BP's Deepwater Oil Spill - Results as the Testing Begins - and Open Thread

Because of the number of comments, this thread is being closed. Please comment on http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6737.

The picture that everyone has long been waiting to see became available after 3:25 pm (Eastern) yesterday afternoon, when BP closed the choke lines on the 3-ram stack, and oil stopped flowing into the Gulf.

The process started on Wednesday evening, after a delay during which the Admiral gave permission for the process to start, and held the press conference that I reported on yesterday.

It was followed by the Kent Wells' conference, which had been delayed, in which he noted that the relief well had finished a gyro survey to locate its position, and prepared the site for the casing to be set this weekend. Then the drill pipe etc. was pulled back into the casing while the integrity test was run. It was left in the well so that, in case there was any passage created between the two wells during the test (they are only just over four feet apart), then heavy mud could be immediately pumped down the RW to kill the risk of any additional problems. (The drill has 30 ft to go to reach the casing point, but is at the desired 2 degree angle).

One of the changes to the plan from that originally conceived was to add four ROVs that would be stationed around the well to alleviate the fears of those who had become worried by the continuing plethora of stories of a breached well casing. Although many of these stories have been discussed, and their invalidity shown, nevertheless in order to keep everyone happy (particularly those with political prominence), four ROVs were set around the well to watch the seabed and ensure there were no leaks.

This is one example of the results – the seabed is stable, with no oil and gas bubbling up from non-existent leaks. (BOA ROV 2)

Had there been any leakage from the well it would likely have come up around the casing of the well at the bottom. Here is the shot (BOA ROV 1) of the mud-line of the well. (The point where the well breaks through the mud to the sea bed).

As you can see, there is none. (The well casing with the BOP above it are just to the right of the lights of the illuminating ROV.)

The other change that Secretary Chu apparently imposed was that there be a conference every six hours during the test (which is scheduled to run 48 hours).

The initial plan was to close the rams sealing the well (which happened before I wrote the post yesterday) and then to close the kill line (the two ports that produced the vertical jets I showed last evening) and then to slowly (over a few minutes) close the choke, monitoring the pressure, until the flow ceased.

There should also be a little clarity in the discussion at this point. There are two sets of valves and circuits involved in this process. The first of these are the circuits on the original blowout preventer (BOP) . The kill and choke lines attached to those circuits were modified so that oil and gas are fed through them to the vessels on the surface which are either collecting or burning off the fuel. The second set of kill and choke valves are on the new stack that was mounted above the BOP, and it is these new valves that are being opened and closed. When the stack valves are open, the oil flows out into the water, rather than into directed lines, and so they are not the same circuits. At the beginning of the test the BOP valves were closed, so that all the flow went up to the stack where it can flow out through either the drill pipe at the top, the kill lines to the side, or the choke line – which is the curved yellow pipe at the top of the well. The drill pipe flow was first closed, using the central ram in the stack.

As the test began (and as Kent Wells noted in the morning briefing Thursday) that there was a leak.

. . . we noticed a leak on a hub on the choke line. And so when we saw that, that would have precluded us from properly doing the test, we needed to get that fixed. Fortunately, as everything, we always plan so we had a second choke on surface. So we disconnected that choke and hub system. Took it up, brought the other one down, landed it this morning and we’re once again going through the process of positioning ourselves to do the well integrity tests.

There were in fact two trips to the surface before the choke line was fully in place.

The well was then ready to ramp up for the test, and this was the schedule that Kent Wells reported in the afternoon briefing Thursday:

At 10:30 this morning we closed the kill line and since we had already had the middle ram of the capping stack closed that meant the only flow at that point was going out through the choke line and what was also being collected through the Q4000 and the helix producer.

Then between 10:30 and 12:30 we shut down the Q4000, we shut down the helix producer and that meant only flow was going up through the choke line and then at 12:30 we started to close the choke, we would do it a half a turn at a time to just slowly start to close the well in.

And at about 1:15 this afternoon we issued that the integrity test was starting. The official time of the choke being fully closed, which meant the well was fully shut in is approximately 2:25 this afternoon and as of that time there is no flow of oil going into the gulf of Mexico. So obviously this is an encouraging point of time. Remember this is the start of our test.

So the well is currently shut-in, though the results have not been all that had been hoped for. Admiral Allen has already issued a terse comment:

"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."

Part of the problem, apparently, is that the well pressure has not reached the 8 - 9,000 psi level that it was hoped it would reach, but instead it is reported to have fallen slightly shy of 7,000 psi. While this is below the expectation, it is higher than the 6,000 psi that Admiral Allen had set as the target below which they would assume a loss in integrity, and restart the flow of oil to the surface vessels.

To try and add a little context to this, at the beginning of the leak, the pressure of the oil and gas in the rock at the bottom of the well was measured at 11,900 psi. When the oil and gas fill the well that fluid column has a certain weight that balances some of the rock pressure, and the difference should be the pressure at the top of the column (which is where the BOP and stack sit). That gives the 8 – 9,000 psi range.

If the well pressure at the BOP is measured, however, at just shy of 7,000 psi then there are two possibilities. The first is that there has been so much flow of fluid out of the well that the driving pressure of the fluid in the rock has fallen by the 1,500 psi or so that brings the pressures down to those seen.

While that is a possibility, it may be unlikely because, at the time that the Top Kill was tried and as the Admiral noted just the other day, the well pressure could not be raised above 6,000 psi as they pumped in mud, even though at one stage they stopped the flow of oil out of the well.

What this could indicate is that there is a possibility of crossflow at the bottom of the well. What this means that the oil and gas that are flowing out of the reservoir into the bottom of the well, are, under the pressure in the well, now flowing into a higher reservoir of rock, now that they can't get out of the well. Depending on where that re-injection flow is, this may, or may not, suggest that the casing has lost integrity. This is a topic that has been covered in the comments at The Oil Drum, where fdoleza has noted:

Exactly. I believe the flow will be coming out of the bottom sand and going into the upper sand. It would not be a leak, but it would tell them why their pressure data ain't a classical surface buildup. And I sure hope they're modeling temperatures and so on, because this is a very interesting case. They don't have downhole gauges, so they'll have to take the way the oil cools down as it sits to get a better idea of the way things are moving down below.

If there are questions whether there is still flow in the formation or from the original formation into surrounding rock, then it is possible that the relief well (RW) is close enough to the original well (WW) that putting a set of very sensitive microphones down the RW might allow some triangulation to estimate where such a flow might be occurring. It might make it easier that the well hasn’t been finally cased yet. But the test has 2 days to run, and will be evaluated every 6 hours. With time some of these questions may be answered as the test continues. (If there is no flow anywhere, after a while all the readings should become quite stable).

Oh, and just as this started to look like a little good news, there is this from the National Hurricane Center:

The windows of opportunity are not likely to remain open long. It is encouraging, however, that there may now be an answer if these do turn into hurricanes.

New stuff in this introductory comment, 1 JUL 10.

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Reuters alert:

BP (BP/ LN) says drilling on relief well to start amid well pressure test- co. exec

20:36 16-07-2010

- Well pressure at 6700psi and rising
- BP may open valve, causing oil spill to resume, at end of test
- Pressure in BP well rose steadily, as expected

I don't understand how the date is today (Friday) {British designation}
but the time "20:36" has yet to arrive?

I would assume that the Reuters Alerts are coming from Asia. Or it's possible that they're eerily prescient.

Ah yes... and if prescient, then that's a pressure that will apparently be indicated then :>)

British Summer Time is GMT+1 hour if I remember correctly.

I have the same general info from the bloomberg snakehead:


i watched the rovers all day yesterday. i noticed one rover was on a pressure gauge up until about 5:15 est. the pressure on that gauge never reached 3000 psi. is this gauge accurate? the article states a much higher pressure. which am i supposed to believe, my eyes,an article or the MSM which has mentioned no pressure whatsoever?

That gauge is measuring something else and has nothing to do with the 6700 psi figure.

The pressure gauges you are seeing from time to time are not showing the well pressure but are monitoring equipment hydraulic pressure. The internally measured pressure is transmitted electronically and isn't on any of the displays. Latest Wells briefing (just finished) as transcribed on IRC by SJFried1 says over 6,700 and rising.

Thanks for this, Undertow.

No problem but thanks really go to SJFried1 for transcription and Brodo for the copy of transcription which I just picked up from IRC channel.

thank you...when they pulled the cam off that gauge it concerned me.
do you have a good link to that info you posted? its kinda cut off the way you posted it.

No link yet as it was a real time transcription posted to the IRC channel. Edit: Direct link available now http://bp.concerts.com/gom/audio/techAudio_16072010_7am.htm

However the following is currently posted


Subsea operational update:

The well integrity test is ongoing.

- Currently the well remains shut-in with no oil flowing into the Gulf; any significant change to this operation will be announced via a press release.

- Pressure continues to rise and is currently above 6700 psi.

Due to the well integrity test, no oil was recovered during the last 12 hours on July 15 (noon to midnight).

On July 15, total oil recovered was approx. 9,305 barrels:

- approx. 5,875 barrels of oil were collected,
- approx. 3,430 barrels of oil were flared,
- and approx. 22.5 million cubic feet of natural gas were flared.

Total oil recovered from the LMRP Cap, Q4000, and Helix Producer systems since they were implemented is approx. 804,800 barrels. An additional 22,000 barrels were collected from the RIT tool earlier in May bringing the total recovered to approx. 826,800 barrels.

We anticipate the next update will be provided at around 6:30pm CDT on July 16, 2010.

Updated July 16 at 9:00am CDT

Thanks. No major problems so far. Good.

Hmmm...."...isn't on any of the displays."

So, again, it is B.P./USG provided only, with no independent verification possible.

Just saying...

The gages that are being monitored by the ROVs are measuring pressures in some of the hydraulic equipment that is used down at the bottom of the sea. It is not the pressure in the well, and should not be confused with it. Hydraulic pressure is used for a number of things, including keeping the rams closed on the stack.

I don't know all the things that are being measured, or being displayed on the ROV cameras, and I don't know why BP doesn't bother to have someone available to explain. But I think I can explain one particular (possible) reading. They may be showing the hydraulic pressure in the BOP closing circuit.

I don't know the sizes of the BOP components on this well, but I'll use somewhat realistic sizes to illustrate.

As you may know, a ram BOP has hydraulic cylinders mounted on the body, each one containing a piston. Each piston is connected to a ram shaft, which pushes a ram block into the bore or body, where it makes contact with another ram block being pushed from the other side. When they come together, the two ram blocks fully obstruct and seal the well bore, like a gate in a gate valve.

Say the piston has a diameter of 14 inches, while the ram shaft diameter is 6 inches. The hydraulic pressure to close acts on an area of pi * 7 squared, or about 154 square inches. The ram shaft has an area of 28.3. The ratio between the two areas can be used to determine how much closing pressure is required, given a particular well bore pressure. In this example, if the well pressure inside the BOP is 10,000 psi, the required hydraulic pressure in the cylinder (ignoring friction) is only 10,000 * 28.3 / 154 = 1837 psi.

It wouldn't surprise me that they are monitoring the BOP closing pressure. An increase could mean that the ram blocks are moving inward, or that there is a leak from the well bore side into the other side of the hydraulic cylinder (which would tend to open the rams, NOT GOOD!). And a decrease would mean a loss of closing pressure, which, unless there is a mechanical locking system (several types are available), means that the well pressure would open the rams (also NOT GOOD!).

I don't know about deep sea work (comments please if I'm incorrect), but the nominal pressure for typical surface hydraulic tools and lines is 3000 psi relative to atmospheric. I would assume that the relative pressure could be the same at 5000' of seawater.

Oil Leak Could Transform Repairmen Into Superheroes

This is mechanical hacking at the grandest scale, with unprecedented stakes.

Read More http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2010/07/fix-it/#ixzz0tqiC0r6z

Just some basic logic here. If the sea floor were leaking wisps earlier, would not small geysers be coming out now? I just do not see how you could hide it now.

TinFoil, the reason for that not making sense would be because the entire oilsoap-opera described above by HO is just a pretence orchestrated by BP, as explained by Matt Simmons in my post further down?

I'm concerned that all of TOD is in severe denial about what Matt Simmons has been saying (that the real leak-hole is far bigger and everything in HO's posts such as above is just sucking up to BP's pantomime cover-up).
For a start, where are those huge undersea plumes coming out? How come there is such good visibility right there at the "leak"? The Simmons claim of a separate hole at first sounded like it could be him becoming unhinged into a conspiracy theory. But on further study, in particular this video linked below, it's clear that it is what TOD should be concentrating on rather than the sideshow that all these posts from HO are diverting us with. TOD, please wake up and smell the methane!
(Note that the first 7 minutes of part 1 are irrelevant stuff about some Christian church. But that doesn't mean anything is wrong with the evidence from Simmons himself):

[I posted the above to previous thread just before it closed, and "snakehead" posted this reply:

Cauldron of fire? BP could have drilled into a volcano?
The TJ's report covering findings from their latest journey is online. There's no mention of anything like this.

But I find that reply rather sad. Simmons's video referred only marginally to notions of a cauldron of fire or a volcano. No way does snakehead's reply even begin to engage with the reasoning that leads to believe that this highly-publicised pretence of leak-sealing is anything more than a huge lie to cover the backs of BP people who know they have no honest solutions available anyway.

Simmons is demonstrably wrong about well pressure. Simmons used TJ as a basis for his lake of oil contention - there's nothing in the data or the reports about it. Simmons has contended that the well was drilled without a casing. It wasn't.

Point me to some independently verifiable data and/or observations that are substantial. Until then, it's just more wild speculation backed by bad/no science from a guy who has a financial interest.

Snakehead you are wrong in asserting that Simmons contended the well was drilled without casing. Instead he clearly said that it has almost certainly been blowed out as is normal in blowouts. He said it was not very firmly cemented in.
I would hope that readers here could reply to this very serious question with more carefully considered replies than this.

He has contended both. And you must have overlooked addressing my other points.

I am disappointed by the very low quality of your replies verging on abuse. Nothing you have put here has challenged the basic thesis that the real leak is elsewhere as Simmons contends. Those videos present a lot of considered reasoning for dismissing the BP version portrayed above. If you cannot contribute carefully-considered points that logically challenge the Simmons theory, or logically support the BP version, please refrain from replying, ok? And Your ad hom attacks against Simmons do not count as anything useful here.

You must have overlooked addressing my other points again.

That's because they do not contain any noticeable logical challenge to the Simmons (main hole is elsewhere) thesis v the BP PR version. I could have guessed I was wasting my time in asking you to refrain from drivel replies. My troll-feeding patience is nearing an end.

Oh, come on. Not even one?

Here, I'll help. Here's a link to the two TJ reports: http://www.noaa.gov/sciencemissions/bpoilspill.html. They're about 1/2 down the page. Simmons claims that his lake of oil idea came from what the TJ found. Find me something that even suggests "There's a lake at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico that's over 100 miles wide and at least 400 to 500 feet deep of black oil."

People like rpclarke are immune to logical argument. You are wasting your time.

Not if his "patience is nearing an end."

People in denial are immune to logical argument, and supplement it with a smokescreen of drivel as we are seeing here.
Unfortunately snakehead seems incurably unable to distinguish what is or is not a logical implication here. Even if the claims of a lake of oil were incorrect, that would not challenge the thesis of a larger leak away from BP's rov-puppet show. There is certainly a huge amount of oil that fails to square with the BP version. Unfortunately media-generated consensuses such as this always bring out the overblown sloppy would-be counter-critics such as we see here.

There are major whopping holes in the BP version and just pretending them away is reducing the cred of this site to zilch. I'd hope to hear some reply from the more serious people here such as HO. I appreciate it's not easy.

Please then, just stop your smoke screen of drivel.

"People in denial are immune to logical argument"

Yes, you are.

"supplement it with a smokescreen of drivel as we are seeing here"

So spare us by stopping yer drivel.

What? You haven't heard about the little Mole People crawling out of the well in scuba gear? Only Superman can save us!

just pretending them away is reducing the cred of this site to zilch

We are not worthy. One wonders why you waste your time and talent on mopes like us.

Geeze, guys. Gimme a break, wouldya?

Seems to me that if there is another leak somewhere that will become obvious fairly soon.

As far as where the plumes arise, it is from the fact that this well was sending up about 80-100 KBPD of oil, and BP was trying to say it was only 5,000. That makes a big difference. And, would probably account for the big plumes. That, and the use of dispersants that were making the oil "come unglued" and spread, below the surface.

Anyway, we will certainly see, won't we. Meanwhile, if someone is really upset about not being believed, the only 'proof' would be, "Show me the leak." So, RP, the ball is in your court.


rpclark, if Simmons was correct - this new "cap" would have proved it. As reported, the cap is currently handling about 7000 psi. If Simmons had been correct, the cap would have been opened up after just a few hours of testing. It was not. It appears that Simmons statement about a huge undersea leak has been proven incorrect.


Ya think?

It is very unlikely that there is a lake of black oil at the bottom of the Gulf and Simmons was incorrect in saying that. However, detailed modeling of deep releases of natural gas with oil show that most of the oil/gas mixture will stay down deep in the water column and not surface. The modeling shows that natural gas forms methane hydrates which have a density very similar to seawater. The crude oil will form droplets around the gas-hydrate particles and stay down in the water column with the gas-hydrate particles. Rather than characterizing this as a lake, it might be characterized as a plume or cloud. Eventually, the crude oil will separate from the gas-hydrate particles and surface - where is the interesting question.

If the pressure at the wellhead is indeed lower than expected, then there could be a leak somewhere in the casing. If this is the case, then there could be a leak somewhere in the seafloor above the point from which the oil/gas is leaking from the casing. Simmons could be right about this.


The plumes reported have had petro concentrations measured in ppm.

At some point “logical argument” has to yield to observation.

Scientists and engineers use conjecture and “thought experiments” all of the time in the early phases of seeking the truth. However, at some point rather early in the process, argument and thoughts have to be backed up by observations and measurements; in good science, multiple observations and measurements.

The size of the leak some distance (several miles) from the WW must surely manifest itself on the surface after this much time. And, in a way that can be measured. You simply can’t hide the amount of oil that Mr. Simmons posits. I simply can’t think of a process that would keep this amount of mass with its specific gravity from being easily observable after this much time.

Mr. Simmons produced a lovely conjecture /speculation that simply didn’t pan out. Now, he and his followers simply won’t let it go however.

This too happens all of the time. I, myself, have produced conjectures and logical arguments that were, I first thought, simply too elegant not to be true; I must have been on the right track by the sheer weight of the logic. Unfortunately, despite all of their elegance, I have often NOT been able to produce the projected results from my nice little speculation in the lab or find any supporting observation in nature. Yes, it sometimes hurts like the dickens to walk away from such elegant conjectures when they don’t yield truth, but one must if you are being honest and not merely a promoter or, worse, a huckster.

Because of Mr. Simmons' past reputation in the finance side of the oilpatch, I was willing to give his wild speculation a bit of time to find support via observations from the field. I thought it over the top given other observations at the time, but it could have happened. However, after a week or so, his conjecture didn’t pan out and now, after three months, there is absolutely no evidence, observation or measurement to support it.

Also, whatever respect I might have had for his past work took a major hit when with me when I found out he was shorting BP stock while promoting his theory.

We cannot debate ourselves into a truth of physical world, regardless of how elegant the conjecture, that doesn’t eventually yield observable and measurable data from multiple sources. Advocacy, even passionately reasoned, can’t produce truth in a vacuum of no observations. Even very elegant arguments and masterful debate won’t substitute for “ground truth.”

Plainly put, I can find nothing to support Mr. Simmons' (or DougR’s) wild speculations.

Also, I simply don’t think any conspiracy could hide such observations for more than several days of a physical manifestation that would be this big while a large part of the world is watching. Too little time to put it together and too many people involved to keep at least some of them from talking. Any such conspiracy would fall apart in days if not hours/minutes. This starts quickly taking on X-Files and grassy-knoll-in-Dallas aspects.

Without any physical observation for so long, Mr. Simmons’ conjecture, IMHO, has become bunk (something bad, boring and stupid) and hokum (something apparently impressive or legitimate but actually untrue or insincere; nonsense.) Also, IHMO, he should have disavowed it long ago; there would be no shame in it.

rpclarke .... sorry, I can’t drink the Kool-Aide.

bbfellow, best post on the subject so far. I also award it the Swift Loris medal. On conspiracy theories:


“A conspiracy theory is defined as a secret plot by powerful officials to take part in some action that would be strongly opposed by the people if the plot were to become public. Conspiracy theories are tremendously dangerous because they eschew institutional analysis in favor of exotic and outlandish descriptions of government behavior…[In the classroom] I point out that the difference between an argument and a conspiracy is crucial: the existence of evidence. Any great conspiracy theory requires a complete lack of tangible evidence, since conspiracies by definition are “secret” endeavors which the public knows little to nothing about. This lack of evidence is all the more reason why we should reject these conspiracies as lacking in seriousness and intellectual rigor...”

Here is a shorter article just as good:

"Why most conspiracy theories are wrong" (GoldSubject on March 20, 2010)

“A significant number of people are convinced that there are evil factions consisting of members of the elite who conspire to achieve world domination. The example that comes to mind is the New World Order (NWO), which conspiracy theorists believe has been plotting to form a one-world government for more than a century.

These folks think that the NWO has been patiently plotting and conspiring over several generations, deliberately engineering World War I, World War II, various other conflicts and finally this economic meltdown just so that they can achieve world domination or some other unspecified sinister objective.

To say that this conspiracy theory is fanciful is an understatement. The problem is that it assumes a level of coordination and mutual agreement among these mysterious conspirators that is simply implausible. I mean, come on, Bernanke and his friends can’t even agree on where to go for lunch! Have you ever tried making plans with a group of people, such as what to do on a given day when on holiday with friends? How excruciatingly difficult was it?

It is simply implausible to expect these people to develop such an intricate plan together, especially in view of the fact that this plan has supposedly spanned several generations. It is completely unreasonable to expect human beings to invest in plans that take more than a few years to come to fruition, let alone more than a century! The longest-term investment most humans make is a 30-your mortgage, and then it is only done because they are allowed to live in the house. If you had to make payments for 30 years before moving into the house, nobody would ever bother…”


Instead he clearly said that it has almost certainly been blowed out as is normal in blowouts.

Which leaves his assertions with the diffcult problem of explaining what is in the picture at the top of this article.

He quite clearly claimed the the casing with BOP and riser had been blown out of the well and had landed some distance away. So what is the new BOP and assembly sitting on top of, and why up until today was it leaking huge amounts of oil when Simmons claims that it was blown out of the well?

We went though his stuff a few weeks ago, you should go and read it. His assertions were roundly and devastatingly debunked. Most of his ideas are at the wild end of physics, and some are actually physically impossible.

Thanks Francis for the first reasonably sensible reply.
I think the problem is that you are believing what BP is presenting as if it were honest information. Can you confidently say that BP did not put in place a bogus BOP as part of a totally-controlled cover-up con? So they could then spend the next x weeks/months fooling their investors and prosecutors that all was really going to be fine? When in reality the BP bosses knew they were anyway as utterly f...d as were Hitler and Goebbels in 1945 so there'd be nothing to lose personally from spinning their disaster out a whole lot longer and wider.

