BP's Deepwater Oil Spill - Awaiting the Integrity Test - and Open Thread 2

This thread is being closed. Please comment on http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6731.

This is a second copy of this thread. The previous copy can be found at http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6726.

Update: Permission to go forward with the test was given to BP Wednesday afternoon.

Ah! The joys of trying to work out what is happening at the seabed around the leaking well in the Gulf, and relying on the images from the ROV cameras. Consider the image that I have just pulled up from the Enterprise ROV 1, which BP has designated as “looking for leaks.” Not wishing to be querulous but that looks suspiciously like a diamond cutting saw in the ROV’s clasp.

Image from the Enterprise ROV 1 – “performing leak monitoring.”

On that little note of caution, there does seem to be some delay, or perhaps “slow, methodical, unseen progress” in regard to closing the valves etc in order to test the integrity of the well. At roughly 10 pm Eastern, the flow does not appear to have changed much, if at all, and the BP site notes that the test has not yet started. (Nor has it two hours later having finished writing this post).

The white pipe is injecting dispersant that changes the color of the oil/gas to more brown and seems to be coming in spurts rather than regularly at the moment, but this may be because of the changes in the equipment below the leak, which is likely siphoning off a considerable volume from the well.

I do note, however that Secretary Chu came down to monitor the test today, and this may have a little impact on the schedules.

His involvement in the spill has been continually underlined by the Administration.

Secretary Chu assembled a scientific team of top scientists and has made three trips to Houston, monitoring the progress of BP's effort to contain the leak and helping to design the strategies for moving forward. The team includes:

  • Dr. Tom Hunter, Director of the Department of Energy's Sandia National Laboratories
  • Dr. George A. Cooper, an expert in materials science and retired professor from UC Berkeley
  • Richard Lawrence Garwin, a physicist and IBM Fellow Emeritus
  • Dr. Alexander H. Slocum, professor of mechanical engineering at MIT

(Ed. note - George Cooper, whom I know and respect, is a retired petroleum engineer)

Secretary Chu is on the phone with his science team a minimum of 1-2 times a day, 7 days a week, and the calls frequently last 90 minutes or more. Secretary Chu and members of his team also have a dialogue with BP executives each morning.

They visited the BOP manufacturer (Cameron) and their main competitor (National Oilwell Varco) back in May, and have had, among other things, the following input to the operation:

Due to our suggestion, BP used high energy gamma rays to image parts of the internal state of the BOP. Lab personnel have independently analyzed the 2D gamma ray images. That imaging is crucial in helping understand what is happening inside the BOP and informing the approach moving forward. For example, it told engineers which valves and rams inside the BOP were closed and which were open, and it showed that a piece of drill pipe was stuck inside the BOP. Trying to determine what was wrong with the BOP without this information is akin to determining why your car has stopped running if you have no working gauges and can't open the hood.

• They strongly encouraged BP to collect additional pressure measurements, which were very valuable in interpreting the behavior of the well and BOP after each top kill and/or junk shot attempt, and ultimately those measurements helped the government and BP determine that the top kill was not going to work and that it was time to move on. The measurements also showed that the top kill attempts did not significantly erode the BOP.

• During the top kill attempts, the team suggested rechecking all of the hydraulics on the BOP, which BP did. As a result, one of the pipe ram valves closed more tightly and provided more resistance to the flow.

• The team conducted an extensive suite of structural analyses to assess the stability of the riser system in support of the choke and kill series.

• The team conducted an independent set of analyses to explain the oil and mud flow during the choke and kill series. This provided an understanding of the operational limits of the containment system going forward.

The list does not, however, appear to have been updated since June 15th.

After the visit today Admiral Allen issued the following statement:

"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. The drilling of relief wells also continues- the first relief has been drilled to a depth of 17,840 feet below the Gulf surface, and the second to a depth of approximately 15,963 feet below the surface."

The time of the more than 200 scientists and engineers that the Secretary has involved in these decisions is no doubt a part of the $99.7 million bill that the Administration presented to BP today. BP have already paid previous bills totaling $122.3 million to the Administration.

In today’s briefing the Admiral noted that the seismic run that was carried out Tuesday morning was to provide a baseline measurement of the seabed condition before the pressurization test of the well casing occurred. It also had to be carried out in daylight, since the vessel running the sensors had to steam through the fleet assembled around the well, and the sensors also were likely to be degraded by too much adjacent noise as they ran the scan.

He also corrected the sequence for the close down of the flows out of the well. (My concern yesterday) The sequence is

When we get ready to start the well integrity test, we will first cease production through the Q4000 and the Helix Producer I. We will then divert all the hydrocarbons up into the new capping stack. Valves through the kill and the choke lines for the new capping stack will be opened. And the center bore is already open. So we will be venting basically through three different exits on the capping stack, the kill line and the choke line, and the main line going through the bore.

Then in sequence we will attempt to close the stack down and assess the pressure readings. As we do that, the first thing we will do is close the main ram. There are three rams. The middle one will be closed and that will basically shut off the flow outward through the top of the capping stack. At that point we’ll take pressure readings. We will then close the kill line, which is the second remaining outlet and take pressure readings.

The third and most critical will be the choke line. There is a special device that has been built on the capping stack. You will see it. If you look at the video, it is yellow. It is long horizontally and it is a curved up pipe for the exit of the hydrocarbons. That choke line will be controlled by a remotely operating vehicle, which will slowly close it incrementally. And this is going to be very, very important because we want to measure the amount of closure, which will be measured gradually by turns of that choke line valve by an ROV simultaneously taking pressure readings.

The goal is to slowly close that down and understand the changes in pressure as we are closing it until that choke line is closed. At that point, there’ll be no hydrocarbons exiting from the capping stack. And we will go into a period where we’re going to start taking pressure readings. It will go in basically 6, 24, and 48 hour increments depending on the results.

Once the well is shut in then the pressure at the BOP (which is monitored by transducers and not the visible gages) should rise to between 8 and 9,000 psi (which Admiral Allen, a long time ago, had said was monitored just downstream of the BOP at the start of remediation). This is the anticipated value when the weight of the oil/gas column is subtracted from the pressure in the bottom of the well. Anything less than this will indicate that there may be some problems within the body of the well. Incidentally, the gages that the ROVs are monitoring are monitoring pressures in the accumulator lines that run the hydraulics of the rams and power tools.

The Admiral was also more precise on the exact location of the relief well

Development Driller III is now at 17,840 feet measured depth. They’ve been there for a day or two. They are doing testing to make sure they have the right angle of attack as they close in for the last 60 or 70 feet before they’ll actually try and make the penetration for the relief well.

And the current estimate of how far away they are from the condo well at this point is four feet four inches. So you can imagine this gets pretty precise as they’re trying to go down another 60 or so feet and actually hit the point where they can drill into the annulus and potentially to a seven inch casing pipe. So that continues as well.

The Admiral noted that they are on pace to have 1,000 skimmers along the coast by the end of the month, and that they are using 2 million tyvek suits a month (the suits worn in cleaning the beaches) and there is a growing concern about the national supply of these.

And he pointed out that a part of the shut-down process will be visible.

What we will do in sequence is we will stop production on the Q4000 and the Helix Producer I and remove the way for the hydrocarbons to exit through the kill and the choke lines on the original blow out preventer. That will move to three exit points, the choke and the kill lines of the capping stack and then the top opening of the capping stack. Then we will in sequence first, there are three rams that are a part of the capping stack. The middle ram will be closed. That will seal the upper opening from any hydrocarbon release. That will leave us the kill and the choke lines.

The kill line will then be closed as well. Now remember this is either open or shut. That will leave the choke line of the capping stack as a last way for hydrocarbons to exit from the capping stack. And that is set up with a specially designed engineered and built, you’ll be able to see it on the video. It’s a horizontal, yellow piece of equipment that has a pipe that curves up where the hydrocarbons would exit and at the other end there’s a place to insert a tool with a remotely operated vehicle and then slowly close the valve, which we will do that while we are taking pressure readings.

This is the control panel he was talking about, taken at 5 pm Eastern.

BP is also now holding twice daily briefings. In the Tuesday morning one Kent Wells gave the actual timeline for the 3-ram stack installation

First in terms of the capping stack, last night at 6:20 pm we actually landed the stack on top of the transition spool. By 7:00 we had it fully connected and sealed on top of that device. And then at 8:30 we actually disconnected the drill pipe from the drill ship enterprise from it and so it was in place and free standing at that point in time.

The tests of the flow to the Helix Producer showed that it could sustain flows of up to 12,500 bd (as high as they went). He slightly corrected the Admiral on the relief well:

The first relief well is at 17,840 feet. Right now we’re running another survey to confirm the distance from the Macondo well, the direction from the Macondo well and the inclination of it.

We only have another 30 feet to drill before our final casing point and so we want to make sure that this well is perfectly lined up. So that’s why we’re doing this confirmation run. We’ll do that then we’ll trip back in the hole and we’ll drill that final 30 feet. Then we’ll come back in and what we call open up the hole to make it large enough to run the casing and most likely we’ll be running casing in the hall on Sunday, but of course there can be variability to that. But what I would say is that we’re on track and I’m still looking for the most likely intercept of the Macondo well being at the end of July.

He went on to say, in regard to that intersection

So the inclination we’re looking for at the bottom is somewhere in the range of two to two and a half degrees and we think we’re in that range, we just want to confirm that. And that lines us up as we then – after we set the casing I’ll come back and talk about that in a second. We’ll have about 100 to 150, 200 feet to drill to intersect and that two degree angle allows us to do that in that period of time. So that’s why we want that particular angle.

In the Tuesday afternoon briefing he pointed out that when the sequence of tests on the 3-ram stack begins:

. . . down below two rams there’s a what we call our flow T and there’s two sides to it and that’s where the flow would be coming out when we actually shut one of the rams.

However, as I pointed out at the start of this post (and as still holds true), the integrity test has yet to be initiated.

Prof. Goose's comment:

New stuff in this introductory comment, 1 JUL 10.

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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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The time of the more than 200 scientists and engineers that the Secretary has involved in these decisions is no doubt a part of the $99.7 million bill that the Administration presented to BP today.

Cheap considering what is at stake.

There's a couple of things that I don't understand about this new cap.
First, I understand that the intent is to close off the well completely, but why can't they put a cap over the venting that's going on and suck up at least part of the flow? I understand they need to test well integrity, but it seems to me that what is coming out of the hole should be captured as much as possible. Just letting the thing flow freely into the ocean while they talked for a day figuring out what to do has let thousands of barrels out. They should have stuck a pipe in the hole and got something.

Second, now that they have a pristine opening to the well, why can't they try another top kill from the top itself? It seems to me that when they tried to kill it from the kill line on the BOP most of what was shot into the hole was shot right back up the pipe. The outflow rate was simply too much to allow the mud to clog the hole. Now that they have a good connection from the top itself, they should be able to push enough junk down the hole to kill it. They should even be able to get enough down the hole to seal any down hole ruptures that may be present.

That's a spooky view: the plume from the riser suddenly still, and ROVs prowling around like ghosts, looking for disaster.

Really Spooky would be the surface fleet cutting loose and getting under weigh...

Which ROVs are y'all watching?

Yeah, let's hope all we see from here out is calm, cool, and collected. ;-)

Hmm, Boa Deep C ROV1 is interfacing with a control labeled "Outer Close 1". Any thoughts about the function of this control?

re: turtles, capture & release
State of Hawaii has a program that collects wild baby turtles, raises them, and releases them. This has been going on for many years. So all those comments that such a program could never get approved by federal government are simply WRONG.

Turtle Independence Day on the Big Island

Since 1989, Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows has received 3-5 month old juvenile honu (Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle) from Oahu’s Sea Life Park and has raised them in the saltwater ponds of the resort. The honu are cared for until they grow to a size and weight that is appropriate for release into the ocean. Mauna Lani raises the honu for 2-3 years until they grow to a minimum shell length of 35 cm. The release occurs every July 4 at the ocean’s edge fronting Mauna Lani. Over the years Mauna Lani has released 206 honu.

The honu are gathered at the ponds before joining a procession down to the beachfront for release, proceeded by a Hawaiian ceremony. The annual Turtle Independence Day celebration honors the honu and educates the public about the threatened Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles.

There are also programs that release in Japan and in the south pacific.

Some released turtles have been tagged and are tracked.

Here is a link about some of these programs:

I might try to get a hold of somebody. Sas is running his turtle program 'under the radar' because he is concerned about violating some obscure law relating to handling of endangered species. What he would really like is to get an expert to come out, take a look at his operation and give advice. He would love to have his turtle program become official with real marine biologists supplying the technical advice.

George Balazs is the man you need to speak with, and he is a very nice person, committed to his work and down to earth, easy to talk to.
More here:

MMS might not approve because the release of mature turtles would interfere with oil production, in some way, in the opinion of its masters. The federal government has a lot of work to do on its image in the Gulf, IMHO.

How, pray tell, could the release of mature sea turtles interfere with oil production? The Kemps Ridley turtle project has released baby and juvenile turtles over the past number of years into the GOM and I believe that GOM oil production has stayed the same or increased over that period.

key word here *Kemp's*

i.e. Hawaii *Green* whereas GOM *Kemp's*

Here are a couple of links to a very successful program, sorry not in the USA. How do we know it is successful? By the massive increase in turtles returning and nests. The number of protection cages has had to expand to keep up. Maybe a guide for the Gulf?



There was a guy earlier put a 30 minute bet that it would fail. Another guy took him up. Who won the bet????
My money says the well's integrity is OK and its over.

I tend to agree if for no other reason than I prefer to be optimistic. :)

Don't be silly. It has to be 100% shut-in for more than 30 minutes. Not going to happen today or any other day. And Daks didn't post his email address. I don't make binding deals with anonymous strangers, so the bet's off.

LOL I wouldn't want to make that bet either.

Fair enough. Bet's on. Remember, 100% shut in for at least 30 minutes.

My optimism may cost me but I am an optimist.

