BP's Deepwater Oil Spill - Starting the Testing Program - and Open Thread

This thread is being closed. Please comment on http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6733.

Update Thursday Afternoon, 4:00 pm : BP has at least temporarily capped the well, and oil has stopped flowing into the Gulf. BP will now be carefully monitoring the pressure levels. Admiral Allen reports:

"We're encouraged by this development, but this isn't over. Over the next several hours we will continue to collect data and work with the federal science team to analyze this information and perform additional seismic mapping runs in the hopes of gaining a better understanding on the condition of the well bore and options for temporary shut in of the well during a hurricane. It remains likely that we will return to the containment process using this new stacking cap connected to the risers to attempt to collect up to 80,000 barrels of oil per day until the relief well is completed."

Original post
When things are going well down at the Deepwater oil spill site in the Gulf there are press conferences, data flows in a timely manner and the public can understand what is going on. When there are problems, these get delayed. Then as I noted yesterday we become dependent on the videos that BP release, to get a closer and more immediate view of the actual situation. That can at least show the occasional something significant. Today’s such topic is the picture of the well from the Skandi ROV that I took at around 6:15 pm CDT Wednesday (though Admiral Allen also had something interesting to note, which I will point to at the end of the post). And in an update, there was a leak on the choke line, so a part (the yellow pipe below) has been removed for repair - the "as is" shot is at the end of the post.

In his second press conference Tuesday, Kent Wells had noted (as I wrote yesterday)

. . . 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.

As you may note from the picture, the flow has now switched from the top drill pipe section to the two ports below the rams. We can thus presume that the well integrity test is now underway.

That particular flow has now been going on for over 2 hours (the feeds are no longer synchronous with real time), and this was as late a picture as I can currently pull up from the Skandi ROV that showed the picture above:

The two separate flows from the two ports can be discerned still.

So what is going on? Kent Wells tried to explain in his brief Wednesday morning. First he ran over the numbers, and then apologized that the schedule that he had anticipated yesterday has fallen behind. Specifically he noted that

The second review that was going on was our team of scientists and industry experts who were once again looking at all the analysis and the procedures – the test procedures that were put in place to make sure that the test was absolutely designed to maximize what we would learn from it and minimize any risk under all possible scenarios. And this test is so important that a decision was taken to give them another 24 hours to make sure that this was the best possible test procedure we could execute. It was just felt that this is so important we wanted to make sure that there was no questions in any minds that we would learn the most from this and we’d minimize risk and so that was the decision that was taken yesterday.

For which, I expect, you can read that Secretary Chu, and his visiting team had a set of questions and discussion points that had to be gone over and reviewed with them, to ensure that they were happy, and would therefore give their thoughtfully considered blessings. They were supposed to have everything settled by the afternoon press conference.

The plan is that at midday today, the team will get back together and a decision will be (maken) – be taken on the path forward. If any amendments need to be made to the test they’ll be made at that point and I’ll certainly let you know at our 2:30 meeting where we stand on that and the path forward.

But what we don’t want to do is move forward with a test that ends up with inconclusive results. And so that’s what the 24 hours is about. We just need to make sure that there’s absolute clarity on this is the right test, this will give us the most information, this will minimize the risk and we can proceed forward and as a result of that then know the best path forward after that, whether it’s to shut in the well, whether it’s to go to containment, what does it mean for the kill with the relief wells. All of those things. We just need to make sure that this is right not – as much as we want to do things as soon as possible, we also want to make sure that they’re done absolutely correct.

But problems apparently persisted as became more obvious this afternoon, as the time for the start of the integrity test (and the explanatory press conference) kept getting put back later and later, until it reached 5 pm when apparently the decision was reached. That transcript is not out yet, but the result was evident with the change in the path of the oil through the stack. There are presently 3 ROVs monitoring the flow (the 2 Skandi ROVs and the BOA ROV 2) and over the course of time the flow out of the ports has changed from the relatively small flow shown above to higher volume flows, and back.

Skandi ROV view showing the higher flow levels from the ports – this is the ROV that is issuing the dispersant in 3 jets from the wand in the picture, at lower flow rates those jets are visible.

The third ROV, the BOA one has moved around so that the lack of flow from the drill pipe is confirmed when the pipe is back-lit from the Skandi ROV that took the first shots above.

In the details of the process that Kent Wells described the process changes include:

I mean the one thing that – and of course I can’t predict exactly how the ROV cameras will be set up but what we will be doing is on the capping stack, we will be opening the two side vents and so there will be – instead of flow just coming out the top, there will be – you’ll start to see flow coming out of the two side vents and then the top gets closed and then one side vent gets closed and then over a period of about a couple hours we close the other choke mechanism. So that would indicate when – that the test has started when we’re shutting down that third event. Whether you’ll get to see all that and figure that, I don’t know. But we’re committed to keeping you posted on where we’re going.

Well the shut-off and diversion of the flow is documented in the pictures above, though it hasn’t been possible to show the switching of the flows, unless this was where the volumes coming from the well and shown by the Skandi ROV changed.

The problem of concern, determining whether, if there is a leak, as indicated by a problem in getting to the 8,000 to 9,000 psi pressure in the well, is it caused at depth or near the surface. As was repeated at this brief

The – in terms of the risk, this is all about as we shut in the pressures, what do the pressures mean. Where – like I say, we don’t know – if we can’t build up pressure, where does that mean the pressure’s being relieved and it can be everything from down very deep to shallower and it was really about trying to understand what do the pressures over time mean, where does that mean the pressures being relieved and it’s one thing to have pressure being relieved deep down. It’s a more difficult situation as it’s being relieved shallow and that’s what we’re just looking at is what do all the pressures mean to make sure we understand exactly what’s going on. And I think I’ve talked about that before, what we want to do is avoid that oil’s being put out in the shallow environment and then there’s always the potential is motive that might be that it could breach up to the surface.

The discussion topics that have led to the delay were further addressed by Admiral Allen at his 4 pm Wednesday press conference:

We consulted extensively with outside experts from academia. Our science team, led by Secretary of Energy Chu, consulted also with other members of industry regarding of potential issues we should definitely deal with. I will zero right in on what the discussion was mainly about and I’ll be happy to answer some questions about it.

We have never been sanguine or sure that we have known the condition of the wellbore and the casing pipe since the event occurred. As we've gotten closer to having the potential to close in and do pressure readings on the capping stack, we have had numerous discussions about what the current status is of the wellbore and the casing and the implications if they had been damaged or if there was any communication outside the wellbore that might bring oil or hydro carbons into what we call the geological formation potentially to the – to the sub-sea floor.

Some – some questions were raised yesterday about the implications of leakage and how that interfaced with the test as we start to shut down the valves and increase pressure in the capping stack and I'll go over that process in a minute.

What we might expect, what we’re – even low probability, high consequence outcomes.

As a result of that, we asked BP to go back and give us some more information on the structural strength of certain portions of the casing pipes. They had run down there particularly around the 22-inch and 18-inch casing pipes. We asked for some more information about assumptions that could lead to irreversible leakage outside the well from external experts. And we thought about what kind of thresholds we would need to look at as we ran the well integrity test.

That took us about 24 hours to work through all of that. We've had a number of conversations. And early this afternoon, I briefed the president and members of the cabinet on the way forward and at this time will be releasing an order to BP to proceed with the well integrity test, but we gave them some additional direction and we did this to make sure that we were taking due care, and in some cases maybe an over abundance of caution to make sure that we didn't do any irreversible harm to the wellbore as we proceed forward.

He noted that the test is being run in 6-hour increments, so that if they started at 17:00 Central, then the second stage should start at 23:00 Central. (about 10 minutes from now as I write).

The stages, as the Admiral reported are:

Here’s how we intend to do the well integrity test. We will slowly take down production from the Q4000 and the helix producer later on today to the point where they are not producing anymore. That will force the oil up through the blowout preventer into the capping stack. At that point, the kill line, the choke line, and the top of the stack will be open, and there’ll be product releasing from there and we know that that's the reason we’ve got the skimmers and the additional capacity on the surface to deal with that.

We will then in sequence close the middle ram here, which will stop the flow out of the top of the stack and then we will take pressure readings.

We will then close the kill line and take pressure readings.

 Following that, we will use a remotely operated vehicle that will hook on to the – that – the little bar here that actually turns a valve, and this choke line has been especially constructed – if you looked at the video, you'll see kind of a yellow object up there with a curved up pipe. That is the choke line. That is the last way for oil to leave the capping stack.

 We will slowly close that, very, very slowly, in partial turns, and measure pressure at the same time. In that manner, we will slowly close the entire capping stack and start the reading pressure.


 Now, as we do that, we're going to be watching very closely the pressure readings. If the pressure readings stay low, that will tell us that the oil is probably going someplace else and we need to consider the fact we may have a breach in the well bore or in one of the – in one of the casings. If that is the case and we have very low pressure readings for about three hours, we will probably stop at that point. That will be the assumption and we will go into production, bring everything back online so we minimize the amount of oil that's going into the environment and we will assess the results of that test.

At the end of 48 hours, we will stop the test, assess all the information we have. We will probably do another seismic run over the area around the well to detect any potential hydrocarbon or methane leaks from the sea floor. And then we will assess whether or not we need to go into another cycle of closing the capping stack down, taking pressure readings, and this will lead us possibly to two very positive directions. Number one, at some point our ability to determine that we can, with confidence, shut the well in and understand we're not harming the well bore and the casings.

The Admiral did also report on the result of the seismic survey

There’s a seismic test that was done yesterday and we do not have those results until this morning. And what they did was to reinforce the fact there was not a problem where there could have been. And so we had more confidence in the way we’re looking at the alternatives that’s come about.

There was one interesting comment on the top kill operation that is, I believe new

Tell you what – why we’ve been obsessing over this, and (probably) I should have explained a little bit more on the front. We tried the top kill back in May, and we pumped a lot of mud into that well, and as long as we were pumping mud into the well, we were suppressing the oil. But the maximum pressure we were able to achieve pumping the mud down the well bore was only around 6,000 (GSI), so the question is why aren’t we able to achieve a greater pressure head and be successful with the top kill? And you can postulate a number of things, but two we’re discussing, and this was part of the discussion over the last couple of days.

One of them we’re just (pointing) out to the top of the blowout preventer, like we saw the oil escaping. And there was a lot of mud (inaudible) there. The other one was that as it was being forced down, it might be escaping the (as it reached) the casing through the well bore. We don’t know that. The (admission of something) was potentially wrong and we should have this discussion partially due to the fact that we’ve never been comfortable with what the 6,000 psi meant during the top kill effort and what the implication for not being able to achieve a higher pressure.

Now if they couldn’t get the pressure above 6,000 psi then that may be indicative that they were injecting more fluid somewhere in the well, since the reservoir pressure is 11,900 psi. On the other hand, if the well stopped the oil flow (which he says it did) then you have to get into how much mud they were able to drive down the column to determine whether they have a problem or not.

It will be interesting to see what the transcript for tomorrow morning's brief brings.

Update Thursday Morning: News reports are now saying that a leak in the choke line has been found and will need to be repaired before BP can begin the test.

Current status at 10 am Eastern Thursday

Note the yellow pipe is missing. Compare to the photo at the top of this post.

Prof. Goose's comment:

New stuff in this introductory comment, 1 JUL 10.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BP Exploration of Alaska Doesn't Know
Cause of Accident That Injured Worker


Nov. 25--BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. officials told the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission Nov. 14 they're still working to determine the cause of an Aug. 14 well casing failure on a North Slope production well that caused an explosion and severely injured BP worker Don Shugak.

Preliminary results of the company's internal inquiry found no evidence that corrosion or drilling operations damaged the casing, according to Tom Gray, Prudhoe Operations Integrity Manager for BP.

"Instead, we believe the pressure in the outer annulus (of the well casing) exceeded the surface casing pressure rating of 5,380 pounds per square inch, due to thermal expansion related to well startup," Gray told the commission.

Gray explained that as well A-22 in the Prudhoe Bay field was restarted after a shutdown in production, rising temperatures in the well caused fluids in the outer annulus -- a space between steel casing, or pipe, inside the well and the outer casing -- to expand. This increased pressure beyond the tolerance ...


Casing Burst Pressure Study

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

Looks like it will explode. "Everything A-OK!....BOOM!".

God forbid! Praying that top 5' of Ratty cement holds.

Thanks. So am I.


I presume those are burst pressures for just the individual pieces of steel pipe. With cement behind them that burst pressure for each would be considerably improved.

Save and Except for Top 5' yes.

Garry, Well done on the pipe grade, probably the details everyone involved knew & feared. So the upper casings was hammered and probably hit with thermal expansion along with 8-9K+ of pressure.

I would assume the relief well has tracer in the mud and being 5 ft from the original well some filtrate/tracer should have shown up in the oil if it was come up the annular side. If that were the case, they have open hole logs & know the porosity stringers in the 1000' below the last liner. Heck they lost fluid during the original well, there has to be a pressure difference between the annulus and DV.

Also a gas detector may have shown stringers that now are charged on the relief well. I would think a magnetic res tool would show a difference in moveable hydrocarbon. Maybe they are getting some increases in background gas in the DV well during the testing.

"Know" and "Fear" actually, present tense.

The water pressure at 5000 ft is about 2500 psi, so if a pipe has burst pressure of 5000 psi, and the measured psi is 4000 psi is not the effective differential pressure only 1500 psi?

That is backwards, Dasher. If the wp is 5000 psi, that is bearing down from the outside. It would increase the effective differential, so that if the fluid pressure on the inside is 5000 psi, that exactly balances the water pressure from the outside, and you have a zero difference. If the pressure of the fluids is 10,000 psi, the pressure on the pipe is 5,000 psi, and the water pressure balancing it out. As the pipe rises, if the pressure was not released, the balance would decrease as the depth decreases. At the level of the ocean, you would have air pressure only to balance the pressure in the production pipe. Of course, the flows are regulated to prevent pressures becoming too extreme. At least that is the theory.


Best regards everybody.
Thanks for reading.
Wish y'all well.

Relax, oil field trash :):):), I have surfed the internet and found valuable information to fix this here problem


"On a positive note, it is very good to maintain the awareness that our collective consciousness has considerable influence on all that happens in the Gulf. The elements are quite responsive to our collective thoughts and ideas, feelings and emotions, intentions and motivations. We can and do co-create the future of the Gulf of Mexico with each thought and feeling, so why not become a part of the solution.

Gas (and air), being more subtle and refined than the other elements, are also very impressionable and therefore more easily influenced by the aggregate sentiments of humanity. Positive thought, hopeful feeling and pure intention will produce favorable outcomes the more deeply they are felt and sustained over time. There has never been a more important time to resolve ourselves – each and every one of us – to contribute to the highest possible good for the Gulf of Mexico."

So pull out all those wasteful engineers and operators, park the ships back in the port and head for the beach, hold hands and look out at the GOM and think happy happy thoughts!!!!

Hole should be plugged by tomorrow morning!!!

As a friend of mine used to say "Intelligence is a constant and the population is rising"

Groooovy. Can I turn the black light off now?

Just got an email this morning from the EDF regarding one of the few sane proposals to remediate...so for those who haven't heard of it here is the link:


Sounds like an excellent idea. I flew over the Mississippi delta a few weeks ago, and I did notice the river flow was pushing the oil back away from the delta.

But this is a good idea, so it won't be implemented.

Many years ago, in a previous life (lol), I worked as a civil engineering tech for the largest subcontracted engineering firm for the USACOE, Vicksburg District. One of our projects was studying and maintaining the Old River Control Structure at the Atchafalaya Cutoff.

This was/is a very difficult and delicate system over which to maintain control. There have been a couple of occasions over the years where control was very nearly lost, which would have ultimately resulted in an almost complete diversion of the Mississippi River from it's current channel to the Atchafalaya River channel. If this had happened, not only would it have left the Port of New Orleans high and dry, it would have also wiped out Morgan City and the surrounding area.

My guess as to why this hasn't already been implemented, is that the USACOE may be hesitant to do too much tinkering with the Old River Structure.

All of this has been covered in the 80/20 and the 70/30 plans, not to leave out the Coast2050 plan which was the 1998 reiteration. Louisiana and LSU has been doing studies on this for over 30 years and had tried multiple times to get any of these plans passed by congress .. however they could never get the monies or approval to do. The other states have effectively blocked all the remediation plans as this would take monies that they might use in their states. Louisiana has for years been required to do study after study and has been working piece meal ever since. http://quintascott.wordpress.com/ is a good site to see some of the plans and what has been done so far. Its sort of like the "energy plans" proposed by 12 presidents, and the "heath plan" of which there were more iterations of than I can count and had been promised by at least 10 presidents. There is a budget for the Corps and that is split among the states, each state is going to put their projects first and all these projects take "tax monies" and god knows no one in this country wants to pay taxes.

The problem with that suggestion is that the levees redirect the flow of the Mississippi, channeling it out into the gulf. This prevents the River from flooding the wetlands and tidal areas. Before the BP Macondo situation, the Louisiana wetlands were already disappearing at a rate of an area the size of the island of Manhattan, N.Y. every 10 months. This is because the River no longer is able to flood the wetlands and lay down new deposits of sediment that prevented subsidence. The flow and sediment deposits flow far out into the Gulf. Unless many of the levees are dismantled, the River’s flow can’t be redirected to assist in pushing-back the creeping oil. There are several books on this topic, among them: Bayou Farewell by Mike Tidwell.


Woo ooo oooo ooooooo.

Bleeve ol' Dr. Tom there is hooked into what I've always called "the WooWoo Principle of the Universe." This WWPU posits an era of Global Kewl generated by an angelic (because off-camera) choir oooing "Woo Woooo" (remember Cecil B. DeMille movies?). Oomboy.