(Their public exhibition leak site might even be based to some other pre-existing well they mangled a bit to serve the required purpose.)

Leaking huge amounts of oil? One of Simmons's very sound points is that you can see for yourself that the thing they've been showing has not been leaking huge amounts! He pointed out that a white fish swam through the piddling little plume and came out white. Of course BP have got a system set up somewhere down there to generate their own pretence of a leak there, but it clearly is not up to anything like the required scale, let alone yukky consistency required to concur with the environmental facts.

In the context that BP control all the info coming up and all the stuff going in down there, and have a budget of billions to spare for their propaganda show, they can get away with any amount of hoodwinking in those depths. The one thing they can't control is those huge quantities of yuk that are evidently not coming from, nor ever have come from, that oil-soap-opera scene they continue to focus the media on.

We went though his stuff a few weeks ago, you should go and read it. His assertions were roundly and devastatingly debunked.

I did a search of TOD but did not find any such discussion. In the absence of an actual post-thread properly introducing this issue, and also the unsound objections I've seen so far here, I suspect the "devastatingly debunked" is not a sound judgement.
Given that BP bosses are clearly proven evil criminals, why should you put so much faith in anything they claim about this matter?

Godwin's Law.

Godwining is soooo 20th century! ;)

It is painfully obvious that rpclarke has no ability to contribute in a rational manner. Will an Admin please ban him from this site so he is no longer allowed to waste everyone's time.


And, no, rp, I'll not reply to anything you might post. The idea is to to get rid of your drivel, not continue it. Please, everyone else do the same. Do not encourage him by posting replies. He uses a bait and switch tactic which seems to indicate he is rational but then once you take the bait he becomes obviously incapable of rational thought.

Extremely bad idea to ban people.

Especially in the context that I merely came here to ask some reasonable and important questions and have had little or nothing in the way of logical replies. I had hoped to find a grown-up rational discussion here but instead find just timewasting with lack of logical challenges. The nearest we've got was Francis's unsound point, about what is on view at present, but arguably only in the BP puppet theatre.
To which Francis has replied with no evidence or logical objection, only a principle about conspiracies. While I agree with that principle, perhaps more to the point I can tell you a little FACT as a political insider. Conspiracies (deceitful misinformations etc) are the norm, not the exception. But please don't let me stop you carrying on being suckers to the corporate propaganda. To anyone with an ounce of political insider experience the idea that BP are being honest/non-conspiratorial here is utterly bonkers.

Clarke, I'm a conspiracy nut myself, so you got my support when it comes to saying this world is full of conspiracies. But we do need to work this out in detail, so it hangs together. So how do we link a leak 6 miles from the well to the well itself? The question is, why would the leak take place 6 miles away, and not 3 miles away, or right next to the well? This is the big question you need to work out. If you do, then you got yourself a book.

You ask why the leak would be 6 or 3 miles from the well? I don't pretend to have all the answers here, but that is simple. According to the Simmons thesis, you should rather look at it the other way round. Namely that BP decided to put their hoax/decoy site 3, 6, (or as he suggests 10) miles away from the real leak, so as to not have the real intrude too much on the pretend.
PS, I wouldn't say the whole world is full of conspiracies, just the politicised parts of it are. One example, google "public fraud initiative". This gigantic fraud was documented in a main newspaper and yet it still managed to disappear utterly without trace and the criminal in question later became prime minister. But then the main qualification to become a minister etc is to have a major crime hidden in one's cupboard, so one is morally compromised. The idea that the media will inevitably blow apart a major scandal is just another of those "silly conspiracy theorists hahaha!" fallacies.

"IF" there were a hoax site it would have different coordinates from the Macondo location and EASILY proven or disproven. Simple really. How do you think people would miss the ships that support the ROV's being on a different location to the Macondo well??????????? Simmons "thesis" is even more far out than a Brothers Grim Fairy Tale.

But the Government controls the GPS system!

There is a way around any fact or argument raised about this.

Could that be coincidence?

If BP can almost instantly create a "hoax site" with a well head, BOP and mangled riser that spews 30,000-60,000 BPD then they are truly God-like and will soon control the entire planet.

So, they must be using supertankers with the Klingon cloaking ray to bring in the oil they're flaring off and collecting?

Truly, the master race is here and we are soon to be soylent green.

OK, so BP drilled a well six miles away from the official Macondo site? That well blew up, and they have a huge crater there, and the current site is fake? So where do they get the oil and gas that was spewing from the fake site? They pump it from the surface?

Why do you think those tankers keep going back and forth?

Through the methane vortex tunnel. One of the plumes fell over on its side and the swirling methane keeps it hollow, allowing the oil to flow six miles with ease.

Where the hell is Rockman when you need him?


Thought I'd comment and thank you for your answer to me yesterday re 20-ton block of concrete. Your response is appreciated -- not full of insults but actually taking in the theoretic possibility of using a heavier weight, maybe made of steel. I realize my suggestion was just that -- a suggestion that might work in the short run until the relief wells can intersect with the main well pipe. After all, it did take BP and Oceanic 88 days to essentially come up with a cap which accomplishes the same purpose.

I've been mostly a reader of this site, not a frequent participant, and I don't pretend to have any expertise in oil wells or drilling operations but after I first posed that perhaps overly simple experiment there were others in the media who pondered the same type of question, namely, sinking a large ship to try and block the oil flow. Others on this site expressed the concern that still exists and that is the extreme pressure put on the pipe which could rupture it and make things worse. That possibility still is a concern even with the cap holding so far.

I'm not sure what we've learned from all this except knowing that there may be hundreds of capped, older oil wells that over time could erode and weaken to the point where they too could collapse and cause massive spills. With a down economy it seems the sooner people get back to work on the oil rigs where they will have jobs that priority overrides safety concerns. There is a prevailing belief that the Deepwater Horizon explosion and spill was a fluke. Jobs first, safety -- maybe when boom times come back.

I'm glad to see Oil Drum acknowledging and updating weather satellite movement in the Caribbean for developing tropical disturbances. Thanks again for your response.

I'm not sure what we've learned from all this except knowing that there may be hundreds of capped, older oil wells that over time could erode and weaken to the point where they too could collapse and cause massive spills.

These older wells are the exact opposite of the Macondo well -- I believe its extremely likely to have a failure / seepage from at at least some of these wells, however, the impact of resulting leaks from these already produced & abandoned wells will be minimal at worst. (If the wells would flow any significant amount of oil or gas, they wouldn't be abandoned).

No problem. I think it's a good idea to balance things out, ideas do need to come forth, and this also allows people outside the industry to understand a bit about it. The cement block idea was pretty crazy - but as you can see, even though I did it a bit tongue in cheek, I did find a possible solution by just increasing the weight and shifting to steel (because concrete has so much buoyancy it's not a good material if you want to push down real hard).

Also, the media has done their usual lousy job trying to convey the way things work. For example, it would be fairly simple for them to go to a testing chamber where these high pressure valves are tested, and have the people there show them the chamber, maybe put a piece of pipe inside and put nitrogen to it until it blows. I've been in the building when one of these things gets tested to destruction, and the building shakes from the explosion, so that would be pretty neat for the audience to hear the boom, then see what happens when high pressure is applied.

They could do all sorts of other teaching, for example, show you the old stand by, the crab sucked into the pipeline


And a small low level explosion on the rig floor


I'm looking forward to Mythbusters!

315 psi steam explosion

Personally I wouldn't put much credence in what Simmons has to say. He has a large financial stake in the failure of BP, so the worse the disaster gets the more he profits. Everyone's welcome to their opinion, but it's certainly tainted when you have hundreds of thousands of dollars at stake.


Simmons is short several thousand shares of BP.

The first time I heard that Simmons had several thousand shares of BP shorted, I became even more skeptical of his insane disaster claims about this well. It's clear he's making this stuff up to drive BP's stock price down, and making himself a lot more money.

I still want to hear the rebuttal as to why the GPS coordinates of all the work at the well continue to match the coordinates at the original Macondo well site. If as Simmons claims the entire riser and BOP were blown miles away by the explosion, and BP build this 'fake well' for some unfathomable reason, shouldn't the coordinates be different?

Why isn't the SEC looking into this claim? If Simmons is doing what you say, it either is or at least should be illegal...


He disclosed. 8000 shares short, said it on air.

However since then, Ratigan and all the other people who give him air and space never bring it up, something that I find pretty odd.

Not always; I guess you don't remember Hothgor.
I won't miss clarke.

I fully support your position avon. That's not waht TOD is about IMHO. As long as rp isn't being abusive it should be allowed if for no other reason than to not give it ammunition to post against TOD. I have no trouble with rp...I see the name and just keep scrolling down. Very easy.

I'm reading it all, after all the Daily show was a repeat last night.

Also Not much new till the 6 pm update.

Not to mention that rp gave me several laugh out loud moments reading through his posts.

BTW rpclarke, you haven't posted in a while here, but I recommend you learn the search tool in the upper left. For instance "simmons 6 mile leak" gave this

Now read through THOSE links and you might educate yourself enough to be worth having a discussion on this.

Not to mention the entertainment value.


PriorityX: Banning people from this site? Nice touch.

Well at least we know where you stand.

A word or two of advice.

1. The first law of conspiracies: Never ascribe to conspiracy that which can be adequately explained by incompetance.

2. Occam's Razor.

It feels like I am hearing the justifications presented by those who swear up and down that man was never on the moon... that all the shots of the lunar landscape were fabricated. Why? Who knows.

To the grand conspirators about this oil leak, why on earth would BP and the Government want to cover up another big hole somewhere? Wouldnt that become self evident over time anyway? And what would be the point? How would this help either the govt or BP? Who would benefit and why?

For reasons given in the previous thread, I've come around to the view that there is another uncontrolled flowing well nearby. You asked why BP or USG would conceal its existence? Who benefits?

1. It's important to BP and USG that BP survives.

2. It's important to BP and USG that deepwater GOM production continues.

3. It's important to BP and USG that the public believe there are scientists, engineers, government officials and agencies who can respond appropriately and effectively in an emergency. Their credibility was strained by knucklehead solutions like cofferdam, riser insertion, and leaky top hats, of course, but people are satisfied that all is copasetic now that the mini-BOP has finally done the trick. Another uncontrolled well would destroy Admiral Kangaroo and Secretary Chu's credibility.

4. Dept of Interior MMS clerks rubber stamped whatever BP filed without vetting their plans. Deepwater Horizon was inspected by an MMS trainee. The BOP was put in service by a man who knew nothing about its control logic and electrical systems. Mud returns were (not) monitored by a farmer and a recent college grad who wanted to be a salesman. The toolpusher was a junior college dropout who started as a paint chipper. The Offshore Installation Manager let an inexperienced junior BP company man determine whether it was safe to displace the riser to seawater. Everything and everyone connected with the blowout was tragically stupid and inattentive. BP's internal documents show that a last-minute change in well architecture to set it up for production was (a) dangerous and (b) approved anyway. BP's chief well engineer testified to USCG that they will never find out how hydrocarbons got in the well and blew up the rig. If it weren't for Halliburton's voluntary disclosure of drilling data and Henry Waxman's staff hammering BP for internal emails, we would have learned nothing about Macondo. Existence of another uncontrolled well would put everybody in jail for perjury, including Interior Secretary Salazar.

The reason they are conspiring to cover up is simple. The other well cannot be controlled except by a nuclear explosion, as Simmons urged.

And they can't even locate the hole to nuke it. So BP are, as I said above, absolutely f..., pending the equivalent of Hitler's V3 missile.

Godwin's Law. Again.

Personally, I'm thinking it's more in the direction of Poe's Law.

lol I just looked it up. Hilarious.

Oh boy.

Now this giant spew roaring with expanding gas can't be found?

It has lost its photons and its sound waves? Or it is one of those things that are too big to notice?

My goodness -- we are now in a place where we cannot even trust that the physical manifestation of something this big is not hide-able -- that Grand Conspiracies are afoot to ... ?

Existence of another uncontrolled well would put everybody in jail for perjury, including Interior Secretary Salazar.

The reason they are conspiring to cover up is simple. The other well cannot be controlled except by a nuclear explosion, as Simmons urged.

Why stop at Salazar? Surely Obama must be in on it as well if your theory is true? How are they going to cover up nuking a well without anyone noticing?

Well, that's rather the point. They can't. Nor does the US Navy have the capability, and they certainly aren't going to invite the Russians. Hence, the cover-up because nothing can be done about it. If caught by Woods Hole or Greenpeace, then the cover story is big natural seepage.

Ok, Alan, so you are saying that the real wild well blowout is so big that it cannot be "controlled except by a nuclear explosion, as Simmons urged."

And then you say it's small enough that "If caught by Woods Hole or Greenpeace, then the cover story is big natural seepage."

So this is an adjustable leak? It's monstrous big when you want it to be, and "move along, folks, there's nothing to see here" small when you need it to be?

Explain, please?

If it exists -- yes, if -- it's uncontrollable because it blew off the well control and there's nothing solid left to attach anything to. Probably a shallower well, maybe 10,000 ft, in communication with some of the 252-A oil and gas but gassier and slightly degraded. That's where the tar balls may be coming from. Maybe. Lots of maybe.

All I know is I saw an FMC subsea tree in a big storm of hydrates.

Levi believes that the Deepwater Horizon wreckage is NW of the 252-A well, but I'd like to have that confirmed by Unified Command. My hypothesis is that wreckage fell on and destroyed 252-B, which Transocean Marinas drilled and which Deepwater Horizon did not re-enter. Pretty wild theory. Unified Command could clear it up definitively by showing us a DWH drilling report that says they re-entered a ~10,000 ft well P&A'd by Marinas.

Just for info the feed labelled Viking Poseidon ROV 1 at 5,700 feet depth was at the Kepler well in the Na Kika field because it clearly zoomed into equipment labelled FMC Kepler Well.


People seem to be keeping an eye on it on the IRC channel but nobody there seems overly worried.

That's plain disinformation, bub. Not at all what I saw.

Nice try.

Oh dear lord. You're way down the rabbit hole, bro. Everything is being faked, Trust No One, The Abyss was really a documentary. Either be constructive, or go hang out with your buddy dougr and talk about magic underwater unicorns and Planet X/2012 garbage.

The ROV video from the Kepler site is showing normal underwater work being done. ROV OSD shows 5740fsw, Kepler site is at 5834fsw, the equipment shown in the ROV video matches the equipment used at Kepler. Oh look, what a coincidence, that normal underwater work is showing all the same ominous stuff you are claiming to see from MC252 - oil volcanoes, 'hydrate blizzards' (rofl), seafloor venting, clouds of 'oil'...

I hope you don't look up next time you go outside on a cloudy day, you might see big white fluffy dragons and elephants up in the sky, obvious proof TEOTWAWKI is nigh.

>"magic underwater unicorns"

I didn't see that one coming. I'll need a new keyboard.

Let history decide. Easy to identify who I am. Your turn.

I'm a poor, unemployed ex-auto technician in the backwoods of Mississippi, with hardly a pot to piss in, with nothing to gain from this episode, and luckily, not much to lose from it, either. I'm so much of a nobody even if I posted full contact information, I would still be essentially anonymous. You, on the other hand, have a financial stake in this and stand to gain by flinging shit around like a wild-eyed monkey. Not much of a surprise you claim to find Simmons' non-theories credible*, you're two of a kind, after all - at least as far as your position in regards to this ongoing event.

*I'm not convinced you find them plausible, but you definitely find them useful.

Alan, I followed your link and found that your "big seafloor eruption" was just video of the inside of the Viking Poseidon. And now you imply Undertow's helpful post is part of a conspiracy???

Take a deep breath, my friend.

From you I get the sense of fair play. On that same thread, when the ROV was shown to be recovered on deck, I acknowledged immediately that I mistook bubbling water for the seafloor. Later I began to wonder, and said so, how it was possible that they surfaced so quickly from the seafloor (screenshot was timed stamped) - or did they switch video feed to another ROV on deck? Here's the deep breath. More than once you've seen video delayed, no video from ROVs on the scene that were visible in other views, feeds mislabeled. Undertow has an agenda to conflate two different surveys. I'm not going to retract what I saw or what I think it means.

I don't mind being wrong, but I'm not going to invalidate evidence.

Undertow has an agenda to conflate two different surveys. I'm not going to retract what I saw or what I think it means.

You are nuts. When you mentioned seeing FMC equipment I started recording the video because I was curious as I once worked for them (in IT) as I've previously said (until 2003). That image was broadcast today and I grabbed the screenshot from my recording. Multiple people saw it and commented on it at the time on the IRC channel.

I have not been called back by FMC under orders from BP/Illuminati and donned scuba gear to dive down into the pressure tank and fake some imagery. However I could seriously do with the money so I am open to offers :-)


Is there a plan of exploration on file with the MMS for the real well? What about the guy who was asking about GPS. Cant you answer his question, please? Do you really believe all the crap simmons is spouting?

What in holy hell is so godlike about Matt Simmons that you are willing to lever the whole world into a conspiracy just because he says so. At what point do you consider that maybe HE is incorrect or a lunatic?

I have a different conspiracy theory, which indicates Simmons, and his lackeys, are promulgating confusion in the public on behalf of BP itself. This could have several beneficial effects for BP in the long run, mostly political, but also resulting in a lack of public cohesion of will, and labeling more critics of BP as "kooks" than might otherwise happen.

Later, BP can tut-tut about how they shouldn't pay out as much in real damages because it's just crazies out to get them.

Plumes of muddy waters indeed.

Excellent!! The reverse conspiracy. Always a good one to hold in reserve.

Now if BP had a nice reserve of cash before this began it could have been quietly buying back its own stock at a discounted value. Those sharholders in on the deal would not sell and would see their own holdings bounce back to a very nice gain. So the actual conspiracy is that Simmons is being paid by Tony Hayward. Tony, with his large portfolio of shares and options, will make a personal killing, as will his various mates. Those shareholders silly enough to sell fuel those gains.

Heck, we could go on for days making this stuff up.

Ecclesiastes 12:8

Somebody call Glen Beck!

Ironically that's a conspiracy theory that actually fits reality in a much better way than "giant bubbles of destruction".

Disinfo ploy, plausible. I suppose we can include Ratigan in if we're building a conspiracy theory.

This makes sense. It is speculated that Rove somehow got those fake documents about GWB being AWOL and a deserter into Dan Rather's hands for this very purpose. They contained 100% accurate info, but they were fake. Rove reasoned that if the documents were deemed fake, as they were, so would the underlying story...even if true, as it was. It was brilliant.

The way it would work here is you scare the sh*t out of people with outlandish stories 10 times worse than the bleak reality. Either the lies are eventually exposed, or people see them as so outlandish that they are not credible. This artifically induced skepticism in turn brings legitimate fears into doubt. And it makes them less scary than they maybe really are, since they are not nearly as bad as the doomsday scenario.

Yes, it is far more plausible that this is the real conspiracy than that the lakes of oil and a fake disaster scene exist, maybe even more so than that Simmons is actually crazy. Public opinion is very important to BP's fate going forward. But no proof so its just another crazy conspiracy theory, except not so crazy since it has been done before. The fake disaster scene would never work anyway since people figured it out quickly when they tried that with the lunar landings.

So Rove just KNEW Rather would run with it, and get himself fired in the bargain too? If he's THAT smart, maybe we should just elect Rove next time. Or maybe my BS meter just pinged for the 100th time today.

WidelyRed, that's the legend. And some of the dots connect back to Rove. Plus he did something similar he took credit for.

I am not sure if it's true, but i think the strategy fits his MO and is brilliant. It's based on fine understanding of how the media works and how to manipulate it, something every campaign tries to do no matter what party.

P.S. They knew the story was in the works, that's why they creaded the phoney docs, or so the story goes. And the way the forgery was revealed was pretty suspicious.

The day they landed on the moon, I watched it all the way. When Armstrong was ready to come out, I woke up my grandpa, he came over and sat with us to watch it, and when it was over, he turned around and said "it's all fake, they're doing it in a TV studio, they just want to justify the tax money they're stealin' from us".

As far as I know, he never did believe any of the manned space program shows, and thought it was all fake. So I imagine there's people who think the ROV feeds and the flares from the Q4000 and so on are one giant Ed Show. It could be Admiral Allen is an actor, and Kent Wells isn't even human, he's one of those disney characters like the ones they have at the Pirates of the Caribbean.

July 1969 I was lucky enough to be living in Fla. and see Apollo 11 blast off. 14 years old at the time and it made quite an impression, especially later when watching the men on the moon. Of course, I guess watching the lift-off is not actual proof of men on the moon for some folks...

The day they landed on the moon I watched it on TV too. The next day I got my ass out of bed and went back to work at Grumman Aerospace, the builders of the Lunar Excursion Module (LEM). I actually saw three LEMs together in the clean room at Grumman being prepared for their missions. Now that I think about it, I guess that even included the hero LEM of Apollo 13!

I did a search of TOD but did not find any such discussion. In the absence of an actual post-thread properly introducing this issue, and also the unsound objections I've seen so far here, I suspect the "devastatingly debunked" is not a sound judgement.

rpc - It is possible that the reception you received is because you must not have searched previous discussions particularly as well as you claimed. The Simmons claims have been discussed repeatedly here for the last month or so. Into the search field (upper left hand corner) enter:

simmons, leak

You will find many such previous discussions. If you drop the leak part of the query you will see from search results that Simmons has been a respected source of discussion here for many years before this incident, especially regarding the topic of peak oil.

Hope this helps...

Your post is rather sad.

Not half as sad as those who would take BP's press statements at face value. This thing ain't over yet.

Or, as someone said over on zerohedge, the poor guy is still short BP.

As I understand it, he's actually quite a rich guy. And disclosed his shorting of BP at the beginning of the incident, so it doesn't discredit his position if he is just saying what he honestly believes...now that doesn't mean he's 100% right, but doesn't mean BP's contention that this thing is on the verge of over is 100% right either. The truth could be somewhere in the middle. Which is what the pressure readings seem to suggest. Only time will tell for certain.

Said in early June BP would file bankruptcy in a month. It is fine for you to cling to your heroes. Others choose not to.

And again, the fact that they haven't yet done so doesn't mean everything he said is wrong or that it's all bad intelligence. It's fine for you to cling to the idea that BP is giving us the whole truth...others choose not to.

And as for whether Simmons himself is onto something/whether some of his own more hyperbolic predictions not coming true (at least not yet), it's BP's own fault encouraging speculation by failing to be forthcoming with all their data about exactly what the seafloor and well interior are doing, and with their slimy behavior throughout the whole incident. Frankly, I think there is every reason to keep worrying until the well is shut in and turned off forever. And personally, I'm curious to know where that extra pressure is going. It is rather spurious to claim that either BP or Simmons must be right and there is no room for either hyperbole or corporate cover-up. There's quite a lot of room for both.

There's a pretty good article today at Bloomberg relating to BP and bankruptcy, http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-07-16/bp-may-saddle-asset-buyers-with...

No facts in anything you state. But keep thinking what you want to. Blame BP for "expert" Simmons making "hyperbolic" predictions. Now that is interesting.

