BP's Deepwater Oil Spill - White House Press Secretary Gibbs Confirms "Ruptured Oil Well Leaking from Top" and a Seep Two Miles Away (and Open Thread 2)

This thread is being closed. Please comment on http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6753.

Because of the number of comments, this is a second copy of this post. The previous post can be found at http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6749.

The White House says the well is leaking at the top and a seep is 2 miles away. Here is the link: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38304846/.

At the end of last week, BP began the testing of the Deepwater well cap, closing all the valves and stopping the flow of oil and natural gas into the Gulf waters. With this cut-off in flow, the volumes to be collected at the surface are rapidly diminishing around the well, and the use, albeit controversial, of the dispersant at the same time as more of the oil was collected, means that the amount making it to the shore has also already diminished. So now the question becomes, does BP restart the collection process by re-opening valves to the surface vessels? It also opens the questions as to how much of the preventative work now being brought up to speed, is actually going to be needed.

The debate as to whether or not to re-open the well is illustrated by the comments by two of the main characters.

In his Sunday brief, Doug Suttles noted the success of the new cap, and the fact that there is no evidence of leakage from it. He had noted that the oil in the reservoir is hot, but by monitoring the temperature at the new cap, they had seen, over time, internal temperatures fall to those of the surrounding sea. This would indicate that hot oil is not still reaching the cap, and that fluid flow in the upper sections of the well has ceased.

At the same time the slow but steady increase in pressure within the well indicates that it has integrity, and is able to withstand the build-up in pressure as fluid accumulates around the well down at the level of the initial reservoir. Nevertheless, BP are continuing to monitor and run seismic surveys to make sure that there are no surprises.

On the other hand Admiral Allen sent a letter to BP on Sunday, that raises some new issues.

My letter to you on July 16, 2010 extended the Well Integrity Test period contingent upon the completion of seismic surveys, robust monitoring for indications of leakage, and acoustic testing by the NOAA vessel PISCES in the immediate vicinity of the well head. Given the current observations from the test, including the detected seep a distance from the well and undetermined anomalies at the well head, monitoring of the seabed is of paramount importance during the test period. As a continued condition of the test, you are required to provide as a top priority access and coordination for the monitoring systems, which include seismic and sonar surface ships and subsea ROV and acoustic systems.

When seeps are detected, you are directed to marshal resources, quickly investigate, and report findings to the government in no more than four hours. I direct you to provide me a written procedure for opening the choke valve as quickly as possible without damaging the well should hydrocarbon seepage near the well head be confirmed.

It seems that those who argue that there are possible leaks from the well into the surrounding sediment have found at least one politically powerful ally.

The phrasing of the letter is, however, a little odd – the “the detected seep a distance from the well and undetermined anomalies at the well head” section raise questions as to – what seep, at what distance? And what about “undetermined anomalies” if they aren’t determined are these the “unknown unknowns” we have been warned about in the past? And as comments have noted, there is the question of the legality of re-opening a well, and deliberately restarting to pollute the Gulf.

The press release that the Admiral also issued today expresses concern over the possibility of a sub-surface leak.

Work must continue to better understand the lower than expected pressure readings. This work centers on two plausible scenarios, depletion of oil from the reservoir and potential leakage caused by damage to the well bore or casing.

While we are pleased that no oil is currently being released into the Gulf of Mexico and want to take all appropriate action to keep it that way, it is important that all decisions are driven by the science. Ultimately, we must ensure no irreversible damage is done which could cause uncontrolled leakage from numerous points on the sea floor.

Do I detect the hidden hand of Dr Chu in that penultimate sentence? I notice that the option of cross-flow is not specifically mentioned as one of the alternatives, particularly near the reservoir, and I get the impression that it is only in the near surface that there is concern about leaks.

There is a second concern with the decision to re-open the well which makes this issue a bit of a hot potato. Whoever makes that decision, and BP seem to have made sure that it is the Admiral who must visibly make it, will be the individual that starts the oil flow back into the Gulf – and that won’t be popular.

Admiral Allen recognized that the flow would be restarted in his press release on Saturday

When this test is eventually stopped, we will immediately return to containment, using the new, tighter sealing cap with both the Helix Producer and the Q4000. Additional collection capacity of up to 80,000 barrels per day is also being added in the coming days.

Kent Wells, in his brief the same day noted that

if we do decide at any point either during the remainder of the test or following the test, that we want to open the well back up initially we will have to blow it back into the Gulf for some period of time, relevantly short period of time to bring the pressure down on the well so that we can then go in to our collection systems namely the (Q port) valves and the Helix Producer.

While I am not totally sure of the reason for the longer term period of oil release, there have been rumors of a three-day period, there is a relatively simple explanation as to why the pressure in the well has to be released before flow can start back up the riser lines to the vessels on the surface. If the valves between the well and the risers are opened with the well at pressure, then that pressure is immediately transferred to the fluid in the line, and a hydraulic shock, similar to that known as “water hammer,” will propagate down the fluid line. Although water hammer is usually seen when a valve suddenly shuts in a pressure line, the same sort of effect can occur when a sudden pressure pulse is applied to the fluid in a line of pipe.

The most dramatic example of that which I have personally encountered was when we were first removing explosive from a casing using a high-pressure waterjet lance, and the flow channel blocked. The resulting bang initially caused us to think that the explosive had reacted. But the round was still there and it was only when we looked at the hose, which had split in several places, and had both end fittings fail, that we realized what had happened. Having a similar failure in a hose carrying oil from the seabed to the surface would create a much greater problem and one much more difficult to fix than ours, which was working in the same sort of pressure range as the fluid contained in the well.

But the pressure can be lowered relatively rapidly over the course of time (a matter of minutes not days, in the same way that the flow was cut-off to the Gulf) so there may be some other issues that are not yet being made public. After all, with the cap holding some intermediate pressure, it is not necessary to vent fluid into the Gulf, as flow is allowed to the surface collection vessels, in a condition that would lower the well pressure from the current levels without putting oil into the water.

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White House says the well is leaking at the top and at a Seep 2 miles away. Not sure what they mean exactly by this statement:

Heading Out - Some of what you "know" is nonsense.

The primary issue with connecting to the surface is that the dissolved methane in the oil will come out of solution and change into a vapor state creating a two-phase flow in the riser pipe, the classic "champagne bottle effect". Are you recommending we start blowing methane foam all around on the surface near various ignition sources?

What you need is a course on DIERS! PRONTO! http://www.iomosaic.com/diersweb/home.aspx

The second reality is that every time you add another flow path to the surface, you also reduce the total flow resistance of the flow path from the reservoir to the collection point. So while you are collecting more, you are also producing more. Why do you think Chu had to apologize for making the top kill attempts MORE DIFFICULT in his interview with the New York Times? Wormholes anyone? Why do you think every time they add a new producing platform it never seems to be enough? Frigging Dumbass Government Bureaucrats (FDGB)!

my, what a bold statement. you got a solution or just trash talk?

Yeah! Friggin' governement dumbasses! Right on! Ummm, just to clarify... if the government had left them alone and, umm, you know, not regulated or anything, the Invisible Hand would've sorted all this sh-t out, the market would magically self-regulate because it's not in BP's best interests as a company to do anything half-assed or unsafe. Yes? But also, the government hasn't done anywhere near enough to sieze control of the situation and ride herd on the disaster and make everything sunshine and unicorns for everybody everywhere. OK! Got it!
So what Heading Out knows is nonsense? Really? You're not from around here, are ya boy?

Thanks, 7String. Was wondering if anyone saw it the same way since, for some time, now, I've been telling friends that this whole senario is the "marketing working its magic". Nice!

None of the discussions about liability, fines, lawsuits, or economic damages (and any strict liability of BP's co-owners, Mitsui and Anadarko) mean much UNTIL we know the details of the agreement with the Administration regarding the $20 billion compensation fund. I am at a loss to think of any constitutional authority for the President to set up and administer such a fund or process outside of the auspices of Congress or the Judiciary, but let's assume that is somehow permissible. What are the details of the arrangement? Let's see what they signed, and whether BP received anything in return for suspending the dividend and making these payments. I can't understand why there isn't any outrage over this.

There is much legal maneuvering going on, and all that is important, but in the end there is only so much money to be spread around. I think the ground rules have already been established.

I caught a few minutes of Fenstein(?) at a town hall on CSPAN. I have to admit, I don't know what to think. He seems to be saying, 'look, get someone to vouch for you, and I'll get you the money'. It's an extraordinary circumstance.

First, many thanks to all the knowledgeable people who have contributed to this forum. I'm infinitely wiser for having read their comments.

Second, I'm reading that oil seeps in the Gulf of Mexico are very common. One of the many articles on Google is this:


Can any of those familiar with the Gulf confirm this.......

Yes, it's undisputed that there are hundreds of known natural seeps on the Gulf floor.

More common that many would like to admit. Check the images on this post from NASA:

Remote-sensing scientists recently demonstrated that these “invisible” oil slicks do show up in photo-like images if you look in the right place: the sunglint region. This pair of images includes a wide-area view of the Gulf of Mexico from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite on May 13, 2006 (top), and a close up (bottom) of dozens of natural crude oil seeps over deep water in the central Gulf.


Sunglint can indeed betray the presence of large areas - actual lakes, even - of hydrocarbons:


Anyone know why BP stock dropped at about 3:15PM EDT?

BP Could Defer To Royalty Trust - WSJ

Edit: Oops, the first link I posted was to the paid side of WSJ. Here is the public one:


This story move on the wires at the same time as the Whitehouse story. Take your pick or both.

Edit 2: for some reason this link gets bounced to the paid side too. Google News for "BP Royalty Trust"

The lead:

A quick sale of its Alaskan assets to Apache would be a neat way for BP to raise cash. But there is no guarantee of that deal happening, so it is worth examining other options.

A possible route is one BP has taken before: the creation of a royalty trust. BP Prudhoe Bay Royalty Trust has been listed in New York (ticker: BPT) since 1989.

Just going by the headlines on BBERG, seems to be worry over seep, talks with Apache on Prudhow Bay stake have been said to stall, worries over cost, liabilities and whether latest fix will hold until a RW is in place.


WASHINGTON (AP) -- A White House spokesman says BP's ruptured oil well is leaking at the top, along with seepage about two miles away.

I guess this guy is on the GOP payroll, hurting President Obama's reputation this way.

The well is leaking at the new quick-disconnect joint, but I guess it is OK?

They are watching it rather closely on the ROV feed.

Dumb question:

Where is the wellhead?

Where the pipe enters the ground? (Indicating possible leak from the well into the ground)

Or further up? (Such as in the quick-disconnect joint)

Thank you

I am not an oil person, so I take the "wellhead" to mean the upper section of the pipe at "mudline", just below the entry point to the BOP and anything else they have on top.

I guess this guy is on the GOP payroll, hurting President Obama's reputation this way.

Might as well be. They are working so hard to convince the public that the government is riding herd on BP, but the actual effect is to convince the public that everything is still going wrong, when it's probably going quite well.

I am disappointed that I didn't get listed as a BP apologist. If BP finds out they might dock my pay.

If they dock you anymore you will end up paying them to work!!

Bravo, STA! Your sense of humor gets a 100+ from me.

Speaker: I still luv ya. Heck the other STA are favs of mine t: Dr. Doolittle and Tarzan. I'll drop a few ducats in your box when you are sitting with your sign on the corner begging.

Hurting big O's reputation at this point seems to me about like his cutting his right foot and complaining about the pain. To solve the pain issue he shoots his left foot to make the right one feel better, relatively speaking, and then blames God for the precondtion of nerve endings. It wouldn't be appropriate to call him an idiot. After all, he is our leader out of this mess, right? :)

quite right. i'm sure you could do much better and proly have the results to show.

The Houston Chronicle had an online poll (obviously not a scientific poll) a few weeks ago that asked whether BP should be banned from operating in the US, presumably especially in US waters. The vote was evenly divided. I suspect that if one now polled large oil companies in the US, a majority opinion would be in favor of banning BP from ever again operating in US waters. Just my guess, but I suspect that this a rare situation where a major oil company is as unpopular in the boardroom of the Houston Petroleum Club as in the boardroom of Greenpeace.

In any case, as we hopefully look forward to the point in time when we can bid BP adieu as an operator in US waters, I suggest that we consider a version of the following song:

"So long, farewell"

I suspect that if one now polled large oil companies in the US, a majority opinion would be in favor of banning BP from ever again operating in US waters. Just my guess, but I suspect that this a rare situation where a major oil company is as unpopular in the boardroom of the Houston Petroleum Club as in the boardroom of Greenpeace.

This is an excellent point, one Rockman has made before. Basically, BP "sh*t the bed." They ruined it for everyone, and they did so for the lamest of reasons, or in the lamest of ways.

Rogue operators are a danger to industry as much as they are to everyone else, and the record is certainly strong enough to suggest that BP may indeed have been a rogue-type operator, by design, not by accident. It is one of the issues Obama's task force will be looking at.

Edited - clarity.

BP Sh*t the bed. And it is still sh*tting the bed or acting like it might.

So why do so many people on this board blame the government for the way the government has gone about cleaning the sheets and gone about trying to protect what is left of the mattress?

I guess the government couldn't come up with a good enough washing machine after we found out BP's was broken.

Julie Andrews is a BP apologist!

(or, ain't it funny how everyone in Austria speaks with a British accent)

And she speaks to animals too!

Reuters news alert:

BP (BP/ LN) says scientists conclude seabed seepage not related to Macondo well, naturally occurring Mon, 20:41 19-07-2010

It'd be good to get confirmation from Thud.

So the Gulf's not about to explode any more? Phew! :-)

There's no further info on the seep in this, but it discusses the stock's performance today, Apache buying BP's Prudhoe Bay ops, etc.

BP says seepage unrelated to blown Gulf well


repent! repent! and so forth

whose scientists?

Thad Allen confirmed not related to Macondo.

The same BP that blew up the Texas City refinery? The same BP that was cited for over 700 safety violations from that 2005 explosion still unfixed in October 2009? The same BP that lied until forced under oath that they ignored advice from Halliburton about the condition of the cement? The same BP that has tens of billions of dollars in incentives to say that seep must be natural or else they have to pay for it?

Excuse me if I find the credibility of your source lacking. I coached kids whose daddies died or were injured in that Texas City blast. BP is not loved around Houston. They are and always have been shoddy operators and known liars and in fact, the attitude around here is BP had (and still has) it coming.

I think every single thing BP says has to be taken with a huge grain of salt. Their record speaks for itself in terms of safety violations and deaths. I'm not suggesting anything crazy, just that we (folks from south of Houston) know that BP lies. They've lied before many times and I expect them to lie again. And again.

By the way, did BP ever release the geological data about this well and this field for independent analysis and confirmation? Or are we still all relying on a company full of pathological liars for what's going on here?

Please excuse my bitterness. SOBs that kill people tend to leave me disliking those same SOBs.

Please excuse my bitterness.

NO!... excuses needed...

BP IS the criminal here... and don't the rest of you even bother replying with a sophistry of legalese and slicing the bread of the criminal code so thin you can read newspaper through it...

(and there's another high profile leak in recent past in alaska... mostly due to neglect of maintenance)


tony hayward... tony "i want my life back" hayward... HE's the first guy they sent over... does he represent "BP"... well duhhh... he's like the CEO...

tony "i want my life back" hayward... these kids... who lost their daddies... who's gonna give THEM their lives back...

did tony "it's a big ocean... so the spill will..." hayward toss a few mill to those kids' "lives"...

there's another 11 lives now and their families lost from this one... and the "walking wounded"... how many now too old or too anything-else to start over... will be on the streets... hitting the bottle... or worse... from loss of livelihood... oh the cnn cameras will be long gone by then...

while tony "it's a big ocean... so the spill will..." hayward... watches his $750M yacht round the coasts of england... ironic... wouldn't it have been had this thing been the worst case scenario... and tarballs started washing up in good 'ole england...

and how many of us... right now... SECRETLY... dream... WE TOO... may be watching OUR yacht... in a very respectable tourney... ah yes... keep the dream alive... although about as probable as being the next michael jordan... that... like... warren buffet... are only a few stock picks away from the NEXT BILLIONiare... i mean... JUST ASK CRAMER...

i guess it has to hit home... for it to hit home for most folk...

and my friend... hats off to you and those kids...

and maybe... just a few of them... will chart a very different course for their generation... one can only hope...

Good to hear from you GreyZOne.

I agree 100%.

Long time since I seen a post by you. Perhaps I missed a few what with the newbish crowd here now.

How is it established that a seep is not related to a well? It would seem very easy to unfairly dismiss a false negative as it is to imply a false positive. Just because there are many natural seeps does not disqualify the possibility of a well-related seep. In fact, we know that both occur.

How can it be determined that a seep announced by the US Government, that paragon of vigilance, and BP, that paragon of trustworthiness, is not in fact a response to capping Macondo?

BP shares all over the lot, with rumours of earth cracks, leakage at the top of the stack, suspended updates pushing it sharply lower, then rallying just as fast as BP states earth leakage is natural event.

Just curious - is BSing about tech issues actionable if it seems a company is using it to hold up share value? Seems to me, it should count just as bad or worse as lying about assets and liabilities, etc!

lol, let us know when you hear of someone from Goldman having action taken against them.

I have taken no sides on Simmons "Issue" on TOD.

I think it would be helpful to separate his more extreme pronoucements from the serious issue of underwater disperesed oil.

I am sure that BP/govenment would like nothing better than having all the discussions of underwater oil dispersal and concentrations to be lumped together with "bottle rocket BOPs" and "Hurricane Infernos".

However, the choice to disperse the oil, which I think aids in keeping it underwater, in variable concentrations and over fairly or very large volumes, is an issue that should be discussed.

The background to this is the VERY SLOW process that NOAA has followed in releasing the underwater study reports, except for the TJ one. The link I posted in the prior version of this thread states that BP gets this information upfront.

Until we get more reliable data on leaks and why the slow pressure increase we must keep the cap on. It is clear we have leaks and we need to get a better idea on where they are located.

See how easy it is to get things backwards?

Remember, the objective of the test was to establish whether there is well integrity. The primary variable being measured was wellhead pressure. The lowest "safe" limit for declaring the test objectives "met" (i.e. answering the question of well integrity in the positive) was 8,000 psia. The pressure reached was only 6,800 psia. Therefore the answer the test gave us is "well integrity HAS NOT been established".

If the well integrity has not been established, the test is REQUIRED to be stopped immediately, as it is continuously endangers the very quality it is executed to establish. Keeping the well under pressure beyond the minimum time required to answer the test objective serves no technical purpose and carries signficant risk.

Yet you and many others fail to recognize the simple logic inherent in the above two paragraphs, logic familiar to anyone who has ran actual engineering tests that cost real money and are required to produce real, reliable results.

Why do you suppose that is?

Dimitry, Kent Wells said above 8000 psia there was no question of well integrity and below 6000psia the well was sure to be leaking. He went on to say between those points, casing integrity had to be determined by analysis and modeling. The test plan took into consideration the intermediate values. Keeping the well shut in if it is within a safe pressure (defined by BP and govt not by armchair engineers) serves the purpose of keeping the oil in the well rather all over the GoM. Producing the oil into the Helix or burning it on Q4000 presents real risks that must be weighed against continued shut in - they were acceptable before because there was no alternative.

PS in the closed thread (http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6749#comment-681697) I mentioned abiotic oil as a joke. Please don't think I am a total idiot.

One other point: I don't know where the 8000 psi came from, but that had to assume almost no depletion, and no crossflow, and full integrity. Evidently 8000 psi would have given them 100 % assurance the well was buttoned up tight - it would also have been a blessing for BP, because such a high pressure supports a very low cumulative production from the well.

The 6800 psi is quite reasonable. As I've asked before, it's very hard to envision why a leak would take place two miles away - if it's from the well. A leak from the well ought to come in within a mile radius (and I'm being ultra generous when I say a mile).

Actually 8,000 does allow for depletion because full integrity would be closer to 9,000 psi

Here we go, "normaliztion of error" at work in front of our eyes.

To refresh 8 ksi was the lowest number to unambiguosly establish well integrity. 8-9 ksi range was given. Since this was test pushed for by BP management, one is safe in assuming that the number engineering wanted was 9 ksi, and 8 ksi is what management finagled out of them over some torture sessions. Happens all the time.

Next come the actual results 6.8 ksi. Well, that's just 0.8 ksi above their own "definitely a leaker" threshold of 6 ksi, but never mind! Lets look for a way to "OK" the 6.8 ksi as "the new normal"!

Lets see...first lets redo the 8 ksi as "fantastically good", the best "gold star" level. That gets rid of 1 ksi, for which BP engineering put up a good fight, to be sure. Then, lets do a bunch of exotic suppositions - comparmentalization, re-charge delay, cross-flow, larger than expected depletion, whatever. None of these things can be measured directly, and none of them can be modeled with certainty. But hey, if you really, really want the results to be good, you will just have to assume that these things are really responsible for the low pressure and not some prosaic, unpleasant leak.

So, to sum up, we get a bad result, rewrite the agreed upon rules, come out with a number of unverifieable assumptions backed up by uncheckable analysis and declare the actual bad results to be "almost certainly good". We then proceed AS IF we got an actual GOOD result in the 8+ ksi range. We proceed as if we actually established well integrity - this is normalization of error. It is the most often responsible for really bad errors that result in disasters - the two space shuttle disasters come to mind, undescoring the possibilityt that organizatins can repeat the same methodological mistake twice.

The really weird thing to me, is that there is a spectacular lack of realization that an analagous process lead to BP original blow out.

It's not normalization of error it's understanding the numbers and the risks.. You seem to forget that 8K PSI was best case . 6.8K PSI is 85% of that best case figure. That's pretty darn good considering they don't know a lot of things. I suspect that they have modeled the 6.8K number and found it's in a reasonable risk range, at least it's not 10K PSI which would burst the stack. Lower is better in this case,and it's not too low.

Remember risk is about what consequences to you think might happen IF the risk comes true and the magnitude of those consequences. Keeping the well capped will help the bottom kill which is the ultimate success so keeping the cap is risk mitigation for the end game even though there is some riks to keeping it on.

So at this time the overall risks are acceptable, and there is NO data that proves cross flow or leak. If the want to know the resivoir pressure they can check the RW. The RW is pretty close the same depth so pressures are within a few percent of the WW. If there was CLEAR evidence that the stack needed to be opened the Gov't would over-rule BP.

Sorry, you have NASA in your name but no precision in your game.

Read the preceding posts carefully. 8 ksi was not the "BEST" number it was the "WORST" number for establishing unambiguous well integrity. See how you flipped things around, because you really WANT a particular result? 9 ksi was the "BEST" number, but we don't talk about it anymore.

8 ksi would have been acceptable with reasonable assumptions on reservoir depletion and other pressure reducing phenomena. But that was the cutoff. Below that the results were to be interpreted with additinal analysis and assumptions down to 6 ksi, when they would be unambiguously BAD with no additional work able to "rescue" them.

The results received are closer to the BAD threshold than to the minimally acceptable GOOD threshold. But since you really want the results to be GOOD you look for and find reasons (not part of the original threshold definitions) that you can use to re-define the results as GOOD or even VERY GOOD, depending on your levels of desperation and rhetorical skill. But that is not science and engineering, it is PR and psychological manipulation of a desperate public.

