And then also if you have results back yet from the seismic survey.
Kent Wells: (Paula), thanks so much for asking that question because I forgot to mention that e ran the seismic survey, which we did do, so you saved me. Yes, we did run the seismic, it was just a streamline line (towed) through the surface through the site, we actually had to move the vessels apart and then take it in over top and it was successfully done. I have not heard yet what the results were on that but I feel comfortable that they were good because one of the requirements actually start with the test was to make sure that we’ve done the seismic survey and that we had good data.


Yes, a little, thanks. I'm inclined to believe it is probably a pinger type survey that will image primarily very shallow sediments, a couple hundred feet max. The typical 3-D seismic survey, or 2-D for that matter, will use streamers 5-10 kilmeters long and there is no way they towed one of those things through that mess of boats, fire, and oil. Shallow hazard data do not need these long streamers. With the pingers you can also see shallow gas hazards and these are routinely done prior to drilling any well in the GOM. Generally they are required. Still it would be nice to actually see the data.

The survey ship is the Geco Topaz

Prior to starting the pressure tests, BP wrapped a seismic survey of the region to better understand the shallower horizons of the field and give “baseline” data that will be needed if the bore proves to be ruptured at some point. WesternGeco’s seismic vessel Geco Topaz completed a 2.5-mile north to south shoot of the location using a streamer and will begin processing the data, Allen said. During the survey, all vessels needed to be moved off location, Allen said today


You can track her movements here.


Helpful post. What would be more helpful is if BP/MMS/BOE would post the resulting data, or at least describe what it shows in a news release. A reporter actually asking about it is apparently too much to hope for.

Some speculation on my part but I did spend a lot of time working in the GOM and know a few things.

BP almost certainly has a 3-D survey they used to delineate the geology and locate the current well.

There is a good chance there is an anonymously high amplitude event on the seismic indicating where the hydrocarbons are. This is common in the GOM but doesn't always happen.

For whatever reason someone decided the survey BP used in the original well proposal was not enough and the powers that be acquired another survey over the WW location.

If there is an underground blowout there is a fair to good chance that you will see a change in the amplitude response on seismic data acquired afterwards. If things are good you can shoot several and watch the hydrocarbon front advance like a time lapse photograph. This has been done with underground blowouts in the past and also as a means to monitor where the gas or even steam is going in enhanced recovery methods.

I too would like to see the data. It has to be processed first and if they are waiting on that for the pressure test it may be a little longer than one day.

Thanks, quite helpful.

You are a veritable fountain of information. That's definitely a 3-D seismic ship. Impressive. Thanks.

Someone please tell me this is fake or that I'm hallucinating:


Fake report. Watch out, that's not CNN perse, it's a copy pasted "article" that's been sprouting in blogs and independent sites.

I mean the video, not the report. I don't believe the claims about Corexit rain but what about the seafloor oil leaks? Is it possible to fake this kind of video?

Looks like natural seepage to me.

OK, so where is the oil coming from then? Did these seeps exist before the well was drilled/before it blew out?

This has been beat to death here. It could be mud, oil, Godzilla's wee-wee or something else and what it looks like it's "seeping" from could be the edge of a piece of junk, an asphalt volcano fault, a crack in the space time continuum or something else. In any case I'm pretty sure that there's a mud mat there so it's probably not the sea floor.

Its nice to see the media being incompetent fools again. The video very clearly shows the UTM co-ords of the video, which is where..... the wreckage of the DWH on the sea floor.

Its something leaking from the wreckage of the DWH.

So dont panic, its only CNN desperately trying to support its viewing numbers with sensational BS.

Is anyone else watching? What is Enterprise 2 looking at? Obviously oil from somewhere new.

Damn, now it looks worse

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH they panned down , it was from the riser up high, I guess they hooked up tp the new stack for a few minutes. They are off it now.

I saw it too TD. Can't unsee what has been seen.

Back up now. Bottom line, the claim that the well is fully contained is a LIE

I'm looking at the stack and not seeing oil rising from below it. The oil flow should be pulling it up in it's backdraft. If there is any , it must be a small amount.

It probably would be, if anyone had made such a claim. They have not.

Did you take screenshots?

Got one here, it's the image in the top center, poor quality though, I'll try and snag a better one.


Better image here showing the plume. Still comin' boys.


I got a World of Warcraft screenshot. Looks like the AH is doing well. :-)

lol, old one, used to be pretty into it ;)

that's not the right one, let's try one more


working now?

Thanks for the re-post, I got my Tundra Mammoth and Albino Drake and got bored with it.

It's supposed to be venting there, They won't shut that down until they do many tests. It is oil coming from around the bottom of the stack or the sea floor that people are worried about.

That photo shows the top of the stack from which oil has been gushing ever since they attached the new stacking cap. Nothing new there.

Strange. They follow the pipe down and it appears to be a riser with the new top cap coupling on it. Then I see them cutting a pipe which appears to be the old riser with the frozen cap on it. Why? If the new one is rigged up, then fix that leak and get on with it. I thought the old top hat was junk now.

For re-use I think.

I gotta get some sleep. this stuff is more addictive than porn. "Course the fate of the hemisphere does not hinge on one lay. Usually.

What about Evita Peron? :-)

Don't these guys know about back cuts and wedge cuts like they use for cutting down trees? In a shop there is never any torque on a piece being cut. But in the field... No sooner do I say that, and they do a wedge cut. :-) Hey guys, if your saw gets stuck, put in a few metal wedges to keep the pinch off the saw.

I guess they don't know about wedge cuts, two cuts from the same direction (after the main cut is started from the opposite side) can leave a gap when the pipe compresses (on the first cut)and it will let you continue the cuts from the opposite side, as the collapse of the first cut will leave some room for the second cuts to meet the opposite cut. I stand corrected, the ID and OD were almost the same on that pipe! That's some heavy metal!