Right, so now anyone who displays the slightest hint of healthy skepticism is automatically in the conspiracy camp. And surely all the plumes I watched kicked up from the seabed last night were just silt disturbed by (stationary) ROV's (and regarding the absence of plumes in the captured images in OP, I'll just add that absence of proof isn't the same as proof of absence - there could be plumes elsewhere, and I'm pretty sure I saw something coming up around the stack last night too).

Blame BP for Simmons' hyperbole? No, blame them for messing up badly and trying to cover themselves. Remember when they said the well was spilling 1000 barrels per day? The only thing I have said or implied is that I do not think they are giving us the whole truth, and there is clearly both factual and historical basis for saying so. You are free to believe they are if you want, but the motive is clearly there for them to make things seem less bad and discuss the news in whatever way shines the most positive light on their efforts. Next time try *reading the comment* before responding. Anyway, if you go back over what I actually said, I've more or less said the following: if Simmons has his reasons for saying what he is saying, surely BP has their own reasons as well. It does us well to try and shake out the details for ourselves (and only time will tell).

Nice try here, but drinking the Kool-aid ain't cutting it for me, and "Simmons vs. BP" is a straw person.

Skepticism is fine, but please take on board what others say, particularly those with expertise in the field. I have addressed your concerns regarding 'plumes' in a seperate post further down.

That is fine, and I will read your post and take into account the opinions of those more knowledgeable than myself regarding the technical side of things in forming my own opinion about what is going on down there. I know what I saw, thought I don't know for certain what it was. I'm still concerned about where the extra pressure is going and not going to take anything at face value until it has been fully vetted.

I suggest you try an experiment. Take snorkeling gear to a large dam reservoir, where the water is clear. Those reservoirs have a very fine soft sediment bottom, this is more so if you dive away from the lake inlet, closer to the dam. Put on enough weight belts to go down easy, so you don't stir up the sediment at the bottom, and let yourself sink into that bottom layer. You'll see it's a cold, squishy mud you can sink down into with no problem. And if you barely move your fins, you'll create a huge cloud which will make visibility nearly zero until the current clears it away.

At 5000 feet 50 miles from the Mississippi delta, the bottom is covered with very very fine sediment, because larger particles fall out before they can get there. These very small particles on the bottom are very easy to stir up, because they're not cemented, it's a high density colloidal soup. As you get down in the section, the sediments begin to get compacted, and eventually around say 3000 ft they are more like normal rock. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, if the water column is dropping carbonate due to pH imbalance, then the muck on the bottom can get cemented pretty good. But i don't recall hearing about this in the Gulf of Mexico.

Health skepticism? Fun to read things by people who do not even know what they don't know.

Let's go with some basic things about logic.

1. People proposing something need to provide evidence of its existence. If you are claiming plumes came up last night around the stack please provide real evidence of such.

2. Proof of a negative is not possible (see the difference between inductive and deductive logic) so claims like "there may be plumes elsewhere" are not supportable unless you can show plumes. Basic inductive logic - that since we haven't seen any black swans all swans are white - requires a counter example of an actual black swan before the hypothesis of the existence of black swans can be accepted.

3. Occam's razor - the simplest explanation that explains the facts is the accepted one.

4. Logical fallacies like the association fallacy are not acceptable in arguments. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Association_fallacy

Finally you are aware that a stationary ROV is using stabilizing fans to hold position, right? And these can disturb the bottom?

Under 1 and 3 this claim fails.

I uploaded a screencap and posted the link in the previous thread, there were a couple of others that were not as good quality but also looked like brownish/blackish/reddish stuff coming up in the background and around the structure. Again, I can't say if it was oil or silt or just a strange lighting effect, just that I saw some stuff moving up that looked a lot like oil from my admittedly very limited perspective, and that I'd like to see some more data before I draw conclusions that the flow has completely stopped.

Edit: I have gone ahead and added the other screencaps I took that I thought were possible plumes, for the sake of completeness. Those who want to review the photographic evidence I have made available (of what, I don't know or claim to know) can find it here:


The Boa ROV #2 had been parked down on the mud earlier, the mud covers everything that touches it. Underside of the ROV was still carrying mud/silt. As it moved around the wash occasionally dislodged some and it showed up on the cam. At the time I was watching another cam, I think one from Skandi Neptune, which was watching the Boa ROV - the 'plumes' visible from the BOA ROV were not visible from the Skandi ROV.

If you've been watching for a while you should know how long an object picked up from the mud will keep making clouds of crap as it's moved around. Much much longer than logic based on what we're familiar with here on land would say is possible. The ROVs are big, lots of places on the underside for mud to collect, and a long time for it to all come off.

Wasted, I remember when they said the well was leaking 1000 bbls per day. But let's look at the well then. 1 mile of 21" riser pipe, bent and twisted all over the ocean floor. Just like your garden hose with several kinks in it, and maybe a couple of small cuts, how much water is actually leaking out? Then cut the hose after only one of the kinks. How much is leaking now? Finally cut off that last kink. How much is escaping now? If I were to go to the trouble to setup a graph (don't worry I won't), I could easily see a progression from 1000-50,000 bbls per day, each progression occurring in stages based on the removal of constrictions.

Why attribute to conspiracy or other nonsense what can easily be explained by logic and physics?

< Start conspiracy mode >

Interestingly I remember a quote suggesting that the ideas were not his, but that he had gained them in conversations with "friends" or associates in oil companies.

Now his short position is clearly peanuts. But ask oneself who the really big beneficiaries of his continual trashing of BP are? The answer is the predators. Who include Shell and Exxon. Now if it just so happened that an oil company insider feeding Simmons with this baroque rubbish was with one of the predators, keeping Simmons talking this up would be worth a lot more than peanuts. Say the accident costs BP 25G$. BP's market cap has dropped about 100G$. That leaves about 75G$ which could, by a simplistic analysis, be considered the discount in value of BP due to market sentiment. If you were in the market for BP, Simmons could have made you some substantial fraction of that 75G$. That isn't peanuts.

What is great, is that he doesn't even have to be in on the fix.

< End conspiracy mode >

Personally I suspect it is much more mundane than this. But who knows?

He said that the pressure at or near the reservoir was 40-60K psi, right? That alone is enough to cease listening to him.

For a start, where are those huge undersea plumes coming out?

According to NOAA, the "huge undersea plumes" are almost entirely seawater, with a just detectable level of hydrocarbon contamination.

Last I heard, it had not been shown that the hydrocarbons in the plumes definitely originated from the Macondo, other candidates are presumably the other naturally occurring long term oil seeps in the Gulf, leaks from other wells and leaks from shipping.

If the plumes originate from the Macondo, there's plenty of oil been flowing up the water column from the BOP for months now. No need to speculate about hidden sources. The only question is how it could have travelled the distances required for it to be detected where it was.

How come there is such good visibility right there at the "leak"?

The leak above the BOP was visible on the ROV video (so no need for quotes). There's an awful lot of seawater in the Gulf. As expected and as seen on the video, the oil and gas rise upward. I would expect seawater around the BOP remains relatively unaffected. I would expect there are currents that slowly bring seawater from elsewhere in the Gulf to the BOP site.

The Simmons claim of a separate hole at first sounded like it could be him becoming unhinged into a conspiracy theory.

In my view Simmons is not credible.

a huge lie to cover the backs of BP people who know they have no honest solutions available anyway.

It wouldn't be possible for BP to completely mislead so many experts at the Macondo site. Even if we assume 99.9% of Americans are corrupt enough to accept bribes to keep quiet, there would still be one or two who would blow the lid off. I imagine US news media pay well for such scoops.

From what I've read, It seems to me that the relief wells are "an honest solution". Actually, I believe all the attempts are more honest than not, if mostly ineffective until recently.

"It wouldn't be possible for BP to completely mislead so many experts at the Macondo site."

Not saying I believe any of the current alternative theories about the 6700 psi, but that comment does nothing to convince anyone who knows anything about the power of corruption, mass coercion and censorship as exhibited by both B.P. and the USG over the course of the last few decades.

Exactly. The source can't be trusted categorically, therefore all their data is suspect, therefore there's a real possibility of asphalt methane volcanoes spewing H2S despite laws of physics being stood on end, massively complex and intricate cover-ups, shadow organizations with dark motives, FEMA death camps, and vaccines that cause autism.

Thanks SH. Finally someone is raising the real issues. I'd like to add the international banker's conspiracy with the FED and the Queen of England running the international drug business.

RP: I didn't know the Queen was shorting BP. Thank you. It all makes sense now.

ROTFLMAO..don't feed the trolls..and don't make fun of them either, they'll go get more trolls to post. SNR is a little low this AM so they are sneaking in.

Simmons is a idiot. Has has been shown to be full of it and in this for personal gain thru short sales and being paid by MSNBC to spout the nonsense (what does that say about MSNBC?). It has nothing to do with him being paid by Shell or Exxxon to push down the stock price so they can buy BP cheap. Even rumors of such would set off a play in BP stock, probably pushing the value UP, which would be bad for Simmons.

Remember when you buy a company it's the value of the assets minus the liabilities owed that you based your price on. Book value of each may or may not be accurate in the mind of the buyer. Thus someone may think BP's liability for damages is not that bad compared to the assets such as oil fields in production, and ones that may be coming in the future (Libya..which is a whole 'nother can of worms we won't go into)) Price per share for a buyout is just doing the math. Also when a firm or an individual controls more than 2% of the stock of another company they have to file with the SEC. I've not heard of any such filings. Beachmommy, have you heard any rumors of the big merger/acquisition players being retained by Exxon/Shell to look into buying BP?

Beachmommy, have you heard any rumors of the big merger/acquisition players being retained by Exxon/Shell to look into buying BP?

I have read many headlines in the beginning of this that MANY companies were looking into a hostile takeover but nothing has come of it so far, however I can go check the most recent filings to see if there is anything new. I speculate it's the talk on the street that analyst etc., are spreading but nothing valid so far.

Don't bust your buns trying to find data. If it's more than rumor you'll find out quickly. You have access to sources and information most of us non-financial types don't.

Don't worry NASA~It's easily accessible to find if I don't get busy on the bond side of the market today. I do think most is rumor and speculation, for now anyway.

Looks like Apache is the big dog for now but there are liability issues complicating asset sales. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-07-16/bp-may-saddle-asset-buyers-with...

I have been browsing the stories and found one similar and also read that it's more likely that the assets of BP would be more attractive rather than the company as a whole due to liability issues.


I have also searched for any recent SEC filings and haven't found any yet, but it's possible that there could a filing that hasn't hit the system yet.

Thank you lovely lady BM. Seems the liabilities are greater than the assets at this time so BP is NOT in play. Not many people other than Exxon or Shell with the kind of money to buy BP, possible dark horse/long shot would be the Chinese state oil company (Sino something).. It is conceivable that BP could sell assets to raise cash, or I suppose they might have some shelf-registered stocks or some bonds they could float. But that dilutes share-holder value so then they have market cap issues.

They done got themselves in one big tarbaby mess!! (no pun intended..if you don't know what a tarbaby is then look it up..Uncle Remus story).

YW NASA~I did notice that BP's largest holding was a chinese company, I didn't do a screen capture of the investment but could if anyone needs to see their top investments.

LOL about the tarbaby mess, not touching that one myself:) But we have alot of "tar" themed drinks etc now, even though the beach has been clean for a good while now:)

Agreed, BP is a very toxic hot potato and I cannot imagine anyone wanting to buy into that size of liability. Sale of assets followed by BK maybe? BK not allowed due to circumstances? One big mess.


What is the significance of BP selling unregistered stock. I have a friend that claims to have purchased a large block at quite a discount.


Dictionary of Business Terms

letter stock

category of stock that derives its name from an inscription on the face of the stock certificate , indicating that the shares have not been registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission and, therefore, cannot be sold to the general public.


The purpose of selling such stock is to raise money without public awareness. Ask your friend to show you a stock certificate. You were right to use "claims."

Been out of stocks trading for over 13+ yrs, but are you sure is was unregistered? Unregistered isn't registered with the SEC, usually llimited to small companies or "sophisticated" investors used to raise capital for a specified purpose. Haven't heard anything about that, but haven't looked for it either, I did see BP had approached 4 banks IIRC for a private placement of debt and LOC's, trying to raise~10 billion. If you know the date, I might be able to find out more about this, but it would also be called letter security.

I did find get a capture as of 3/31 of their largest holdings:


Supposed to be 500,000 shares though his grandaughter at Bear Stearns (I think) late last week or early this. He is prone to exagerration, but suprises me sometimes.

I think he mentioned J. P. Morgan, but he was also talking about some Devon stock he was going to put up as calateral for a loan. So I can't be sure of who his grandaughter works for.

He said it will be 30-45 days before stock is registered.

Rio: Since today is the day for "White Rabbit" rumors, let's start one. Ask your friend if he's fronting for the Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund. Yeah, mon.


Mommy, something seems wrong with your chart there. If the Chinese owned 144,564,119 shares, why is it only worth 148M mkt value when Intercontinental is worth $134M with less than 10% that number? One or the other is clearly wrong.

Could be a different class of stock. Some companies have voting stock and non-voting stock, the voting being much more valuable. Or could be common stock vs preferred stock. But yea the numbers seem to be off by a decimal pt or two.

RedGritty, thanks for reasonable reply.
Your point about the plumes being mainly water is potentially a sound one. I'd much appreciate if anyone could show some links to documentation of it.

My putting the "leak" in quotes was because while it was obviously a leak from that pipe, at issue is whether that pipe was really (still or ever) connected to the reservoir below anyway. A bogus leak perhaps.

Your point about remaining clear around the BOP is potentially sound, assuming the plumes-material develops its heaviness at some later stage.

It wouldn't be possible for BP to completely mislead so many experts at the Macondo site

While I don't wish to dogmatically dismiss this view, perhaps we shouldn't be so confident about it either. In my experience, institutions have very strong conformity-enforcing mentalities, which can result in the most whopping lies being kept a lid on. It can be more than a person's job/life is worth to speak out. They are liable to get assassinated as does happen, and certainly character-assassinated besides losing their careers. Even if they do speak out their testimony is liable to be disbelieved due to the power of the propaganda system. In this case, the facts of what really happened down there could have been limited to a quite small number of BP's own people who would be 100% leak-proof (no pun intended).
I don't yet see the thesis debunked, but anyway, I'll think about it, in the context of any further input here or wherever, thanks.

P.S. Re the plumes being mainly water, the millions of tar-balls clearly aren't. Where they are coming from needs to be addressed by any case for the BP account of things.

That huge gusher of oil we've been watching on ROV feeds for months?

There is no need for another secret one.

I've been surprised that more oil hasn't come ashore. Early models had Miami Beach coated by now.

Excretia from the giant crab monsters living around Lake Simmons?

Obviously how tar balls are made. You thing a bunch of oil just says "OK, now lets roll up into a ball?"

That makes NO sense. There is water in the way and stuff.

The doubters will be sorry. The oil is coming. The heavy oil in Lake Simmons just has to be digested and excreted by the giant crabs. Then it will float.

However it is fairly obvious that you did not take the time to do a search on this site for answers, there are over 300 responses on TOD to all the Matt questions. So after 80+ days you come on and ask, without taking 5 minutes to look up the previous answers, for someone at TOD to take the time to answer theses again just for you. And now you are upset no-one wants to play your games. When you have read all the previous post come on back and ask specific questions referencing the node you are wanting to discuss and I'm sure you will get better responses.

Rat: Why not? Just for you:



My name is August West, and I love my gasahol the best, more than my wine.

Wharf Rat always reminded me of Debussy and La Mer.

When the band was on you could feel the sea heave, hear the slap of the waves on the pier and the gulls cry- and then there was that huge tolling buoy note Garcia would hit.

I just can't see BP being behind a charade this bold and complex. They haven't shown the skills.

So who is it? Who has the combination advanced skills, omnipotent shadowy organization, and the hard hearts required?

My money is on the EPA.

What seems most plausible is that the real leak is a breach into the the underground chambers and the stream is carrying along the fantastic creatures that dwell there. The EPA immediately declared them endangered and ordered that no work could be done to stop the leak, humans be damned. If you have a better explanation, I'm all ears.

I just can't see BP being behind a charade this bold and complex. They haven't shown the skills.

Best counter-argument I've seen thus far. ;-)

BP may have individuals as skilled as the EPA directorate, heck- the might have one almost as good as agent "Heading Out"- but they don't have the organization, the far-reaching tentacles, the FEMA camps. This stuff takes juice.

The thing I am not getting is that they could if they wished re-attempt a top-kill. Except this time, they could pump the mud down more slowly so as to not increase pressure very much. The more mud you pump down, the more the weight of the mud starts to offset the pressure of the oil/gas in the well.

But if you aren't going to do a top-kill, then why bother trying to plug the well? What are they hoping to accomplish here?

The transcript posted above by Undertow pretty much answers that.

It took them a week to rearrange the plumbing in the manifold to from pumping mud in to flowing oil out. They converted Q4000 from pumping mud to flaring oil. Even if they decided to try top kill again it would take a couple of weeks to get the equipment in place and set up. Might as well wait for the RW.

Once again, thank you Heading Out for your summary. I have a question:

If there is cross-flow going on at the bottom of the well, as you suggest is the more likely possibility, how long would you guess that it will it take for the pressure readings to stabilize? Days? Months? Is the 48 hours long enough?

I am new to TOW and only discovered this site a week ago. I have been amazed at the level of expertise and info given.
While I have no experience in oil production I do have a lot of experience in piping systems, pressures and fluid flow.
There seems to be a lot of gas coming out of the oil. During high flows there are high pressure drops. The pressure drops will allow for off-gassing. If there is any gas between the bottom of the well and the BOP the pressure at the BOP could be less. As the gas gets absolved into the oil, the pressures would rise. I would assume that the re absolvement would take a long time. That would explain why the pressure seems a little low at first and gets higher with time.
Just a seat of the pants guess, is if there was any damage to the piping/casing , it would be relatively close to the surface where mechanical bending was put onto the BOP and riser piping.
Again, thanks for all of the "real experts" that have helped the rest of us understand the event.

It's complicated. The "oil" is an oil and gas mixture. We use the term gas to refer to the molecules which show up as a gas phase when the well stream gets separated at the surface. In the well, under pressure, the gas is dissolved in the oil. As the fluids move up the hole, they heat the surroundings, and cool down (because there's heat transfer from the fluids to the steel casing and then to the surrounding rock).

There's a very interesting effect many people aren't aware of, when the gas dissolves in the oil, the oil swells. So the oil becomes less dense, less viscous. The swelling factor for this oil could be around say 2. his means one barrel of oil at the surface takes up two barrels at the bottom. And this means the oil down there has a very low density, lower than 50 % that of water.

So let's consider the problem, the oil has been flowing up the well, as it does so it loses pressure, it releases heat to the surroundings, and the gas comes out of solution (the oil "boils"). When it gets all the way to the top and they separate it, they report over 2000 feet of gas per barrel of oil at atmospheric conditions and 60 degrees F, the standard reference.

When they shut the well in, the heating effect provided by the oil flowing up stops, and the column of oil begins to cool down as it loses heat to the surroundings (the gradient would be from say 270 degrees F at the bottom to 40 degrees F at the blow out preventer stack). So, as the oil cools down it begins to absorb a little bit of the gas - but some of this gas migrated to the top of the assembly, which means it won't be in close proximity to the oil and won't re-absorb because the molecules aren't able to move that fast.

Which means the column may end up with volatile slightly undersaturated oil at the bottom, oil that's even more undersaturated in the middle, and then saturated oil towards the top, with gas sitting on top.

And to complicate things, they will also have some oil movement within the reservoir - the lower sand is thicker than the uppper sand, is more likely to be more continuous, and it's more likely to be connected to an aquifer (which provides energy via water expansion as the pressure drops). So it's possible there's flow going on between the two at the wellbore. Even the little stringers of sand higher up the hole may be taking a little bit of oil right now.

This crossflow effect won't allow the reservoir pressure to stabilize, and depending on how much oil each of them produced, and their actual size and properties, it could go on for several months. But I would expect the effect would be very strong at first, and then it would slow down as the thinner oil sand begins to build pressure (because it has oil being injected into it by the lower sand). This effect can be derived from observartion of the pressures they are taking, but last night I did mention they need to model the temperature changes in the well to account for fluctuations in the column density profile. And this can be a bit of a hit and miss affair. On the other hand, they do have the brightest dudes in the industry available to them, so I'm sure they are doing exactly that.

The only thing I proposed and they didn't do, as far as I know, was to place the microphones in the relief wells to listen to the crossflow. I don't have a way to communicate with them, if I did I would get pretty insistent they think about it. And I bet there are people in that organization who proposed just that, but they may not have been heard. OR maybe they modeled the microphone set up and the rock muffles the sound. Or maybe they did run it and they're trying to figure out what the noise they pick up means?

I liked your concise explanation, and have enjoyed reading many of your comments. But what you describe sounded like an uncased open hole plugged at the wellhead.

Avonanteldorf, is that comment directed at me?

Yes, of course. Curious how you see the casing collapse or cement failure as a factor in depleting and repressurizing formations up and down the column.

Avonaltendorf, I am assuming the well has a cement bond failure, and the hydrocarbon flow from the two sands lobes is either heading up to a point where the casing failed, or down through the shoe. In either case, the flow from the two sands is comingled - they are seeing a common node within the wellbore.

Evidently there's a seal somewhere in the systam - it could be as high as the 9 5/8 inch casing hanger, or one of the other casing strings is holding pressure, otherwise we would see oil coming out below the BOPs.

So indeed, this is as if the well had been left uncemented, and the casing is fairly useless.

Also, I propose that, because the flow rate is so high, and cement usually fails in a channel, the well probably flowed at a lower rate in the beginning, but it carved a channel or wormhole in a vertical direction, blowing out pieces of cement and formation rock, which enhanced its flow characteristics or productivity over time.

Thus it's possible the well started flowing at a lower rate, then increased to a much higher rate, and either stabilized, or kept getting even more prolific, or dropped capacity as the reservoir depleted.

If we visualize this flow channel to exist outside of the casing, a vertical annulus conduit enhanced by erosion of the rock itself, then the two sands are in communication, and this means one can flow into the other when the well is shut in.


first off, I'm a first time poster and following this discussion over the last week. I have no background in the oil business whatsoever and I have to say Im learning here, and this site is a real gemstone of valuable information for me. Your explanations about the flow are fascinating, really brilliant. Just had to say this. Such posts, over the last days convinced me that the seafloor is not in danger as touted by the conspirationists. (You have to see, if you are outsider, there is not much real information, you indeed get the image that BP tries to cover something up, and then you run into the arm of these people spreading panic with their undersea volcano story or whatever.) *I* got sceptical because of the lack of real information, so this site is invaluable, for the whole public.

As I understand the "crossflow" you talk about is oil & gas flowing from a lower reservoir into a higher one. Is this likely to result in a more or less stable situation without more of the oil coming out at the surface?

Hummingbird, as long as the flow is from one layer in the reservoir to a different layer which was also oil bearing, and is found near the main layer, then everything is fine.

The oil was down there for a long time, and it has a layer of shale sitting on top, which evidently is stout enough to keep it from going to the surface (sometimes these layers do allow some of the oil to escape in a natural way, and it leads to surface seeps, but that's a different topic).