It's like talking to a feeaking wall, you don't understand a damned thing about Risk. I've only been doing Risk Assessments and Mitigation for MUCH more complex systems where human LIFE was at risk and for a long time. All you want to do is beat up on BP.

Numerous logical fallacies at play here.

NASAWatch seize:

It's like talking to a feeaking wall, you don't understand a damned thing about Risk. I've only been doing Risk Assessments and Mitigation for MUCH more complex systems where human LIFE was at risk and for a long time. All you want to do is beat up on BP.

Yeah, me too, except in the nuclear business. A lot of the technology used in the nuclear probabilistic risk assessment business was developed at NASA.

A brief history lesson: NASA was wondering why their rockets kept blowing up on the launch pads, so they started doing risk assessments. They figured out their systems were WAY TO COMPLICATED to work, considering all the different ways their systems could fail, then they started doing risk analysis. They used this analysis to change the designs of their rockets to reduce the likelihood of failure. They kinda wrote the book on risk analysis.

By the way, they did a probabilistic risk assessment on the space shuttle. They figured out that the space shuttle should fail (with loss of the life of the crew) about once every 50 to 100 missions. Turned out, they were right.

The Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster was the 51st mission. Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Shuttle_Challenger_disaster

The Space Shuttle Columbia Disaster was the 107th mission. Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Shuttle_Columbia_disaster

You gotta admire the folks that climb into those rockets, considering that there is about a 1 in 50 chance they will get killed on their mission.

I hope we learn enough from the Deepwater Horizon disaster to lower the odds of something like that happening again.

All you want to do is beat up on BP.
You've got that right, as to dimitri and syncro.
Competent leadership rule #1: Don't demonize, demoralize, disorganize, and destroy the ONE GROUP WHO CAN SAVE YOUR SORRY POLITICAL/IDEOLOGUE ASS, and save our gulf...
BP has been the ONE Competent, honest, ethical actor in this whole sorry mess.
First the Haliburton cement job failed, then the TransOcean rig/crew failed to detect/stop the well kickback, then the TransOcean owned/maintained/operated BOP failed to either disconnect the riser or contain the blowback.
The Obama MMS approved every detail of the failed rig/BOP, and every detail of the well design...
If any aspect of the rig, well, equipment, drillers, procedures were inadequate, the Dems had 4 years to fix it, but failed to protect American waters.
Then our incompetent Fed Govt was COMPLETELY incompetent/unprepared for the spill.
Then our corrupt Fed Govt ILLEGALLY, UNETHICALLY, IMMORALLY reneged on the Dem 1990 Oil Pollution act, and bullied/threatened/extorted BP into waiving the contracted for $75 million cap on liability.

Despite being surrounded by incompetent/unethical/obstructing Govt drones, and demagogue Dems, BP has heroically and stoically worked 24/7 to fix this accident.
Good for BP.

Ayn Rand would be proud of your, loyal soldier! March on to shine the beneficence of corporate fraud, malfeasance and greed on the unwashed masses and incompetent government.

All bow to the great paragon of virtue that is BP. Please, those losers who have had the temerity to receive any money from BP, supposedly to pay for lost livelihoods, return it immediately - you are not worthy to kiss the ground their great executives walk on.

See my post above about sh*tting in the bed.

Puff puff pass, my brother! I need some of that chronic wacky sh-t you're smoking.

I think this is well into shroom territory.

Just ask Alice, BP are wonderful folks.

*choke* *cough cough*
Nope, still don't see BP as the one ethical player. Maybe if I smoke some more and read "Atlas Shrugged" backwards...

I think the time is past to 'blame' anyone. We can all take some responsibility for this. I don't drive a car, but my bathroom is full of plastic bottles. And anyway, we don't have to worry about BP, BP is safe, they have an off market arrangement to supply the US military with fuel. The Gulf is dead. That is significant. The Niger Delta is dead. It didn't hurt Royal Dutch Shell. I guess the point is now that all the kings horses and all the kings men will not put the Gulf together again. If you could get your heads out of the riser pipe for a minute and look around the Gulf, you might have noticed that every 10 months an area the size of Manhattan disappears because there is not enough flow coming out of the Mississippi to maintain the delta. So much of the River has been diverted. So, what about the relief wells?
BP has just made a necessity of a new kind of 'product' collection. It is called.... Plug the gulf and fill it with oil and sip it out with a straw. These are the limits of technology. You are just wasting your time bashing BP. I know lots of nice people who care about wildlife and the environment. They just don't put 2 and 2 together. Hooked on oil. Sniffing too much gas. As for the woman who was wondering whether to leave Florida... where in the world would she go?? It is all poisoned. We have been living off the natural capital for so long. Now we have really shit in our own water. BP and Royal Dutch Shell, Exon, Chevron etc. have only taken advantage of the worst in humans. Too bad we had to kill all the other animals just doing their animal stuff. We are not innocent of this. Blame yourself, take the log out of your own eye first. Blame me if you want to. Blaming anyone won't help. What about the relief wells? Is this a high in the sky apple pie hope? What is the next plan? Any thoughts? Besides blaming the government and BP. Look in the mirror and they get back to life and the difficulties before us. Please. Hope is only hope when all possibilitys of hope are lost.

ann, government research states that 99% by volume of all oil in the GOM waters comes natural seeps -- mother nature feeding the GOM oil!


I think your later post (saying that production of the test plan, results, and modeling is necessary) is on the mark -- certainly it seems that's what you need in order to be convinced. But you overstate your case when you describe the test as categorically failed, because neither you nor I actually know the details of the test nor the test success criterion.

The 8000-9000 target is what a VP gave in a 15-minute news briefing as "this would be a good result, this would be a bad result". If I recall correctly, the 8000-9000 psi statements came before the government delayed the test asking BP to go through the various outcomes that they might see from the test. The fact is, they apparently spent some time going through simulations, possible measurements, and what those results might mean.

I don't know whether they wrote those results down as a test plan you would find acceptable, or whether the results that we currently see are in line with the predictions. But guess what: you don't know, either.

Since BP doesn't really publish their internal documents and since the time line argues against any kind of standard test planning/documentation/review cycle, I would expect the "test plan" to have been some glossy powerpoint slides presented to the higherups and government bigwigs, with a verbal discussion, probably captured with meeting notes. Since none of this is available, and a very haphazard, halting process of lurching forward a day at a time is unfolding, replete with legally threatening letters, I suspect none of this has actually been planned in any sense of the word.

One glaring example - BP promised the government to raise the pressure gradually, checking with the government every step of the way. I believe a six hour review cycle was mentioned. They apparently couldn't do that - they close the system in one shot and the pressure went up to 95% of the current value within an hour.

The thing is Dimitry, it's obvious most of these people haven't been engineers inside big corporations. I worked in big corporations for 12 years as an engineer and then started my own company and acted as a consultant to big corporations for the next 18 years. I worked at Tracor in the mid-80s and watched the Govt and McDonnell Douglas ignore a documented design flaw cause burn in test failures for a counter measures system (ALE-45) that went in the F-15. The reason they ignored the problem was because Tracor didn't want to retrofit 100 airplanes and neither did the govt. The only way they could get by their own DCAS rules was to simply ignore them. The reason was that the Air Force didn't want a $70,000 box holding up delivery of a $15m aircraft. No matter that the problem put the life of the pilot in jeopardy when the ALE-45 shut down due to a BIT failure.

Management always lies and spins what engineering says when they don't like what engineering says. This is why I started my own company. At least as a consultant, if they ignored me, I could fire them as a customer and have no qualms about it. As an employee I was always conflicted over my job security. Of course some times ignoring me wasn't a problem because I wasn't always telling them something bad, just something they might want to do differently. There is a big difference. When you have a company selling known bad goods and covering up for it like Sun did back in the late 90s with their Sparc II CPUs, you really generate bad will when the truth comes out. Look where Sun is today, nearly dead and that was the start of their demise.

"Management always lies and spins what engineering says when they don't like what engineering says."

I know this won't be popular on this engineer dominated board - but believe it or not - by the time issues reach management - most issues are not black or white --- there is a whole lot of gray and decisions need to be made based on a multitude of competing factors. Meanwhile -- some engineers who have put their heart into their work (or is it their left brain) - don't like the answer and suddenly management "always lies and spins...."... I've worked in companies from a Fortune 10 company to a startup and always see the same... those Engineers that advance to senior management recognize that there are other factors at work and adapt.

Having said that - there are many instances of Sr. Management spinning information to suit the corporate story so I understand your frustration.

Sorry for the rant.

Interesting twisting of numbers to give this a grade of 85% of best-case.

Failure = <6000

100% good = 8000

Range of 2000, so to be 85% of what they need it would have to be 7700.

6800 would then be 40% of what was needed to be considered well integrity.

I just heard Carol Browner give an extended interview on the News Hour I believe it was. An excellent interview. Probing questions.

Browner confirmed the cat fight between BP and the gov. over the weekend but portrayed it as kind of going with the territory given where we are, the competing interests and objectives.

But she made it clear that the govt. will make its own independent decision going forward and the goal is to avoid unnecessary risk of an underground leak with oil coming up out of the seabed.

Not addressed was whether the testing benchmarks have been modified, but given what else she said, they seem to have been changed.

The govt. will allow the test to go forward in 24 hour periods and it will be stopped if there is any concern that doing so might lead to seabed leaks.

So it looks like this could go on indefinitely, and the testing benchmarks have been changed to "no deterioration in the readings we have now, and no new data suggesting leaks that could surface."

Those were the terms she used on the radio. I'm not sure how or if they have been formalized among Allen and BP and respective engineers, scientists, thereby ackowledging abandonment of the prior test goals.

Even if these new benchmarks are applied, BP ought to be required to set up the collection aparatus now so in the event the test is shut down, we don't have to wait 3 days for collection to begin. The way they are operating now, that is what will happen. It acts as a built in bias for not halting the close in.

One last comment. IxToc was capped by Red Adair...producing an underground blowout from a casing rupture, with open and un-cappable leaks in the seabed as a result. At least that is an account I read. It seemed credible.

BP ought to be required to set up the collection aparatus now so in the event the test is shut down, we don't have to wait 3 days for collection to begin

syncro, as I understood the Allen briefing, it's a matter of real estate: the seismic and sonar runs are taking place where Helix Producer and Q4000 would need to be. (And they'll also have to bleed suspected sand, as well as some of the pressure, out of the lines before hooking up to the ships. Also, they can't finish the 4-way riser with the seismic- and sonar-running boats in the way.) Too many trains for one track, IOW.

Duh! That's right. Thanks, Lotus. Then they ought to shut it down. It forces the risk of having to dump more oil in the ocean. It we go to collection in an orderly fashion, that risk is gone. Nothing else is lost.

No it isn't. Collection in itself is dangerous, and there is no guarantee there will not be a hurricane in the gulf within a week. Then they have to cut loose and run on short notice, possibly letting everything spill for a week or two in the process.

The cool heads are prevailing and taking the safest course.

"The cool heads are prevailing and taking the safest course."

Yes, how dare those reckless hotheads who prefer the safer option!

<<< To refresh 8 ksi was the lowest number to unambiguosly establish well integrity. 8-9 ksi range was given. Since this was test pushed for by BP management, one is safe in assuming that the number engineering wanted was 9 ksi, and 8 ksi is what management finagled out of them over some torture sessions. Happens all the time.

Next come the actual results 6.8 ksi. Well, that's just 0.8 ksi above their own "definitely a leaker" threshold of 6 ksi, but never mind! Lets look for a way to "OK" the 6.8 ksi as "the new normal"! >>>

Exactly!! When the data doesn't suit your needs.......

God bless you, sir, for putting into words, ever so eloquently, what should be obvious to everyone.
My late father, when observing someone adding 2 + 2 and getting 5, was fond of saying "Well, sh*t don't run uphill forever." What he meant, often, was someone could get away with something for a while but it was usually a short lived phenomenon.
I think, if we wait this one out, the truth will become self-apparent.

Your father was a wise man. But also hindsight is 20/20 vision. Want to wait this out? so that we will know the truth. I would appreciate the truth now.

Publish the test plan.

Publish the results of "analysis and modeling".

Publish the minutes of their peer review and their test readiness review.

Publish the logic of their safe pressure definition.

Given the record of both BP and government behavior during the execution of this complex, dangerous and largely unneccessary test leads me to believe that none of those things actually exist.

Further, to preclude appeals to "engineering authority" the main source of NYT information - "The Technician" - has stated that BP engineering was AGAINST the execution of this test (no surprise here), while BP management pushed hard for it (again, expected).

I could not agree more strongly with the need for transparency. However, in this litigious society, such transparency is an open invitation to use anything provided as evidence.

"... an open invitation to use anything provided as evidence": so the actual, true facts might then be used as evidence in a proceeding to determine what happened? Heaven forfend.

I'm really starting to think this "Technician" is fake, it wouldn't be the first time the NYT made up a source to try to sell more papers. The NYT is barely a notch above the National Enquirer in journalist integrity.

Most companies can track who posts what to forums if they really wanted to. If this guy is REALLY inside and is such a great source of information that BP or MMS doesn't want to get out then you can bet they'd be shutting him down. Leaking corporate secrets is a firing offense and a potential lawsuit. I guess he thinks the Whistleblower laws will protect him. I seriously doubt that.

The data sets and discussions on such don't include everyone, so the leak can be narrowed down to a few the suspects. Since he must be on-site on indise the BP War Room in Houston he could be tracked down. It's also very odd he disagrees with EVERY decision BP makes., even disgruntled employees agree once in a while with the management.

Read the articles. He often supports BP's decisions. He did not this time, however.

As to your opinion of NYT, it is certainly far from really good, but what MSM source do you hold in high regard?



Give me a case, reported in the NYT where he DID agree with BP??? Even if he did agree he is violating his employers confidences. I have no respect for such as person. Or maybe YOU are that person? You sure like to rail against BP.

What media? NONE of them. I take it in from all sources and apply my experience and judgement. With any media it's about ratings not full disclosure.


You obviously haven't read any NYT reporting on the subject, since you would know the fellow to be pretty friendly to BP - he works for them.

Yet both of you bellow in protest, speaking from zero knowledge.

Ditto, Rush!

Actually, my ditto was misplaced. I meant ditto to my earlier remark which was at one point close enough in thread to make sense. Ditto that the comment contained personal attacks and other such irrelevant info. My mistake.

Sorry, I should have realized...

This technician fellow looks very level headed and straightforward. I scanned the articles quickly and most of the time he just provides factual data as to what happened in the control room, what the BP engineering concerns were and how they were resolved. He reported for example that when Secretary of Energy was witnessing the last cap placement he asked how come there was oil leaking from the base and BP engineers explained to him that this is normal for this kind of cap. He also reported a cheer went up when the cap was placed correctly on the cut riser. He also seems to back up BP's need for time to accomplish their tasks.

This is what his comments were on the last cap:

But while the cap remained snugly in place and there were no signs of significant hydrate formation, by nightfall Saturday the engineers suddenly were forced to deal with another problem: the Discoverer Enterprise drill ship can only handle 15,000 barrels a day, and the capping device was trapping almost that amount without the vents shut.

“We’re maxed out,” said the technician, who is working on the operation and spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly. He said the capping device was capturing 10,000 to 15,000 barrels a day.

“There is no chance to close the vents when you are at maximum production,” he said. “You wish desperately you could capture it all, but it depends on the volume coming out of well. And you know how people are arguing about that.”

On the current test issue he sounded definitely negative:

A technician with knowledge of the operation said that it was unlikely that the well would be left shut beyond the test period, given the risk that the pressure could eventually cause problems within the well and given that with the new cap BP should soon be able to collect all the oil.

“Do I want to make that bet that there’s sufficient inherent strength in that well path to keep that well contained?” said the technician, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment on the work. “Why would we take that chance?”


"In an interview Thursday, Dr. Chu said that if he had understood geology and well technology better in the early days after the April 20 blowout, he might have urged a faster attempt at the top kill, which involved shooting mud and other gunk to clog up the damaged blowout preventer atop the gushing well. The delay, he said, might have allowed pressure to increase in the well, rendering the attempt fruitless when it was tried at the end of May." (SNIP)

"His role gradually deepened as he assembled a team of scientists from the Department of Energy laboratories, universities and other government agencies. By late May, his confidence had grown and he was giving orders to BP officials, including his demand to stop the top kill effort even though some BP engineers believed it could still succeed.

“A lot of us said ‘don’t start it,’ and he was the one who said ‘stop,’ ” said a BP technician who was granted anonymity because he was not authorized to speak for the company. “But having done all we had already done, I thought we should have completed the final two operations. He was not keen to listen. BP people said, ‘Let’s try these last two steps,’ but he said, ‘No, stop.’"

So if Chu had merely kept his damn mouth shut, BP would have topped off the mud in the well and it would have been killed by Memorial Day. Steven Chu is responsible for more of the oil that leaked into the gulf than BP.

So if Chu had merely kept his damn mouth shut, BP would have topped off the mud in the well and it would have been killed by Memorial Day. Steven Chu is responsible for more of the oil that leaked into the gulf than BP.

heh heh, talking about jumping to conclusion.. Do you know what the last 2 steps of what BP want to do and undertand them enough to make your proclaimation? None of us know what the last 2 steps that BP want to try and teh ramification is. But if the top kill wasn't working with one of the pausible reason is the downhole casing is leaking, why would you want to try to keeping going and make it worst? At the time, we don't have the any of the equipment capable of detecting underground blow out and the relieved well is still 45 to 60 days away.. Do you really want to make the decision that cause the subsea blowout with no soution in sight?

Aw, xof, he's just mad cuz Steve got a Nobel and all Bruce got was a T-shirt.

So if Chu had merely kept his damn mouth shut, BP would have topped off the mud in the well and it would have been killed by Memorial Day. Steven Chu is responsible for more of the oil that leaked into the gulf than BP.

I'm curious -- what do you think/guess was the flow rate from the well at the time of the first top kill?

Current estimates are 35-60k bbl/day. Go back through the old Kent Wells briefings: they had pumps capable of pumping 40 bbl/min = 57600 bbl/day with I believe about 60k bbl mud immediately on hand (I'm certain of the 40 bbl/min number but not the total mud numer). Let's say the flow rate was 50k bbl/day -- do you really think 58k bbl/day pumps can push against the 50k bbl/day flow in any reasonable amount of time? Especially considering that there was essentially no back-pressure provided by the BOP which means that even if you increase the pressure from the pumps most of the mud is still going to squirt out the top?

At the time of the original top kill they stated estimate (repeated by Wells or another BP flunky at the same briefing Wells quoted the 40 bbl/day pump rate) was 5k bbl/day. Everything else aside, it seems obvious that they didn't recognize the magnitude of the spill and didn't have near enough ooomph for the top kill to proceed...

"...it wouldn't be the first time the NYT made up a source to try to sell more papers."

Citation(s), please.

Hi dalter. I am not a driller but a geohazards geophysicist specialising in gas-blowout prevention. So I am coming from a different perspective than most on this blowout disaster. You can check out my views on how the blowout occurred and why the capping of BP's well is making a bad situation worse.


the discussion by Mr. Lim should be read by everyone. It explains alot. Go to the Newsvine site now and read it! I saw lots of stuff coming out of the sea bed yesterday morning around 7 CST. BP Deepwater Horizon Response is only sending media releases about saving birds! A bit too late to seem like the Humane Society. but the BK Lim explaination makes a lot of sense. Alot. And if it is anyway near explaining what is happening and if I lived in Florida, I would be out of there. Better safe than sorry, as my old dad always said. But read the article, great diagrams, and very plausable explaination of what happened, and will happen. Relief well won't help. Technology fails. The real world is alot more variable and complex than it is given credit for.

do you have more detailed close ups of the figures in that article?

Here is some reliable data. Watch the video..you will see at 4:30 It's all you need to know about a small "Seep".


This is an act of Criminal Negligance on BP and our Goverment.

Moonbeam: There was a link, somewhere, directly to that feed. If you look at the numbers in the top left corner these are the position and are changing. This ROV is using its thrusters to move. This is silt thrown up by the thrusters.


NOAM I thank you for your comment but I wonder if you can explain at 4:30 on the video, what appears to be an explosion with rocks being thrown up. It appears to me to be far more then just silt. I pray I am wrong.

God Bless

Basically the problem is that this is on mud. No rocks. Mud all the way down and getting harder as it goes and ages. Rovman gave a good explanation, in a previous thread, that the 'rocks' you see are in fact small pieces of mud, coin size. HTH


Moonbeam: I responded via your second posting down-thread at http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6752#comment-682282

Dima, a lot of oil didn't show up at the surface, didn't get picked up, and apparently it's dispersed in giant plumes of contaminated water. Note I refer to it as contaminated water, not "giant plumes of oil". It's possible up to 2 million barrels of oil is still sloshing around, being consumed by bacteria, and a lot of it will eventually turn into tarballs. However, the highest concentration I've heard about is 5 ppm.

What we need now is for biologists who are not hyping the threat to get grants, to tell us what does the current literature and research say about the impact of dispersed oil on the different creatures living in the Gulf of Mexico.

It would also be interesting to understand how fast will the Gulf current pick up a lot of the dispersed oil, and dilute it, and take it on to New York beaches and across the Atlantic. I can't wait to see the first New Yorker running around with a tar ball on his foot screaming the US ought to secede from Texas and Louisiana.

Shouldn't a timely release of NOAA information be step one? They apparently have tons of studies that you, I and "biologists" don't have access to. BP does.

Pelicans are being wiped out. The rookeries are full of dead pelicans and gulls, in some places you can't walk more than a few feet without seeing another......there are no adults only babies and juveniles that can't fly or fish. They appear emaciated.

Unfortunately this may only be the tip of the iceberg on this.....

I'd like to see the pictures and the actual counts. I've heard to much bs to believe even 20 % of what the dead pelican crowd tells us here.

fd, Based on your comment I don't think you really care. If I am incorrect then here is a link to Fish & Wildlife Service site for collected birds, mammals and reptiles.


I read many of the posts at TOD and skim through most but I haven't seen anything to portray a dead pelican crowd. Do you have a link? You are beginning to sound like a BP apologist. Of course there's the MMS lurkers who must be keeping a low profile also. Are you either?


I read that 700 brown pelicans are killed in Fl. due to entanglment in fishing tackle so I posted the Audubon link if you are interested.

my314tin wrote:

fd, Based on your comment I don't think you really care. If I am incorrect then here is a link to Fish & Wildlife Service site for collected birds, mammals and reptiles.

How very odd that you have such a link. I thought it had been established that the U.S. government and BP were hiding the numbers of dead birds, mammals and reptiles as a result of this spill. Your link can only be part of the disinformation campaign to hide the millions of creatures killed so far.

my314tin, it would be better if you tell us what you care about, and I tell you what I care about. It doesn't work very well when you, who don't have the foggiest idea who I am nor where I've been, start telling us what I think or what i care for.

The point I'm making is pretty straightforward: we, the engineers in the site, try to stick to using numbers as much as possible. The "oh my god they killed the gulf" crowd seems to use a lot of hysteria and baloney. So I'm trying to get them to be more intelligent. The data you posted is indeed very useful. Now we would need to know, what is the overall impact? What's the total population of birds? This would give us an insight regarding how bad this is.

For example, let's say they found 3000 dead birds. Then somebody can use an intelligent method to say - ah, but we only find 10 % of the total - so we conclude there are 30,000 dead birds. And then you can find a reliable source to say "the total bird population is 200,000 - thus far they've killed more than 15 % of the total". Then we're talking numbers and impact.