Won't work. First you have to get inside a cardboard pyramid. I sell those for $19.99 plus shipping and handling.

fdoleza: Perhaps i missed it but do you know why they shut down the helix and q4000 fist before they test the repaired choke line? Why can't they leave them hooked up while they open the choke and close the kill then if the system is repaired shut down the q4000/helix and begin the integrity test. They said after they found the choke leak last night they started up the collections again. Am I missing something as to why this order? Seems inefficent from a collection standpoint if test not ready to start?

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

13:42 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

13:42 15-07-2010

Doesn't speak to the reason for the order but at least they are capturing.

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

Gee, thanks. They were recovering or burning 25,000 barrels daily before. So things have got 13,000 barrels a day WORSE as far as polluting the GOM is concerned.

Is this progress?

ya, good question. I was wondering the same thing.

Under the circumstances, maybe it was for the safety of the folks up top? If the test to close the well caused another gas bubble or something catastrophic, I don't think I'd want to be attached to it.

Diverdan, I don't know why they shut down the two vessels ahead of time - unless it was because those two are hooked up to valves they have to close very fast rather than gradually, and they want to close it very slowly,

Or maybe they lack the emergency shut down capability upstream, at the wellhead, so they were afraid they would build up to 8000 psi, have a problem at the surface vessel, and the vessel shut down would close the incoming line, which MAYBE is less than 10,000 psi working pressure, so if they lack an emergency shut down actuator down at the BOP hooked up to the vessel, then the line upstream of the vessel ESD would burst, and the rig would catch on fire.

Enterprise ROV 2 shows Murphy's Mansion!

La, da, da, da, da dada, don't worry... be happy!


Lots of other slimeballs, snakeoil salesmen, charlatans crooks and nutcases have jumped on the bandwagon. e.g.:


No doubt they'll be claiming it was their collective ~vibes~ that finally shut the WW in.

HO notes parenthetically "(the feeds are no longer synchronous with real time)"

Critical information is routinely withheld, delayed, obscured. No public release of well data from mudline to TD. No seismic screenshots. ROV feeds blacked out or time-shifted. Vague allusions instead of real information.

It's just streaming video problems. Go over to the IRC channel if you think a feed is stuck in a loop or intentionally blacked out and you'll find plenty of people watching/recording the live feeds virtually all of the time.

Hey Mr. von Altendorf, has your plan to push disaster scenarios generated any cool cash for you/your clients yet, or is it a more long-term thing? Also, thanks for listing your credentials and obvious conflicts of interest in your profile, I have great respect for people who are totally upfront and honest in situations like these.

There will be plenty of data in the next 48 hours.

fdoleza - You asked

Bruce, I take it by coarse mud you mean high viscosity mud? in a thread that started here http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6729#comment-676758

My answer would be not viscosity so much as the particle size used to mix with the water (for a water based mud as used for the top kill). The best analogy I can think of is the grit of a piece of sandpaper. If you watched the mud escape from the riser as they did the top kill, you will remember that it was more silty than muddy (i,e, it couldn't be use by a kid to make a mud pie). The particles were very fine. The size of clay rather than sand. As the top kill progressed, the flow eroded the openings on the riser, inducing a panic on the part of TPTB, so they stopped trying the top kill. You will also remember that there was another panic about the risks of cutting off the riser so they could install the first LMRP cap. If they had not sawed & snipped off the riser, the well would still be leaking full bore today.

Admiral Allen indicated that they were only able to get 6,000 psi inside the BOP, where Kent Wells had previously indicated (5/31/10 video) they were pumping at 10,000 ppsi. Where did the other 4,000 psi go? To the dynamic head used for forcing mud upward and into the riser. They eroded the hell out of the riser, but Admiral Allen noted in yesterday's press briefing that they had not damaged the BOP (those shear rams are hardened steel to do the job they are intended to do).

With only 6,000 psi inside the BOP (where they now expect over 8,000 psi at shut-in pressure) they never stopped the flow. So for the top kill to work, the particles had to be big enough and dense enough to have a terminal velocity governed by Stokes Law that was greater than the upward velocity of the oil in the well. That is why we have been having the discussions about this calculator http://www.ajdesigner.com/phpstokeslaw/stokes_law_terminal_velocity.php

The solution to the problem is to use larger, AKA "coarser", particles to effect the top kill. Instead of using 1000 grit, you use 220 grit. The mere suggestion of such a radical idea must have caused TPTB to wet their drawers given the erosion of the riser, but as those particles start their 13,000 foot descent into the well, they fluidize the oil http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fluidized_bed increasing the oil column's density. In effect, you start to make a drilling mud by combining the falling 220 grit sand with the oil rising in the well. As the average density gets greater, the downhole pressure increases, slowing the flow further(and decreasing the pressure at the well head making it easier for the particles to fall downward, i.e. allowing a lower terminal veocity). Keep it up long enough and you will effect a top kill by dropping the well head pressure to 2,250 psi, the hydrostatic pressure of sea water at 5,000 feet. As a bonus, as you slow the flow, you drop the well head pressure and lessen the burden on any suspect casing. A Win-Win as they say.

As I said, if TPTB had used coarser mud, the top kill could have succeeded and the well would have been killed by Memorial Day, nearly two months ago. But TPTB thought they'd be smart by portraying themselves as "Well Doctors, Phd" and follow the Hippocratic Oath, First do No Harm. When you want to kill a well you do not want a "Well Doctor, you want a "Well Assassin".

wow. If they had used the right mud they could have killed the well? How do you know that there is not a breach in the casing?

What if there were a breech in the casing? How would you deal with that? Kill the well. The public focus is on a bottom kill, but a top kill would accomplish the same thing, just faster.

Do I think there is a casing breech? No. Occam's Razor suggests that the simplest explanation is the likeliest. The simplest explanation is that they had a "wet shoe" because they did not let the nitrogen foamed cement used to make it cure long enough. So it failed and allowed a U connection from the formation downward in the well bore U-turning back upward inside the 7" production casing. The mud in the production casing had provided the pressure control. When they displaced the mud with lighter sea water, they lost pressure control and the well started to flow. When the methane got through the BOP to a depth were it could vaporize, it started foaming (like a shaken can of Coke) and picked up speed (foam is a lot lighter than liquid methane). That whistling the crew heard was rising methane. It got ignited & there was a fire. You know the rest. The only thing that needed to fail was the cement. All the casing could be in perfectly serviceable condition, because it is not the casing that provides the pressure control, it is the drilling mud.

Bruce, how can the oil u tube if they bumped a plug? Or have things changed so that nowadays the wells are cemented and there's no collar down there? I would have thought they had a plug bump off the end of the casing, and they wouuld have casing filled with cement below the plug. Are you saying this cement was of such poor quality the formation just utubed right out of there, with the plug and everything?

They've got non-fluid oil flowing down there?


I don't think it's a particle size issue, those particles aren't about to fall down independently, the trick is to make the mud head down instead of up.

It's a mud viscosity issue. It's possible to make very very heavy viscous fluid without using coarse particles. But the mud shear thins as it gets pumped - and their problem is the BOP valves, I suppose. So to get the pressure drop across the partially open BOP, they had to pump like crazy, but they couldn't get the hydraulic horsepower inside the BOP - it's like trying to fracture a deep well down 3 1/2 inch tubing, the pressure drop in the system just won't let you make a big fracture because the pressure drop in the pipe is too high.

And I still don't know what the 10,000 psi means. Was that 10,000 psi at the pump discharge? If so, they had the dynamic losses in the lines going down, offset that with the head going down to the mud line from the surface, and we get something else.

I suspect that, if they had increased mud viscosity, then they would see more pressure drop going down and across the BOP valve, and they would still be unable to force the fluid to go down. And I think whoever did the calculations didn't think the well was flowing as much as it was.

Maybe the best solution was to take the riser off, bolt on a simple cap with a large bore, and OPEN the BOPs to see what would come out with the oil, then try to close the rams again. If they had opened the rams, and the oil shoved out whatever was stuck in there, or the pipe fell, then MAYBE those rams would have closed. I didn't read anything about this option, but I was working when this started, and I didn't track it that close.

Why do you think the particles won't fall down independently? Gravity hasn't failed me yet. It's simply a matter of getting the force of gravity on the mass of the particle to exceed the vicous drag trying to carry the particle upward. Under Stokes Law you do that by increasing the density and/or the diameter. Do a simple free body diagram. That is the whole basis for fluidized beds or snow globes for that matter. Shake the globe and the snow flies. Let it sit and the flow subsides and the snow drops to the bottom and you have to shake it again.

The goal in the well is to get the sand "snowflakes" to accumulate down the well bore.

The overarching issue is that you want to increase the flow resistance of the well. The side effect of all those containment connections is that they lower the total flow resistance of the well by introducing parallel flow paths. The lower the total resistance the greater the total flow. The simple analogy is to Ohm's Law from the field of electricity, V = IR, where pressure is analagous to V and flow is analogous to I, and R is the resistance. During a top kill you increase the series resistance of the well bore and therefore increase the total resistance from the formation to the surface and reduce the flow. That's why that calculation you did on my "All the Marbles" idea dropped the flow rate from 60,000 BPD to only 500 BPD. Just pour 13,000 feet of marbles into the well and the largest environmental diaster in American history would become a "seep" into the GOM.

Well, they won't fall independently because a) they're bound to the mud, which has been formulated to carry the particles - don't forget the mud is mixed, sits in a tank, gets picked up by a pump, and is pumped downhole. Those mud particles just love to sit floating in the mud. b) let's say one particle did manage to stop falling out of the mud, it would be picked up by the oil and gas stream, and proceed to move in the other direction and right out of the well. Look at the flow coming out, it's highly turbulent, and when it's in the upper casing near the wellhead it's coming at 12 to 24 miles per hour or so - my guess. Amd at that rate it should displace up any particles trying to fall down.

I guess they could have used spent uranium ball bearings carried in a slurry by a very heavy 17 ppg viscosified brine, that could make say a 22 ppg super nasty load fluid, to see if they could get it to fall - I'd love to run the experiments in a flow loop. That could create a slurry and ball bearing drop into the well. But imagine the erosion effect going through the kill line. But we don't know where the oil comes into the well, which means the ball bearings may not get into the right place, and just clog up the well elsewhere.

1) Your estimate of flow velocity is way too high at the BOP. The diameter is about 20" so the cross-sectional area is 314 sq in = 2.18 sq ft. The total flow of oil and supercritical methane (i.e. sort of liquid) is estimated at 60,000 BPD. (As an aside since the methane is flared off at the surface as a gas, it makes flow measurements dependent on static pressure (depth). I would not be surprised if the 60,000 BPD flow ultimately resolves to be 35,000 BPD oil and 25,000 BPD liquid methane at the BOP).

60,000 bpd x 5.61 cu ft/bbl = 336,6000 cu ft /day = 14,025 cu ft/ hr = 233.75 cu ft/min = 3.89 cu ft/sec. Put that through a 2.18 sq ft orifice and the flow velocity is 1.79 ft/sec = 1 mph.

At the bottom of the 7" production casing the ID is about 6", so its area is 0.196 sq ft and the flow velocity would be 3.89 / 0.196 = 19.8 ft/sec = 13.5 mph.

2) Whatever the viscosity of ordinary drilling mud is does not matter. I would suggest you consider instead the output of a dredge, a slurry of water and sand.

3) I know people worry about erosion, but you only need enough particles to fill the well (I saw a detailed calculation of the well volume as about 3,100 bbl. How much sand does a dredge pump? They are currently building berms that are miles long. That's a lot of sand. But I understand your concern which is why I went with glass marbles instead of metal ball bearings. If it hits a metal surface at speed it will lose the fight and shatter, not the metal. And using a ball provides a nice round surface unsuited to abrasion. You do not need to introduce them at speed, slow and steady will work if you have a bit of time. It certainly won't take months!!! How long would it take to insert 3,100 bbls? That's about 1 hour at 50 bbl/min.

I think you are ignoring the fact that the flow is actually coming through some very small openings in the BOP. I believe the pressure drop across the BOP is in the order of 2000 psi. With that pressure differential, you can probably get the 60000 bpd through a 1 inch diameter hole or smaller. The velocities would be very high and the sand would not fall.

If you use the choke/kill lines on the original BOP, you will likely be flowing into some sort of annular space, not the full 20 inch diameter well bore. So rather than 1 mph flow, you are looking at 10 - 20 mph.

Either way, no sand is going to sink with the likely flow speed.

All the casing from 18" down to 7" has to fit down through the BOP. What is restricting the flow through the upper BOP are the rams, particularly the shear ram. The shear ram is nearly, but not fully, closed leaving a much smaller orifice than the bottom of the BOP. That is the major part of what is causing the differential pressure in the top and slowing the overall flow rate.

Nevertheless, creating a terminal velocity of 25 mph isn't that hard for a piece of pea gravel, for example. Go to the Stokes calculator and see for yourself http://www.ajdesigner.com/phpstokeslaw/stokes_law_terminal_velocity.php

You can see the effect in the nature of river bottoms. Slowly flowing rivers are silty, moderate fast ones are sandy, fast ones are pebbly. All it takes is a big/dense enough object (hence the 1/2" marbles). See also gold sluices. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Placer_mining

Aside: for those of you who do not know who Stokes was I would merely point out that the SI (AKA Metric) fundamental unit for kinematic viscosity is the Stoke http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stoke%27s_law

It depends on the fluid the particle is dropping through. If it's a particle in mud, it doesn't fall that easy.

the students are all in class, and I have a couple hours free, so I have come to learn what is happening today on this thread.

edit: lots to learn today

It seems another 5000 jobs have evaporated in Louisiana. Losses unrelated to the spill. That makes about 21,000 good paying non-spill related losses recently. Add another 10,000+++ for spill related issues and I see a long continuing problem in the job sector for some time. Double dip hell, it is just one large bowl.

TFHG -- Had lunch with one of my vendors from Lafayette yesterday. He said that we might not see it in the MSM but non-oil patch folks in the area are almost in a panic. Apparently even many of those who haven't lost their jobs yet have been put on notice: the end is near. He said it was all anecdotal evidence but he's guessing that there could be 2 to 3 times as many non-oil patch jobs lost. For what it's worth he said a buddy who runs a low end apartment complex said that almost all of his tenants are late. And some are being honest: they're saving their money because they're pretty sure there won't be any more paychecks soon. Most of these folks are in food service and sales. I mentioned it some time back: many folks not familiar with S La don't understand how almost all of the economy survives directly and indirectly on oil patch salaries. The only other major income sources are the seafood industry and sugar cane farming. I don't think the cane growers are going to be able to carry the entire burden. I know well over 100 families in that area and I can't think of one that doesn't need an oil patch or seafood check to pay the mortgage and car note.

I found out why my BP check is late. Apparently, I have to reapply monthly and the dumbass asked me if I had found a new job yet. I told him, "Have you?" Stupidity reigns around here. Then I asked him if a JOBS PROGRAM has been started. He said yes, for claims adjusters. We are so boned.

TFHG -- Gotta be all the more frustrating dealing with folks like that. BTW -- Noticed the reference to Avondale/Todd Shipyard layoffs after I responded. The grandfather who raised was a machinist at Todd's until it killed him. Old memories come flooding back. Even when I was a kid Nawlins didn't have much going for it other than tourism. A heck of a lot of collateral damage, eh?

You might look into Claims Adjuster training. It's going to be a job for a while down there. Plus if you get good at it then you can do it when other things like Hurricanes occur. I have a friend in South Texas who does that. He gets calls every time a big "disaster" like hurricanes, tornadoes, etc. occur in/around Texas. After Kartrina he spent a year doing claims. He makes very good money plus he gets to make people happy by getting them the biggest check he can. It's also something you can do on the weekends if you have a regular job.

Excellent advice.

My last job was in Building Codes in New England and, every time there was a major disaster down south they would ask for "volunteers" to go south to evaluate damage. An acquaintance spent almost 6 months in NO and could have stayed longer but he already racked up enough overtime to take the next year or 2 off.

Be better if there were more local folks doing the work. Look for courses at local comunity colleges?

How many people on the rigs that have been shut down are actually out of work?
Any idea of what % of total oilfield jobs that is?

How many of those people can follow the rig to where it goes? A few family members worked offshore and when things were slow GOM they had to work elsewhere.

People are carrying on as though the entire oil patch is being shut in. I know that isn't true. Do any of y'all think this will be as bad as the 1980s, just in terms of % of oil field jobs lost.

I know that this situation will be worse because the general economic situation is so bad.

I emailed natresdoc. I am thinking about a master's in environmental technology or some such. He is close enough to me for me to go there. Screw this once this is over and I have a few others to kick butts for me. I can always come back with bigger guns. TinFoil.

Masters in Environmental Tech is a good idea. You can teach the kids how to live sustainably. If you survive. And if they survive.

As far as your initial statement, this isn't a W or a V ... it is a staircase. Two steps down, one step up. When you reach rock bottom there's just one way to go...


Time to dig out the EF Schumacher...Small is Beautiful; Buddhist Economics and all that.

Of the billions the oil industry reaps in profits from the region what does it give back besides a pay check?

A non profit called the Louisiana Bucket Brigade had to be formed just to try and make a dent in the environmental degradation and poisons left behind by refining etc. Anyone live in those neighborhoods that are unfit to live in? Any oil money being put into remediation from the damage the industry does?