So if we look at this as two tanks, BOTH of them sitting underneath a barrier located at 12000 feet below the bottom of the ocean, then flow between these two tanks via the wellbore isn't that critical, as long as the flow is blocked higher up. It will however, be something the guys doing the killing operation have to take into account, but that comes later.

Hey fd
I ran scoping models on fluids, wellbore and reservoir performance a few weeks ago, see postings under my name. 

Fluids are likely undersaturated by a few thousand psi at reservoir conditions. Bubble point would be in the range 6000-8000 psi.

Fyi, An inflow performance curve presented by bp in late may (must be a guess) suggested a pi of around 30 b/d/psi, ie at 30,000 b/d you'd have a draw down of 1000 psi. This is consistent with a 60 ft sand at around 500md. 

For a stoiip of 100 million barrels, it's entirely feasible that the reservoir pressure is down a couple of thousand psi after flowing for 3 months at the high rates estimated. I personally think this is a more reasonable reason for lower than expected shutin pressure than crossflow. 

Thanks fd,

That is very helpful.

Any idea if the different areas depicted in Relief wells, 7/10 (pdf) are semi-accurate representations of the various layers?

Unfortunately trying to guess the exact current shape of the various reservoirs and beds around the bottom of the well would be just that - a guess - the high flow rates over the last weeks have probably made significant changes to the structure, flow channels, and local conditions around the well, making it very difficult to work out exactly what is going on. That being said, with a pressure record developed over a period of time (and Kent Wells said they are logging pressures at 12 second intervals) it is possible to see how the trend is going and to get a better picture. With the meetings every 6 hours this should be at long enough intervals that the trends can be discerned and a better feel for the well behavior established. It also gives them time to consider other alternative instrumentation. But if the pressure is continuing to build (from Kent Wells Friday morning, I gather) then it may be that the ground around the well was sufficiently depleted that it is just taking time for the fluid to build up pressure.


Thanks for everything over the last 3 months; I have the technical insight equal to my 7 year old son but I still did learn a lot. Anyway, what I wanted to say is just that I'm very pleased that, at least for now, the flow has been contained. Also pleased to learn that so far the breached well casing stories have no ground to it. So I have nothing usefull to add but will keep following these threads. Thanks again.

Yo Snakehead!

Following on from the now closed thread re ROV activity in the 2-4 mile SSW of the Macondo site:


You asked:
Q: Has anyone in the legitimate press addressed this?
A: Not to my knowledge. It is my opinion that activity in this area is being kept from "public" knowledge. But I do believe that the USGS is aware. AS far as I know, only a handful of people have even noticed this activity.

Q: Would ROV trips show up via various ship trackers, and if so, have they?
A: Not the ROVs themselves, but their tending ships. And yes, this is how we established the locations. On the observed ROV mission from this area, the first clue was that the depth was 5770 feet. THEN we said where is this ROV?

Q: Why would BP/USG proceed with the current effort if all they'd accomplish is effectively increasing reservoir pressure thereby forcing more oil/gas out of uncontrollable vents? Etc.
A: Don't know. But certainly, "geologic venting" is possible, even if unlikely (as Rockman says). The most likely spot will of course, be around the casing.

It is my opinion that activity in this area is being kept from "public" knowledge. But I do believe that the USGS is aware.

Why is that your opinion and belief? Show your work, please.

Are you serious, lotus?

Opinion re witheld from "public" knowledge? Easy. Do you see any reports about ROV equipped boats making excursions to this area since at least June 5th? No. Do ROVs transmit video when their tender is away from the well? Typically, no -- and I'll bet they are not required to if one read the fine print of the gov't directive to provide the feed (I went looking for that, but was unsuccessful). Has an ROV provided a video feed while active in this area? Yes.

Is the USCG aware? I don't see how you could hide all this ship movement and ROV missions from the USCG folks all over these vessels now and on USCG ships on station.

levi, I immediately rued and almost deleted my question as not worth the effort (my or your typing and anyone else's reading) -- but decided that in itself might have given you more fodder, so wottheheck. Your Q&As are neither meaningful nor material to anything, best I can tell. But whatever gets you through the night, man . . . in short: nebbermind.

Something is happening out there. You choose to ignore it. That's OK, it's your choice.

Lotus. Don't waste your time. Logic or facts or reason are not part of this stuff.

Reasonable responses, thanks. Still, there's no way for us to link whatever they were looking at specifically to Macondo.

AS far as I know, only a handful of people have even noticed this activity.

Has anyone ever posted video captures or stills of this activity?

Haven't the reports of this activity all been at the location of the sunken Deepwater Horizon where outgassing is quite likely to be still going on?

Speaker, no captures were made by those watching live on the ROV mission known to be SSW of the well site. And the video would be inconclusive...the feed was cut just as the viewing got interesting. Of course, we can assume that the video lives in a vault somewhere and a FOIA request *might* result in it's release -- if the video is in govt hands.

The DWH wreck is NE of the well, not too far away. Not the missions I'm talking about. See map of well vicinity here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ke9tv/4741841599/sizes/o/

You said “Four ROVs were set around the well to watch the seabed and ensure there where no leaks, [image of sea bed] “This is one example of the results – the seabed is stable, with no oil and gas bubbling up from non-existent leaks. (BOA ROV 2)”

Sorry but the shown image isn`t from the ROV video I followed for a long time. Like levi said in the last thread, I know what I saw: BUBBLES erupting from the undisturbed sand, clearly focused at short distance.

I think we should be more cautious with the attitude “Bubbles ? There have been no bubbles".

Unfortunately, we don't know what boat/ROV provided that feed. And without that info, we can't look for it's AIS position data. And alas, we don't know if anyone independantly recorded what you saw.

But I concur with you, mfpporto.

The Geco Topaz is going in for a Seismic survey run. This www thingy has really come into its element with the Deepwater oil spill.


Yes that web page is a great one. Based on my own very rough estimates of the radius of the turns I would guess they are towing a streamer of geophones that is over 5000 feet long. Very impressive with all that boat traffic out there.

Also seems like the line is longer that the 2.5 K stated in the press briefings - I never did understand that figure.

Question: putting the mouse on the rest of the ships didn't show anything recognizable (to me). Where is DDIII?

On LHS tick the show ship names box. You will also have to zoom in or else it gets too cluttered. DD2 and DD3 are about 3000 ft SW and SE of the wild well.

Area if interest is 2.5 K.Line will be shot over longer distance.

that makes sense.

As there was disagreement, here, about the advisability of shutting in the well and making the "tests" now taking place. I recall Rockman's "Humpty Dumpty" analogy in particular :>)
My question: WHAT IF the analysis of these tests indicate "no problems" with the shut in. Which of the two options is the best way to proceed:
1) leaving well shut in until RW is ready to kill
2) producing all the oil until RW is ready to kill

There will be no well kill until all the oil is out.
BP is not stupid..... This new cap just enables more lines to the surface for tankers to connect and receive oil.

of the two options is the best way to proceed:
1) leaving well shut in until RW is ready to kill
2) producing all the oil until RW is ready to kill?

Easy, #2.
1. We don't know how long this will last. Maybe days, maybe weeks and maybe forever. But we didn't do this to prove it has an outside limit. Relieve the pressure, hope to capture all the flow and we know as a last resort is can be shut (again).

2. We will finally have an accurate flow rate, all that is going out will be going up and in a vessel.

Thus, since the RW date is not certain and the long term integrity can't be guaranteed? Why gamble if the flow can be captured and we know it can be shut temporarily?

Maybe the best option is to produce the well via a single vessel, to see what the rate is and take pressure readings. But to do this I would hook up that Helix, and make sure there's an emergency shut down device control panel hooked up to a valve at the sea floor, so they can close the flow if something happens topsides. Otherwise they have to open the choke line in the capping stack and release crude to the sea, which means they won't get a good rate anyway. And this may be the reason why they're sitting there scratching their heads. On the one hand they want to have a set of rate measurements, but on the other hand the turtle lovers are going to scream bloody murder if they start dumping oil again. So the answer is to go ahead with the relief wells and meanwhile see if they can get that ESD set up for the Helix - if they don't have it already.

I think the BP guys will be blowing it if they don't take that noise logging tool and run it in the relief well today, because the noise log may allow them to show conclusively there's crossflow, and this would then show the pressure buildup isn't showing full depletion, which in turn allows them to do a material balance showing LESS oil escaped than otherwise. Another thing, if the well is still building up, and the buildup curve isn't showing a classical fit, they ought to let it keep building up for as long as it takes, because this data will be used during the trials to show how much oil did escape.

Cross-flow seems to be a reasonable possibility. However, wouldn't detecting a signal depend on how close the RW is to the part of the WW that is communicating with the other zones? Which would depend on the depth at which the other zones are the angle the RW was drilled at which would determine how far away from the WW it is at any given depth. Then you have the issue that the cross-flow noise is going to decrease 6db everytime you double the distance.hen you have to add to that the attenuation of the rock and fluids which can dampen the signals. So if you are too far away you get nothing which doesn't mean there is not any communication, it's just not strong enough to survive across the distance.

I would hazard a guess that a radioactive tracer fluid should be sent down the RW and as close as the two wells are it should in TBD time flow into the WW. Then you can take well logging tools and track the tracer as it moves up the well. If it flows into the other formations and gets closer to the RW in those same formations the radioactivity should be detectable. This assumes the formation your think is being cross-flowed into will actually carry the radiation in the direction of the RW, which if it is being overpressured by the leaking higher pressure oil this should happen. IF the leak is in the direction of the side which the RW is drilled on then you got proof if it leaks away from the WW you might not get proof depending on how strong a radioactive tracer you use. I have no knowledge about what they can get away with in that regard.

I see no way that a negative noise test or radioactive test would disprove cross-flow but a positive test would prove it.

Well, let's say the well itself is so conductive to noise, we can ignore it. We listen to well noises at the surface using very simple sound detectors, and we can pick up the signal from 10,000 feet, so that's a given.

The relief well is drilled to intercept above the pay. We have three alternatives:

1. Blow out fluids move outside the casing to an entry point below the relief well total depth. The well is shut in, so if the crossflow is into the reservoir, they'll hear a signal coming from below, because there will be no flow coming from the wild well as it sits 5 feet away.

2. Blow out fluids move outside or inside the casing but do so to a breach above the relief well TD. This means the fluids are escaping elsewhere. I doubt this is happening.

3. There's no noise at all, and I'm wrong, there's no cross flow.

But in all cases, the noise has to be heard across five feet of rock, more or less. So now work out the atenuation for you need to have to pick up the signal. And remember you have all the time in the world to record over and over and over. The problem as I see it is the flow is erratic, so there's no steady signal you can pick up to filter out noise. Or maybe there is. I only took acoustics 101, need to check with acousticians so they tell us what is the noise level we can detect.

In my opinion 1) is the answer to your question, for a variety of reasons:

- producing the well and then having to shut it in again due to weather would require redoing the choke and kill process on the top BOP to avoid a water hammer effect. A need for sudden shut in could result in a loss of containment due to pressure waves.

- given the number of topsides vessels, producing and flaring the gas increases the overall risk level to all the personnel on the vessels.

Basically, if it is stable and not leaking, don't screw around with it unnecessarily!

As for the reply above, BP are long past trying to produce meaningfully from this well. They just want the pain (and the future fines) to end!

are long past trying to produce meaningfully from this well. They just want the pain (and the future fines) to end

Currently, we can only present BP with a range for which fines will apply. Does anyone think they'll accept the higher number?
I'd prefer we present them with a rate (total per day, captured) which can't be contested.

Another idea I've pondered:
As long as we're waiting for the RW, why not apply the revenue to a fund which could pay workers who are idle until DW drilling can commence?
Can someone give a value for 50,000 barrels per day?

BP has already said they're donating the net profits from the oil collected to a wildlife/environmental fund (net presumably after royalties, partners' share, etc.)

Perhaps the profits from the oil sale should best go to the families left without fathers and those now out of jobs?

I understand your point on flow measurement, but the amount that they produce through the lower choke and kills and a top drill pipe (assuming that they hook up to the new BOP) will not be representative of the daily spill to the environment anyway.

It is just not worth the risks of opening up all the flow paths if the well seems to be stable and successfully shut in.

Ah, but if we measure the rate and pressure, and get say three rates and three pressures, then we can take a piece of graph paper and plot the dots, and use a ruler to figure out what the rate could be.

Or we can take the rate and pressure data and model the system using a fancy computer. Imagine what can be done today, with all those fancy computers, they'll be doing computational fluid dynamics and all sorts of neat stuff for years with the information from this event. Los Alamos has just found a practical branch to use all that stuff they developed to simulate nuclear explosions. And that's all I can say about that, just in case the Russians are reading this.

You are a smart enough guy to know 3 data points don't produce any kind of reliable graph. You need a few dozen and then run a regression. CFD also requires HUGE amounts of data, or you can do Monte Carlo and run dozens of hypothetical data sets. But then you still just have models and until you get data to test the models against it's all just speculation. BP needs to pay up based on pretty solid evidence, for better or for worse financially. Of course there will always be someone out there who thinks the numbers are faked and are obviously 2-10X higher and it'll all go to the Supreme Court.

Um, Los Alamos has been doing practical computational fluid dynamics for some time.

Climate simulations.
Automotive engine simulations that all the manufacturers have been doing for some time now.
Chemical reactor simulations. (They worked with me on a project.)
Plate tectonics simulations.

Those are nice adaptable codes. I wouldn't be surprised if there were people using them right now to model the flow up the Macondo well. Might have even contributed to the interpretation of the current test.

Probably one of the reasons for 'Chu's Crew'.


The Idaho National Laboratory has done this type of work since the 1950's for nuclear reactor accidents.

Well, we do have a way to take the three points and plot them and so on, and it does work good enoug - better than many people think.

And of course we can do superposition analysis with the three rates. It would work a lot better if we had the gauges downhole, but this can be worked around a little bit. It would be a heck of a lot easier if they get into the well and figure out what happened to it. And I'm sure Cheryl can give you a run down on what Los Alamos does with computational dynamics. They are really underused by the oil industry, and we could get much better simulations if they were to get more involved in the things we do.

I'm quite familiar with CFDs having spent a long time in the Aviation Defense and Space business. The ALGORITHMS are quite good and well known. It's the DATA you feed them that is the kicker. Garbage In equals Garbage Out. If you don't set up the model parameters right you get some crazy results. Then IF you can ,you get real data and see how well the model matched. That's why we test fly planes / rockets in the wind tunnel and at the test ranges, to see if the models are good and of course to adjust models or systems where needed. In the aero world we know a lot about our environment and the models are usually pretty good predictors as we've been using and refining them for 50 yrs. Of course we have crashed a few planes and rockets getting to that point . I'm pretty sure you don't want to lose an oil well over an incorrect model.

Statistics 101 says that most systems that follow a normal distribution (Gaussian) must have around 30 data points to have a 95% confidence interval that the results accurately reflect the system.The normal distribution is commonly used throughout statistics, natural sciences, and social sciences as a simple model for complex phenomena. Now If the system outputs are not described by a Gaussian model then all the calculations change and I can't tell you how many points you need. Can you tell me what this Superposition Analysis is that makes 3 data points extrapolate a whole system, it's not something I've seen before.

Well, superposition analysis takes the pressure transients caused by a shift in flow, and puts them in a form where they are added together and you get an answer - the answer is the fit you get to the actual pressure and rate data by changing the variables - and these variables are permeability, oil viscosity, and so on.

So when we do it we're gathering pressure every second, or whatever the gauges are programmed to get. Each time you change the rate, you generate a transient, and you can sit there say for 12 hours picking up thousands of data points. Then you shift the rate up, and this causes another transient, and you keep gathering data, and so on. Theee rates with three transients and the associated data set is a ton of data to match. So nowadays they use computer programs written by brainy Russians and all sorts of guys with PhDs and these programs solve for the solution, taking into account what could be a 10,000 point data set.

But guys, we need to step out of the air conditioning and get down to 5000 feet below the surface. And this is where the problem, as I see it, lies. It seems to me (just a guess, sometimes my brain stores information but the retrieval system doesn't tell me where it comes from), they lack a remote emergency shut down device connected to the surface processing vessel(s). So, this is a non-starter for all this science i described above.

IF they lack an ESD, then it's pretty dumb to produce to the surface, because they have to do it with the well spewing oil via the choke line - or even worse, they need a wide vent. Why? Because if they were to have an emergency shut down within the process vessel train, and they can't shut down below in a hurry, then the pressure from the well will come pay them a visit topsides. And I bet they don't have the piping to take it.

So....we would have an explosion, a fire, and possibly another bunch of people jumping in the water with their hair on fire. And I'm sure Admiral Allen and Bob Dudley, who are pretty smart dudes, would not allow this to come close to happening. Any testing for rate will therefore require an ESD to be installed, or the well stays shut in. Because I don't see anybody in their right mind opening up the well to spill oil unless they really have to. Which means all the conspiracy theorists will have a lot of fun saying they're not testing the well because they don't want to know what it can do. To them I say they should focus on seeing if there's a way to install the ESD in a reasonable amount of time, rather than mouthing off.

I really can't come up with other alternatives. I'm really sorry, because I did want to see what the well would do. But I used up most of my imagination inventing the 600 ton steel cylinder last night.

deleted, FD answered it.

I do not believe they ever intended to collect through a top cap, any collection will be at a reduced rate through the four choke and kill lines. Thus the true flow rate before the capping stack was fitted will never be known (to bp's advantage at $4300 fine for every barrel spilled). Here is the relevant quote but you need to read all the Admiral's answers to get a feel of what he is suggesting. I am now detecting more than a little obfuscation in both Admiral Allen's and Kent Wells' briefings.

ADMIRAL ALLEN: Well we have it standing by, it's about 1,500 feet away right now, and it actually has top hat number seven suspended underneath it. It can move in fairly quickly, and I would think within 24 hours be able to cover that cap and start producing oil. The big issue right now is we've closed the middle ram on the capping stack, there were some significant issues to reopening that. I think our—and again, this will be a decision we'd have to make after the testing. You would have the option to go back and produce the Discoverer Enterprise through a riser pipe, which basically in effect connects the Discoverer Enterprise to the new capping stack. You still have the same problem we had with the old blowout preventer, lower marine riser package in that you have a vessel permanently affixed through the BOPs, the two BOPs to the wellhead, and very little flexibility in trying to move in case a hurricane was coming, and you'd have to actually pull that riser pipe up, which takes a very, very long time.


mathpoor, I think he said that in response to the original post in which Cool one said:

BP is not stupid..... This new cap just enables more lines to the surface for tankers to connect and receive oil.

shut it in again due to weather would require redoing the choke and kill process on the top BOP to avoid a water hammer effect.

?? I don' think I understand this assertion. They were able to close all three lines yesterday in about 4-5 hours. In any kind of hurricane scenario, they have a few days to shut down the production operation. So what exactly is the problem if they decide that they need to close all the ports again after they restart production operation because of an incoming hurricane?

6700 PSI and rising. I am getting drunk tonight. I might go streaking through town.

EDIT: Good news, no? Is the magic # 9000?

If it is with the Hooters ladies I am intersted in the pictures. Just you....just tell us about it.

Did you see the video with Lauren sticking her tongue out. The important thing to note is the Hooter girls have read my blog and now they look across the street at the dumpsters and keep me posted. The day after I first posted the leaky, mislabeled, dumpsters, they mysteriously all came into compliance.

The video: http://s892.photobucket.com/albums/ac126/tinfoilhatguy/GS-OB%20July%2020...

Edit: President coming on to speak of the capping. Warning this link has a 1000 Hz death tone.

The day after I first posted the leaky, mislabeled, dumpsters, they mysteriously all came into compliance.

Nice work, keep going you have them one the run. Glad to see those girls have work now. Now, if you get those girlsto join in the streak I am with Diverdan:)


There is now a bit of gas coming out of a cementing(?) valve of the outer casing string. Visible on Skandi 2

My best unlearned guess for now: a little gas pocket that was trapped during the first cementing and is now, as pressure increases and things expand, escaping its pocket.

That would NOT be gas from the pay zone.

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rz67kr6AanY
Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/7521779@N05/4799265818

I'd like to hear some expert opinion on this.

Here's a graphic of what I'll probably incorrectly refer to as the hardware stack now sitting on top what is the original BOP which is connected to the well.


I guess I am curious as to how much weight is being supported, how (to what) it is being supported/connected to the well itself as well as considerations for pressure at depth, current impact, etc.

One - me - assumes this massive construct is stable (no I am not trying to resurrect the BOP is going to fall over fear).



Pete, all of the weight is being supported, minus a bit that's being held up by buoyancy force. The weight is transmitted down to the well casing strings, of which the second one from the outside, I believe, is the load bearing member which really has to hold. The wells are designed to hang the casing strings from the load bearing casing, and eventually include a tubing which can be 5 1/2 inch in diameter running all the way down to 13000 ft below the sea bed, and this tubing is pretty heavy. So the load bearing casing should be able to take the load fairly well. As long as they keep the Russian submarines away from that stack, they should be OK.

total weight:

BOP = ~450 tons
new spool and stack = ~80tons

~530 tons

Less buoyancy, less upward thrust from oil.


From HO: "One of the changes to the plan from that originally conceived was to add four ROVs that would be stationed around the well to alleviate the fears of those who had become worried by the continuing plethora of stories of a breached well casing. Although many of these stories have been discussed, and their invalidity shown, nevertheless in order to keep everyone happy (particularly those with political prominence), four ROVs were set around the well to watch the seabed and ensure there were no leaks."

Their invalidity shown? Huh? Allen himself raised this as a serious possibility, as have many many others. This line is bizzare. When has this ever been shown to be invalid?

RE the quiet ROV vidoes. Yesterday there was some imagery that was far from quiet. There seemed to be mini belches of gas and oil at close range. Someone up thread mentioned this, and I saw the same.

Matt Simmons did say that the casing had been blown out of the well. He has been proven wrong. DougR said that casing was breached and that erosion would topple the BOP. He has been proven wrong.

Yet not all is adding up with the 'offical' account either.

Matt Simmons did say that the casing had been blown out of the well. He has been proven wrong.

Proven wrong how? Simmons says the wellhead/blowout is nowhere near these ROVs. He considers the site that BP are showing pictures of to be just an elaborate hoax set up to divert attention from the real disaster. As explained in videos linked in my first comment to this page, and discussed with varying levels of reasonableness therebelow.

i agree with the varing levels of reasonableness part.

Best line of the day.

The PSI numbers. No liar is stupid enough to lie about that. A sea of oil would rise to the surface, then how could you hide anything. The more we see no oil come up, the more your Simmons and DougR crowd moves to dispersant and subsurface oil talk. Now that is much more 'conspiracy' friendly. This from the TinFoilHatGuy, master of all conspiracies. I am really GW Bush representing the Illuminati and Skull and Bones. My plan is so masterful I can type the truth and it will still not be believed. Suckers.

may i ask in an inclusive and non-judgemental kind of way--

do you have ten horns and seven heads, and on your horns are there ten diadems?

Symbolism for the captains of my minions. We got to Daniel with a hidden tiger. God was too busy with the lions.

Edit: Or maybe that was St. John the Divine. We made him go nuts.

You mean red, scaley, with a bifurcated tail and carries a hay fork?

Doesn't this look like the Devil's bicycle?

someone with minions and hooter girls should have a better ride. agreed.