I don't have the foggiest idea of the total impact because most of the "non engineer" crowd is more used to emotional outbursts and hysteria. Many of them mix in the wild stories about giant methane explosions and everybody evacuating Florida, which by the way is just hurting the local folk anyway, because they don't get tourist business.

So try to continue to show data, rather than bs, and we'll do fine.

Now you've done it. Tomorrow's lede:

"According to wildlife expert Fdoleza, thus far the oil spill has killed more than 15 % of the Gulf's total population of seabirds."

...we, the engineers in the site, try to stick to using numbers as much as possible...

You've had the numbers. Why do you keep asking for pictures? This latest request must be your tenth.

Next time you write, yet again, that you'd "like to see a picture of a few dead pelican chicks," I'm going to have to assume it's some kind of wierd p0rn thing.

"my314tin, it would be better if you tell us what you care about, and I tell you what I care about. It doesn't work very well when you, who don't have the foggiest idea who I am nor where I've been, start telling us what I think or what i care for."

I suppose since you profess to be an engineer then you are. Who am I to argue, but yes you are correct I have the foggiest who you are. I'm guessing since you didn't deny being a BP apologist then that's still a possibility. In your many posts you make statements yet you really don't post a link or numbers to support your comments. Your comments are based on knowledge and generalities but we have nothing in which to base your comments. Lots of what if's.

"The point I'm making is pretty straightforward: we, the engineers in the site, try to stick to using numbers as much as possible. The "oh my god they killed the gulf" crowd seems to use a lot of hysteria and baloney."

Oh my god they killed the gulf is a fact, it's not baloney. How long the effects will last is yet to be seen. Thousands of jobs have been lost in every job sector relating to the GoM. The comment from andyimages is more appropriate than your response to the comment. There are thousands of water foul being killed and harmed by the oil spill. Your response came across with an aire of indifference as if you could care less if it was one or a million. You choose to group non-engineers into one group and this to is incorrect. Actually the conspiracy theorists and hysterical comments are very few when you tally the number of posts at TOD. Many folks like myself are here to learn.

In regard to what I care about; In the big picture I care about the world and the people who inhabit this space we call home. I care about the GoM and I have spent many years of my life on the gulf and in occupations directly linked to the gulf. I care about how our environment from every aspect; water (surface and ground), the atmosphere, land (habitable and uninhabital)the oceans. I have care and concern about the rampant pollution to the earth by large corporations and individuals. I feel contempt for those who treat the environment with indifference and excuse away their actions as unavoidable. I am not pointing a finger at oil producers because millions of pounds of pollutants have been dumped into the gulf excluding oil.

Every industry has risk and management should weight those risks against the task at hand along with the results. In almost all industries there are guidelines dictating how tasks will be accomplished and if the guidelines are followed the world is a better place. Unfortunately in the case of the DWH guidelines were not followed and we have been discussing the result and impact. There is no one here who doesn't play a part in world pollution but I try to do my part to minimize it.

PS. In previous posts you have stated BP needed emergency shutoff devices in order to process the O/NG. I haven't questioned the need, I have only questioned how you know they need them or do not have them.

PPS. If you read my post again you may see I didn't comment on what you think; I stated "I think.." My thinking on this matter hasn't changed unless you choose to prove otherwise.

Oh my god they killed the gulf is a fact, it's not baloney.

That's an opinion, not a fact.
Produce some facts to back it up, please.

Good job on the first link. Always glad to see some real numbers rather than spacey claims.

Just wondering...if we found out this spill destroyed mosquitoes and cockroaches would be upset about that ?

o.k. I had to clean the coffee out of my keyboard on that .. however after seeing the mosquitoes and catfish in the "lagoon" of a superfund site remediation project I was on, I am of the firm belief that catfish, mosquitoes and cockroaches will inherit the earth. With all the rain in Texas and Louisiana lately I would consider spraying my yard with crude and dispersant if it would keep the mosquitoes and bay and not trying to carry me off.

No Diver, With all the DDT and kerosene that's been sprayed in the area you gotta know they have mutated beyond any type of chemical death.


Not unless we imagined, for some unquantifiable reason, that there is interconnectedness in the biosphere.

What, we should worry?

Us Texans might just take them up on that offer !! ;)

Are you sure 5ppm isnt the average concentration? Seems to me there will be places with more or less concentration based on many factors but due to the huge volume of GoM water compared to the oil released the overall concentration is very low.. The biggest questions is 5PPM enough to harm anything and when is the concentration low enough to that fishing/shrimping can re-start in the closed areas?

As to levels....

SHOCK: Water “sample exploded” when chemist tested for oil; “Most likely” methane or Corexit (VIDEO)
July 17th, 2010 at 02:53 PM

Kids playing in water found to be 221 parts per million oil and walking in sand that is 211 ppm; Normal is ‘none detected’

News 5 Investigates: Testing The Water, WKRG Channel 5 Mobile/Pensacola, July 16, 2010:

More than a week has passed since Alabama’s beaches have seen significant oil… [S]ome swimmers are taking their chances.

News Five collected samples of water and sand from Orange Beach, Gulf Shores, Katrina Key and Dauphin Island. To our eyes, the samples appeared normal…

Newscast Transcript Excerpts:

“When testing for oil… how much would be normal on the beach?”

[Bob Naman, analytical chemist said,] “I wouldn’t think you’d find very much on the beach. there’s no real ‘normal’ amount. normal is ‘none detected.’”… a chemist with nearly thirty years of experience… he wouldn’t expect to see any more than 5 parts per million of the greasy stuff…

Gulf Shores beach water, right where people were swimming, showed 66 parts per million. The sand, where beachgoers are walking, has 211 parts per million.

[Another] sample was a spot in Orange Beach, where again, we found kids playing. and we found our highest content of oil and petroleum. 221 parts per million. …

When Naman added an organic solvent to separate the oil from the water [collected at Dauphin Island Marina, near some boom], just like he did with all the other samples, this sample exploded right in his lab. “It was almost instantaneous. Actually, maybe one second. that’s just weird.” The result surprised even our chemist.

“We think it most likely happened, either due to the presence of methanol, or methane gas. or the presence of the dispersant, Corexit.”

Even if you don’t see oil on the beach or in the water… chances are it’s there. All of our tests from orange beach to Dauphin Island showed an abnormal presence of oil…

News 5 will [again attempt to] test that water [which exploded] for chemicals, specifically chemicals linked to the dispersant… Corexit.

Check the EPA Corexit/Diesel 1:10 mix LC/50 for one species is 2.6 parts per million after 96 hours.

The paranoid criticism I have read is that tests were too short a time period, and that corexit enables the oil to penetrate the skin.


more complete oildrum comments

I tell you there is really something wrong with the BP thinking that their is justification for the use of their dispersant. The oil should be physically cleaned with skimmers and the shore protected with properly installed boom. What they are doing with the half-assed boom installation and the lack of skimmers is disgraceful. The thing is that BP has been making false claims about Corexit.
This is the false advertisement by Nalco: http://www.nalco.com/news-and-events/4297.htm .

What Nalco says is, “Both COREXIT dispersants have been approved by the EPA as part of the National Contingency Plan for treating oil spills.”

This is a link to the National Contingency Plan for treating oil spills: http://www.epa.gov/emergencies/docs/oil/ncp/schedule.pdf

What the EPA says is: Disclaimer: [Product Name] is on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s NCP Product Schedule. This listing does NOT mean that EPA approves, recommends, licenses, certifies, or authorizes the use of [Product Name] on an oil discharge. The listing means only that data have been submitted to EPA as required by subpart J of the National Contingency Plan, Section 300.915. (Source: 40 CFR §300.920 (e)).

Talk to the MMS, they Ok'd the use. Seems like the MMS and EPA are not seeing things the same way. Since the MMS is in charge BP pretty much has to go with what they say.

Booms are put out by contractors not BP. They are paid to put it out but they could be slacking, who knows.

In reality booms only work well in water with very little to no wave action. More than a couple feet of waves and the booms break apart or the oil is pushed right over or in the booms get pushed ashore by the currents and waves. They need a lot of care to be effective and with the volume of boom put out I'm sure some of it has not gotten the attention needed.

I do not agree. This person actually makes more sense (all be it with alot of obscenity), looking at how boom is supposed to be used, along with skimmers. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vx8kMXufu3w&feature=related

Facts are facts. Booms FLOAT, waves wash over them, they break apart. We have seen the evidence with busted booms washed up quite a few places. The Coast Guard and MMS say booms are great under controlled conditions, skimmer are great under controlled conditions, neither one is perfect. Anyone with a video camera and an agenda can post to YouTube and claim to be an expert. Let's see the guys credentials not his creative cussing ability!!!

Why do you need credentials. The examples given can be assessed for themselves.

SaveFlipper wrote:

there is really something wrong with the BP thinking that their [sic] is justification for the use of their dispersant

It looks like the Coast Guard approved the use of dispersants. BP say the idea for injecting dispersant at the point of leakage came from outside BP. They also seem to be aware that there is a difficult trade-off when considering using dispersants to minimise impact on the environment.

BP press releases say:

2010-04-22 BP Initiates Response to Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill
As part of its planning and approval requirement prior to offshore activity, the area was evaluated for use of dispersants and the plans approved by the US Coast Guard which has now given the go-ahead for their use.

2010-05-04 Work Begins To Drill Relief Well To Stop Oil Spill
BP has also carried out a second approved trial injection of dispersants directly into the oil flow at a point close to the main leak on the seabed. The technique is intended to efficiently mix the oil and dispersant, breaking up and dispersing accumulations of oil and allowing it to degrade naturally and reduce surface impact. The suggestion for this innovative technique came from the companies across the oil industry that BP approached last week for further ideas and expertise to help BP control the well and tackle the spill.

2010-05-24 BP Pledges $500 Million for Independent Research into Impact of Spill on Marine Environment
* What are the impacts of the oil, the dispersed oil, and the dispersant on the biota of the seabed, the water column, the surface, and the shoreline?
* What is the impact of dispersant on the oil? Does it help or hinder biodegradation?
* How will the oil, the dispersed oil, and the dispersant interact with tropical storms, and will this interaction impact the seabed, the water column and the shoreline?

BP can be held to account for the truthfulness of the above statements, so I'd have expected a swift retraction if, say, the coast guard hadn't approved the use of dispersant.

You can see the statement that the EPA made and the one that BP made in the former post. They are not honest. Government agencies do not approve products. Even the pesticide program regulates approved labeling, not product approvals.

Just because BP said it was so does not make it so.

More likely is that none of our regulatory agencies have the statutory authority to stop them.

If you can find a statement from the Coast Guard or the MMS approving Corexit for the way BP is using it, I would appreciate knowing and would consider myself duly corrected. I have not been able to find such.

Otherwise, I will hold the opinion that BP's use of Corexit is abusive and unnecessary. Just another one of those shortcuts that blew the rig in the first place.

You can see the statement that the EPA made and the one that BP made in the former post. They are not honest. Government agencies do not approve products. Even the pesticide program regulates approved labeling, not product approvals.

I don't see BP asserting that the EPA apprroved Corexit. Do you have a reference to a BP press release or interview where BP say that?

BP say that the Coast Guard approved the *use* of dispersants. I assume the Coast Guard are the regulatory authority who grant permits for discharge of chemicals into US coastal waters.

Just because BP said it was so does not make it so.

I agree, just as it is true that just because BP say it does not make it false.

More likely is that none of our regulatory agencies have the statutory authority to stop them.

If you can find a statement from the Coast Guard or the MMS approving Corexit for the way BP is using it, I would appreciate knowing and would consider myself duly corrected. I have not been able to find such.

The "Official site of the Deepwater Horizon Unified Command" serves up the BP press release where BP say they sought and were granted Coast Guard permission for the use of dispersant.

At the same site, a letter from BP to retired Coast Guard Commander Thad Allen says

Consistent with prior approvals obtained from the Unified Area
Command subsea dispersants will be utilized at the LMRP flange
during the flange removal and replacement operations. Increased
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) at the surface have the
potential to impact the safe working condition for the +1400 people
on vessels working near the source. The use of subsea dispersants
and surface dispersants near the vessels have been extremely
effective in reducing or eliminating the impact of VOC’s which can
interfere with operations."


I expect Allen would have told us if he thought these approvals had not been given or if he thought the benefits were not real.

I stand corrected. BP did not issue the statement about EPA approval, the manufacturer of Corexit, Nalco did: http://www.nalco.com/news-and-events/4297.htm

What Nalco says is, “Both COREXIT dispersants have been approved by the EPA as part of the National Contingency Plan for treating oil spills.”

Flipper, I tried to clarify in my ensuing comment below. When Nalco says Corexit has approved, it's not an endorsement, but means the usage of that particular dispersant met EPA regulations for use. Otherwise they would have prohibited that choice, just as they will not allow an OWS to discharge water back into the Gulf with more the 15ppm oil residue.


I think people are being mislead. The EPA does not approve products. The NCP Product Schedule of July 14, 2010 and earlier revisions, specifically states the listing is not an approval.

This is a link to the National Contingency Plan for treating oil spills: http://www.epa.gov/emergencies/docs/oil/ncp/schedule.pdf

What the EPA says is: Disclaimer: [Product Name] is on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s NCP Product Schedule. This listing does NOT mean that EPA approves, recommends, licenses, certifies, or authorizes the use of [Product Name] on an oil discharge. The listing means only that data have been submitted to EPA as required by subpart J of the National Contingency Plan, Section 300.915. (Source: 40 CFR §300.920 (e)).

I do not believe the EPA has the statutory authority or the power to prohibit BP from using it. Lisa Jackson asks her lawyer before she makes statements about it.

Watch the CNN video at this link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/georgianne-nienaber/mikulski-slams-epa-on-...

I think that our government does not want to admit that the oil companies have become more powerful than they are.

Those links are to what BP says. I have worked in a regulatory capacity. Entities in trouble always generate documents implying they had/have approval. It is meaningless unless it is a specific letter of approval from the federal agency. They are blowing smoke.

Just to add some information to the dispersant discussion, the kingpins on these chemicals are the EPA. Per their website, on May 20th, the told BP to look for "alternative, less toxic" dispersants to use. BP responded they were unable to find any such critter that is less toxic than Corexit 9500 two days later. Four days after that, EPA told them to cut back the usage of dispersants by 68 to 75%... which they have done.

However, based on BP's response, EPA - who originally had to approve the Corexit for use - decided to run their own toxicity tests on eight different dispersants, including the Corexit. On June 30th, over a month later, they released their peer reviewed reports that confirmed that none of the eight tested "...displayed biologically significant endocrine disrupting activity." The Corexit and JD-2000 were less toxic to small fish while JD-2000 and SAF-RON GOLD were least toxic to mysid shrimp.

For the myriad of tech and chem wizards here at TOD, you can find the links to the technical reports in PDF form at the bottom of the last link above.

So it would appear that everything that has been done, has been done with the EPA's blessing. Nay, allow me to correct that... it was done at the urging of the EPA back in mid May, describing it as "prudent and responsible action." Additionally, when Lisa Jackson demanded more stringent criteria, they learned that the dispersant standard with Corexit was already about as good as it would get. Since then, there have been no further dispersant press releases from the EPA.

Does this mean, Flipper, you can consider yourself "duly corrected"?

And thank you TOD, for your sage moderation and knowledge filled balance to the conspiratorial hype. Actually been a casual lurker/reader for years, but now a regular stop in my day for the straight skinny since the DWH explosion.

No. In fact, the EPA document listing Corexit explicitly denies approval. I am telling you that they just do not have to power and authority to stop them. Please provide documentation to the contrary.

What Nalco says is, “Both COREXIT dispersants have been approved by the EPA as part of the National Contingency Plan for treating oil spills.” http://www.nalco.com/news-and-events/4297.htm

This is a link to the National Contingency Plan for treating oil spills: http://www.epa.gov/emergencies/docs/oil/ncp/schedule.pdf

What the EPA says is: Disclaimer: [Product Name] is on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s NCP Product Schedule. This listing does NOT mean that EPA approves, recommends, licenses, certifies, or authorizes the use of [Product Name] on an oil discharge. The listing means only that data have been submitted to EPA as required by subpart J of the National Contingency Plan, Section 300.915. (Source: 40 CFR §300.920 (e)).

The peer review reports are limited studies, a long way from an approval. Lisa Jackson's statements are discussed here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/georgianne-nienaber/mikulski-slams-epa-on-...

Flipper, my error in not being abundantly clear. You'll note I never used the word "approved" (added in an official capacity) in my comment above. It has been my experience (in fields outside of O&G) that government entities do not endorse, nor approve, any particular product. What they do is "disapprove", or deny. This would be to avoid any legal liability. So unless a government agency has opted to utilize a particular product for their own purposes, that's as much as an endorsement of "approval" you're likely to get. Even at that, they will still not go to the extent that usage constitutes approval for the reasons I mentioned above. A legal back door is always left open.

I believe my intent was to highlight that the EPA, not the USCG or MMS, was instrumental in any dispersants questions. While not necessarily choosing Corexit, the EPA did indeed urge the use of dispersants, and most certainly could have prohibited the use of one they felt did not obviously meet EPA standards. Upon their further testing, the Corexit was neither inferior, nor superior to the other options.

Additionally, they were also monitoring the amount of dispersants being used, and their recommendations to reduce that amount was responded to jointly by BP and the USCG (since they have been joined at the hip in decision making from the onset) promptly.

I hope this clarifies my response more readily.

BP is trying to buy up every marine scientist including a whole academic department at an Alabama university. Their agenda is to minimize the amount of experts available to use their research as evidence in the inevitable lawsuits.

Report: BP Looks To Buy Up Gulf Coast Scientists - CBS News
Jul 16, 2010 ... Experts are cautiously optimistic that oil may have stopped gushing but further ... (CBS) BP has been trying to hire marine scientists from ... testify against them than in having us testify for them. ... But according to the Press-Register, Shipp can't prevent his colleagues from signing on with BP ...
BP buying up Gulf scientists for legal defense, newspaper alleges ...
Jul 16, 2010... he/she won't be testifying against BP in any of the many ... You sign all the best experts up so they are conflicted and cannot be used by the other side. ... Exxon was able to have judgment against them for damages reduced by ... to prevent them from damaging the public at the same time. ...

This should shut up all the apologists and hair splitting over the use of dispersants.

This is not a geek issue. All of this boils down to moral and ethical issues.

BP started off as a corrupt company that exploited and expropriated a natural resource that the West was pinning its industrial development growth of empire on. End of the line. The rest is about the slow, ugly, painful withdrawal.

I'm pretty skeptical about these results of an "Explosion" of a random? sample. Corexit does contain 2-butoxyethanol which is pretty much non-volatile under normal conditions. To flare or explode the methane concentration in the sample would need to be around 5% to 20% mix with air, too much and no bang and too little and no bang. That's a level far beyond anything reported as a concentration other than right at the well head. Remember percentages are parts per HUNDRED and those water samples had parts per million or about 50K times less than the amount needed to have an explosive concentration. Since he got the sample near a Marina could be that someone's boat is leaking gas or there was a spill which would contaminate the sample. Seeing as that Marina sample was the ONLY one that exploded that's the most logical conclusion.

I'm quite suspicious about that too. But he got what he wanted - the video's on YouTube's home page, scaring people worldwide.

how'd he know to video it???


You didn't watch the video.

I did. It didn't look like he was expecting it to blow. But still, even if he wasn't and it wasn't a setup, that was no random and undisturbed sample taken from a random area. And even if it was, it'd still be n=1 research.

Could you please link the video that shows the beaker exploding?

Every video that I've seen on this subject shows only the broken beaker.

I haven't seen the beaker itself exploding. In the video I saw it appeared that there was an ignition inside the beaker that backed a lab guy up a bit. Whether it was a fake or not I don't know. YouTube is now chocked full of videos that show a broken beaker but don't show what blew it up.

It should be fairly simple to brew up a ~220ppm sample see if it ignites. On the other hand, the "solvent" itself could be a factor.

On the third hand, so what? The beaches have taken oil and it got there through the water. I wouldn't expect pristine environments.

It's not a beaker that exploded; it's a separatory funnel:


The idea is that you have water layer and an organic solvent layer. You shake the funnel and let the layers separate. A valve at the bottom lets you release the water layer, leaving the organic solvent layer in the funnel. If you're dealing with volatile substances, pressure will build up when you do the shaking, so it's important to release the pressure periodically. If you don't do this, your glassware could explode. One would expect oil to have volatile compounds in it, obviously.

For all we know, the solvent he added to the funnel was highly volatile and the funnel exploded because he wasn't paying attention. It's misleading to imply the water is so toxic it makes glassware explode, without any explanation.

On the third hand...

did someone mention mutagenesis upthread?

I'll be the first to admit this seems like an anomalous sample, (thankfully?), and it makes me curious as to the reagent used. But anomalous or not, it definitely seems abnormal. Being a person who spends a little time in the Gulf now and then, it certainly caught my eye.

Actually the Corexit that BP is currently using had the 2 butoxyethanol replaced by kerosene. And of course you are right that ppm levels aren't going to result in anything capable of explosion.

The report said the sample exploded after addition of an organic solvent needed for the analysis. It is extremely obvious to anyone with a chemistry background that the thing exploding was the organic solvent.

The whole account of this is a perfect illustration as to how corrupt the press reporting in the Gulf is.

Yep, I saw the solvent was sued but I assumed that was added to ALL the samples. That was not clear from the article.I was trying to give them all the rope I could be some things are just helpless.

Wonder if this "chemist" knows Mr. Simmons? ;)

LOL, you got to note he mentions he added a solvent to the container before it exploded. For all I know he added an explosive to it. I already commented when I saw that TV clip it sounds like hype and bs. But oh well, that's the way it is. I found out a long time ago the media lies and distorts, and it cuts things every which way it wants to. It applies to left wing media, to right wing media, to environmentalists, you name it, the internet and my own ability to move around and be there and witness what happens has taught me a lot of what he hear is garbage.

Posted this twice by mistake

The presence of oil is just one issue. One of the big problems with the use of dispersant and the "let mother nature take care of it" with the microbes that exist in the Gulf, is that some of the oil loving bacteria have significant human health effects.

Now we have oil spread throughout the water column that needs oxygen for bacteria to consume it and the bacteria itself can be a problem contaminating seafood.

This article is a bit sensational, but it does describe the bacteria that can be a problem.

The Gulf States Healthy Beaches Programs test routinely for bacteria found in sewage. They do not test for oil loving types of bacteria. I do not know how much monitoring is going on for speciation of the bacteria growing in the Gulf.

The article was talking about shellfish contamination by Vibrio sp. which is already tested for so it should not be a problem.

In addition this is a coastal phenomena. The purpose of dispersants is supposedly to keep the oil off the coast. If anything this should reduce oyster contamination.

I don't really see how this is related to beach contamination at all.

Who is testing for it? The oil is reaching the coastal areas and it is not just on the surface, it is distributed throughout the water column. The bacteria is not limited to oysters, although they are the main concern, eaten raw. It can effect other sea food.

The purpose of dispersants is supposedly to keep the oil off the coast.