..."The community of Mossville is located near the city of Lake Charles in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana. Forty of the fifty-three industrial facilities in Calcasieu Parish are located within 10 miles of Mossville. These facilities represent the largest concentration of vinyl plastic manufacturers in the U.S., a coal-fired power plant, oil refineries, and chemical production facilities.

In September 1998, Mossville residents of "fenceline communities" formed a bucket brigade and began taking samples. The samples revealed violations of Louisiana standards for vinyl chloride, ethylene dichloride, and benzene. One sample found carcinogenic benzene in excess of 220 times the State's standard.

In the following year, after much media attention, the Environmental Protection Agency confirmed pollution levels higher than detected by the bucket brigade. Some facilities were fined and new monitoring devices were installed. By 1999, bucket brigades had spread throughout the cancer alley of Louisiana, leading to the formation of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade. The organization gives grants to community groups to continue bucket monitoring.

Communities currently participating in the Bucket Brigade include Alsen, Baton Rouge, Chalmette, Mossville, New Sarpy, Norco, Louisiana, Port Arthur, Texas, and Durban, South Africa[2].

The Louisiana Bucket Brigade is featured in the 2002 documentary film Blue Vinyl"

Think any chemical corporations or oil money is spent on remediation or research on technology to make production cleaner...or on health care for all the disadvantaged that have to live near that spewing filth?

It felt to me that BP was more concerned about stopping the gusher by the end of the financial quarter, rather than stopping the gusher period.

Trust me there is not s single person at BP that has not tried to stop this ASAP. How many gallons of non-employment related gas have you used today? I plan to use one.

I use the liquids, TFHG. Some times Mr. Daniels offers a fair antidote to Mr. Murphy.


Damn, I am Creole and a gallon would likely mean death in a day :)

It felt to me that BP was more concerned about stopping the gusher by the end of the financial quarter, rather than stopping the gusher period.

Is there a problem with that? BP goal is aligned with everyone else goal, which is to shut down the well asap.. If they can do it before mid-Aug and go into their shareholder meeting, all is well.. by the way, their quarter ended on 6/30. What they try to shot for is to have some good news for shareholder..


The European Union's top energy official on Wednesday suggested banning any new deepwater oil and gas exploration projects in the North Sea, Black Sea and the Mediterranean while regulators examine safety risks. ...
Norway, Europe's biggest oil producer, also has banned new deepwater drilling in the North Sea.
It is not a member of the 27-nation EU. Britain is the most important EU nation with offshore oil rigs - but so far has made no plans to stop drilling.
EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger told reporters after talks on Wednesday with 22 oil companies that "a moratorium of new drillings would be a good idea".
Oettinger said he would seek a temporary ban. ...

Is there much Mediterranean O&G under EU control? Or is it clustered off Africa and the Levant?

fd -- all on you buddy. LOL. I've neither the time nor patience.

Corrosion & rust

If I may, I would like to raise the issue of rusting underwater casings.
Thanks to those who provided info last week (July 8th) in connection with this article:

Yesterday I found this technical paper from India's Oil & Natural Gas Corporation done in 2003:

I would appreciate people's observations on this paper, particularly on the second-to-last section, "Protection of Well Casing & Tubing."
The author states, "In Indian offshore, well casing corrosion is a matter of serious concern."

My question is, should it be a matter of serious concern everywhere?
Or am I flogging a non-issue?

Thanks for considering this...

Corrosion should be a serious concern. One key item to focus on when reviewing field operating costs is to see if the local management is spending enough on corrosion protection. If they're not, then they're either spending a lot replacing corroded steel, or they are sitting on a time bomb.

However, you do realize corrosion protection is a huge industry, and money IS devoted to it. Problem I've seen is individual companies or company management at the local level dropping their guard, and allowing things to corrode when they should not.

Curious question. Would the corrosion protection be in the form of Zinc anodes, specific coatings or?? ?

Depends on what you're protecting. It can be anodes, impressed current, coatings, chemical addition to the fluids flowing inside the pipe, keeping sand and solids from flowing with the oil, keeping pressure low, managing temperatures, making sure oxygen is kept out of the system (if it's the system where the oil, gas and water are flowing), using biocides to kill bacteria in the system if they managed to get in, changing materials to new and better grades, keeping things clean and free of solid deposits, line pigging, and putting up screens to keep corrosive salt laden air from equipment close to the beach or on platforms.

I'm sure a corrosion expert can have a field day listing all the things they can do to keep corrosion down. And of course there's a lot of money spent running diagnostics and checking to see how things are corroding.

Thanks, Fdoleza
To get more specific... the long-term integrity of offshore wells.

I am assuming that all of them are made of steel, and that once they have been abandoned, their owners have little incentive to protect or maintain them or even to monitor their condition.
It was previously pointed out that rust cannot occur without oxygen, and that offshore casings are cut off below the sea-floor and are therefore covered over by several feet of seabed, which ensures that oxygen can't get at the steel.

Industry experts say that casings will last forever (which is a very long time...), while others say that there is plenty of evidence that corrosion and rust can and do occur, and that this is a neglected issue.

Any further observations?

I guess it depends where the well is located. Say it's offshore near the mississippi delta, it's going to get covered with sand and silt and mud, and eventually it'll find itself buried in several thousand feet of sediment.

Say it's in Oklahoma, over there it's different. In about 500,000 years, they'll see these odd looking cement columns pop out of the ground. The cement will have steel pipe inside it, and the steel pipe will have more cement inside it. The Okies of the day, who'll likely be hunter gatherers who worship satellites, will start a cult around these columns, which they'll say are counduits built by the gods many years ago.

Abandoned well integrity is something to worry about, but most of them are curious relics. We do worry about these wells today, for example if we're going to inject water in an old field, it's important to check the old wells, because they can turn out to be really ugly geysers.

New choke line just opened. No unexpected leak apparent so far...


And now Kill closed. All flow now through choke.

Is the Kill valve still closed? The Skandi 2 ROV - clearly shows the plume from the choke valve - but the Skandi 1 ROV - has a closeup with a dispersant want that I don't see on Skandi 2... is it on the other side of choke plume in skandi 2 - or is Skandi 1 a different plume?

Yes the kill is closed and the dispersant wand is in the choke flow. Boa 2 has a closeup of the kill outlet and appears to be taking the opportunity to clean it out

Baby animals in oil spill face uncertain future

Bless these people, they're saving a few. Baby chicks are tough to keep warm and have to be taught to pick up their food, but the ones who make it long enough to shed their oiled down are home free. Little turtles who've swallowed oil get fed fluids, antibiotics, and a cod-liver oil/mayo mix to help break it up.

Gallery and video included.

July 14, 2009: Markey: BP Stonewalling on Wellbore Integrity, Sea Floor Leaks

With Pressure Tests Delayed, Chairman Renews Call for Information on Potential Hazards

WASHINGTON (July 14, 2010) – Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today renewed his request to BP to release information on the integrity of the wellbore and sea floor leaks, especially in light of the delayed attempt to conduct pressure tests on the new containment cap system for the BP Macondo well. These efforts were delayed, at least in part, because of the need to review seismic data -- which could provide information about the integrity of the wellbore -- from around the well site.
Rep. Markey had originally requested this information on June 23rd, several weeks prior to this test, and has still not received any answers which might shed light on the current potential path of shutting in the well using the new cap system as well as with challenges that could be encountered as BP attempts to permanently stop the flow of oil and gas using a relief well. Rep. Markey also sent a letter to Thad Allen asking for information provided to Incident Command on these matters.

“Everyone is hoping for a successful outcome for this capping system, and for the relief wells,” said Rep. Markey. “But given BP’s bad track record on all of its efforts thus far, all information about the risks of these tactics must be provided to Congress and to the public.”

While BP told Rep. Markey’s staff that this information would eventually be provided, it has already been made available to executive branch staff, and is easily obtained.

“This information is available. Yet BP would rather stonewall than provide information on the potential hazards lurking in the rock formations around the well, and other risks,” said Rep. Markey.

Rep. Markey asks BP for answers to several questions from his June letter (available HERE ), all of which potentially relate to the current situation occurring at the well site as well as the future relief well efforts.

In the letter sent today, available HERE
http://globalwarming.house.gov/files/LTTR/2010-06-13_BPWellIntegrityFoll... , Rep. Markey writes:

“Question 3 of my June 23rd letter asked BP for information needed to better understand what is known about the condition of the wellbore and about reports of sea floor leaks. It asks the following:

‘Please provide documents related to the condition of the wellbore.

--Has BP attempted to determine whether the casing inside the wellbore has been damaged and if so, what were the results? Please provide all measurements, images, and other documents related to the condition of the wellbore, as well as any future plans for such measurements going forward.

--Has BP confirmed or attempted to confirm the presence of hydrocarbons leaking from anywhere other than the containment cap? If so, what were the results? Please provide all related documents.

--Has BP surveyed the vicinity of the well to look for any leaks from the sea floor? If so, what area was surveyed? Please provide all measurements, images, and other documents related to any survey(s) to identify hydrocarbon leakage from the sea floor. If no survey has been performed, why not?’”


Posted yesterday; check the thread.

Sorry, I did a search for "Markey" to check and got no hit from yesterday.
I wonder how many more yesterdays there'll be before BP can find the courage to answer.

Where was it posted? I'm checking both threads and can't find the link doug is posting here.

It was a different link, sorry. From a news source quoting Markey's letter extensively. I can't find it either but I'd like to. Aside from what Markey's letter said there was a one or two sentence response from BP that Markey would get his information at some point but that the answers to his questions had already been made available. Unfortunately there was no followup to that, like "Where?"

I remember thinking when I read his letter that HO had already posted answers to most of his questions here.

It was in a comment by Prof Goose that appeared and then got taken off. I don't know why, but I did follow the link from there and found the Markey article. Exact same link as above.

And so many think there is no censorship on this site?

Open your eyes kiddies.

Yep. Draw your own conclusions. In any case, it's a good lesson in critical reading...

Food for thought, absolutely.

And so many think there is no censorship on this site?

Hafta be self-censorship. Prof. Goose is one of the two editors who runs the place.

If it was removed then there was probably some kind of secret agent code in there. Instructions about which Swiss bank to transfer the payment to, etc.

I honestly do not see how Congress is helping, with all these hearings and demands for information. There's nothing they can do, so why not let BP focus on "plugging the damned hole," and have the dog-and-pony show of committee hearings afterwards?

You'd almost think this was an election year, or something.

Exactly. Expect the cheap suit grandstanding to ramp up fast.

I agree, the last time the hearing was a joke-let them focus on killing the well, then finding out exactly what caused the explosion (not just supposition).

Average Joe is scared sheetless about this thing. When he searches for data points, he gets wild supposition disguised as inside knowledge, endless suggestions of cover-up and even legitimate reason to suspect he is being lied to.

I'm not a fan of the cheap suit brigade but frankly, BP et al could avoid the diversion of resources by simply telling it like it is. I doubt the success of the kill effort has much to do with the PR guys anyhow.

Having taken a few PR seminars, the best thing to do in a situation like this is be truthful and keep the info flowing out to the people by issuing your own press releases. I suspect BP knows this lesson that was learned by Exxon on the Valdez disaster.

But in this case, all news coming out is being controlled by the Government Agencies. It's not that BP won't tell you, they are not being allowed to. People have short memories and tend to believe what they see on TV so having the Admiral give the briefings gives the appearance to Joe Public that the Government is handling this just fine.

Data is a different story as it will likely be referenced in many law suits so making it public isn't a wise move and giving it to Congress who would have to be spoon fed and then would only misunderstand it anyway and issue massive BS statements would only worsen public perspective.

Thank goodness for ROV feeds so we can all see things that give more info than the very high level and "fluffy" stuff the press is fed.

But in this case, all news coming out is being controlled by the Government Agencies. It's not that BP won't tell you, they are not being allowed to.

Oh really? The Government is not allowing BP to answer questions raised by a member of Congress? Can you kindly point us to the evidence please? Thanks.

BP answered his questions a long time ago, that's what they told him and it's true. He just needs to look through the data they sent to Congress and the info the MMS and Coast Guard have been capturing. BP is under NO obligation to dig things out for him, he has a staff to do that. If they are incompetent then that's not BPs concern. If BP spent time spoon-feeding and answering every stupid question from Congress they'd never get anything else done.

BP answered his questions? You mean like these ones?

a. Has BP attempted to determine whether the casing inside the wellbore has been damaged and if so, what were the results? Please provide all measurements, images, and other documents related to the condition of the wellbore, as well as any future plans for such measurements going

b. Has BP confirmed or attempted to confirm the presence of hydrocarbons leaking from anywhere other than the containment cap? If so, what were the results? Please provide all related documents.

c. Has BP surveyed the vicinity of the well to look for any leaks from the se floor? If so, what area was surveyed? Please provide all measurements, images, and other documents related to any survey(s) to identify hydrocarbon leakage from the sea floor. If no survey has been performed, why not?"

I'm sorry, I must have missed them. I've looked through a large number of documents from the various sources you mentioned, perhaps I'm too thick but I haven't come across those answers at all. Would appreciate if you can point me to where I might find them. Thanks.

If BP spent time spoon-feeding and answering every stupid question from Congress they'd never get anything else done.

Well, obviously Tony Hayward had it down to a fine art, of NOT answering questions from Congress. However, it doesn't seem to be corporate policy, though, since BP like many large corporates does hire an army of lobbyists for the specific purpose of talking to Congressmen like Markey. When it suits them, of course. Didn't seem to have interfered with their work (of making profits) before, you know....

BP America Spent $4M Lobbying Gov't In 2Q

By The Associated Press 08/21/09 - 01:34 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — BP America Inc., the U.S. arm of the British oil major, spent $4 million to lobby the federal government in the second quarter, a 54-percent increase from a year ago reflecting several potentially costly measures facing the oil industry.

Don't discount the grandstanding factor. Markey may well have the answers and know that he has them, and is just issuing letters like this to get his name in the press.

But in this case, all news coming out is being controlled by the Government Agencies. It's not that BP won't tell you, they are not being allowed to.

Thank goodness for ROV feeds so we can all see things that give more info than the very high level and "fluffy" stuff the press is fed.

People have short memories

LOL, indeed they do.

Thank you for the laugh, that was priceless.

You are welcome.

I'm not some black helicopter conspiracy theorist, I've worked for enough Government groups to know that when it comes to things you can report about something they are involved in they WILL tell you what you can and cannot say. It's censorship of a kind but they tell you if you talk out of turn you (your company) will regret it. And I've seen it happen.

Remember the average American has about an 8th grade comprehension level for information so TV sound bites and video segments have to be at that level. To the engineers and folks with knowledge it is really Fluff.

Short memories are a fact..ask Joe Average what the Exxon Valdez was and see if they remember. Ask them who won last year's Super Bowl and World Series and who was President before GWB.

My laugh was at your short memory.

Did you forget why you are able to see those ROV feeds?

Yep. They were agreed to before Markey granstanded to ask for them.

...BP et al could avoid the diversion of resources by simply telling it like it is.

We have discussed this many times. BP et al are listening to their lawyers. Their lawyers are telling them to say as little as possible, do not be specific, and cover your arse. We may not like it, but from a liability standpoint it is pretty good advice. That is what I would tell my clients, at any rate.

And, there is no doubt that BP wants to get the WW controlled pronto. If crapping down the hole would do it, the BOD would be lined up with their pants down!


The recent discussion revolves around the question of whether or not stuffed suit inquiries should be taking place in Washington. Some here seem to believe that Average Joe and the inquisitors should sit down, shut up and swallow whatever load of crap they're fed. The point was that you can't withhold information which had dramatic impacts on the lives some millions of people, then whine about the predictable outcome of doing so.

Have you read the questions being referred to? They have nothing to do with the cause of the explosion. BP's corporate culture of negligence would be the starting point to the answer to the cause.
The risks going forward is the prime concern now. Given BP's track record and the overall reality of what's happening, it's a VERY legitimate concern.

As for, "let them focus on killing the well", if BP can't walk and chew gum at the same time, we better start looking for more options than BP's supposed "expertise".

The expertise on the case isn't BP's alone at this time. I do wonder, what exactly is Mr Markey going to do with all those boxes of information he's asking for? Evidently he doesn't have the staff to handle the information anyway. Is he going to hire consultants to analyze the information, and then write a report summarizing what they see? If so, what is he going to do with it, try to pass a law?

I don't care much for the imperial presidency we've seen evolve in the last 20 years, but isn't it a little redundant for this guy Markey to be writing these letters at this time?

isn't it a little redundant for this guy Markey to be writing these letters at this time?

Not if no one else is asking those questions. Not if BP has not officially, publicly, answered them.

Strange that we have more people questioning the need to question BP, than questioning whether BP is facing up to their obligations as the perpetrator of this catastophe, and answering some basic questions of major public interest particularly right now.

Like how secure is the well? BP may or may not know for sure so the answer could be yes, no, don't know, maybe, but do you think BP has an obligation to answer them? If your opinion is No (and you're perfectly entitled to think so), then just remember if everyone thinkgs like you, the next time another company screws up and messes with your life and those you love, don't count on being able to hold them to account, to put things right, and don't count on anyone coming to your aid.

Accountability is not something that happens naturally or by accident, nor even simply by law. It happens also as a result of historical precedence. We abdicate our already limited ability to hold entities (government, corporations, individuals) to account, to the peril of our own wellbeing and future generations.

Don't you want answers? Can you think of a better way to get them?
The Govt, via Congress, has the power to shut down all BP's operations in this country and impose huge fines for every day answers aren't forthcoming. If that's what it would take to get answers, I'm all for it.

Yes indeed...the feds are so anxious to understand what's happening it took only most of three months to have the FIRST meeting of their investigative team. Let me guess: we should be anticipating daily updates from the commission. Excuse me while I go start praticing holding my breath.