Kinda thick,ain't it. I was thinking the same as you while I sat here addicted like a junkie waiting for a fix.Lord almighty.I'm goin' to bed.That's enough excitment for me.With my luck I'll dream about that cut and wake up shouting, you're tilting it!


If pipe like that was in the well, then I guess I know why the BOP sheers failed. If that is the case then negligence on the part of BP just has been proved yet again. If it takes more then an hour for a diamond tipped saw blade to cut it, what chance did the sheers have? I know that was pipe going to the old cap and not the original well. What I meant to say in my earlier post is the the OD - ID= OD almost.

The old cap is lying at the bottom on its side since they sliced it off when they first removed it from the BOP the other day. What you have seen left from it is the upper LMRP with some drill pipe hanging from it. The new cap is down there on new pipe, ready to go, but has not been put to use. And I doubt it is going to be put to use prior to the pressure testing, even with the present delay. That was never the intention. Should a shut-in prove impossible, it will in all likelihood be put to use as I do not believe they are ready to collect from the sides of the new stack, as planned. But putting the cap on (and taking it off) and initiating collection is not something that can be done so easily. It requires considerable effort. I doubt it will be used in an interim role if the pressure testing is still going to occur sometime in the next couple of days.

In response to BigMoose on the previous thread, notanoilman gave some good responses, but I'll give some more detail.

rovman, a question about the equipment at depth. A lot of it looks like it was taken pretty intact from topside. I would have thought that the absolute pressure at depth of a few thousand psi would have wreaked havoc with just about everything. But it looks simpler than I thought.

Everything that goes subsea is either designed to work at ambient pressure, usually by being oil filled, or is designed to work at surface atmospheric pressure and is housed in strong pressure vessels designed to cope with the enormous pressures found at those depths. Nowadays, 3,000m is the standard that most equipment is built to. The same housing design made from titanium instead of aluminium will be good for 6,000m.

A few questions, gauges look like surface gauges, do you just let the seawater permeate the casing and now have say hydraulic pressure inside the bourdon tube and seawater outside?

The gauges are oil filled and so they happily work at depth at the ambient pressure.

Are electronic cases nitrogen pressurized, with the pressure regulated to be a few psi above ambient seawater pressure?

No, electronics are normally housed in 1 atmosphere housings designed to withstand the pressure at depth. These are generally aluminium thick-walled tubes. The secret is to keep the diameter of the tube as small as possible. A few pieces of electronic equipment use oil filled boxes and are at ambient pressure, but all the components must be capable of surviving at high pressure. Most modern electronics apart from electrolytic capacitors can actually survive such pressures. Electrical junction boxes and slip rings are usually oil filled and at ambient pressure.

All those hydraulic tools, likely with shielded and/or low pressure seals on the ball bearings, do you just let seawater migrate inside for the trip and trash the tools afterwards?

Again, all hydraulic tools are oil filled (of course!) and so cope easily with the high ambient pressures. The hydraulic systems have pressure compensators so that the oil inside the equipment ends up at the same or higher pressure than ambient. The seals are there to keep the oil in, not the water out. Of course, some water does get in now and again, and then it trashes the equipment.

Electrical connectors and wiring, do you just let seawater migrate between the insulation and the pvc insulation? Or is everything purged with say nitrogen?

All electrical connectors are specially designed to keep water out. Some can even be connected/disconnected under water but most cannot. They are expensive, generally about $200 - $300 per connector half.
There are two types of cable used. the first is designed like a normal flex but with a tough rubber outer coating. These cables are terminated to the connectors or spliced together using a waterproof quick setting potting compound which can be moulded on site. The second type of cable uses standard electrical flex inside an oil filled tube. The tube is attached to the connectors with simple 'Jubilee' type hose clamps.

Remember the "Coffee Spill" comedic skit?
And the woman's line: "we just waisted 3 hours!".

Wonder why the current main flow of oil isn't being captured, while
extra 24/48 hrs of decision making takes place?
Is the amount of oil already spilled so large that the importance
or expense to stop it for one or two days deemed not worth it?

Oil is being collected. What you describe as the main flow (top of the cap) is essentially a relief valve. Oil is collected via the mud pipes on the old BOP (Q4000) and collection via the "hurricane resistant" riser is being ramped up gradually although I haven't seen any numbers yet.

The flow from the top of the cap is a mixture of oil, gas and dispersant - hence the brown colour. Can't prove it, but I think the flow is materially less than it was yesterday evening.


I believe that Helix and Q were taken off line when the integrity tests began Tuesday but do not know their current status

from yesterday's transcript

"Kristin Hayes: Yes, hi Admiral. Kristin Hayes with Reuters. I just want to be clear about two things. You said that six hour threshold. Is that where you, when you reach that six hours, if the pressure is still low, is that when you decide to ramp up the Helix and the Q4000 and begin collecting again? And second of all on some dates. You said that the floating riser for the Toisa Pisces is under construction and will be ready July 19th? But I thought —

Admiral Allen: We think we’ll be ready to go to production on the 19th."

Question for Rock....

Rock - I saw a report yesterday that indicated that Anandarko had farmed in late...and said that well design was already complete at that stage(altho it appears that it was changing all the time).

What does that do from the 'we disagreed with everything' standpoint? Do they have a solid 'we didn't know anything' argument?

IF they can't shut it in, is it still relatively easy to do the well kill? Or does the mud need to become denser.

Maybe they could test a "partial shut in" of getting it up to 4000 psi or so, the lmrp cap probably put some back pressure on it, so it's likely to pass that test.

Would that work? As a bonus you could probably still keep producing to the two collection ships.