I would think the purpose is to lower the contaminant concentration in the water. So more water will be contaminated to a lower concentration. If the proper microbes and oxygen levels are present, then the microbes will further reduce the concentration. The water still finds its way to the coast, just not in high concentrations. Incidentally, just because a microbe breaks down the components in the oil, doesn't remove those components from the ecosystem. Any heavy metals present in the oil will still be present in the microbes, right?

Not trying to be contrary, here, just trying to get the full picture.

If you want a comprehensive picture of the issues I highly recommend the UNH Spill response center dispersant report.


As for your specific questions, if a microbe metabolizes oil, the structure of the hydrocarbons metabolized is definitely changed. Of course heavy metals remain heavy metals, however then may now be chelated reducing their bioavailabiltiy. And if you have reduced the concentration of oil at the shore, isn't that effectively saying the same thing as keeping oil off the shore?

Thanks STA, (http://www.crrc.unh.edu/dwg/dwh_dispersants_use_meeting_report.pdf for the link).

Keep in mind, I live in the petri dish, so I've a little more at stake than the kind folks in New Hampshire who have generously volunteered their time and expertise to explain their views on how concerned I should or shouldn't be.

if you have reduced the concentration of oil at the shore, isn't that effectively saying the same thing as keeping oil off the shore?

I don't know, that's what I'm trying to determine. If the substances are pervasive, although unseen, in the water, does bioaccumulation come into effect? Long after this incident has passed from the current news cycle, how much and for how long can I expect to be receiving above background dosages of substances that the effects of are not clearly quantified?

I'm just trying to get the full picture, I'm eternally grateful that you're willing to help inform me.

It's possible up to 2 million barrels of oil is still sloshing around, being consumed by bacteria, and a lot of it will eventually turn into tarballs. However, the highest concentration I've heard about is 5 ppm.

How is 5ppm oil going to make a tarball? 2 million barrels diluted to 5ppm is 0.4 trillion barrels of "contaminated water." If uniformly distributed in 5000ft of water, this is 4 miles square.

% units --verbose '(2 million bbl / 5ppm)' 'trillion bbl'
(2 million bbl / 5ppm) = 0.4 trillion bbl

% units --verbose '5000ft 4mi 4mi' 'trillion bbl'
5000ft 4mi 4mi = 0.39722841 trillion bbl

% units --version
GNU Units version 1.87

Prerssure seems to be increasing monotonically, though at a slow rate. Is this evidence for absence of a leak, or just of the possibility that the leak is gradually taking over. If the latter, can the leak be large?

Thanks, Dimitry. The problem with having annointed spokespeople is that they are human and can take perspectives too far very easily, especially when they're not well-grounded. I wanted to also add something to what you said in the last thread about the normalization of failure. That is the nature of overshoot, as we strand ourselves up the creek without a paddle (been there, done that).

Have we been waiting for an oil spill ever since we started drilling in the GOM? Has the danger increased as we’ve drilled more and more volume in riskier and riskier places? Is our lifestyle now reliant on increasing the risky drilling? Will our society survive a significant downturn in production of fossil fuels? I want to get back to blindspots again--the diffuse anxiety people are feeling, without clear basis for the cause.

Does the anxiety evident here suggest lurking denial and blindspots regarding the future? Does the focus on technology here suggest that we are looking for saviors of the technology sort? If technology is religion, are we anxious that the rites are not being followed?

Anxiety created by religious rituals or belief. Secondary anxiety is defined in relation to primary anxiety, the naturally occurring apprehensions that are often relieved by a religious ritual. Homans (1941:171) described secondary anxiety as follows:
When a man has followed the technical procedures at his command and performed the traditional rituals at his command, his primary anxiety remains latent. We say that the rites give him confidence. Under these circumstances, he will feel anxiety only when the rites themselves are not properly performed. In fact this attitude becomes generalized and anxiety is felt whenever any one of the traditions of society is not observed. This anxiety may be called secondary or displaced anxiety.
Secondary anxiety also may result from the fact that religious rituals remind individuals of the link between moral behavior and physical/spiritual well-being. Nature and morality are thought to be mutually dependent, and unintentional transgressions may be punished.


Check your anxiety level and try to figure out where it’s really coming from. Just as anger comes from fear, the fear is often misplaced as diffuse, secondary anxiety. What are we really worried about here?

Edit to add: one more link on anxiety.

Thanks for the links!

Technology has replace religion for some people, though their religious fervor has remained undiminished.

Dimitry says:

However, the choice to disperse the oil, which I think aids in keeping it underwater, in variable concentrations and over fairly or very large volumes, is an issue that should be discussed.

The background to this is the VERY SLOW process that NOAA has followed in releasing the underwater study reports, except for the TJ one. The link I posted in the prior version of this thread states that BP gets this information upfront.

I am sitting here looking at my video feed of oil droplets rising on the video feed at http://www.bp.com/liveassets/bp_internet/globalbp/globalbp_uk_english/in...

Lets do some back-of-the-envelope calculations:

Looks to me like that flange is about 3-inches thick, and it takes about 2 seconds for a droplet to go that distance. If the velocity of a drop of oil is 1.5 inches per second, then it would take 5000 * 12 / 1.5 = 40,000 seconds (or 11.1 hours) for the oil to go from the wellhead to the surface. Now if the well was flowing 50,000 bbl/day, and the oil was dispersed as droplets that behaved in a similar way, then there would be a 'plume' of oil droplets representing (11/24) * 50,000 = 23150 bbl.

Consider a rising droplet of oil. It's size is limited by surface tension effects . . . (ever watched bubbles rising when scuba diving? They get bigger and bigger as they approach the surface, then they break up into smaller bubbles). You never see raindrops the size of softballs (but sometimes it seems that way in South Florida).

The speed of a bubble is a balance between drag and buoyancy forces. Drag goes as speed squared times the diameter of the bubble squared. Buoyancy forces are proportional to the density differences times the volume (or as the diameter cubed). As the bubble diameter gets smaller and smaller, the velocity would get smaller and smaller. In the limit, the velocity would go to zero.

Dispersants presumably keep the oil droplets from clumping together and keep the velocity small and thereby keep the oil underneath the surface.

So what is worse, a barrel of oil suspended in the water column, or a barrel of oil washing ashore in a marsh and getting on birds and stuff?

I dunno . . . but my guess is oil in the form of small droplets are easier for the microbes to attack, since it maximizes it's surface area.

dimitry: I have taken no sides on Simmons "Issue" on TOD.

Nothing personal, but there is NO Simmons issue.
And there hasn't been for many weeks now.

The only ones keeping the name Simmons in front of us are:

--Dylan Rattigan of MSNBC who still inexplicably keeps giving him air time.
--The Bill Ryan Planet X Underground Bunker Tinfoil Support Group.
--A few posters on TOD who have elected Simmons as spokesperson for "them."

"Them" is a collective term for all those who decline to fawn over the latest BP PR spin.

There is No Simmons issue. However there are many issues of veracity, scientific rigor, group think and objective, unbiased assessment of data.

Matt Simmons R.I.P. (Reputation In Pieces)

Now, back to the engineering......

Now, back to the engineering......

What engineering are you referring to? All I have seen is speculation from the gitgo based on a few supposed numbers. Speculation on flow rates, speculation on pressures, speculation on geology, nothing but speculation without any real data of utility. That isn't engineering. Engineering is done with real numbers using real materials and components. Now the people working in the BP crisis management center might be doing some real engineering but there isn't any getting done here.

Looks to me like the leaks shown on HOS Achiever Max 1 are from some type of hydraulic system that wraps around that section of the three ram BOP (unless there's a seam under the stainless steel pipe). Notice that the droplets are visible above the SS tubing, but not below.


You might be right . . . but looks to me like it is leaking from the seam.

I have put on my website a 4-minute clip where the leak was first 'discovered' by HOS-1 . . . before the clip starts, the rover was looking at other areas of the BOP. In the video I put on my website, the ROV appears to find the leak for the first time and zooms in on it and looks at it from different angles.

I put it on my website in 3 different formats . . . a Mac Quicktime .mov file format and two different .m4v formats (don't ask me the difference . . . they were all created with Quicktime, one using the 'export to Web option, the other using the 'Save As' option).

The files are at

http://homepage.mac.com/james_r_white/tei_share/OilSpillMovies/HOSRov1_t... and

and they all start at about 04:25 AM CST this morning.

If there is an oil seep at the seabed which is coming from the Macondo well (which has not been proven) it is very irresponsible and dangerous to not produce the well. Uncontrolled oil/gas flowing from 18,000’ to the surface through the rock, sediments, water, and bypassing well bore and upper BOP would force all above surface vessels away. Then all the good work already done would be lost and the blowout could flow large volumes for a long time. However if there is no seep from the seabed, it is still better to produce the well to the surface ships without leaking oil/gas into the water.

The steep Thunder Horse production decline/depletion might indicate Macondo has done the same. Have the other GOM deepwater production rigs seen this unexpected drop off?

todfan, your grammer needs a little re-drafting, I think. Are you saying you want to open up the well now? Do you realize that's going to require releasing hydrocarbons to the environment in large volumes?

Um, as long as we're being picky, it's 'grammar'.

Better to release smaller amounts and hope to catch some instead of waiting for it to blow out in some way, seems to be the gist. Looks like some leaks now?

Sorry but I'm not seeing any particular grammer problems with the post by 'todfan'. Perhaps you disagree, but the English usage seems acceptable to me.

Also, why exactly does producing oil from the current setup require releasing large volumes of oil? Are there not ports on the new BOP to which producing connections can be attached without massive spillage? There may be a huge point of difference between the present and former subsea configurations that I'm overlooking, but I don't know what it would be.

josserand asks:

why exactly does producing oil from the current setup require releasing large volumes of oil?

See the article at top of this page by Heading Out (edited for brevity and clarity):

While I am not totally sure of the reason for the longer term period of oil release, there is a relatively simple explanation as to why the pressure in the well has to be released. If the valves between the well and the risers are opened with the well at pressure, then that pressure is immediately transferred to the fluid in the line, and a hydraulic shock, similar to that known as “water hammer,” will propagate down the fluid line.

In the most dramatic example I have personally encountered, we were using a high-pressure waterjet lance (in the same sort of pressure range as the fluid contained in the well), and the flow channel blocked. The hose split in several places, and both end fittings failed. A similar failure in a hose carrying oil from the seabed to the surface would create a much greater problem and one much more difficult to fix than ours.

todfan opines at the top of this thread:

However if there is no seep from the seabed, it is still better to produce the well to the surface ships without leaking oil/gas into the water.

As a number of posters have pointed out, it is by no means obvious that producing the well is safe and has little chance of releasing lots of oil. The production system is jury-rigged and lacking many normal safeguards. This means if any one of a long list of unlikely events occurs (so the sum of the probability is not so low), the well would be left open.

Waiting for BP to acknowledge the collapse in production from the main producing structure in the Thunder Horse complex reminds me of the play "Waiting for Godot."

So their production is down? How much? Can they remedy by drilling more wells?

An Oil Drum article on the topic:


Read the thread. I don't have enough information on it, but it seems to me they were a bit optimistic regarding what they could get with such few wells. However, I got a hunch they'll end up getting their oil, as long as the economics allows them to put in a few more wells and they can produce the water. I would also look at EOR, it seems to be the type of field with all the fixin's for a good EOR kick. If they're injecting water, maybe they want to look at additives, and so on.

Again, this is NOT a "SEEP" Please watch this video..at 4:30 you will see.


This keeping the well capped is a Criminal act of Negligance on part of BP and our Goverment.

This keeping the well capped is a Criminal act of Negligance on part of BP and our Goverment.

Ah.....no....it isn't.


Did you view the entire video? Did you go to 4:30 and see the explosion? It's NOT at the beginning..its in the middle of the video.

Did you view the entire video? Did you go to 4:30 and see the explosion? It's NOT at the beginning..its in the middle of the video.

Explosion? It took me the first 4 minutes to try and figure out if I was viewing a colonoscopy video of some sort. And then...there was silt everywhere! One of the thrusters getting to close to the seafloor again?

Sorry....what do YOU think it was? Another seep? You have seen the discussions on those, right? You know what they are, where they come from, the count across the GOM floor? You have seen the video of what the wellbore can actually produce, versus what you are calling an "explosion", right?

Moonbeam, you are correct. This isn't a seep or an oil eruption/explosion either. It is only a very common silt cloud stirred up from the bottom by the ROV thrusters with a few clumps thrown up too. This occurs any time the ROVs work close to the bottom.

I'm only responding to this posting because this is the second time you have posted the same video with 30 minutes to today's thread.

After discussing what causes this in response to your "crying" post of last night at http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6747#comment-681274 this exact same video was discussed extensively by rovman at http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6747#comment-681285 just a few of comment below yours and near the same time frame.

You might want to read the entire exchange including the discussion with andrewo at http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6747#comment-681324

I'm sorry that you don't believe the explanations as presented.


My most sincere apology. I must be in the wrong place.

God Bless

You are very welcome here and may God bless you as well.

Allahu Akbar to everyone as well!

"Have the other GOM deepwater production rigs seen this unexpected drop off?"

Yes. Water injection instituted or planned for several deepwater fields.

The pincers quote appears to be what Harrel said if they didn't have his negative pressure test done. He got his negative pressure test and was satisfied.

I can see your confusion and can show that you are wrong on this point when i have time to dig up the relevant info. The argument was over displacing the riser.

There will be a lot of mis-information and speculation flying around this issue because so much rides on it. BP could be facing new criminal charges if the facts on this one do not go their way. (One reputable newspaper has already called for a criminal investigation based on the clearly untruthful testimony of one BP witness.) That does not mean they are automatically liars, but it is important context.

This issue will be the bloodiest battle. It probhably presnets the only opportunity to blame the TO crew for the blowout (but even then it does not exonerate BP - and i am assuming the mud loggers worked for BP, and not TO.) I do not know how the facts will turn out, but I do know that there is conflciting evidence/testimony/accounts of the negative pressure tests and test results. At some point, the credibility of the witnesses may be the decisive factor in resolving the issue.

I can see your confusion and can show that you are wrong on this point when i have time to dig up the relevant info. The argument was over displacing the riser.

So you are calling Harrel and Ezell liars when directly asked about the "argument"? Some people not in the decision loop and not at the after meeting speculated that was what the argument was about. When the two people testified who were there they both said that the discussion was about adding a negative pressure test prior to displacing.

Harrel's response.

1 A. Yes, sir.

2 Q. Earlier yesterday, we had some

3 testimony saying that there was some type of

4 heated debate between you and the company man.

5 Do you know what he may be referring to?

6 A. I don't remember about no heated

7 debate. We did talk about the negative test.

8 He had given me a plan and I looked at it and

9 it didn't have anything about a negative test

10 and we just remained after the meeting and I

11 talked with him and the driller and the senior

12 pusher, you know, to make sure that we did a

13 negative test before displacing the seawater.

This is not inconsistent with anything I have said. He says he does not remember there being any argument, but does remember talking about the pressure test. He has not committed perjury there even if I am right and you are wrong.

He is also wrong about there being no pressure test in the plan. It's in the BP e-mail that morning. And his testimony of it being a "policy" is very curious. Watch it again.

BP's drilling engineer testified that he thought the order to displace the riser was perfectly fine and safe (based on the inaccurate report of no returns alone). He also testified that there were no disagreements at all about the cement and that all concerns were addressed. Do you believe that testimony?

So no I do not take that testimony you quoted as being the whole and accurate account that resolves the issues surrounding the pressure tests. Nor am I saying Harrel is a liar, but he was thoroughly coached by an attorney before he testified. His testimony has to be considered alongside the other versions of that event and the other evidence. It does not resolve the matter standing on its own.

He is also wrong about there being no pressure test in the plan. It's in the BP e-mail that morning. And his testimony of it being a "policy" is very curious. Watch it again.

The original BP plan asked for one type of pressure test to their spec. He added an additional test to his spec carried out after BP's test.

Tomorrow's testimony should be "interesting" - assuming they appear

Tuesday July 20, 2010:

1. Robert Kaluza - BP, Company Man, providing information on the test results and operations on the Deepwater Horizon MODU.

2. R. Sepulvado - BP, Well Site Leader, providing information on the operations on the Deepwater Horizon MODU.

3. Ross Skidmore - BP, Subsea Well Supervisor, providing information on BOP-related issues, certification, modifications and compliance.

4. Lee Lambert - BP, Well Site Trainee, providing information on his job responsibilities and his role immediately following the explosion.

Yes, the hearings could be interesting. I'm already having trouble keeping up with everything, though. There is a lot of info out there to keep track of with all of the different moving parts of this event in play.

And there I'm in complete agreement. My head may need a BOP soon...

I am assuming that they took a sample of the leak they found 2 miles(?) away and found it to be not the same as what they were getting from the well. I had been told many moons ago that oil from different reservoirs had different "fingerprints" and if you had a sample that you could identify which reservoir it came from (at least on known reservoirs). Could someone tell me if this is true, not that I had a reason to doubt the person telling me this but it was a social interaction with good music and beer so I never asked for more details at the time.

Crude oil is a mixture of many hydrocarbons, and each reservoir has its distinctive proportions. However, I wouldn't assume that the seep has been tested already. "BP scientists" might quite reasonably conclude that it's extremely unlikely that a seep two miles away was caused by the Macando well, and BP management might encourage them to say that in view of the effect each wave of panic has on its share value. But it will be tested if it hasn't been yet. If the seep comes from the same reservoir that Macando tapped, that still doesn't show that the well had anything to do with the seep. The seep might have been there for a long time.

deddancer: without posting all the other links, I got the impression that Eugene 330 assays from the same reservoir showed differrent characteristics due to phase fractionation and migration from/through multiple reservoirs. That WSJ link is included cause y'all were talking about hot oil a while back. Eugene 330 is spectacular!

ABSTRACT: Persistent gas flux can dissolve, remobilize and alter reservoired or migrating oil through a process of phase fractionation. Moving gas, when flowing through an oil, can dissolve large fractions of that oil. The composition of the oil dissolved in the gas is dependent on the pressure-temperature conditions of the oil and the fluid flow history of the basin. The composition of the residual oil can be interpreted to yield both the depth at which the oil fractionated and the volume of gas required to fractionate the oil. South Eugene Island Block 330 in the U.S. Gulf Coast is a hydrocarbon province that has recently experienced large gas fluxes. Some of the oils in the region show signs of progressive fractionation and remobilization by gas transport. For example, the oils are more aromatic and less paraffinitic than unfractionated oils of similar maturity from the same area. The altered oils are also depleted of light n-alkanes. We have developed a computer-based model of oil alteration based on a fluid phase equilibria algorithm to simulate progressive fractionation of oil by gas. Application of the model to the South Eugene Island Block 330 area shows that several of the oils in the area have compositions that are compatible with alteration caused by equilibrating with approximately 12 to 14 mol of gas per mol of oil (2 to 2.7 g of gas per g of EI oil). The oils appear to have fractionated at approximately the depths of their present reservoirs. The model has great potential to examine hydrocarbon fluids for evidence of past migration and mixing..."

"...What captivated scientists, though, was a deep fault in the bottom corner of the computer scan that was gushing oil like a garden hose. "We could see the stream," Dr. Anderson says. "It wasn't even debated that it was happening."

Woods Hole's Dr. Whelan, invited by Dr. Anderson to join the Eugene Island investigation, postulated that superheated methane gas -- a compound that is able to absorb vast amounts of oil -- was carrying crude from a deep source below. The age of the crude pushed through the stream, and its hotter temperature helped support that theory. The scientists decided to drill into the fault..."

Thanks to both of ya'll, With all the ROV's monitoring and having read of some sampling I had just made an assumption (and we all know about those) that the seep being talked about was one of the areas sampled. You are probably right in that they may not have gotten a sample yet but will probably do so and once they have one will do the analysis. Will read the links later today.

Animal Fat is about to give a briefing:


No indications any anomaly so far is related to undersea well-bore. Leak 3 kilometres (he at first said 3 nm but corrected that to km) away definitely not related. Still looking at a few things closer than few hundred metres but not thought to be of concern. Small leak at connector not a concern either just now.

Well stays closed. 6811 psi and rising.

3 Anomolies :
- A seep at 3 miles ,not necessarily related
- Some seepage within a couple of hundred meters from the wellhead
- Bubbles from the side of the wellhead

All are being monitored , none are said to be of a great risk right now
Bringing the collectors back on-line would take a couple of days because of probable sandbuildup and readying the Helix and Q4000

3km away and definitely not related to Macondo he said (for that one).

Be careful with that nickname. Animal Fat is a potential raw material for dispersants. If Nalco finds out we might need a new CG commander.

syn -- Re: the communications aboard the rig in the hours before the explosion. By credible I wasn't referring to the specifics. Credible in that I've seen such miscommunication many times. Posturing is another common problem. I've seen hands swear they knew the right answer when I knew for a fact they didn't have a clue. All we can do is wait for the sworn testimonies and questioning.

What about the sorts of things referred to at e.g. this very recent report:

Cap on oil well kept shut despite leaks, seepage

Related Quotes Symbol Price Change
BP 35.72 -1.38
^GSPC 1,071.25 +6.37
^IXIC 2,198.23 +19.18

NEW ORLEANS – The federal government Monday allowed BP to keep the cap shut tight on its ruptured Gulf of Mexico oil well for another day despite news the well is leaking at the top and something is seeping from the sea floor nearby.

I just wondered if something very recent gives more insight into such news, which has been around for about a day - ?

(REM the pressure in the Cap, not just generality that "other seeps occur anyway" and relational testing of samples - maybe at this time some idea is gelling as to the relation to the main drill hole? So if the relief wells are finally put in, is that deep enough to prevent further leaks from that hole?

As for BP shares, the Yahoo News story had:

Shares of BP PLC were down slightly Monday as investors worried about the seepage and an apparent rift between the oil giant and the U.S. officials in charge of the spill.

Listening to Thad Allen on the bloomie and he first stated the seep was 3 nautical miles from the well, then when questioned he says it is kilometers....he talked about depletion a bit, but more than anything from reading last night's letter to BP and todays letter is it just me or is he extremely vague and ambigous ? A seep some distance etc, etc..........seems like he could be a tad more precise.

Yeah... The writer at below link refers to third seep spot, it's not being shown by BP much, and interprets as part of BP-Government media blackout. I don't know if that's so much a "blackout" (being prevented access or the news blocked somehow) as BP just not showing it! Who else really had the wherewithal to do that at depth? I do wish Government had put more pressure on them but note irony of anti-regulatory types ...


BTW the Examiner website (based Norfolk VA, near me) is getting more attention than it's size suggests. It's a smallish indie AFAICT.

There are a few good people writing for Examiner.com sites, but the network also has a large, unhealthy dose of birthers, 9/11 truthers and NWO types that give the good writers a bad name.

I am not suggesting that she is a black-chopperist, but that particular author seems to be confusing the various natural seepages with the leaks found in the initial aftermath of the incident. At first, hydrocarbons were leaking from the end, somewhere in the middle and at the connection of the riser to the BOP.

Question for Rock - can you please explain the following? From today's hearings.....

Also, the drilling fluid specialist on the rig, Leo Lindner of MI-SWACO, testified that an abnormally large volume of a fluid called "spacer" was used in the blowout preventer and upper part of the well before pressure tests were done on the well.

Lindner said he proposed using two sets of the fluid that had already been mixed, rather than the single one that's typical, and BP signed off on it. The water-based spacer, which weighs 16 pounds per gallon, is heavier than the synthetic-based drilling mud that was eventually replaced with light seawater.