Perhaps we could just get Rep. Markey to practice holding HIS breath ......

Rockman, for once I'm not with you on this one. Yes Congress is slow, but have we seen much other information coming out of anywhere else? Like it or not, so far, the various hearings are the ONLY places where we can find SOME credible information.

Remember the blowout happened April 20, top kill ended May 30, questions of well integrity only started after that time (for non-experts not in the loop). Markey started asking questions and sent his first letter June 23, about 3 weeks later. Was that fast or slow? And the fact that BP has not responded to them after another 3 weeks, should we chalk that up to the failures of Congress? Or the failures of BP?

That's my point Hiver. AFAIK Markey has no more authority to ask for info then you or I. But the commission and the MMS do as well as having subpoena power. I'm not a lawyer but I think it would be foolish for BP to respond to any questions from anyone who isn't part of the official investigation. Correct me if I'm wrong but Markey isn't part of the govt team that either investigating the accident or dealing with the daily activities. Is Markey asking for any info that the govt/MMS doesn't already have? If he is and that info is critical than why haven't the govt/MMS requested it? And if that info has already been supplied to TPTB than why isn't Markey asking them?

Maybe I owe Mr. Markey an apology but so far he strikes me as just one opportunist looking for some free press. But again, maybe I missed it: is he the part of the govt's team investigating the accident?

Representative Edward J. Markey, a national leader on energy and the environment, chairs the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming and the Energy and Environment Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee.

Markey has clout as a Congressional committee chairman.

Markey wrote his letters to BP as Chairman of Energy and Environment Subcommittee. I reckon he has some jurisdiction over this matter, so IMO it would be unfair to characterize his questioning as opportunist looking for some free press. Probably not your intention, but that is my take on whether how appropriate it is for him to raise questions.

In any case, the way things have been unfolding, I would not fault ANY congressman raising questions as long as those questions are legit and BP hasn't answered them. So the issue is, ARE the questions legit? I very much think so.

Thanks for the info Hiver. I was serious about owing him an apology if needed. But I would still disagree with you a little about all the 100's of members of Congress asking questions. The govt launched an official investigation. As I see it the best way to avoid confusion and not waste time is not having every one in govt with an equal shot. Again I don't know one way or the other but has Mr. Markey asked for any info that hasn't already been supplied to someone with the govt? Perhaps part of the problem is that the govt/MMS may not be as forthcoming with info they already have. Maybe that's part of Mr. Markey's frustration: his fellow politicians aren't sharing.

Rockman, I know as little as you do about the workings of government, probably even less. But bless you for being a true southern gent for that owing an apology sentiment. A rare breath of fresh air on the internet, you know.

Cheers, mate.

Markey is chairman of relevant committee (or subcommittee) of House, probably has all appropriate authorizations of his committee to investigate on behalf of House. Many times in USA history the Congress has had a different view of matters than the Executive, just think back to the "Church Committee" or the Fulbright Committee, and how they differed from the President, even a president of the same political party.
Worth noting that Markey probably has subpoena power (usually delegated by Committee to one member doing active investigation), and everyone knows he has this power, so they answer his questions promptly without his having to process a formal written subpoena.
Congress also has power to hold anyone in contempt (though this power would not be exercised unilaterally by Markey), this includes the power to take custody of a witness (put him in jail, or restrict in other ways) thereby forcing compliance.
So I beg to differ with your opinion, Markey has a serious role to play here, and he is doing his job. As to whether he might/might not be doing his job WELL, I have no opinion, do not know enough facts.

Hold on there. We've discussed at length why the MMS has little credibility as a regulatory agency and less as an investigatory agency. That's the biggest reason why the Energy Department's top brass are directly involved.

Rep. Markey has standing to ask questions for the same reason that President Obama has standing to demand that BP put cleanup money into escrow: they represent the United States in asserting our ownership of the mineral extraction rights that BP leases. Obama's standing is for operational reasons.

Markey's job is to get information so his subcommittee can evaluate whether the existing laws are producing good results and whether the laws need to be changed. The questions they ask are likely to be different from the questions that the MMS people ask. I hope one of the things Markey's subcommittee does is to ask the MMS what questions they're asking and to check that they're getting answers and data from BP that they need to do a good job of supervising what the lease ho.ders do.

BP's operational response group should answer to the Incident Command only. The Incident Command confers with Chu's group and brings them into joint meetings with BP when needed.

Markey (and others in Congress) should address his questions to Incident Command & Chu to determine if they are unanswered, relevant, and necessary to the descision making for the response. If needed, Incident Command can arrange to get the answers. Otherwise, the questions are a distraction from solving the problem at hand.

Incident Command, Chu's team, The President, and the Cabinet have all been briefed and approved the current plan.

As posted above, Congress has a legitimate role in investigation of this disaster, and BP is NOT exempt from delegated Congressional investigation by appropriate committee chairman. Your little scenario ignores the existence of Congress, ignores the Constitutional structure of USA government.

I caught just a bit of what sounded like a useful hearing this morning

Earlier, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson appeared before a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee to talk about the effects dispersants are having on the Gulf of Mexico’s wildlife and seafood safety. In her testimony she said that BP has used over 1.8 million gallons of dispersants to date on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, a volume never used before in the United States. The focus of the hearing was to find out about the chemicals and any unintended consequences from their use.

Sen. Mikulsi was asking Jackson very direct questions about whether or not she felt she had the authority to request an immediate cessation in the use of dispersant if she thought that it was in the best interest of the environment or if only the Incident Commander could make that call. Jackson gave a wishy-washy answer, and Mikulski went on to explain that she was asking because she wanted to know if legislation needed to be changed to grant her that power. The short segment I saw was much better than the grandstanding I've seen in other earlier hearings.

The short segment I saw was much better than the grandstanding I've seen in other earlier hearings.

Mikulski's a pistol. No flies on her.

Tradeja Beel Nelson and Flordy's next draft pick (whoever that is)? C'mon, SL, be a mensch.

Sorry, RM. Wrong.

Markey is the chair of a Congressional committee with relevant oversight authority. Not only does he have the right to ask for any information he believes may be relevant to that task, and the task of formulating possible future legislation, he absolutely has the obligation to do so.

Ultimately, Congress also has subpoena power, as they should have in a system where they function as the representatives of the people.

Too many of you seem to think politics is just a dirty game we'd be better off discarding. In fact, dirty as it is (mostly because of interference in the process by greedy and powerful forces and their minions—forces like the ones many here work for), it is the way we govern ourselves.

Call Markey up and give him the executive branches phone number. He probably lost it.

Yeah, I want answers. But I'd rather have real investigators asking the questions, not a bunch of stuffed shirts in Congress. Next week, the Dept of Interior and US Coast Guard panel will reconvene and restart their investigations on the incident. I'm patient enough to wait for the outcome of that, while letting BP senior technical people work on closing off the well.

If Congress wants to hold hearings, then IMO they should wait until the crisis has passed. Doing otherwise is just so much grandstanding and it doesn't do any good.

Ultimately, the courts will decide what BP's liability is, and that matter won't be settled until as much as a decade from now.

But remember we have an election coming up and the economy is in the tank. need to divert and get the base excited about something ---no matter how useless the hearing might be.

And a convenient scapegoat in BP to blame it all on!!! Spin this right and appear to be saving the pretty beaches and animals and at the same time punishing Big Oil which is hurting the economic recovery by keeping gas prices too high. And since Big Oil is evil lets pass the Carbon Tax too, after all Big Oil will pay those taxes and Unkie Sam redistribute aka can spend them!!! The dirty little secret that those taxes will be passed on to the consumer and will be paid by the investors in dividend cuts will never be mentioned. The people in charge right now have no desire to see the Average Joe's life get better and the more than can blame Joe's bad life on others the better.

But NASA, just the other day you were placing full responsibility on MMS for BP's failure to adequately plan for this disaster. Now you mock congress for holding hearings to investigate it, the largest environmental disaster in our history, which has destroyed thousands of jobs, many business, and is stressing many people along the gulf to the breaking point. You hold govt. responsible for causing it but mock them for trying to investigate it.

The hypocrisy speaks for itself.

So does your portrayal of this twice-convicted felon corporation as a victim. The victim that keeps killing American workers and fouling our environemnt through flragrant law-breaking and profit-driven risk-taking. The victim that weilds its incredible power to free a brutal terrorist murderer from jail in order to increase its profits.

I wonder how the Lockerbie victims' families would feel about that? Probably about the same as the all of BP's other victims, numbering in the millions by now.

Of course, none of the spilled oil has reached the shore-line of your arm chair yet. Nor has your job been taken away. Nor is the suicide rate for the children in your community expected to rise. Hence, you see no need for congress to do anything about any off it.

The ideological lense through which you view these events produces a nihilistic, if not sociopathic view of the world that rivals anything kafka wrote about. Touche!

Hear, hear!

Why shouldn't dividends be reduced, and the end user charged for these externalities currently paid for anyway by medical costs for pollution, remediation and subsidies?

Of course the costs should be passed on, and the social parasites suckiing on dividends take their hit for profiting from environmental disasters.

Are you aware that those 'social parasites' are mostly pension funds?

Yes, I am aware that BP dividends are 14% of British pension fund input.

I also know that seniors love to gamble.

The stock market is a casino, I think.

The pensioners have gone along with that for fifty years, thinking they'd get something for nothing.

Externalities exist, whether pensioners believe in them or not.

Macondo has transformed an externality into an internality.


This reminds me of the scene with Gov. William J. LePetomain in Blazing Saddles:

"Gentleman, we've got to do something to protect our phoney-baloney jobs, etc...."

Not to say answers should not be forthcoming. However, the current response looks like so much posturing. Ho hum.

I can't stand the grandstanding of the stuffed shirts and we all know they're mostly corrupt as hell themselves, fire Congress and have term limits, and the next time they want a raise it should be performance based (I'd bet they would be running a deficit if that was the case). I want an investigation and not a bunch of rhetoric and demonizing of the entire industry when a large portion gets contributions from the same indusrty they are screaming about on tv just for chit and giggles (and also votes IMO)

If you want answers now you're better off letting Congress ask for you. The results of investigations by Interior and by the Coast Guard will be secret until they're completely finished, and when they're published they'll be in full 'Don't sue me"/CYA style. Such investigations are not designed to get frank answers to pointed questions. They're more about the details of how individual regulations were followed.

It was Markey that got them to put the Video feeds up. The government has a role - not to mention it is their responsibility - to investigate.

It was Markey that got them to put the Video feeds up.

Didn't know that. Thanks. Also agree about government role etc.

That is why I found it so hilarious that up-thread NASA was talking about the .gov controlling what info BP puts out and then praises the fact that we have the ROV feeds.

I'm guessing he missed that the only reason we have them is the actions of someone in .gov.

gmf it was the single best "rebuttal" i have seen posted on TOD yet.

That's interesting Mr. Bubble. So neither the MMS, the Dept of the Interior nor President Obama could make BP post the video. But Mr. Markey could...one powerful dude.

So neither the MMS, the Dept of the Interior nor President Obama could make BP post the video. But Mr. Markey could...one powerful dude.

They could have, RM, but did they want to? I doubt the Whitehouse has enjoyed having videos of the plume plastered across tv screens, reminding people of the inability of the gov't to stop it.

I'm glad Mr Markey asked for the streams to be made public. I'm glad there are three branches of government, although all seem to work mainly for corporations now. I find it refreshing when someone like Markey comes along.

That was my point rainy: I didn't know who was responsible. But the Coast Guard and the MMS had access to the videos from day 1 according to them. So perhaps Mr. Markey deserves credit for getting the executive branch to open up. If so all the more power to him.

Rockman: WAG. If the executive branch through the DOJ is actively investigating criminal charges against BP for EPA violations (such as was done in the felony conviction of BP in Alaska), then they need to step very carefully so as not to be accused of bulling BP, a potential criminal defendant, for the purposes of obtaining evidence to be used to bring charges. It all get murky here, but we may be sneaking into the area of self incrimination under the 5th Amendment to the US Constitution. Congress , on the other hand, can bully all they want because they are a separate branch. And, frankly, Congress often doesn't care if they screw up a criminal case, cf. Ollie North.

Edited because I can't type.

There hasn't existed the means of testing the casing in the well bore since the day of fire, has there?

A negative answer to the above equestion makes question 2 another impossible question to answer.

And, as far as #3 goes, it seems to me that could be done by any number of agencies or organizations. If BP is going to divert assets from its efforts at the well to do that, it would be counterproductive.

Lastly, killing the well would tend to mean that any leakage is now sealed off, so... that becomes a moot question.

Perhaps people react negatively to Markey because his questions are more along the lines of noise than anything else?

US Interior Department says BP (BP/ LN) must pay royalties on all oil and gas captured from leaking well

16:12 15-07-2010

There's a reason to try to cap it.

I'm not a tax lawyer but the tax deduction BP takes for donating to wildlife funds the profits of the recovered oil should more than cover the royalties. Am I being too cynical?

Doesn't work that way. Say you sell the oil for $75 a barrel. What should BP donate to the wildlife fund? If it's the gross receipts, then they are out the royalty. Evidently they should not declare as income money they don't see anyway. SO I think they'll be selling the oil, pay the royalty, and then donate the left overs. The money they spend to produce the oil is written off, so the Feds pay 34 % of all the costs offshore.

BP may have 0 taxable income when net earnings are computed.

Gat to carry forward to next year.

Yep. Or they may sell properties and realize gains they'll cover with the spill losses. The way this looks, they'll probably declare a loss this year. How much of a tax cut is that? I bet it's going to be around $2-3 billion.

I think that is about right. The Financial Times had a story that BP is likely to have a tax reduction of $10 Billion over the next 4 years because of losses associated with the spill.


That's weird, so Interior is taking money away from the wildlife fund? I doubt BP will pay the royalty separately.

Yep. Interior has to take the money, it's the law. The decision to pay the money into a Wild Life fund is BP's, they didn't have to do it. The government really has no option but to follow the law, and tax the royalty. PLUS they'll toss in the fines for spilling the oil BP doesn't get to sell.

I'm trying to buy some of the Macondo oil, but I can't get anybody to tell me if I can buy it in 1000 barrel lots.

So, trying to cap the well despite risks even at this point makes clear business sense for BP. Curtail the penalties, curtail the royalties.

fd: Isn't 1000 barrels 42,000 gallons, which is a standard contract size for gas - maybe someone is trading Macondo oil futures or options in OTC markets. Or you want "1000 steel barrels delivered".

It would be an interesting financial product to trade with you - but only if credit default swaps were offered :-)

I want 1000 barrels, delivered. I need to rent a clean tank. When you hear what I want it for, you'll laugh your butt off, but I think I can make money from it. But I can't figure out where to go buy it.

Can't come up with anything more creative than $7.99 for a 4oz bottle on e-bay.

From day one BP said the contribution would be after partner share and royalty payment so about 55% of what ever they get for the captured oil. Actually like the $500 million research grant it was probably a good gesture and will do more good than the $360 million spent for the berms IMHO.

You mean the "Jindal Berm'. Nothing against hizzoner, I'm sure he's a smart guy, but I don't guess he knows much about coastal engineering. Isn't he a physician?

In case anyone missed these photos of the Chandeleur berm washing away during the recent windy spell:

If they are ever completed (which seems questionable), the remaining oil will have been reduced by then to fairly harmless tarballs. Meanwhile, the Chandeleurs took some oil this week from the northwest, or non-berm side, where they are marshy and more vulnerable to damage. Doh! Didn't see that coming!

Meanwhile, this boondoggle transfers $360m of BP's cash to a contractor, the Shaw Group, that is Jindal's #3 campaign contributor.

Meanwhile, this boondoggle transfers $360m of BP's cash to a contractor, the Shaw Group, that is Jindal's #3 campaign contributor.

Aha, those smart politics you were pointing out the other day, Gobbet. Yessirreebob.


An article about the same berm with Jindal's response and dueling photos.

I seem to recall that a few years ago another oil producer was taken to task by the government for selling the oil to their own upstream refineries for below market prices to reduce their royalty payments.

I learned long ago that a good tax accountant is worth five engineers to the bottom line. I wanted to be an accountant but when I started college the adviser told me to switch to engineering because I wasn't personable enough to be an accountant.

10:27:30 local time the larger of the two relief ports was closed. The only visible flow is a high pressure stream coming from a 2-3 inch pipe.

apologies for the newbie question, but can someone tell me which of the 2 pressure gaugues that are shown on the BP live feeds (1 from OLY and 1 from HOS) is the most important one, or are they both measuring the same thing? Thanks!

They've said that neither is- that those gauges measure pressure in the hydraulic system. The hydraulic system does things like open and close valves. So a change would mean that some piece of hydraulic machinery has been triggered.

BP said that the gauges we can see from the ROV's were not related to the O&G stream. They have digital gauges fed via fiber to ships above.

Just checked headlines for BP if anyone is interested.

Helix Producer Recovery Rate Matched that of Prior Two Ships

Production to Third Ship Delayed to July 24th

Third and Fourth Recovery Ships on Site if Needed

BP trading now at 37.20 up 1 as I post

The Press-Register covers the Surgeon and Attorney Generals' visits. Both promised more'n'better, but Benjamin's welcome was rather warmer than Holder's.

dougr: do you still think that the casing is ruptured, that the seabed is leaking in multiple places, that the BOP will fall over?

This is not being sarcastic. I am someone who took your posting seriously... for a while anyway.

If someone was not concerned about the seabed integrity, they wouldn't have Canyon Offshore watching it would they?

Which means it was not leaking before they started the test.