Unless is it part of the 'i got everyone fooled' personna.

You know what is funny. The Devil, the green movement, liberalism, and higher education are regular fodder for the Bible crowd on Sundays in these parts. You know how many pews big oil/mining/chemical/industry buy around here? Thing is, the church crowd will go green if the local businesses demand it. They are the economic heart of the church.

Going "Green" has some scriptural backing if you really want to know. Of course it's not called being Green its called being a good steward. It's something almost all religions, Eastern or Western embrace.

Liberalism seeks to diminish people as individuals with free choice and intelligence and make them a property of the State where all things are controlled for them for "their own good". I don't know of a single religion that supports that idea. Free will for better or worse application of such is a gift from our Creator.

Never seen a Church (in modern times) that didn't support Education.

The Devil..well that one is obvious.

Liberalism seeks to diminish people as individuals with free choice and intelligence and make them a property of the State where all things are controlled for them for "their own good". I don't know of a single religion that supports that idea. Free will for better or worse application of such is a gift from our Creator.

Only in your cartoonish view of the world, NASA. In the real world, where your straw-man depictions of the boogeymen "liberals" has little basis in fact, your ideology has been proven itself to be utterly bankrupt.

The US has seen 30 years of your conservative political and economic ideology deployed at all levels. And it has been a disaster. The conservatism you espouse has been thoroughly and completely discredited, whether it is applied to economics, regulatory theory, tax policy, foreign policy. All led to disasters.

Your suggetion that all religions support your conservative free-will/free-market ideology, while not a single religion supports the straw-man version of liberalism you erect, is really something, NASA! How did your political view manage to snag god's endorsement? It's laughable, of course, since classic liberal ideology is much more aligned with the values of Christianity than the darwinian jungle your ideology lusts to erect.

Please do not take my criticisms the worng way. You have every right to hold whatever beliefs you choose, and I completely respect that right. But when you make outlandish claims, such as that your political viewpoint is divinely sanctioned while your opponents' is rejected and maybe therefore evil, I can't resist at least pointing out how utterly and completely silly it is.

Syncro, aren't all liberals atheists by definition? You shouldn't care about God or the devil. LOL

That's why ole whats-his-named got booted from the top spot of that conservative christian group when he spoke out about environmental issues? Or maybe you are talking about the kind of "stewardship" promoted by the Cornwall Alliance?

Seriously, what Western religion has embraced any type of stewardship? A quick look at the history of Europe and the European invasion of the Americas speaks of almost nothing but exploitation of resources.

Conservatism seeks to diminish people as individuals with free choice (1) and generally assumes they have little intelligence.(2) It has made most people little more than property of the Corporate machine where they are controlled and exploited in the name of profit and convinced that it is for their own good.

I've never seen a church that encourage critical thinking, or logic, or even questioning.

(1) The "conservative" movement supports:

a. laws against homosexuals
b. laws against sexual behaviors
c. laws against drugs & alcohol
d. laws concerning reproduction

I have never known a conservative who supported free choice by anyone other than business.

(2) The assumption that most people are stupid is obvious, and may even be true. The current situation with this well is a good example.

The public education system is a monument to the method of discouraging any individual or rational thought.

The recent dust-up in TX over school text books sums up the "conservative" position on education nicely.

As syncro said, it one thing to be a conservative, it is quite another to try to paint conservatives as freedom-loving individuals who respect liberty and foster education.

Nice! Kinda reminds me of my old stingray I used to have!

Heh! Heh! Now THAT is a nice rack!

Nah, the ice would fall out.


Against the law here. If it is in plastic and not labeled, no hassles. Beach rules. I have actually been tossed beers from tourists on 1st to 3rd floor balcony's. Best beers I ever had. Met folks that way too. For some reason, I attract attention when I ride. Wonder why :)

well, errr, ahhh - hmmm, uhhh - no comment...

You might find it at:

tourteufel == Tour Devil in German, or maybe it means TinFoilHatGuy in German, I dunno.

more pictures:

seriously, the devil is propaganda.
The Origin of Satan - Elaine Pagels

As someone who has followed Simmons every word for years and taken much of it as "good" information I'm astonished by some of what he is saying now. I have to wonder if some folk he trusts are feeding him crap and helping discredit some previous Simmons stuff like his claim that true world oil production figures are being hidden from us (we are well past peak according to Simmons) and this is a true snapshot. Following two slides from his talk to Australian American Chamber of Commerce in Houston on January 29 2009 (PDF)

Or maybe the above was just nonsense as well?

Or maybe he really does know something extraordinary is being covered up in the GoM now but I'm just not seeing the evidence for it myself.

ya, me too. He says things like "the latest scientific report says...” but he never offers anything but conjecture. If he has more than conjecture, where is the proof?

Furthermore, his predictions have not come to pass. The is the trouble with bad models- their predictions do not correspond to the real world

Yes, I am puzzled by Matt Simmons too. I used to have a lot of respect for him in the past. His arguments were clearly and eloquently stated and seemed to be backed by mostly verifiable facts. That was then.

But now, he is either living in some alternate reality on a different planet, or he has lost it. What are his sources? We have to remember that Matt is in the financial end of the oil business, so where would he get such information? A vision? A contact at a hedge fund?

Certainly not first hand as I am pretty sure he has not been prowling around on the sea floor with his personal submarine. I don't know where Matt is coming from with this, or if a little age related dementia is perhaps setting in, but he doesn't seem to be the Matt Simmons we used to know. There are some signs of age related neurological decline if you watch the recent video interviews, but he seems to still be lucid.

I don't know what to think of him as he has been a respected source in the past, but most of this stuff he is saying now does not seem to coincide with any observable reality or laws of physics in some cases. Maybe he is crazy like a fox and has an agenda we do not understand.

He seems to have attracted a new following though now, and they love this stuff!

Knowing someone with Alzhiemer's is, unfortunately something I have some experience with. My Mom died of it. In the beginning stages there are two things that are very common and could be in play here: reliance on trusted others (compensates for a decreasing trust of self), and periods of bright clarity. I can't help but think you may very well be right. It is tragic to see a vibrant, intelligent person start down this slippery slope but that could in fact be the case here. Chance are, the folks at the firm that recently distanced themselves from him have seen more than most other and this was just the last straw for them. I hope I'm wrong but it sounds familiar to me.

All ways of losing a parent are hard, GL, but surely that's gotta be just about the roughest. I'm so sorry you-all had to go through it. Peace to your mom, and healing to you.

Highly regarded confidential supply model = I made it up

If I trotted out a presentation among my peers and cited a "highly regarded confidential supply model" as the source of my data, my name would be chipped off all the monuments.

Open up the black box, and I'm all ears. Until then, I remain convinced that we will never run out of oil.

As far as his latest conspiracy goes... I'm no physicist but I understand a few of the principles, and it sounds like he understands even fewer of'em.

Open up the black box, and I'm all ears. Until then, I remain convinced that we will never run out of oil.

Fascinating. Simmons is getting hammered for his current GoM views and you step in to debunk his "confidential supply model" and then move on to debunk Peak Oil in general. I'm believing Simmons model even more now. ;-)

If the whole thing is a hoax, why did it take them 86 days to shut the hoax well in, while everyone was screaming bloody murder?

It took 86 days because it's a real well, not a hoax, and because BP and USG are blundering dolts who lost two weeks to panic and hiding in the closet, before they admitted that they needed help from Exxon and Cameron.

Don't know whether you saw this, avon, but Cameron's not looking too swuft either.

You prolly missed this in yer zeal to make political points for or against somebody.

And why drill the two RW's where they are? I have alot of faith in John Wright as a straight shooter and doubt he'd be drilling a RW where he is if it wasn't intended to intersect, and not 5-6 miles away.

Him and others that have their reps on the line are in a position to know what is really going on. To believe it is a hoax you have to believe that Dr Chu and the rest of the government agencies plus all the service companies are in on the hoax.

rpc: "As explained in videos...."


Thanks for the post, Heading Out. It answered most of my questions of last night about what we might be seeing from the pressure tests re: standing oil columns' effects.

An off-topic request from anyone who could tell me: (showing my age) When I ran wireline, sideways drilling was not done. Only some steerable, with angles kept reasonably close to vertical. What methods have augmented or replaced those wireline chores which in the past depended on gravity to get to BOH? Little tractor wheels? (LOL?) Coiled tubing with electrical conductors affixed?

(edit): Duh. Let me Google that for me (again)

(in "new developments")

As you LOL'd, some formerly gravity-driven wireline chores have indeed been done with little tractors in horizontal holes. And some are done with coiled tubing. However, almost all open-hole wireline chores have been now been taken over LWD/MWD. In many cases the results are superior because the measurements are taken right after the hole is drilled, and before a lot of washout etc. has occured. Though the tools are more expensive, the savings in rig time for wireline more than compensate - plus you get answers right away and don't waste time drilling extra hole, you get answers even if you get stuck and don't waste time re-drilling, and you have drill pipe rather than wire to yank on if you do get stuck.

Yeah, I figured they'd use MWD as much as possible. And I used to log mud, too, so I know about the lag times and how they usually had a lot to do with lag in ID-ing problems. I wondered about things like setting bridge plugs, etc. The "locomotives" as the PDF mentioned were sort of a surprise, as I thought I had just made them up... maybe they should have hired me to develop this stuff!

You knew this was coming... BP trying to sign entire University Departments to contracts that prevent publishing research done by those academic scientists:


Did you read my response that I had almost immediately posted?

I beat scientist from the state, feds, and locals. It was easy. I am in the process of stopping the burial of oil related wastes in Baldwin County AL. They sent all kinds of MD's, PhD's, and JD's after me. Beat them all and got many on my side. You know how I did it? I avoided science and went public relations. Our beaches are now 'visibly' clean in Gulf Shores and the water looks good. The double flags are flying, but many folks are in the water. Yet the beaches are mostly empty. Why? Perception. Well, if perception is causing the problem, then science now means much less. Now let's work on that image which includes IMMEDIATELY stopping the burying of the oil. The meeting between four cities and the county is Monday. I think we won. We shall see. http://gcn01.com
My plan to beat the best checkers player in the world. It is how I beat those other guys.

I think it's just as big of an outrage that the government is threatening to withhold funding for scientists who don't join their "team." Raines (more likely Finch, his editor) buried that part of the story to Page 4a in the print version.

You don't sign with BP, you don't get paid.

You don't sign with NOAA, you don't get paid and your whole program's budget gets slashed.

Which brings up the whole subject of who should pay for (and benefit from) scientific research.

Anybody can pay to have research done.

Ha Ha. Good one. Don't u mean "anybody with enough money"? All research should be publicly funded and immediately published.

Tell that to Intel.

This is superb journalism. Where do I nominate Ben Raines for a Pulitzer?

The ethical conflict is old as the hills. It's a fundamental test for each individual, institution, firm, and agency. The U South Alabama handled this just right IMO.

Voice of experience: Ultimately a scientist's reputation is the only thing that matters. When your peers in the scientific community no longer can trust you to produce reliable knowledge, it's over. That's just the way it is with truth-seekers.

So how to address the individuals who turn? Out them. Not with ad hominem attacks or claims of guilt by association, but with science and sunlight, telling it like it is. I've done this; the firm decided the scientist's utility had vanished, and the funding (and bad information) stopped.

Where do I nominate Ben Raines for a Pulitzer?

I don't know, but when we find out, I'll be in the line with you, NRD.

Just ask the Foil. I was getting drunk with a major Div I Basketball coach last night.

So easily impressed by someone who found out the obvious: That both sides in any litigation are allowed to have their own experts. Any private firm can hire outside consultants. Sounds like some of our university profs feel threatened. I bet any PhD. who does research for the DOD also needs to be "outed".

Thanks for heads up. Ben Raines is doing good work on the gulf story. I had heard earlier they were hiring up scientists to keep lawyers for those injured from hiring them. Obviously BP is putting a lot of effort into coverup which would be better put into cleanup.

I am 100% funded by BP and they would just as soon put a cap in my ass. This is a red herring. I converted a state spokesman in 1 minute yesterday. I asked him how he felt. Not what he knew or learned, how he felt. He caved in about 45 seconds. I asked him about family and where he was from. I never mentioned the word scientist or lawyer or I had this or that or knew him or her. I got to know him. All these scientist and lawyers are people too and if they are not, the community will crush them. Let BP upgrade the sciences for a while. Again, my master plan. It really is plan on how to beat the checkers world champion, but it works for any case.

I've done a calculation and I'm puzzled by the result. People who have done this type of calc. for a living. Please comment.

A few days ago on this open thread someone posted an assay of the Macondo crude. Among the many numbers on the assay sheet was (degree)API of 23.5.

Does anyone remember that assay? Does it have any credibility? Because if I just use that API I get a specific gravity of the oil that is 0.913. (Using the definition of API given in Wikipedia) The typical SG of oil is 0.8, and I think Rockman used 0.8 many weeks ago before this assay was posted. So I am absolutely NOT calling into question his work. But a column of liquid from 18303ft up to 5081ft and having a specific gravity of .913 would as far as I understand, provide a pressure difference of 5233 psi. So with 11900 psi at the bottom one might reasonably expect 6666 psi at the well head. So why are they looking for a pressure of 8000 to 9000 psi? Or what error might I be making?

Best not to try to get me to present the details of my work. I'm a physicist and think in convoluted non-engineering ways. Just use the assay data for THIS well and do the calc. according to approved methods.

Could there be gas in the column? I think not. They turned off the flow slowly, so the gas would have risen to the top bled off before the final full stop of flow. But on this, my opinion doesn't count for much, so please help.

I think the consensus was that if that assay sheet was for Macondo oil, it had likely been collected at or near the surface. For what it's worth (which could be nothing), http://cryptome.org/0001/deepwater-assay.htm


I'm not going to comment on the math in the head calculation but feel that i can offer this on the purported MC252 crude that someone posted a few days ago on TOD.

The assay that was posted a few days ago (and awhile ago today) does not appear to be 'out of the well' MC252 crude for various reasons. It even had another name but that could have been the name of an oil gathering ship from which the sample came. For a better idea of the API Gravity or specific gravity of the 'out of the well' MC252 crude, go to the spreadsheet which reports the data for the recovery of oil and gas on the DOE website


page down to "Data on Collection to the Surface" and download the spreadsheet from

"* Oil and Gas Flow Data from the Top Hat and from the Choke Line (.xls) (.ods) Updated through 12:00 AM on July 10, 2010"

Open spreadsheet and look in column 'R' labeled "Comments". You will see references to crude oil API Gravities ranging from 37.5 or 38 degrees API @ observed temperatures ranging from 72 to 85 Deg F.

i don't have a Tag Manual handy but my 60+ year old HTC Tech Manual indicates that a 36 Deg API Gravity at 85 deg F is about 38 Deg API Gr. at 60 deg F (normal reporting temperature for petroleum products) for a paraffinic oil. Bear in mind that the samples that are probably reported as drawn on the spot and contain light ends which must be removed to be shipped & stored safely and which can drive the API Gravity up.

Specific Gravity = 141.5/(131.5 + API) so SPGR = 141.5/(131.5+38) or SPGR = 0.835

which is pretty close to Mr. Rockman's 0.8 value but he is probably including some additional dissolved light ends and allowing for methane bubbles in his number plus compensating for the fact that the crude in the well is at a higher temperature. (i lightly touched a Christmas Tree on a producing 10,000 ft well on my farm and pulled back my hand real fast. The sensation was pain which means the temp. was greater than 140 deg F which is when you start feeling pain.)

Note: The comments from that column 'R' about the water draw boot indicates that that stuff is really dry. If those numbers are to be believed and they are injecting methanol to suppress hydrates, that water draw is probably more methanol than water given from what i remember from the CH3OH-H2O-C6H14 solubility diagram that was in several P-Chem Lab texts when i was in college.


geek7, I think that wasn't fresh oil, it had already lost the light components. The oil coming out of the reservoir has more than 2000 cubic feet of gas dissolved in it. Work out the numbers with the column at an average temperature of say 200 degrees F, and account for the gas. I discussed the solubility topic a little bit this morning, I think it's above.

At that pressure the gas would still be in liquid state, so it would likely remain in solution with the oil. Rockman's estimate of .8 for a mixture of liquefied gas and oil is probably based on experience.

I suspect that after a couple of months of flowing nearly wide open that the BOH pressure is now somewhat less than 11,900 psi in any case. Your numbers may not be that far off with a lighter SG if you account for that possibility.

I think they mean psig, not psia. The gauges are measuring psig, I think, so there is an extra 2250 psi to add to the 6650 number.

Cross post. deleted.

Something different: BP has released the first slice of funds for research on spill impacts. Research proposals have already been solicited and submitted, and they are currently being evaluated. As I understand it, this round is for physical and biological science but precludes social science. The former covers the environment, whereas the latter would cover areas like the economy, health, mental health, and communities.

Yesterday I asked a leader of our oil spill task force (campus faculty and extension faculty based in the counties): Who is working on the social side of the aftermath. (Role disclosure: I did not volunteer and thus am not a member of our task force, because I have full-time administrative duties and am no longer an active researcher. Thus I do not have/seek grant funds.) His answer led me to this article on the mental and environmental impacts of the BP spill, which I don't recall seeing posted here.

This is worth reading because it gives a general sense of what two experienced people are expecting. Dr. Steven Picou is a research scientist at the University of South Alabama and has written a book "Sociology of Katrina." Other interesting stuff on his website:
Dr. Riki Ott is trained in marine toxicology, is a community activist in Alaska, and has written two books on environmental and health impacts of the Exxon Valdez spill. The more recent one is "Not One Drop." Dr. Ott will be giving 4 public lectures next week:
Tallahassee FL on 21-Jul and 22-Jul, Crawfordville FL on 23-Jul, and Apalachicola FL on 24-Jul. For details, you can contact her here:

So the "Subsea Operational Update" from BP at 9am says total oil captured to date is 826,800 barrels (approx). Is there any data on how much has been collected from skimmers? Or is that figured into the BP numbers. Also, what amount has been picked up by hand/machine on the beaches?

I would also like to thank everyone here for helping me (and I am sure others) better understand how things work in the oil patch.

BP says they do not have an estimate of oil skimmed. 33 million gallons of oil-water mix has been collected. At 12% oil, that would be 100,000 bbl, or about 2 days spillage. BP estimates 275,000 bbl burned on the water (not flared by Q4000).. As much as half the oil reaching the surface has evaporated. A substantial amount of the rest, both at the surface and subsea, has been eaten by bacteria. Skimming is the least important factor in getting rid of the spilled oil. It just isn't effective in an unconfined spill.

The amount collected on the beaches is probably minuscule, but quite a bit more has been buried on the beaches by tidal action.

In response to WastedEnergy from previous thread (sorry for the delay)

This image was taken by an ROV that was stationary at the time if I remember correctly.

But I guess if this explanation is correct, then we have nothing to worry about, and all is good! However, it would be nice to see someone credible address the issue directly (not that a post from a 2-week member of TOD isn't credible or that I don't believe this is the kind of thing you've seen before, but some confirmation of this story would be nice given the stakes and what they are supposedly measuring with the test), right now a news search for ROV and silt turns up 0 matches. If we have nothing to fear then surely it is worth someone's time at BP to spend 5 minutes debunking this theory once and for all. And you certainly can't blame them for encouraging conspiracy theories given their behavior in other areas throughout the crisis (and previously).

To the guy down below asking about why wouldn't the oil be rushing out and only coming out in sporadic plumes...I don't know perhaps because when you plug the top of the well it can spread out into many other different pathways and form pockets of oil that seep up to the surface. And those could be potentially spread far and wide across the ocean floor *which would explain why the plume now looks dispersed*...

Most of the responses to this theory seem to be snarky and arrogant and along the lines of "haven't you READ the EVIDENCE that it's BEEN debunked?!?!?!" Well no, frankly, I have not, and it seems that nobody outside of TOD has bothered debunking it. If this is truly what we are seeing then I would love to see some clarity shone on this issue so we can all go to sleep and stop worrying. If there were nothing to worry about then I might expect to hear something to that effect from BP, like "silt kicked up from a stationary ROV is completely normal." Consider what you might expect to hear from BP if there WERE something to worry about...like...I don't know...deafening silence?

I realise that you guys are all on edge and worried that the well is not under control. You look at footage from the ROV feeds and try to interpret it as best you can, and come to conclusions as to what may or may not be happening. As someone who has only been a TOD member for a matter of days I maybe have little right to comment, but as someone who has over a decade of experience of working with ROVs and looking at this stuff for hour after hour, I can assure you that what you saw was silt kicked up by the ROV's thrusters or movement of the ROV itself.
it is nothing to worry about and very very common indeed. Just because you can't google something doesn't mean it doesn't exist :)

I understand your concerns and your difficulties in interpreting what you (all) are seeing, which is why I signed up to TOD to provide knowledge and assistance where required.

Take a chill pill, relax, and be happy.

Just one point of clarification, I have read the responses to the DougR threads etc. and don't claim that some screencaps refute the logic behind those refutations, etc. That and the presumptuous attitude displayed by some of the supposed debunkers (not you, Rovman - I appreciate you lending a hand and your expertise here very much) is uncalled for (nobody should take either BP or Simmons at their word, IMHO, until they have reviewed the available evidence for themselves) and I think some of the conclusions may be a bit premature, i.e. the idea that there is conclusive evidence of no oil seepage. I am very interested in the opinions of those with technical expertise on what it is they think I/others saw and so figured providing screencaps is about as good a service as I can provide to this end. I'll step out of the interpretation/debate at this point and let the more experienced hands deal with that question (other than to remind us all that as Yogi Berra once famously said, it ain't over til it's over...)

edit - duplicate posting - deleted

edit - duplicate posting - deleted

been busy with a few wells that been acting up and hvn't followed the integrity test bit at MC-252

too many comments to read....appreciate it if someone who has been keeping track to answer the following
1- what is the current pressure ?
2- have they run a noise log yet to check for co-mingling fluid from shallower zones ?

1) Last given as above 6,700 psi and slowly rising.

2) Think that and other seismic tests being done now.

Not a lot of detailed information. From memory of earlier posts...

- 6,700psi and slowly rising
- No evidence of well bore leaks
- Running a seismic survey now

No mention of the noise log that I have seen.
All looks quiet on the sea floor.
The usual catfights over conspiracies and vast lakes of oil going on in here.

That's the concise version. ;-)

Appreciate it.

6,700 and rising.
i hear 9000 pumped in ...roughly reckon 7,800 - 8,200 be a good run ..no reasonable well integrity cut-off around 6,000 ....7,000 plus (held) be a real chin-up for BP's well modeling group on this job.

One has to wonder if the bottom of hole pressure is still 11,900 after 80 some days running wide open. I guess we will know soon.

I think "stable" with no oil leaking into the GOM is a successful outcome until the well can be killed.

not likely to have changed much.....even assuming 50K BOPD for 85 days is only around 4MMSTB of oil on a reservoir thats said to have 100 MMSTB of recoverable oil (i'm not sure if thats the recoverable number or OOIP than recoverable would be around 30-40 MMSTB )

so if we take 100 MMSTB as recoverable - we have produced around 4% of what can be produced
- if we take the 100 MMSTB as OOIP and recoverable is say 35 % ...the total recovery so far is 11 %

both cases would suggest ...its likely the well is beyond transient and at least onto early SS .....pressure might have dropped a little but be hard to pick up if there is pressure support via cross flow ...11,900 is still a good number to go by for back of napkin cals

Point of reference:

Previous to the test the pressure at the wellhead was 4400 psia.