Asked by a lawyer if the spacer might have caused complications that led to the loss of well control and the accident, Lindner said he wasn't an engineer and not qualified to answer.

Later, under questioning from a lawyer for Anadarko Petroleum and MOEX Offshore, part owners of the well, Lindner said BP prompted him to use both spacer mixes combined because they could both be dumped overboard if they were used in the well, but if one of the mixes hadn't been used in the well, it would have required disposal as hazardous waste.

Lindner testified that would have likely required a whole other service boat to come out to pick up the unused material. That would have cost more time and money for a project that was already more than $20 million overbudget and 43 days behind schedule.

The two spacer mixes combine to form a viscous material that could, in certain applications, harden in holes and spaces. The revelation that double the amount of spacer was used raises the possibility that it jammed up the blowout preventer, which failed to slice through the drill pipe to close the well. Stephen Bertone, Transocean's chief engineer, testified earlier Monday that he was surprised to see slippery fluid that he likened to "snot" on the deck after the initial explosions.

TOLL -- ABSOLUTELY NOT!!! LOL. Way out of my field. But based on that testitmony I bet TO and Cameron do mock ups of that mix of spacers under temp/pressure conditions found in the well. That could be a critical hammer in the argument over BOP liability. The insurance companies invoolved might also have a keen interest.

Anybody for 'what is a spacer'...and 'why would you use it in the first place?'

tollertwins asked

what is a spacer and why would you use it in the first place?

Spacer: A viscous fluid used to aid removal of drilling fluids before a primary cementing operation. The spacer is prepared with specific fluid characteristics, such as viscosity and density, that are engineered to displace the drilling fluid while enabling placement of a complete cement sheath.

Displacement: The act of removing one fluid (usually liquid) from a wellbore and replacing it with another. This is accomplished by pumping a spacer fluid that is benign to both the first and second fluid, followed by the new fluid, down the drillstring and out the bottom of the drillstring or bit. While the spacer and second fluid are pumped into the top of the wellbore, the first fluid is forced out of the annulus between the drillstring and the wellbore or casing.

I find it hard to believe it would have required a separate boat trip to pick up the other spacer fluid.

Have been monitoring evidence on exposures to & possible health effects from harmful chemicals associated with the spill and cleanup. Here's OSHA's analysis of data bearing on a previous report about potentially harmful levels of worker exposure to 2-butoxyethanol in chemical dispersant.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) made its new data public in response to a Greenwire report that BP had found potentially harmful levels of 2-butoxyethanol, a chemical ingredient in dispersant used during the early days of the Gulf leak, in more than 20 percent of sampled offshore workers (Greenwire, July 8). BP limited its 2-butoxyethanol exposure data to a range that went as high as 10 parts per million (ppm), or double the eight-hour limit recommended by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) -- forcing the government to take a closer look at the company's test results.

"I don't want to defend [BP's] charts," OSHA chief David Michaels said in an interview. "We understand the concerns about measurements made by BP's contractors, and so we therefore look at our own measurements and other agencies' measurements. ... At this point, we feel fairly confident that we've made the right protective decisions."

OSHA's analysis of raw BP testing data concluded that among the 20 percent of sampled workers exposed to 2-butoxyethanol, "the highest level measured was 0.8 ppm, and 90% of these were 0.2 ppm or less," according to a statement from the agency. "Every measurement was well below the NIOSH recommended limit of 5.0 ppm."

That new information was released a day after Anne Rolfes, founding director of the public-health advocacy group Louisiana Bucket Brigade, cited the July 8 Greenwire report in testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee.

"NOAA [the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] has no fact sheet warning workers" about the potential consequences of exposure to dispersant chemicals, Rolfes said. "EPA has no fact sheet."

Asked why OSHA and NIOSH -- which have access to results to daily worker monitoring performed by private BP contractors -- do not release those results to independent scientists and Gulf Coast advocates such as Rolfes, Michaels said his agency continues to lean on the embattled oil company.

"If they don't [release worker testing data], we'll consider releasing it ourselves," Michaels said. "We're doing the best we can and doing a tremendous amount of sampling. We're in the field, we're on the boats. If people see specific information they think is not included, we'll try to get it to them."

The full article is worth reading, to better understand the contention among parties. It also includes a link to the OSHA database.

fd -- I agree my grammar is terrible. Yes, I think they should start producing to the Q4000 and Helix now. Why will large volumes of hydrocarbons be released to water? You chould be correct. Why does BP say three days? How many barrels would you expect?

The calm tropical weather we have been blessed with for a couple of weeks is coming to an end rapidly. There are currently two areas near the Gulf that THEORETICALLY could bring a hurricane into the area within a week.

I am not saying this WILL happen, just that it is possible. Weather is a good reason not to have a bunch of ships precariously connected to hydrocarbons from a wild well and in close proximity to each other unless this is really necessary. It is not a very safe thing to do in calm weather, and we are now in hurricane season with the Gulf opening up for tropical storm business.


You responded to a post of mine as follows:

If the downwell mixture of .8 density oil and ~.2 density supercritical (liquid) methine is 1:1, then the average is 2 divided by 1, or .5 average density.

BUT no one knows the real mix, which could range from .8 (pure oil) to .2 (mostly liquid methane) SO the mysterious difference in the pressure at wellhead, 6782 psi (gauge or ambient, take your pick) instead of 7-9000 could be variations occurring as a result of fast flow stopping, gas bubbles, some heavy mud stuck somewhere down pipe (lava lamp syndrome).

We don't know. We don't know. We don't know.

Got it? It isn't a conspiracy. We just DON'T KNOW.

I don't mind the technical discussion. I do mind the rant at the end about conspiracies. I myself am bugged by all the conspiracy talk on this web, but I don't post on it as it's not productive. And I certainly don't throw wild CAPITAL LETTERS at someone else who isn't arguing any sort of conspiracy theory.

Maybe you're responding to someone above my post; if so, make that clear or reply to a different topic for your anti-conspiracy-theorist primal scream.

Oh, and we do have a pretty good idea of the mix -- BP has been publishing the total barrels of oil recovered (captured plus flared) each day the various ships have been operating, along with the number of cubic feet of gas flared. I calculated my ratios from one days reporting, which was pretty consistent with reporting I saw on other days.

So, we have a "seep" somewhere around 2-3 miles away from the wellhead that is unrelated to the blowout?
Bubble's somewhere else, and there is a small leak in the cap. Did I get that out of the press conference correctly before the CNN commentator came on and said that they are saying all the right things to keep us happy?

Does anyone here have any information about the exploratory well the DW horizon had drilled just prior to the macondo252 site where the blowout occurred?

I heard about it just after this mess started but not a peep since very early on. I remember hearing how they jammed their gear and had to (cut bait) hastily seal up the well and moved onto the site of misfortune.

I was initially under the impression that that was the "open hole" that was being theorized. Does the previous location coincide with the search pattern of the Pisces?


My understanding is they just backed up a bit and restarted at a slightly different angle down the same hole. There isn't another abandoned well.

It seems the leak Gibbs and the press release are talking about are the bubbles coming from around the base of the well head. I don't see anything new to indicate leaks on the BOP or capping stack. No reason to believe the situation has changed over the last couple of days. With a high gas fraction, I would think any oil seep would be accompanied by a lot of bubbles.

It seems the leak Gibbs and the press release are talking about are the bubbles coming from around the base of the well head.

No, there's one little leak forming hydrates at the flange just below the bottom set of rams on the 3-ram stack. The admiral pointed it out on a chart. Says it's too small to concern anyone at this point, but they're watching it.

Nobody answered my post in the last thread asking someone to check it, I am nothing more than a telecom engineer, but I think it can be mathematically proved that the well is leaking:

1)The well is 18360 feet deep. If the well was filled with water it would have a pressure of 8262 psi at the base.

2)When it was filled with drilling mud while drilling took place, it has been calculated at a former TOD post that in order to keep the gas and oil out of the well, it would have had to have a pressure of roughly 11800 psi (original pore pressure).

3)Supposing a loss of formation pressure around 500 psi, that would be today 11300 psi.

4)We know that when the drilling crew substituted sea water for drilling mud (meaning a pressure of 8262 psi at the 18360 feet deep base) the blow out occurred, so pressure formation necessarily must be higher than 8262 psi.

5)BP is reporting a pressure of 6700 psi at the BOP placed at 5000 feet.

6)Being this akin to a hidraulic system, the closed well head means the pressure at the bottom will be the sum of 6700 psi, measured at the top, plus 4000 to 4500 psi due to the weight of the column of oil & gas.

7)That means that the pressure range at the base would be from 10700 to 11200 psi

8)Which is insuficient to contain the original formation pressure of 11800 psi (or even being as low as 11300 psi, supposing an improbable loss of 500 psi) .

9)The pressure differencial 11800 psi – 10700= 1100 psi or 11800-11200=600 psi means that oil&gas is getting in, so this capped well is leaking somewhere.

10) Accepting the smaller number as the present formation pressure, we have smaller pressure differencials 11300 psi – 10700= 500 psi and 11300-11200=100 psi, still proof enough that the oil&gas is getting in, and well is leaking.


You are largely correct. There is high likelyhood that oil/gas is escaping somewhere along the well column.

The current test result is:

"Well integrity HAS NOT been established"

There are complex explanation for the low pressure, but they appear to be a stretch and BP has not taken them seriously enough PRIOR to the test to use them in establishing their own "well integrity pressure threshold", which is 8,000 psia. Generally, honest test procedures preclude changing the minimum required levels to "pass" when you find out you didn't pass.

This simple truth appears to be a novel concept to many who advocate for the "test" to become the "new normal", regardless of actual results or conclusions.

That is actually what BP has done the first time around - they did not see the oil/gas coming, interpreted their pressure results at the time (a near analogue, logically to today's "well integrity pressure" results) in way most benefecial to them that day and rolled the dice.

It is astonishing to see them do it again and the educated public roar in approval!

Roll the dice again, BP!!!

You inherently assume that a 500psi loss is improbable, when it's been argued that a well flowing at full blast for ~85 days unregulated would naturally cause a drop in internal pressure. It's very plausible that such a volume drop would cause a pressure loss above and beyond that 500psi benchmark. So you have to question your assumptions.

I think you have to respect the fact that pressure has been building slow and steady since the test began. If a leak existed, they wouldsee a pretty noticeable short-run non-linearity in the internal pressure build. Such non-linearity has not shown up.


Not in my book.

You have no proof of what the formation pressure is, only guesses. Lacking that you have no way to make an unequivocal statement as to whether or not the well is leaking. All you have is speculation.

9)The pressure differencial 11800 psi – 10700= 1100 psi or 11800-11200=600 psi means that oil&gas is getting in, so this capped well is leaking somewhere.

The logical fallacy here, is to conclude the initial pressure has not changed.

It will certainly have decreased, given the sudden and prolonged availability of a new escape path - by how much?, is the real question.

The 'missing' pressure you work up here, is actually only ~4.24% - but given that no one knows the CURRENT reservoir pressure, AND given that the real-time pressure is following a slowly increasing profile, then to spin that 4.25% deviation, has to be a leak, is not matched by the pressure trend lines.

Indeed, such Pressure trends, (given they are both live, and precise) are probably more valid here, that outdated absolute pressures, yet they are ignored in this 'QED' ? Oops.

As the pressure trend is not linear, but tapering, they should be able to model a classic exponential fit, to give an effective 'distant/source' pressure driver.

That number I have not seen published yet ?

Short answer -- we lack sufficient data to make even a reasonable independent guess at what the current BOP pressure means. With standard disclaimer I'm not a reservoir engineer... here's 2 alternative (both vastly simplified) hypothesis:

Hypothesis 1: Reservoir is undersaturated, no water drive, 100 million bbl original oil in place giving a bit less than the ca. 50 million barrel recoverable oil quoted.

Original formation pressure: 11900 psi
Isothermal compressibility of liquid hydrocarbon mix: ca. 20 per 10^6 psi, or 1% per 500 psi
Then assuming 3-5 million bbls of oil produced to date (3-5% of reservoir), would give expected reservoir pressure drop of 1500-2500 psi.

Thus the current shut-in "test" would be demonstrating complete integrity once adding in weight of column of oil up to BOP.

Hypothesis 2: Exact same assumptions as #1, except presence of strong water drive support.

Depending on water drive strength, current reservoir pressure could be anywhere up to nearly the full original 11900 psi. Thus current shut-in "test" could be demonstrating lack of integrity somewhere along the wellbore.

We lack the data to even distinguish between those 2 very simple scenarios.

OK, I hoped that if we could get the pressure trends we`d be able to extrapolate the actual pressure and have a reliable demonstration.

And thanks to all of you for replying

BTW, after this GOM disaster every time I look out of my window, as I am doing now typing this post to TOD, I just can`t keep out of my mind the Petrobras' rigs that are out there, 150 miles off shore Ipanema beach, drilling 7000 feet below surface plus 14000 feet under the ocean floor, crossing a 5000 - 7000 feet layer of salt.

I hope they are really following the rules they’re obliged to do, but my feeling is that we`ll have to have a lot of luck to avoid a similar blow out in the years to come.

Does anyone know what part of the system that the HOS ROV 1 is watching? It's watching the area with the little brown bloblets seeping up from what looks like a loose connection.

Carol Browner was just on CNN...she stated that there is small leak at the connection with the new cap.

I assume this is the one being monitored on HOS Maxx ROV 1 and I also assume this must be the "wellhead" leak..

(Sign of relief)

She briefly mentioned the methane a few miles out, but no specific details.

Hi folks. I'm one of those laypersons who has stumbled my way to theoildrum.com via googling for sources for some of the more incredible claims being bandied about regarding undersea lakes of oil and the end of the world as we know it. It's clear that this information is coming, in part, from the usual sources of unsourced information - Alex Jones, Coast to Coast AM, Richard Hoagland and the incestuous network of blogs that all feed off these sources and each other. Matt Simmons, who got me started on this search, seems to be a more complex story.

What all these guys have in common is the claim that the basic facts of their apocalyptic nightmares have been confirmed by NOAA. Matt Simmons - the underground lake of poisonous oil that will kill millions with methane poison if stirred up by a hurricane. Alex Jones - the miles long gash in the Gulf spewing oil and methane (and probably evil bankers and Bildebergers). Richard Hoagland - the 100 square kilometer bulge in the floor of the Gulf around the well site. Of course, there are no sources outside this circle of craziness from which to confirm the claims that NOAA has confirmed their claims.

My question is, has NOAA bothered to deny these claims? Perhaps they consider it beneath them to address crackpot ideas. But Simmons is urging people to evacuate the Gulf coast NOW. If many people were to take his advice seriously, it would only compound the misery of this whole situation. Of course, it might be a good opportunity to buy some Gulf coast property from anxious sellers on the cheap. Still it would be a disaster upon disaster if people actually started fleeing the Gulf. It seems it would be helpful to have NOAA call bull$h!t on Simmons, et. al., and their claims that NOAA has confirmed these imaginary findings.

Have you considered the probability that Matt Simmons Is in a much better position than many to make the "alarmist" statements he has made,vs the "Don't worry be happy" that is the mainstay media have presented since the cap is on. ?Matt is a banker/investor and very educated on this topic...and I would imagine he has sources that might surprise many.

Nobody can say for certain what will be the effect of a bad hurricane on this disaster.It could well be "biblical"in scope and effect.And many think it will be.BP is corking as much information as possible for as long as possible in a desperate attempt to "Control"this event.

As I consider Matt to be "golden"as far as a source,I am worried.Very,Very,Worried.

Gold to you but pyrite to a lot of folks.

He's saying things that are provably wrong and he's also said attributed things to the NOAA which they haven't said. They've said the opposite.

"Golden"? 100,000 psi? 120k bpd at "the wellhead", errr 5-6 miles from the wellhead. Ocean "cracked"? Breathing any amount of methane will "kill instantly"? Underwater "lake of oil" which doesn't float and only he sees?

He hasn't said one thing that's right.

Kevin, I don't know if it's proper for NOAA to give Simmons any credibility at all. There are tons of crackpots out there, many of them given time in the media. So the best thing may be to let the media hang itself by the neck, and maybe people will learn a bit this time around. Or maybe not, some of us still think Saddam's WMD's ended up in Syria :-)

And that's all I got to say about that for a while. I'm getting on a plane for a very long flight, when I arrive tomorrow, I'm going to sleep, and I don't think I'll have time to read the internet for a little while. Good luck with the well.

Yes. Get on a plane to the other side of the world (very long flight) and escape the gulf explosion. That proves it for me now!

;-) ;-) ;-)

Thanks for the responses. I understand that Simmons isn't quite a member of the black helicopter/FEMA camp crowd. Because of his exposure on MSNBC and Bloomberg, I took him seriously and got worried. It was only when I got to this forum that I found people critiquing his claims rather than just citing him as a source for their preferred worst case scenario. If the end result of Simmons' media exposure is that Dylan Ratigan has to to eat a little crow, well, good enough. But if people along the Gulf coast actually start packing U-Hauls in response to his claims, that's a real problem that needs to be addressed.

Of course if NOAA makes a statement saying there is no lake of poisonous oil, the Gulf floor isn't splitting open or getting ready to explode, the true believers will take their denial as proof that these things are true. But, perhaps some of us marginally less paranoid types would take some assurance from their assurances.

I realize that at this point, whatever information they are sitting on will probably have to be vetted by lawyers before it finds its way into any public statements. But if someone were alarming people and citing me as their source of information that wasn't coming from me, I'd want to say something.

For many people, because the belief in a conspiracy theory is based on a perceived reality that is centered on faith and not fact, it is difficult for some people to let go of one even when confronted with fact.

I wish more people would do exactly what you did by searching for yourself and coming to your own conclusions. It is not difficult but a simple step many refuse to take.

Your critical thinking is to be commended.

It is not difficult but a simple step many refuse to take.

Excellent! My only disagreement: for many, if not most, it is excruciatingly difficult, perhaps impossible.

Kevin - Welcome aboard. The BP disaster in the GOM is bringing home a message that Americans are so poorly educated in scientific disciplines that they are easily seduced into believing every crackpot theory. I would surmise that at least 80% of American adults do not have enough scientific or engineering education/knowledge/experience to have any clue as to the vericity of what they read or head about this issue. Unfortunately, most members of the media and elected politicians (both parties) fall into this category. Then there is at best another 15% who have substantial education/knowledge/experience in scientific and engineering disciplines that have absolutely nothing to do with drilling for oil, which is where I am in this mix. As we narrow this down even more, there is an even smaller subset of the population that has education/knowledge/experience in the relevant disciplines involved, however, no direct experience in either the petrochemical industry or drilling (on-shore or off-shore). That leaves a very few people capable of truly comprehending what has happened, what is happening now, what should happen next and what might happen next in the terms of honest, rational assessments of potential best-case and worst-case scenarios. After almost a month of reading TOD on a daily basis, I've have learned to trust a number of TOD contributors to be giving their honest assessment of whichever topic they comment on. Trust me, the experiences of this disaster will be the subject of many PhD dissertations and Masters theses. My wife has used the case history of Exxon Valdez in numerous college classrooms while teaching classes on Business Ethics.


I resent you implying that American's education prevents them from understanding what's going on. I have a Masters in Applied Physics and have worked a lot of large Engineering Development Projects. Hey...in my former life I was even a Engineer in the Oilfield and thinking about studying to become a Petroleum Engineer. Anyways, I know enough about Engineering in General and managing big projects in particular to understand that not enough info is being released by the Govt or BP to allow anyone - not even the smartest PHd Petroleum Engineer on the planet - to have an accurate picture as to what is happening out there. So...it's not about a lack of education - it's about a lack of information: and that's no one's fault but BP and the Government.

I agree with both points, public education has created an ignorant, easily manipulated and controlled public (which are vaguely aware of this fact) and the lack of information by both BP and the federal government have led to much conjecture (and wild fantasy). I think the Admiral overreacted a bit on Sunday, but a Reuter's news release[1] has BP denying liability or ownership for the seep, so it appears that someone informed the Admiral outside official channels and he was a bit upset about it.

It will be interesting if someone can do a chemical (and/or isotope) analysis to verify that the oil came from the same reservoir, as 2 miles sounds a bit far.

[1] http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSWLA865620100719

Disagree with your "public " education statement. I would say the same or worse for private. Actually seen some of the best people come out of public schools. The issue may be more society in general and parent attitudes in particular. People often want instant gratification and do not want to take the time to think or analyze.


I did not mean any offense to you, as someone educated in a scientific discipline. You and I, as well as others can read technical reports, listen to technical briefings and observe dialogues between participants on sites such as TOD and make our own informed decisions as to what is really happening. With more information, our decisions and opinions would be even more informed.

I concur with you wholeheartedly that there has not been enough transparency and disclosure of data from either BP or the government. However, we have to take into consideration their conflicting roles in this situation. BP has a fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders as well as a legal responsibility to resolve the current problem and the US Government officials have the responsibility to protect American citizens, the American economy and the environment, which are not mutually exclusive. The government also has the right of withholding information that might unnecessarily panic the American public.

I stand by my original statement that the majority of Americans a very poorly educated in scientific and engineering disciplines,

Beware the enlisted man, simple and uneducated though he may be, he is wily and cunning etc,etc.

And no, Sir. The government of the United States represents the people of the United States. When the withholding of information by individual members of that government from the people whom they serve endangers the life of those people, those acts of deceit by omission may be approaching the level of treason.And I speak as an educated member of the public and as the member of a family who has served this country since the American Revolution.

"The use of the timber rattlesnake as a symbol of the American colonies can be traced back to the publications of Benjamin Franklin. In 1751, he made the first reference to the rattlesnake in a satirical commentary published in his Pennsylvania Gazette. It had been the policy of Britain to send convicted criminals to America, so Franklin suggested that they thank the British by sending rattlesnakes to England. Benjamin Franklin's "Join, or Die" cartoon In 1754, during the French and Indian War, Franklin published his famous woodcut of a snake cut into eight sections. It represented the colonies, with New England joined together as the head and South Carolina as the tail, following their order along the coast. Under the snake was the message "Join, or Die"."

IMO true learning never has and never will take place in such an environment as public or private schools.

I used to teach Rocket Guidance Systems and Electron Theory to military personnel given the task of arming and firing nuclear tipped ICBM rockets.

The training I received was by a 'civil servant'. Training on 'How To Teach' and I then knew that most all public and private education was almost a total waste of time.

In other words teachers never did know exactly 'how to teach' and still do not.

My daughter has a degree in Instructional Technology and has taught public school for many years. She is totally 'out of it' and doesn't even realize it at that.

Teaching is all about tenure. Nuff said?

If you really wish to educate yourself you must go beyond this playground nonsense and start by picking a good set of books dealing with many areas of interest. You will either learn or fall by the wayside. Most Americans hardly read. They 'browse' junk and call it reading. Most can hardly spell. Few can write with a pen or pencil and create intelligible text. Their miniscule knowledge comes over the TV antennas or via cable and most of that is the worst of the worst. Oprah? Wow. Jimmy Fallon? Sheesh. Who are these clowns?

Todays youth mostly IMO grunt at each other and use words that do not actually exist. Its a pity but that is how it is. Most cannot even qualify for the military and that speaks volumes. Most are lucky to learn how to flip a Big Mac on the grill. That and WallyWorld stock clerks are about their pinnacle.