Not watching everything that's at least 1% unknown makes a lot less sense than watching everything does. The stakes are high.

Precisely. But there seems to be some numbers of posters who are in denial about even the possibility of a major subsurface breech...

Some of the results of the survey (that we've seen) indicated negative on that. But still, it's probably not impossible.

I have not noticed anyone say it is imposible.

However there are some off us who think that a breach from this well that is currently leaking to the surface but not up the casing and is being concealed from us because TPTB want to destroy the GOM while committing corporate suicide- and they are going shut the valves anyway so it all blows apart according to plan-... is kinda unlikely.

I think that if they start getting leaks on the seabed during the test, they take the cap off and go back to capture.

Why would they be doing this now? Is the location of the leaks a big problem? Rockman, would you comment on that?



The aborted topkill attempt gave good enough reason to think the casing is ruptured. A ruptured casing means that crude is moving into the surrounding formation.
Whether or not the seabed is leaking depends on the structure of the formation above the breach(es). If it's not already, given enough time, it will.
As for the BOP falling over, again, given enough time, it will.
Every day, the situation can only worsen...and not in a linear fashion.

"As for the BOP falling over, again, given enough time, it will."

Given enuf time, our sun will die, too.

Which do you think will happen soonest? And by a factor of how much?

Especially with BP looking more and more like
every day.

The sun. The BOP will stand for eternity, frozen in time in a frozen GOM; or, at least until the Big Crunch starts the wheel on another cycle.

thank you for reiterating your concerns- expressed often, and by others as well.

It seems that the lack of evidence for your concerns mounts, but this test will indeed tell. If they can get 9000 psi for an extended period, then you cannot be correct. If they cannot get above 6000, then you may yet be vindicated.

I know you would rather be wrong in this...

There are persistent reports of concern about the state of the well below the Blowout Preventer. It was reported (sorry, can't remember where I saw this) that the gear used for the Topkill project was supposed to raise mud pressures inside the BOP to above 6000 psi. In practice, they were not able to get to this target pressure. Everyone, including Admiral Allen, has to be wondering why. There are multiple speculations, but a very reasonable hypothesis is that events between the initial gas kick, the riser fall, the multiple manipulations of the gear, may have introduced leaks in the column(s) below the BOP. As Allen said yesterday, they have no basis for saying what the state of the casing may be, just speculation. It's worth going slow under these circumstances.

I'd really love to know what is meant by "seismic data" in these press reports. Are they setting off small bombs near the well and doing tomography?

I know you would rather be wrong in this...

Absolutely, I can just sense it.

All you Texans, watch your backs:

Chupacabra, mythical 'goat sucker' beast, surfaces in Texas

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/2010/07/14/2010-07-14_chupacabr...

Interesting email that I just received:
BP Escrow impact on US Treasury?
It seems like a miracle that our beloved leader was able to convince BP to establish a $20 billion slush fund (oops, escrow) to compensate those hurt by the ongoing oil plume in the Gulf of Mexico . After all, he had no constitutional power to force them to do so; so he had to resort to Chicago-style negotiating.

But, let us take a closer look at the effect on BP’s finances:
1. BP will establish a $20 billion fund, but will pay only $7 billion into it during 2010.
2. BP is a British corporation, but has a very large operating entity in the US .
3. By Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAP), BP must book the entire $20 billion expense in the year accrued. Therefore, they will book a $20 billion expense in 2010, reducing their US tax liability by $7 billion.
4. Our dear leader also convinced this massive corporation to show their concern for the “small people” by withholding dividends to their shareholders for the last 3 quarters of 2010. This reduces their outward cash flow by about $7.5 billion, including approximately 40% of that amount to US citizens. Assuming that the Bush tax cuts will survive through 2010, the US Treasury will lose another $450 million in taxes on that amount. We won’t even discuss the effect on the US economy.

Let us put the results into a table easily understood by the small people:
· BP Cash Flow:
O Escrow funding ($7 billion)
o Dividend saving $7.5 billion
o Tax savings $7 billion
o Net favorable cash flow : $7.5 billion

· US Treasury Tax Receipts:
o BP Corporate income tax ($7.5 billion)
o BP Shareholders ($0.45 billion)

o Net unfavorable tax receipts ($7.95 billion)

Question: Did the US Taxpayers just fund the first 1/3 of the BP Escrow commitment?

Net, a bailout. I anticipate more of this masquerade. BP is TBTF but the curtains have to be drawn.

Yes. Any time a company fails to make money, it cuts its taxes. So if you look at it from the government's point of view, the government shares the load because it allows expenses and depreciation to be deductible. We could change the tax law, and eliminate all deductions, drop the income tax rate. This would make things a lot simpler, and put a lot of accountants out of work. It would also create some very interesting distortions, because companies would be taxed on their gross proceeds, which means companies with very thin margins would probably go belly up, and companies with high margins would make huge amounts of money. Because the system is dynamic, as companies in low margin businesses started going bankrupt, their competitors would raise prices. So I would expect airplane tickets to go way up, and the guys who own Apple would be masters of the universe.

So, tell me, when a company isn't making a profit, but is passing through a couple million dollars a year, but you're taxing cash flow instead of profit, what happens to the company? It folds.

All the jobs ... gone.

You cannot tax cash flow inside an enteprise and expect to do anything but explode nuclear bombs in every enterprise in the country. There would be an economic implosion the likes of which the world has never seen before.

Okay so where to start - so many assumptions here:

1. Just because something is booked currently under GAAP doesn't mean its tax deductible or deductible currently.

2. The author assumes they have a tax liability to reduce - that isn't going to already be reduced by operating expenses and other tax planning.

3. The author also assumes that the dividends received are taxable at some rate. He/she/it fails to take into account certain qualified dividends are taxed at a very low rate, and some (including those held in 401ks, IRAs, foundations and the like) aren't subject to income tax at all.

4. Also not included in the calcualtions is the net payment to the US Treasury of other amounts that will be payable - fines. etc.

Nice try though.

Dividends that go into 401Ks are eventually taxed at ordinary income rates. This is why it is beneficial to do your investing in a non-retirement account where dividends and capital gains are taxed at more favorable rates (at least for now).

True enough - income earned in an IRA is eventually subject to tax when it is taken out of the account (if it is are taken out - and at that point, if they are not taken out, they may be subject to both the income tax and the estate tax, depending upon what year it is). But we don't know any of the breakdown of the shareholders - some IRA distributions might not be made for 40 years; some might be made to people who's tax circumstance are such that no, or little, tax would be paid. Accordingly, this figure would, at the very least, need to be PV's to be adjusted for the time value of money, which it wasn't.

I guess my point, in general, is that there are so many assumptions embedded in this analysis for which we have no possible way of getting any type of verification that it is basically useless and nonprobative - and certainly not evidence of some cabal out there plotting to provide BP with backdoor tax breaks.

NO Redafish
The email you just received has a few logic errors but it should be noted that the "small people" are the ones that will take the brunt of the finacial impact.
BP is a Swiss corporation not British.BP is not only beyond petroleum they are also beyond the law.
Why do you think the Swiss refused to extradite this week.
Reason....don't set precedent in a rape case.

Ned agrees absolutely. The shakedown that Obama and his consiglieri, er--attorney general, extorted from BP was for purely cynical domestic purposes, and it cost hundreds of thousands of Americans hundreds of millions of dollars, not to mention billions in lost stock value. And how did "keeping our foot on BP's neck" help the cleanup, well restoration and Gulf remediation? Government by Stalinist terror was tried once. How'd that work out for the USSR?
Contrast that with an attitude of "there are laws that will take care of these circumstances. Right now let's all work together to get this mess cleaned up as soon as possible. Nothing is to be gained by demonizing anyone."

Hey, fellas!

This is a technical blog, not a Conspiracy Blog.

Please take your paranoiac speculations elsewhere.


Best pressure so far, 6700#

Anyone hear a better number?

Where did you see that number?

I heard that same number about 30 minutes ago from a reporter on NPR, who said he spoke with someone who is in the main room in Houston.

More on the Lockerbie angle: BP owns up. Sorta-kinda. JF Burns in NYT:

LONDON —The oil giant BP faced new furor on Thursday as it confirmed that it had lobbied the British government to conclude a prisoner-transfer agreement that the Libya government wanted to secure the release of the only person ever convicted for the 1988 Lockerbie airliner bombing over Scotland, which killed 270 people, most of them Americans. ...

The company said it had promoted the transfer agreement to protect a $900 million offshore oil-and-gas exploration deal off Libya’s Mediterranean coast. The British justice minister official at the time, Jack Straw, admitted shortly after Mr. Megrahi was repatriated and freed that the BP deal was a consideration in the government’s review of his case.

In the end, Mr. Megrahi was not released under the prisoner transfer agreement. Instead, to the consternation of the Obama administration, and of many of the victims’ families, the Scottish government released him on humanitarian grounds in August 2009. That freed him from serving any further prison time in Libya, as he would have had to do under the transfer pact. ...

Although senior figures in the Labour government insisted that the Megrahi decision was one taken independently by the Scottish government, which has wide-ranging legal powers of its own, an official paper trail showed that officials in London had told Scottish officials, in the context of the prisoner transfer agreement, that letting Mr. Megrahi go would benefit British commercial interests.

That led to widespread suspicions that the Labour government, eager to promote British commercial interests in Libya but reluctant to be seen taking a step that would anger Washington — the release of Mr. Megrahi — chose to encourage instead an “end-around” solution that had the Scottish government making the decision. British officials have noted privately that the last three American administrations have been keen for American oil companies to strike deals with Libya, and that BP has been joined in the contest for potentially lucrative deals by several American oil giants, including Exxon Mobil and Chevron[.] ...

Priorities, yes?

It's such a shame that PB has to come along and tarnish the otherwise sqeaky clean image of corporate lobbying. They are SUCH criminals.


Any reports of anyone from the British government apologizing to BP for this on national TV yet?

syn -- A passing thought: 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 other way 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.

Keep in mind that it was the court of Scotland that tried al-Megrahi (tho held in Holland, not in Scotland), the trial was governed by Scottish law, and it was the Scottish government that released him.
The release was made on humanitarian grounds, but it was not really that simple, as al-Megrahi was forced to abandon his appeal of the conviction as a condition of his release.
What difference does this make?
It saves the Scottish government (and the British government and the USA government)the enormous embarrassment of his conviction being overturned because of the many errors during the trial.

Inconvenient Truths by Hugh Miles

Robert Black QC, an emeritus professor of Scottish law at Edinburgh University, was one of the architects of the original trial in Holland. He has closely followed developments since the disaster happened and in 2000 devised the non-jury trial system for the al-Megrahi case.

Even before the trial he was so sure the evidence against al-Megrahi would not stand up in court that he is on record as saying that a conviction would be impossible. When I asked how he feels about this remark now, Black replied: ‘I am still absolutely convinced that I am right. No reasonable tribunal, on the evidence heard at the original trial, should or could have convicted him and it is an absolute disgrace and outrage what the Scottish court did.’


See also:
The Framing of al-Megrahi by Gareth Peirce

Interesting maui. Didn't know there was a possibility of an overturn. Thanks. Maybe releasing was the best outcome for all parties. except, of course, the grieving.

This subject, the Lockerbie bombing and so on, is a little offthread, but I'll add my bit: Living overseas like I have, I've learned a sad truth: our government lies to us most of the time when it comes to foreign relations, their actions, what drives them, and how we are perceived. And the problem is bi-partisan, all of them can be classified as first class jackasses.

For example, there's a littlle detail usually left out: President Reagan had F111 bombers hit Lybia to kill Kaddafi, and they managed to drop a bomb on his baby daughter. I heard that trial was bs, and of course blowing up a bunch of people isn't justified, but the CIA calls this blowback. The USS Cole, 911, all of them are considered blowback by CIA experts. They think we trigger these attacks.

And we're lucky the Serbians didn't decide to come after us after Clinton lied through his teeth, invented a genocide he knew wasn't taking place, and went ahead and gave the orders for the USAF to bomb civilians mercilessly. That whole Kosovo episode was created by Clinton and Albright.

Rockman, sure it is possible to construe the facts in a way that deflects responsibility away from BP for whatever it does. I have seen that done on a variety of matters, whether it's BP crafting bogus clean-up plans, taking reckless risks to cut losses and causing a disaster, or, yes, lobbying to have a murderous terrorist set free.

I appreciate your point that the govt. had the keys, but the govt. also had the keys to MMS. Through lobbying, those keys were turned over to industry. Thus, I am more disturbed, not less, by the involvement of govt. Because it once againt points to the unhealthy and undemocratic relationship between the two that results in outcomes like this. BP's interests get elevated above the public's interest, leading to indefensible and outrageous results.

Where is the outrage from those who claim obama is soft on terrorists because he wants them tried in court. BP can lobby to have a murderous terrorist set free, and we still have congressmen apologizing to it on national TV.

Do you think you would get an apology from a congressman on national TV if you were on probation for the death of 15 people, had been implicated in the death of 11 more, and lobbyied for the release of a brutal terrorist murderer? Why are govt. people fawning over this corporate monster? It is an unseemly sight.

I work to maintain objectivity where appropriate. But sometimes moral outrage is an appropraite response.

I can only go by the reported facts. They dispel your speculation that the govt. put BP up to this. It is reported that BP admitted lobbying for the release to protect its $900 million investment.

BP’s statement on Thursday repeated earlier acknowledgments that it had promoted the transfer agreement to protect a $900 million offshore oil-and-gas exploration deal off Libya’s Mediterranean coast. The British justice minister at the time, Jack Straw, admitted shortly after Mr. Megrahi was repatriated and freed that the BP deal was a consideration in the government’s review of his case.


American anger over the case — which has only grown as Mr. Megrahi’s life endures — found a new outlet this week, as four American senators announced that they had written a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton asking for a State Department investigation into BP’s role in the prisoner transfer agreement. One senator, Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, told reporters that BP should freeze its operations in Libya because it “should not be allowed to profit on this deal at the expense of the victims of terrorism.”


Their anger was based, in part, on assurances the United States said it had been given at the time of the Lockerbie trial, held before a special Scottish court sitting in the Hague, that anybody convicted in the case would serve the full term handed down by the court. Mr. Megrahi’s conviction was the only one achieved in the case, after a Libyan accused of being an accomplice, like Mr. Megrahi an agent of Libya’s secret intelligence service, was found not guilty and freed.

I'm not saying you have to share my views or feelings, Rockman, not at all. And I respect your healthy skepticism. But I don't think I lack a reasonable basis for having them. How many Americans were on that flight? 190. How do you think they would feel, if they weren't dead, that is?

The decision to release Megrahi is a bit more complicated than first appears. There were two events, not one and they are somewhat different.

The proposed prisoner transfer deal was based on a series of existing reciprocal agreements with governments around the world where a British national is being held as a convicted prisoner in a foreign jail. In that case the British government would petition for that person to be returned to Britain to serve out the rest of their sentence in their home country where, for example, the prison staff speak English, appropriate medical care and treatment are provided where it might not be available in the foreign country involved etc. There is also the ability for the prisoner to receive familial visits more easily. In return the British government agrees to return foreign-national convicted prisoners to their home country under the same conditions. Note that the prisoners in question are not released, they are kept in close confinement until they have served their sentences.

At the time of BP's purported lobbying efforts in 2006 and 2007 there was no such prisoner transfer agreement between Libya and Britain. When it became public knowledge that such an agreement was being discussed it became clear that the only prisoner that any such agreement would benefit was Megrahi, then being held in Barlinnie Prison (known colloquially as the Bar-L because that's where all the cowboys hang out...) in Glasgow. There were no British nationals in Libyan prisons at the time and no other Libyans serving a sentence in the British prison system.

This agreement never happened, in fact. There is still no reciprocity between Libya and Britain on this subject so BP's lobbying failed in that respect.

What did happen was that Megrahi was diagnosed with severe and debilitating advanced prostate cancer. The Scottish prison service is not set up to cope with severely ill and terminal prisoners and their extended medical needs. The Scottish Justice minister decided that compassionate release of Megrahi was justified in his case after reviewing the medical evidence. The British Home Office minister could protest but it was not their decision to make as the Scottish legal and penal systems are independent of Westminster and they guard that independence jealously. At the time his release was being considered Mr. Megrahi was appealing against his conviction and sentence. As part of the conditions for his release he had to abandon that appeal -- there were many pundits who believed that if the appeal had gone ahead he would have been adjudged to have been falsely convicted on the basis of a miscarriage of justice due to the concealment of evidence by the Western governments involved. Note that his co-accused was found not guilty even though he was purportedly a member of the Libyan intelligence services the same as Megrahi and the evidence presented by the prosecution was basically that they carried out the attack in concert.

The Scottish press were all over this deal as it happened last year; the tabloids were as bloody-minded as you might expect, the voices of reason and compassion won out in the end.

Enterprise ROV 2 shows a heavy hydrate blizzard at wellhead, Boa Deep C ROV 1 shows it isn't falling from above, so I'd say they have a vent on the seafloor, either at the wellhead or someplace upcurrent.

Hydrates would be the first thing to expect.

Ent ROV 2 is looking at base of old LMRP from top-hat.

Thanks. At what depth where, if you know?

Not sure about the position but I don't think it's too far away from the action.

High velocity venting from the choke line creates circulation plus prop wash from the ROV created the blizzard. The ROV moved and the blizzard has subsided.

Hi All, Last week the Mayor of Apalachicola, Florida wrote a blog pleading for either the Government or BP to respond to his requests for help. We travelled there, met with the Mayor, his staff and many other folks whose lives have been turned upside down. Here is our report.