It is currently 6700 psia.

Anyone happen to know the pressure readings or production rates from the Dominion rig using the Rigel NG field? It also sits in MC252 and reportedly is at the 16,200 foot depth. (roughly 1800 feet above Macondo formation in the same 3 x 3 lease block)

Just curious.

Been catching up on the conspiracy theorists' ravings.

As I said last night, it's partly a lack of basic scientific knowledge (that's merely ignorance, we all lack knowledge about many things) but more importantly it's an absence of the ability to think logically. It's an actual skill that has to be learned at home and reinforced over and over in the school systems, but sadly it's not.

The result? A population swiftly sliding into mass ignorance about everything that matters; rampant anti-intellectualism, with an especially vicious anti-science spin; in the absence of real facts about the natural world, a feeling that nothing make sense and therefor everything is an orchestrated, artificial conspiracy: climate, physics, geology, gravity, etc.

I hate to admit this, because I believe it's one of their objectives, but they depress and scare me.

That, plus you have what one assumes are credible voices (Matthew Simmons) giving voice to the conspiracy.

Who was the astronaut who claims he say an alien base on the far side of the moon, and testified that NASA is covering it up? It was none other than Neil Armstrong! The claim, however outlandish, was taken seriously because of the proponent.

And look at former astronaut Jim Irwin, who has spent most of his life since NASA searching for Noah's ark! I kid you not.

The cowboy humorist Josh Billings said, "It's better to know nothing than to know what ain't so."

From today's Alabama Press-Register story on BP efforts to recruit Gulf scientists:

BP PLC attempted to hire the entire marine sciences department at one Alabama university, according to scientists involved in discussions with the company's lawyers. The university declined because of confidentiality restrictions that the company sought on any research.

The Press-Register obtained a copy of a contract offered to scientists by BP. It prohibits the scientists from publishing their research, sharing it with other scientists or speaking about the data that they collect for at least the next three years.

"We told them there was no way we would agree to any kind of restrictions on the data we collect. It was pretty clear we wouldn't be hearing from them again after that," said Bob Shipp, head of marine sciences at the University of South Alabama. "We didn't like the perception of the university representing BP in any fashion."

BP officials declined to answer the newspaper's questions about the matter. Among the questions: how many scientists and universities have been approached, how many are under contract, how much will they be paid, and why the company imposed confidentiality restrictions on scientific data gathered on its behalf.

Shipp said he can't prohibit scientists in his department from signing on with BP because, like most universities, the staff is allowed to do outside consultation for up to eight hours a week.

More than one scientist interviewed by the Press-Register described being offered $250 an hour through BP lawyers. At eight hours a week, that amounts to $104,000 a year.

Scientists from Louisiana State University, Mississippi State University and Texas A&M have reportedly accepted, according to academic officials. Scientists who study marine invertebrates, plankton, marsh environments, oceanography, sharks and other topics have been solicited.


I personally know of two or three in the area the report missed. Again, Red Herring. These aren't company on-site tobacco researchers, these guy would love to make a big anti-oil discovery. On BP's dime. Sign what you want. Scientists takes oaths to the truth and that overrides any contract. Most scientists take such things as seriously as my military service. Enough to keep the rest honest.

BTW Fourth post of this, and again I am 100% BP funded. It is a check for losing my job, but I am BP funded nonetheless.

A lively board!

TFHG-I'd be very careful about signing up with BP or anyone else at this point (other than the compensation checks!). There's a little thing known as intellectual property rights. Certain ruthless entities will go to great lengths to protect those rights, and if it means sequestering the brain and the (body encasing it) that engendered or holds the concepts in dispute...oh well, as was pointed out in an earlier thread, that's "the cost of doing business." In the military, it's called collateral damage. They didn't grow up to be big boys by playing nice.

That is only a factor if you are worried about the money aspect. The bad information that the public needs to know aspect cannot be COMPLETELY suppressed by manipulation. It just takes one TinFoil. The restraints that business puts upon science are not so easy to maintain anymore. If the Blogoshpere can change the world in a day, money is not enough any more. The threat of future money is losing power too. All that is left is incarceration, and you know my paranoid ass has a plan for that. I will just keep going the way I am going, the money will come. Enough for me anyhow, which isn't much. This Master's in the field sounds very promising. I jumped off the squirrel cage in 1990 after my dad died.

More than one scientist interviewed by the Press-Register described being offered $250 an hour through BP lawyers. At eight hours a week, that amounts to $104,000 a year.

Just a minor obvious correction: At eg. 2,000 hrs / yr $250/hr amounts to $500,000 per year.

8hrs a WEEK, not a day.

I can contribute nothing to TOD regarding the efforts to contain and kill this well from a technical standpoint. I am a BP employee at the Houston office and I am not a spokesman for BP in any sense. My responsibilities are entirely in support of BP's domestic onshore operations and I can offer no special insights from the Houston crisis rooms. In fact, those floors in the Houston office are restricted to the BP employees responsible for this operation and the representatives from partner companies, and of course, the Coast Guard and other government employees. Occasionally, the press is permitted some access, but it is a 24/7 operation and there is little time to conduct tours for the merely curious.

Most BP employees are like me. We have no inside information. We receive emails from upper management, but those are promptly leaked to the media, and BP knows it. Our best information comes from Thad Allen's briefings and TOD.

What I can report is that this disaster has had a profound impact on BP internally. What is not really publicly understood is how BP responded to it. From the start it was both enormous and completely inept.

A crisis center in the Houston offices already existed. It's routinely used as tropical systems develop, exists (at least in theory) for disasters such as this. BP spudded a relief well as fast as could possibly be done. All the permits were secured and a rig brought into place even as BP was still assessing the BOP and the fallen riser. That was one of the few things that BP did which couldn't have been done better.

Everything else was some sort of a "throw everything including the kitchen sink" type of response. Money was not the issue. Almost from the start BP recognized the need to keep the spill as small as possible. It also recognized the need for a coastal presence and response. The problem is that BP had no idea how to do any of this. BP managers and executives were deployed to be liaisons to the county and parish governments and to their Coast Guard counterparts. Temporary offices, computers, equipment were all purchased immediately and cost was no object.

The problem is that BP has no navy. It has no mobile cafeterias to feed beach patrols. It had no claims adjusters. Everything offshore is equipment provided by subcontractors. BP simply had no way to be the private equivalent of FEMA, only better. And, it had NO idea how to handle the public relations aspect of this. It assigned that duty to Doug Suttles, who tried to do the best he could, but really couldn't satisfy the public demand for information.

BP continues to shovel money out by the bucketload in Louisiana. Fraud is a huge problem, as is the fact that many making claims have not paid any income tax or even filed a tax return. If BP pays the tax cheaters under the table, it will be engaging in illegal behavior and in further trouble than it is now.

The situation obviously became a public relations disaster early on. BP quickly became the villain as it became political. President Obama could hardly have said "British Petroleum" with more sneer in his voice. Tony Hayward had no clue that he was going to be the scapegoat no matter what. Everything he said and did was used against him in the media. He never had a chance.

Kent Wells has done a spectacular job in his technical updates. He may be the one bright spot in a sea of public relations gaffes.

So what does this mean to the BP employees like me? We have been advised in official communications to keep a low profile for our own safety. It's not really necessary. Except for one Code Pink nonsense, it's been pretty quiet at the BP campus. Whenever one of Obama administration, like Janet Incompetano, wants to visit and make a photo op, a lot of security and media show up and get it in the way, but mostly it is not a big deal except for increased security.

But what does this mean to me and the thousands of other BP employees not directly involved with the well or its cleanup? Nobody cares, including BP.

Most of our managers are deployed to the cleanup. The beach patrols are a pathetic joke. Because of rules that require that the workers only work 20 minutes per hour, and the supposed health risks of feeding them at the beach, most of their team is spent on going to a from the assembly point for lunch or at the start and end of the day. Some of the workers are hookers who are making deals to do something entirely different during the lunch break. The company is spending a fortune on protective gear as if they are looking for plutonium, not some sandy tarballs.

BP employees know all of this. They know their company will be on the hook for years and the prime suspect in any tarball found anywhere in the world. Trial lawyers see a feast and litigation will be endless.

Some of the younger employees were drawn to BP because of its glossy PR rebranding to be "Beyond Petroleum." How disillusioned are those guys now? What kind of a future do they face at BP? A company flush with money, or one that is continuing to settle claims for a decade? How many new hires would chose BP over Chevron if the job offers were the same?

BP is easily the most hated company in America today. Does anyone think Obama will allow a new drilling permit for a BP deepwater well during the rest of his term?

BP is obviously going to sell some of its US properties to Apache very soon. How will that affect current employees? Layoffs?

BP had a huge budget for drilling in the Gulf this year and next. What happens to that, and where do the employees involved in that effort go?

Nobody really has the answer to these questions, but the BP employees are talking about them. Our President is determined to kill the offshore oil and gas industry and he will probably succeed. It's clear he's going to use BP as his personal ATM to spend dollars selectively in the Gulf states he is destroying with his moratorium.

BP may be destroyed as an operator in America. Many people will be happy about that, although it's going to have negative economic ramifications.

There are some extremely qualified and intelligent employees in BP. They have some legitimate concerns about the future of the company. They worry about how secure their retirement is. I suspect the headhunters know this and I think BP is incapable of understanding it. This spill has sucked all the energy out of the Houston office and it might not come back for years.

Most of the people I know in the Houston office are either looking for new jobs or strongly considering it for the first time. A brain drain is inevitable.

I'm not seeking any sympathy for BP's employees. Despite the national economy and the upcoming offshore catastrophe engineered by the Obama moratorium, the job market is strong locally. It's just my opinion that BP is likely to lose 30% or more of its experienced employees within the next few months. It's an aspect of this disaster that hasn't been discussed much, and it's not an insignificant consequence of this oil disaster.

Thank you for that perspective!

So, you go from this
"What is not really publicly understood is how BP responded to it. From the start it was both enormous and completely inept."

To blaming Obama. Just what do you think he should have done?

Led. He failed there and I support him with my life if necessary. Took an oath for life to that effect when I got my butter bar. I am sorry, but I feel justified in saying there is a total lack of a feeling that he is leading us during this crisis. Am I wrong? I hope you reply, I am very interested in your thoughts. God bless you.

That oil rig and others like it, the permits necessary to build and operate it, the relationships between the businesses involved and various regulatory bodies, existed long before Obama.

I forget, wasn't there another president before him?

That is incorrect. The Macondo drilling plan and OSRP were approved in June 2009. Birnbaum's MMS. Salazar's DOI. Obama's administration.

Mariannas spudded the first well in October 2009, but was damaged by Hurricane Ida in November.

BP hired the Deepwater Horizon from Transocean in December, resubmitted the same plans, and restarted drilling in February 2010. BP started having trouble with the rig almost immediately, and three months later, BOOM.

Please advise if my dates are incorrect.

This issue is the culture of corruption and excess risk. Those have been problems for decades.

I am not going to defend Obama, because I'm not at all impressed with anything he has done. In fact, I haven't seen him do much that couldn't have come directly from the Republican playbook. So if you want to blame Obama for not cleaning up MMS ASAP, go right ahead.

But, before you do, please tell me how much of a concern was MMS to you before this happened? Did you support a strong environmental candidate in 2008? Did you support a candidate who wanted to clean house in all the agencies that had been eaten by the companies they are supposed to regulate?

If you did not support such a candidate, then you are a bit of a hypocrite.

If you supported a candidate who wanted less regulation then you are the worst kind of hypocrite.

No matter what anyone's politics are, what part of that giant turd sandwich would you have eaten first on Jan 21 2009?

The banking mess
The currency mess
Health Care
Social Security
Global Warming
Environmental Damage

Add to this a bitterly divided Congress and population either consumed with fears of "socialism" "terrorism" & birth certificates or busy watching the TV.

Hell, I'd be out golfing too.

"never eat dry rice krispies at 750 ft"

LBJ and Nixon were my CIC's so skip the lectures about lack of leadership ok? No butter-bar here just a low-life enlisted trooper. Now that that is out of the way, Led what? There is something he did or didn't do that would have shut that well down 15 minutes faster than it was? Led like Governor Howdy Doody, screw the science just get something out here I can get my picture take on?

thanks for your service bro, I disagree with you but I's fight to the death for your right to say it.

LOL. Tricky Dick was mine, bled for him, but as much as I hated him and the whole mismanaged nightmare, he was handed that mess.

Like this clusterf... in the GOM, the shortsighted lack of historical perspective, not to mention plain old cause and effect, is astounding.

Welcome home bro. Don't mean nothin I guess.

Check the paperwork. As I recall, if you were commissioned, it is for life. I started with Bush I.

Edit: Led what? Since you were a trooper you know what leadership looks like. Take the DI's uniform off and put him in a pink tutu. Are you any less intimidated? I assure you, most DI's I know would do something like that just to make you laugh at attention so he could kick your ass. That is the leadership we have been missing. The appearance of forceful action tempered with wisdom and flexibility. That the strategic situation is well handled because the tactical situation is well in hand. Even if it is not. Your knew your DI could make mistakes, but the thought never entered your mind for a second. That is leadership.

TFHG; I have agreed with most activities and posts in which you present. I don't understand or agree with the **falling on the sword** expression. IF I understand you correctly then your admission the CIC has led poorly is inappropriate. I am knowledgeable in this area but I still didn't agree with Gen. Powell lying to the UN on Iraq's appropriation of nuclear material or Ollie North lying for the president on Iran Contra.

I haven't agreed with all of Presiden Obama's actions but to say he hasn't led seems partisan. President Obama didn't do some things as I wished but it doesn't equate to not leading. I think the DWH disaster has opened eyes that have become complacent since Exxon Valdez concerning the necessity to have a clean-up plan. The plan is inadequate and if the plan had been compared to the needs of the Valdez cleanup then it would have been (maybe it was) obvious/evident to most that the plan had serious problems i.e. How do you deal with the Mayor of Apalachicola Fl? Tell him, her, he, she, it, or whoever to get in the priority line. Apalachicola has new boom that will probably never be used and the reason they do is purely political.

The mayor has his boom but he's clueless as to application if it is required but he's got it and that makes him a winner. When Fl. voted against offshore drilling they took on the attitude of being inoculated. It didn't prevent them from partaking of the spoils.

While I agree that there wasn't much Obama could actually do, he could have been a public face for the nation. That is about all the prez is good for anyway, imo.

He should have been highly visible, speaking directly to the nation on a steady basis about this. He should have increased the flow of information and encouraged press coverage with some integrity. We should have had someone from the admin or Congress out on the scene on a regular basis with video of just what they saw for everyone.

I guess I'm more of an anti-government type. I don't like for the President or the military in particular to get involved in our daily lives, so this demand for Obama to "lead" killing a blow out seems a little too much like asking for big daddy to come hold me by the hand.

I also see a lot of garbage being said by the media. Fox News uses whatever it can to smear the President, and the liberal types do it to smear industry. So we're caught in the middle between two packs of liars throwing mud pies, and it splatters.

Just remember, the last few presidents have all reinforced the imperial presidency. And all of them therefore have incrementally eroded our individual fredom. They have also misused the military, violated the Constitution by intervening in other nations, attacking and bombing without a proper war declaration by Congress. As Ron Paul says, we are an empire, and a broken down empire at that.

So the best solution to this crisis is for the President to stay out of the way. The Coast Guard has a role because the law says so. And there are courts, and the EPA, and the MMS, all of them with a legal basis to get involved. The president doesn't have to "lead" anything here. He needs to see what the hell he's going to do about the way our troops are being defeated in Afghanistan.

I'd have liked to have met your mama, fdoleza. People don't get the rock-solid kind of common sense you display over and over by accident.

Yep, she sure was something else. That woman had a lot of common sense, and like they say in the medical field, had a large set of ovaries. She would have made on hell of a good battlefield medic, that's for sure.

The type of leadership I am talking about is friendly towards freedom and liberty. It is as much about the process as the steps. That is what the last president was never able to sell us after 9/11. Bush thought flying off a carrier exuded leadership. One of the greatest was stuck in a wheelchair. Granted, Roosevelt was no saint, but few will argue he was a bad leader.

fd: Thank you. We may disagree on the details but we agree on the principles.

[I just copied your comment into Evernote to keep it.]

He has no idea as to what to do next besides blame and deflect. He is going to milk BP beyond existence.

Simple really, it goes from "enormous and completely inept" to that entity being dictated to by the inept, naive and completely arrogant.

Speaking of "being dictated to by the inept, naive, and completely arrogant" . . .

Bloomberg poll: Americans blame Bush, not Obama, for deficit, jobs, Afghan war

... Asked to compare Bush's response to Hurricane Katrina with Obama's handling of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, 51 percent say Bush's performance was worse, while 35 percent name Obama. Republicans are more likely to pan Obama's performance on the oil spill, with 69 percent saying he did worse than Bush. ...

Interesting that even among Republicans, on this question 31% say Bush was worse or are still thinking about it. Whew: partisanship isn't completely blinding (yet).

True, but I am also a strong believer in inflection points... such as the one in this graph.


Note the January 2007 point... I wonder what happened then...

I too am sorry Collateral Damage dragged in partisan politics, but otherwise the post is illuminating:

Almost from the start BP recognized the need to keep the spill as small as possible. It also recognized the need for a coastal presence and response. The problem is that BP had no idea how to do any of this. BP managers and executives were deployed to be liaisons to the county and parish governments and to their Coast Guard counterparts. Temporary offices, computers, equipment were all purchased immediately and cost was no object. The problem is that BP has no navy. It has no mobile cafeterias to feed beach patrols. It had no claims adjusters. Everything offshore is equipment provided by subcontractors. BP simply had no way to be the private equivalent of FEMA, only better.

This is a really fundamental issue, but one that has received no media attention whatsoever. It is the system (actually non-system) for responding to an oil spill in the USA. This is a "small government," privatized solution (or non-solution) where the spiller is responsible, under government oversight, for containing and cleaning up the spill. The oil companies prepare (or avoid preparing) for this responsibility by keeping large spill-response contractors on retainer. The contractors are supposed to maintain a stock of expertise and equipment to be called on in an emergency. But when the well blew out, they turned out to have a pathetically inadequate skimming capacity, not enough boom stockpiled, and no fire boom on hand. Then BP had to throw up an ad hoc bureaucracy to manage claims, vessel procurement and assignment, booming, etc. I think they have done their best, but it hasn't been good.

Then we have a campaign to blame the federal government for everything that has gone wrong. But FEMA doesn't do oil spills, they are the spiller's responsibility. Oil spill response is one of the Coast Guard's many missions, but they don't get significant appropriations for it, they have very little equipment (just a few skimmers) and no bureaucracy dedicated to it.

The system is just a mess. You cannot really expect the oil companies to prepare seriously for such an infrequent event--naturally they will feed fictive response plans to the regulators and hope to avoid a big spill. You cannot expect the government to do the job without a responsible agency and dedicated resources.

Gobbet, I beg to disagree with the statement "You cannot really expect the oil companies to prepare seriously for such an infrequent event".

Oil companies are run by pragmatic people who tend to be greedy. And this means it's fairly easy to give them the incentives to satisfy their greed and do whatever the people want them to do (this assumes the government does what we the people want). So it's fairly easy to set up a fee or payment for a fund any company working in a given environment has to contribute into, which is used to set up a response system with teeth.

And i can think of many ways to push them in the right direction. For example, it's a fairly simple matter to demand group of owners drilling a well will carry a pollution liability insurance policy for $5 billion USD - and specify the policy can't be issued by a subsidiary or affiliate of any of the participants. Do you know what this would do? The insurance industry will insure them, but it'll put in place such demands, the BOPs will be made out of titanium and the response plan will be real, and not something about walruses.

Mr. fdoleza:

How about the offshore drilling industry doing it themselves? There is a model in the Houston Area called "CIMA" or Channel Industries Mutual Aid. Their link is


Go to the CIMA website and you will see that some of the major companies that have operations in the Gulf of Mexico are members of this organization as they have plants/refineries in the Houston area. Agreed, it started as a firefighting outfit but it has grown. CIMA even has the various municipalities and their fire departments involved. (Their feelings got hurt when they weren't allowed to get into plants to fight fires which they were not trained or prepared to fight at the time.)

My point is that those who operate in the Gulf could come up with a better response plan than a bunch of legislators or a federal/state agency who have no idea of what to do or how to do it. I don't think a knockoff of CIMA is the answer but an idea that can be used as a starting point. It would be better to walk into congressional hearings with a plan than not to have one.

I was not involved in fire fighting but did receive training as part of my employment requirements as I was an engineering professional.


I was feeling sympathetic, until you shoveled out the lame "Obama is killing us" meme.

Make certain you vote for Pallin next time. She will make sure your industry is fully unregulated, the number of permits is trippled and future liability eliminated. This way you can reap many times the already gigantic profits and spend even less on improving safety and clean up technology.

In May 2007, BP inked the exploration deal with the Libya Investment Corp., with Britain's then-Prime Minister Tony Blair on hand to hail the deal as a sign of improved relations between the two countries.

"A few years back, Britain and Libya could never have had this relationship," Blair said following a two-hour meeting with Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi in a tent. "This is a change of benefit to Libya and Britain and the wider region."

That same month, Britain and Libya signed a memorandum of understanding that they would negotiate agreements on extradition, mutual legal assistance, civil and commercial law as well as prisoner transfer. The prisoner exchange agreement was signed on Nov. 17, 2008, and ratified by Britain's Parliament last year.

you know what Xin Loi means?

We blew up his kids and he chilled out. You might as well bring up Iran-Contra or Teapot Dome.

Xin Loi

From pg. viii of the prologue of "Xin Loi, Viet Nam: Thirty-one Months of War: A Soldier's Memoir"

Interesting. I'm also a BP employee in the Houston office and few of the people I know are looking for new jobs.
We continue to work to support our projects and to support the people who are deployed for spill response. I'm proud of our response to date and the help we've gotten from companies all around the world. I'm impressed as heck at the things the engineers have tried in the impossibly short amounts of time they were given.
Heard yesterday that in one meeting to new hires that one, instead of asking whether he/she were at risk of being laid-off, asked if they could volunteer their weekends to do spill clean-up.

Tell me how you think the government could have made this situation better after the blowout please?

I work onshore and am not privvy to all the happenings with the Deepwater Horizon response. In general tho, work with some .gov agencies was outstanding while with others was abysmal. As you would expect.
How to make the situation better? Pull together to fix the well then worry about pointing fingers until afterwards.


The Feds in general, and Salazar and Obama in particular, could have spent a lot less time at the outset in trying to demonize BP, Transocean, Halliburton and any other "evil oil company" entity they could think of. Obama could have met with BP a lot sooner. He could have made an effort to present to the public of a united front of the government and BP and the other entities of the Unified Command, as well as other oil related corporate and academic experts as being focused on solving the actual immediate problem ("plugging the damn hole"), and getting people to lay off the blame game until after the problem had been fixed and after some comprehensive analysis had been done as to the causes of the failure in the first place. Tell people that there'll be time to assess blame when the facts are known.