You'll be fine. If I was a real man I'd cover half the bet. Ha, Ha Ha

I wanted to ask a question that I hope does not offend anyone. I find myself usually not having time to read everything here, and skimming down through hundreds of replies looking for the name Rockman, just because I don't know who is reliable, who is not, who is new, and who has been here a while.

Can somebody like Heading Out, Gail, or Rockman tell me which posters represent your board the best, and have the most insight into the situation? Not trying to put anybody down, but I just don't have time for reading hundreds of replies and I don't know which ones are the most worth reading. When I see links, I don't know if the poster is somebody with expertise linking to what is probably good information, or if it is a new guy who thinks Elvis came back on a UFO and set the DH on fire, and is linking to a crazy site. Can you list the top posters? I would appreciate it.

Also, do the main board leaders here at this point in time totally disregard Matt Simmons and the alleged hemmoraging gash in the sea floor some miles away? Or is that more in the wait and see category? Secondly, given the supposed damaged casing in the well, what exactly is the position of the board owners about the RW chances? Are you optimistic, 50-50, or thinking this will leak for years, or what?

If you are optimistic about the RW working, given the extent of the current oil in the ocean, would you expect a hurricane to make any area where there is a tidal surge permanently uninhabitable? Are the board leaders currently suggesting coastal gulf inhabitants try to permanently relocate as a precaution?

Thank you very much for all the wonderful articles and photographs and diagrams.

lynnie, you can click on someone's name and see how long they've been a member. I've wondered what clicking on "inappropriate" would do and felt like doing it a number of times as some "legends in their own minds" give us their personal background like the lead in "I'll be brief" connotes a long-winded oration. WTMI. Don't want to trouble TPTB, tho.
I respect this place and hate to see it cheapened by posts from lazy speculators and when you ck thier membership time it's often hours, maybe days.
Thanks again for all the technical explanations from the leaders of this board and remember to donate to this site.

Being a relatively new member, and non technical - at least related to the oil and gas industry, I donot expect to make many comments that provide much information on the technical details. That said, I would hope that most people, if possible and if they have the time, can respect the opinions of even some of the more recent members. Not everyone who is a newbie is without pertinent and valid knowledge of this subject matter.

I would also like to add, that while I am very respectful of the older (or more tenured membership), there may be a bias confered to tenure that may not always be warranted for every long tenured member. A few of them don't always make the brightest, most pertinent comments either.

Its a big world. We all have to watch our comments and make them relevant and useful but if the oil drum wanted to remain a private club, they could have done that. Its always good, in my opinion, to bring a little fresh air into things, stir the pot a little where some of the older stuff has settled a bit too much...

I very much enjoy and learn from TOD. I also hope that members here can learn from each other in a variety of ways from people of many different perspectives

I've wondered what clicking on "inappropriate" would do and felt like doing it a number of times

I believe that it is just something that aids the moderators with their work. I have been tempted, but have never done it on purpose. I have accidently done it a few times early on when posting from my iPhone. My fat fingers were the cause.

That is not quite true. I have been a "member" here for several years all under some configuration of David G. Mills but you would never know that by looking me up.

The problem is that I post so seldom that I tend to forget which username I have and have had to change emails on a number of occasions and have forgotten my password a number of times.

So I have had to have numerous "memberships" over the years.

So I have been here a good long time but looking at my name would not reflect that.

I'm new here, but I just retired after 35 years working in a large oil company, trying some consulting to keep busy and stay out of the house. So I'm still trying to figure out who's who. Because this business is so complicated, it's hard to say anybody in particular can be an expert in all areas, so it's useful to pay close attention if it's not one's area.

I don't think any areas will be permanently inhabitable. I wouldn't relocate, even if you see a little oil on the beach. Just don't let your animals wade in the oil, they can make a mess. How do I know this? Because I've worked quite a bit overseas, and seen areas operated by state oil companies and some pretty shoddy types, and I've seen a lot of oil spilled. And in the end, it turned out ok.

What i can't vouch for is the cancer rates or anything you may get from exposure to a lot of oil. So if it's fresh oil in particular, stay away from it, and don't breath the fumes.

But I think smoking or eating too much is probably going to kill you a lot easier than being around a little bit of spilt oil.

Because I've worked quite a bit overseas, and seen areas operated by state oil companies and some pretty shoddy types, and I've seen a lot of oil spilled. And in the end, it turned out ok.
Uhh,are you going to include the Nigerian Delta in this.Heh,heh

I can't say where I have been because I may end up there again. Better keep the skeletons in the closet.


I recommend that you work towards thinking for yourself. Interact with Rockman or Simmons or whatever but first form your own hypothesis - even if you are a layman.

I'd second that suggestion.

Question is WHY do you want to know who they think are the best? Are you going to try to get comments from them for some reason?

It's good to read ALL the posts as there are a lot of people who post rarely but have good info. Are you looking for best technical poster, best legal mind, best sense of humor, etc? Since there isn't a rating system here (i.e. 1 to 5 stars) you don't get a wide perspective of how readers feel about a post/poster. For example RM may hate SpeakerToAnimals but everyone else might love him. Asking only a few people introduces a LOT of chances for bias which is filtered out by the general readership.

Matt Simmons has reasons to talk doomsday. He is short on BP stock by a considerable amount and if he can drive down the price he makes more money. This was discussed a couple days ago. Bsides a lot of what he says is just plain nuts if you have even a basic understanding science and engineering and a little bit of common sense.

Why do the "board owners" opinions matter about the RW? They will tell you they don't have all the answers anymore than BP does, This sure looks like you are fishing for an article for a newspaper/magazine/web site or maybe as experts for use in a law suit.

Double post deleted.

If you have specific questions you are likely to get a quick response here. That is the benefit of a busy board like this. A slow paced and lightly populated community would take much less time to read, but would have much less information and a lower chance of high quality responses.

Read as much as you can and use your own best judgement. The more time you invest, the more knowledge you will likely receive back. You have already found an oasis on the sometimes desolate information highway, that is the hardest part of the journey.


What happened? Skandi ROV's showing a huge plume, now.

That's the flow from the kill line, I believe, and it's the whole flow. What puzzles me is that for quite a while (20 min?) after the ram was closed, there appeared to be only a slight flow coming from the choke (yellow elephant trunk) and from what I took to be the kill --4 small vents in a yellow cylinder with thin streams flowing. Now suddenly vastly more.

How come there's no more flow out of the little yellow elephant's trunk? That was supposed to be the last release point to be shut in with a very gradual throttling.


Caution .. this is speculation, based on observation.

When everything was closed except the choke line, there seemed to be leakage around the connector leading up to the elephant trunk... leakage beyond what looked to be via planned vents. At that point, they re-opened the kill and closed the choke. Was that connector not tested for the maximum pressure coming from 100% of the flow? The flows to Q4000 and Helix Producer have been shut down, so when just the choke was open, ALL the flow was going through it.

And, somewhere some roomsful of engineers are going ??? or this could be what they expected to happen and they are just testing the test equipment?

Rainy, did you see the choke vent going full blast? I never did, might have missed it. In distant view it looked like a light stream.

Yes, I saw it going full blast, when the kill line was closed.

Full flow out the top, then gradually oil started leaking out of what looked like evenly spaced vents around the connector, and then, from unseen areas under the connector. The rov shutting it off had, at times, obscured visibility due to flow wafting across the valve plate... seems unlikely that was planned.

Choke line was never opened alone. They opened everything up, choke and kill, and the choke assembly had leaks. The kill assembly has leaks, too, btw.

....or maybe a piece of tire or golf ball was temporarily stuck in the valve ;->

I think I'll just watch and wait.

"The flows to Q4000 and Helix Producer have been shut down, ... "

Have they, really? We have been told so, but could they have been reopened again? Why be honest when showmanship counts for so much?

ht Lotus, at end of previous thread... bold added.

After several delays, crews on Wednesday afternoon shut down two systems that were collecting oil from BP’s runaway well. Adm. Paul Zukunft of the Coast Guard, the new national incident commander for the spill response, said the shutdown of the two systems meant that engineers and scientists had initiated the test of its new tight-sealing cap over the gushing well. “It appears that is the case,” he said in a briefing aboard this Coast Guard cutter.

The shutdowns became apparent about 3:45 p.m. local time, when flaring of oil and gas stopped on two surface ships at the well site, about a mile away. A gas and oil burning boom on one vessel, the Q4000, was extinguished first, followed by a gas flare from the Helix Producer, which died down slowly, producing notable soot at the end.

BP begins test ...

Previously they were flowing through both the choke and the kill, thouhg the flow from the choke was pretty puny compared to the kill.

Then we saw the stabbing operation of a hydraulic connection and apparent leakage from somewhere on the choke assembly. But i don't think that the kill was closed at this stage - I haven't seen it closed so far.

Maybe they've shut the choke in because of a connection leak, but I'm not sure that the kill is rigged for really gradual throttling of the flow (presumably a needle valve?).

Allen previously said the kill valve is on/off.

Damn - so if the choke connection to the yellow elephant's trunk is compromised, then their gradual close down is not possible. What is weird is that this part of the assembly was put together topsides - they don't even have the excuse that it is difficult to do by ROV.

Maybe we have the wrong end of the stick and they will finally put us right.

The Skandi ROV 2 camera shows the oil exiting the "curved tube" by-pass, the test has begun.

I dunno, maybe there is another path open ?

Well is only flowing through the 3" (I assume) kill line now - I wonder what the pressure is up to now inside the stack? Quite frustrating not to have this info. It would have been nice to give us a video feed of the various transponder readouts.

Come on - shut it in (before I have to go to bed!) and lets have a successful end to this flow to the environment! I want to wake up tomorrow to hear that there appear to be no leaks and that Matt Simmons has eaten his hat.

Adm Allen's briefing about the delay and the reason they restart the test.. I thought he did really well laying out all the concern and the reason behind the delay.. Most of the report are pretty idiotic about the questions..


one interesting point Adm Allen mentioned, during top kill the max pressure they were able to achieve is 6000 psi.. So it is either mud flowing upward and loss or it is leaking downhole.. And the pressure test will help decide the mud weight.. I think everyone who care about the result should at least listen to Adm Allen briefing before speculate what could have/should have or will happen...

On the Skandi ROV 1, what is the stick with the three white gassy looking flows coming out of that?? Is it dispersant? Or something else??

That would be "Wehidesit".

Well it's cute, whatever it may be!! Is "Wehidesit" a new Blue Bell flavor?? Sounds like a good German lager!!

That would be: Vieheidzit.

The end with the three flows is usually deep into the flow, so you don't see it; the white stuff is the dispersant.

Does anyone have a current figure on volume of dispersant injected into the oil to date?


Grrr... That "Ongoing Administration-Wide Response" thing started in mid-May. It ticked me off so much, I started my own timeline. You can find it at Deepwater Horizon Incident Timeline. The intent was to document a day-by-day story of fairly quick resolution of a fairly mild disaster.

I bet that's what BP and the government thought, too.

That's one of a number of dispersant dispensers. One or two ROVs seem to have the full-time job of working with dispersant equipment, several components of which are on the sea floor.

Don't quote me on this, but I think the camera view from the Hos ROV2 is of a dispersant manifold and control unit.

Thanks Zap and Marty....makes sense although I was hoping for either ice cream or cold beer! The only reason I thought it might be something other than Corexit was the flow is already brown...but the point that they're injecting below as well makes sense and accounts for that. Thanks again!

I believe that Skandi ROV2 is a side view form the right of what is being observed by Skandi ROV1. It was pretty clearly so a few minutes ago, but they have moved ROV2 slightly so that ROV1 and the dispersant wand can no longer be seen in its field of view. Also, ROV1 is looking at the oil plume higher up and closer in than ROV 2. (Yes, I believe that the thing you see is a dispersant wand with three nozzles.) I wonder why they choose to spray the dispersant at a place where the plume has expanded to be much larger than the spray pattern of the wand. Especially when we can see the general layout of things in another view. They clearly have very little respect for our powers of observation.

It is kicking the crap out of the dispersant wand now.

I still don't understand why this is necessary. Why not just recover as much as possible, keep the leak at minimum or zero, finish the RW and kill it? This well will hopefully soon be cemented top and bottom. They have to cement it anyway whether the casing is compromised or not.

This very set of tests is going to give them important information which will assist them at the time they attempt to kill the well.

Edit: Test will also indicate whether they can safely try this method of capturing all the oil via sealing the system with this new cap.

I'm sure if I've misunderstood this someone will correct me.

The strong flow on Skandi 1 is the kill line.

Please correct me if I am wrong, that would be the kill line off the new BOP not the orginal BOP that I think still runs to the helex on the surface?

Yes, off the new capping stack. Flows to the surface vessels have been cut off during the shut-in test, but the risers are probably still where they were on the original BOP.

Thanks, got it now.

Nothing is currently coming out of the choke - the "elephant trunk" - the flow is via the the lower T (the kill line I think.) (you can see the light colored dispersant being injected into the flow from the left.)

Boa 2 is currently examining the choke line to try to work out why it leaks like a sieve...

Conspiracy theory time - the choke leaks because:

- it was sabotaged and deliberately mis-assembled by a disgruntled oil union worker?

- it was a deliberate "oh whoops we have a leak" to drag this out as they have realised that the ROV feeds are an effective distraction while the relief well gradually approaches touchdown?

- it was bitten by an alien water rabbit equipped with unobtanium teeth, that was in the area looking for Godzilla?

Ok, ok, I guess it MUST be bed time...

Not sure what you mean by the choke leaking like a sieve. I can see only one outflow and if it is indeed coming from the chokeline then that is most likely intentional...according to the stated procedure for closing off the flow. However if its coming out the kill line then heckifino. I could sure use an accurate diagram of the capping stack. Any thoughts...anyone...anyone.