Take my analogy of a plane crash and imagine the injured arriving at the hospital ER along with the ensuing chaos. Imagine the trauma someone may be going through who witnesses the accident.

Apalachicola was the witness. The cities and towns 100 miles to the west are being triaged at the moment. Why should Apalachicola get front row seating at this point?

I fully understand the concern and anxiety I just don't understand the priority. Personnel attending the fears of Apalachicola are being diverted from real emergencies. I am not aware of any effects of the spill affecting the folks in Apalachicola other than anxiety. I'm not discounting what's happening but still trying to align priorities.

In the video I saw boom that's surely needed in other places at the moment.

I was in Apalachicola all last week. Things are fine. Mr. Oyster is jammed, the Blue Parrot is jammed, the beaches on the island are per usual. Tourists slightly fewer than usual. Oysters scarce due to BP out-biding the oyster houses for use of the boats. Shrimp are bigger than usual. Get 'em heads on and don't eat Mud bugs while you're in town, that's just wrong.

I see the flow is all coming out of the choke now. Is the test actually underway, or are they still preparing? If it is, have there been any status reports yet?

New BOP or what? Put a riser on it. Why risk catastrophe when one can harvest? First post, hope it`s appropriate.

Whether or not bloggers think they should do the test or not is totally irrelevant now since it appears it is underway.

I was asking for a status report.

I'm not a big fan of this test procedure at this point. To me producing 100 percent of the oil via the new cap is a BIG victory. All of these slow test that still allow oil to flow and that is nonsense.

The only good reason I see to do this test is because they want to be able to leave location during a Hurricane and have the well shut in.

The other reasons out there include never finding out the actual flow, so they can better fight some of the government fines and saving money on the vessels in the area related to the capture of the oil.

IMHO, the risk associated with this test, along with releasing more oil than necessary is crazy!

There is an upside.

If they can close it the won't be releasing oil if they have to pull off in a hurricane.

Whether it is worth the risk- I have no idea.

The only good reason I see to do this test is because they want to be able to leave location during a Hurricane and have the well shut in.

Good point.

My hope (perhaps in vain - time will tell) is that after concluding the test they will open it up and let the entire flow up to the ships above until the RW succeeds with the bottom kill, barring a hurricane of course.

My hope (perhaps in vain - time will tell) is that after concluding the test they will open it up and let the entire flow up to the ships above until the RW succeeds with the bottom kill, barring a hurricane of course.

That's what they said they were going to do in the daily email "Ongoing Administration-Wide Response" progress report they sent out last night. I posted about it yesterday. It said:

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.

But this morning, according to the NYTimes, Allen said at his press briefing:

"Once we’re convinced there’s no pressure in well bore, we can certainly consider shutting in the well, that’s always a possibility and of course we would like to do that."

Allen also said this morning that even if the pressure is acceptable for the 48 hr period, the well will be re-opened for production while another seismic run is made. (to look for any changes I assume.) At that point, if it looks feasible to do so, they may decide to re-close the well.

I stress that this is the current plan anyway. I'm finding it frustrating to listen to questions from reporters who don't quite seem to understand that plans change as more information is gathered - or that a test means you are not sure what the results will be and can't promise that it will work. Don't get me started on the reporter who asked why Wells said he was "surprised" the choke assembly leaked, not that long after Wells had said they had had a backup assembly on board because they knew leaks were a possibility. (and Wells never used the word "surprised".. he used the leak as an example of a deviation from the test plan that would trigger some kind of notice to the press.)

I'm finding it frustrating to listen to questions from reporters who don't quite seem to understand that plans change as more information is gathered

I listened to both BP and Adm Allen conference call this morning and agreed with your assessment. I think part of the problem is that reports are having a hard time understanding all that is going on now. You can see some of the half correct reporting that is going on in various news source. It is a competency issue. when you pay low wages to reporters, you expect the group as a whole not to be too bright and competent..

I agree...two weeks and they'd be breaking in with the relief well...done in 4 at the latest.

Why bother wtih shutting it in and risking catastrophe? Something ruptures in the flex joint or the casing and BOOM!

We canot be certain, Brian, but IMO they are doing this just to test the integrity of the well casing, before they do the kill through the RW. It will give them better data on mud density needed, and volume, and so forth. I would imagine (of course I could be wrong) that any danger of causing failure from the testing would be negated by the likelihood that the same failure would occur during the kill attempt, and if it happens now that is less expensive than later. Plus, it would enable them to at least try to come up with other options.


Over at Daily Kos, there's a post claiming this test is extremely irresponsible and is putting the relief wells at risk:

I'm sorry, but I have to ask, What the hell are they doing? We now have an ability to capture all the oil and stop this massive pollution of the Gulf (as well as measure it).
We have great weather to get the relief well completed. We already know, without the "well integrity test", that they have severe damage to the BOP and other surface equipment and casing. If that weren't true, the damn thing wouldn't have blown out in the first place. We also know that between the "capping stack" and the old BOP that there is a non-wellhead rated piece of equipment, known as the flex joint, along with the riser adapter, that we've talked about before. This piece of equipment, that normally sits above the BOP, is not rated to nearly those pressures encountered by wellhead equipment. All of the other components in this BOP are rated to at least 10,000 psi (new, off the shelf, and undamaged); this piece is by far the weakest link in the chain, especially since it took severe stresses as the rig sank and 5,000 feet of riser torqued it as it sank. Yesterday, Adm. Allen announced they were going to take the stack, including this flex joint, to as high as 9,000 psi for up to 48 hours. I have been unable to learn the model and rating of the flex joint here, but Oil States advertises their LMRP flex joints to be rated 600-6,000 psi, far below the 9,000 to which Adm Allen said they would potentially go; even with the 2,200 psi of hydrostatic pressure on the outside of the compenent caused by it being in 5,000 feet of water, it's still at least 1,000 psi differential pressure over the rating of the component.

I kind of feel the same way. I'm not an engineer in this field but it would seem to be a rather dangerous trade off if you can capture all the oil now and RW is close at hand. Since I think these folks know what they are doing then there must be some info they need to determine if the RW will work OK? Others have said it is all about the amount of fines BP will have to pay. That is if they keep the well flowing and capture it all then finally the true flow rate will be established once and for all. Oh well, I just don't want to believe they would chance blowing out the sea floor or something else for that reason so I'm sticking with they just need to know for reasons that are absolutely vital to sealing the well for good. I'm praying that soon the folks cleaning up the mess will be able to work knowing things are not getting worse while they are working. Working like that takes some really dedicated folks!

About as non-expert as you can get here, but . . . my impression is that John Wright must have a -- probably THE -- main voice in their debates on this. He's killed most or all of his 40 wells without whatever data this test will provide, but either he needs more for this one or isn't so concerned about somebody else wanting more that he's said no. I'm as nervous as anyone about what they're doing today but just can't imagine they'd override his vote at this point. Can you?

but just can't imagine they'd override his vote

No way. Every team would have had to sign off on it. John would be one of those guys plus one of the vetos.


People actually read the Daily Kos?

I am not a reader of Kos, but the points raised in the article bear some consideration. A lot of people a wondering just a bit why, at this point in the show, they are conducting a test that in itself is somewhat risky, but also puts at risk the work done on the relief wells to this point..

I think your information is wrong. The equipment mounted on top of the old BOP is new, and evidently it would be rated to take the pressures they think they'll have. So this should not be a concern. The concern should be whether the production casing is breached, and what's the condition of the well head on which the old BOP is sitting.

I've weighed the information available to me, and I agree with the Admiral, the test should proceed. I have a difference with them, I don't think the pressure will build as high as they think it should, because the well has been producing, so it'll be dynamically unstable. I also have no idea of the detailed procedure. I would shut it in, observe pressures, let it build to say 6000 psi, and then open it up to production to get a measured rate, before going to a long term shut it. But I don't think they're set up to get measured rates without spilling a little bit to the ocean.

You mean they wouldn't just actually ignore the flex joint ratings after they took another day just to review all
specs and casing design? Heck with only 200 of them working on this, and all of being morons I guess they would never think of checking all the specs on the whole assembly before doing this test. Yep, sounds just like Chu and co...a bunch of risk taking cowboys:) (Now watch it blow apart... just my luck)

Never heard of anybody ignoring the ratings. I did hear about people getting the wrong bolts. This fake bolt problem can be pretty serious. Also saw an engineer forget to derate due to high temperature. But I don't see how these guys would do something stupid at this point. I guess the only thing I would worry about is the condition of the steel inside the BOP is the well has been making sand.

But in general I think it'll be OK. And I'll bet there's no way it'll build to the pressure they think it will - it'll be lower.

Someone else may have mentioned this possibility here, but I have not seen it.

My first thought yesterday morning when I read that Sec. Chu had delayed the "shut in test" to ask some questions and be sure this was not an unnecessarily risky procedure was that he or someone on his team was reading TOD and saw ROCKMAN's comment about the risk and everyone's questioning of the wisdom of the procedure at this point.

I think we can be sure they are monitoring the incredible expertise on this site.

Anyone want to explain what is going on right now?

Only Skandi ROV 1 shows the wellhead, and there is flow going everywhich way. Very different from the images on the original post!

That camera just died ...

No it didn't. Still images updated once ever 60 seconds at http://data.plan9.de/akamai-bp-streams.html

Skandi ROV1 is almost right in the flow with the dispersant wand. Skandi 2 has a good overall view. When it pulls out or looks up from time to time you see Skandi 1 with the wand.

Thanks - sorry about that!

What is the PSI at the ocean floor? Saw that the PSI gauge at about 900 PSI a few minutes ago.

About 2200 psi, I guess. The gauges are reading hydraulic system pressure. They're not really important.

Isn't it more like 24,000 PSI? Or is my math wrong. 2200 PSI seems like a cakewalk.

I thought it was around 2200-2400 too, but I'm no expert, just learning from the oil drum.

I rounded off. The pressure gradient for water is 0.43 psi per ft. Sea water is a bit denser, cold water is a bit denser, when you take water and squeeze it gets a little bit denser. So the column tends to weigh a bit more as you go down. I use 0.44 psi per foot of depth because it's easy to multiply, but I think it's a teensy higher.

To get 24,000 psi, you have to dive into Jupiter's or Venus' atmosphere.

Yep, my math is wrong...

Air pressure at sea level:

1 atm = 101.325 kPa is the Normal Atmospheric Pressure at Sea Level.
1 atm = 760 mm mercury = 760 torr = 101 325 pascals = 29.9246899 inches of mercury = 14.6959488 pounds per square inch.


Water pressure at depth:

pressure equals depth times 15 divided by 33

pressure (lbs-per-sq-in) = depth(ft) * 15(lbs-per-square-inch-per-atm) / 33(ft-per-atm)

For example, if you go 66ft down under water, thats 30psi pressure. For one mile down (5280 feet), calculate:

5280 * 15 / 33 = 2400 psi (over a ton per square inch!)[sic.]


For those of you who wonder about the pressures down there.


2500 psi is a standard hydraulic working pressure.

10:50 PT. Enterprise ROV-1. This is the first time watching these that I've seen an ROV actually begin a dive! I've seen several come up from below to the ships.

Can somebody with some insight check out Enterprise ROV 2. Do I see something coming up from the base of the well ?

It's the base of the old LMRP from top-hat operation. It's not the base of the well.

Here's real the interesting point on the Daily Kos spot:
"We later received information that the Oil States FlexJoint actually in place is a Model 5, and therefore has a MWP (maximum working pressure) of 5000 psi.

So now, the pressures Our Government has signed off on applying, are at least 2,000 psi differential pressure over the rating of the component! We can sense the Ghost of Richard Feynman perk up his ears.

I've been battling comments that, surely, this component has a "safety allowance" well above its rating. Boomers, this is pure horseshit. When you're pressuring up against metal with hydrocarbons, the "maximum" in "maximum working pressure" fucking means MAXIMUM. Purposefully exceeding MWP is, in fact, criminally actionable. MWP is enforced in the Oil & Gas industry with perfect vigor. There is no tolerance for exceeding MWP. None. Never. Ever.

You. Don't. Fucking. Do. It.

BP is PLANNING on doing it! They would not and could not do it without the U.S. Government taking full responsibility, in the name of Thad Allen, for the consequences of over-pressuring the FlexJoint. We can see the Ghost of Richard Feynman raise an eyebrow and look at us over his glasses."

Do you even know where they are measuring the pressure? How can you be so dogmatic?

He and his ilk can be so dogmatic because they're ignorant about the subject but feel that ignorance should be no impediment to loudly voicing their opinions. (It's also a great chance to compare our president to Stalin and Hitler, in preparation for reminding us that he wasn't even born here and he's a Muslim.)

(It's also a great chance to compare our president to Stalin and Hitler, in preparation for reminding us that he wasn't even born here and he's a Muslim.)

Er, not on DailyKos!

This poster on dailykos is extraordinarily knowledgeable about the oil and gas industry and offshore drilling. He greatly admires Rockman and has posted such numerous times. Says Rockman is the best at TOD.

I read the post and all the poster is saying is why pressurize the system in a test at this point where the pressure will be at least 2000 psi over the rated pressure for the flex joint?

If that is not a reasonable question to ask, I don't know what would be.


I think it's just a small error made by the Daily Kos Engineering Department. I have the DKFM (Daily Kos Field Manual, a little red book I carry in my back pocket), and it says here that flex joint is rated at 10,000 psi. If you flip the page, and skip the Greenpeace add, you'll see they have the specs for a cheaper Chinese flex joint, rated at 6000 psi.

Dogmatic? I'm amazed they got signoff on this. A basic knowledge of BOP operations will give you more than enough clues about where the pressure is being applied, given they are testing against the middle rams in the new 3-ram stack.

What's the rating on the riser flange on top of the flex-joint? That's another area I'm not keen on as its not a high-pressure rated item...

Sorry for asking a simple and maybe stupid question but when you talk about 5000 psi limit on the flexi joint is that an absolute pressure or a pressure differential between the water pressure on the outtside and the oil on the inside?

Tested to 7,500, that means it passed a test at that rating its fail would be higher still. Add to that 2300 of ambient and I am not concerned. Oh, and please mind your language.


Run away! Run away!

That article on Daily Kos is heavily quoting oil industry veteran Bob Cavnar. We should credit him. The original article is here:


He has previous postings at that link on the same theme. And he's on Countdown with Keith O. discussing the issue at 3 minutes into this clip:


Cavnar is only one of the reasons I've given up watching Olbermann, and, in fact, MSNBC, for the duration.

I guess MSNBC needs to interview somebody who knows the business a bit better than Mr Cavnar.

An open flow test isn't necessary to estimate what the well produces when it's flowing unrestrained. We are used to taking results from ONE rate, using the pressure data we obtain prior to, during, and after the rate test, to estimate the well's flow capacity. In a well producing at high rates like this, it's easier to pin the numbers down if the well is tested at three different rates, say 10, 20 and 30 thousand barrels per day should do it. In this case life gets complicated because we don't have downhole gauges, but this can be simulated, and the step rates should provide plenty of data to get around the problem.

And this isn't so complicated, I wrote a spreadsheet to analyze the data when we got Lotus and those giant Toshiba portables about 25 years ago. It was handier than using a calculator and a bunch of graph paper. And I assure you. I'm not a rocket scientist when it comes to pressure analysis, I just took some basic courses and then got my butt sent to go do well tests in Africa.

I wrote a spreadsheet to analyze the data when we got Lotus and those giant Toshiba portables

Whoa, gave me a turn there for a second, fd.

The MAWP is based on the ultimate strength divided my some factor of safety. For API 5L, pipe the minimum tensile is 45000 psi, the yield is 25000 psi, and the working stresses go down from 15000 psi @ 100 degrees as the temperature increases. So the factor of safety is 45 / 15 = 3. This is typical for most codes. To save metal the pipeline codes allow designing up to the yield.

I’m guessing, probably the BOP has been designed to API 6A “Specification for Wellhead and Christmas Tree Equipment.” I’ll not sure what the safety factor is for this standard. I’ll bet BP, USCG, or MMS has not checked on the safety factor. They’re right. They do have a lot more residual stresses to use but normally in areas where there are many unknowns the safety factor is increased not decreased. This just increases the risk.

I see that Boa C ROV2 has been sitting on the bottom some distance from the well not moving and there's been a lot of billows of "stuff" passing in view for some time now.

I also notice the SKANDI ROV2's whole image has gotten pretty murky in the last hour or so.

Any speculation?

AP----BP drill bosses lose their $100 christmas bonuses because their short cuts got to short.Upper management for BP were issued extra kleenex while they worried the new top hat would stop the flow or that the relief wells could work. Just follow the money trail. Two billion barrels of oil translates into 150 billion dollars less a 10 billion fine and maybe 40 billion damages leaves 100 billion to squeeze under the mattress. Gotta take my nap now. Bye

Given that about 98% of what gets posted here goes completely over my head, I still have to admit; it does nothing for my confidence in the operation that they didn't work these factors out BEFORE they started cutting stuff up.

Well test is underway.......

So all the doubters who are anywhere near the GOM better bend down ,put your head between your legs and kiss your ***good-bye.

The rest of us will cross our fingers and wish the guys the best of luck.

The video from dispersal ops is interesting. Seems to be some violent surges or phase shifts of gas shooting out of the pipe. The dispersant wand is shaking like a tree limb in a violent storm. Don't remember seeing this before...

The whole flow is coming out a 3" aperture instead the much wider ones we are used to seeing, so naturally the flow is much faster and more turbulent. The wand was also shaking like that in the flow from the kill line last night.