How about a leader who would send a few jibes at the news media to go out and do some actual journalism instead of breathlessly reporting every speculation and doomer fantasy as if it had any factual basis. But then, we know that the news media need their mouse clicks just as much as the bloggers do.

Federal leadership during this whole affair has been a real disappointment. Yet, nevertheless, the people who do the actual work have been managing to get a lot of it done. Our thanks to them and a hearty well done!!

What a crock.

The Feds could have waived any and all stupid regulations IMMEDIATELY. This includes but is by no means limited to EPA regulations that require you to REMOVE 99.99985% of ALL oil before you put it back in the water. This SINGLE limitation has invalidated ALL skimming efforts. I could go on, and have in previous posts, so won't repeat myself here.

I'm going to re-post this link. It's well worth reading.

Oil Leak Could Transform Repairmen Into Superheroes
By Kyle Wiens July 15, 2010 | 2:47 pm

Read More http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2010/07/fix-it/#ixzz0trszK6J6

For the first time in our nation’s history, our hopes and dreams and economic fate rest, not on a warrior or a politician or an astronaut, but on a team of repairmen.

The effort to seal the ruptured oil well in the Gulf is the grandest and highest-profile repair job since the Apollo 13 duct-tape fix. It is requiring a vast effort, leveraging all the ships and equipment and manpower that the most powerful companies and nations on earth can bring to bear.

It would be thrilling if the consequences of failure were not so dire.

Read More http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2010/07/fix-it/#ixzz0trsFvmHt

That's really what drew me here. I expect all the political bullshit but what's really fascinating is the problem solving going on and the information available here.

Thanks for the link.

As a diver's kid I always felt there was a serious lack of appreciation for what it take to get that oil to town.

Growing up astronauts were the heroes of the nation and divers were mostly heroes in their own minds, lol. I knew just how similar the risks were for divers.

"never eat dry rice krispies at 750 ft"

Shore cleanup in these parts is not the issue. If BP wants to hit one out of the park, train these folks to run the new green energy. It would save both sides.
Compensation checks are fine, colleges and universities are better. If you want BP to fix its image, have them upgrade the area's brainpower to the national average. The entire GOM and Gulf States would revere the name BP forever. Of course, no reason BP cannot make a killing for fixing our energy AND education problems at the same time. It would be the deal of the century.

After the first couple of sentences I grabbed the platic sheeting for my monitor and keyboard.

"This spill has ****Sucked*** all the energy out of the Houston office and it might not come back for years."

Think a little larger next time...How about all the energy out of the GoM and the gulf states. This spew parallels "I want my life back" and it took a lot of self control to not click on Flag as inappropriate. Just another classic example of American short term memory syndrome. Try this spin on a family member who lost a loved on on the DWH.

For someone who knows nothing you seem to know a lot. All these young impressional professionals joined BP because of their Glossy... yeah the plastic came in handy. What's keeping you there? Ethics and morals obviously are not an issue.

I have been trying to take lessons (vicariously) from Rockman but I guess I don't get my gold star today.

PS. It wasn't necessary to open with confession, the pendulum swings from apologist to conspiracy here and most of the readers figure it out quickly.

Collateral Damage,

Why am I not surprised by any of this? (read his post)?

I especially can relate to your remarks on the cleanup. After the spill in Alaska most of the alcoholism (mentioned previously on this site) relating to that spill was due to a BONANZA of cleanup dollars thrown around paying for months of partying, during and afterward. It really was a joke, wiping up these rocks with little absorbent pads, with hundreds of miles yet to go.
Kept the Sierra Clubbers happy back in their living rooms in the big cities we surmised. Most of them rarely participating in nature. Observers only.

After the spill in Alaska most of the alcoholism (mentioned previously on this site) relating to that spill was due to a BONANZA of cleanup dollars thrown around paying for months of partying, during and afterward....

Some people in AK became "Spillionares", and others lost everything.

I apprreciate you taking the time to post your great post, and for sharing your perspective. And i applaud your courage in doing so under the circumstances. Although thankfully, i think most people make a clear distinction between employees and the more generic, mamagement-driven corp. actions and conduct they might find upsetting. I certainly have as much sympathy for the BP employees who will undoubtedly be impacted by this as much as i do for anyone else who is directly impacted, as i suspect most people do. They are another sub-set of those harmed by this spill.

I do think you are wrong about obama. I am not defending him. But I think the facts suggest you are wrong. Salazr has a history of supporting off-shore drilling as a senator, when he co-sponsored efforts and legislation supportive of DW drilling in the Gulf. It was pro-drilling. And obama seemed committed to using off-shore as a political card that he was going to play. That required that he support it and promote it. And he did just that, only weeks before the blow-out, expanding off-shore drilling . And neither Salazar nor Obama did much about reforming MMS beyond initial promises and lip service. So, i really don't believe they had ulterior plans to kill it as you suggest. That gets into coordinated conspiracy theory territory.

Thanks for posting, hope to hear from you more often.

"It's clear he's going to use BP as his personal ATM to spend dollars selectively in the Gulf states he is destroying with his moratorium."

The gulf states he is destroying? Have you any idea of the impact this spill is having on people who live on the Gulf Coast? The ones who don't work for BP? You are so out of touch or wrapped in self-pity that I am disgusted.

You can be one or the other, a lowly bp employee who doesn't know anything as you stated above, or a bp apologist who expects to garner some support for the reckless behavior of your company.

Sorry, my pity pocket is empty.

Have a nice day, and I'm glad the job market there is not too stressed. Someone whose loyalty to company/corporation in spite of their damaging behavior will be highly valued elsewhere. /s

p.s. I am not a fan of Obama, but he was not running dwh when it went 'boom'.

Just saw Ken Feinberg on Bloomberg and was surprised that if spill victims take a lump sum payment they lose their right to sue. (I'm not suggesting that folks should be able to double dip)


“I am determined to come up with a system more generous and more beneficial than if you file a lawsuit,” Feinberg said. Victims could pursue a lawsuit even if they accepted the emergency payments. They waive the right to sue if they later accepted final, lump-sum compensation.


For some reason I recall during the speech that the president gave the impression that there were no strings attached to the $20 billion BP fund

from the president's statement

Another important element is that this $20 billion fund will not be controlled by either BP or by the government. It will be put in a escrow account, administered by an impartial, independent third party. So if you or your business has suffered an economic loss as a result of this spill, you’ll be eligible to file a claim for part of this $20 billion. This fund does not supersede either individuals’ rights or states’ rights to present claims in court. BP will also continue to be liable for the environmental disaster it has caused, and we’re going to continue to work to make sure that they address it. http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/statement-president-after-mee...

Why does this not make sense. They can get advance 6 months payments virtually immediately and then have the right during the 3 year period of the fund to either take what Feinberg agrees to or go through the costly, timely, and risky court approach. Could really streamline things although I am sure the lawyers do not like it. He also said BP had done a good job on quickly small claims but needed help in streamlining the business claims. It will be good to have a central guy making the calls on these claims quickly.

They say. I am two going on three weeks late for my second check. I had proof. This is a press release. Nothing more. We are months out from any real checks.

Why the surprise, Feinberg did the same after 9/11. Of course denizens of high rise office buildings got far bigger lump sums than any one in the gulf is likely to see. Feinberg - he's their man when you need containment.

I do love me some oysters. Now, thanks to Dan Barry, I see how the oyster economy works -- or did -- from the burlap sacks all the way to the chicken feed.

From a Gulf Oyster, a Domino Effect

Yep, it is illegal in these parts to use shells for driveways because of the need for the chickens. Then of course we need the chicken droppings elsewhere. When the environment is under serious attack, ecology all of the sudden becomes so important.

Somebody's gonna have to build a better egg carton, TF.

I remember when shells for driveways disappeared in St Tammany Parish in the 80's. We didn't use oyster shells (too sharp) but some mussel from Lake Ponchartrain. Dredging was eventually banned because it clouded the lake with mud and quite a bit of that sediment should not have been disturbed (pollutants). Those white shells made awesome (if somewhat stinky) roads. As the shells broke down under the wheels, they cemented into a thick stable road bed. It was more like driving on a dusty asphalt road rather than on slippery gravel. It was also a lot easier to bike on as a kid.

I can't stand ersters, but I forgot all about shell for my chickens! ack! I should have stocked up right away.

They are among us.

It is sad how the level of discussion on the thread has deteriorated over the past several weeks. I initially was drawn to TOD discussion group because of the overall high quality of the technical discussion with regards to the BP blow-out and subsequent kill efforts. Unfortunately most posts on this thread are now on conspiracy theories, troll discussions, and..well what I would characterize as ignorant tirades on "(insert wingnut topic here)". I for one am ceasing participation.

Rust never sleeps.

agree with your observation
but i am not leaving yet
seems that popularity has led to the dumbing down of TOD, too bad

I am also half Asian. Creole is the other half in case you did not know. Just wait. In a month the noise will likely fade or at least move to subsurface and dispersant talk.


One of the best (funkiest with good food) restaurants on the Texas coast sits next to a boatyard in Fulton. It bills itself Chinese Cajun. It's name?

Hu Dat

Hilarious. My mother made a rice and oyster hybrid Creole/Korean stuffing that was the bomb. I tried to make it once and it was awful. She even could cook it in the bird.

Yes, I think this disaster has attracted a lot of people who thrive on chaos just by it's catastrophic nature. You can see that by how many of them seem to be angry that the oil has stopped billowing into the Gulf. (May it STAY stopped!)

I think they will move on once the well is cemented in and that part of the drama is over. On to something else!

Meanwhile, it is a bit time consuming to filter through, isn't it! It is unfortunate that this blog software lacks an ignore list filter.

Perhaps a more robust forum software might be implemented. Might I suggest vbulletin?

The ignored candidates are sometimes the most entertaining. There really is some wild stuff out there in the Blogosphere.

Snicker. I went over to godlikeproductions.com and the first thing I saw was "HOLY SH*T! THE SEAFLOOR EXPLODED!" Video of wispy stuff floating up in front of an ROV.

I jumped over to that site for a peek...and damn near fell out of my chair laughing.

"omg guys there is a huge $%&#ing vent on the sea bed now.."


"could this be the start of a methane tsunami eruption?"

New blogo conspiratheory, BP purposefully created a fissure, http://www.godlikeproductions.com/forum1/message1134493/pg1

Maybe it, in part, stems from the seismic probing being done by the Geco Topaz.
It does make one wonder what they're doing such a distance and direction from the well bore.

As usual...not enough reliable info from BP and the govt opens the door.

please explain how a seismic survey could possibly open up a fissure on the sea floor!

Where did you get the idea that a seismic survey opened a fissure was even remotely implied???? Sheesh...quite the stray thought process you've got going there.
What IS implied is that they are possibly investigating something anomalous many miles from Macondo.

The track taken by the Geco Topaz to the southeast of Macondo is where the purported fissure stretches along.

Does that help or do you have any other dot-connecting challenges needing attending?

James: You nailed it. Might have to go back to worrying about mundane things such as unemployment, wars, the border, national debt.....

James, How long have you been commenting here at Oil Drum?

I just click on the minus sign next to the name.
Not only collapes the post, but all the normaly sane folk trying to refute it.

Thanks, trouble is some subthreads break away with some common sense but I will be using that.


I for one am ceasing participation.

I called it "Yahoo" syndrome. People want to drift off topic becuase they are bored but they are not able to contribute to the topic on hand. So they talk about things that they know. It is why moderated thread normally work best for serious and on topic discussion. It is HO and other TOD staffers' site.. If they decide that it is best to have demorcracy and no serious information in this site (ala Yahoo), it is their choice.. I would much rather have a smaller number of posts but with more informative infromation rather than wasting an hours this morning going over this thread and really find very little to help me understand the situation.. I am also at my limit of how much time I want to waste to find that nugget of information .. It is very much like the spill problem in the Gulf. Adm Allen saw problems everyday and try to fix them. And we have problem in TOD here, would the staffer try to fix it (the signal to noise ratio that Prof Goose talked about) or just let it drift?? it is TOD site, so it is their decision.

Guilty, what are your concerns right now? Ask away.

what are your concerns right now?

I gathered that if the wellhead is at 8000-9000 psi or below 4000, it is a clear indication of what happen to the well. Right now we are at 6700 psi but somehow Kent Wells seems to think that it is within the range of their analysis. So what exactly is their analysis (i.e. are they expecting that eventually the pressure will ramp up to 8000 or 9000 psi?).. there are some discussion on oil get pushed into surrounding rock formation. If that is the case, how would it affect the mud weight.. My interpretation is that if at 6700 psi, it already force oil to go to the surrounding rock, should they formulate the mud weight accordingly instead of using the 13+ that were discussed a while back?

Keep in mind that previous pressure at the BOP inlet was 4400 psi, so that number represents the lowest practical pressure level the well integrity test could have produced.

It is currently showing 2+ ksi over previous numbers.

xof - you may want to try here, the live chat begins at 2pm cdt:)


(I wonder if they'll be showing turtles in distress/dead or just the contented ones?)

TOD has been, and still is an invaluable resource. Simply skip the issues that don't interest you. To find gold in a stream you have to sift a lot of sand, but the s/n ratio is well worth the nuggets.

Even when it comes to issues like Simmons' theories on the leak, the discussion in this very thread, for example, has mostly elicited a high quality of debate. Some very sharp commentors have been prepared to wade through the issue in search of nuggets which might illuminate potential cover-up by BP and/or US Gov (e.g. SSW Rov trips). Yes, this thread today saw another major look at these issues --which was probably due anyway.

One man's tinfoil is another's valid questions. The free market of debate here is the best arbiter and a guarantee to the uncommitted that TOD is not simply parroting establishment themes.

That enhances the credibility of the site and as a long-time student of alternative views, I for one have been impressed and will continue to visit and contribute.

Sorry to hear that Bob.

I agree - between the conspiracy theorists, right and left wing rants, and mortgage backed derivitive traders trading on personal tragedy - the discussion has gone down hill fast. I post very little on TOD and come here for information - not politically slanted points of view.

I think part of the problem is too little new to talk about.

Also, Prof. Goose and some others were more diligent in monitoring threads earlier on. After a while, it becomes necessary to get back to other job duties. (Prof. Goose is a political science professor.) I don't really have time to do the monitoring function, besides everything else.

And the picture here coincides with the maximum projected spillage of 60,000 barrels a day over the last 85 days? That one was from June 25th... I'm a lowly software coder, but my eye's work really well. I can see whats evidently oil on the surface, but I can pretty clearly see the discoloration of oil beneath the surface as well. Someone around here has to be a math wiz. The numbers don't add up


Next Level of Inquiry

Laying out the choices that were made in the days and hours before the blow-out reveals a possible decision making logic that might link each of the fateful decisions that preceeded it: they all cut expenses on a well already in the red from prior problems.

Some estimates put the extra expeses for the Maconda well at that point at about $45 million. I don't know how accurate that is at the moment. But I do think it is accurate to assume a savings of roughly $20 million from the alleged shortcuts identified, assuming the $7-10 million from the BP e-mail is accurate, and assuming they would have had to fix the cement job before proceeding had they not taken the short cuts. (That assumption is problematic, however, because it assumes knowledge of the need for remedial cement at the time of the decision(s), whereas simply gambling that it was not needed seems like a more logical explanation of the basis upon which they proceeded).

Nevertheless, whether the savings would have been $10 million or $20 million that week, it is enough that it merits inquiry to determine if that was the logic that drove the risk-accumulating chain of decisions that led to the blow-out. The purpose here is not to condemn, but to try to understand how this chain of decisions came about. It is very possible if not probable that it was this chain of decisions, not defective equipment, defectice best practices, or incompetent crew members operating the rig, that caused, or substantially contributed to the blow out.

To explore this, you really need to have a map of the decision-making tree, which I do not have. You also need to know what incentives the decision makers were provided by upper-managament, and what penalties, and where the Macondo project stood on that scale, and how it might impact each decision maker's motivations.

If you did, you could probably identify fairly quickly whether or not someone might have felt or been under significant pressure to take the risks that were taken in order to bring the costs of the project down. That pressure could have been career preservation pressures, bonus protection motivation, a recent chewing out from a superior, the hope to secure a promotion. Who knows. Or maybe it was just SOP that got out of hand because of sloppy decisions. This inquiry will be made and it will be interesting to see what if anything turns up.

It is an important inquiry to make. Conflcits of interest for key decision makers can result in bad decision making even if everyone involved is honest and generally trying to do their best.

This inquiry might also reveal that one problem was an engineering decision-maker that had too much difficulty saying "No," or that based engineering decisions on financial considerations to an extent that undermined the purpose of having independent engineering analysis in the risk-analysis equation. It could also reveal that there was a failure to assign adequate risk-analysis to the decisions that were bing made. No independent review for overall risk factor. In any event, the human factors rather than technical factors are likely to be at the heart of this, as things appear now, and it should be as interesting to see how that develops. It would also be interesting to learn who the decision makers were, generically or specifically.

I found Three Mile Island Incident's on-site chart. Sometimes charts do not help some.

From: http://www.controlglobal.com/articles/2009/3MileIslandAccident0905.html

I have seen an attitude of the cocksure among many wannabe-leaders in industries which is harmful. It is that lost time can be regained. It's a deeply, deeply foolish idea which causes all manner of stupid further decisions. Lost time is lost. Grownups realize this, bite the bullet, kiss their bonuses goodbye, carry on, and do the right thing.

This is a terrific post and clearly articulates what I have been thinking myself. I have kind of come to the conclusion that all of these dubious decisions could be linked by cost cutting. If this is the case then the future looks very dim for BP stock, which is my main interest. I have made some money on BP stock, but now have cut loose most of my holdings because it does look like there might be a finding of criminal negligence for these reasons, which, among other things, would let BP's partners in the well off the hook.

The reporting in the press so far has been very weak on these issues. If I wanted to find out why the blowout occurred, I would want to talk to the people who were actually making the decisions and know THEIR rationale for each part of the process. No point in jawboning Tony Hayward, who said in the past (see Wikipedia) that he wanted to get decision making empowered at lower levels to increase efficiency and save time.

A quick hit-and-run post.

The Moratorium As some may have heard, some members of Obama's commission studying the spill have come out against the new moratorium, advocating instead for one like Judge Feldman proposed, and one the members who wrote the initial report for Salazar would have backed: each rig would have to meet specific new safety standards, and once it did, it could resume drilling a DW well.

If Salazar was more savy, he would have gone with Feldman's specific-criteria option, and I thought he was going to. He had been bruised by two stinging losses, and, with all of the political clout behind the challeng to the moratorium, at that point, he should have made some meaningful concessions to address the political side of things. Instead, all he did was address the defects in the legal paperwork, and he went for maximum control with the new moratorium, which, de facto, gets him the 6 month moratorium he initially sought any way (how cute).

By addressing only judge feldman's legal criticisms and by not addressing the underlying political reality, the secretary has now left himself vulnerable to a new attack. Over-reach often generates backlash, so does arrogance. I would not be surprised to see a new lawsuit before Judge Feldman challenging the new mortorium shortly after the well is killed. But Salazar did say he would change the moratorium if presented with new facts bearing on risk, so we shall see.

Risk will be lower after the well is capped. Spill response resources will be freed up, and BP will have demonstrated advancement in well-containment procedures and trechnology from capping Macondo. Risk is arguabgly substantially lower at that point, in conjunction with the new emergency regs. being formulated/implemented.

If the President can't get the hardware right, he has no shot at the software.

Yup, lots of great new technology to test out on the environment. Can't wait. What a fabulous future we have in oil!!

Don Van Nieuwenhuise, Director of the Professional Geoscience Programs at the University of Houston is calling 7,000 PSI close enough due to 'deflation'. First time I have heard 7,000 PSI is ok. Has anyone else heard 7,000 PSI will work?

Interesting (and on topic!) post.

A thought question: suppose the pressure stabilized at 6800, but, there was zero seismic/sonar/oil leak evidence (this seems to be the case so far). Would that be good news? It seems to me if the flow has stopped and they aren't detecting any damage (i.e. the seismic/sonar/leak data) then what's the harm in leaving the leak capped until the relief well completes?

xazp, if won't stabilize for a long time, but the rate at which pressure increases can be pretty low, so we can say for all purposes it's "stable". If it gets around 6800 psi and it just increases a bit in a steady fashion, then it's good news. The conclusion will be the reservoir is fairly small, because to bring down the pressure that much, it has to be fairly small as these reservoirs go. Or we could also say the amount of oil that came out was big. If the well stabilizes, and they keep running seismic and they don't detect anything bad, then it's a good option to leave it as it is.

If it gets around 6800 psi and it just increases a bit in a steady fashion,

I think Adm Allen mentioned that the pressure is raising between 2 to 10 psi an hour.. .which look to be very small compare to 6700 psi that they are measuring...

xofruitcake, so the pressure is wiggling around a bit...the fluid is cooling down, there's a bit of flow taking place down there, and who knows what else. If BP charged for tickets to watch the buildup, I would pay $50 for a peek.

Did a ‘mystery plumber’ design the new BP containment cap?

Jonsson reports that six weeks ago, University of California-Berkeley engineering professor Robert Bea received a late-night call from an anonymous plumber. According to Bea -- who had formerly worked as oil industry executive before his present gig as an academically backed manager of engineering crises -- the "mystery plumber" reached out to him because he had an idea for how to plug BP's busted well in the Gulf. The plumber provided Bea with sketches of a containment cap that upgraded some of the design flaws in the cap the oil company deployed in its last unsuccessful bid to plug the leak several weeks ago.

Bea passed the plumber's sketches on to a contact at the Coast Guard--and to a panel of experts who were evaluating proposed schemes to repair the leak submitted by the general public. Jonsson writes that when Bea first got a glimpse of the containment cap that has stopped the flow of oil into the Gulf, he noticed striking similarities to the designs dreamed up by the plumber.


Probably just another one of those conspiracy theories.


But isn't the current capping stack an assembly of standard flanges, quick disconnect joints and rams?

TOD had "non-mistery" folks recommending the same approach for months now.

I remember a Super Mario joke.

According to the Cameron site, the new capping stack has been under construction for 2 months. So the design preceded the mystery plumber. Actually, in a gross sense, the design is pretty obvious, a set of valves bolted to the old riser connection. That was essentially what they were going to do with the RW#2 BOP if the top kill had worked.

I have doubts about the two months part. Perhaps some of the off the shelf components were being manufactured by their maker two months ago. Not that it couldn't have taken two months to design it, fabricate special components, and assemble it. Just that they had this plan two months ago.

Perhaps in concept they were planning something of this sort, but two months ago Corexit and miles of booms were still their favored solution over total containment, which they seemed to think was impossible or impractical.

Now they are trying to convince us this was the plan all along. I think they could have done it much sooner with maybe a little less elegant hardware had that been the case.

BP briefing not happening until 6:30 PM eastern.

The problem for me (with the capping of the well) is that BP admitted well over a month ago that there was probably damage with the casing, below the seabed. So this sudden change in strategy seems not only bizarre to me, but dangerous! I have noticed that since they capped the well about 24 hours ago there have been 6 earthquakes in the the eastern half of the US. Since I am not a seismologist I wondered if anyone knows whether or not this could be related to the well being capped?