BP is working to fix leak now so they can proceed with test. May take a while

thanks diverdan. Good to know someone who has the "skinny" on things

As I understand - the kill line is controlled by one of the rams and therefore - if they try to close the kill line at this time - it would be a quick process. The choke or "elephant trunk" has the ability to slowly turn and close the valve -- which is what they want. So doesn't this mean that they will need to fix the leak at the choke - or risk damage with a quick close of the kill line?

Knowledgeable people - Is this idea out in left field or is this a possibility?
Is it possible that the problem that caused the blowout, caused the top kill to fail, and maybe is the current cause for concern, 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 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?

There's a lot of unconsolidated sediment, to be sure, but the reservoir must have a good bit of solid rock covering it. There's no way a high pressure sand would last over time - it would long since have leaked off. It won't prevent the relief well from working.

gavacho, they would have gotten screened mud returns from the moment they started drilling. If it were as unconsolidated as you claim, drilling would have been a bear at least, with continuous lost circulation (of the drilling mud). Obviously that didn't happen. Fdoleza previously speculated that there was a "wormhole", outside the casing, which is certainly possible and would increase the annulus between the casing and the formation. Look up CHOPS (cold heavy oil production with sand) and imagine how much "better" it would work if the oil were low viscosity instead of heavy and you'll have an idea what fdoleza was thinking. Hope this helps.

gav -- You won't take comfort in this but not only was BP's well not some odd extreme geological misfit it was pretty plain vanilla in the DW world of the GOM. Except for the water depth it wasn't very noteworthy on any level. It didn't drill that much rock (13,000')...I've drilled over 30,000'. The pay sand wasn't that thick (60')...I've seen 800' thick pay sections. The pressure wasn't that high (11,900 psi)...I've measured over 19,000 psi. It only ran over schedule by about 40 days...I saw one well drilled 200 days over schedule.

The geology wasn't the cause of the accident.

I decided to create an account because I have a speculative comment to make. It is based on some information that was above. It was said: "BP used high energy gamma rays to image parts of the internal state of the BOP. . . . it showed that a piece of drill pipe was stuck inside the BOP. "

Well. That would sound like a very big deal indeed.

Apparently what happened on April 20 was this. When the blowout occurred, some piece of drill pipe broke off. It shot up the well and lodged in the BOP. The pipe is substantial enough to prevent the BOP from clamping down and shutting the well off.

I suppose we can't just send a pair of gigantic robotic forceps into the BOP and get that piece of drill pipe out of there.

The well is compromised. We know this now because the pipe is broken. We know the pipe is broken because part of it broke off and lodged in the BOP. That part is apparently big enough to stop the BOP from working. And where one big piece came off, more big pieces would have come off since then in the torrent of oil that has been unleashed for months.

The well is compromised. That means most of what BP has done since the blowout has been idiotic. The kill shot, junk shot, top hat, and now this new cap are all just causing more problems with the compromised well.

Thank goodness Secretary Chu is working on this. He is probably our best hope at this point.

It would be wise at this point for the US to just order the takeover of Deepwater Horizon, seize the relevant recovery-related assets of BP on a temporary basis, and then contract out with a company that actually knows what they are doing to fix this. All BP employees who are competent and engaged in the effort would be transferred to a new quasi-government entity until this crisis is resolved. So nobody would have to worry about job security while they are fixing it.

It's time to just put it down in words. BP is a horrible, horrible oil company. They need to get out of the way and let the competent people fix this.

Read the posts on this site and you will see that several days ago, new apparatus was installed which is essentially a new BOP on top of the old one, so your idea no longer is relevant.

The well is compromised. We know this now because the pipe is broken.

The drill pipe being broken is not proof of the well being compromised. Now if it was casing in the BOP that would quite another matter.

Technically true, but there wouldn't be "casing" in the BOP anyway because by now it would have disintegrated under the enormous pressure coming from the well.

The point is, some great force broke the pipe. The other pieces of the pipe are somewhere, and they almost certainly have compromised the well.

My whole point is that BP is entirely incompetent, starting from the top, and working down from there, with only a few exceptions in the case of some engineers who apparently have no real decisionmaking power within the BP bureaucracy.

We need a new leadership group to be put into place ASAP. Chu is probably not enough of a leader to do that, but he could be the "Spock" for the "Captain Kirk" that should be allowed to emerge.

I bet BP is full of "Scotties" who are extremely competent. Yes they are embedded in a bureaucracy where wrong things get done all the time through some sort of collective motion but calling all the people incompetent is a little over the top.

For Kirk, I am thinking, maybe, Matt Simmons? He'd at least find the BOP for us.

I really like Matt Simmmons. He makes me feel smart.

Technically true, but there wouldn't be "casing" in the BOP anyway because by now it would have disintegrated under the enormous pressure coming from the well.

The point is, some great force broke the pipe. The other pieces of the pipe are somewhere, and they almost certainly have compromised the well.

I know from actual experiance with a blow out that broken drill pipe doesn't mean the well is compromised. We fished a joint of 17,000 psi drill pipe out of a well that had 20,000 psi pressure, the joint was split from end to end as if it had been in a band saw. The well showed no evidence of a casing compromise when killed and was completed and and put on production.

I suspect that the other pieces are laying on the seafloor in the DWH riser and 3000 ft of drill pipe is dangling below the BOP in 9 7/8 casing that may or may not be compromised.

Thanks for sharing your experience.

I believe this case is different because there is a broken piece of pipe in the BOP.

There is evidence that the well is likely to be compromised. The geology of the area is soft. The top hat and kill shot methods failed.

I agree that there is evidence of the well being compromised, but the broken drill pipe is neither evidence or proof of it. It has been said the additional drill pipe came fell from above down though the riser. We have no evidence that any except 3,000 ft that was there to start with has fallen below the BOP. Even if it had it may or may not have compromised the well.

- It is normal that there is drill pipe in the BOP.

- No, we don't have any gigantic robotic forceps.

- The Deepwater Horizon already belongs to the US as it is lying on the US seafloor.

- Whatever you might think of BP, they are almosty certainly more competent than any quasi-government entity to deal with this particular type of scenario.

- BP would love to "let the competent people fix this". Who did you have in mind?

I am compelled to disagree with you. BP did not have the expertise, the experience, nor the manpower to deal with this catastrophe. What they do have is a war room full of true experts from all the major oil companies, and other service company experts as well as consultants that are recognized as experts in the industry, ala Mr Wright. These experts are hand picked, identified by name, and requests made to the Chiefs of the companies that employed or previously employed them in the case of retirees, and immediately dispatched to the war room.Teams initiated work on all the suggested possible scenarios that would kill the well or contain the oil and did what will go down as a historical effort to produce everything you have seen and things you have not seen in the way of equipment and procedures.It is the team of industry experts that have made possible what success BP has had so far. This is, of course, IMHO.

Unfortunately, the team of experts are not calling the shots. There are way too many chiefs, mostly in the name of "Govt Scientists", for the number of Indians working the problems. But, I digress.


Many of the regulars have already heard this tale. It's really just a side bar to the discussion but it's just an opportunity to explain a fact about the oil industry today. Our ExDrill manager made his point about BP not having employees who could handle the nightmare out in the GOM right now. But it goes beyond the extreme situation we see today. Big Oil and Big Independent can't even run their normal offshore ops with just their employees. A typical floater may have 140 souls on board. It isn't uncommon for not more than 2 to 4 of those hands to be employees of the operators. A lot of consultants with many only working for the operator on just that one well. But the vast majority of hands are working for the service company and the drilling contractors. Over 30 years ago the big oil companies started divesting themselves of in-house expertise on the operations side. Even back at the company head quarters there are a lot of "workers" who aren't employees. At my last gig with Devon perhaps 30% or more of the drilling dept. were consultants and in-house subcontractor reps.

Of course, management still called the shots. But you can imagine the potential conflicts. Consultant A makes a recommendation regarding a safety concern. Manager B might follow that recommendation or reject. Consultant A carries on and turns in his invoice at the end of the month. Had it been Employee C that made the recommendation and not Consultant A he might not have accepted a rejection. A very important thing to understand: if the project goes bad just as Consultant A had predicted he may not be around for the postmortem. In fact, when we consultants aren't around to defend ourselves we'll often get the blame even if we were the ones the issue the original alert. Like it or not it goes with the gig. But Employee C will be around...not so easy to bury the facts and deflect blame.

This the real world in the oil patch today.

It is the real world everywhere. I have a brother working on what I consider to be the worst engineering project in the world today, the Boeing 7E7. Boeing adopted the model you are describing for the production of this thing because it felt that the maintenance of the in-house expertise to build it was not economic. At the same time they are adopting a set of new to commercial airliner technologies, and their partners are not particularly competent in modern airframe tech, let alone the new stuff. The result is turning into a multi-billion dollar fubar for Boeing. One that may cripple Boeing as a company going forward.

The race to the bottom has all sorts of negative consequences. And yes I'm staying off the 7E7 until it has 5 years in the air.

The only thing that I can say good about it is the FAA is a little better than MMS, and the Boeing engineers I know are serious about making it safe. But boy this has a lot of headwinds.

It is the real world everywhere.

That is what has become of our military, our wars, and so much else. The theory is that this holds down costs. But it creates nightmares in many ways. Large. And small: Today a sub-contracted "installer" for Sears cost them a sale and it took talking to 4 people on various 800 numbers just to get the sale and installation reversed, and 3 more to complain about their crazy complaint process as well as hopefully spare other customers getting the same rude and intimidating "service provider". (He might have been incompetent as well but we didn't allow anything to get that far.)

I'm sure your brother is good and is paid well by Boeing but I bet hee doesn't make $1000 per hour which is the approx. rate these 200ish people the Goverment had brought in make. My math was (100,000,000/200ppl/(60 hrs/wk * 8 weeks)) add in a few more people and the rate goes down but it's still a heck of a paycheck to someone. If anyone knows some of the people working on this ask them if they make anywhere near $1000 per hour. Even ol' Rockman doesn't pull in that kind of money! Last time I consulted with the Gov't the best I could get with 25 yrs expertise in Systems Engineering was $200/hr!!! So where is all this money going, I'll bet you the Engineers and Scientists are not getting. Even if I assume some overhead and some money for travel and equipment I still can't get close to $100M. I'm all for making BP pay but let's play fair about it. Seems to me its just a revenue raiser for the Govt and not real costs incurred.

Read "Atlas Shrugged." All of this was predicted.

We have allowed our global education system to be so dumbed down, and we have thrown out classical logic and genuine critical thinking in favor of Skinnerian "work force training."

We've raised a generation of semi-illiterates and we pay them very well--like the truly prepared professionals of the last generation-- when many of them are barely high school level in their critical thinking skills.

This is just the tip of the iceberg.

The cream of the crop may still be the cream compared to prior generations, but they are not working on mundane things like infrastructure issues or well safety. The second tier that we depend on for everything, with regard to transportation and critical infrastructure, is woefully deficient in logical decision-making ability.

Macondo is just a warning shot across the bow as to what is coming...

Double post deleted.

Spooky, ominous and non-defined, designed to create a tone. Same tactic as can be found on zillions of conspiracy sites. Motivation?

As someone who often has to work with the 20-25 yr olds as a manager and sometimes Mentor I would agree somewhat with you. The basic educational system in the US is approaching the "it sucks" level. High school grads are pretty dumb and many have been pushed out to make numbers and really are not ready to hold down any type of skilled job. But the Colleges/Universities are still quite good. Semi-literate I've not seen in my field but there are those who if it isn't online they are not going to read it. There are those who have no ideas about history, Goverment, Politics or other topics as that just doesn't interest them. Don't confuse the two concepts.

I wouldn't go so far as to say the current generations like logical thought and decison makinkg skills. I've ran across some gems and duds in all generations in the workplace. Since when is Infrastructure and well safety mundane? It's essential and those who do it really seem to love it, don't put them down.

Here's a contractor story you'll enjoy from years ago but those days are ancient history.

13 years ago I worked on a project to migrate 800 Wang terminals to PCs. Software to run on PCs would be developed with IBM assistance and IBM provided two brilliant developers, one new employee who suffered from English speaking impediment syndrome, and an executive lady "on a mission" to guide efforts. The developers melded with our group quite nicely, the ESI guy was very polite so treated in like manner, but the executive lady, big problem. I avoided her, so she wasn't any problem for me. But my team members kept irking me to no end with their whining about her. I didn't heed much attention until my boss's boss walked up to me and the two other architects of new system and said, "If you have any problems with executive lady, just let me know, and I'll get rid of her."

And then a design review of a snippet of what I was working on was scheduled with only IBM contractor's invited. I didn't like that since I would be without support. As expected, executive lady began asking irrelevant questions about many things except the design we were supposed to review. I thought, fine, monkey see, monkey do. So, I grilled her mercilessly with equally irrelevant questions. After about 10 minutes of this, she quickly stood up and flung out her arms, saying I'm not taking any of this anymore and walked out the door. I thought, uh-oh, executive lady just made a big mistake. A few days went by and I hadn't seen or heard from executive lady and my management never said anything to me about our design review meeting.

And then during idle chat with a co-worker one day, he said, good job, you got executive lady fired.

By the way, that project was delivered on time and under budget!

I'd say this incident highlights that there were at least three different camps involved.
1) Government - the containment specialists. Adm Allen being the Prime Example. That is a core USCG mission. It does beg the question, why did there exist a near total absence of fire boom, theoretically containment strategy #1.
2) BP - Oil production is their prime mission and that is what they know and is their knowledge base (with its attendant limitations)
3) Well control specialists in the classic Red Adair mold, specifically Boots & Coots, Wild Well Control et al.

What this CF highlighted was having #1 giving direction to #2 who in turn gave it to #3. We were discussing "fines" yesterday regarding the top kill. Near the end of his briefing Adm Allen finally reveals some detail on the top kill effort http://www.c-span.org/Watch/Media/2010/07/14/HP/R/35451/Integrity+Tests+...