As I watch the youth of today I know without a doubt that WTSHTF they will be first to die off. They are totally helpless and actually appear to care less. Now is all a fantasy world about Vampires and WereWolves!!! Do these young have a real clue? Not that I can see.

BTW my only granddaughter is lost in the fantasy world of Vampirism. Dresses the part and acts the part as well. My nephew learned one thing well. Twitch games(FPS) on the PC. He now is in his 20's and washes cars for a livelhood. My other nephew is a bum living on unemployment checks. Refuses to do work as a result. My brother in law is on his 3 wife after leaving 4 children strewn over the landscape with serious mental issues, his offspring that is.

Yes stupidity reigns supreme but it didn't have to be this way. It started with my son who was part of the 'open classroom' concept and 'new math'in middle school. He learned one thing well....bullshit the teachers and forget the rest. Back in the late 60s it started. I remember it well. It didn't work and the wreckage is with us yet.

In a former life I work in nuclear emergency response [C/105 radcon]and know in my heart of hearts we are being told only what the .gov folks want us to hear....officially.Simmons has backdoor connections in the business that no one here has...he used to finance TO. rigs for crying out loud,...and your calling pyrite?sorry,I think he knows some things that are being hidden as to not terrify the public.Thats what emergency "management" is all about.CONTROL of information to control people affected

I grew up during Vietnam and Watergate and it's practically a working assumption for me that the government is lying whenever someone representing it opens their mouth. But here's why I'm scratching my head over Simmons' claims. If he is right, the ROV show we're fixated on ain't where the action is. Several miles away 120,000 barrels of oil are still gushing into the gulf each day, and he's the only who seems to know about it. I don't doubt he has connections. But I find it hard to believe that NOAA has confirmed this gusher and has managed to keep its existence out of the public discussion except when Simmons makes a TV appearance.

But I find it hard to believe that NOAA has confirmed this gusher and has managed to keep its existence out of the public discussion except when Simmons makes a TV appearance.

Uh-huh, me too. Gullibility and chutzpah: heckuva combo, no? Lot of it going around these days though.

So where is the 120k bpd "real leak"? NOAA hasn't found it and they've looked. Are they lying?

He said the NOAA ship went over the well and "there's no casing in there!". Then what's the BOP resting on? mud?

He's saying things which are provably wrong, connections or no. And why are these "connections" telling only him? The gov't is silencing them?

The mere fact that they are illogical, contradictory and provably false only makes them MORE likely to be true to some people.

Americans are so poorly educated in scientific disciplines that they are easily seduced into believing every crackpot theory.

OldLeatherneck- One of the best posts I've read, you hit the nail right on the head. That is the entire problem with trying to have an intelligent, logical, civil discussion about this or any other serious issue in our society: poor science education. And if I may add, poor-to-no education in logic: what it is, why it's crucial, how to use it.

The absurd third-hand opinions confused with facts, the kindergarten level of reasoning, the ignorance of the most basic laws of the physical world. I'm ashamed, and I was a teacher!

Kevin: All you have to do is backtrack to the preliminary but original documents. Of course this is a lot of work, sorry. Keep after it--it turns out to be interesting, even fun.

First the NOAA report
shows graphs such as Figs 12-13 on pages 16-17 with a band of high floresence and optical backscatter at ~1100 meters, indicating oil-contaminated water.

A similar finding was made in another location at a different time by Dr. Samantha Joye at U Georgia, with a sample graph published on her blog.

Once you've looked at the original data, you don't have to rely on heresay. Be patient, though--it will be months and even a few years for the final peer-reviewed scientific publications to come out. The research community has no interest in denying people's claims, which are simply irrelevant to measuring, analysing, interpreting, and carefully reporting reliable knowledge.

Thanks for the links. I read the Thomas Jefferson report after I kept coming across statements that NOAA had confirmed this or that extraordinary claim. I got tangled in the technical details, but I didn't see anything that seemed to confirm the more disturbing claims of Matt Simmons, et.al. I'll take some time to read Dr. Joye's blog.

I understand that scientists don't want to make definitive claims without subjecting their findings to proper testing and review. But Dylan Ratigan had Simmons on again today, and pronounced him to be the guy who was getting things right, or something to that effect. Well, if Simmons were the guy getting it right, a lot of people could be dead before the science journals get papers about this published. In the seemingly much more likely event that he is wrong, he could still create a lot of upset absent public and decisive repudiations of his views. Of course it would help if MSNBC would actually act like a news organization and check this guy's claims out against knowledgeable sources and challenge his claims on the air, rather than just letting him give speeches about how millions could die on the Gulf coast and BP executives should go to prison.

Am I to understand, from the reference to dispersant in the top post, that BP is actually STILL feeding dispersant?

BP is actually STILL feeding dispersant?

Nope. Since the integrity test started, there's been naught to disperse. (But if they go back to containment and have to "let it bleed" again, they'll feed more dispersant, I presume.)

The dispersant that was being fed in to the main oil flow is stopped, but BP also applies it by air and off ships. Do you know if all that has been stopped?

EPA ordered surface application stopped weeks ago.

Considering their propensity for using Corexit (AKA "Wehidesit"), its a wonder that CNN hasn't broadcast a clip yet of BP hired (but "unmarked"), aircraft spraying tourists at Miami beach who are wearing sun tan oil...

Wehidesh**. Too funny. Did you see me accuse President Obama's favorite tactic being 'talk and awe'?

Could someone point me to another thread or give a quick concise explanation for the lower initial pressure Thad Allen referred to in today's briefing?

student, I can't explain diddly, but the first pressure they announced was 6,720 psi, rising at 2 psi/hr. By this afternoon, it was up to 6,811 though now rising only about half as "quickly" as earlier (as Kent Wells a couple of days ago said they'd expect).

Kent Wells said "heading for 6800+/- 50 psi" (based on plots). Seems totally on-track. If it continues to build beyond that though all well and good as far as integrity concerned it seems to me.

announced was 6,720 psi, rising at 2 psi/hr. By this afternoon, it was up to 6,811 though now rising only about half as "quickly" as earlier

Here the pressure axis is precise, but the rate is (sadly) vague, but if anyone can accurately pick the half-rate point, they can model a first order exponential fit, to give an effective source/driver pressure.

With those numbers, (taking 6811 as 50%) that gives 6902psi as the exponential target pressure.

Another dumb question:

Why is BP still increasing the pressure?

Wouldn't be best, for the integrity of the well, to just keep it steady?

BP is not increasing the pressure - Mother Nature is increasing the pressure.

Some of the media reports are presenting the rising pressure as a danger... as in 'the pressure's going up and she's gonna blow'... rather than a desired outcome that means the well structure is intact.

So it is no surprise that people are coming here concerned about the rising pressure. You can think the MSM.

It is natural, rise in pressure, rise in blood pressure. When you are starting on the bottom however, and you might have a hole in your aorta, rising blood pressure is a very, very good thing.

A hole in your aorta...you need a good surgeon and those funny pressure hose...

No, at some point it means you never did or it is no longer leaking. Much better than a surgeon.

Edit: My brother is a surgeon but he just fixed a skin laceration one Labor day with a needle, thread and some tequila. He does not do aortas and I am sure you need better equipment to work on them.

It's not nice to fool with ... MOTHER NATURE .....BOOM.....

TearsForGulf asked

Another dumb question:

Why is BP still increasing the pressure?

Wouldn't be best, for the integrity of the well, to just keep it steady?

BP aren't increasing the pressure.

The oil well is capped. The pressure at the cap is slowly increasing due to circumstances in the well bore and in the reservoir. At first pressure rose because the well was capped and oil at the base of the well under pressure forced it's way past obstructions in the well bore and gradually brought the pressure at the cap to the pressure at the base minus the weight of the oil in the bore. As I understand it, the foremost hypothesis for the current slow rise in pressure is due to migration of oil from other areas of the reservoir which are at a higher pressure than the depleted part of the reservoir near the well base. Some people have hypothesised that the reservoir consists of a number of separate oil-bearing sands which communicate (i.e which can leak into one another).

But yes, there are those who believe it would reduce strain on the well casing if the pressure were relieved by opening the cap. For operational reasons. this would release maybe three days flow of oil at 30,000 - 65,000 bbl/day (from memory - maybe the estimates differ now) before most or all of the flow could be collected.

I get it..:)

Does anyone have information on the first attempt at Macondo 252. I heard some early reports that the initial well was abandoned do to with loss of the tools and drill string?

Transocean Marianas Slated to Spud Exploration Well at Macando
Date: Oct. 2009
Type: Status Update
The Transocean Marianas semisub is scheduled to spud an exploration well at BP's Macondo prospect, located on Mississippi Canyon Block 252. BP serves as the operator and holds a 100% working interest in the Macondo prospect.

Has anyone checked the coordinates on this video. Could there be a relationship between reports of another leak and this first well


Does anyone know what datum is used? Is it showing feet or meters?

My guessing on the datum as UTM and units as feet puts this very near the well and right near where the Pieces did her last sweep. The Pieces is headed back there right now.

Was there a mistake made around the at the time of this video on the oil collection system efforts? At this point in the oil collection system efforts the recover rate was at about 15 kbpd. It dipped on the 15th to 10 kbpd and then increased to 25k in the next couple of days.

When it comes to the amount of money on the table in this mess, there is no way to underestimate the desperate sick criminal mentality hard at work trying to deceive everyone for some apparent short term advantages, which is the same sort of nearsightedness that lead to this mess * infinity.

Somebody tell me that isn't oil releasing from under a thin hydrate crust....

Where are you watching that?

I have been searching the whole web for info on the prior drilling locale and have found nothing.

I have a nagging suspicion that there may be something about it that BP doesn't want known.

Earlier in this thread I posted the Pisces scanning track.

Grinch -- All wells drilled in the OCs are of public record. No one can secretly drill a well out there. I suspect the confusion has two sources. First, an operator will propose a number of wells in its "Exploration Plan" it submits to the MMS. Often not all of those wells are ever drilled. Second, the BP well drilled to a depth and then stuck drill pipe. They left a section of drill pipe and abandoned that portion of the hole. Then they sidetracked around the lost hole and drilled the current hole. Thus they did drill two holes but both from the same surface location.

They left a section of drill pipe and abandoned that portion of the hole. Then they sidetracked around the lost hole and drilled the current hole. Thus they did drill two holes but both from the same surface location.

I've seen this same explanation and resulting possible incomprehension repeat itself and I'm guessing that it is the result of the presence of jargon or consensual oil patch definitions that don't quite match how other english speakers understand the meanings.

This is how I figure many people would interpret that:

"Then they sidetracked [wtf does this mean?]

around the lost hole and drilled the current hole. [Ok they pulled all the way out and started a new hole, which by definition must be in a new place on the seabed or it would be the same hole]

Thus they did drill two holes but both from the same surface location [So the rig stayed in place but they moved the riser and BOP so to drill this new hole.]

I'm guessing you were saying that they partially withdrew and used directional drilling to sidetrack around the problem while remaining within the same hole (penetration of the sea bed)

Yeah, sorry if that's unclear. We do this all the time - "sidetrack" or "bypass" hole. You drill to a certain depth and get stuck, plug back the troublesome part of the hole with cement then re-enter existing hole and drill around the problem. Same top hole, new branch at depth. Usually we call it a sidetrack when it's done deliberately to get a new penetration some distance from the original hole - also known as a "geologic sidetrack" to get more subsurface information at a new but close-by location. "Sidetracks" are usually just to get a better keeper location or another penetration for more appraisal data, or try again because you missed the target, or to reuse a well that's gone off production for another purpose. "Bypass" wells or "mechanical bypasses" are generally the result of bypassing a wrecked part of the original hole (e.g. stuck drill pipe, fractured formation, bad cement shoe). The terminology has not always been strictly followed, but recent MMS standards distinguish OH (original hole) vs. ST to a new bottom hole location or BP (bypass) to get around a mechanical problem and continue. Just to confuse the issue, many appraisal wells have a bypass in order to twin the original hole, but cut whole (conventional) core for data. I probably just confused you more, but the bottom line is that, yes, a sidetrack, or bypass, means splitting off from the original hole at some depth, so that there can be many branches of a well that all use the same top hole section. Not uncommon in GOM to see well names like OCSAREA-BLKNUMBER-ST2BP3 meaning that the well is third bypass section of the second sidetrack of the original hole. In other words, in this example, there would be at least five boreholes branching off the original well bore. Usually ST means you want more info or reuse an old well. BP usually means that you got into trouble and had to keep trying new holes to get down to target. Lot's of bypasses = lot's of trouble and lot's of $'s you didn't plan to spend. I believe that Macondo had a single bypass section, from a single top hole from permitted location B - location A was never used ( to add confusion the OH was started with a different rig than DW Horizon which re-entered OH.)

BTW: I predict that the relief wells will be plugged back and eventually sidetracked to produce Macondo (perhaps by another operator and probably not in the near future.

WRB: sorry for the long-winded explanation of the obvious - I didn't read your post in context - but maybe this will clarify for some.

OH...OH...OH...you didn't tell wrb what we call the equipment that's stuck in the hole: it's called the "fish". And what do we call the process of trying to get the fish out of the hole? Here it comes....wait for it....wait for it....we call it "fishing". And there are hands that specialize in getting the fish out of the hole. And YES! We call them "fishing hands".

In our next lesson we'll study "pooh".

Yeah, context is everything. Between the acronyms and shorthand, when I started I thought I'd never be able to read a morning report. Although about half of it is still over this dumb geologist's head, I now seem to be able to read the reports with no effort -- I guess it's seeing the same stuff over and over again, it sinks in. OTOH, the trick is to spot what's unexpected (and important) because the engineers, like airplane pilots in a crisis, manage to remove all emotional context. It's truly crushing to read the last lines in the Macondo ticket, three words, 11 lives, and a world of hurt for the Gulf and the industry.

On a lighter note, for some reason, many years ago looking a a scout ticket, I convinced myself that a competitor prospect was named "Pooh," as in Winnie-the ... . Undoubtedly it's still called Pooh in the corp database where I entered it. I could never figure out why WOR or WOW or WOC took so long. Dumb, dumb, dumb, but I guess there is no way to learn this arcane language without diving in.

Perhaps it's the same in engineering as in geology - we used to say that the best geologist was the one that had seen the most rocks.

This makes me wonder at the the idea that they thought they were hangin' in a straight hole. I know the deflections were posted some time ago. Other than how it might affect the kill, though, I guess I'm not concerned enough to look it up right now.

Thanks for the clarification, though.

moto -- The non-perfectly vertical hole was more an issue regarding the number of centralizers BP used on the csg. Even a minor hole deflection can cause the csg to lay right up against the hole. This can lead to a poor cmt job: no cmt between the csg and the rock = no bond.

Here it is motownman. Keep your eye on Mr. Guide.

On April 15 ... Mr. Gagliano's modeling showed that it would require 21 centralizers to achieve only a "MINOR" gas flow problem.

Mr. Gagliano informed BP of these results and recommended the use of 21 centralizers. After running a model with ten centralizers, Mr. Gagliano e-mailed Brian Morel, BP's drilling engineer, and other BP officials, stating that the model "now shows the cement channelling" and that ''I'm going to run a few scenarios to see if adding more centralizers will help us or not." Twenty-five minutes later, Mr. Morel e mailed back:

"We have 6 centralizers, we can run them in a row, spread out, or any combination of the two. It's a vertical hole, so hopefully the pipe stays centralized due to gravity. As far as changes, it's too late to get any more product on the rig, our only option[ ] is to rearrange placement of these centralizers."

The following day, April 16, the issue was elevated to John Guide, BP's Well Team Leader, by Gregory Walz, BP's Drilling Engineering Team Leader. Mr. Walz informed Mr. Guide: "We have located 15 Weatherford centralizers with stop collars ... in Houston and worked things out with the rig to be able to fly them out in the morning." The decision was made because "we need to honor the modeling to be consistent with our previous decisions to go with the long string." Mr. Walz explained: "I wanted to make sure that we did not have a repeat of the last Atlantis job with questionable centralizers going into the hole." Mr. Walz added: "I do not like or want to disrupt your operations . . .. I know the planning has been lagging behind the operations and I have to turn that around."

In his response, Mr. Guide raised objections to the use of the additional centralizers, writing: " it will take 10 hrs to install them . .. . I do not like this and ... I [am] very concerned about using them."

An e-mail from Brett Cocales, BP's Operations Drilling Engineer, indicates that Mr. Guide's perspective prevailed. On April 16, he e-mailed Mr. Morel:

"Even if the hole is perfectly straight, a straight piece of pipe even in tension will not seek the perfect center of the hole unless it has something to centralize it."

"But, who cares, it's done, end of story, will probably be fine and we'll get a good cement job. I would rather have to squeeze than get stuck ....So Guide is right on the reward equation."

On April 17, Mr. Gagliano, the Halliblllton account representative, was informed that BP had decided to use only six centralizers. He then ran a model using seven centralizers and found this would likely produce channeling and a failure of the cement job. His April 18 cementing design report states: "well is considered to have a SEVERE gas flow problem." Mr. Gagliano said that BP was aware of the risks and proceeded with knowledge that his report indicated the well would have a severe gas flow problem.

Mr. Gagliano's findings should not have been a surprise to BP. As noted above, BP's mid-April plan review found that if BP used a single string of casing, as BP had decided to do, "Cement simulations indicate it is unlikely to be a successful cement job." Nonetheless, BP ran the last casing with only six centralizers.


Do you know why RW 2 is not being used to kill the original well? I do not get why that one is finished, but not being used while RW 1 is still in process (I would have thought a relief well called "1" would be finished first. . . )

I'm a Gulf resident and frustrated . . . any insight appreciated.

Heather - RW2 isn't finished. It's "suspended". It stopped at a level RW1 had passed some time ago. They need just one RW if all goes well. The RW2 was drilled in case RW1 had mechanical problems while drilling.

What Rockman said. RW 1 started before RW 2. RW 1 winning the race, RW 2 in reserve in case of problems with RW1.

wrb -- You nailed it. Here's another anomaly: we work 12 hour shifts on a rig. These shifts are called "tours" yet are pronounced "towers". No one in the oil patch can tell you why we pronounce it that way. It was passed down from generation to generation. Many suspect it came about as a result of Texas accents.

lol -- I was in a meeting last week where pre-tower and post-tower safety meetings were the topic and everyone knew exactly what the topic was - but guessing most didn't now why they were called that :)

May be some Louisiana creole caused that, "tour" means "tower" in French.

This well was spudded by the marianas rig. Marianas had problems with the BOP early november and pulled out for repairs. Then hurricane ida damaged it and it had to be replaced by horizon. Marianas made around 4k ft of hole.

It's about 40 feet from the LMRP. Say... about 40.7 feet at a bearing of 66º.

And... that is a mighty fine video of thrusters kicking up silt.

I'm not a geologist, nor am I in the petro industry. But when sand and silt have high pressure oil and gas making it's way to the surface... there will be little room for doubt when/if that happens.

Note: Positional information is derived from coincidental fixes off of the Skandi Neptune. Coords on the ROVs in feet.

That's an old video that was discussed and dismissed here; though I'm not sure for what reason.

Coast Guard Rear Adm. Paul Zukunft, Allen's deputy on the scene, said the Helix Producer and the Q4000, two of the ships disconnected from the well to put on the containment cap, could be quickly re-connected within hours if scientists decide that's necessary.
July 19, 2010

This article is about the BP shares drop and those wondering if Matt Simmons could be right.


Does anybody here NOT think that they should be flowing the well for everything that can be collected? What would be the disadvantage of it? I mean, why are they not collecting everything they can, to minimize the pressure on the well without releasing it into the Gulf?

Does anyone know what the collection capacity is for what they can readily put in place?

Yeah, I think they shouldn't. First, transitions introduce new opportunities for bad events to occur. Second, there's bad weather moving in, in which case they'd have to let it gush into the gulf or cap it again. That's another transition.

If it doesn't show signs of blowing something out, leave it capped.

there's bad weather moving in

There is? Has this developed since Allen's briefing? When somebody asked about weather, he said NOAA gives one spot near (east of?) the Lesser Antilles a <10% chance of amounting to anything; otherwise clear for the foreseeable future.

Conditions are favorable for bad weather to develop again, and there are a couple of areas that are being watched closely. We have had a couple of weeks where the Gulf was pretty much shut off from tropical development. There isn't any bad weather yet.

I was pointing out that we need to keep in mind what time of year this is.

Traditionally late july storms often originate in the Gulf itself, esp. when we have a warm gulf, http://www.weather.com/maps/news/julynonactive/latejulypointsoforigins_l... shows that 10 of the 26 storms in July 21-31 originated in the gulf itself. Compared to one week earlier where only 3 of the 19 originated in the Gulf. If memory serves me right the figures get higher in August, which is why I have already located all my gas cans.

Yep. Very little advance warning for the DWH site if one forms in the GOM. Certainly not the 5 days they said they needed earlier.

Okay then, everybody, FLAP!

Lotus, don't know if flapping will work .. my friends that know my history of having storms follow me usually just ask me to get in my car and drive the storm away from them. Doesn't work all the time but I have had storms change track and catch me on the road 4-5 times so its enough probability for them (including Elena in 85 which was reported as landfall expected in Florida when I left Houston but backed off and caught me in Louisiana). If I actually thought that would work I would spend the whole hurricane season in Nebraska and we would have no storms in the gulf.

If I actually thought that would work I would spend the whole hurricane season in Nebraska and we would have no storms in the gulf.

ded, maybe then we'd have a lot more rebuilt towns like Greensburg, Kansas!

There's the potential for bad weather to develop, two tropical waves that could develop into tropical depressions no sooner than Wednesday. See the always-reliable Jeff Masters' blog:

Yes, lots of people know.

The implication from BP is that there is still not enough capacity to collect all the oil yet and that in order to start producing at the site would entail venting hydrocarbons into the open ocean again. Couldn't the valves be opened to the ships to all the max that the ships can process while keeping the rest of the pressure shut in the well bore?

it sure seems to me like there is an orchestrated campaign to keep information from the planning people away from public scrutiny. It is really starting to sound like they are going to do everything they can do to keep the true extent of the leak from the public.

There have been odd statements made all along the way from both the government side and the BP side.

there are a number of reasons that BP would logically not want to flow the well right now. For one thing the pressure is still apparently building and it is the pressure buildup that is going to give them very valuable information about wellbore integrity. As well something that is often ignored is the amount of damage that can happen due to fluid erosion. The rate of flow of gas and oil is much higher than one would normally want from a well bore. That sort of unabated flow does have impact on casing, hangers etc. Continuing to flow at high rates might lower the reservoir pressure but it also runs some risk of creating further wellbore integrity issues.

Does anybody here NOT think that they should be flowing the well for everything that can be collected? What would be the disadvantage of it?

1) There is a risk to the offload ships and crews of fire or accident.
2) There is a risk of oil spill in the offload process
3) There is a risk that offloading or any other start/stop or activity could damage the BOP or well
4) If/when a hurricane comes, then you would be venting oil until you can return, or other risk of a shutoff start/stop...
5) The shut off well can be studied in detail

What would be the disadvantage of it?

Simple answer: Some oil would leak.

Collection capacity seems something they struggle with, and we have estimates towards achieving ~80,000 bpd, but proven deliveries so far of ~25,000
and something under ~20,000.

The new cap, is as yet untried, but we can hope it is not worse than the old cap - it's unclear if it still uses the same primitive 'it just leaks' pressure/flow control system!.