Being a crane operator (blue collar worker) and not having the extensive education and/or knowledge base that most of you guy's have. One thing about this whole mess has bothered me, and that is the soft billowing cloud of oil being released, or at least that appearance from the pictures I've seen.

Even now that the cap has been partially closed and is flowing from a 3" or 4" opening!

Seems to me that if this well is producing pressures of 8,000-9,000 psi and the sea pressure is at or/about 5,400 psi. That difference would be producing a rather powerful spew of oil and gas. I just don't see it in the pictures!

Heck have you ever just watched a broken fire hydrant under what some 100-150 psi out of a 6" pipe? I just don't get it.

I'm wondering if we haven't been watching some kind of "Dog and Pony Show" all along...

Using my very simplistic mathematical skills to come up with some comparisons, and without any possible clue to what they could or might mean.

14.7 psi atmospheric pressure divided by 100 psi water pressure both at sea level = 0.147

5,400 psi atmospheric pressure divided by 9,000 psi well pressure both at sea floor = 0.6

a ratio some 4-1/2 times more powerful.

I know this is mighty simplistic, but I just don't see the pressure from the pictures!


I'm wondering if we haven't been watching some kind of "Dog and Pony Show" all along...

Exactly! Just like that phony moon landing that they filmed in a studio, I knew they couldn't have flown there, it's just too far.

“The complete lack of evidence is the surest sign that the conspiracy is working." -Anon

Looks like BDC ROV2, sitting on the bottom has it's sampling probe out.

Just the ROVs "end effector" (claw), don't see a sampling probe.

1) Boa 1 ALT 10 Boa 2 ALT 11 Bottom ALT 0. OK their sonars may be spooked if they are sitting on the bottom so anyone got a pic, when the bottom can be seen, who can check the ALT?
2) What probe? What is its function? Where is it being held?


Hi all, New guy here with a lay persons question for the experts please. From a complete outsiders "common sense" point of view, doesn't it seem both extremely risky and as well as irresponsible to apply such high pressures to a system with so many unknowns both in the existing equipment itself and the seafloor strata below? Doesn't the possibility exist they could conceivably open up a massive new leak somewhere that would be far worse then the current already bad situation? It seems from a complete amateurs point of view the risk/reward ratio just doesn't add up in this new project.

Just saw Black Wave, about the Exxon Valdez oil spill. You can find it online in the usual places.

After almost 20 YEARS of trial and stalling appeals, the Supreme Court finally reduced the original settlement amount reached by an Alaska jury of $5billion to a lousy $500million, equivalent to only 4 days of net ExxonMobil net profit.

In 100 years, the Gulf will still bear the effects of the arrogant careless and souless monsters called BP, Halliburton, Adarko and Trans Ocean.

You forgot Pemex ;-)

The first attempts yesterday to shut in the well revealed leaking pipe joints and a defective control pod on the new ram stack that was swapped out for one that works. If they had waited until the relief well was cutting into the wild well's bore before discovering these defects then things could have gotten very complicated in a very short period of time. The original well's Blow Out Preventer was not properly tested as per the operating standards of the regulatory authorities of other offshore drilling locations and when it failed to work on demand it contributed to the deaths of eleven men, the loss of the Deepwater Horizon rig and the resulting oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The shut-in test has already returned useful results in that they now have a stack that has been proven to actually work. That's worth a lot in an operation like this.

Okay, I give up. Playing pattycake in the mud?

It appears that the ROV is just parked on the seabed, but I don't think that cloud is sediment kicked up by its thrusters.

Methane eruption.

Actually, did they drag mud mats there? If not, isn't the ROV using its thrusters?

It's stomping on a monster that is trying to crawl out of a crack opening up in the sea floor.

Digging a latrine.

At one point I saw this ROV dig something out of the mud, cylindrical in shape, but then dropped it less than a minute later...

Upper left screen. Looks like the pressure gauge blew out!!!!! (:

No that's not the pressure gauge shown earlier.

Crap~I just got back to laptop and am seeing , well no fr_cking clue. WTF happened?? Anyone want to take a stab at what we are looking at right now?

Everything seemingly going to plan. We are over 4 hours into the 6 hour wait period before they close the choke further I believe. All flow currently out of choke line. Most ROVs in a holding pattern.

Thanks, I have been too busy to keep up with the post here today and just got busier, BBL. Thanks again!

Looks like something just happened on the live feeds. Maybe they have shut the choke earlier than expected. Watching to see what's happening.

Looks like they might have just shut the well in completely!

Is it closed? All I'm seeing is dispersant.

Regarding the constant change and the size of the particles it looks like a lot of sediment is coming out from the seafloor. Would this be 'this is it?'

More quality reporting from CNN...

"Allen said the more permanent solution to the spewing oil remains the two relief wells BP is drilling and expects to have them finished in August.

BP pumped drilling mud into those relief wells to mitigate risks during the pressure testing. The two wells intersect with the Macondo."

It's no wonder the public are so uninformed with so much of this kind of nonsense from the MSM.


Slightly off topic but I was thinking that the oxygen depleted zones in the GOM could simply be aerated using the same principals as one would use in a home aquarium.

its a matter of scale. The depleted zones are mind-bogglingly huge compared to an aquarium or swimming pool. There is no practical way to pump the air/oxygen - both the amount and size of the equipment and the vast amount of energy needed for compression.

I'm in full agreement with you on the scale but really I'm just floating ideas. Surely the flared NG could be burned in a ceramic turbine which could then be used to drive a compressor. I know it's not the answer or even pertinent to the current thread but my mind does wander.

I guess they could get boats to pick up sea water from about 100 ft down and spray it up in the air. That's only about 50 psi pressure difference to get it fired through a set of fire monitors, and the sea water will definitely cool down the air and the surface. If you can pump 1000 gpm from 1000 boats, that's 1 million gpm. I bet we could even divert hurricanes by cooling the surface! I don't know if it'll pick up oxygen and aereate itself, but it would be a sight to behold. I want to remind you I retain patent rights.

Aquarium type aeration being unfeasible- why not try dispersing blue-green algae and diatoms into the gulf dead zones to generate oxygen?

Hey ww, I don't see a problem with your suggestion other than the fact that, in my understanding, the oxygen depleted zones are well below '100 deep thus there is no solar energy to drive photosynthesis.

no light in the depths --> no photosynthesis --> no oxygen produced.

when the algae... die, their decay consumes oxygen.

old post on the amt of oxygen required to burn the oil:
N.B. numbers based on only 5000 bopd spillage:
About the dissolved oxygen, aeration by pumping water, etc:

They must be going to wait a while.
there are "dust covers" on the main opening and the kill outlet (just going on now) - tho' big holes in the one going on the kill port.

BDC Rov2 surveying the BOP: Damn, that thing looks dirty. They should wash it off with a high-pressure hose. It's on TV now, gotta look good.

BTW, do they still make Revell kits? I'd love a model showing the BOP, LMRP, joints, Top Hats etc. Play around with different combinations of parts. "You too can be a enjineer. Decide how to save the Gulf."

With nondestructive testing the system being tested is not damaged. Using X-rays, ultrasonic, gamma rays, dye penetrant, magnetics and other methods materials can be tested without harming them. Nondestructive testing of the Macondo well is difficult.

To pressure test the wellbore, flex joint, casings, hangers, cement and formations by increasing the pressure till something gives will damage that which is being tested. Also a specific test pressure vs. time result can be caused by many different circumstances.

Relief wells are normally successfully completed without doing integrity testing of the blown out well. Therefore why not skip the integrity test, and just produce the Macondo well (with no leakage into the Gulf) till the RW kills it?

If the well head or the top 28” casing fails, or the hydrocarbons start to flow up outside the outer casing/cement the flow could get up to 60,000 B/D which might chase all the vessels (including RW rigs) away from the area above the blowout. This concentrated oil/gas on the surface is very dangerous to the people and equipment.

I realize this comment should have been made last week. It would be nice if BP told us what the ROV videos are showing.

Camera lens spattered with oil, clouds gushing up from where?

Boaa Deep 2 just showed the choke pipe - nothing coming out of it! Have they finally shut in entirely?!

It's official now "Well Shut" briefing.

Okey-doke. Time stamp 1:30pm (Mountain) 2:30 (Central)?

They gave it as 2:25pm in briefing (CDT I assume).

"official time of choke fully closed 2:25 this afternoon (well fully closed)"

10 minutes to go and you've lost your bet pal!

Nothing personal, but I'll be delighted if they don't have to open up again. Your $100 is tough, but I'm sure you'll be happy to lose it if the well stabilises safely!

Daks won the bet fair and square. I'll email him and get an address to send a check. The damn fools went and blowed it up real good.

Anybody have an ROV feed from the wellhead?

I did get your earlier e-mail but seeing as how I'm currently fishing in the Straight of Georgia and using my phone for this (+ the fact that I can't remember my postal code) I figured I'd wait until I was at home to respond. There is no insult in this injury.

Not the strait of Georgia anymore. It was officially renamed the "Salish Sea" at about 1:20 this afternoon http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/canada/breakingnews/sail-the-salish-sea...

Nice to see a clean bet.

Did Skandi 2 just turn off the dispersant wand? Holy sheet....this could be it! Wish we could see what the shut in pressures were doing!

Incredible, it stopped right in front of my eyes. Fingers crossed, this /might/ be the end or it might not be...

Just hit Bloomberg:

BP confirms it lobbied UK Government for release of Lockerbie bomber........details to come.

Check NYT for more, mommy.

News that well shut-off sending BP share price rocketing though.

Herc 14's switched from dispersant ops to sonar survey.

Hm, just judging from the reaction of the share price and my own feelings seeing the WW closed off, it's going to be really hard to see BP open it back up again, if that's what it comes to. I can't imagine what the Gulf Coast residents are thinking.

Thanks for nothing, BP. FU.

No kidding. I wish Thud well and caution him to look out for people carrying buckets of tar and bales of feathers after he explains why they opened it back up and aren't capturing 100%.

Up close to 3 bucks right now at 38.86

mommy, you've got realtime I'm sure, but I've on got the usual public web tools with the delay. Still, for the rest of us, here's the interday stock price for BP today. There's the jump on news that the well as, at least for now, shut in for the test.

Note the volume too.

From Yahoo Finance.

I do, and it was just @ 39.20 ish , up over 3.00 with nice volume.........and I am procrastinating because I have about 30 bond trade tickets to put in, chat with y'all next week LOL, seriously maybe I'll be done around 5pm so I can catch up!!!!

Whew, back to even. I bought too soon.

Thanks Lotus....sadly at work I am stuck in front of the Bloomberg all day, so that's where I get most of my news.

This from the BBC:
"In a statement on Thursday, BP admitted it had expressed concern to the UK government about the slow progress of a prisoner transfer agreement between the two countries.

But the firm said it had taken no part in discussions on the decision to free Megrahi.

And the UK ambassador to Washington, Sir Nigel Sheinwald, said: "Claims in the press that Megrahi was released because of an oil deal involving BP, and that the medical evidence used by the Scottish Executive supporting his release was paid for by the Libyan government, are not true."


The plume was creating a chimney effect around the whole structure. If everything is shut off, the remaining clouds of oil will follow the current. That's what we may be seeing.

Thanks, that sounds plausible.

Anyone have an ROV feed of the wellhead? (I don't)

Skandi ROV2.

Nope. That's the mini-BOP capping stack. I mean the seafloor wellhead.

Well I guess you have been right all along, this is terrible. Look at all that oil gushing up out of those huge rifts in the seafloor, we are all doomed.

That camera's not looking at what's happening 6 miles away.

What's happening 6 miles away? Please tell us, but I sure hope you didn't read it in Common Dreams or Rachel Madow's website.

It was facetious. Isn't that where Simmons Gulch is? Blowout blew the well head or something 6 miles away, oil gushing into Lake Simmons over there, something something. Hang on, I'll Google it and be back.

Okay, "Simmons told Dylan Ratigan that 'there's another leak, much bigger, 5 to 6 miles away' from the leaking riser and blowout preventer" and then there's this: "The rig blew up, sank, and pulled the riser across the sea bed. The actual well head on the bottom of the sea floor has been venting since the explosion and we’ve never seen pictures of that. We need to get in there with our Navy and engineers, and use tactical nukes to seal the bedrock."

Snort. The conspiranauts are going nuts right now. It's faked like the moon landing, stopping the flow was timed for something or other, it's a PR stunt, etc. These people are allowed to vote and drive.

Day 86, the leak is stopped.

Took that long just for a Hummers gas gauge to read full...now the soccer mom driving it can make that ten mile trip into town, then we'll have to do this all again...

Concerning the details of the planned integrity test - could they be cutting the choke to a level and holding it while measuring the RATE of pressure build-up, then repeating at different chokes? Would this give them information analagous to a conventional pressure build-up test in a producing well, where the well is shut in (completely) and changes in the slope of the pressure-time curve can infer the distance of the completion from a boundary (or boundaries) of the reservoir - could it be possible to estimate the depth of a leak point in the well bore, if one already exists?

Could be, but that sure sounds like a very complicated superposition problem. And it assumes they know how to measure the rate by measuring the pressure upstream of the choke. It's possible, but they would need some sort of calibration. Or maybe by now they are sophisticated enough to do a numerical calculation to figure it out. The nuclear labs are really good at this.

I am starting to get worried now. The double red flags continue to fly in Gulf shores and Orange Beach? Why? I called the city, they said the state said to close the waters. I called the state they said it was up to the city. The county never came into play. I called the city back and they fessed up it was them but were trying to not alarm the local business community. Putzes. That is exactly what WILL alarm the community. It is not that hard people. If we are screwed because of problems in the water column, you are going to have to tells us sooner or later. I am not saying we have a confirmed problem but you know what happens in an information vacuum. I know when the city works with the local university, a rare occurrence, something noteworthy is happening. As soon as I know something, I will confirm or deny the speculation and assumptions. See that is not hard either. Just say you are making assumptions and leave it at that. I have more evidence, but it is all too circumstantial and would make my speculation just seem crackpot.

TFHG IM in Pensacola..please let me know when you find out the facts. I, like most here along the gulf coast are watching to see how this whole integrity test thing works out. The President is going to speak on the issue in half an hour or so per Cnn.

Hi Jessica~I am out on P-Cola Beach and am watching it like a hawk. I also called Richard Snyder, Ph.D @ UWF, he is the director for the center for Enviromental Diagnostics and Bioremediation to talk about water samples here on the Island. He was very willing to talk and told me they along with Florida DEP test the water twice a week, and so far nothing in ppm has showed up enough to alarm anyone, in fact he told me he found disolved petroleum 20 miles out but not in the ppm to be alarmed about.

Don't know if this is related, maybe you will be affected by the same winds:
Wind shift threatens Louisiana coast with oil slick, governor says
Best of luck there.

On "Boa Deep C – ROV 2" around 4pm they were looking at a pipe with a black hose slid down into it.... It looked like there was some residual flow coming out. Perhaps another leak? Any ideas what that pipe is/was connected to?

That's what they did when they closed the kill valve. I think the ROVs carry either anti-freeze or lubricant which they squirt into the QD couplers to make sure the valves will operate again, I presume.

That was the choke discharge pipe. I saw this too - looked like there were still some very small bubbles and weak puffs of oil coming out. It's either residue in the pipe or the choke valve isn't completely shut tight?

What a surprise. Sound engineering by real engineers finally fixed the problem.

Without tectonic plate shift, without gigantic End Of World methane bubbles, without the whole world ending up waist deep in crude oil.
Perhaps all the doom merchants & conspiracy theorists can now slink off quietly. Move right along. Nothing to see here.

We simply had one of a thousand steel pipes break, possibly due to human error.
Could have happened anywhere to anyone. Life's like that.

You really think that this BP well (being operated by a US firm) is anything special?
Was it the only one in the whole wide world with such problems?
Of course not - there are probably many more out there.

This whole circus has been exploited by Obama & other US politicians.
BP will now be looted by US lawyers and the US government - perhaps with background support of US oil interests.

Maybe US citizens will be taken in by this whole thing - but those outside the US can clearly see the US response for what it was - and will continue to be - a thieving operation.

Ah, but the day is young! Godzilla could still emerge from the sea floor muck and begin devouring ships... and then move on to cities! ;-)

Nothing like substituting one's own non factual conspiracy theory.

Wow, this well was shut in for all of how many minutes? Maybe 1 hour? And you already know the problem is FIXED?

Tell me, why then would they want to monitor the well for 48 hours? And even then still leaving open the possibility of re-opening it for production till the RW is closed?

Tell me, genius, you know something that all these BP and government experts don't?

This whole circus has been exploited by Obama & other US politicians.
BP will now be looted by US lawyers and the US government - perhaps with background support of US oil interests.

Maybe US citizens will be taken in by this whole thing - but those outside the US can clearly see the US response for what it was - and will continue to be - a thieving operation.

MM, I've never quite understood your extreme defensiveness, but this surpasses the wildest snarls seen in my time at TOD (which I imagine includes the wildest snarls ever seen here, period). Remarkable.

but this surpasses the wildest snarls seen in my time at TOD

Be glad you were not here when the Oil CEO was around.

this surpasses the wildest snarls seen in my time at TOD

I've just become exasperated at the over reaction to a dinky little pipe breaking in the sea bed 50 miles offshore.

It was mucky - it needed fixing - it (hopefully) has been fixed.

Nature will clear up the mess Real Soon Now.

In say two years time we'll have other things to fuss about.

Jesus Christ. Have you been stone blind to all the wreckage? Eleven Twelve dead human beings* (so far, that we know of) -- God only knows how many other dead creatures -- wrecked livelihoods in the high thousands -- natural and economic destruction equivalent to a vast warzone?