Well golly gee, the top kill failed because most of the mud was just short-circuiting out through the riser and not going down the hole. They only managed to get the wellhead pressure to 6,000 psi (not because there are any breeches in the casing, the seismic just re-confirmed there is none) but because they used too fine a mud. The choice of using fine mud would be reasonable to #2 types who, in their hearts, are always conditioned to be able to eventually produce from the well and so don't want to use a mud that would be very hard to circulate back out of the well. Use of such a heavy mud would just not compute, it's outside their box of experience.

However, if your job is well control, "to plug the damn" hole", you open up alternate vistas, such as using "coarse" mud. And those bigger, coarser particles would descend into the well raising the downhole pressure until you killed the well. Oh well, if they had used coarse in lieu of fine mud, the top kill could have succeeded and the oil spilt since Memorial Day would still be 13,000 ft under the sea. Oooops, sorry about that!

Did y'all notice how many times Adm Allen used the term "over-abundance of caution", not abundance of caution, "over-abundance of caution"? And how enthusiastic he was to proclaim that he was "Gung Ho" to proceed with the test? It seems Adm Allen is in total agreement with your opinion that

Unfortunately, the team of experts are not calling the shots. There are way too many chiefs, mostly in the name of "Govt Scientists", for the number of Indians working the problems. But, I digress.

Bruce, I take it by coarse mud you mean high viscosity mud?

Secretariat Salazarovich, is that you who would like to put the boot on the throat of BP while pushing them out of the way since Day One?

BP has the manpower and technology to shut this thing down. Their safety and engineering discipline sucked on April 19. Not anymore.

"BP has the manpower and technology to shut this thing down."

Not quite true. The man in charge of the relief well operation is on contract from a firm that specializes in relief wells and other emergency operations. What BP has in regard to relief wells is that guys business card, the sense to give him a call, and listen to his pitch. Major corporations can be pretty badly run and still come up with good plans and execution.

It reminds me of a cartoon I saw in the NewYorker years ago: scene is porch of a quietly expensive summer home, grandpa wealth, daughter (or son) and spouse, and little grandson in Lord Fauntleroy suit. Grandpa says "Remember, my advice, young man. If a job is worth doing, it is worth hiring somebody to do it right!"

Ok, then. BP has the manpower, technology and financial resources to shut this thing down.

The point was, the givernment doesn't.

Welcome to the clubhouse art. Hang around...it's only gonna get more interesting.

Thank goodness Secretary Chu is working on this. He is probably our best hope at this point.

Well maybe he may have something to add, and he probably is a fast learner, but my hope lies with John Wright. Experiance trumps brains most of the time.

Art ; I did not know Sec. Chu had any kids.

Thank goodness Secretary Chu is working on this

heh heh, don't forget the entire federal lab systems at his disposal. What would you do if you were in his shoes? He is out of the scientific world and into management for a while... He will certainly bring in all the expert he know and try to get their thoughts. He wouldn't be stupid enough to go into an area that he has no expertise and just go solo.

I'm not sure Secretary Chu would do better than Secretariat when it comes to this business. I've known a lot of very smart PhDs who didn't have the common sense to get a platform designed and installed properly, but they sure knew how to estimate the pile sizes and how deep they had to go.

The guy is a physicist, which means he's probably way out of his league. The only thing I know is that he got picked for a Secretary position 2 years ago, and before that he was running laboratory experiments and teaching.

On the other hand, I'm sure the guys they got to come help are fine. What I don't know is if they know each other well enough to listen to each other, and so on. The chemistry is important.

In the 1970s we had an aircraft crash. A competitor convinced the FAA that the cause was a flaw in our design. The company was looking at its demise. I hired a physics professor from the textile school of North Carolina State University to come in and analyze the wreckage. He destroyed the case against our design, and all he supposedly knew how to do was weave cloth and make thread. Not all PhDs types are made equal. The man was one of the smartest human beings on the planet (I picked him, so I'm right in there!). During WW2 he spent four years in the fracture mechanics lab with George Rankine Irwin. He had more common sense than the dozen or so aircraft engineers who had mistakenly concluded the raccoon was up an empty tree.

That's anecdotal evidence. I can counter with lots of examples of PhDs who couldn't figure out the simplest things, because they were too specialized. During my career I emphasized to young PhDs we hired not to take a career track going into R&D or the Tech Support departments, hide their degree and learn to work in the field, to avoid this problem. Some listened, some didn't. In hindsight, the ones who listened turned out a lot better engineers. Some managed to escape their cages later, but they were exceptional.

Now let's take Dr Chu. I understand he was working on fusion power and things like that for most of his career. The guy's in his 50's by now, I bet. He gets pulled out of the lab for a government job by Obama. So, Chu himself doesn't have the skills to run an offshore project like this (and this has turned out into an offshore project on the fly). What he does have is political clout, and hopefully enough common sense to play the politics and let people who do know figure things out. But I'm not about to go down on my knees and thank God Chu is in Houston killing Macondo, because I don't think he really makes an iota of difference.

This will give you an account of what happened.

I agree. In the first week, I argued that BP be thrown off the lease and reclamation be put out to bid or a consortium of Shell-Exxon-Marathon

And I doubt anybody would bid on it unless they had a lot of time to read the documents and run it by 2000 lawyers. Unless it was a cost plus contract with zero liability. In that case I'd like to bid on it.

I have been reading for a few weeks but I now recall what I wrote upstream about the premature kill of the top kill attempt because Sec. Chu et al did not want to fully back pressure to circa 9000 psi as would be required to reverse the flow.

Today's reflection (by me) is that whole rational was forgotten and the capping the cap that has gone on lately, and specifically the part about using it for a complete, or substantial, cut-off of flow, had completely overlooked that rationale. Then it seems Sec. Chu, and/or his people, emerge again, reiterate this point and the whole idea goes 'on-hold'.

One has to ask why the whole thing was forgotten in the meantime. I would say it is a characteristic of a chaotic engineering approach without a single line of command. People go off doing their own thing without a complete list of the agreed constraints.

That does not mean the recent capping is useless. It is a necessary component in order to take all the oil/gas flow safely to the surface. If, for some reason, the bottom kill does not work, or is only partially successful, it becomes very important.

But then one has to ask how much sooner total surface capture could have been operational if total closure at the sea floor had not been a goal. Maybe not much difference (although I am surprised how long it has taken to get this far - the time delay obviously underlining the inadequecy of the spill (un)-plan).

Of course, if it emerges that all the oil is not coming through the original BOP we have another problem. I wonder what the plan for handling that is or whether any intelligence (let alone cutting metal) has yet been devoted to that.

Keep up the good work. I confess to looking for Blue Bell up here in MA. but sofar without success. I also have a piece of grey matter embedded with not drinking with Norwegians. Cheers from another arrogant old f**t who they paid for doing engineering which he loved (my late wife said I never WORKED a day in my life).

A wonderful update. Thank you, HO.

BP says test delayed while leak in choke line is isolated and fixed

Ah so - confirmation at last.

Thanks DD,

Nothing like making use of social networking - BP on twitter BP_America

and, on Facebook, BP Operational Notes

"In preparation for commencement of the well integrity test, the middle ram has been closed and a leak has been detected in the choke line of the 3 ram stack. It has been isolated and will be repaired prior to starting the test."

Actually i just called BOA ROV on its private cell phone line:)

hahaha! Even better.

The flow was previously coming from the top of the stacking cap with oil being siphoned from the bottom of the original BOP lines to containment -- now the only place it appears that the flow is coming from is the kill line on the stacking cap. So - what impact on PSI can be expected and had
BP learned anything about pressure thus far??

Thanks to all the technical folks -- I've been in the oil industry for along time in admin functions and find this fascinating.

Anybody able to tell a dummy like me what Oly ROV 1 is doing reciprocating that white tube?? Not a lot of movement, just occaisionally and then only what appears to be an inch or so....but it does move...or my eyes are going, again!! Thanks as always in advance!!

If the shut-in test shows that the well can hold back the full formation pressure (minus the oil head), why don't they just run a top kill? Once the fluid stops flowing, everything would be in static equilibrium (as long as the casing isn't compromised), so wouldn't they be able to apply a slight differential pressure via mud pumps to slowly start the fluid flowing back down into the reservoir? I suppose the kill lines are now hooked up to producers, but once they determine the well can hold pressure, they'd have more options for the eventual final kill if they connected the kill lines to some mud pumps.

If they did start pumping kill fluid in from the top, that would immediately start reducing the pressure seen by the BOP, due to the mud being much heavier than the oil/gas. They could even use a very heavy mud because they wouldn't have to worry about fracturing any rock. Even if only part of the casing was filled with a very heavy mud, that would greatly reduce the risk of holding everything at a high pressure for an extended period of time.

So they say they're eventually trying to shut-in around 9000 psi as long as necessary to determine no leakage. This is a large pressure that would have to be overcome with pumping power, but with the 5000' of sea between the BOP and the ships at the surface, they could most likely pump down a super heavy mud that would equal that 9000 psi plus a little to start the flow, say 50-100 psi (perhaps 10 psi would even work-it does in theory).

I just ran the numbers after assuming the mud pumps would be able to provide 3000 psi of pressure, with 4950' of head, and a desired pressure of 9100 psi, and got a mud weight of 23.7ppg - I'm not sure if such a heavy mud exists... instead, hook up a couple of pumps in series because only a low flow rate is needed to start the fluid flowing. If the pumps combined could do 5000 psi, that would only require a mud of 15.9 psi.

I've been able to see the flaws in every idea presented, so hopefully this sophomore level idea has some merit. The only serious drawback I see is that the BOP and wellhead equipment would have to withstand a pressure slightly higher than tested for a few minutes-although if something did go "pop", they could crank up the pumps and shove heavy mud down down the well as fast as possible, which would spike the pressure, but only for a few seconds as the heavy mud replaced the lighter oil/gas mix.

Once this shut in is complete they will start pumping mud. This well is history. The only reason they won't produce this well in the future is politics.

Fooey. Double and triple fooey. Relief well will have to kill it.

I doubt that possibility has escaped the sharper minds on the job, but they would never mention it until the well had already successfully held full pressure. That could be where they are REALLY headed with this little exercise. We shall see.

austin - Ignoring the math what you're describing is how wells which take a kick and are shut in (as opposed to activating the BOP) are killed. The obvious difference with the BP well is the integrity of the csg IMHO. I don't have a sense of how concerned BP et al are with this possibility but it may be the basis of the current tests.

My sense is that after the "top kill" failed -- they abandoned the idea of a second BOP on top of the original (basically the stacking cap)... so close to the RW - it doesn't make sense to try to stacking cap process - unless they feel pretty strongly that the csg may be damaged and they need to test this process before proceeding -- JMHO.

Mr Gonzo, yeah that is the way I read it too. A 2nd BOP to shut it in was one of the possible scenarios discussed here and in MSM long ago, but as I recall the notion was abandoned as being too risky. The well could not hold the pressure -- the seafloor would cave in they told us. So what changed between then and now? Why is it suddenly not too risky? Some folks here today are saying they were waiting on engineering and fabrication, but that's not what folks were saying a while ago.

And now MSM is essentially saying they are going to to close the valve any day now.

Another thing that really gets me is that a month or so ago there were a bunch of us asking, "why don't they just unbolt the flange?" Heard lots of naysayers, so I thought it could not be done. But lo and behold...

As I write this the view of the spew is absolutely paroxysmal.

The official story from the briefing is that they do not know if the reason they could only get 6000 psi during top kill was because it was going out the riser or was going out a breach in the casing of some sort.

They expect this test to resolve that initial issue fairly quickly.

If they determine there is a leak, they will shut it down and resume producing to the surface. If there is no leak, they will do the 48 test sycle, 6 hrs. between each testing cycle. They will then make a final decision on what to do, keep it shut in or back to producing.

The relief well is in suspension during the test. So does that mean they are testing to see if they can do a top kill? What is riskier, RW bottom kill or top kill after passing 48 hr pressure tests?

I believe they are testing to determine the damage to the csg -- that will help them determine what amount and type of mud they might need to use for the RW bottom kill. I don't believe the top kill is an option. The option if the RW fails, I believe, is "Producing the well" via pipeline to a nearby depleted reservoir for injection..

People are speculating why not just try a top kill once they shut it in in, if everything passes the pressure tests. And that maybe they are thingking about that.

If they can close it in, why not top kill it if it is a simpler and easier route than bottom kill?

Another question I have is what about the drill pipe? What if it is still hanging from inside the bop? What if it's 3000 feet of DP, what do you do with it as far as sealing the well?

If they're shipping the oil anywhere via a pipeline, it'd be to another platform for real production, not injection into another reservoir.

Sorry that I was unable to comment to your posts last night concerning the apportionment of fault between BP and Transocean.

The apportionment of fault questions that arise from this incident are really beyond the scope of simple analysis at this point.

I see lots of questions off the top of my head.

To begin with I wonder what tort law is going to apply? Is it going to be something like admiralty because it is out in the gulf? How far out does admiralty jurisdiction extend?

Is it going to be the law of one of the states in question?

If state law applies will it be a state with joint and several liability or some form of comparative fault arrangement or no fault arrangement?

Will damage to the shore produce a state action instead of the federal admiralty action?

And of course there will be worker's compensation claims and will they be handled under state or federal law? And what law will apply for subrogation actions for these claims?

And will countries like Mexico and Cuba or their citizens end up with claims and if so what law will apply in those cases?

And what about one state's liability to another? Suppose a state like Florida that has prohibited offshore drilling is incensed that the state of Louisiana permitted it or the Federal government permitted it. Does Florida have an action against Louisiana or the Federal government?

Unlike an inland spill where the damage is confined usually to the state where the drilling occurred, the offshore spill can travel far beyond the state or nation that allowed it. And if a state has to pay another state does it have a cause of action for reimbursement against the private defendants that caused it?

What about the damage to international shipping? Do they have claims?

And the claims for wildlife and damage to the environment? Where will they be made and what laws sill apply?

The possibilities for apportionment questions seem endless because the potential causes of action by so many different parties seem endless.