We also have not seen the important Flow vs Pressure curve, but
I guess BP has some motivation to not push that ;)

Comments made suggest the present draw-off feeds can NOT cope with closed-in pressures, but I've not seen numbers on what they CAN tolerate, and you have to expect some push pressure would help boost collection rates.

The risk is likely they cannot control flow fast enough, if something does go wrong.

I've also seen mention of 'sand'(?) and a finite (some hours) ramp time for resume of collection.

I think they are supposed to still be working, right now, to maximize collection capability.


I didn't realize they even held a briefing today. Does anyone know if they addressed the issue of the sample that the ROV took to the surface yesterday?

According to today's briefing, the sample is going back onshore for analysis.

Thanks for the info.

I think it would be good as it would relieve ALL of the pressure, not just reduce it.

ROCKMAN says that is actually a common procedure for shut in wells, and not difficult or risky.

AlanF777 on July 17, 2010 - 2:01pm
Dumb question: Since the flow is presently stopped, and the pressure is lower than it was ... would a Top Kill work now?

alan -- Not a dumb question at all. This is exactly when you could do a top kill....IF: you can pump mud down at a sufficient pressure and, much more important, the system can handle that increased pressure. Dozens of shut in wells are killed like that in the GOM every year. But not in 5,000' of water when the BOP/cap/well head/csg integreties are uncertain.

BP and govt anticipated pressures up to 8500psi during the integrity test. Now that they know the shut in pressure is very close to 6800psi, it seems they could pump mud at +1500psi overpressure with relative safety. As you have said, any pressure at top greater than bottom will cause a flow, if somewhat slow. It may be worth the effort if they carefully monitor the mud flow (lessons learned and all that). If the more than 1200bbls goes into the well, stop because there is a leak! At that point they will surely know the casing integrity. If the mud was pumped slowly with careful to flow and checking static pressure regularly, they should be able to detect the approximate level of the any leak (static pressure will remain the same despite adding more mud). If mud in the bore reduces static pressure at the well head, it will have a beneficial effect of reducing stress.

Rockman, One of the reasons given for the well to flow (three days) into the gulf if the decision is made to restart processing is the need to bleed sand from the well. If there was enough sand in the well to require bleeding/purging then it seems logical to me the sand would settle to the bottom and why would there be a need to bleed the well to remove it? I have followed the comments on dealing with sand in the O/NG flow along with errosion caused by the higher flow rates and sand in the oil is also a common factor.

If BP has been processing O/NG with sand in it prior to the shutin then why the comments on bleeding the well to clear sand?

I'm not buying in on reasoning to not start the processing again other than BP isn't ready and the sonar operation has prevented them from getting ready. I can imagine BPs thinking on the quickest way to bring this operation to a close and send some of the vessels on their way due to costs. With that said it seems the RW's are still the best approach to killing the well. There is a lot of equipment that's been manufacturred to deal with the well and it seems everything is in about the same stages of completion which IMOH a lot of it isn't needed if they don't resume processing and keep the well shut-in until the RW kills the well. I'm not a gloom and doomer but I think there needs to be open thinking on how well the RW well process will go and it seems the optimistic chatter we hear is mid-August all will be complete and it seems BP isn't anxious to restart the processing.

I've read your comments on a topkill through the new/old BOP. Does this create problems when they prepare to cement the well? How is the mud displaced if there is no usable drill pipe in which to pump cement? It's been weeks since I started reading here but I remember reading that a couple of cement plugs are set. Does this include the plug in the bottom of the casing or .....? I guess an easier way to ask is where in the WW would cement be placed to kill the well? I know without knowledge of casing integrity there's variables.

IF: ... the system can handle that increased pressure.

Any numbers on just how much additional pressure is needed ?

I can see that at full-rate, good flows are needed, to keep up with whatever mud 'falls out the bottom', but during initial rampup,
lower flow rates can be used, and whatever percentage of mud that delivers, will lower the cap pressure.

So you could buy some margin ?

Edited to add this reply to a question from Kent Wells, which
pretty much is along the lines I was thinking.

["Now, the difference here is because the wells not continuing to flow, we don’t need to pump at high rates and pressures. In fact we could go at very low rates and just marginally above the pressure. We could at least initially go quite slow and then eventually as we’ve got more mud into the well, it will start pushing back on the well and actually killing the well and then someone will just have to continue to follow in with more mud. So I think there’s – it’s just a very different procedure but we need to make sure that we go take the
time, properly plan it out, think through all the risks and then we’ll make a decision in the – probably in the next couple days."]

July 19, 2010 cnn Thad Allen

1. Leaks from inoperative BOP
2. Joint in capping stack appeared to be leaking
3. At any moment we have the ability to return to safe containment of oil on the surface

Since the lower and upper stacks are leaking, flex joint and casing uncertainty, why not do 3. and release pressure?

More testing from top will not determine what exactly is going on down there. Need to know permeability, porosity, reservoir size, pressure, temperature, O/G makeup, geology above, and lots of things I know nothing about. More unknowns than equations down there.

Why not just play it safe, and avoid low probability catastrophic event and just produce to surface till RW kills it?

because reopening the valves and connecting the safe containment isn't really a sure thing. Oil will need to be released back into the ocean before containment begins, and there are a bunch of things... hydrates, misfits, etc that could inhibit such activities.

The "leak" at the BOP and joint is a bunch of tiny bubbles of methane escaping some of the metal connections. For a 4,600 PSI pressure differential at the BOP, such a miniscule leak is inconsequential at this point. And its not corrosive, so its not like the leak will get any worse.

Why not just play it safe, and avoid low probability catastrophic event and just produce to surface till RW kills it?

By far the highest risks are actually at point of making dynamic change (when have system roughly at steady state, risks are extremely low). Closing in well completely was arguably a risky move, but once closed in, extremely low risk now to leave it shut in, particularly with pressure near constant. Setting up & restarting production to the surface is a risky undertaking & is guaranteed to release some additional oil into the GoM (which they will take lots of steps to mitigate, but can't eliminate). Then cycling to shut in again if bad weather hit would introduce significantly more stress on the system & additional risks.

Choosing between unquantifiable risk of leaving well shut in vs. unquantifiable risk of producing well to ad-hoc processing system, both with potential catastrophic failure scenarios.

If going to open up BOP, I'd rather see them hook up Q4000 (or one of the idle rigs) with mud again & circulate mud in via kill line & produce out via choke or riser, for basically a top-kill without needing to put any more pressure on system & potential benefit of gradually reducing pressure as mud mixes in. But that has its own risks of needing high pressure connections all working with disconnect options, and need to stop the seismic survey runs to do it.

New video of apparent gusher on the sea floor. Same approximate coordinates of June 13 rover video.

New Video

Old Video

Not touching or commenting on anything labeled "Enhanced". Not worth the time or trouble.


You insinuate that the author of the video could be deceptive - such is not the case. Specifically, the author states that the following "Enhancements" were made: Levels adjustment, brightness/contrast adjustment, & sharpening. Actually, in the industry, these are not even called enhancements - they are called referred to as "corrections" and are both common and expected for they do not alter the content of what is being shown, but instead make it (the video) more truly representative of what had been imaged.

The best practice is to offer a raw video made the same way for comparison and let the viewer decide about enhancements. I even do that for my voice overs. I make the raw video available uncut on my storage site. That way I have to keep super honest or I am left hanging.

One of the first lessons I learned from lurking on this forum: Watch the location coordinates to see if the ROV is traveling. If it is, expect to see silt kicked up like this. The first couple of times I saw this kind of thing I thought I was witnessing the apocalypse unfolding before my eyes. I recorded it with some screen capturing software, and now I've got about an hour's worth of video of silt flying around. I could probably post it to my Youtube channel, claim it is oil gushing from the sea floor and get quite an audience for it. But it's just silt. Kind of a let down once you've gotten your expectations up for the destruction of the human race.

BP doesn't have Kent Wells' 5 o'clock briefing audio/transcript up yet, but here's another story on it:


As Allen also mentioned, "bullheading" is back on the table.

... “The static kill does give us a new option,” he said at a briefing in Houston.

A decision to proceed could be made in several days, Mr. Wells said.

He said that the procedure could speed the process of sealing the well and that the digging of a relief well, which has been seen as the ultimate solution and could be completed by August, might be needed only to confirm that the technique had worked. ...

I guess you could say:

Top Kill is baaaack...It never went away...

I sure hope they haven't abandoned the RW's...

Bullheading will take this system to higher pressure levels still.

Lets roll the dice!

I don't feel lucky...

It's fer real..It's on CNN...

Another perspective on the "testing" that is currently going on.

Let back calculate, conservatively and from what we know, the likely CURRENT leak which is occurring from the well system.

What you ask? Any fool can see that there is no leak - masses are celebrating and candy is being thrown at the saviors.

But wait.

We know the expected pressure range that the BP engineers have been able to calculate, given all the detailed information they have on most aspects of the well/formation pressure system, including oil/gas mixture, temperature, original formation pressure, amount of HC lost, potential compartmentalization, re-charge delay, etc. That pressure, at the wellhead is supposed to be 8-9 ksia.

Prior to the beginning of this "test" the system had 4.4 ksia at the wellhead - this was extensively measured and likely closely monitored by BP, as this information was likely a key to their understanding of reservoir pressure behavior. If we assume conservatively that the pressure is supposed to be 8 ksia, the pressure loss at the wellhead was 3.6 ksi at the beginning of the "tests". This pressure loss was due to a large leak that was visible on all ROV feeds and came out in a neat stream on top of the BOP or spilled from under the collection cap. The flow rate formation was able to develop at the system pressure differential was estimated at 30-60 kbd, or thereabouts. For this exercise, lets assume 45 kbd.

With the beginning of the "tests" the pressure system has undergone a dramatic change. The wellhead pressure changed from 4.4 ksia to 6.8 ksia. This means that the pressure differential has decreased from 3.6 ksia to 1.2 ksia, given the 8 ksia full wellhead pressure calculated by BP. What does this pressure loss imply? Why, just like in the first case it implies a leak, though obviously smaller than the original flow. How much smaller? Approximately a third of the original flow rate. This means right now, about 15 kbd is leaking OUT of the well pressure system*. Where is it all going? Well, it is not coming in a clearly visible stream, so it looks like it doesn't exist. Just like dispersed oil, it is "out of sight, out of mind". BP is hoping that just like dispersed oil, the public simply forgets about it. It may leaking at depth into another sealed system. It may be slowly filtering through the Gulf mud into the water over a large area.

On another subject, there those who claim that the test must continue to develop better pressure data. This is untrue for at least two reasons. First, BP doesn't actually need any high pressure at the BOP to execute the bottom kill and they need the new capping stack open until the very end of the process. They need something like 3 ksi of back pressure at the wellhead to balance out the different lengths of pipe between the RW and WW. They already know they have that and they actually knew before the "tests" they had that capability. This "test" was never actually required, which is why BP engineering argued against it. Second, theoretically one can see a difference between a high pressure reservoir with a small constant leak and a lower pressure reservoir with no leak. The two curves follow slightly different paths from 4.4 ksia to 6.8 ksia. However, when you consider the numerous uncertainties in the input data, modeling, etc., and put error bars on the curves, they become overlapping. When you plot your pressure data, with its measurement uncertainty, it is indeed very, very difficult to resolve the two situations with good certainty.

*I used the simplest version of this calculation, ignoring the effect of the present subsurface leak on the initial leak rate vs. pressure drop assumption. Better calculation results in a little smaller leak.

Just because Ixtoc developed oil leaks from the seabed after they capped it does not mean Macondo will.

Look how much better this has gone than Ixtoc. We'll have it caped in 3 months instead of 10 as long as noting goes wrong.



Did Ixtoc really develop seabed leaks?

According to the one detailed account i read, yes it did. After Red Aair capped it the casing ruptured, it began to leak from the seabed and there was noting they could do to contain it.

I have not seen it mentioned in a second source and would have to dig a bit to find that one again. It was some weeks ago that I read it, before the new cap was unveiled.

Initial efforts to cap the well did not succeed. The Red Adair Co. of Houston, Texas did succeed in closing the well casing and extinguishing the fire, but the well ruptured below the casing and caused a second blowout. Because of the danger to the ships, the fire was relit. Observers noted that the volume of oil and gas was larger and that the fire was brighter than before the attempt.

In September, Brown and Root, Inc. of Houston, Texas constructed a large steel cone, called the Sombrero. The Sombrero would be placed over the IXTOC well and be connected to a separater/diverter to isolate the oil from the water. The first time the Sombrero was taken to the location, it was damaged by high seas and had to be taken back to Houston for repairs. After repairs, the Sombrero was taken back out and installed over the well. The Sombrero did not function properly when it was in place. This was attributed to (1) the turbulence around the well head–which carried the oil around the Sombrero and (2) the escape of some of the oil from cracks in the sea floor that were adjacent to the well’s cracked casing.

Page 4 of this study (a huge pdf)

Lovely illustration on the cover page!

Dimitry, I like your ability to think for yourself and I think your points are valid regarding this "test".

I have tried to communicate several times in these threads that people need to be a lot less confident in what they "know" about this situation. There has been endless discussion about what BP could and could not do, what had failed in the well, why they were using various techniques, and why they could not just remove the broken riser and bolt on a valve, etc.

Then a couple of weeks ago they quietly tested a wrench to remove the bolts. A couple of days ago they used it, bolted on a simple adapter and a valve, and shut it in. Which was predicted/expected by exactly nobody. In doing that, they showed a fair amount of the discussion here from the last many weeks to be meaningless - and that includes the wilder ideas as well as the oh-so-confident smart folks laughing at the rubes. We've got some crappy video to sooth a TV addicted audience, some trickled out data, and major speculation on what it means - and then BP goes and makes ass-hats out of everyone.

Most all of what we're told comes from a single source with a massive vested interest, often distributed through other not-impartial outlets. We don't have any idea why BP did this now - what their motivation was, what risks they took, and what the likely consequences are.

From what I can tell, there are a lot of bright, well educated people posting here that have a strong tendency to swallow what is given them by those in positions of authority, and need a big fat helping of skepticism with a side dish of hubris.

Quit beating up on BP.

Just because BP tried to buy up all of the scientists who might testify against them does not mean they would also try to hide the flow rate data by forcing the govt.'s hand on the shut in. You really think they would do something that low just to save a few billion dollars?

Careful there - that's getting perilously close to being a theory about some kind of conspiracy. And we know that when large sums of money and personal power are at stake, humans would never conspire with one another. That's crazy talk.

Maddow did a segment on this a few minutes ago, comparing it to the scene in The Sopranos familiar to anyone with a working knowledge of divorce law. Edie wants to hire the best divorce lawyer around but finds out that because he (and another seven or eight of his fellow top tier lawyers) has already consulted with Tony, just enough to ethically disqualify them all from representing her...

"From what I can tell, there are a lot of bright, well educated people posting here that have a strong tendency to swallow what is given them by those in positions of authority..."

Yes, some of that. Perhaps even more troubling, IMHO, is a widespread tendency to cling to conclusions while circumstances and data change. Not good science, or good management practice.

I second (or third, or whatever) the kudos: Good job of making your case, Dimitry. I have a hard time believing that the pressure data being reported add up to success, and I'd be very nervous if I were Thad Allen.

Can people try not to get their knickers in a twist every time an ROV kicks up some silt with a thruster?

Although from June 13th the older FDL video is what shows what appears to be oil venting periodically from beneath what appears to be hydrate.

cut -- A 4,6000psi pressure differential seems like alot to me considering any sand in the O/G. Your guess is as good as mine, but why risk it. The Helix and Q4000 have already successfully hooked up and disconnected to upper choke & kill lines. Nothing is a sure thing out and down there, except the risk to the people above.

The Admirals and Kent Wells indicate a production hookup can be done in a short period of time.

Most here told us, quite sincerely based on their insights into the subject, that the well was planned to just plumb be killed. No more "producing." We can imagine the siphoning of last few weeks as makeshift effort just to keep some oil from escaping, not a long-term strategy or alternative. Yet on NBC News tonight I heard the again prevalent John Hofmeister, former President of Shell Oil, say ~ "They might try to produce the well" as some possible option for some time. What did he mean? Does that mean, authentic deliberate arrangements to keep oil flowing topside instead of just "might as well catch what we can, *if* we can't stop it yet anyway" - ? And when the relief wells intersect the well hole, shortly - a clear imperative on what to do with them?

Olympic challenger rov 2 has been pointed at the same spot for quite a while now, it appears to have found one of those "face huggers" from the alien movies on the sea floor. Any idea why there so interested in that one spot?

Today in the coast guard hearing they said the pressure reading was 1400 psi right before the well blew out.

To Dr. Goose and all those who have contributed their time, thanks. I must admit I was quite worried but I think after following all of the discussions here I feel a little bit better, esp. w.r.t. substrate geology, etc. People are scared, and rightfully so - no one can say with certainty how all of this will end (hopefully for the best). And I agree with Dr. Goose that doomsday scenarios should be based in fact, not shameless speculation - but I understand, with the lack of detailed information, political back-room dealing and the fact that BP has generally lied from the beginning, there is little trust left, and most people, including myself, do not believe anything BP says (though I do trust many of the responders here that since they seem to have a pretty good handle on it).

In the end, the people who were responsible should be held accountable - de facto criminal negligence IMO. The oil business, demanding as it is, is certainly a most serious business. As an environmental engineer and chemist I can assure you that everything I do is reviewed and re-reviewed by several people, i.e., plenty of oversight and cross-checking, quality control, etc. That general oversight and lack of quality control that resulted in this event is beyond my comprehension.

Regarding the Horizon problems prior to the blowout: One of the workers killed actually wrote his will on his last home visit, showing his wife how to do this and that around the house. He was quite fearful at this time that things weren't going right, and he was scared, and evidently rightfully so. This suggests that a long string of bad decisions were made with little to no quality control. If the procedure to close cracks in the well bore which appeared a few weeks before the blowout were problematic (wrong concrete mix, etc) then it strikes me that perhaps these improperly closed cracks in the well bore may contribute to the problem before its all over with.

The link to the Feb problems: http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2010/06/did-bp-oil-well-blow-out-in-febru...

My question would be how deep were the drillers when they ran into these problems? Obviously if it was only a few thousand feet, well above the reservoir, then the kill operation should settle it so it shouldn't be an issue. I just wondered if the cracked well bore issues may be material in all of this - and over a few days of reading here I haven't seen this brought up. If this topic has already been discussed my apologies.

But what erks me the most is the lack of scientific analytical data, both chemically, physically and geologically.

I cannot believe, e.g., that we have to rely on a local News station in MS to demonstrate 200+ppm oil in beach water where children are playing. Its one thing to keep certain information away from the public, for whatever reason may be justified, but for Gods sake let protect the people along the shore that don't realize the dangers - exposure to hydrocarbons and God knows what is far too risky to promote commercial interests over the health and welfare of innocent people, especially children!. Would you put your grandchild in 200+ppm hydrocarbon with corexit etc? I know I wouldn't.

I have little trust that corporations like BP, with a long record of negligent behavior, cares little more then to protect their own interests. If they were a responsible organization this wouldn't have happened in the first place (or Horizon, or Haliburton). Nothing would please me more then to see these corrupt organizations taken to the cleaners and bankrupted.

Have you looked at the daily data sets published on all air water sampling on the EPA.gov site. They also sampled air and water for dispersant chemicals too but have yet to find any.
You can go to site for each state and find samples locations and results. NOAA.gov has more data than most people want to sift through. A lot of the same data is posted on the BP site but if you do not like them you can also get information on the USGS, White house, Coast guard and department of energy.of course there are links to all the other sites at restore thegulf.gov. Your tax dollars at work.

Given your outlook you might not believe any thing you find though.

Thanks diver for the links. Sorry to be critical but I couldn't understand why people are being exposed to hydrocarbons on the beach when it was clearly demonstrated that 200+ppm levels of hydrocarbons were found in many locations where bathers, esp. children, are in the water. Also, I believe when criminal acts take place those in charge should be held responsible, as I am sure you would agree.

And yes, after 9-11 I don't believe much these days.

Louis -- A little clarification. There were no cracks per se in the well. What folks are probably talking about is the fracturing some of the rocks underwent when they had the mud weight too high and it was injected into the rock, Lost circulation is a bad thing but it’s also not necessarily the end of the world. Almost every DW well experiences lost circulation that can range from a minor inconvenience to a near fatal situation. Those particular LC events won’t affect the RW. But the RW, if they get the MW too high, could suffer LC.

And since you brought it up we call them “I’m dead letters”. Most of the experienced hands have them regardless of how any particular job is going. We don’t tend to talk about them even between each other. We usually leave it with a good friend. Never meant to be read while alive. And that’s all I’ll have to say on the subject.

Hi Rock. Just jumping in here. What do you think of the "static kill" proposal? Do they risk overpressurizing the BOP/stack at this point? (Sorry if you guys have addressed this).

The 'static kill' operation would involve pumping heavy drilling fluids known as mud through the blowout preventer valve system that sits on top of the well and then injecting cement to seal it.

Ghung -- a static kill is used many times during the year in the GOM to kill shut in wells. As I mentioned those wells never make the news because they didn't spill oil in the water or kill anyone. It's much simpler than a bottom kill. But that BIG IF again: if the equipment can handle the pressure. I've suspected all along the prime purpose of the "tests' was to determine if the well could handle the bullheading pressures. And to answer another's question: yes...I’ve been hiding in the shadows with respect to the pressure reports we've been getting. I'm not a production engineer but I do know enough to feel we've gotten no where near enough details to make any of the speculations many have offered. Just MHO. I'm as much hoping as assuming that Wright has enough info to make the right choice. I'm also suspicious that he may have come to the conclusion that the bottom kill was going to be much riskier than many have offered. He may feel that although bullheading is far from risk free it could be a safer option than the bottom kill.

Rockman, One of the reasons given for the well to flow (three days) into the gulf if the decision is made to restart processing is the need to bleed sand from the well. If there was enough sand in the well to require bleeding/purging then it seems logical to me the sand would settle to the bottom and why would there be a need to bleed the well to remove it? I have followed the comments on dealing with sand in the O/NG flow along with errosion caused by the higher flow rates and sand in the oil is also a common factor.

If BP has been processing O/NG with sand in it prior to the shutin then why the comments on bleeding the well to clear sand?

I'm not buying in on reasoning to not start the processing again other than BP isn't ready and the sonar operation has prevented them from getting ready. I can imagine BPs thinking on the quickest way to bring this operation to a close and send some of the vessels on their way due to costs. With that said it seems the RW's are still the best approach to killing the well. There is a lot of equipment that's been manufacturred to deal with the well and it seems everything is in about the same stages of completion which IMOH a lot of it isn't needed if they don't resume processing and keep the well shut-in until the RW kills the well. I'm not a gloom and doomer but I think there needs to be open thinking on how well the RW well process will go and it seems the optimistic chatter we hear is mid-August all will be complete and it seems BP isn't anxious to restart the processing.

I've read your comments on a topkill through the new/old BOP. Does this create problems when they prepare to cement the well? How is the mud displaced if there is no usable drill pipe in which to pump cement? It's been weeks since I started reading here but I remember reading that a couple of cement plugs are set. Does this include the plug in the bottom of the casing or .....? I guess an easier way to ask is where in the WW would cement be placed to kill the well? I know without knowledge of casing integrity there's variables. Computer hung up so you might have covered some of this.