What a monstrous thing you say.

* Including the Alabama boat captain's suicide.


SPEAK roughly to your little boy,
And beat him when he sneezes;
He only does it to annoy,
Because he knows it teases.
—Lewis Carrol, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Chapter VI

Sometimes I lose track of my wry, E L.

Spot on MM !

Years ago I was involved in a major international research project studying storms forming off the east coast. I commented to someone that the weather forecasts from this group were amazingly accurate and asked "Was it the new radars?", "Was it the new satellite systems?", "Was it the intensive data coverage?". Someone wiser than me said it was simply that every forecaster knew their work was being critically examined by other expert and experienced forecasters.

I think I've felt the same about this well-control project. Every decision is being critically examined by many others, and it feels like this process is "data-driven". There are no off-the-wall guesses, no seat-of-the-pants decisions. I suspect every part of this process is driven by the pressure and flow data they've been accumulating for the past couple of months.

It may become messier in the coming days, but I'm proud of this team. The engineering has been marvelous.

Good luck to them all!

Thanks for proving you are incapable of learning from even really huge screw-ups.

Poor MM suffers from TBTF syndrome. Once the entry fee into the club is paid, the expectation is that down-side potential associated with doing business disappears while up-side is retained.

Looting is code. Most call it payment for dangerous business practices. We have a silly idea that without down-side, this sort of thing might happen more often.

I wonder what the Too Big To Fail call Chernobyl.

This is our Chernobyl.

This ain't Apollo 13.

I sure hope its over.

The next test will be how long it takes the gulf to recover.

I'm in this same corner. Lot of things wrong with the response and not just BP. Simply said, IMO, no responsible gov't leadership.

MM: Why am I getting the impression that the pipe isn't the "dink" here?

This whole circus has been exploited by Obama & other US politicians.
BP will now be looted by US lawyers and the US government - perhaps with background support of US oil interests.

Maybe US citizens will be taken in by this whole thing - but those outside the US can clearly see the US response for what it was - and will continue to be - a thieving operation.

With blood in the water, it would be naive to think the sharks are not circling. It's not a conspiracy per se, it's standard operating procedure. This will be the fun thing about peak oil and late-stage capitalism. We get to watch the top predators eat each other as the wealth pie gets smaller and smaller and all the political craziness associated with it. Personally, I'll find enjoyment in watching them gorge on the remains of BP. Unfortunately, we know the little guy, in the region, will get left holding the bag. Something like 50% of the fishing industry is cash and unless you have oil directly on your beach you don't get a dime. It's not BPs fault for perception, the lawyers are saying.

You must be British. What do you think is BP's problem?

We simply had one of a thousand steel pipes break, possibly due to human error.
Could have happened anywhere to anyone. Life's like that.


The 'royal we'?

The BIG question is what is the pressure in the wellhead/BOP?

Is a row of yellow gauges that Boa is looking at it?

The pressure gauge read 3000 psi. Wasn't this value supposed to be higher, to be sure that the well is not broken under the sea bed?

nevez, these analog gauges we can see have nothing to do with the well pressure -- that's being fed digitally to Houston only. These are just doodads measuring external things to do with the machinery.

Most likely, any gauges you see are pressures of rams/valves, and not internal flow pressures.

I see. Thanks for clarifying.

Doo be doo be doo... anybody got ROV feed of wellhead?

BOA DC 1 is running inspection tours of the whole stack, up one side and down the other. The water has cleared. I haven't seen the sea floor, but he's been down below the choke and kill ports on the old BOP. No murk down there, it looks great.

Hey, no more snotfish! So they were a direct product of the HC flow rather than globs of bacteria as someone suggested.

Edit: at 4:30-4:40 CST, BOA 1 was at the wellhead "monitoring the mudline" according to the caption; nothing happening, but there are 2 or 3 other ROVs down there staring at equipment.

on BP's feed wall, at 4:27 Central Time:

Boa Deep C #2 just put a "dust cap" on the kill outlet,
nothing going up there or the other outlets.

Skandi #2 has a distant view, no that helpful at the moment.

Boa Deep C #1 is scouting around the whole BOP, occasionally gets to the top.

hint: when one or more frames freeze, reload the page.
right-click pulldown "play" seems to replay recording of the scene.

Plug or Divert? Sorry I'm not an expert, but maybe the solution to stopping or capping the leak isn't to plug it? At this point anyways, with all the pressure of trying to seal or clogging it. Maybe the solution is to divert it instead, Some how applying a hose or make-shift piping around and over the leak diverting it into an oil tanker ship or water structure to suction(if needed)the oil leak into the container(s). Now to make it happen? Ill leave that to the experts. An empty oil tanker with hydraulic/mechanical hose pipping attached to it with a relief pump/valve so the pressure is the same? Not sure if we have enough containers or tankers to last till the pressure lowers down. If the piping/hose works around and over the leak, It could also lessen the pressure around the leak, due to being diverted to the containers, making it possible to seal the hose or pipping over and around the leak? In any event, this was just a question or thought and maybe an idea to do something other that blowing up or sealing it. Much respect to the workers and people getting the job done. God speed to you all

Just from reading here I know you don't just dump this stuff in a tanker. It needs to be processed to remove gas. Plus, what happens when a hurricane comes?
I think if the valves are shut and the well holds pressure it'd be a risky (and highly unpopular) move to open them again.

You are a bit late. We discussed this a while back. You'll have to read about 10,000 pages of oil drum testimony, so go buy yourself a gallon of Blue Bell ice cream, a large spoon, and get started.

Summarizing: Can't divert to a ship unless it's set up to handle the oil and flare the gas. BP has FOUR such ships in the area. But there's a slight majority which says it's better to shut in the well very carefully and see if it holds. And if it holds, we know the well can be left as is if a hurricane comes by.

I don't know what they plan to do next for sure - they don't tell us everything. But I would open the well eventually and produce it at a restricted rate, test it to make sure we understand its flow capacity, and then shut it in waiting for the relief wells.

Has BP said how their plans will change if they find out from this “integrity test” that the casing is indeed damaged? How will it effect the relief well?

Plans could change in almost an unlimited number of ways so it wouldn't be be reasonable to speculate like this.

Pardon the question from a newbie, but if the WW holds pressure indicating that it's integrity is intact, could it be killed and cemented from the top with the lines on the BOP and/or cap assembly instead of continuing with the RW(s)?


Yes they could.

I'm no oil expert (and don't play one on TV) but I've seen others here say that in general bottom kills are preferable and more reliable than top kills. At least that is my impression. Anyone?

Hiver -- To make sure we're using the same terminology you're not calling the shutting in of the well via this cap a top kill? To me a top kill is pumping mud down the well bore from the surface. That's the standard procedure for killing any well kick when you catch it earlier enough to shut the well in and pump down the drill pipe or if you have to function the BOP and pump in thru its kill lines. If capable I would guess the top kill would be preferable right now. There seems to be some questions remaining as to how much of the flow is up the prod csg and how much up the annulus. The top kill will push the oil/NG back down what every route it's taking up (with the BIG IF: if there are no breaches in the csg or other cmt shoes.) Making the RW cut into the WW has a certain amount of risk alone. So given a choice I would go with a top kill first.

OTOH they may have info now indicating that either the BOP, the wellhead or the near surface csg might not be able to handle the pressure of a top kill. Then at least they've stopped the flow until the RW can do its job.

RM, we ARE using the same terminology. Top kill = pumping in mud/cement from top, not just shutting in like right now.

Thanks for your explanation. How much higher pressure would be needed for a top kill, you reckon? If say they test the casing to 9000 psi and it still holds, is that enough for a top kill to work and not blow it out?

Only in theory. To do it correctly, you'd have to

a)stab in (put a drill pipe in there under pressure)
b) open the busted BOP rams
c) try to remove the various pieces of trashed old drill pipe
d) assess the nature of the base of the BOP stack for various things like if there's leakage up in between any of the existing casing.

And that's just to make sure you can get your cement past the base of the original BOP stack.

In short, I don't think you could do that safely. It would make the ops of the last five days seem like a cake walk.

FAR safer to kill the well from below, and then attempt ops with the compromised BOP stack.

Matt Simmons on with Ratigan a few minutes ago: Smoke and mirrors, gashes in the sea floor, look out for a massive methane release. I guess he's still short the stock.

Anybody understand the Skandi ROV 1 sonar survey feed?

Found this comment on the Daily Kos thread. Very disturbing thought. http://www.dailykos.com/comments/2010/7/15/5189/86281/99#c99

In order to ascertain that they're leaking and how much they're leaking downhole, they need an undamaged shut-in pressure as a baseline.

They don't have that, never have, and can't get it.

Wouldn't that be the pressure they were exerting with the mud when they first drilled the well?

No, I don't think so. Of course you can estimate the pressure by working it out from the reservoir pressure at the bottom of the well, minus the hydrostatic pressure to the top of the BOP, but this is a flowing well, and pressures are not static. This is 12 weeks after the blowout, with god knows how much oil/gas/sand having flowed out of the well. Are the pressures still the same? Are they static? What about damage to the BOP? Is it possible to model, at this point the theoretical pressure of the well UNDER CURRENT CONDITIONS assuming intact casings?

Again, I have no specific expertise but intuitively I'd say the only way to know such pressures is if you actually KNOW them, by having measured them under existing conditions. Which is not possible, since whatever pressure readings they get now, they have NO way of knowing whether these readings reflect the pressure of an intact well or not. Would it provide some information that might be useful for the bottom kill? Would it, for example, affect the strategy of the bottom kill? I don't know, but there seems to be enough experts who say it doesn't.

So the only way they can GUESS, ie not VERIFY the well casing is intact is if they get a steady high pressure, up beyond a certain range. And the only way they can KNOW ie VERIFY, a leak in the system is when the well cannot sustain high pressure, which only shows there's a leak SOMEWHERE, which we already know, since the well blew out (duh!). But a low pressure reading per se cannot help you determine the likely location of the leak, ie how high or low in the well, I don't think.

At least that's my understanding, but would love some better informed opinion, obviously!!

Yes, it can be calculated with fair precision. Rockman has done that for us several times, showing what mud weight would be appropriate for different situations.

I just got second hand info that CNN has reported the well to be 100% shut in. Any confirmation?

So the ROV feeds show.

Correct. And they are going around filling all the ports with dispersant and setting temporary covers on them to keep cooties out. Looks like it is staying shut for a little while at least. :-)

LOL cooties.

only the big cooties for the kill outlet cover.
that cover must be a foot or little bigger in diameter,
has four 2 inch holes in the top.

The bottom of (brief glance when it was sat on) has a series of ribs to fit the 6 or 8 inch OD outlet. spacing between is a couple inches.

Maybe don't want a big fish to come along and nest???

Anybody see what they did with the two rings that had two cylinders/pipe inside them (that were take at the same time as the top vent cover)?

I just got second hand info that CNN has reported the well to be 100% shut in. Any confirmation?

Yes it is Rockman as far as we know.

If the pressure is good this would be a really good time to start introducing a little mud slowly in through the kill line.

Maybe, but I would stll prefer a bottom kill via relief well.

... subject to verification by dailykos

I just got second hand info that CNN has reported the well to be 100% shut in. Any confirmation?

Everybody has it now--CNN, NYTimes, AP, Nola.com, CBS, NBC, ABC, Washington Post.

Top kill #5 worked?
I suppose they'll do the bottom kill thing also for good luck.
I hope the oil volcano is done.
Now MMS has to check the other 30? ultradeep GOM wells.
This must not be a return to BAU.
We screwed up GOM on a bet to get maybe 30 million barrels of oil?--NOT worth it.

Spindletop yielded 150 million barrels.

Do you have any idea as to who actually designed and built this new capture device? And where it was fabricated.

Cameron built it.

I specifically addressed Rockman, but please all feel free to comment. I work so cannot follow everyday, but about a week ago I read a very interesting comment from someone which seemed to explain a visual we had all seen earlier. This was the view of the end of the riser which had fallen and from which some oil was flowing. It seemed to be two pipes we saw, but they did not look like drill pipe as the thickness was to minimum.
So, the commenter I mentioned had guessed that it was a section of the casing that had been bent into a figure 8, which is exactly as I remember the picture to seem like. If agreed, it seems important in two ways-One, can someone really good in math and computer graphics develope the diameter if it is the casing to help us understand from how deep it came from, Two, can it have meant that the BOP could not function correctly, thus indicating RIG is not at fault for a failed cement job?

In addition it may influence how this well is finally killed. Additionally one more time, it seems to tie into the missing drill pipe BP expected to see the other day but was missing when they replaced the old riser section-I remember the comment they expected to see two pieces but only one was there, though I may have missed this discussion's conclusion if different.

This was the view of the end of the riser which had fallen and from which some oil was flowing. It seemed to be two pipes we saw, but they did not look like drill pipe as the thickness was to minimum.
So, the commenter I mentioned had guessed that it was a section of the casing that had been bent into a figure 8, which is exactly as I remember the picture to seem like

While you were gone it has been stated by BP that is drill pipe that broke during the original event and fell down the riser to the BOP. May have been the cause of the BOP malfunction, but I am not sure that has be established.

My background is geology and geophysics, so I have a pretty good idea of what this display represents.
Regarding the Sonar feed currently showing. This is in effect underwater acoustic "radar". The display is forward looking. If you look in the upper right corner there is a heading display (hard to see since it is in the white area). This shows the azimuth of the center line. Bright areas are reflections from the reception of "pings" sent from transmitter. The purpose of this will be to presumably locate gas clouds which may eminate from any leakage around the well. The bright areas that show up at about 100-110 degrees may be some of the operational equipment around the site. I don't see a scale which would indicate distance.
How sensitive this would be to dissipated leakage would be unknown.

Very helpful info, Gypsy -- thanks!

Wonder if this will still be a Bottom Kill, or go for Top Kill Now?

I have been wondering the same thing, Captain.

It would seem to be the logical next step if my understanding of the risks involved is at all accurate, which it may not be, or probably isn't. I was asking about it previously as well.

There is 3,000' of drill pipe that is unaccounted for. I don't know how that impacts top vs. bottom kill implementation and risk.

But if the DP makes no difference as far as whether you do top or bottom kill, and you are all set up for a successful top kill (assuming the pressure tests give a green light in the experts' opinions), why incur the risks of intersecting a wild well 23,000' deep to effect a bottom kill when you can just turn a valve to start the top kill?

What would it mean if the pressure at the wellhead never reached the intended target of ~8.5 ksi?

How should one proceed then?

It would mean that there is a leak somewhere, and must be further investigated.

A good question would be how, if you don't see an obvious leak from the wellhead/BOP/capping stack.

All you would know that the leak was in the well somewhere, but where? Really deep, where you don't care, or relatively shallow, where you do care?

Is it possible to fill the entire well with cement?

First, it is a good sign that they have left it shut in this long and have flushed out all the connections and set caps on them to keep out the cooties.

If the pressures indicates a leak down hole they would fall back to containment and processing the oil topside with the ships.

It looks really good what we are seeing though, so hopefully that won't be necessary.

Haven't seen this reported here yet; please excuse me if it has.
Platts Oilgram News reports that the two co-chairmen of Obama's commission to investigate the blowout don't think much of the drilling moratorium.
"It's not clear to me why it should take so long to reassure ourselves on those 33 rigs," said William K. Reilly (former EPA head). Continuing, "I am less understanding of why it will take so long to insure that the existing rigs are safe."
His co-chairman agreed, questioning the logic of a moratorium on all drilling because of the April 20 explosion. "Why can't they do a rig by rig inspection?" (to end the moratorium more quickly) former FL Senator Bob Graham asked.

great news. hope it holds. Mother rain came just about that time here just north of the cody scarp. calls for a little verse.

'Under the wide and starry sky,
Dig the grave and let me lie.
Glad did I live and gladly die,
And I laid me down with a will.
This be the verse you grave for me:
Here he lies where he longed to be;
Home is the sailor, home from sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.' - Robert Louis Stevenson.

You in Alabama? Surprise rain started 10 minutes ago.

tallahassee. Damn hard rain. Lots of lightening and thunder. hope it fills the rivers and they flow with intensity and keep the oil out of the bays over our way. thinking about you guys and gals to our west. Some mighty special estuaries over our way. Hope the focus on clean up is intensified and not diminish. afraid attention will now be lost, but this thing is a long way from being over. Your seed corn is over our way.


Admiral Thad Allen, National Incident Commander:

"We're encouraged by this development, but this isn't over. Over the next several hours we will continue to collect data and work with the federal science team to analyze this information and perform additional seismic mapping runs in the hopes of gaining a better understanding on the condition of the well bore and options for temporary shut in of the well during a hurricane. It remains likely that we will return to the containment process using this new stacking cap connected to the risers to attempt to collect up to 80,000 barrels of oil per day until the relief well is completed."

Who freaking knows what is going on.

They are at decision tree time with decisions being made with every new piece of information, at this point it looks like they have a half dozen contingency plans for each answer so to attempt to tell anyone exactly what the plan is when it is determined by the minute is close to impossible. Been there, done that, have even tried to list out all the contingencies and by the time I got to the "if this happens then we do this" 10 times the client just said never mind.

“I am very excited that there’s no oil in the Gulf of Mexico,” Kent Wells, a senior vice president for BP, said about the flow during a teleconference on Thursday ...


Uh, Ke-ent . . .

When BP is involved, I have become a skeptic. Every kick that I have taken while drilling, the surface pressures have stabilized in very short order. The only reason that I can fathom for the 48 hour pressure monitering test, is to allow enough oil to flow out through a casing rupture so that the location can be determined with seismic tools. I haven't seen any recent pressures from BP.