Excellent question. But I suppose the $20 billion kitty is intended to keep the ambulance chasers at bay as much as possible.

And don't think the two RW's are wasted either, notwithstanding politics. There is major pay in this formation.

I wanted to get proactive again and model what a bottom-kill failure might look like, and examine the following steps that might occur in that eventuality.

The first method might be to inject a mud column which should control the well if a mud column from TD to the seafloor is achieved. What might be the circumstances that cause this to be ineffective? I can think of only one. A higher sand has been injected with pressurized oil & gas from the pay formation at bottom. That has been discussed up to a point, here on this site. Such possible injection may have been occurring from the beginning of the blowout, started at a later time, or been of variable duration at different times. I'm unsure how to formulate a worst-case scenario of this possibility.

If this has occurred, then the formation will begin to blow back into the wellbore and simultaneously the bottom formation we know is blowing will continue because the mud column is not establishable at that density.

This suggests to me that the first relief well may not be capable of anything but a very heavy bottom kill slug, using much denser specialty mud than full-column hypothetical, and pumped only to fill some designated bottom portion. This might leave the upper zone returning its overpressure for quite some time.

From there, I can't see any clear way ahead. I see only a few possibilities, none of which I have seen discussed here. (That doesn't mean they haven't been.) My oilfield experience is limited and some of the following are more stupid than others.

The bottom is killed and the upper zone bleed-down is capture-able by the current flare & sequestering ships. Unless bad weather occurs; then open sea venting would recur. Until entire upper formation bleeds back down.

The bleed down exceeds the capture & flare capacity and sea venting continues until bleed-down finishes.

The second relief well is used to inject a different mud weight at a higher point of entry. In this situation, the lower heavyweight slug might actually be withdrawn slowly from the bottom via the first relief well. It's existence (the heavy slug) would make resumption of circulation dangerous.

The upper formation gets specialty polymer mix along with the bottom, or a second relief well spots specialty polymer (or some other advanced formulation) in the upper formation long enough for BOP replacement, workover, etc. Cementing of well.

The bleed down occurs quite rapidly. What to do then?

Anyway, if there are any other possibilities if first bottom kill fails, it would be interesting to know of them.

Jumper, here's your quote: "A higher sand has been injected with pressurized oil & gas from the pay formation at bottom.".

I've been speculating about crossflow for several days. I saw the well log, and it shows a 60' sand sitting underneath a 15' stringer, separated by a fairly thick shale. Now I have to generalize, i don't have a map nor do I understand the geology that well, but IN GENERAL, when two sands like these are produced comingled, the lower, thicker sand depletes slower than the upper thinner sand. This can be caused by water drive, continuity, permeability, permeability, and other factors.

The well has been producing, likely from both sands, for about three months. They produce to a node somewhere in the well. I speculated it's into the annulus, going up via vertical wormhole/annulus until a point where the casing split. Because this node can be said to have been at flowing bottom hole pressure, then the upper, thinner sand is probably a bit more depleted than the lower, thicker sand. We don't know how depleted it can be, because we don't know its volume.

We do know that pressure depletion lowers the frac gradient. And I noticed the log showed they had lost circulation when they drilled the pay. So, when they start pumping mud from relief well into the wild well annulus, the mud will go up and as it displaces the oil and gas, the bottom hole pressure will start increasing. It is possible the mud column and weight they need to control the higher pressure zone(s) could frac this lower pressure stringer. When this happens the mud will enter the sand, cool it down, and make the frac gradient even lower. Which means they may have to have enough mud to pump and displace the well, and also to allow it to leak off into the fracture they make in this upper sand.

This is just a nice scenario I dreamed up to make life difficult for the guys who do work out the killing procedure, that's not my field. But I do know how to overkill, so if I were the guys killing the well, I would also be hooked up to the BOP kill line, with a nice big cementing boat, so if I have to I can first displace mud up, then pump down from the top to keep that sucker from flowing up again.

I do have a problem I can't figure out, where does the oil flow into the wellbore? Did anybody figure that one out?

I shall now wait for the experts to tell me what they think about it, and if they got enough mud aboard.

I don't know if anyone is interested in this or if anyone has posted this but I wonder how much is really known that should be publicly known:

"... NOAA has been withholding critical data from the public and scientists claiming it could not be released due to pending litigation with BP but the Huffington post has revealed they are turning over the same data to BP as soon as it is collected.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is hoarding vast amounts of raw data that independent marine researchers say could help both the public and scientists better understand the extent of the damage being caused by the massive BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

In most cases, NOAA insists on putting the data through a ponderous, many-weeks-long vetting process before making it public. ..."


"they are turning over the same data to BP as soon as it is collected."

This might not be hanky-panky. If there is legal action, BP would surely get the data through discovery. If not the government would risk screwing up its case and losing. If they wait until BP petitions for discovery, they delay the trial. This might be the first sign of a swift and heavy hammer blow. (I hope.)

Interesting. I would think the people of the world would also need to know what's going on. For example, if there truly is a growing dead zone in the gulf then wouldn't the aerobic bacteria have a hard time "eating" the oil spilled? Might there be a way to oxygenize the areas most affected or benefit the recovery of the gulf if more information were available? Or worse, what if the toxicity of the gulf environment could begin to affect the health of the people working and living near the gulf?

I would hope the people in charge would not let legal concerns overshadow health concerns and would at least give warning when appropriate.... which, being the trusting soul I am, am a bit relieved not hearing much of anything from them. :)

The Oil Drum has a really nice write up on biodegradation, posted either yesterday or today. It's really worth reading. Not being an expert, I would recommend you put these questions in that thread, it's full of biologists and bug experts. But I think they may say if the oxygen gets depleted, then other bacteria may kick in and eat some of the oil, if the water chemistry is fit for consumption. I think they need sulfur to do their thing, but that's biology, and it's not something I know that much about.

We're not worthy.

Just keep the mushrooms in the dark where we belong, and feed us all nothing but...well, you all know....

Defense: Upon installing sensors for the purpose of establishing the flow charachteristics of the wild well at our own expense, the people maliciously sequestured the data rendering us unable to execute our charge to remedy the disaster.

Prosecution: Sorry dudes, my bad.

Judge: You freaking Bozos need to go back to Chicago and start a bootlegging business!!

Surely someone has a copy machine.

Prez(USA) to Prez(BP) " You are going to pay all costs".
Prez(BP) to Prez(USA) " OK. Please provide all data as acquired. Please don't forward our data to other parties without first ensuring accuracy".

Seems rational to me. BP are paying the piper.

Quick question. I think I read earlier in this thread or maybe yesterday's that the choke/kill llines currently hooked up to the Q4000 and Helix did not have gradual closing options. They were either on or off with no speed control. Can someone clarify?

i believe the kill is on/off only and the choke can be closed gradually

Ok, Uncle! I guess I won't get my questions answered by the folks here....but surprise, surprise....


What gives? On July 9 10:46PM you thanked Rockman, et al for replying to your questions. On July 10 11:24PM I replied to your comment of July 10 9:38PM. I reviewed your 3 comments since then and the link you posted above. It's interesting information, but I don't see any connection between it and your earlier comments and questions.


Oh, hi. Someone is there.

I know I may not seem like I don't what I'm talking about because I'm asking some off the wall questions. My background is not in your field but it is quite diverse.

Have you ever experienced the feeling you've just recognized something very familiar to you but you can't put your finger on it? The reason for my silly questions are to get the straight, logical and experienced answers from the people "in the know", especially since almost all the information we are learning about is either media trash or assumed. If the answers align with my assumptions, then I know the probability is higher that my assumptions are correct. Not that anything can be done about it but maybe I can stop myself from thinking about the problem throughout the day. :)

Anyway, if you missed my questions, type Zboson in the search window in the upper left hand corner.

I think the two most important questions I have are:

seawater, various chemical compounds, > oxidation, static induction, < cathodic protection, lack of grounding - These things don't go together very well when your talking about system integrity and other anomalies. Do you see any issues with this combination?

Someone said here earlier....because there is a combination of fluids, then they are not supercritical.....I tend to disagree with that statement. Do you agree they are not supercritical?

Here's what I think....

1# If there are a combination of fluids, they can still be supercritical if the phases exceed critical point, they just become a uniform K,MPa(atm),weight,density.

#2 If one were to examine a single chemical, at a single point(space) in time(ms), that single chemical at that specific point-in-time (space/time) would also be supercritical, if it has exceeded it's critical point for some reason.

I know, I know, silly questions but please humor me. I hope I've written this so it makes sense.

I have the utmost respect for you men/women in this business. I'd rate what your doing right up there with NASA's work. Curiosity must have gotten to them too, which is why they are now dabbling in your business.

We don't have a specific critical T and P for this complex mixture, as the composition is changing. Presumably the composition started to change as the hydrocarbons started to move from the reservoir pressure/temperature.

I would suggest that we have a high pressure solution of hydrocarbons, and when we release the pressure, the dissolved hydrocarbons will undissolve according to vapour pressure, boiling point, solubility, etc. We then have a liquid phase and gaseous phase, both of which will change in composition as P and T changes, but still no supercritical fluid.

My ( very limited ) understanding of "supercritical fluid" is that it defines a specific region close to a molecule's critical point when the liquid and vapour have transitional and unusual properties. For example, the increased solubility behaviour of lipids in supercritical CO2 is different to liquid CO2 ( even under pressure ), and very different to gaseous CO2.

I don't think this complex, changing, mixture would have such a region, however I await enlightenment.

OK. Let's see....the well produces a fluid which includes a full range of hydrocarbons, ranging from methane to hydrocarbons with formulas like C100H202, which have embedded inside the molecule vanadium, nickel, sulfur, nitrogen, and other miscellaneous critters. This whole mixture is likely to be what we call a volatile oil. If this is the case, the mixture has a critical temperature ABOVE the reservoir temperature. At 12000 psi and less than 300 F, my guess REPEAT GUESS is this system may even be undersaturated. It may also have a variable bubble point, which decreases with depth.

Which means the mixture isn't supercritical. However, I could be wrong. Maybe it is. If my Russian spy friends can get the fluid analysis, I'll ask a graduate student to run a PVT calculation and tell us.

fdoleza and Bruce

Thanks for the reply from each of you.

I've thought about the chance that the casings became conductive. It sounds like seawater was put in the one of the annulus' instead of cement. Seawater isn't highly conductive but it probably would allow induction between the two casings if there was a location in the pipe that lost it's cathodic protection. If the outer casing is grounded and the cement between the outer casing string and the well bore work as an insulator, I'm thinking the inner production string is ISOLATED because seawater was in the annulus and the production casing may not be grounded.

I understand that a single element or the combination of elements are a volatile mixture. Each have a critical point before the synthesis process begins and the molecule(s) transform to their supercritical state. The key to my question is about the cause and effect, at the specific point in time the accident occurred. We probably don't know in this instance, but can we assume what combination of elements might have caused synthesis to begin?

If the seawater breaks down and sodium is introduced in the annulus, is it possible that the sodium and other elements would react causing electrostatic induction? The outer casing string and disks should have been designed to handle the pressure but it doesn't sound like they did, so it seems in addition to the dynamic flow, there was another issue which cause the damage to the casing and ruptured disks. Depending on the sequence of events, my thought is there could also be an endothermic or exothermic reaction and that would explain the damage.

All of this is pure speculation of course, but it really reminds me of a transformer or an oil filled conductor. Anyway, that's all, I don't what to cause anyone concern; I found the possible similarities for failure (faults) odd and wanted to know from you experts to satisfy my own curiosity.

Seawater will not allow reactive, elemental, sodium to be formed. To make sodium, a anhydrous salt plus electricity is required, and the metal will instantly react with water. You may recall that sodium metal is stored under paraffin oil ( a hydrocarbon ) to prevent reaction with moisture. I'm sure a Google search will provide plenty of elementary introductions to Davy's discovery of elemental sodium.

If you consider an electrode boiler used to make steam, it will not work with pure water ( which doesn't conduct much electricity because it has a resistance of >18 megohm / cm ). Ionic salts have to be present to allow water to pass electricity, and the electricity then heats the water - which boils and turns to steam - no sodium, or hydrogen or oxygen gases, are formed.

Under specific conditions you can electrolyze water and make Oxygen and Hydrogen gases, however if you calculate the amount of electricity required, you'll realize that it's not possible with the current and voltage in the casing - even if a suitable cell could be made.

Basically, hydrocarbons are some of the more chemically-inert organic molecules, otherwise they wouldn't exist in the reservoir for millions of years. The only major chemical reaction occurred at this well when the gases tragically mixed with atmospheric oxygen to within their flammability range (~ 7 to 15% ), encountered an ignition source, and burnt ( oxidized ) exothermally.

I think what you are saying is when the oil reached the top that's when it encountered the oxygen. Which I've understood all along. The only thing that I questioned from the start is the pressure rating of the pipe and disks. They had to know there was 12000 psi at the reservoir and engineered the pipe and disks to exceed that rating - so maybe the outer casing isn't broken.

Your answer satisfies the question that kept coming up in my mind. Thanks for your patience and pointing me to the correct information, Bruce. I guess that would have made one heck of a circuit.

I think Bruce answered very lucidly how this works. Let me add that, if nature allowed molecules to break up and reform the way you surmised, then we would have a real problem staying alive, because hydrocarbons and salty water is what we are...it's just re-jiggered by nature into goo so we can pump it easier.

I'm no expert on what you're hoping to find out. But if what you've written above is similar to other ways you've tried to ask questions, then maybe people are having difficulty even comprehending what you're asking or wondering about.

So here's what I suggest. Break your questions down into tiny bits. Then, do a Google search for each of them and see what you can find out on your own. Also, read here and try to follow along. Then, when you think you have a question that's on topic and makes sense when someone reads it, you may be more likely to get an answer.

I say this with all due respect, as I can see these things are nagging at you and maybe distracting you. But we're all learning and we can't all ask every question or expect that if we do, someone will be there to answer it. We all need to be patient, do as much learning on our own as we can, and try to write as sensibly and politely as possible.