ROCKMAN I believe you are lurking on this issue of the well integrity test.Originally the well pressure was supposed to rise to 8-9000psi. If we can believe BP the pressure is about 6800psi.Knock off the BS. and tell us what you really know about the low pressure/integrity of the well. Your all we got.

There are occasional blobs of oil coming up from below Hos ROV1, different from the seal leak it has been closely monitoring for awhile now. BP needs to do an inspection lower down the stack/BOP and see what the heck is going on down below.

bozo -- see above. Sometimes the most important thing to know is what you don't know.

Where can I view a drawing or schematic of the riser system used to connect to the surface vessels ?

I've been looking for a schematic myself just being curious, but closest I've found is the cartoon diagram from Kent Wells' briefing (slide 7): http://www.bp.com/liveassets/bp_internet/globalbp/globalbp_uk_english/in...

Latest on local Nola.com news:
Scientists have discovered four gas "seeps" at or near BP's blown-out Macondo well since Saturday, but at this point, the federal government doesn't believe they're a problem and will allow BP to leave the cap on the well for another 24 hours while it watches for signs of ruptures in the underground portion of the well.


4 leaks, none of them 'serious'


I guess 4 leaks aren't 'serious' compared to 30 to 60k bbl of oil a day, huh?

No, when I say 'not serious' it means the current data does not support the likelihood of progressive 'failure' IMHO. When you see quotes in my post used like that, it means that my opinion is mixed in the definition. I was also quoting the writer of the article. Thanks and bless you.


No contenciousness intended on my part - I agree things are trending positive & are going as good as they can be for now.

Did you listen to Kent Wells latest (5:00pm) briefing?

I agree that many posters here don't know the nuts and bolts involved in drilling oil wells but the big picture here seems to beyond anyone's expertise. When this is all over and done we will all find out what really happened with a complete Federal investigation. When said and done with, even top scientists, engineers and whoever else that is taking a long hard look at this disaster may find that they were completely wrong with their current analysis.

Most federal investigations have been cover-ups.

Do you really believe the magic bullet theory or that planes and fire can pancake buildings at free fall speed with perfect symmetry and that gravity alone can convert concrete to fine powder?

If you do, then I guess a federal investigation will satisfy you. But it won't satisfy me.

Can fire bring down a steel building? It brought down an earthquake hardened Oakland freeway when a gasoline tanker crashed underneath it. Just about the best test of the theory you could have, the fire weakened the steel and it collapsed. The trade center fires likely would have burned far hotter.


Perfect symmetry- high energy processes are often very symmetric. Your talking about stuff likely falling at over 200Mph. Nothing is going to have the strength to slow a sky scraper moving at that speed down much at all, its basically going to act more like a liquid than a solid.

Much of the powder was from wall board, race down the highway at 200mph and toss a piece of sheet rock at a wall, bet you'll get lots of powder.

Unfortunately, many people feel and think the same way you do: the World Trade Center attack a government conspiracy.

Good grief. Incredible, just incredible. What has happened to common sense? How sad.

"Do you really believe the magic bullet theory..."

You mean, "Did a single shooter assassinate JFK?"

Yep, almost certainly. See (well, read carefully) Vince Bugliosi's incomparable Four Days in November.

"...or that planes and fire can pancake buildings at free fall speed with perfect symmetry..."

The WTC, I presume? Yes, aircraft impacts and the subsequent fires did, indeed, cause the collapse of the buildings. The progressive collapses were not symmetrical in any unexpected way and the buildings did not collapse at freefall speed (we can give you some slack on a short segment of the collapse of WTC 7, which proceeded at near freefall). See the detailed NIST reports and every other reputable study of the events.

"...and that gravity alone can convert concrete to fine powder?"

No. Not alone. But gravity can, does, and did, accelerate masses of concrete to velocities from which sudden deceleration upon impact with the ground causes conversion to dust. Try dropping pieces of concrete from very high places onto hard surfaces. Be very careful.

Unfortunately, some won't wait for big picture. The Florida legislature meets tomorrow to decide if the state's legislative ban on offshore oil drilling will be added to the November ballot as a proposed state constitutional amendment.

Let the lawyers play but I guarantee anyone out there that deep sea rigs won't turn until this is all figured out. Those who are worried about income do to their loss of employment may be farther ahead to pitch a tent somewhere in the wilderness and sit this one out. Eleven men died and the survivors of the Horizon said from the beginning this was the WELL FROM HELL!!!!!!!

Nah, most oil industry I know is chomping at the bit to go. Even the BP folks, although they too have serious questions.

I was quite surprised to see news today about Marathon oil beginning production 160 miles southwest of New Orleans:

Any G&G types to comment on the this post earlier, I'm checking with some that I know experienced in highly fractured formations (albeit not high pressure):
Hi dalter. I am not a driller but a geohazards geophysicist specialising in gas-blowout prevention. So I am coming from a different perspective than most on this blowout disaster. You can check out my views on how the blowout occurred and why the capping of BP's well is making a bad situation worse.


Greetings and Salutations.

I'm a new poster but I have been reading here for a about a week and have been following this event since day one.

I do have an explanation in layman's terms as to why the pressures are not what they expected when BP finally shut off the flow.

Suppose I have a flat tire with a hole in it.

I hook it up to my air compressor and manage to get the tire to 25 PSI with air still rushing out the hole.

I need 30 PSI but I can't reach it even with the air compressor running.

Now the well.

Think of my air compressor at the oil in the reservoir under pressure pushing up.

The tire is the well casing.

The hole in my tire is a possible breach in the well casing.

Now BP does not know if the well is breached, they can only guess.

So is this scenario correct in my thinking?

Oh, my name is George.

Yes, I think you are correct. I have a post upthread that "eyeballs" the leak the well is currently experiencing due to this breach.

Others here and BP think that your compressor has gone soft, and though your tire is perfectly fine, you can only get 25 psig with your weak compressor.

Got it Dimitry.

Have a good day.

Ray that is a very good article and makes sense.

Yeah - I think the author did a good job of looking at GSWF (gas saturated weak formation) incidents from the past and then hypothesizing that this could be the cause on this well. However - his conclusion seems to be "It might be prudent to carry out a detailed high resolution 3x3 km geophysical investigation over the ill-fated well" I would assume that this has been done and the G&G folks at BP would have known if the this was the issue--- of course you know what they say about assumptions!

You know what they say about BP: They lie!

Muhuhuhahahahaha (cocktail hour here on Grinch's Peak)

Nice find.

Cheryl and Bruce, I think I may have co-mingled processes that are independent of each other. Thanks for going easy on me on my last post and not getting too wrapped around the axel about semantics. Like I’ve said before, I’m not an expert in your field or a doomer, just a curious passer-by. Actually, I’ve never blogged about anything before; nothing important or interesting enough to spend my time on.

Let me try to clarify my thoughts regarding phase changes: 4 phases = solid, liquid, gas, plasma. Is this the correct description of phases?

I’m not sure what the proper terms would be for what I called synthesize, catalyst, re-assort....maybe transform or change from one phase to another(what I called synthesize) very rapidly (catalyst - I was looking for a cause and effect mechanism, either organic or mechanical), possibly causing a different mixture of substances (what I called re-assort). I also went a step further by trying to describe where those substances might be at x,y,z in the casing(s), at a specific point-in-time.

It seemed logical to assume there may have been another factor(s) which contributed to the accident, other than human error or due to only the well pressure itself. For instance, maybe something similar to Lambda Point but not as extreme. Bruce, I believe you’ve said it is likely to be result of Champagne Effect and the Macondo oil is typical for the reservoir, region and depth, the well structure may have failed for mechanical reasons, but you don’t think a chemical action on the well contributed to the accident.

Bruce, as far as the Balrog is concerned....I dunno.

What do either of you or anyone else for that matter think the reason is for the delay in tapping the WW with the RW’s? I understand an abundance of caution and the readings that are less than desirable but when does s*** or get off the pot come in to play?

We just got back from Apalachicola Florida where the Mayor made an urgent plea for attention from BP and The White House.
We posted a 10 minute video on how residents are being affected. You can view it here.


Thanks for the link SaveR.

Given the small leaks we now see on the BOP stack, which overnight seem to me slowly growing, it would seem to indicate - assuming all connections are torqued to spec - that they have reached a threshold pressure level with this configuration. If true that would seem to argue for opening it somewhat to relieve pressure in the stack? I guess I see these obvious leaks as something of a warning... The last thing we need is a BOP so compromised that it will not handle (3kpsi - 4kpsi, I think was noted) pressure at bottom kill time.

Ya think?

But hey, BP corner cutting and regulatory capture is world-famous. They have an excellent record with Lady Luck, too.

So I say lets roll the dice with BP!

We are onto a winner here, folks!

I found this article kind of interesting, on life forms that thrive on hydrocarbon/methane seeps:


Been lurking silently for awhile. Does anybody know what the ocean current is at the well site? I'm amazed at how strong it is at that depth, and seems to have increased. With this tall rig sticking out of the seafloor, Is there any induced oscillation?

Kent Wells' technical brief from today is now available:


Audio is well worth a listen

Thanks Trip. Apparently their planning to get off the pot soon.

I dont think this new kill procedure will work out.
Since the oil flow is from outside the production casing (maybe), it is possible that the mud will go through the casing and the casing shoe, fracturing the formmation below the payzone. The top kill operation that failed, may already fractured it.
And the oil will stay where it is now. Ready to come out again.(rupture disc??)


Saw a post on an earlier thread by, I think, rovman who is apparently the real deal - IIRC him stating there is little or no current at that depth.

Anybody else remember that, or am I........?

Currents can be as strong as 50 cm/s (~1 knot) at depth, though they are usually less--20 cm/s or lower. Given the density of seawater--roughly 1037 kg/m3--a 1-knot current can apply a fair amount of force. A one-knot current has roughly as much kinetic energy as a 30-knot wind. So, by comparison, the energy contained in the bottom currents around the wellhead is roughly equivalent to a 12-knot wind. In other words, a steady breeze.

Even the biggest, meanest hurricane won't stir the water to 1500m depth.

Of all the things to fear in this circumstance, the riser being toppled by bottom currents probably isn't one.

I agree with you 100% on that - we don't need to worry bout BOP being knocked over by currents

Just in case anybody was wondering about that inevitable methane tsunami, from GLP comes this here post:

the tsunami will be far higher than that. i'm thinking close to 1000 feet close to the eruption site, and a few hundred feet in the atlantic, and maybe an asian sized one in the Pacific?

End of transmission.

Oh for crying out loud ....
Do the people pushing that scare theory have any idea what kind of force it takes to do that?
(Rhetorical question: I'm sure they're in the group that's short on science education because it made their heads hurt in school.)

A methane Tsunami 1000 Feet High? I've now heard all I need to hear. I don't know about you guys, but I'm gonna' go out to the Garage and start repairing the dings in my surf board - I'm not gonna' miss this wave!

Point Break Bodie. Epic, once in a lifetime, fer sure dude.

Beachmommy will have that surfboard ready and waiting.


Actually, I have been telling the methane tsunami crowd to seek professional help if they are in the impact area. It is serious here now. It will get better, but I plan to use pros to help us get the best practices on the ground going. The real threats right now are concentrated between the ears. I have already made my appointment. I am watching for real changes. Good luck and God bless.

I must say that I am becoming increasingly more alarmed as I study the history and evidence of this disaster. Just went back and read this link that someone here left; it alleges an earlier blowout on the well.

The info claims that the drill got swallowed up and the well was abandoned. It goes on to say, "On Feb. 13, BP told the minerals service it was trying to seal cracks in the well about 40 miles (64 kilometers) off the Louisiana coast, drilling documents obtained by Bloomberg show. Investigators are still trying to determine whether the fissures played a role in the disaster."

According to this Wikipedia link about the explosion, the Deepwater Horizon rig was located 40 miles southeast of Louisiana, which matches what was said by Bloomberg.
See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deepwater_Horizon_explosion

However, according to the information at Offshore Technology. com we read that, "At the time of the accident, it was located at 52 miles southeast of the Louisiana port of Venice. The rig was leased by BP for exploration over the Gulf of Mexico until September 2013." See:http://www.offshore-technology.com/projects/macondoprospect/

So where was the rig at the time of the accident- 40 miles or 52 miles from Venice? Is this relevant in view of the theories that are floating around? Does this give any credence to the possibility that there is another leak causing huge plumes in the water column, possibly from the previously abandoned well?

I am so tired of speculating and feeling stressed out day after day about this. The gov't needs to release the information that the research vessels have come up with and tell us everything that they know about the extent of this situation and how it will affect us going forward.


Venice, LA is not the closest land point to the Deepwater site. The delta extends several miles farther seaward from the port, to the southeast in the direction of the wellhead. Besides, those are just rough numbers and you could easily come up with a different estimate using Google Earth.

There are certainly enough gaps and inconsistencies in what we hear from BP and the government to make anyone upset, but I don't think there's much to be feared from the possibility of a second blowout site. Certainly more slicks would be appearing and those couldn't be hidden from remote sensing imagery.

Why do you, me or anybody else have a "right" to any information concerning this well? We have become accustomed to receiving information and/or evidence on cases/investigations concerning anything and everything whether it be Paris Hilton, murder cases, industrial accidents or airplane crashes. All it leads to is unsupported BS and speculation. Hmmmmm, did aliens cause this after all?


That's something I've been wondering myself. All of the science work--both by NOAA and by private contractors--falls under the rubric of the Natural Resources Damage Asssessment, the product of several generations of legislation. There's a webpage devoted to them:


I've been going through the laws, trying to see if there's any guarantee of public access to information gained in the preparation of the NRDA. So far I haven't found anything (though I haven't looked into any possible connection to the Freedom of Information Act).

And granted, events at or within the wellhead aren't necessarily part of the NRDA, so even what I might find might be incomplete. And I'm no lawyer! Rather, a concerned earth scientist. But the public's right to know is very much at the center of concerns here.


Supposedly, we people of the United States are "Citizens" which are supposedly served by a form of government called a "Republic" - or so it says in a document of so-called rights called "The Constitution of the United States". Now...if we are "Citizens" served by a "Republic", then we have the right to this data for it involves the government which serves us, and it is necessary for us to make informed decisions as to how we want the government to operate the "Republic".

Or...we could be just subjects. In that case we have no rights....just a "Bill of Privileges", and the government can do just as it pleases with us serfs.

So Texican...are ya' a "Citizen"....or a "Serf"? There ain't no in-between.

If you would consent to a live TV broadcast of you sitting in your lazyboy, personally receiving this scientific data from those dastardly commie enslaving gubmint agents, taking as much time as necessary to read it (perhaps the network would have to cut away for a substantial amount of time) and then...and this is crucial...you would explain and analyze it for the viewers, why then I'd be all for it.

That's right. Them dumb old common people have no right to them thar scientific papers.

Them thar folks in the Ivory Towers will take care of us.

We don't have no business knowing the coordinates of them seeps.

We sure in the heck don't need no accurate flow rate.

Weeze all just dummies and never have been smart nuff to blow up a well or smart nuff to give permission to someone to do things to blow one up.

We don't even deserve the right to vote.

Please quote the passages in the Bill of Rights and/or the Constitution where you have the right to know any and all pertinent information and facts concerning the DWH tragedy.

Also, considering how stupid our congressmen and senators are I have my doubts about them coming to a logical and scientific conclusion to this tragedy. Honestly, have you heard some of their comments? Islands flipping over and which astronaut put a flag on Mars!!!

maybe i don't have the right to have all the info, but congressmen do or should.......bp is not answering their letters.

How can having all the information lead to unsupported BS and Speculation? The government and BP have it, are you saying all they are doing is BSing and speculating?

dancer -- I suppose it depends on what point you measure from in Venice. It's a long town like most on the river. It runs about 15 miles nort to south. So the well is 52 miles from N Venice and about 40 miles from S Venice.

Actually I just made all that up. Please relax and smile a little at my silly joke. I know this is a scary situation even for those who understand the technology. All I can offer is a compassionate hope that you can ignore extreme predictions from both ends of the spectrum. I could easily be wrong but we might just see the well killed within a week. The environmental nightmare will unfortunately go on much longr. And the economic nightmare much longer than that.

There is no shortage of people stressing out over the situation. I'm not quite sure of the motivation of those who are predicting a methane eruption which will result in something like the Permian Extinction. We have drilled much deeper in the Gulf than the Macondo well without creating Armageddon.

The bottom line is that the individuals who died on the rig, as well as though involved in any aspect of drilling the well, are bit players in this drama. The real drama is drawing the guidelines for who gets the money. There are a lot of parties who are collateral damage, but the ground rules are all contained within the agreement between tbe White House and BP.

Incidentally, Apache is trying to acquire BP's properties in the Perian as well as the Hugoton, along with the half share of Alaska. Durrent disputes are in price and in date of liability. Odds are, they'll have a handshake deal by Thursday.

I'm watching the well leak on the Hos ROV 1 camera. Assuming it isn't progressive, that leak rate doesn't seem to be a problem.

Just out of curiosity, out of the hundreds of undersea wells out there, how many are "leaking" at that kind of rate? A slow drip from a joint or two? Would it even be considered a problem in an operating well? Some input from experienced drillers would be useful here.

I have always wondered if you lose a few gallons in the math. When you connect and disconnect lines. I wonder if underwater spills of less than a barrel are really a big deal in the scheme of things.

I've been lurking here for approx 7 weeks, and I've learned a great deal from many of you. Thank you all for sharing your expertise!

Would some of you please tell me your opinion on statements made by Matt Simmons. Your real opinion, not the politically correct kind, please.

I just have this terrible feeling that BP has too many secrets, and that perhaps even the government doesn't know the extent of what has happened.

The Oil Drum is well respected, and so is Matt Simmons. He has no reason to make stuff up, he has much to lose by speaking out.



I would normally just let this go, and keep my mouth shut, but I am concerned, and I have family in the Gulf.

PLEASE do not just give me the proverbial "pat on the head".

Would some of you please tell me your opinion on statements made by Matt Simmons. Your real opinion, not the politically correct kind, please.

Do you want my real opinion? My not politically correct opinion? OK, here it is: Matt Simmons is full of shit.

There was a time, not long ago when I had a rather high regard for the man. That was back when he backed up his statements with real data. Lately he just spews inflamatory junk with no attempt to back it up.

How do you audit science without suppression? Money? It is imperfect, but there are balancing forces.

Thank you, Alaska. I appreciate your honesty. :)


When I first heard Matt Simmons say that there was another leak on the Gulf Floor, I didn't know what to think for he sourced none of his data. Then, when I saw those leaks in ROV video feeds about 1.5 months ago and BP and the Govt kept silent about him, I started to wonder..."Could he be on to something?" Yet...Matt still hasn't sourced his info.

Now...Simmmons has made some statements about BP which, if untrue, open him up to a Slander Suit which he would surely lose. If BP has nothing to hide, they will surely put a stop to Matt Simmons for he is affecting their Reputation and Stock Price since he is a well-respected Oilfield Investment Banker.

So...the "Ball is in BP's Court" so-to-speak. Simmons has painted a Big, Fat Target on his forehead that BP can easily hit if they can show he's lying - and the lawsuit will cost him a lot of money.

So...does this mean you do anything now? Probably not...there;'s justy not enough evidence out there to know much of anything for sure. However, I would just develop some contingency plans in case worse-comes-to-worst, and I would keep monitoring the situation closely. Be knowledgeable, Be ready...and I think you'll be just fine. Hope this helps.

Jim, thank you.

Your thinking pretty much mirrors mine as of this evening. I, too, would like to see some actual data/proof, BUT, Simmons has a lot to lose, and as you say, he is certainly putting himself out there with a bullseye on his head. That and his reputation makes it difficult to completely discount what he's saying.

As the investigation continues things are starting to get interesting ...

Months before the April 20 blowout on the Deepwater Horizon that killed 11 men, the sophisticated drilling vessel experienced power blackouts, computer glitches and a balky propulsion system, and carried a list of more than three hundred deferred maintenance projects.

Under withering questioning during Monday's resumption of the joint Coast Guard-Department of the Interior inquiry into the BP Gulf of Mexico well blowout,, the rig's chief engineer revealed the possibility that alarms and other critical systems were bypassed or not functioning at the time of the explosion.

The engineer said the rig had been experiencing mechanical failures for months before the explosion. Bertone, an employee of Transocean, said the vessel's thruster, or propeller system, had been "having problems" for the previous eight months. In addition, the computer station where the rig's driller sits had temporarily lost electrical power some days prior to the blowout, he said.

Bertone said on the night of the explosion, he heard no general alarm, there were no internal communications and no power to the engines, and none of the Deepwater Horizon's backup or emergency generators were working.

"We were a dead ship," he said.

Because there was no power, the crew was unable to engage the emergency disconnect system that would have halted the flow of oil from the wellhead.

In his questioning of Bertone, Ronnie Penton, the attorney for the Deepwater Horizon's chief electronics technician, implied that some of the vessel's safety monitoring systems were regularly bypassed, including a general alarm and a device that purged trapped gas from the drilling shack. Another attorney implied that the gas-purging device, which is designed to expel any unanticipated buildup of natural gas, had not been operating for five years.

In May, Douglas Brown, the rig's chief mechanic, testified that he believed a sudden influx of gas onto the rig's deck caused an engine to rev uncontrollably and touch off an explosion. A system to stop that scenario was not functional at the time, he said.

"If I would have shut down those engines, it could have stopped [them] as an ignition source," he told the panel in May.

Later in Monday's hearing, an attorney for Halliburton asked Leo Linder, a drilling fluid specialist, if gauges monitoring the drilling mud had been bypassed. Linder said he did not know.


Also ...

The Deepwater Horizon oil rig’s chief engineer was unaware that there was any problem until he heard the first explosion while in his bedroom, according to testimony Monday at a federal fact-finding hearing.

Stephen Bertone, the chief engineer on the Deepwater Horizon and an employee of Transocean, the rig’s owner, said at a joint hearing of the U.S. Coast Guard and a division of the U.S. Department of Interior outside New Orleans that he had spent the afternoon of April 20 giving a tour of the rig to BP employees and, afterward, went to his stateroom, got into bed and opened a book. Bertone said he heard two explosions with seconds.

“With each thump, I actually felt the rig shake,” Bertone said.

He said the emergency lights immediately went out — indicating that none of the power backup systems that could have been used to fight the fire were working. Bertone said the communications system also was out. At one point, he said, he ran to the standby generator — a critical piece of equipment designed to automatically bring power to the rig in case the regular engines, as well as the emergency generators, failed. But he was unable to get that generator working.

In later testimony, Bertone said, to his knowledge, the oil rig had never shut down the regular engines and emergency generators to see if the standby generator would turn on by itself following a complete power outage. Bertone said that, at one point, hours before the explosion, he noticed that there were double the number of people in a room overseeing the drilling, which he said indicated that there was something wrong.

Bertone, however, was asked to continue giving BP employees a tour. He said he did not check in later to see what the discussion was about.

“There was no hint or sign there was any other issue. I never asked, ‘Hey, what was going on?’ By the time I got back from the walk-around, everything was relaxed. I figured it was just some minor issue,” Bertone said.


For those interested in methane hydrate and seafloor info this is a report to MMS recommending against deep water drilling due to MH. Cites a 1 in 400 chance of blowouts due to cement problems from MH. Cites various rig blowouts in history.