So this sudden change in strategy seems not only bizarre to me, but dangerous!

yes and no. I have the same concern as well until I heard Adm Allen conference call a couple days ago. One of the reasons he cited is gathtering information to aid the releived well. My guess is that if well casuing is breaching really badly, they will have one solution and if the well is perfectly ok, then they will have other..

Earthquakes are a well known phenomena of strike-slip or subduction of huge tectonic plates. Has nothing at all to do with relatively shallow sandstone.

paintdancer, it might be reassuring to remember that this is just an oil well. The only thing very remarkable about it is that, until yesterday, the oil was running into the ocean rather than through a pipeline or sitting under a temporary cap, like the thousands of other wells in the region. Oil flowing through a well doesn't cause catastrophic changes in the earth's crust. The problem is simply what we all saw, oil pouring into the Gulf and doing very serious damage to the ecosystem. That's bad enough.

Blown-out wells are fairly common, and in the old days of drilling it was SOP to let pressurized wells blow out: "Yippee, we got a gusher!"

Feds: Test results from well not as good as hoped

The federal pointman for the BP oil spill says results are short of ideal in the new cap but the oil will stay shut in for another 6 hours at least. Retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said on a Friday afternoon conference pressure readings from the cap have not reached the level that would show there are no other leaks in the well.


It is unconscionable to resume dumping oil into the Gulf now that the means exists and has been demonstrated to shut it in. There will be riots in the streets of gulf cities and burning oil field buildings if they do that.

Any residents of the Louisiana coast hanging around TOD today?

Today's Friday. I'm always wary between the time the markets close and about 8:00 EDT.

resume dumping oil into the Gulf now that the means exists and has been demonstrated to shut it in.

They are going "produce" the oil. so no oil will go to the sea.. It come in play when hurrican come.. They would have to decide to shut in and I think they are making the dry run to make sure that it is o.k. if they have to decide to shut in the well in a hurricane.. But without the hurricane, it is probably best to "produce" the oil...

jmygann, thanks for the link. I read that yahoo item and I found the quote from one of the experts - "something is clogging up the well" - a real belly buster.

Guys, it would really help if somebody gets a message to those guys to run the damned sound detectors in the relief wells. And they need to do it now, when the signal is stronger. Might as well run regular mikes, and accelerometers, and whatever else they can think of. And they should get the NSA to tell them what works and doesn't, this isn't something for civilian geophysicists to figure out. They have to eavesdrop across 5 feet or rock.

In a simple rough hydrostatic situation it seems to me the oil/gas column in the closed Macondo well bore produces a hydrostatic pressure of HSP=.052 X fluid wt. X column height= .052 X 6.6lbs/gal X 13220ft = 4537psi. From the rig floor I assume it is 5080’ to BOP blind ram, and 18300’ to the bottom of the hole, also assume oil/gas density SG of 0.8

If the formation pressure is 11,900psi , then the difference would be felt at closed BOP. Therefore 11,900-4537= 7,363psi at seabed inside BOP. Where does the expected hopeful 9000-8000psi come from?

Working backwards the oil/gas weight would have to be around 4.9 lbs/gal (very low) for a shut-in pressure of 8500psi. Where am I going wrong here? I realize the fluid dynamic situation is very complex, but this simple shut in static case confuses me. I know there are thousands of TOD folks that can explain this basic science question. Previous comments have touched on this, but not explained it.

Again, this is psia/psig issue, I think.

The meters are likely psig, but the numbers everyone uses are psia.

This seems a logical explanation, but could be wrong.

todfan, I think your fluid density is off. It's not 0.8, because the temperature and gas in solution make the column a lot lighter. By the way, I'm betting $100 the oil is undersaturated at reservoir conditions, so you can't assume it's a fully saturated system when you do your calculations.

Given what's known, anyone care to speculate on the likelihood of the pressure results being due to reservoir depletion as opposed to wellbore damage? Those are the two possibilities that were mentioned in the briefing.

As has been discussed a number of times above, it appears to me that there is simply some bleed off into additional sands above the reservoir. Don't think depletion at this point would do it and the fact the pressure continues to rise 2-10 psi/hour per Allen's briefing this afternoon, to me (not knowing ANYTHING about geology but just having listened here for a couple of weeks and using what little common sense gray matter I have left!!)it makes sense that the pressure is bleeding over into other sands above the reservoir. Would not indicate any problem with well integrity.

fact the pressure continues to rise 2-10 psi/hour per Allen's briefing this afternoon,

if the pressure is RISING, the product is NOT bleeding off. If the pressure were FALLING that would be the case.

you're right....I wasn't clear.....the speed, or lack thereof of the pressure increase is what indicates to me that some of the pressure is seeping off to other sands....what we see in the pressure increase is the differential between what is being produced and what is being absorbed....it should equalize eventually but nobody knows how long that might take.

I'm sure Rockman or someone else with his background could clarify this and I'd love to hear what they think.....haven't seen Rock for awhile...maybe he got is sick well fixed and is taking some well deserved R&R??!! Thanks for the good point widly!!

Regardless, isn't the objective of this whole exercise to stop spilling oil into the Gulf of Mexico? If some of it is flowing into another sand formation I see that as preferable to just dumping it into the ocean, given the choice.

We are not trying to save the well, we are trying to save the ocean.


What are the risks of the oil flowing into another sand formation? If the (lateral?) flow is relatively deep then - no problem? If it is shallow (close to the sea floor) then not so good?

James SA, do reservoirs have "integrity" and is the 46566 reading "dpt 5720.xx" correct?

Sorry I don't know how to drop the s/s in...

the pressure continues to rise 2-10 psi/hour per Allen's briefing this afternoon

Given that the pressure transducers (I presume they are using multiple units, preferably not from the same manufacturer and averaging the readings) in the wellhead will probably be rated to read over a range of 0 to 20,000 psi then a drift of 0.01 - 0.05% per hour is well within the error bars given the environment, line noise etc. A significant and continuing drop in the readings (say 50 - 100psi/hr) would be more worrying at this stage.

If shut in at 6700 psi, it is probably about another 3000 psi to bottom at 13000'. That would put the bottom hole pressure at about 9700 psi, which is about 2200 psi below the initial reservoir pressure of 11900 psi, but probably still well above the bubble point of the oil. My WAG for oil compressibility is about 70 ppm per psi. Multiply that pressure drawdown by the compressibility and it would say that there has been about 15% depletion if there is good pressure communication in the reservoir. That seems pretty unlikely to me. There has probably been somewhere between 3 and 6 MMBO lost and that would leave a reservoir size of only 20 - 40 MMBO. Seems kinda small, but not impossible. I think it more likely that the formation is charging some overlying sands. If so, it ought to be possible to hear the leak from the relief well borehole.

Right on. I plugged the number in a spreadsheet and I'm getting less than 50 million barrels. Don't have enough data to bother to run a full model anyway. And if it's cross flow to a sand just below the relief well TD, they maybe able to pick it up. But as far as I know they haven't run the tools. This is really silly, they got two shut in wells sitting there, and they're wasting the chance, I think.

Depletion, shape factor, and cross flow. I don't know what "wellbore damage" means in this context. In the business, we use the term for damage very close to the well, and this signal disappears within seconds - in other words, the wellbore damage we are used to describe with those words has already impacted the pressure signal, and we're way past it.

Maybe they are referring to wellbore damage as in the steel in the well is all junk. But this doesn't really alter the signal. So maybe they told the admiral the well is just sanding up and it clogged up the channel where the well was producing. But they should use that term then, "the well may be sanding up".

On the other hand, Shape factor could be doing it. Imagine the reservoir looks like a very long skinny hot dog. In this case, the pressure field has an odd shape, and the oil trying to come towards the well to fill the void left by the oil they produced, and which is what builds up the pressure, is constrained by having to move through this narrow hot dog (rather than say a nice pancake shaped reservoir).

This is a little bit of a special field, I don't consider myself an expert in it, but the quotes I've picked up from some experts quoted in the media tell me they're really lost. I can freelance with my comments. But you wouldn't catch me saying some of the looney tunes stuff I've heard on TV.

Relax everyone------- that sees something hasn't added up since this spill began. I sent a plan to BP which would have made it possible to completely contain the leak over six weeks ago. Their reply was they already have a similar plan and may implement it. Except one thing didn't add up. If they already had my plan why didn't they have this leak contained two weeks after it started. Seems to me Matt Simmons may not be to far off except for the A-bomb thing. Why would anyone place a bomb over a volcano. Not a good idea, can anyone follow up on what may happen if they did? Maybe the riots in the streets would have been more likely if people realized that there is a volcano spewing in the gulf that is pushing oil. I notice that my plan I sent to BP hasn't been answered yet which involves capturing tremendous amounts of oil daily (free standing system attached to large tanker only)and processing it on site into oil for transport and that was sent many weeks ago. I believe this problem is in the final stages of being completely solved even though what we see is not what is truly happening. Getting harder to get on this site so everyone have a good day.

SOP answer from BP...if for no other reason than they don't want to have to pay somebody for an idea.....and I'm not sure I blame them for that since they probably have hundreds (if not more) of engineer types doing the "outside the box" brainstorming excercizes ever since this started...and they're paying them! Just a thought.....

Google Newton and Leibniz. I would save my records for a share of the credit if this maps out. They could not hide using your design forever if you originated it. Personally, I am thinking there might have been a handful of truly unique and workable ideas. The minute they got a workable idea, an expert would edit it. It would just not be worth it to not throw you a parade or something. They would benefit from such press, I promise.

You've got that right TinFoil!!! They would benefit from ANY decent/positive press these days and they'll need all they can get!!

I sent a plan to BP which would have made it possible to completely contain the leak over six weeks ago...

My friend, please reread this, from a couple of weeks ago:

Arrogance and Scientific Rules of Thumb
Posted by Gail the Actuary on July 5, 2010 - 10:16am

I often get irritated when I read poorly informed discussions of scientific and engineering issues. Why? I think it’s the arrogance. That arrogance comes in several forms:

Hey, you science guys! You’ve got something wrong!

I’ve figured out a solution for a problem that other people seem to find difficult.

No, I didn’t have to check what’s been done before.

Ah... a 'psychological profile' of unexplained confidence/arrogance outside one's realm of knowledge. Perhaps someone's already described this extensively?
Dunning Kruger Effect

Oops, I guess this makes me a 'Captain Wikipedia'. So it goes.

For all its wonderfulness, the tone of TOD is sometimes the intersection of Texas-oil-rig-swagger meets Aspergers. Especially during the past couple of months. Thanks to all of you who do better, informing without castigating.

Dimitry--- IMO Absolute pressure exceeds gauge pressure by around 15psi at the surface. At 5000' it is around 22500psi, but this seawater weight does not apply if BOP is closed and formation pressure is felt on the bottom of blind ram. The reduced formation pressure is probably the answer to my question.

It is what the gauges are actually reporting, I think. To get ~6700 psia, the gauges should be reporting 8950 psig.

Prior the BOP inlet was at 4400 psia.

It is what the gauges are actually reporting, I think. To get ~6700 psia, the gauges should be reporting 8950 psig.

Prior the BOP inlet was at 4400 psia.

That depends on how the gauges are constructed. In this environment gauges that are internally compensated for ambient pressure are absolutely essential for chores such as the hydraulic pressures of the ROV equipment. It would be insane to have do that math constantly to account for their depth.

Of course their pressure transducers would also be reading absolute pressure, for the same reasons. Some of them might be downhole. How could you even know what the ambient pressure might be below the mudline a few thousand feet? They aren't using cheap gauges like you would find at a hardware store down there.


It is a non-trivial task to construct a pressure resistant gauge to measure absolute in multi-ksi environment. I also don't think they use a conventional gauge to measure reservoir pressure.

I would ask those who have worked with underwater instrumentation to clarify if the gauges uses are "A" or "G" and if the numbers being reported are always absolute (published numbers for the BOP are, for example).

What else would you use in that environment? The pressure would crush a regular gauge, let alone worrying about what it reads.

A standard analog gauge like the kind they read on the ROV feeds is a "psig" gauge. That's the reason it doesn't get crushed

You have to add ambient pressure to get the "psia" reading.

"Psia" underwater gauge would have a thick steel pressure resistant vessel, so it doesn't get crushed, vacuum inside and typically no large glass readout window. Certainly an electronic one can be constructed this way.

BP Can't Rule Out Hidden Leak in Gulf Well After Pressure Test, Allen Says


Better a hidden leak down below somewhere than a big out in the open one in my opinion. They had better not open up the floodgates again because of a possible leak into another formation somewhere below.

Last I heard it was going to take a few days before they'd be able to capture everything once the test is over. If that's the case, I agree that there's going to be hell to pay. And rightly so.

Yeah, the villagers will be in the streets with torches and pitchforks burning things down.

I wonder if the gendarmes etc. are prepping for that possibility.

The Whale is a bust... I am glad that coast guard and BP put them to task on their claim and try it out first before awarding them a contract.. A lot of folk market unproven solution that is nothing more than raising people hope and trying to cash in the disaster...


HOUSTON — A Taiwanese-owned "super skimmer" ship sent to help clean up the Gulf of Mexico oil spill has collected virtually no oil in two weeks of tests, a U.S. Coast Guard official said on Friday.

"All we found in the tanks was water, so it was very ineffective," Coast Guard Rear Admiral Paul Zunkunft, federal on-scene coordinator, told a news briefing.

The 1,100-foot "A Whale," an ore and oil carrier refitted for skimming, was sent by TMT Shipping Offshore to help clean up oil spewing since April 20 from BP's blown-out Macondo well.

The vessel arrived the first week of July in search of a contract with BP and began undergoing tests, which were hampered at first by bad weather. Conditions have since improved, and the tests have continued.

"The results are the amount of oil recovered by the A Whale is nil," Zunkunft said.

TMT billed the ship, which skims oil through horizontal slits on its sides, as a vessel that could collect up to 500,000 barrels of contaminated water per day.

Zunkunft said part of the challenge for the A Whale was maneuvering a large vessel to pick up scattered patches of oil, many no larger than a kitchen table. It also was not equipped with suction but let oily water in the slits as it sailed.

When I saw the design of the ship, with the large "slits" in the forward part, I realized that "A Whale" would only be able to suck significant quantities of oil if the patches were large and on the surface.

But the use of dispersants at the wellhead prevents the formation of large surface slicks -- IMO the "clouds" or "plumes" found underwater are oil broken up by dispersants -- so there is little for "A Whale" to scoop.

"A Whale" would have worked if you had very large surface slicks AND there were support "boom" vessels that would have steamed ahead and to the side of "A Whale" pulling booms attached between them and "A Whale" that would gather and funnel the oil towards the slits.

An oil tanker masquerading as a skimmer. The irony of that symbol is too much. Add in the "hey, mister, can you spare a dime" down and out oil tanker aspect of it, and it's funny. Then considder that one man's flim flammery blinded millions to just how preposterous the whole concept was, and it's impressive.

Now we find out it did not even have suction. And exactly what did the bloated crew of 35 hands do?

The owner or skipper or whoever pulled this one together has shown great capacity for creative thinking and outstanding flim flammery skills, but he's probably burdened from carrying around those extremely large balls. I bet they never tested it till the coast guard took them out.

For the last few weeks, BP has been offering signing bonuses and lucrative pay to prominent scientists from public universities around the Gulf Coast to aid its defense against spill litigation.
BP PLC attempted to hire the entire marine sciences department at one Alabama university, according to scientists involved in discussions with the company's lawyers. The university declined because of confidentiality restrictions that the company sought on any research.
The Press-Register obtained a copy of a contract offered to scientists by BP. It prohibits the scientists from publishing their research, sharing it with other scientists or speaking about the data that they collect for at least the next three years.
"We told them there was no way we would agree to any kind of restrictions on the data we collect. It was pretty clear we wouldn't be hearing from them again after that," said Bob Shipp, head of marine sciences at the University of South Alabama. "We didn't like the perception of the university representing BP in any fashion."


I want to point the Oil Drum community to a NY Times Article today:

Results Called Ambiguous as Test Continues on BP’s Well
Published: July 16, 2010

It has some key notable sentences.

Admiral Allen said that such a pressure buildup suggested that the well was not damaged. But he said that the pressure level reached — about 6,700 pounds per square inch, or more than 450 times atmospheric pressure — was below that expected for an intact well.

One explanation for the ambiguity, he said, is that the reservoir of oil 13,000 feet below the seabed could have been depleted by the well as it galloped out of control for nearly three months. But another possibility is that the well is breached, with oil and gas escaping into the rock or, worse, into the gulf through the sea floor.

Earlier in Washington, President Obama said the new cap — which was used to shut the flow of oil into the gulf for the first time since the disaster began — was “good news,” but cautioned against concluding that the corner had been turned. He said it was still possible for there to be complications that “could be even more catastrophic” than the original leak.

Hmmm.... Admiral Allen saying a possiblity well is breach? Oil & Gas escaping through the sea floor? Obama saying "complications could be even more catastrophic than the original leak?

These guys are starting to sound like Matt Simmons.

Shrug. Everybody around here knew that stuff going into the test. No mention of methane tsunamis or volcanoes, though.

Sounds like they are just being cautious...They can't be definitive because they can't be definitive because they can't be definitive...

Grabbed from IRC channel


Kent Wells Technical Briefing, 5:30PM CDT, 2010/07/16

Transcribed by Steve Friedl [SJFriedl] - steve atsign unixwiz.net

Note: These are on-the-fly paraphrases, not direct quotes!

* Introduction by Mr. Ordony (sp?), we have 15 mins on this call.
* Kent Wells: Good afternoon/evening everyone. I have to believe that most of you heard Adm. Allen's teleconf earlier today
* Mostly will hear same thing from me
* Close working relationship with 6-hour consulting group
* First relief well finished open-hold ranging run
* pulling stuff, drilling 30 more feet, then another ranging run
* Intercept point at end of july, kill/cement after that
* Continuing with monitoring well, no evidence of no integrity
* Let me talk about how the test is going: it's going as planned, pressure continues to slowly rise as predicted by some of the modeling work
* First, measuring temperature of the casing just below the BOP
* When the well is flowing, the heat that comes up w/ oil+gas from deep down warms up the wellbore, so when there is no flow the temp decreases
* Recording temp while flowing, now when it's stopped
* Temp has stabilized to ambient - this is good
* One thing to look for, stuff coming up and then looping back down the casing. We don't think this is happening
* Acoustic sensors, listening for sounds associated with flow. Don't hear anything
* 2 ROVs around the wellbore, each scanning 180degrees. Watching for any breach - the most sensitive area
* They have yet to see anything
* [Kent wells tech briefing]
* 4 ROVs scanning around 4 quadrants around the well looking for seepage
* Ran seismic runs, this morning second one. Got prelim analysis, haven't seen ANY indication from 1st to 2nd that there is oil or gas escaping
* [emph on ANY]
* No evidence that the well lacks integrity. W'ere monitoring everything
* Working w/ NOAA and others to scan seafloor, coupla other vessels to help
* Need to be careful w/ too many vessels that frequencies don't intefere
* Let me talk about tests and pressures
* Talked over time: if we ran this test and the pressure didn't get to 5kpsi, it would be clear that we had no integrity
* We also said that if pressure >8kpsi (really 7500psi) it would say we do have integrity under any scenario
* Between 6-7.5 pounds there are a coupla scenarious that could explain this, have to analyse
* You heard Adm Allen talk about depetion: when a well flows for some time like this, pressure won't build up as much
* Also, if there is no integrity but no depletion, that could explain it too
* Done modelling under numerous scenarious
* Pressure buildup we've seen is consistent with well integrity and full integrity. But these asre very subtle changes, the longest we monitor these trends the more confidence we have
* The longer we have no sign of no integrity, the more we think we may
* 6720psi
* build 2psi per hour
* that follows the models of a depeleted reservoir
* monitoring it carefully, consulting w/ unified command and govt and ourselves, every 6 hours
* Poised if we need to move immediately if we see something bad
* Start containment in controlled manner can be done quickly [didn't say how quickly]
* initially would involve venting to the gulf, we hope we don't need to
* open to questions
* Q from Times Picayune
* Are you still in a position tomorrow at the 48 hour point to declare that the well had integrity?
* Second, if well is in fact shut in going forward, what does this say about efforts to determine the flow rate
* A: Adm Allen said it: every 6 hours we look at all info, make decisions going forward
* only answering one question each [skipped the good question]
* Q from AP: Anything we can be watchful for this evening? Any major decisions?
* (they keep asking about this 48 hour thing, it's now event based)
* A IF we noticed an anomaly, we would immediately issue a press release
* No news is good news
* Q from KHOU-TV: What's the liklihood of, and what goes into the decision-makiing process, if the test goes to 48 hours and you think the well has integrity. Produce or not produce?
* We will look at every piece of data we have, looking to indicate any lack of integrity in the well, will look at what pressure is doing, what can we learn by leaving the well shut in, won't presuppose what decisions we will make. We'll look carefully
* Q from Hou Chronicle: Understand that every 6 hours is re-evaluation. Is it accurate to say that at 48 hours we could see the well remaining shut in until the relief wells? Is it on the table that the well will remain shut in?
* A We've agreed to do this 48 hour test, what we do from that point forward is made by unified comamnd. Yes, a possibility.
* (they have both answered that a bunch of times)
* Q from CNN: I understand depletion model, but based on what you've seen, what do you think the pressure will max out in this well?
* A Don't want to be too accurate on that, better positioned tomorrow. Building about 2psi/hr
* We should expect that this will decline, less and less buildup, but will continue to build up to final pressure over a number of days or weeks.
* Should be able to extrapolate better in a day or two
* Q Reuters: I just wann be really clear on this 48 hours
* (ugh)
* If results are still inconclusive, test could continue? Do you stop the test and decide to collect or keep shut in?
* A It's a condition-based process, no decision has been made about what will be done at the end of 48 hours
* A No decision has been made about what we do at the end of 6 or 8 hours
* Goals are to minimize polution and minimize risk
* what he SHOULD say: Give up on 48 hours
* Q ABC News: Does this mean that the pressure of 6700 psi means that the flow rate is less than we thought?
* A Dunno what flow rate you're referring to, nor have we been paying attention to flow rates during test. Monitoring pressures
* Want to avoid loss of integirty
* Last question from Bloomburg
* Q - Rise of pressure is consistent with model for depeltion. If this were a breach, how would the pressure curves be different?
* A If this were a real breach, pressure would rise and then flatline. That could happen at different points
* More importantly, you might see a drop - that's what we're
watching for
* Very encouraged when we didn't see that, especially early on
* Just trying to be really extra careful, not jumping to conclusions that we absolutely have integrity
* [that's all]

Next call, 7:30AM CDT tomorrow

Thanks for the transcript. Excellent.

This confirms for me that this is a data-driven process, and well thought out.

Thanks again.

All of the live feeds appear to have gone dark.

They are briefly coming back then dropping out again. Akamai problem hopefully.

Edit: all Feeds back for me now

PS Mods we need a new main topic Too many posts in this one.

I feel Simmons is playing a good game.

Keep the media attention on oil production/risks etc.

If you have to be a little craazy to keep the media/folks interested , so what.

Holy Cow! I just wanted to find out how the well was doing today. Geeeeeez Louise! Kinda concerned and kinda simple here.