This is a blog site. It is a tool for collaboration and communication. Duh.

Like you said, your not an expert on what I'm hoping to find out. I've asked a few innocuous questions to THE EXPERTS in the last two weeks. Big deal. Who are you to assume I haven't followed along, done my research or to criticize me? Rude.

With all the due respect you didn't give me.... maybe you need to take your own advice.

Where's Tinfoilhatguy?

This is a doozy........


I posted this one yesterday but I was thoughtful and considerate enough to issue a beverage spill warning.

"Doozy" is right.

There... It's fixed!

...Oops! Sorry about the radiation. You'll be able to swim in it again in 2,436 years.

Rockman, is that you all over George Washington's case on Zero Hedge? ZH isn't the real tin - that's over on GLP and Breitbart and spreading fast with the headline "Successful Test of Nuclear EPFCG"

I Googled "BP nuclear EPFCG" and got 802 results.

Not all 802 have the article about the corresponding earthquake in northern Canada. EPFCG is defined here:


In reading this, I can understand why hauling out the shotgun is attractive.

I love mushrooms..............

Clearly these guys have access to much more potent hallucinogens than I do.

I am seriously jealous.

Me too, maybe a bottle of Patron might make me feel better.

Sad thing is I can't tell if that article is joking or not..

Ever been to Oregon?

Oregon? I resemble that remark.

Unfortunately this story has been echoed all around the joint. Reminds me of the old movie Crack in the World. Outstanding example of that ScFi genre. When I first read of the blowout I thought the Military was gonna come in and nuke it and save the world.

But Oregon's a good place -- we got trees and owls, some of the best city drinking water in the world until the feds intervened. We got LNG pipelines coming in soon across the some of the richest farmland in the world -- but we don't get any of it cause it's all goin' to California. We got wingnuts and moonbats and pretty soon no plastic garbage bags in Portland.

This (salem-news) site is full of pure crap. It pretends to be a news site, but it's full of conspiracy nuts, hard left wackos, and people who have no idea what they're babbling on about.

Hardly anyone takes that site seriously.

Didn't know Salem-News. Is this something like The Onion or do these guys really believe what they are writing?

An EMP-weapon to shut the well... yeah, right!

Let me see if I have this correct.
The well is successfully shut in.
Mud is pumped to balance out the pressure.
Well is cemented.
BOP is removed.
All the crap in the well is fished out.
BOP is replaced.
Survey run.
If all OK, well is produced, pending politics.
Do I have the order correct?

Stop after BOP is removed.

I got to thinking, if you pull the BOP the drill stem is locked inside from the rams almost working. That'll take some muscle to pull up.

The original BOP weighs what, some 450,000 lbs in itself as I recall. What's an added couple thousand feet of drill pipe?

Actually I was thinking they may be able to open the original BOP up once the well is killed and work through this new one to finish cementing the well shut before removing any BOP's. I don't think anyone wants to risk this one getting way from them again!

This will never be a production well. Put that idea to rest.

Doubt there's anything left holding it after all that flow and erosion.


The best info we have is that there is 3,000 ft of drill pipe hanging below the BOP. That is not very heavy. The drill pipe should be free unless the producton casing has collapsed on it. In any case they could after the well is killed, mill down though the drill pipe and free it from the BOP.

According to early posts by Rockman and others this well must be permanently killed after a blowout. That's the regulation (law?). Once the relief well(s) have successfully killed the bore, that's it for this hole.

DIY -- They'll have to drill a new well. Any production capability from the original hole was lost. The type of effort you describe would easily cost more than a new hole and would have little chance of working. Likewise the relief well won't be produced.
The lost well probably costs BP around $200 million. Eather small compared to what the incident will cost BP in the end.


Perhaps Rock would like to revise his $200 million estimate on May 5th ;-)

They can drill the formation in another location.

Depends on what you define as "crap". I wouldn't go fishing in that well without the BOPs on. Maybe they'll squeeze the annulus several times, to make sure the casing is as stout as can be, then set a bunch of plugs, with a bottle of holy water dropped between plugs. THEN they can take out the BOP and put in a marker with a nice memorial plaque made out of titanium.

I've been lurking at TOD since the Macondo leak began, because this has been the only place I've found with consistent and accurate information about what is really going on. I have become an enormous fan of ROCKMAN and I picture you as the R. Lee Ermy of the drilling world. I'd sign on as a rookie on any rig you operate my friend...

The one thing that has struck me as amusing over the past few months is how every time someone shows up here from the Huffing and Puffington Post, or some other "environmentally sensitive" organization to either complain about how slowly things are going, or to frantically point out how there is catastrophic failure unfolding before our eyes ("Do YOU see a FLAME...???!!!), or some other ridiculous demand for action that will accomplish absolutely nothing, only to have real progress unfold or an actual explanation be given that completely shatters whatever rant they just made, and how well some of them STFU without ever using that phrase...

Case in point is the assembly of the new stack we just watched over the past few days. (Please correct me if I am wrong on anything I am about to say...) The transition spool that was installed on top of the old BOP was not just some hunk of piping that was laying around. Unless I am terribly wrong, that 15,000 pound piece of steel was custom made for this incident, and it is probably a minor engineering miracle that it was designed, cast, machined and prepared for use as quickly as it was. And that is only one piece of 150,000 pounds of high tech (and very high pressure) hydraulic equipment that make up the rest of the stack that is sitting on top of that spool. The assembly bolts alone weigh over 50 pounds each, and they are installing them a mile below the surface of the GOM.

It's obvious that many people think that there is a big magic oilspill toolbox out there somewhere that these oil rig guys just pull stuff like this out of. There is little or no concept of just how cutting edge all of this is, or any clue about what it takes to design and build any of it. Many of the people who are ranting here probably think we dig potatoes out of gravy too...they would also likely complain if you hung them with a new rope...

I have learned more in the past 80+ days here at TOD than I thought was possible. I have a new appreciation for some of what it takes to get the gasoline in my tank, the tires on my car, the asphalt that I drive on and all of the other petroleum products that I and so many others take for granted. Thank You to all of the regulars here at TOD for taking so much time to be professional in your explanations without being condescending, and for providing so much highly technical information in a format that someone like me can read and understand.

Remember the 11...God Bless...

Just remember not to tell anyone that the Rockman you admire is an Aggie(well at least for grad school),or they will lose all respect for you.

I saw the word "Aggie" and a switch went off in my head. Many years ago LSU's big rival was A&M.

(Sorry ROCK...I have to do this)

So a couple of Aggies go to a party and get liquored up and decide to have a little fun with their new-fangled PC printer. "Let's print our own cash!!!"

So they start doing the design work on the currency and having a few more drinks....

Next morning, they awake to a HUGE surprise..

Sometime during the night they made a mistake and printed up a whole bunch of 12 dollar bills.

Not sure what to do now, one Aggie says "Don't worry, we can pass these off to those stupid Cajuns in Louisiana."

So they set out on a road trip to south Louisiana to get rid of the fake $12 bills.

They pull up in Abbeyville, LA to a small gas station to try the first exchange. The Aggie walks in and says in a casual tone "Excuse me, can you break a $12 bill?

The Coonass says "Well yea cher. How you want your change? Fo' three's, three fo's, o' two six's?

+10 LOL

No prob doug. Got my B.S. at the other LSU...in Nawlins. Didn't care to much for those boys up the river either.

LSUNO or UNO? Surely you are not old enough to be LSUNO?

GMF - B.S. Earth Sciences 1973 Was LSUNO when I started but changed name to UNO by graduation

Got my BSME at UNO in '77. Maybe we shared a building?

I have been wondering - Can BP recover some of its cost via the development of these new technologies? Necessity is the mother of invention and perhaps redemption?

I think companies like Cameron that actually did the work making this stuff stand to benefit. Not only from the containment technology, but from the new generation of BOP's and safety hardware that are no doubt going to be mandated hence forth.

I'm not sure BP will even survive this intact.

I'm trying to see if I can get a hold of 1000 bbls of Macondo. I'll pay BP $75 a barrel if they give me the crude assay and all the documentation I need. Does anybody know how i go about it?

You pretty much summed it up.

Damn environmentalist varmint! Always whining and carrying on about this or that, instead of standing in awe of the manly men and BIG pieces of strong, upright steel they stack on top of holes! Don't they understand how BIG and strong these pieces are! Why even the bolts are big! And strong! And heavy! Show some respect for the men and machines they use!

Seriously, though, there is a post like yours every week or so, sometimes more often at the TOD. Sometimes these posts slide into "don't criticize BP", they know much more than us mushrooms, and they have such big steel pieces!

Anyway, I have a quarter century experience in the aerospace industry, and most of what I am seeing is very standard mechanical engineering, with the underwater aspect being the most challenging thing worthy of some admiration. The actual designs BP is fielding are underanalyzed, slapped together contraptions made of very pedestrian steels and performance is generally underwhelming. Perhaps one can excuse the final result because of the speed and pressure. However, it is not cutting edge and it is not very interesting.

The two first graphs are just satire, don't take it personally!


You do realize that even after stateing that that a few of them went "zoom" what was that?

If really good engineers followed really good engineering practice, stuff like this wouldn't happen. The Deepwater Horizon tragedy was caused by men who thought they knew better than the books they were given; who thought their abilities exceeded the knowledge of generations of engineers before them.

Had they followed procedure and always erred on the side of safety and always deferred to the lessons learned, we would not be watching 838,383,409 live video feeds of an unfolding disaster.

Be it known that BP's drilling and OSR plans were approved by career, unlicensed engineers.

From now on, I want drilling and OSR plans reviewed by dudes who have drilled things, plowed things, and built things that still stand. When all else fails, RTFM.

Anyway, I have a quarter century experience in the aerospace industry, and most of what I am seeing is very standard mechanical engineering, with the underwater aspect being the most challenging thing worthy of some admiration. The actual designs BP is fielding are underanalyzed, slapped together contraptions made of very pedestrian steels and performance is generally underwhelming. Perhaps one can excuse the final result because of the speed and pressure. However, it is not cutting edge and it is not very interesting.

Dimitry...dude for someone who finds this stuff "underwhelming...not very interesting" you sure do hang out around here and post rather frequently. I'd have thought you would be bored stiff by now?

I am not a really frequent poster. I post a lot when something happens I care about. So I posted a lot when they were cutting the riser and I felt they should unbolt it and put a new riser/diverter system on, coupled with beefed up topside processing capacity. And I am posting a lot now when BP decided they want to do an unnecessary test that will endanger the remaining well integrity on a small chance they will be able to shut in the well tomorrow, instead of three weeks from now.

And I am posting a lot now when BP decided they want to do an unnecessary test that will endanger the remaining well integrity on a small chance they will be able to shut in the well tomorrow, instead of three weeks from now.

That's apparently no longer in the cards. Even if the well does pass the integrity test, they're going back to containment when the test is completed. If it does pass, they may shut it in during weather emergencies so it doesn't flow into the Gulf while the containment vessels are disconnected.

I wondered why you disappeared. Those posts were very discriptive and fascinating and I looked forward to your continuing posting narrative. Same with the current situation. Thanks from not an engineer.

No Dimi, oil field stuff is not particularly interesting from the engineering aero geek standpoint. I have personally seen a laid off bunch of aero engineers nearly ruin a surface pressure control product line after they got thru "modernizing" the decades old successful products. Sure, they experience working with "unobtanium" sophisticated metals with at most 50% safety factors. But those products do not have to work from the arctic to the depths of Africa and the bottom of the sea. Those products are not dragged thru the snow, mud, sludge, sand and water. They are not handled by usually uneducated folks that cannot take time to baby equipment.

So the oil field is not flashy and purdy, fast and spectacular and not very visible. But their stuff works. I have always suspected that if an old time oil field engineer tried to design a plane or rocket ship it would never get off the ground because you could not strap enough horsepower on the heavy sumbish.

Let the flyboys play with their tissue thin aluminum and titanium but let the oil field trash play with the big iron.

==But their stuff works.==

Not so much, it would appear. We now know from actual field data that the "failsafe" BOP has an actual failure rate of 50% in operation. Yet it is routinely marketed and sold with a completely inflated reliability assessment.

Further, after decades of profits, the oil industry has not designed, qualified and put on the shelf a reliable deep water containment system, still doesn't have adequate skimming and shore protection systems and was completely unprepared for the a major accident.

Right on, Dimitry. I took it upon myself to upbraid, mildly you understand, Stanley Milgram of Ixtoc fame for saying in a recent interview:

"Preparing for an event of this magnitude is nearly impossible. Maintaining a stand-by crew of specialists that would respond to a ruptured well is just not going to be realistic. The time between incidents and the cost of the specialized equipment/training is far too great to just have waiting around."


edit: I don't know how I got Stanley instead of Jerome. I believe Stanley was the guy with the electric shocks. "Crank it up I say." "OK boss, whatever you say."

Yup, and Boeing can't get their new airliner out of the door, and after ye NASA couldn't figure out how to get foam to stay on the shuttle tanks. Everybodys got their problems I guess.

What is the emergency procedure when both engines flame out on a B737? What about rapid decompression of the space station? What is the contingency plan for when the tail falls off an airliner? A wing falls off? You see Dimi, this "what if" crap can go on forever and ever.

Play with your airplanes and let the oil field boys play with their iron.

I got the "don't need no advice from nobody who is not an oil man".

None of the things you mention have a 50% reliability during normal "design space" operation of the device. Oil folks should really think this one through. You have one "failsafe" system and it is highly unreliable in actual field conditions.

Seroiusly, you need to fix that.

Did not mean it that way but ever since this thing took off with a giant fire, death and destruction I have never seen such "monday morning quarterbacking". The four most famous words in the english language are, ifa, coulda, shoulda and woulda.

We will only know what happened after the investigation is complete.

"I have never seen such 'monday morning quarterbacking'."

Yes, well, remember: The outcome of this game is important to everyone. Monday morning quarterbacking is perfectly reasonable, since the Sunday afternoon quarterback screwed up so astonishingly badly.

And the MM quarterbacks are going to choose next season's coach and general manager.

Don't know about that yet. You know there has to be a game before any players show up. Looks to me like most of the players are changing leagues and moving overseas.

You know you're changing the subject, but OK, I'll go there...

Actually, it's the owners that are pulling up stakes and moving to places where they like the climate better. The players are the hands who will either have to chase them or find new games to play—along with their families and the neighbors who made a living selling hot dogs.

When the owners come back and want to play in the Gulf again, I hope the players and the neighbors make damned sure that they do a better job of following the rules and engaging in sportsmanlike conduct.

"What is the emergency procedure when both engines flame out on a B737? What about rapid decompression of the space station? What is the contingency plan for when the tail falls off an airliner? A wing falls off? You see Dimi, this "what if" crap can go on forever and ever.

Play with your airplanes and let the oil field boys play with their iron."

Ok... when you're done playing and grow up you may consider your toys have just cost massive destruction, money, and mayhem not to mention a huge human toll. The worst plane crash was what, 500-600 people? Space shuttle disasters, what, 20 or so astronuts, and WINGS fall off? LOL. Seriously, ya might consider some humility.

It pisses me off as a citizen of the US, not to mention the world, to hear (BP) oil people say they're safe and sane while we're in the middle of an ongoing, 90 day, and unresolved disaster. Prhaps you can name another man-made disaster that surpasses the oil disasters in the last 20 years? No? Then shuuuuuttttt up. Seriously, not all oil people are bad or a liability.... until this kind of stuff is said. Sheesh.

Seriously, not all oil people are bad or a liability.... until this kind of stuff is said. Sheesh.

Can't agree more.

I always wanted to work in the aerospace industry, but I don't know how to get a job working for one of those outfits making rockets. I did try my hand at designing some launch vehicles, and I concluded the Space Shuttle was a poor design. It just doesn't seem to have the right shape, and it's not fit for purpose. I couldn't figure out where to put the blow out preventers, and the mud pumps don't fit anywhere on the darned thing. And there's no space to put a locker to secure the pipe dope.

Not to mention the pipe wrenches!

+100, especially the satire!

Update from the TinFoil. The meeting between the coastal cities in Baldwin County and the County Commission is set for Monday. So far, two commissioners and four cities have committed to attending the meeting. I will probably get my local Alma Mater's to send representatives too. The main topic will be the costs of not being 'green' or appearing to be green. I am purposely avoiding discussions of oil or dispersant toxicity or the sciences. I believe the humanities needs to drive this car. It is a much better 'weapon' in this case and it makes doing the 'right' thing more justifiable in the face of limited budgets and limited amounts of attention to give. Buried oil waste no matter the source is just not a 'sexy' media issue. Perhaps it needs to be. Let me know what YOU think. http://gcn01.com

Photo of a POS car in Gulf Shores.

??? "POS" doesn't look like a Hummer to me...

On another topic, looks like Deep C 1 is being driven to drink...

I should have shown the front bumper and hood. You are seeing the 'good' side. As far as efficiency, it IS a Cadillac. There are standards beyond efficiency even for the 'green' set. Not to look down on folks necessarily, but to ensure good traffic flow. I drove POS's for years. I loved them and it never bothered me when someone called it such. I knew what I drove and it bothered me not. I am sure my reference would not bother the driver of the pictured Honda even if he knew, but I see your point. Sorry Honda guy.

The yellow pressure gauge on Oly ROV is showing ~3000 psi. Any ideas as to what it is measuring? It is labeled "Inlet", which may mean the inlet to the new capping stack. Would a gauge like this typically be psia or psig?

It was at 2000 psi an hour or so ago.

Its only purpose is for BP to maintain uncertainty in the size of the leak (i.e. total spill volume). BP only cares about their financial liability, not about stopping the leak. They are testing to see if they can completely stop the flow at the risk of further damage to the well. An 100% containment solution with flow in the riser to the surface would provide greater certainty to the size of the leak.

The "cap" should be designed to connect it to an adequately sized riser or a multiple riser system. A 4" riser is not adequately sized for this disaster. An adequately sized riser (or multi-riser system) for this disaster would reduce the back pressure and actually increase flow. BP fears this would lead to the overestimation of the leak rate and total spill volume. So they chose to under-design rather than over-design.

From the very beginning there were devices that could have been designed to stop the flow into the sea. The first containment dome that was the size of a house was connected to a four inch riser. Anyone who is trained in fluid dynamics and thermodynamics (i.e. chemical engineer) knows that this as the simple pressure tank outlet problem; and would have likely failed even without hydrates (i.e. path of least resistance).

On top of that, this first dome was an ideal "design" for hydrate formation and blockage: a constriction (BOP), followed by an expansion (fallen 22" riser segment and containment dome), followed by a another constriction (4" tank outlet). With or without hydrates, the back pressure created by a 4" riser (plugged or not plugged) would force the leak out the bottom of the dome (especially around 22" riser), therefore, creating a "rocket". Why didn't BP connect the original dome to ten 4" risers (or larger risers if possible)?

A FOUR INCH RISER HAS NEVER BEEN ADEQUATE. A 4" riser might work fine for normal operations when the system integrity has not been compromised (i.e. a system rated for 15,000 psi rather than a system rated for 0 psid). USE MORE AND/OR BIGGER RISERS! (I guess it's kinda too late now.)

Interesting username....

I agree with the sentiments expressed, whoever you really are.

Your complaints seem very reasonable. Makes you wonder what are they really trying to acomplish with all these sudden changes.

"Anyone who is trained in fluid dynamics and thermodynamics (i.e. chemical engineer) knows that this as the simple pressure tank outlet problem; and would have likely failed even without hydrates (i.e. path of least resistance)."

The original 100 ton containment dome with a 6" riser (my estimate) was a gas lift pump. This makes the situation a little more complicated than a simple pressure tank outlet problem. If the riser had been large enough, all of the flow - oil, gas and seawater - would have gone up the riser, and none of it out of the other large openings in the sides of the dome, which were put there to clear the piping and other obstructions.

But we didn't get to find out whether the riser was large enough, because hydrates blocked the flow almost immediately. If I go any further, I will be mentioning the 1" orifice (jquest, you are the man) and speculating on why it was put there, and eyes will begin to roll...


thats what she said

Maybe I am an idiot but why cant BP coduct the pressure test with the riser connected to the top of BOP instead letting oil spew into the gulf? The goal is to stop oil flow into the water. I could care less if it stays in the earth or goes up to the ship.

Second why even close the BOP???? Just keep sending the oil to the surface until the relief wells are done?

Absolutely agree with your second question.

For the first one, shutting in the whole contraption is a REQUIREMENT of the pressure test. The idea is to find out whether there are any leaks when the whole system is shut in, and that can only be determined by finding any unexpected pressure drops during a TOTAL shut in of the well.

There seems to be some confusion about the test sequence. This is my understanding from a lot of watching.

When they closed up the main outlet on the top of the mini-BOP, the flow started to come out of the kill and choke lines. The yellow manifold they had on the choke quick-release coupling leaked down on the top of a flange. In the test sequence, after the main outlet was closed then they would close the kill line and lastly, the choke line by closing that 18-3/4 turn valve on the manifold presumably giving a very precise pressure rise. They couldn't afford to have this unit leaking.

It looked like the leaks were coming out of empty bolt holes and one of the ROVers apparently screwed some screws into some of the holes. When I saw it, it looked like they had several more to go. I haven't seen it since but if they get that thing stopped up they will probably resume their sequence, first checking to see if the choke manifold is fixed.

I notice the the mini-BOP is rather symmetrical in that the kill and choke manifolds with their respective pairs of shut-off valves each have a quick-release coupling, probably about 3" or so in diameter pointing up. Only the choke coupling has the yellow choke manifold installed on it. The flow is currently flowing directly out of the kill coupler.

Forgive any misuse of terminology.

I think this is new; it's from the daily "Ongoing Administration-Wide Response to the Deepwater BP Oil Spill" email, which I just received:

Upon completion of the tests, the federal government will possess valuable data regarding both the condition of the well--important when action is taken to ultimately kill the well with the relief well efforts--as well as an understanding of our capacity to shut the well in for brief periods if needed to prepare for a hurricane. As soon as the tests conclude, containment efforts will resume with the new capping stack and other equipment, with the potential to capture up to 80,000 barrels per day.

So it seems they're no longer contemplating keeping the well shut in if it passes the integrity test.

I was at work all day and there was 600 f'ing comments.

I missed all the seismic stuff.

Looks like it's clear that it's an active source and a significant seismic vessel, from all the comments. Perhaps with a short cable (maybe 2K) - enough to get significant independent fold at the seafloor and couple thousand feet deeper. As has been mentioned several times, they are likely imaging the well - even if the line doesn't go directly over the well , the diffractions will be imaged (not to mention xline dip) and it's likely that oil/gas ejected into the sediment mud will be visible - significant velocity effect and smaller density effect. AVO and other esoteric stuff will not be necessary.
The short cable helps in one way: if they want to do time-lapse, it'll be easier to repeat but cable feather will still be a problem, especially if they do not have multiple streamers (which might not be possible in the traffic).

I wonder why they limited to 2.5 km length - that is somewhat small given water depth. And it would be easier to have a longer line because traffic dies out at longer distances. It's always good to have extra full fold image away from the target to calibrate your picture. I wonder if the 2.5K was referring to maximum offset: people often get them mixed up.

Senators push BP to halt Libya wells

BP should halt its oil-drilling plans in Libya while links between the company and the release of Lockerbie bomber Abdel Baset Ali al-Megrahi are investigated, a group of U.S. senators said Wednesday.

By Bloomberg News


LONDON — BP should halt its oil-drilling plans in Libya while links between the company and the release of Lockerbie bomber Abdel Baset Ali al-Megrahi are investigated, a group of U.S. senators said Wednesday.

The British oil giant signed an exploration agreement with Libya's National Oil Corp. in May 2007 during a visit by then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair. The company has a rig in place to start a well in the Gulf of Sirt and plans to drill onshore in the Ghadames basin by the end of the year, BP spokesman Robert Wine said.

U.S. senators, who Tuesday asked Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to examine whether BP helped secure al-Megrahi's freedom from a Scottish jail to facilitate the deal, demanded Wednesday that BP stop drilling in Libya.


I know there's a sense in Washington that America is an empire, but with all the troops tied up in Iraq and Afghanistan, high unemployment, a huge deficit, a polarized population, and on top of that with a huge external debt, I think the imperial days are nearly over. All they'll accomplish is turn the British towards Europe, and align them with the Germans and the French. I think next time one of our presidents decides to start another stupid war, there won't be british sidekicks coming along.

Yeah, we need to do some nation building right here at home for a change.

'I think next time one of our presidents decides to start another stupid war, there won't be british sidekicks coming along."
And a bloody good thing too!
Harry in Khartoum where it has just rained ...

fdoleza, I for one, think you bring up a very important issue here. Furthermore, it is related to this tragedy, the oil industry in general, and our entire economy. No doubt we all need to discuss and understand this further as it will likely prove to be of more significance than the current disaster.

Having said that, I must recognize that we are in the midst of this disaster which continues to be high drama. I suspect your subject won't get much traction at the moment here. Perhaps when things settle down, the well is killed, etc., the subject should be revisited and properly addressed.

I wonder how many U.S. senators complained in 1953, when the democracy in Iran was destroyed to secure BP's oil fields...

I wonder how many actually even knew what the CIA's motives were. The party line was that Iran was going to fall to godless Communism.

Replace "communism" with "terrorism" and we can recycle the excuses...

Yes, but we can't recycle the coup. 25 years of the Shah and Savak, followed by 30 years of bidirectional brain-dead hostility, have left us with neither allies nor minions to pull it off.

Not to worry, though. We have 'em surrounded, we've browbeaten the UN into approving sanctions and Israel is chomping at the bit. What could go wrong?

The Guardian is more dramatic:

BP faces Lockerbie accusations amid delays over oil cap tests

Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, pledged today to look into demands from a group of senators for an investigation into charges that BP lobbied for the release of the Lockerbie bomber as part of an oil-for-terrorist deal.

The oil company also today faced the prospect of being shut out of America after legislation that could ban it from offshore drilling projects for seven years cleared its first hurdle.

With pressure mounting on BP, Clinton responded to reports that it had lobbied the British government for the release of Abdel Basset al-Megrahi to help it clinch lucrative drilling contracts off the coast of Libya. "I have received the letter and we will obviously look into it," she said.


Emphasis added (couldn't resist).

Just a little reminder folks: IF BP did lobby for his release exactly who did it lobby? Oh yeah...the British govt that, combined with all the retirees in the British Isles, are the majority stockholders. Perhaps it was the otherway around: maybe the British govt lobbied BP to go after the oil rights in Libia. BP didn't release him...the British politicians did.

Lots of reasons to despise BP. But they didn't hold the jail cell keys.

That's a hell of a flow right now, (http://mfile.akamai.com/97892/live/reflector:45683.asx). I've been watching since they turned on the live feeds and it seems the flow is bigger and more ferocious than ever... hope they put a meter on that, but somehow I kind of doubt it... funny how they can do so much but that little detail eludes them... yeah right!

Don't forget this is underwater. It's like when you go fishing, they always look a lot bigger until you put them on the table. Using my eyeball metering device, I estimate it's only 2300 BOPD. The other stuff is natural gas and Corexit.

Well they're gonna get a good psi reading and that will tell a lot.

A few minutes ago, the choke assembly got sent away on a line,
guess to be repaired on the surface. Wonder how long that will take?

BOA Deep C #1 is looking at the connector,
had a sealing ring in it, now removed (while I glanced away).

Meanwhile, things continue to spew oil into the GOM.
It would seem that Q4000 and Helix could start/stop quickly enough
(now that they have a "hard" connection to the original BOP choke/kill lines)
to keep some oil out of the GOM.

I can half-way see not putting a drillship over the top at the moment
(to allow crane access), but why not an assembly of:
* top connector/diverter valve/methanol inlet/vent valve/100 psi check valve
all tied to a set of float cans so it "weighs" so little an ROV can handle it.
* diverter valve leads to a 6 or 8" 200 psi hose
* hose leads 400+ feet to a connector that fits the new LMRP cap on Discoverer Enterprise.
(or similar setup on the kill line that's now spewing into the Gulf).

When venting oil, it ought to be collected if at all possible.
I think BP has too much faith in dispersant.

And there may be something to a subconscious fear of being found out to an exact flow rate that keeps BP from getting all the flow collected (and measurable).

well, looks like a new choke has just arrived out of the "sky".

Not painted all pretty and yellow, but hopefully it works.

view on Boa #1

not sure who just snatched the new choke assembly.

Boa 1 has gone dark on bp.com. Boa 2 is working and both skandis show volcano like gushing... time to start tweaking it closed... and see the #'s

Boa 1 still offline, Boa 2 has taken the lead, tweak baby tweak that WW geyser to sleep..

BP = very liberal, that is, when it comes to using dispersants

BP should halt its oil-drilling plans in Libya while links between the company and the release of Lockerbie bomber Abdel Baset Ali al-Megrahi are investigated, a group of U.S. senators said Wednesday.

Hmmm ... BP may be banned from the US ... and now this.

Methinks that maybe someone in the US wants to grab BP assets ... or exploration opportunities ... at a knockdown price, and that this GOM mess gives them exactly the opportunity they want.

The US populace and government didn't make any fuss when a US company killed THOUSANDS at Bhopal in India, so all this holier-than-thou stuff emanating from the US about BP does seem a bit odd.

"...so all this holier-than-thou stuff emanating from the US about BP does seem a bit odd."

Nah, perfectly normal. Strange, brown, poor people, far away, were killed at Bhopal. Americans have never cared much about things like that.

Americans, aboard a US airliner, were killed at Lockerbie. Those were lives that mattered.

Out-o-Sight-Out-o-Mind....as long as you lookin thru Rose Coloured Glasses...

kalliergo on July 15, 2010 - 12:59am

Nah, perfectly normal. Strange, brown, poor people, far away, were killed at Bhopal. Americans have never cared much about things like that.

Americans, aboard a US airliner, were killed at Lockerbie. Those were lives that mattered.

That's hardly a fair comparison. Bhopal was an accident. Whereas the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 was a deliberate act of terrorism.

Most Americans are not as heartless as you make them out to be. Go suck a lemon...

An "accident" caused by negligence. negligence that is far more prevalent when US corporations locate in poor countries.

The 1985 reports[18][19][20] give a picture of what led to the disaster and how it developed, although they differ in details.

Factors leading to the gas leak include:

The use of hazardous chemicals (MIC) instead of less dangerous ones
Storing these chemicals in large tanks instead of over 200 steel drums.
Possible corroding material in pipelines
Poor maintenance after the plant ceased production in the early 1980s
Failure of several safety systems (due to poor maintenance and regulations).
Safety systems being switched off to save money—including the MIC tank refrigeration system which alone would have prevented the disaster

Lax regulation and cheap labor are why these companies offshore. The choose to locate where they can treat workers as expendable and safety as part of a cost issue rather than a decency issue.

"Most Americans are not as heartless as you make them out to be" You could have fooled me. I've been to quite a few places in the world and seen and heard a lot of really shameful things. Sadly I have learned that things aren't like how I thought they were when I was a Cub scout.

That's hardly a fair comparison. Bhopal was an accident.

Bhopal and the GOM incident could be roughly equivalent - an 'accident' helped by negligence.

On this basis, using Union Carbide as an example, BP should simply pull out all their assets and let the well leak.

After all, the US never cleaned up Bhopal. 15,000 dead, several Indian staff but no US staff jailed, still no clean-up ... wonderful.

The BP incident (which in fact may have been caused by Americans working for an American firm) is a great chance for the US people & media & politicians to get all aereated, and for US lawyers & corporations to loot a major non-US corporation.

Outside the US, references to Bhopal often occur in conversations about the US reaction to BP.

Perhaps those US citizens who are moaning about tar balls might care to consider the 15,000 dead in Bhopal and their families.

Made me cuss, a few weeks ago, to hear that the handful of defendants actually convicted and sentenced for Bhopal (only now) faced fines of $2,000 apiece. I agree: obscene. Union Carbide should have been immediately, completely wrecked for Bhopal. That it's never been cleaned up is equally unconscionable.

Got Tired of banging away on my calculator all the time, so I have knocked up little bottom kill simulation, can change any parameters you like then run it to see if it good or not. At moment it only does calcs for a solid column of mud.
Will update it later this week so it will handle variable of mud/oil ratios - still need some Flow rate and pressure drop data to do it. (Hopefully some data might come out of their pressure test..)

Its only a simple knock-up job, you just set all the values you want to try, set your Mud weight and how much overbalance you want, then just press start.

So if you interested in playing about with it, Download a copy here.

Screen Grab of it.

Sounds Cooool, sleep now, try later...

Hmmm... Methinks I shall curtail my Walpoling activities and sally forth to a place of purveyance for some cheesy comestibles.

Hmmm ... BP may be banned from the US ... and now this

Hi, MM. So . . . if they're busted in the Gulf of Mexico, how much more important is the Gulf of Sidra to Tony and Carl-Henric? Wouldn't they have to hold out for an above-knockdown price?

BOA ROV1 and ROV2 are live on this link...


I do have to use IE though. There doesn't seem to be an add-on for Firefox 3.6.6


Boa 1 back but stagnant w/ ff 3.6.6


Are you using Windows 7 or Vista with ff 3.6.6 ? There doesn't seem to be a plug-in for Windows 7 yet.

Sorry for the brief thread drift, but this has been frustrating me, since I don't like using IE to follow the action and the Vista plug-in doesn't work for me with Windows 7.


Using xp professional and ff 3.6.6 for viewing, Mac 10.5 and ff 3.6.6 for commenting

Are you sure you don't mean IE 64 bit doesn't have a plugin? That is the default browser for Windows 7 64 bit.

I'm displaying fine with Windows 7 64 bit, but I went to All Progams and ran Internet Explorer instead of Internet Explorer (64 bit). I also deleted shortcut at bottom and replaced with 32 bit Internet Explorer. Also, the 32 bit version installs Adobe flash plug-in and runs those videos fine.

I have Windows 7 32 bit installed, Media 11 on an Asus MB Clone, Intel Quad Chip, 2 ATI 4850 graphic cards and 4 monitors. All the latest drivers. Something is preventing the plug-in install. Could be anything.

Thanks anyway, guys. I'll spend some time this weekend sorting it out.


I guess nothing can be easy... I don't do too much with video. Good luck.

My hardware is very different from yours. Tyan MB dual 6-core AMD, MB video (ATI Radeon HD 4670), SSD drive.

I see the following installed:
Windows Media Player Version 12.0.7600.16415
Window Media Player Firefox Plugin, Microsoft, Version
KB981078, KB977863 Cumulative Update for Media Center for Windows 7 x64 based Systems

2.4Ghz dual core Dell notebook, 4GB RAM, 512k mediocre discrete video, Win7 Home 64 bit, Chrome 6.0.458.1 beta. It does the best job so far isolating Flash crapshes in a different layer. Tested: FF 3.6.6, IE8, Opera. I refresh a lot.

This is new video of a sawbot cutting through a riser pipe on july 14th . Any idea where this is? what is goes too?


I have a new update at http://gcn01.com . Please check out, 'Not TinFoil, Macbeth'. There is one off topic story I have to post. Did you read where the Taliban are training Jihad monkeys?

Maybe they were going to inserted as mole replacements for BP execs.

Edit: Going to the pawn shop today to buy more .270 WSM rounds. Gotta be prepared for the attack of the monkeys. This is getting more like Oz down here every day.

Stars & Stripes published an article that says the jihad monkey story isn't true but you know they're lying. BP's got Taliban jihad monkey trainers under contract. I expect jihad monkey beach patrols any day now as they prepare to nuke the GOM, and BP sound trucks will soon be blaring Randian excerpts at all public gatherings down there too.

Y'all who watch the 10 o'clock news in NOLA, keep half an eye out for a guy named Adam Dillon, will you? May be just a common garden-variety Disgruntled Ex-Employee, but between Friday and yesterday, he's been on WDSU once and in Mother Jones twice, claiming he started as part of BP's beach-muscle running off reporters in Grand Isle, landed a promotion to the command center in Houma, and there got "confined and interrogated for almost an hour" then fired for seeing, photographing, and calling to supervisors' attention some "equations on dispersants." WDSU promised a second interview with him for this past Monday but didn't run it (or hasn't yet). Dillon's likely had his 15 minutes, but just in case . . .

I thought I was watching a 6 week old news report of one of the failed efforts to stop the leak but no, this is from this morning on CNN


here is the follow up report


The ROV engineers are now working up duct tape apps for Skandi.

Skandi Neptune ROV1 is doing "Choke Changeout" -- I was wondering what this might mean when you posted the CNN article, which may explain it. An hour ago, this ROV was actively doing something, but now it seems to be sitting back and watching -- perhaps the choke changeout is done?

Yes they seem to have completed the choke changeout. Guessing they are preparing to shut "kill" and re-open "choke" prior to a controlled close.

Narrative of choke unit replacement activities between 12 AM and 5 AM PDT. Feel free to correct my terminology & errors. This is from memory and was not written down as it actually occurred.

Leaking choke assy is disconnected (didn't see this step) and is pulled up out of view).
Last action before it left was removal of T-handled locking pin with thick white stem.
New white painted unit was lowered and acquired by Boa 2. Boa pulled out a (dummy) T-handled pin and casually knocked the port control knob over to Open. I'm not sure if the white-stemmed T-handle was reinserted in the new unit. Midnight?

Boa 1 goes after the old gasket ferrule and knocks it lose and removes it. It was ovoid. Close inspection of the seating follows. Then a new ferrule is pulled out, mounted on a black insertion tool/cylinder. This ferrule looks like it has straight sides and a tail which sets down into the lower part of the mounting assy. 12:30 or so.

Then a long period of circling begins in which dozens (?) of trips are made around the BOP, checking every line and connection. One blue line which covers a set of (oil stained?) gauges gets particular attention. It is in the way. The gauge glass also needs a good cleaning. The base of the old BOP is also inspected. (Had to leave for a while, not sure what came of this.) Blue hose looks like it goes to a floating yellow data link?

Finally, the new choke is brought close. Boa 2 lowers it while Boa 1 and Skandi 2 watch from the sides for alignment. Port valve is flipped once or twice and ends up in closed position. A hydraulic version of the T-handled pin is inserted (2 hoses; looks like they go to ROV), and a somewhat fraught lowering operation begins. It looks like there is considerable buffeting from the escaping oil on the other side of the BOP and stability is not much better than +/- 2 inches/sec. Currents seem to want to force the Boa 2 into the BOP, which is about 6 inches too close for choke mounting. The Choke lands once, but flops over to a 15 or more degree cant and is removed and (carefully) repositioned a second time. This takes about 20 minutes of careful maneuvering. Finally, it locks in place and the hydraulic T-handle is removed. A quick view of the back of the control panel looks as if the hydraulics from the T-handle flow through the open/close valve. I'm not sure how the locking in place was accomplished. (3:30 AM)

Definite buffeting - ropes still attached to the choke are jumping around.

4:20 AM. The choke unit looks good. I'm not sure where the valve below it is or when it gets/got turned back on. Is hydraulic power for BOP functions supplied by ROVs?

Mystery view of something being rotated. Oly 1 (yellow gauge) reads about 2700 PSI; Hos 1 (black gauge) still reads 0 (was up to 700 PSI earlier in the day). I don't know where the kill valve control is located.

4:50 AM - they are still messing with the location of the blue hose and presumed data link unit. It's being held down low, rather than being allowed to float. Boa 2. Signing off 5:05 AM.

Surface Casing Macondo


BOP Casing: 36" Burst Pressure: 5,444 Psi
Surface Casing: 28" Burst Pressure: 2,437 Psi
Well Head Casing: 22" Burst Pressure: 7,954 Psi


Top 5' Weakest Cement

On the wires

BP (BP/ LN) says has recovered 12,800 barrels of oil from well yesterday

08:42 15-07-2010
- Co. says will collect oil until well test ready to start.
- Co. is installing new choke and hub system to fix the leak.
BP (BP LN) says oil capture systems at gulf leak restarted while repair cap leak

08:42 15-07-2010
BP (BP/ LN) says we are exactly where we wanted to be' on first relief well

08:40 15-07-2010
- resumed recovery of oil after choke line discovered

So doesn't that mean if they jack everything up to 9,000 psi that they'll bust everything?

Notes on Kent Wells 7:30 AM conference call:
Relief well DD3 gyro survey shows it at at 2 degrees and 5ft from Macondo well and on target. 30 ft to go to kill intersection.
DD2 - on hold; planning phase
Oil collection until Shut in break: 12,800 BBLs. Restarted after leak and now 22,500 BBLs
Leak was on choke hub
Need to move monitoring vessels and ROV back into position before proceeding with pressure test
Kill line is on, choke line is off; Need to turn choke back on
Press release when integrity test begins
Choke device pulled up and down twice for adjustment of seal
Second set of choke and kill lines on lower BOP used for oil collection activities
Need to retest seals etc. integrity test sometime later on this morning - press release
Need to disconnect collection ships before starting test
Total oil flow still unknown
Is there oil in annulus? Seismic info shows no leakage into adjacent rock - but being very careful
Anticipated possibility of leaks - had spares on hand

Good job, BH. Thanks.

is there someway for me to put the comments in timeline order? I go from 7/14 at 6am to 7/15 at 8am??? can someone help me.

is there someway for me to put the comments in timeline order? I go from 7/14 at 6am to 7/15 at 8am??? can someone help me.